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Air India to focus on US routes; SIA open to merger of synergies between Vistara and Air India: Sources

aviation | Mar 15, 2022 3:31 PM IST

Air India to focus on US routes; SIA open to merger of synergies between Vistara and Air India: Sources

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Air India's focus is on select international routes to showcase new experience, following the official handover of the airline from the government to Tata Group in January, sources said, adding that Singapore Airlines (SIA) is open to considering the merger of synergies between Vistara and Air India. However, SIA told CNBC-TV18, "Singapore Airlines does not comment on any confidential discussions it may or may not be having."

Tatas want to showcase a new experience through Air India. After taking over the airline from the Indian government, the Tata Group plans to focus on expanding international routes.

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Its primary focus is expected to be expanding flights to the US market as regular international flights are set to resume from March 27. Air India is looking at adding more flights and new destinations in the United States, a source told CNBC-TV18.
Earlier this month, Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "After deliberation with stakeholders and keeping in view the decline in COVID-19 caseload, we have decided to resume international travel from March 27."
Air bubble arrangements will also stand revoked thereafter, he said.
Another reason for Tatas' keenness to add capacity to the India-US sector could be that some flights on the route have been impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war, sources said. The Russia-Ukraine war has led to the suspension of some routes by foreign airlines such as United Airlines.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine and airspace restrictions pose huge challenges to global aviation as hundreds of flights that used to fly over Russian air space now have to opt for alternative routes, leading to an increase in operating costs due to more fuel burn.
While bidding for Air India, Tata Sons in November last year was negotiating the waiver of a non-compete clause with its joint-venture partner firm, Singapore Airlines (SIA). SIA owns 49 percent stake in Vistara.
A source told CNBC-TV18 that SIA is open to considering the merger of synergies between Vistara and Air India. Refusing to comment on the matter, SIA told CNBC-TV18: "Singapore Airlines does not comment on any confidential discussions it may or may not be having."
Air India board on Monday appointed Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran as the chairman of the carrier. The Tata Group is likely to finalise a candidate for Air India's chief executive officer's role soon. Tata Group's chairman and a five-member core committee will lead Air India operations until the CEO appointment is finalised, sources said.
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