Air India group starts cross utilisation of group wide resources

Air India is going through a mammoth integration effort to combine Air India Express and AirAsia India into one carrier and Air India and Vistara into another carrier. For this, while Air India Express and AirAsia India have gotten the go-ahead from the anti-trust regulator of India, the CCI, the go-ahead is still awaited for Vistara and Air India’s integration.

AirAsia India A320 to be used for Air India Express flights

While the two airlines operate under one company now, they are still working with two different Air Operators’ Certificates. That part of the merger will be solved in due course of time. However, Mint reports that four A320neo aircraft from AirAsia India are also being transferred to Air India Express for international operations.

One of the first AirAsia India flights to operate on behalf of Air India Express will be on August 28. The airline will have its A320neo operate a daily rotation on the Delhi – Sharjah – Varanasi – Sharjah – Delhi rotation effective August 28, 2023, replacing the Boeing 737-800, which operates this service so far.

Towards the merger and the upcoming reveal of Air India Express’s brand identity in October 2023, AirAsia India aircraft are being stripped of their logos and operated in the red livery.

a red and white airplane on a runway

Air India Express and Air India also plan to sign a code-share agreement. Air India Express will withdraw from routes where business class capacity is necessary, and Air India will leave non-trunk routes to Air India Express.

Vistara to receive pilots from Air India to operate 787-9 aircraft

In another interesting move, Vistara will receive pilots from Air India on deputation to operate their Boeing 787-9 aircraft flights out of Mumbai. As per The Economic Times, Vistara has a limited number of 787 pilots in Mumbai base. The airline currently operates a BOM-LHR and return flight out of Mumbai. However, with the arrival of another 787-9 in August 2023, it is expected to go to Mumbai for another flight to be added from Mumbai as well. However, this move will only be put in play after the airlines receive the go-ahead from the CCI for a merger.

an airplane flying in the sky


The integration play of Air India’s group airlines is coming together quickly, with two airlines sharing aircraft and two sharing pilots in the coming days. While AirAsia India will contribute aircraft to the operations of Air India Express, Air India will send pilots on deputation to Vistara for operations of their 787 aircraft.

What do you think of this synergy being exploited in the Air India group?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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