Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer of Air India Ltd
Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer of Air India Ltd | Photo Credit: PRAKASH SINGH

Air India’s full-service integration will focus on high-yielding business-led long haul and short-haul routes, both domestically and internationally.

According to Campbell Wilson, CEO, Air India, integration of low-cost carriers (LCC), including Air Asia India and Air India Express, will help prioritise leisure destinations both within the country and overseas. Subject to regulatory approvals, Air India and Vistara will be merged likewise. In its current form, all four airlines have overlapping routes. 

Speaking to businessline, Wilson said both integrations will have a significant presence in domestic and international markets. However, Air India will segregate the full-service carrier and the low-cost carrier into two airlines, one focussed on business routes and the other on leisure. 

“Internationally, the full-service integration will focus on both long-haul and short haul routes, but these will be high-yielding business-led ones. Domestically, too, it will operate on routes that have the potential to generate significant volume on international connectivity,” said Wilson. 

Corporate travel will be among the key focus segments for the airline. On the other hand, the LCC integration, which will merge AirAsia India and Air India Express, will prioritise leisure destinations both India and overseas, he said. 

The airline is in the midst of rationalising the routes between the full-service carrier and the LCC. 

“We have started to rationalise, where one airline will give up routes that are in the other’s favour. So, again, the business-oriented routes will be operated by the full service, and leisure connectivity routes by the low-cost carrier. Once the integration is complete, in many respects it will be complimentary, and it will offer a stronger schedule proposition,” he explained.

When asked if he sees a potential for India to become a regional hub, Wilson said: “Absolutely, India has this unique potential, probably second only to the US in hosting a number of significant domestic to international as well as international to international hubs. Air India’s statement of intent is public for the world to see. Hopefully, other ecosystem players will come along to provide the infrastructure that Indian aviation deserves on a global front.”

Air India operates 28 international destinations and approximately 88 domestic destinations. AirAsia India flies over 50 direct and 100 connecting routes across India. Vistara grew its international network by over 180 per cent in 2022, by adding seven additional routes including three new destinations, it said adding that the airline also grew its domestic network by over 50 per cnet by adding six new routes including two new destinations. According to Air India Express’ website, the network extends to 34 destinations.