Tata Group-owned Air India Ltd is consolidating its low-cost carrier (LCC) business, with Air Asia India and Air India Express coming under a single chief executive officer (CEO), sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18. Aloke Singh, the incumbent CEO of Air India Express, will take over from January 1, 2023, as the sole CEO of Air India's LCC business. Air Asia India's current CEO Sunil Bhaskaran will head the aviation training academy, sources in the know told CNBC-TV18.
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After taking over loss-making Air India in January this year, the Tata Group has been working on consolidating its airline business. On November 2, Air India said an operational review process is under way to integrate budget carrier AirAsia India with Air India Express and the merger is likely to be completed by the end of 2023.
The merger is aimed at having a single low-cost carrier for the Air India group. Post-merger, the entity will be branded as Air India Express, it had said. AirAsia India was launched in 2014 while Air India Express started operations back in 2005.
Currently, four airlines are part of the Tata group — Air India, Air India Express, AirAsia India, and Vistara. The latter is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines.
On November 29, Tata Group announced the merger of Vistara with Air India under a deal wherein Singapore Airlines will also acquire a 25.1 percent stake in Air India. The deal, which will make Air India the country's largest international carrier and second-largest domestic airline, is expected to be completed by March 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.