Air India and Vistara airlines will be merged into one carrier. The announcement was made this Tuesday by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines (SIA), partners in Vistara.
Under the deal, SIA also said it is investing $250 million in Air India, taking a 25% stake in the airline from Tata.
The expectation of the two parent companies is that the merger process will be completed by March 2024, if regulatory approval from the Indian authorities occurs.
“With this merger, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in India’s aviation market. We will work together to support Air India’s transformation programme, unlock its significant potential, and restore it to its position as a leading airline on the global stage,” said Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines.
More than 200 aircraft
Air India was taken over by Tata in January after the Indian government held a tender in 2021. With its New Delhi hub, the carrier has been the country’s flag carrier for several decades, but has faced competition from low-cost carriers.
The airline has a fleet of 112 aircraft, 44 of them 777 and 787 widebodies. Among its international destinations are several cities in the US, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South Korea and Japan. In addition, the company has a subsidiary Air India Express, with 24 Boeing 737s and which is aimed at the low-cost market.
Vistara started operating only in 2015, in a joint venture between Tata and Singapore. With a fleet of 54 aircraft, the vast majority of which are single-aisle, the company has most routes within the country, but flies to London, Paris and Frankfurt, in Europe, thanks to three Boeing 787s.
Set to become the world’s most populous country, India is also expected to boast the third largest global aviation market, only behind the United States and China.