Air India-Vistara merger remains “on course”, with 25.1 per cent stake for Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has said the proposed merger of Air India and Vistara “remains on course” and is subject to approvals from regulators as well as competition authorities in several jurisdictions.

Air India’s newest Airbus A320neo VT-RTQ lands in Delhi on November 2 evening. Photo courtesy: X/@airindia

Once the merger is complete, Singapore Airlines (SIA) will have a 25.1 per cent stake in Air India. Currently, Singapore Airlines owns a 49 per cent shareholding in Vistara and the remaining 51 per cent stake is with the Tata Group.

“The proposed merger of Air India and Vistara remains on course, with the Competition Commission of India approving the transaction in September 2023,” said a SIA Group release yesterday.

“It remains subject to foreign direct investment approval, as well as approvals from other regulators and competition authorities in several jurisdictions, including those from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and National Company Law Tribunal, and the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore,” the release said.

While announcing the group’s financial performance for the first half of the financial year 2023-24, SIA said that when the merger was complete, it would get a 25.1 per cent stake in an enlarged Air India Group with a significant presence in all key Indian airline market segments.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing civil aviation markets and Air India, which was acquired by Tata Group in January 2022, has embarked on an ambitious revival and expansion plan.

In the first half of the 2023-24 fiscal, the SIA Group reported a 55.4 per cent jump in net profit to SGD 1,441 million from USD 927 million in the year-ago period. Its total revenue jumped 8.9 per cent to SGD 9,162 million from SGD 8,417 million in the same period a year ago.

As of September 30, the group had an operating fleet of 202 aircraft comprising 195 passenger aircraft and 7 freighters. SIA’s operating fleet comprised 140 passenger aircraft and 7 freighters while Scoot had 55 passenger aircraft. The group has 96 aircraft on order.

Rebound in passenger traffic

SIA and its no-frills carrier Scoot carried 17.4 million passengers in the first six months of the current fiscal, an increase of 52.3 per cent year-on-year. Passenger traffic grew 38 per cent from a year before.

“Flight frequencies will be increased to reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels across multiple points. These include Ahmedabad (India), Beijing and Shanghai (China), Copenhagen (Denmark), Da Nang (Vietnam), Darwin, Melbourne, and Perth (Australia), Dubai (the United Arab Emirates), Tokyo-Haneda (Japan), and Seattle and Houston (the United States of America),” the release said.