Tata Group Merges Air India Express, AIX Connect

Tata Group Merges Air India Express, AIX Connect

DALLAS — Tata Group is streamlining its operations by merging Air India Express (IX), the first Indian international budget carrier, with AIX Connect (I5), formerly known as AirAsia India, establishing a new low-cost carrier brand scheduled to launch on Tuesday, October 18.

The integration plan encompasses several key elements, including the implementation of a unified reservations system, the alignment of service offerings, and the consolidation of the website and agent portal. Furthermore, the current fleet of 56 aircraft, consisting of 23 A320s, is expected to expand with an additional 50 Boeing 737 MAX planes within the next 15 months. This expansion aims to improve the network and increase the number of flights on existing routes.

After arriving at Boeing’s delivery airfield in Seattle in September, the first two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were flown to Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in India by I5’s own aircrew and engineering team in order to prepare them for commercial flight.

Aloke Singh, the Managing Director of I5, shared that over 800 aircrew and other operational personnel are presently undergoing training in preparation for this expansion. The combined entity currently operates around 2,700 weekly flights, with IX accounting for approximately 700 of these flights across 44 global destinations.

Back in May, the group announced that Air India (AI) and Vistara (UK) had entered into an interline partnership, which would bring the two Tata Group-owned carriers closer together ahead of their planned merger.

The new interline agreement allows passengers to travel on both airlines’ networks. AI and UK passengers will be able to receive boarding passes for connections at the first point of departure, in addition to all bags being able to be checked to the final destination.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the India Aviation Market is expected to reach US$10.89 billion in 2023 and grow at a CAGR of 2.87% to reach US$12.55 billion by 2028.

Featured image: Air India Express VT-AXZ Boeing 737-8HG (WL). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

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