Air India, which recently received CCI’s clearance for the Vistara merger, is working towards getting approval from competition regulators in Singapore and other jurisdictions for the deal, according to the airline’s chief Campbell Wilson. As Tata Group is in the process of integrating four airlines into two, Air India is working through a backlog of more than 600 legal cases filed by customers against the airline before privatisation, and some of the cases date back more than 15 years. Tata Group acquired loss-making Air India and Air India Express from the government in January last year.
The Competition Commission of India’s approval to the planned merger of Vistara with Air India “is a welcome and important step toward the eventual integration of the four Tata airlines into two, one full service and one low cost though is not the only step,” Campbell said in his weekly message to the employees on Friday.
“We also need approval from the competition regulators in some other jurisdictions, including Singapore, before we can fully press the accelerator,” Wilson said, and added that “We are working toward this end.” In the meantime, “we continue to plan for an integration that makes our future airline group even stronger than the sum of its parts,” he said.
On September 1, CCI approved the proposed merger of Air India and Vistara subject to certain conditions. The deal will make Air India the country’s largest international carrier and second-largest domestic carrier.
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istara and Air India are full-service carriers that are part of the Tata Group, and Singapore Airlines holds a 49 per cent stake in Vistara.
In November last year, Tata Group announced the merger of Vistara with Air India under a deal wherein Singapore Airlines will also acquire a 25.1 per cent stake in Air India. The deal would mark a major consolidation in India’s fast-growing aviation space.
Wilson said that the team from customer experience and corporate legal has been working through a backlog of more than 600 legal cases filed by customers against the erstwhile (pre-privatisation) Air India, some of which date back more than 15 years.
In the past few months they have amicably resolved around one quarter of the backlog and are steadily working through the rest.
Apart from the merger of these two full-service carriers into one entity, Tata Group is in the process of merging its domestic low-cost subsidiary AIX Connect (erstwhile AirAsia India) with its international budget arm Air India Express.