Singapore Airlines goes on record to clear up speculations surrounding the company.
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Singapore Airlines has refuted a media report saying it may raise its stake in Tata Group-owned Air India from the 25.1 percent which it secured as part of the group’s Vistara merger to create a bigger full-service national carrier. “The Mint story dated 16 June 2023 is incorrect. There (is) no change in SIA’s position from the November 2022 announcement,” Singapore Airlines said. Singapore’s state carrier’s statement was in response to a report by Indian daily Mint, which said the carrier had expressed its desire to gradually raise its stake in the Indian airline to about 40 percent. The media report, citing three people familiar with the development, stated Singapore Airlines and the Tata Group have had initial talks regarding the potential increase in stake.
Last November, Tata had announced Air India’s merger with Vistara, its joint venture with Singapore Airlines, in a bid to strengthen its presence in domestic and international skies. In April, the Indian conglomerate sought fair-trade regulator Competition Commission of India’s approval for the eventual integration of the two airlines, which is expected to be completed by March 2024. Singapore Airlines was committed to the integration with an investment of $250 million as part of the transaction for a 25.1 percent stake in the new airline.
IHCL, Tata Strive Partner to Offer Skill-Building Programs
Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has partnered with Tata Strive to develop a hospitality-focused skill center at Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur in the north Indian state of Rajasthan. The aim is to nurture talent from economically weaker and socially disadvantaged local communities. “This initiative is in line with IHCL’s ESG+ framework of Paathya to build a talent pool for the hospitality industry, and marks the 17th such center operational in the country,” said Gaurav Pokhariyal, executive vice president of human resources at IHCL said,
The first batch with 20 students is being trained in a four-month long food and beverage course. Under the skill development initiative, Tata Strive also offers a soft-skills program, Youth Development Module integrated with domain content.
Jazeera Ramps Up Frequencies from Bengaluru and Hyderabad
Kuwait-based low-cost airline Jazeera Airways has increased the frequency of its direct flights from the south Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The airline now operates four flights per week from Bengaluru, and six weekly flights from Hyderabad, it said in a release. Earlier, the airline operated two and three flights a week respectively to these destinations. Jazeera currently operates 24 direct services to Kuwait and beyond from India. In March, the Kuwaiti carrier called for a sharp increase in air traffic rights to and from India to meet demand, asking for the cap to be raised to 28,000 seats from the current weekly allowance of 12,000.
Spree Hospitality Opens Property in Andhra Pradesh
Online travel platform EaseMyTrip-owned hotel company Spree Hospitality has announced the opening of a 34-key Spree One Resort & Convention in Annavaram in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The company, which currently operates over 30 hotels under Spree and Zip by Spree brands, across India, is set to add 10 new properties in the next few months and 50 by the end of next financial year. Earlier in March, EaseMyTrip partnered with travel fintech start-up SanKash to offer travel insurance and travel-now-pay-later services.
Vistara-Lufthansa Codeshare to Offer Improved International Connectivity
Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, has expanded its codeshare partnership with European airline Lufthansa. With this pact, 12 key European destinations — Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Rome, Hamburg, Helsinki, Lisbon, Munich, Oslo and Prague — will get included in Vistara’s network, the airline said in a statement.
“This enables our customers to conveniently book their itineraries and seamlessly travel across various parts of Europe on the joint network of Vistara and Lufthansa,” said Deepak Rajawat, chief commercial officer of Vistara. This bilateral codeshare agreement enables both airlines to market and sell flights on each other’s networks, which will offer convenient travel options to customers, the airline said.
Akasa Air to Bid For Additional Slots in Southern States
India’s newest airline Akasa Air is eyeing network expansion into the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala, an Indian daily reported quoting sources. The airline will aggressively bid for slots at airports in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Akasa Air expects cash-strapped carrier Go First to vacate some prime slots in these states, even if the latter resumes operations later. Go First’s inability to use its slots at airports due to its voluntary insolvency is expected to put the carrier’s slot up for grabs in the upcoming winter schedule, which starts in November. The carrier has a significant pending order of around 72 737 Max aircraft with U.S. aircraft maker Boeing.
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Photo credit: Last November, Tata had announced Air India’s merger with Vistara. Aiel / Air India Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner VT-ANB Mumbai