Friday, August 11, 2023

Maharaja takes a back seat in Tata's Air India

New Delhi: Bobby Kooka's Maharaja takes a back seat in Air India's new branding unveiled by Tata Sons and AI chairman N Chandrasekaran here on Thursday. AI MD & CEO Campbell Wilson said "reports of Maharaja's demise are exaggerated," and added that the mascot - in a 'fitter' avatar - will be seen more in India and not so much abroad where it is "not quite understood to what he stands for." So, abroad he will become a silhouette on in-flight bone china and glasses.

Chandrasekaran said the new logo, which merges AI's famed jharoka (window) and Vistara's purple with AI's traditional red and white "signifies limitless possibilities, progressiveness, and confidence." The Airbus 350s that will join the AI fleet this year will be the first to feature the new livery.

Terming AI's revival as a world class airline a "national mission", Chandra said: "This requires enormous amounts of work because of where we start from... on technology, fleet, maintenance, ground handling, all aspects of operations and more..."

"Our fleet requires a lot of work. While we have placed one of the largest fleet orders, both narrow-and-wide-body, it's going to take time for them to arrive. In the meanwhile, we have to refurbish and get our current fleet to acceptable levels," he said.

Wilson says one-third of AI's wide-body fleet will be modern aircraft by next year. Then, the refurbishment of existing wide-bodies will begin. "All our wide-bodies will have new state-of-the-art facilities including onboard WiFi by end of 2025," Wilson said.

11/08/2023 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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