Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong says ‘Air India a long-term investment’

Singapore Airlines operates as the official flag carrier of the Republic of Singapore centered around its hub at Singapore Changi Airport. It holds membership in the Star Alliance and is distinctive for its incorporation of the Singapore Girl in its corporate branding. Acknowledged as one of the leading airlines globally, Singapore Airlines has achieved a prestigious 5-star rating from Skytrax. Additionally, it has been recognized as the world’s best airline on five separate occasions. Air India is seen as a promising long-term investment prospect by Singapore Airlines, as stated by Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. He points to the growing interest in travel among Indians and underscores the value of Air India’s slots and rights. Phong emphasizes that their approach is geared towards a strategic, long-term investment, citing India’s position as a high-growth country, currently the third-largest economy and travel market globally. Singapore Airlines aims to actively contribute to India’s growth and views this investment as a means to engage with the substantial potential in the country.

Goh Choon Phong

Phong also notes that Singapore’s flagship carrier views the launch of Vistara, a 49:51 joint venture with Tata Sons, as a response to the expanding air traffic potential in India. Despite the ongoing merger with Air India, Singapore Airlines believes Vistara has earned recognition as one of the premier carriers in India. Phong expresses pride in Vistara, highlighting its collaborative creation with partners, and anticipates that both partners and customers in India will take pride in its esteemed position. In November 2022, the Tata Group unveiled its plans for the merger of Vistara, its full-service joint venture, with Air India. As per the agreement, Singapore Airlines is set to hold a 25.1% stake in the combined entity, leaving the remaining 74.9% in the hands of the Tata Group. Once the merger is finalized, Singapore Airlines aims to actively contribute to the growth of Air India, acknowledging the significant value brought by assets like valuable slots, rights, and global connectivity.

The conversion of Singapore Airlines’ existing 49% stake in Vistara will result in approximately 20.6% ownership in the expanded Air India. To secure an additional 4.5% stake, Singapore Airlines commits to paying Tata Group ₹2058.5 crore in cash post-merger, bringing the total holding to 25.1%. Additionally, the airline has the option to invest ₹5,020 crore to support the Tata Group’s fleet modernization, aircraft induction, and operational plans for FY23 and FY24. The CEO expresses confidence in the current agreement, highlighting the recent approval of the Vistara and Air India merger by the Competition Commission of India. He expects the merger to conclude by March and emphasizes that, under the current terms, no additional infusion beyond the agreed-upon terms is anticipated.