New Delhi: Tata Group has mulled integrating its four airline brands under Air India Ltd, as the sprawling company prepares to rebuild its faltering aviation empire, Bloomberg reported.
India’s largest conglomerate is also considering scrapping the Vistara brand, which is Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s local affiliate in the South Asian nation, according to an ND TV report.
Singapore Airlines is evaluating the size of the stake it should take in the combined entity, one of the people said.
Singapore Airlines said in a statement that “discussions are ongoing between SIA and Tata” and that it had nothing further to add beyond an Oct. 13 exchange filing, which said the talks “seek to deepen the existing partnership between SIA and Tata, and may include a potential integration of Vistara and Air India.”
Air India is gearing up for a revamp under its new owner Tata. The full-service carrier is considering ordering as many as 300 narrow-body jets, a transaction that would be one of the largest orders ever in commercial aviation history.
Air India Chief Executive Campbell Wilson last month said the airline will triple its fleet of 113 aircraft over five years, with a “significant” increase in both narrow and wide-body aircraft.
Air India is also in discussions to raise at least $1 billion in a funding round that could value the carrier at around $5 billion, other people familiar with the matter said in late September.
The airline is planning to add 25 Airbus SE and five Boeing Co. aircraft from lessors, starting in December.
Tata was selected as the winning bidder for Air India in October last year after beating rival suitors with a $2.4 billion offer.
The transaction marked the country’s most high-profile privatization under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ending decades of attempts to offload the money-losing, debt-laden carrier that survived on years of taxpayer bailouts.
It also meant Tata had four airline brands — Air India and other full-service carrier Vistara, along with budget carriers Air India Express Ltd. and AirAsia India.