Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines just confirmed an Air India-Vistara merger. The new developments will also bring in low-cost carriers Air India Express and AirAsia India under the same banner by March 2024. Here’s looking at the finer details of this monumental change. By Eshita Srinivas
About 70 years after being run as a government entity – Air India returned to the Tata Group in early 2022. This was seen as a full-circle moment for the carrier – which originally belonged to the Jamshedji Tata – Ratan Tata owned investment holding company. Now, the ‘maharaja’ is set to be enlarged, following a merger with the new, full-service airline Vistara. With Tata Sons as the majority owner, Singapore Airlines – a 25.1% stakeholder – has noted that it would infuse about INR 2,000 crore into the initiative as a part of the transaction, which is set to complete by March 2024, subject to approvals.
Air India-Vistara Merger To Bolster Singapore Airlines’ Presence In The Subcontinent
Tata Group announces the consolidation of its airlines, Vistara and Air India by March 2024. pic.twitter.com/40QW2pBFzQ
— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2022
In addition to Vistara, Air India Express and AirAsia India – also owned by Tata – will be merged under the Air India brand. The enlarged Air India will feature a wider fleet and more routes. However, further information regarding how this will shape the future of all the listed carriers has not been revealed. Currently, Singapore Airlines owns 51 percent of Vistara, with 49 percent being with Tata. The latter bought Air India for INR 18,000 crore recently, a report by NDTV notes.
The Mint observes that this move would strengthen the presence of Singapore Airlines in India – allowing it to engage more directly in the country’s aviation market – one of the largest in the world. Not to mention, the enlarged Air India would be four to five times larger in scale when compared to Vistara. A report by Money Control adds that – as per the market summary for October 2022 – Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia India – had a market share of 25.9 percent, with the first two competing for the number two spot.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES AND TATA SONS TO MERGE AIR INDIA AND VISTARA
SIA TO TAKE 25.1% STAKE IN ENLARGED AIR INDIA GROUP pic.twitter.com/bIVnDm4TUG
— Danny Lee (@AirEVthingTRNSP) November 29, 2022
The merger Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan stated was a step towards making Air India a world-class airline. “We are excited with the opportunity of creating a strong Air India which would offer both full-service and low-cost service across domestic and international routes. We would like to thank Singapore Airlines for their continued partnership,” he noted. The CEO of Singapore Airlines Goh Choon Phong added, “We will work together to support Air India’s transformation program, unlock its significant potential, and restore it to its position as a leading airline on the global stage.”
All images: Shutterstock
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