Tata’s Aviation Merger: Vistara and Air India Pilots’ Salary Overhaul

In a significant development, Vistara and Air India pilots are set to witness a unified compensation structure starting March, marking a key milestone in the larger consolidation efforts within the Tata Group’s aviation sector.

As per reports from the Economic Times, Vistara pilots will transition to a set salary for 40 hours, a departure from the current 70 hours. Compensation for additional flying hours and bonuses tied to years of service will also be introduced.

While compensation restructuring is the initial focus, pilots have been informed that both airlines will eventually align policies and other benefits. However, complete operational integration awaits regulatory approvals.

The merger, announced in November 2022, involves Singapore Airlines owning 25.1% of the combined entity. Following Tata Group’s takeover of Air India in January 2022, Vistara, a 51:49 joint venture with Singapore Airlines, is set to complete its merger with Air India in March 2024.

This strategic move is part of Tata Group’s efforts to streamline its aviation operations. The integration of Air India Express and Air Asia India has already formed a no-frills airline, positioning the combined Air India and Vistara to compete in the full-service category.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is actively assisting Tata Group in HR integration, mirroring the salary reforms implemented in Air India last year. The proposed single, simpler wage structure and a unified seniority list for pilot career progression across all Tata-owned airlines are part of the larger plan.

Seniority, crucial for career progression, will be based on the pilot’s duration of service with a specific airline. Switching airlines will entail a loss of earned seniority, irrespective of flying experience. Factors like base choice, aircraft selection, and progression from narrow to wide-body planes will influence the seniority list.

The merger process has already begun for non-flying employees, with Vistara employees undergoing evaluation through the Hogan Test, a personality assessment tool, before being transferred to Air India.

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