The Tata Group has started an exercise to evaluate options to consolidate AirAsia India and Vistara under Air India to bring operational synergies among the three airlines under its umbrella, sources said.
Air India, which the group had taken control of in January after winning the bid to acquire the national carrier for Rs 18,000 crore in October last year, has set up a team under its Director of Operations, R S Sandhu, sources familiar with the development said.
The team will evaluate synergies in operations between Air India Express and AirAsia India as well as between Air India and Vistara, they said.
“Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson has set up this team, which will look into synergy between Air India Express and AirAsia India and also between Air India and Vistara and how to achieve the merger,” a source said.
The team has been asked to submit its plan within one year, the source added.
It is understood that the plan is to achieve consolidation of AirAsia India into Air India Express over a one year period, while also targeting to bring all of the group’s airlines businesses under the Air India umbrella by 2024.
An e-mailed query to Tata Sons seeking comments remained unanswered.
Tata Group took back control of Air India and its low-cost international arm, Air India Express from the government in January this year.
Besides, it holds a majority 83.67 per cent stake in domestic budget carrier AirAsia India, which started flying in June 2014, while the remaining 16.33 per cent is with the Malaysian airliners group AirAsia.
The group is looking to acquire the remaining stake in AirAsia India from AirAsia Group.
In Vistara, Tata Sons’ holding stands at 51 per cent and the rest 49 per cent is with Singapore Airlines. The full service carrier had started services from January 2015.