MUMBAI, Dec 16:

India’s newest airline today said it has received an air permit to begin flying in the country.

Vistara, jointly owned by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and the Mumbai-based Tata conglomerate, said it would soon make an announcement on the start of sales, routes and schedules.

“Vistara has received the Air Operator Permit (AOP) from the regulatory authority,” airline spokeswoman Bhakti Arora said in an email.

Vistara, whose name means “limitless expanse” in Sanskrit, will be headquartered in New Delhi. The airline had earlier said it hoped to start flying passengers in October this year.

SIA holds a 49% stake in the venture, while Tata’s is 51% — an arrangement allowed after India’s previous government said foreign airlines could buy up to 49% stakes in Indian carriers.

India’s air passenger market has rapidly expanded, but many companies are struggling with debts and cut-throat fare wars, high fuel costs and poor infrastructure.

The SpiceJet airline, which announced the cancellation of nearly 1,900 domestic flights last week, sought “urgent relief” from the government yesterday as its financial woes mounted.

Tata also holds a stake in an Indian low-cost carrier which started flying in June, operated by Asia’s biggest budget airline AirAsia.

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