India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set in train the merger between Air India Express (IX, Delhi International) and AirAsia India (Bengaluru International), granting a series of approvals last week that will allow the two airlines to start integrating many of their systems and processes.

"The airline has now received regulatory approvals to operate its flights under the Air India Express branding. This development marks a significant fast-tracking of the integration efforts, including harmonisation of customer touchpoints, products, and services across both airlines," reads a July 28 statement from Air India Express. Describing the outcome as a "crucial step" in its merger plans, the statement added that "the approval from the regulator allows both Air India Express and flights to be marketed, distributed and operated under a common brand name 'Air India Express', before the subsequent scheduled legal merger of the two entities.

Last week, ch-aviation reported that the future AIX Connect, as the merged entity will be known, had sought approval from the DGCA to speed up the consolidation process, hoping to finalise it well ahead of the previously planned late March 2024 date. The merger between the two-low carriers is one plank in a broader consolidation program underway across airlines owned by Tata Sons that also includes a merger of the Air India (AI, Delhi International) and Vistara (UK, Delhi International) brands.