Back to the future: Vistara goes retro for Tata Group’s 150th year

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 02, 2018 Published on September 02, 2018

Vistara CEO Leslie Thng (fifth from right) and Chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor with the airline crew in New Delhi on Saturday

How does the 3.5-year-old airline Vistara pay homage to the legacy of its parent Tata Group, which is observing the 150th anniversary of its founding this year?

By painting its 22nd aircraft, which joined the Vistara fleet on August 31, in new colours, getting the aircraft registered with the same registration that the old Tata Airlines aircraft had, getting the cabin crew to wear old-time uniforms of the 1950s and 1960s, which were considered the golden days of aviation, and organising seven special flights, beginning September 5, on which special menus featuring dishes that JRD Tata liked — as chefs from Taj hotels recall them — will be served.

Remembering JRD

JRD, known as the father of Indian aviation, not only got the first pilot licence to be issued in India in 1929; in 1932, he also set up Tata Airlines, the first Indian commercial carrier to transport mail and passengers within the country.

Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines and currently operates over 800 domestic flights a week.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, the first special Vistara flight on September 5 between Delhi and Mumbai will offer a customised menu.

It includes: Cheddar cheese and onion omelette, crêpe au champignon, meat medley, Waldorf salad, minestrone soup, herb roast chicken, Goan prawn curry and crème caramel. These dishes were JRD’s favourites and were also popular among air travellers during those times.

The crew will wear vintage-style uniforms in soft colours such as pale lilac from the family of Vistara brand colours.

The uniforms include a beret, white pumps and pillbox-shaped vanity bags.

While the first of the seven special flights will be operated between Delhi and Mumbai, the other flights will be organised on important days; their details have not been made public yet.

Officials indicated that these special flights will operate on special days, say, the anniversary of JRD operating the first Tata Air Services flight from Karachi to Mumbai.

However, if you want to be part of the celebrations, you will likely pay considerably more than the fare (in annas, the currency unit of those times) that was charged back then.

The celebrations will last for a year, after which the aircraft in the special colours will return to Vistara’s current colours.

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Published on September 02, 2018
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