Singapore Airlines has denied reports that it was interested in acquiring a larger shareholding in the Air India group following the merger between Air India and Vistara.
The Singaporean carrier, which is a minority shareholder of Vistara, the airline which will be merged into Air India, has denied interest in upping its stake in Air India from its current agreed figure of 25.1%. According to reports by India’s Mint, people familiar with the matter have said that Singapore Airlines would be interested in increasing its shareholding in the Indian airline group gradually, eventually reaching 40%.
However, subsequent reports by Reuters have denied the interest, with the publication citing a spokesperson from the carrier insisting that there is to be no change in the desired shareholding structure of the group.
Back in November 2022, Air India and Singapore Airlines announced that Vistara, whose majority shareholder is the Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, would be merged into Air India by October 2024. Following privatization, Tata Sons purchased full control of Air India, taking the loss-making airline out of the Indian government’s coffers.
Since then, the Indian airline has outlined an ambitious growth plan, which includes the aforementioned merger with Vistara and already-announced orders from both Airbus and Boeing. In total, Air India signed up for 470 aircraft from the two manufacturers in February 2023, splitting the order between narrow-body and wide-body aircraft.
Together with the merger, Singapore Airlines would invest up to INR50.2 billion ($612.9 million) into Air India, with the final amount depending on many factors, including the progress of the business plan laid out by Air India.
“With this merger, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in India’s aviation market,” said Goh Choon Phong, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Singapore Airlines at the time.