Tata Sons has started the process to merge Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, with low-cost carrier AirAsia India.
In a legal notice to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), seen by Times of India on April 27, 2022, Air India notified the local competition regulator about its proposed aim to merge with low-cost carrier AirAsia India.
“The proposed combination relates to the acquisition of the entire equity share capital of AirAsia India Private Limited by Air India Ltd- an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Private Limited (TSPL). At present, TSPL holds 83.67% of the equity share capital of AirAsia India,” the document states.
The consolidation of both airlines means that merged airlines will hold roughly a 16% share of the local domestic passenger market. However, Air India ensured that the proposed merger “will not lead to any change in the competitive landscape or cause any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India, irrespective of the manner in which the relevant markets are defined”.
Tata Sons, which currently owns an 83.67% share in AirAsia India, formally took control of Air India on January 27, 2022. Since then, the new owner of the loss-making airline has initiated a gradual consolidation of both businesses.
In February 2022, immediately after Air India’s privatization, the two airlines signed an Interline Considerations on Irregular Operations (IROP) cooperation agreement, where Air India and AirAsia India agreed to serve each other’s domestic customers to minimize passenger inconvenience in the event of flight disruptions.
After taking control of Air India, Tata Sons holds shares in four Indian airlines, including AirAsia India, Vistara, and Air India Express. The Mumbai-based conglomerate reportedly plans to move all four carriers to a 70,000 square feet office near Delhi.