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Air India-Vistara merger approval by CCI an important move: Wilson


Air India CEO and Managing Director, Campbell Wilson, said on Friday that the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) approval for the merger of Vistara with Air India is a welcome move. Meanwhile, he also said the airline has 600 cases pending for the past 15 years.

“This is a welcome and important step toward the eventual integration of the four Tata airlines into two, one full service and one low cost, though is not the only step. We also need approval from the competition regulators in some other jurisdictions, including Singapore, before we can fully press the accelerator. We are working toward this and, in the meantime, continue to plan for an integration that makes our future airline group even stronger than the sum of its parts.”

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, was started in 2015. The Tata Group’s plan is to merge Vistara with Air India and Air Asia India with Air India Express to eventually have one full-service carrier Air India and one low-cost carrier, Air India Express.

Regarding the ongoing challenge of addressing more than 600 pending legal cases, Wilson said: “Corporate legal has been diligently working through a backlog of more than 600 legal cases filed by customers against the erstwhile (pre-privatisation) Air India, some of which date back more than 15 years. In the past few months, they have amicably resolved around one quarter of the backlog, and are steadily working through the rest. Some customers have been so touched by this new effort that they have even written compliments appreciating our proactive outreach to resolve such long outstanding cases.”

Air India has expanded its fleet by incorporating two additional Boeing 777 aircraft in the first week of September. Wilson shared his experience, saying: “I travelled on our new B773ER for the first time, and it was a fantastic experience all around: the seats, the inflight entertainment, the food and, of course, our crew.”

Commenting on India hosting the G20 summit, Wilson said: “This weekend sees India host the G20 summit, capping nearly a year of related activity. Delhi is looking spectacular, and it is indeed a proud occasion for the nation. Have a great weekend.”

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