Singapore Airlines disclosed Thursday that it was in “confidential discussions” with Tata to “deepen” the companies’ existing partnership, and a potential merger of Air India and Vistara. Indian carrier Vistara is jointly owned by Tata (51 percent) and Singapore Airlines (49 percent).
Singapore Airlines did not say what that deeper partnership could be, but Reuters reported that it could include a minority stake in Air India.
India, with nearly 1.4 billion people, is widely viewed as one of largest growth markets for aviation around the world. However, airlines have long struggled to penetrate the market that suffers from infrastructure and other constraints. Numerous carriers have tried — and failed — including Jet Airways (the first incarnation) and Kingfisher.
Singapore Airlines described India, and its Vistara investment, as an “integral part” of its multi-hub growth strategy. A stake in Air India would give the Singaporean airline even deeper penetration in the market.
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