Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Refreshing Air India: Why the Tata-owned airline's future lies in the turnaround plan

“There is probably a little bit of Air India in every Indian!” This declaration by Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, at the unveiling of the national flag carrier’s new brand identity stands validated by the furious discussion it has sparked in the public domain. While some have been critical of the new look, or what its new owners like to call a “refreshed Air India”, others have lauded the move. No surprises there, for from children’s toys to movies, Air India continues to command a special place in popular imagination.

The launch of the new brand identity and livery is the culmination of yet another milestone after the carrier placed a mega-order for 470 narrow- and widebody jets earlier this year. And as the country transforms into the world’s third-largest economy by the end of 2030, Air India is positioning itself as a leading global carrier embodying the aspiration of a New India. In pursuit of this objective, the iconic brand that returned to the Tata group on January 27, 2022, has rolled out a five-year-long Vihaan.AI turnaround programme. “Our mission and job at the Tata group and Air India are to make this a truly iconic airline that every Indian is truly proud of,” Chandrasekaran had said at a gathering of Air India employees, vendors and other stakeholders on August 10 in New Delhi.

What stands out in the entire exercise is the new ‘Vista’ logo, a peak golden frame, signifying a portal to send the airline into the realm of limitless possibilities. “The biggest challenge and opportunity were about taking forward the brand’s legacy,” Prasoon Joshi, CEO of McCann World Group India, which has the advertising and marketing communications mandate for the carrier, tells Business Today. “And when you are doing that as part of a larger evolution, you also need to free yourself. And that’s where the idea of the Vista or ‘the window of possibilities’ comes in.”

The carrier also plans to use the livery as a metaphor for the disruption that it seeks to introduce in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. 

06/09/2023 Manish Pant/Business Today

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