AirAsia India (I5, Chennai) and Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l) have both confirmed plans to enter the international market in the coming eighteen months.

The former's Chief Executive Officer Amar Abrol told India's Economic Times on the sidelines of the CAPA India Aviation Summit that the budget carrier will likely make its international debut during the second half of 2018. Current fleet projections put the carrier over the twenty aircraft fleet threshold in or around mid-2018, he added.

Concerning Vistara, the full-service carrier's CEO Sanjiv Kapoor told the paper that he, too, expects the airline to start international flights during the second half of 2018. Like AirAsia India, Vistara projects reaching the twenty-aircraft minimum in July of next year. While no specific destinations have been mentioned, Kapoor said Vistara will first offer short-haul flights before expanding into the longhaul segment. There, it has been speculated that the carrier may eventually source B777X widebodies from co-parent, Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi).

Narendra Modi's government last year revised rules governing the allocation of international traffic rights to local carriers. Whereas under previous conditions, an airline was required to have been in service for at least five years and operate at least twenty aircraft before applying for international traffic rights, the revised rule now states that any airline can commence international operations provided they allocate twenty aircraft or 20% of their total capacity (in terms of the average number of seats on all combined departures), whichever is higher, for domestic operations.