The proposed merger of Air India and Vistara is in progress, pending foreign direct investment (FDI) and other regulatory approvals, according to Singapore Airlines' third-quarter earnings release.

When the merger is completed, Singapore Airlines will get a 25.1% stake in the Air India Group with a significant presence in all key Indian airline market segments. As part of the merger transaction, SIA will also invest ₹2,059 crore in Air India.

This will bolster Singapore Airlines' presence in India, strengthen its multi-hub strategy, and allow it to continue participating directly in this large and fast-growing aviation market, the Singapore-based carrier says.

Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines with the Indian conglomerate holding the majority 51% stake while the rest is owned by Singapore Airlines.

Post the consolidation of Vistara, Air India will be India's largest international carrier and second-largest domestic carrier.

In December 2023, Air India inducted the first of 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft on order. The wide-body A350-900 aircraft accommodates 300-350 passengers in a standard three-class configuration and flies on long-range routes of up to 18,000 kilometres or 20 hours non-stop.

With the Airbus A350-900, Air India inducted the first new wide-body fleet type in India in more than a decade and became the first Indian airline to fly the A350. Air India was also the first Indian airline to have inducted the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet type in 2012.

"This moment marks a red-letter day for all of us at Air India. The A350 is not just metal and engines; it's the flying embodiment of the relentless efforts of all Air India employees towards our airline's continuing transformation and of our commitment to setting new benchmarks. It is also, in many ways, a declaration of Indian aviation's resurgence on the world stage," Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer and managing director of Air India, had said at the time.

The Tata Group airline last year placed an order of 470 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus as part of its $70 billion fleet expansion programme. Air India's pending orders include 34 A350-1000, six A350-900, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 10 Boeing 777X widebody aircraft, as well as 140 Airbus A320neo, 70 Airbus A321neo and 190 Boeing 737MAX narrow-body aircraft.

Air India is also gearing up to boost its freight and cargo capacity. The belly capacity of the Air India fleet is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, with the addition of new wide-body aircraft to its fleet and with most aircraft on order set to arrive from 2025.

Tata Group, through its subsidiary Talace, took control of Air India in 2022 after the government sold its entire stake in the national carrier. The steel-to-software conglomerate spent ₹18,000 crore to bag the loss-making airline.

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