Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Who named Air India? Tata Group reached out to its employees for help in 1946

"What's in a name?," a William Shakespeare fan would say. But a recent Twitter post by Tata Group proved that deciding on a brand name isn't an easy task. However, they had some help when they were thinking of naming Air India in 1946.

With the use of hashtags like #AirIndiaOnBoard #WingsOfChange #ThisIsTata, the official handle of the group dug through the archives to share fun facts about its newest addition.

Around 75 years ago in 1946, a year before India got her Independence, the Tatas were expanding and decided to make Tata Air Lines, earlier a division of Tata Sons, into a company.

The Tata Monthly Bulletin of 1946 said that the group was struggling to find the perfect name for the country's first airline company. They had multiple options on the table, but finally narrowed down the list to four names - Indian Airlines, Pan-Indian Airlines, Trans-Indian Airlines and Air-India.

The then Head of the people-friendly organisation thought of a brilliant idea to decide on the name. An opinion poll was to be held in Bombay House, which currently serves as Tata Group's head office.

"To the innately democratic mind of the Head of the Tata organisation, it seemed a good idea to let the selection be made by popular opinion in Bombay House through a sort of Gallup Poll or Sample Opinion Survey," the archival bulletin read.

The company's employees were given voting papers and asked to pick their first and second preferences for the name.

In the initial level of voting, Air India won the maximum count of 64 votes, followed by Indian Air Lines (51), Trans-Indian Air Lines (28) and Pan-Indian Air Lines (19). Then, another round of voting took place after the less-preferred names were eliminated.

"The final count showed 72 votes for Air-India and 58 for Indian Air Lines," the bulletin said.

And, Air India was formed, and it was Tata employees who decided on the name for India's first-ever airline company. The note was written by Dr JJ Bhabha - Tata Central Archives's founding father - who also held a number of important positions in the group.

08/02/22 Economic Times

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