Tata group-owned Air India and Vistara are targeting October end to complete their merger consolidating their presence in the aviation market. While the National Company Law Tribunal has reserved its order on the merger application, the airlines have approached the Directorate General of Civil Aviation seeking clarification on crossover training requirements for pilots and crew.

The two airlines have separate operating manuals and procedures and the same are being harmonised now. When pilots switch jobs they typically undergo training to familiarise themselves with the procedures of the new organisation. “Discussion is on with DGCA on the issue of crossover training and if the training period can be shortened. Training the entire set of pilots and crew will require lot of time and will impact schedules,” said a person familiar with the matter.

While senior executives from both sides are working out the merger modalities, integration work will pick up steam post the NCLT nod.  The airlines will then start aligning pricing, network and schedules. While Vistara flies three-class Airbus 320 aircraft on domestic routes, Air India has a twin class A320s. On several routes there are overlaps and fleet deployment would be simplified. “We are working towards seamless transition so that passengers are not left disappointed,” said an executive.

Critical task

A critical task before managers of both the airlines will be managing the migration of Vistara issued ticket passenger name records with those with Air India. To minimise the migration hassle, ticket sales on dates beyond actual merger could be stopped on Vistara reservations system. These flights would be open for sale on Air India systems, a source said.

This process could begin two-three months before the actual merger date.

Air India and Vistara did not respond to email queries. In November 2022 Tata group announced consolidation of Vistara and Air India. Vistara is jointly owned by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. As part of the merger transaction, Singapore Airlines shall also invest ₹2,059 crore in Air India for 25.1 per cent stake.