Campbell Wilson Sheds Light on Air India Drive for Overseas Regulator Nod in Vistara Merger

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Air India, recently granted clearance by the CCI (Competition Commission of India) for the Vistara merger, is actively seeking approval from competition regulators in various jurisdictions, including Singapore, for this deal. Airline Chief Campbell Wilson made this announcement as Tata Group is undergoing the complex task of integrating four airlines into two separate entities.

As part of this process, Air India is addressing a backlog of over 600 legal cases filed by customers against the airline, some of which date back more than 15 years, prior to its privatization. Tata Group acquired the financially struggling Air India and Air India Express from the government in January of the previous year.

Campbell expressed that while the CCI's approval was a significant step toward integrating the four Tata airlines into two distinct entities (one full-service and one low-cost), there are still regulatory hurdles to clear, particularly in jurisdictions like Singapore.

In the meantime, Campbell emphasized the airline's commitment to planning an integration that will strengthen the future airline group, making it more robust than the sum of its parts.

The CCI gave its approval to the proposed merger of Air India and Vistara on September 1, subject to certain conditions. Once completed, this merger will position Air India as the country's largest international carrier and the second-largest domestic carrier. Both Vistara and Air India are full-service carriers under the Tata Group umbrella, with Singapore Airlines holding a 49 percent stake.

In November of the previous year, Tata Group had unveiled plans to merge Vistara with Air India, with Singapore Airlines also set to acquire a 25.1 percent stake in Air India. This merger marks a significant consolidation in India's rapidly evolving aviation industry.

Campbell further noted that teams handling customer experience and corporate legal matters have made progress in resolving the backlog of customer-initiated legal cases against Air India, with around 25 percent of cases already amicably resolved. Efforts are ongoing to address the remaining cases.

In addition to merging the two full-service carriers, Tata Group is also in the process of merging its domestic low-cost subsidiary, AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India), with its international budget arm, Air India Express.

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