India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has cleared the merger between Tata Group units Air India and Vistara, paving the way for the formation of India’s largest international operator. 

In an order dated 6 June, the court confirmed that the merger scheme had received all the necessary shareholder and creditor approvals, without any objections from the country’s tax department or other parties. 

Air India Vistara collage

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Air India-Vistara merger was first announced in November 2022

The merger was first announced in November 2022, following the privatisation of Air India under the Tata Group. Vistara is a joint venture Tata and Singapore Airlines. 

In approving the merger, the NCLT ordered that Vistara be wound up within nine months from 6 June, without “undergoing the process of winding up” following the merger, after it has gained necessary approvals and security clearance. 

Vistara employees will be transferred to Air India “without interruption of service and on the terms and conditions no less favourable” than that of Vistara. 

The court also ordered the companies to ensure that Singapore Airlines secures clearance for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as well as civil aviation security clearances, within nine months of the order date. Post-merger, Singapore Airlines would hold a 25.1% stake in the newly-enlarged Air India. 

The court order comes days after Air India chief Campbell Wilson confirmed the airline was aiming to complete the acquisition by the end of the year. The carrier had previously set March 2024 as the target for completion.. 

Air India received the nod for the merger from Singapore’s competition regulator – the last authority to approve the deal – in March this year, having already gained approval from Indian authorities.