Air India expects to complete its merger with compatriot Vistara by the end of the year, as it works through legal approvals and operational integration. 

Chief executive Campbell Wilson says the airline is now awaiting legal clearance from India’s National Company Law Tribunal, which it expects “any day now”, having already secured the green-light from competition regulators in India and abroad. He was speaking at the CAPA India Aviation Summit in Delhi. 

Campbell Wilson CAPA India Aviation Summit c CAPA India

Source: CAPA India

Air India chief Campbell Wilson at the CAPA India Aviation Summit in Delhi

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

Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Group, which also own Air India, and Singapore Airlines. Following the merger, SIA will own 25.1% of Air India, with the balance held by Tata Group.

Wilson says: ”On top of that, we are working with the [India Directorate-General of Civil Aviation] on…[the] process of transferring aircraft to one operating certificate to another, [as well as] transferring systems, data, [and] bookings. So far, so good.”

Wilson is overseeing the consolidation of Tata Group’s airline units, following the privatisation of Air India. This also includes the merger of low-cost units Air India Express with AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India. 

The company had previously set March 2024 as the target for the merger to complete. 

Separately, Vistara chief executive Vinod Kannan says one of the key priorities in the lead-up to finalising the merger will be to communicate with airline staff what their role in the new carrier will be. Kannan, who was also speaking at the summit, stresses that the merger “is not for cost-cutting…but for growth”. 

Vistara also intends to “communicate clearly” to its customers and partners how the merger will play out, once it gets legal approvals for the combination, he says.