Soon after the proposed Vistara – Air India merger was announced, many frequent fliers of Club Vistara were disappointed, as it was learned the Vistara brand would cease to exist.
Air India undoubtedly had a huge potential to grow as a brand, but coming to reality it is an airline which has been underinvested in for many years now.
Vistara offered an experience which no other Indian airline offers, and for Air India to match that level of service it would likely take a few more years. The supposed deadline of 2024 for the merger would have drowned the Vistara brand as well.
CEO Campbell Wilson comments
Putting an end to all these speculations Air India’s MD and CEO Mr. Campbell Wilson said in an interview to TOI that Vistara would continue to operate under its own name until they feel that Air India is ready for it.
He also added that the deadline of 2024 was never specifically announced by either him or the company.
Wilson went on to emphasize the fact that currently they are undergoing the process of merging 5 airlines, including Indian Airlines which was initially merged with Air India while it was still government owned.
The plan is to merge Air India and Vistara as one full-service carrier, and Air India Express and Air Asia India, retaining the brand name of Air India Express.
Adding to it, he also said that getting necessary approvals is an important aspect of the merger and getting approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was one important aspect.
The airline is aiming to clear all the legal hurdles, in order to ensure a smooth merger once they are ready.
Speaking about the plans for inducting new aircraft, Wilson said that the Group is all set to receive 10-12 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in this year, which is lesser than anticipated count of 15.
This is due to the issues Boeing is currently facing, which includes an issue where Boeing recently identified a supplier quality problem.
The airline has already received one Boeing 737 MAX which would be operated by Air India Express and another one registered as VT-BXD is enroute to India.
Speaking about the deliveries of Airbus A350, he confirmed that the airline will get 5-6 of it delivered before March 2024.
This aircraft will mark a milestone in the airline’s transformation journey as it will be the first aircraft in the fleet with their new livery.
The airline expects to get delivery of one aircraft if not two by end of 2023. The reason for the delay of delivery of their A350 is requirement of additional test by the seat manufacturer.
He also informed that the airline will lease 12 A320’s which was not included as part of their mega 470 aircraft order. This additional requirement is to meet the current market demand.
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