Friday, September 01, 2023

Air India reveals new Maharaja for business class lounges and crockery

Where does Air India’s iconic Maharaja fit into the carrier’s new brand identity? That’s the question many Indians are asking after Tata Sons-owned Air India unveiled the carrier’s new aircraft logo and livery.

But fear not. Whilst the Maharaja as we know him is being retired as Air India’s mascot, the airline has updated his image, making him trimmer, and giving him smarter shoes and a more modern turban.

His image will be positioned at Air India’s business class lounges and on crockery on board its aircraft.

The new Maharajah for Air India is thinner, and wearing a red jacket with aubergine and gold accents.

Serving as Air India’s mascot since 1946, during the last year of British rule in India, the Maharaja was originally designed by the airline’s commercial director Bobby Kooka to evoke feelings of luxury and the exotic. At that time, India had 600 Maharajas ruling smaller principalities.

In an interview with Runway Girl Network, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson admitted that the Maharaja was recognized more by the domestic market than internationally. Even so, with India boasting the world’s largest diaspora, a decision was taken to retain this new version of the Maharaja.

Whilst his role is changing, one can clearly see how the style and coloring of the new-design Maharaja fits into Air India’s broader rebranding effort.

Created by design house FutureBrand, the new livery features a chakra-inspired pattern that harnesses the power of color with the use of deep red, aubergine, and gold highlights, as also seen on the new Maharaja’s jacket.

01/09/2023 Neelam Mathews/Runway Girl Network

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