Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons have agreed to merge Air India and Vistara, with SIA also investing INR 20,585 million (S$360 million, US$250 million) in Air India as part of the transaction. This would give SIA a 25.1% stake in an enlarged Air India group with a significant presence in all key market segments. SIA and Tata aim to complete the merger by March 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.
The merger would bolster SIA’s presence in India, strengthen its multi-hub strategy, and allow it to continue participating directly in a large and fast-growing aviation market.
India is the fastest growing global economy, and is projected to become the third largest in the world by 2027. It is also the world’s third largest aviation market. Demand for air travel is surging with passenger traffic expected to more than double over the next 10 years, supported by rising income levels and ongoing investments in its aviation infrastructure.
Following its acquisition by Tata in January 2022, Air India unveiled a wide-ranging transformation programme to strengthen its foundations and revamp its operations, setting it on the road to recovery and positioning it for growth.
The combination of Air India and Vistara would bring significant synergies. Air India has valuable slots and air traffic rights at domestic and international airports that are not available to Vistara. With Vistara widely recognised as India’s leading full-service carrier, Air India will benefit from its operational capabilities, customer base, and a strong focus on customer service and product excellence.
Today, Air India (including Air India Express and AirAsia India) and Vistara have a total of 218 widebody and narrowbody aircraft, serving 38 international and 52 domestic destinations. With the integration, Air India will be the only Indian airline group to operate both full-service and low-cost passenger services. It can optimise its route network and resource utilisation, be flexible and agile in capturing demand across market segments, and tap on a larger consumer base to strengthen its loyalty programme.