Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l) will launch its first international routes in the second half of this year, with the maiden destinations being either in the Gulf region or in South East Asia, CEO Leslie Thng said at the beginning of January.

According to Indian legislation, the carrier first needs to have at least twenty aircraft in its fleet to become eligible for international operations. Vistara, which currently operates a total of seventeen A320 and A320neo aircraft, expects to pass this threshold in March 2018. By May this year, the airline plans to expand its fleet to twenty-two Airbus narrow-body jets.

Vistara is currently studying potential first international destinations and is considering both unserved city pairs as well as routes which are already served but continue to be in high demand.

According to The Economic Times, the carrier indicated Tehran Imam Khomeini and Singapore Changi as some of the initial destinations in a filing to the aviation ministry.

The airline will initially operate international services out of its main hub at Delhi Int'l, although Thng floated the idea of establishing secondary hubs in the future.

Thng added that Vistara's parents, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Group, are interested in Air India's privatisation programme, but would prioritise Vistara's organic growth over a potential acquisition.