Tatas explores options to merge AirAsia India, Vistara and Air India

New Delhi: The Tata Group has begun a study to assess the pros and cons of combining AirAsia India and Vistara under Air India in order to create operational synergies among the three airlines under its control, according to insiders.

Air India has a team under its Director of Operations, R S Sandhu, according to sources familiar with the situation. The group took control of Air India in January after winning the bid to buy the national carrier for Rs 18,000 crore in October last year.

According to them, the team would assess operational synergies between Air India Express and AirAsia India as well as between Air India and Vistara.

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“Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson has set up this team, which will look into synergy between Air India Express and AirAsia India and also between Air India and Vistara and how to achieve the merger,” a source said.

The insider also said that the team has been requested to submit their strategy within a year.

It is understood that the goal of the strategy is to merge AirAsia India into Air India Express within a year, with the ultimate goal of having all of the group’s airline operations fall under the Air India banner by 2024.

Tata Sons did not respond to a request for remarks sent via email.

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In January of this year, Tata Group reclaimed ownership of Air India and its low-cost foreign subsidiary Air India Express from the government.

The company wants to buy the rest of AirAsia India from the AirAsia Group.

Tata Sons holds a 51% stake in Vistara, with Singapore Airlines holding the remaining 49%. In January 2015, the full-service airline began offering its services.

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