Air India and Vistara Seek DGCA Approval to Speed Up Merger

The merger process usually takes about a month but the Tata Group wants to consolidate its airline business as quickly as possible in order to leverage synergies, eke out efficiencies and reduce duplications.
Air India and Vistara merger
Air India and Vistara merger

In an attempt to speed up their merger, Air India and Vistara have sought the approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to minimise the training requirements for the pilot and the cabin crew, said people who were aware of the matter as per Economic times.

DGCA is examining the manuals before giving any approval,” said a person familiar with the matter to ET.

As per the mandate of the DGCA, pilots should undergo crossover training while changing a company or aircraft type. This is done to make sure that they are familiarised with the basic procedures on safety including handling emergencies as these may vary from one airline to another, despite the similarity of the aircraft. Other aviator regulators also require this.

The process which takes a month includes both ground and simulator classes and on-the-job training during which a pilot has to fly about 25 hours under an instructor’s supervision.

If the approval goes through, Vistara will instead undergo a short-term online training module to familiarise them with any differences, said the people who are quoted above.

“Since the manuals have been merged, there is little differences now except procedural differences like when should the doors be closed before take-off or what should be the public announcement in case of a disruption like a precautionary landing or when to switch off the seat belt signs,” said one of the persons involved with the integration process.

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“To bridge these gaps, training will be conducted via e-learning modules and repeated through instructor-led sessions.”

Spokesperson of both the airlines and DGCA didn’t respond to queries on the topic raised by ET

Reporting a loss of Rs 15,32 crore in FY23, the Tata Group wants to consolidate its airline business as quickly as possible in order to leverage synergies, eke out efficiencies and reduce duplications.

Under the restructuring plan, Air India Express and Air Asia India have been merged to form a no-frills airline while the combined entity of Air India and Vistara will compete  in the full-service segment. The conglomerate is rushing to complete the latter integration by the end of this year, although Air India CEO Campbell Wilson has said that customer-facing elements, including the brand identity of Vistara, won’t change before 2025, the report stated

The merger is equally important for Singapore Airlines as its  25.1% stake in the merged Tata airline entity will strengthen its presence in the world’s third-largest aviation market.

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