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April 30, 2024

Tata Sons Accelerates Air India-Vistara Merger, Aiming for Completion by Year-End

Tata Sons is fast-tracking the integration of Air India and Vistara to operate as a unified airline by the end of this year, as reported by The Economic Times (ET).

According to sources, both airlines have initiated the process of merging their operational manuals and transferring flying crew between the two carriers, reaching out to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for approvals.

The conglomerate aims to streamline its aviation operations by merging Air India and Vistara into a comprehensive full-service airline, while also integrating AirAsia India and Air India Express to establish a single low-cost carrier.

A source quoted by ET expressed the group’s eagerness to complete the merger swiftly, highlighting the anticipated synergies and operational efficiency benefits. “There are no ifs and buts,” the source emphasized.

The exact timeline for integration depends on regulatory approvals. Air India is expecting approval for the merger from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by next week. The NCLT’s Chandigarh bench has reserved its decision on the matter. In September 2023, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) granted approval for the merger, enabling Tata Group to establish a single, full-service carrier, as per the ET report.

Once approved by the NCLT, both airlines can commence the integration of their networks, human resources, and fleet deployments.

Sources mentioned that both Air India and Vistara operate flights to identical destinations around similar times, utilizing separate resources at airports, such as distinct check-in counters.

The merger entails merging the airlines’ distinct manuals, and flying staff from Vistara, such as pilots, will need to undergo operator conversion courses lasting approximately 40 days.

The integration process will be carried out gradually to avoid grounding flights during the transition, as stated in the ET report. Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara, mentioned that non-flying staff can expect clarity regarding their roles by May and June.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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