Vistara airlines will be merged with Tata-owned Air India by March 2024, said a release by Singapore Airlines, which owns the minority share in Vistara in a joint venture with Tata. The rearrangement will mean a wider fleet and more routes under the Air India brand as Tata Sons rebuilds a mega aviation wing of its empire.
Singapore Airlines will own around 25 per cent of this enlarged Air India, into which it’ll infuse over Rs 2,000 crore. At present it owns 49 per cent of Vistara, while 51 per cent is with Tata, which bought Air India for Rs 18,000 crore as part of a government disinvestment early this year. The companies “aim to complete the merger by March 2024, subject to regulatory approvals”, said the release.
Tata Sons also owns low-cost carriers Air India Express and AirAsia India, both of which will also be merged under the Air India brand by 2024. This means all four brands consolidated under Air India, a company which was founded by the Tatas but later nationalised, only to come back to the Tatas after losses piled up and the government decided it’s best to sell it off.
Air India, which has 113 aircraft in its fleet, aims to triple this number over the next five years, the company’s chief executive has said. Once the other three brands are merged into Air India — AirAsia India has 28 plans, Vistara has 54, and Air India Express has 24 — the fleet size will cross 200.
Reports have said it is likely to order 300 narrow-body jets, one of the largest orders ever in aviation history, which would be delivered gradually.