Indian conglomerate Tata Group has set a completion date of 2024 for the merger of its airline companies under a single brand, Air India, as reported by The Indian Express.

The group currently owns Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express, as well as a 83.67% stake in AirAsia India and a 51% interest in Vistara.

Earlier this year, Tata Group purchased Air India from the Indian government and secured approval to operate Air India Express.

According to The Indian Express‘ report, Tata is set to begin the process soon, starting with the merger of AirAsia India into Air India Express.

The merger would begin by integrating information technology and passenger booking systems.

This plan is under dialogue across multiple levels, with the ownership transfer of AirAsia India by Tata to Air India planned to be completed in the near future.

The Indian Express quoted an insider as saying: “The process of transfer will happen anytime soon that will make AirAsia India the subsidiary of Air India; soon after, AirAsia will be merged with Air India Express.

“The integration process of the two airlines is expected to take at least 12 months from the start date.”

Once the merger is completed, Tata Group would also consider an Air India-Vistara merger. Singapore Airlines (SIA), one of Vistara’s stakeholders, would collaborate with the group on this.

This would allow SIA to co-own Air India with Tata Group.

A source said: “Issues like cabin crew dress, branding (likely to be called Air India Express or something similar) are still being discussed at various levels.

“There are complexities since both airlines are different in terms of service, crew attire, etc.”

Following the merger, Tata Group is expected to become the largest airline in India and one of the country’s strongest airlines.