Air India-Vistara Merger May Be Completed By December: Air India CEO Campbell Wilson

The integration of nearly 7,000 employees of Vistara into Air India is poised to commence in the upcoming months, with a targeted completion by the end of this year. This announcement was made by Campbell Wilson, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Air India, during a town hall meeting on Monday.

The merger, a strategic move by Tata Group, which owns both airlines, aims to streamline operations and enhance efficiency within the aviation conglomerate. Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara, had previously indicated a mid-2025 timeline for the operational merger with Air India.

During the town hall meeting, Wilson and Kannan addressed employees from both airlines, shedding light on the integration process. Wilson revealed that 120 pilots have already been seconded between the two carriers, along with about 60 non-flying staff from Vistara to Air India.

Furthermore, assessments for all 7,000 Vistara employees have been completed, with their fitment into Air India in advanced stages. The integration process will commence in phases, starting from June onwards. A small number of Vistara employees will remain until the airline's air operator certificate (AOC) is surrendered to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Wilson said that maintaining a balanced employee ratio between the two airlines has been a priority since the Tata Group took control of Air India in January 2022. Currently, Air India has around 17,000 employees, while Vistara employs approximately 7,000 individuals.

In addition to personnel integration, efforts to share best practices and harmonize standard operating procedures (SOPs) between the two airlines are already underway. Wilson highlighted the implementation of 'myIDTravel,' a facility enabling employees to book tickets across both carriers seamlessly.

Addressing the fleet expansion, Wilson noted that Air India has added 70 aircraft in the past 24 months, including 17 widebodies and 53 narrowbodies, equivalent to incorporating one Vistara into Air India.

While the town hall meeting primarily focused on the integration process, disruptions experienced by Vistara and Air India Express in recent weeks were not directly addressed by Wilson and Kannan. Discontent among certain employees over various issues remains a challenge for both airlines.

The merger of Vistara with Air India aims to create a unified full-service carrier, while Air India Express is merging with AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) to establish a single low-cost subsidiary under the Air India umbrella.

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