Skift Take

Vistara employees are seeking greater clarity about how their roles might look within the soon-to-be merged airline.

Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan has outlined a roadmap for the airline’s impending merger with Air India, following staff concerns and recent operational disruption.

In his latest communication to employees sent over the weekend, the airline chief sought to assure Vistara staff. Kannan said the company will communicate details of their roles in the combined entity through May and June, subject to final approvals.

The merger awaits clearance from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). However, Kannan expressed confidence in receiving this imminently. “We have received all relevant competition approvals from various jurisdictions,” he stated, signaling the merger’s advanced stages.

Once Vistara receives the green light from the NCLT, the airline plans to accelerate integration activities. This includes systems transition, data migration, and customer/partner communications.

Kannan stressed the importance of these preparations in readiness for seamless post-merger operations.

Speaking at the Skift India Summit last month, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson acknowledged that Air India would maintain elements of Vistara in its future operations.

“They will certainly be there in people and process,” Wilson said. “But we will eventually be collapsing the two. We won’t be rushing it, probably sometime later this year, sometime next year.”

What Next After the Merger?

Acknowledging staff anxieties about the process, Kannan emphasized Vistara’s commitment to ensuring all employees find suitable roles post-merger.

“The leadership teams and relevant cross functional teams have now started meeting more frequently to ensure that the relevant decisions for the merger are made in time and then executed seamlessly once we have the relevant approvals,” Kannan said.

To facilitate this, he said Vistara has engaged an independent consultant, who’s working with HR teams, to finalize the merged entity’s “organogram” by the end of April. This effort, focused on non-crew staff (all employees excluding pilots and cabin crew), aims to seamlessly integrate back-office and corporate functions.

“This process is almost complete for most verticals and we intend to complete this process by the end of this month,” Kannan wrote.

Vistara Updates and Townhalls

Addressing specific concerns, Kannan announced that townhall sessions would explain the process. He added that detailed updates on each staff member’s assigned role in the combined organization would follow through May and June.

The airline had over 150 cancellations and 200 delays exceeding two hours between March 31 and April 4. This coincided with pilots, discontent over a stretched roster and a new pay structure ahead of the merger, allegedly taking mass leave.

Responding to concerns about the new contract for Vistara pilots ahead of its merger with Air India, Kannan said the airline would conduct additional townhall sessions for pilots early next week to discuss career progression and address feedback on the new contract terms.

The Vistara CEO also revealed that cabin crew have sought clarity from him on their contracts, asking whether there would be any changes for them ahead of the merger. “We are evaluating this and will be communicating with further details,” he said.

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Tags: air india, asia monthly, india, indian airlines, mergers, pilot pay, vistara

Photo credit: Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan outlined a roadmap for the airline's impending merger with Air India. Vistara

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