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Air India-Vistara merger may impact around 600 non-flying staff

Tata Group-owned loss-making full-service carriers -- Air India and Vistara -- together have more than 23,000 employees.

Air India-Vistara merger may impact around 600 non-flying staff
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NEW DELHI: Around 600 non-flying staff of Air India and Vistara are likely to be impacted by the two airlines' mega-merger, and efforts will be made to provide job opportunities to the affected employees within Air India group and Tata companies, sources said on Wednesday.

Tata Group-owned loss-making full-service carriers -- Air India and Vistara -- together have more than 23,000 employees.

Sources in the know told PTI that the merger is expected to impact around 600 employees from the two airlines.

Efforts will be made to provide employment opportunities for the affected people at Air India as well as the Tata groups. Those who cannot be accommodated in both groups will be provided a voluntary separation scheme package, they added.

Further, the sources said the process is still progressing and the exact number of impacted staff will be known after completion of the merger, which is expected in late September or early October.

There was no comment from Air India.

The fitment exercise -- which involves the evaluation of the roles and responsibilities of staff of both airlines -- in the run-up to the merger has been going on for the past few months. The exercise takes into account an individual's prior experience, performance and other factors.

The sources said the fitment process is being conducted in a fair and transparent manner. Various aspects, including that the airline group is becoming more of a technology-driven organisation, have been taken into consideration.

According to sources, there will be no impact in terms of jobs for cabin crew and pilots.

On May 12, Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson, along with Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan, held a one-and-a-half-hour-long town hall meeting with the employees of both carriers about the proposed merger.

At that time, both Wilson and Kannan also assured that the fitment or assignment of existing employees into the new structure was being done based on merit and competency.

The plans for fleet expansion, network growth and enhanced service over the next few years have also been taken into consideration while deciding on the organisation structure.

The merger, which will create one of the biggest airline groups, was announced in November 2022. Once the deal is complete, Singapore Airlines will have a 25.1 per cent stake in Air India. Vistara is a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Group.

About the merger, Vinod Kannan, in January, said, "We want to make sure that everyone in Vistara does have a role (in the merged entity). It is not a merger for cost-cutting or efficiencies, it is a merger for growth".

In June, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) cleared the merger, and in March, Singapore's competition regulator CCCS gave a conditional nod for the proposed deal.

Earlier in September 2023, the deal received approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), subject to certain conditions.

Since Tata Group took over the reins of Air India in January 2022, more than 9,000 people, including cabin crew, have been hired.

As part of consolidating its airline business, Tata Group is also merging Air India Express and AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India).

The harmonisation of operating manuals across all Tata Group airlines has been completed.

PTI
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