Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997
Tue, 29 November 2022

SIA and Tata Sons Agree to Merge Air India and Vistara

(29/11/22)  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

 The deal will 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.

SIA intends to fully fund this investment with its internal cash resources, which stood at S$17.5 billion as of 30 September 2022.

SIA and Tata have also agreed to participate in additional capital injections, if required, to fund the growth and operations of the enlarged Air India in FY2022/23 and FY2023/24.

Vistara A320 reg: VT-TNB. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Vistara A320 reg: VT-TNB. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Based on SIAs 25.1% stake post-completion, its share of any additional capital injection could be up to INR 50,200 million (S$880 million, US$615 million), payable only after the completion of the merger.

The actual amount will depend on factors including the progress of the enlarged Air Indias business plan, and its access to other funding options. SIA has said that it intends to fully fund any additional capital injections with its internal cash resources.

Through this transaction, SIA will reinforce its partnership with Tata and immediately acquire a strategic stake in an entity that is four to five times larger in scale compared to Vistara. The merger will also bolster SIAs presence in India, strengthen its multi-hub strategy, and allow it to continue participating directly in a large and fast-growing aviation market.

Tata Sons is one of the most established and respected names in India. Our collaboration to set up Vistara in 2013 resulted in a market-leading full-service carrier, which has won many global accolades in a short time, said Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines. With this merger, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in Indias aviation market. We will work together to support Air Indias transformation programme, unlock its significant potential, and restore it to its position as a leading airline on the global stage.

India is the fastest growing global economy, and is projected to become the third largest in the world by 2027. It is also the worlds 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. However, India also remains underserved with low international seats per capita, signifying significant growth potential.

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.

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.

The merger of Vistara and Air India is an important milestone in our journey to make Air India a truly world-class airline. We are transforming Air India, with the aim of providing great customer experience, every time, for every customer. As part of the transformation, Air India is focusing on growing both its network and fleet, revamping its customer proposition, enhancing safety, reliability, and on-time performance, said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons. We are excited with the opportunity of creating a strong Air India which would offer both full-service and low-cost services across domestic and international routes. We would like to thank Singapore Airlines for their continued partnership.

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