Air India: Wikis


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Air India
एअर इंडिया
Founded 1932 (as Tata Airlines)
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program Flying Returns
Member lounge Maharaja Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance (2010)
Fleet size 35 (+ 33 orders) (excl.subsidiaries)
Destinations 24 (excl.subsidiaries)
Company slogan "Your Palace in the Sky"
Parent company NACIL
Headquarters Mumbai, India
Key people Arvind Jadhav, Chairman and Managing Director [1]

Amod Sharma, Director [2]


Air India Limited[3] (Hindi: एअर इंडिया) is the national airline of India. Based in the Air India Building in Nariman Point, Mumbai,[4] Air India flies a worldwide network of passenger and cargo services. The National Aviation Company of India Limited administers the state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines merger.[5].

Air India is the 16th largest airline in Asia,[6] serving 24 destinations worldwide, and, with its affiliated carriers, serves over 100 cities. Air India has codeshare agreements with 13 other international airlines.[7] In October 2010, Air India is expected to join Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance.[8][9]



Tata Air Services
1940s-2007 Air India logo
Air India Boeing 707-320B in 1976
The Air India Building at Nariman Point in Mumbai
Boeing 747-400 in 1970-2007 Palace In The Sky livery

Air India was founded by J. R. D. Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group). On 15 October 1932, J. R. D. Tata flew a single-engined De Havilland Puss Moth carrying air mail (postal mail of Imperial Airways) from Karachi's Drigh Road Aerodrome to Bombay's Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad. The aircraft continued to Madras via Bellary piloted by former Royal Air Force pilot Nevill Vintcent.

Following the end of World War II, regular commercial service was restored in India and Tata Airlines became a public limited company on 29 July 1946 under the name Air India. In 1948, after the Independence of India, 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India, with an option to purchase an additional 2%. In return, the airline was granted status to operate international services from India as the designated flag carrier under the name Air India International. On 8 June 1948, a Lockheed Constellation L-749A named Malabar Princess (registered VT-CQP) took off from Bombay bound for London via Cairo and Geneva. This marked the airline's first long-haul international flight, soon followed by service in 1950 to Nairobi via Aden.

On 1 August 1953, the Government of India exercised its option to purchase a majority stake in the carrier and Air India International Limited was born as one of the fruits of the Air Corporations Act that nationalised the air transportation industry. At the same time all domestic services were transferred to Indian Airlines. In 1954, the airline took delivery of its first L-1049 Super Constellations and inaugurated services to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.

Air India International entered the jet age in 1960 when its first Boeing 707-420, named Gauri Shankar (registered VT-DJJ), was delivered. Jet services to New York City via London were inaugurated that same year on 14 May 1960. On 8 June 1962, the airline's name was officially truncated to Air India. On 11 June 1962, Air India became the world's first all-jet airline.

On 8 March 2004, International Women's Day, the airline operated an "All Women Flight" from Mumbai to Singapore.[10] Captain Rashmi Miranda, who became Air-India's first female Commander in November 2003, and Captain Kshmata Bajpai piloted the flight, an Airbus A310-300 aircraft. The flight dispatch activities relating to this flight were coordinated by a female Flight Dispatcher, Vasanti Kolnad. The Safety Audit on board was also conducted by another woman, Harpreet A De Singh. The airline has 96 women pilots on its rolls.


In 1970, Air India moved its offices to downtown Bombay. The next year, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200B named Emperor Ashoka (registered VT-EBD). This coincided with the introduction of the 'Palace In The Sky' livery and branding. A feature of this livery is the paintwork around each aircraft window, in the cusped arch style of windows in Indian palaces. In 1986 Air India took delivery of the Airbus A310-300; the airline is the largest operator of this type in passenger service. In 1988, Air India took delivery of two Boeing 747-300Ms in mixed passenger-cargo configuration. In 1989, to supplement its "Flying Palace" livery, Air India introduced a new "sun" livery that was mostly white with a golden sun on a red tail. Only applied to around a half of Air India's fleet, the new livery did not succeed, as the Indian flying public complained about the phasing out of the classic colours. The livery was dropped after two years and the old scheme was returned.

In 1993, Air India took delivery of the flagship of its fleet when the first Boeing 747-400 named Konark (registered VT-ESM) made history by operating the first non-stop flight between New York City and Delhi. In 1994 the airline was registered as Air India Ltd. In 1996, the airline inaugurated service to its second US gateway at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. In 1999, the airline opened its dedicated Terminal 2-C at the renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.

In 2000, Air India introduced services to Shanghai and to its third US gateway at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark. On May 2004, Air India launched a wholly-owned low cost airline called Air-India Express. Air India Express connecting cities in India with the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Subcontinent. In 2004 Air India launched flights to its fourth US gateway at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles (which has since been terminated) and expanded its international routes to include flights from Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

On 1 March 2009, Air India made Frankfurt Airport its European Hub for its Trans-Atlantic North American Operations.

On 1 December 2009, Air India introduced services to its fifth US gateway at Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C..

Re-privatisation plans

In 2001, Air India was put up for sale by the then NDA government[11]. One of the bids was by a consortium of Tata Group-Singapore Airlines. However the re-privatisation plans were shelved after Singapore Airlines pulled out and the global economy slumped[12].

In 2007, the Government of India announced that Air India would be merged with Indian Airlines. As part of the merger process, a new company called the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) was established, into which both Air India (along with Air India Express) and Indian Airlines (along with Alliance Air) will be merged.[13] Once the merger is complete, the airline - which will continue to be called Air India - will continue to be headquartered in Mumbai.

Star Alliance announced on 13 December 2007 that it had invited Air India to join as a member.[14][15] Air India is set to become a full Star Alliance member in 2010.

India has the world's fastest growing airline industry.[16] However, increasing fuel prices resulted in a 4% decline in air traffic in June 2008.[17] Increasing competition of other major Indian carriers like Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines has pushed Air India to third place in India in terms of market share. In July 2008, it was reported that Air India was seeking Rs 2,300 crores (US$ 534 million) in aid from the Indian government to cover its losses.[18] In the wake of rising fuel prices, the airline decided to hike its air fare in June 2008.[19]

Financial crisis

Around 2006-2007, the airlines began showing signs of financial distress. The combined losses for Air India and Indian Airlines in 2006-07 were Rs 770 crores. After the merger of the airlines, this went up to Rs 7,200 crores by March 2009.[20] This was followed by restructuring plans which are still in progress.[21]. In July 2009, SBI Capital Markets Ltd was appointed to prepare a road map for the recovery of the airline.[22] The carrier sold three Airbus A300 and one Boeing 747-300M in March 2009 for $ 18.75 million to survive the financial crunch[23].


Air India destinations with Star Alliance.      India      Air India destinations      Star Alliance destinations

Air India serves 9 domestic destinations and 15 international destinations in 8 countries. Together with its subsidiaries the group connects 93 destinations worldwide in 24 countries across Asia, Europe and North America.

Passenger operations

Tob band3.png

The airline carried 4.44[24] million passengers during 2005-2006 and achieved a load factor of 66.2 per cent lower than the 69.8 per cent load factor recorded in the preceding year. Air India offers three classes of service – First Class, Executive Class and Economy Class. Flat bed seats are offered for First and Executive Class passengers. Air India’s frequent flyer programme is called Flying Returns and is shared with Indian Airlines and other subsidiaries. Aside from flight mileage, members receive seat discounts, class upgrades, free hotel stays and other benefits. The airline offers luxury lounges in its ground terminals for its First and Executive class travelers in select destinations within India. Air India has duty free sales on board its flights, named "Sky Bazaar".

Maharaja Lounge

Air India's Maharaja Lounge at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport

Maharaja Lounge means "Emperor's Lounge", and is offered to First and Business class passengers. Air India shares lounges with other international airlines at international airports that do not have a Maharaja Lounge available. There are five[25] Maharaja Lounges, one at each of the five major destinations of Air India, which are as following:



Each subsidiary maintains a separate fleet of aircraft. Air India operates an all wide-body fleet composed of Airbus A300, Boeing 747-200, Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 aircraft.[26] The average age of Air India's fleet, excluding freighter and subsidiary aircraft, is 10.8 years as of February 2010.

Air India Fleet[27]
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers
Airbus A310-300 4
201 (0/20/181)
256 (0/??/???)
Two are ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft.
Service exit: 2010
Airbus A330-200 2 279 (0/24/255) Service Exit: 2012
Boeing 747-400 6 423 (12/26/385) Service exit: 2010
Boeing 777-200 1 258 (12/49/197) ex-United Airlines aircraft.
Service exit: 2011
Boeing 777-200ER 3 292 (8/21/263) ex-United Airlines aircraft.
Service exit: 2009-2010
Boeing 777-200LR 8 238 (8/35/195)
Boeing 777-300ER 9 6 342 (4/35/303) Deliveries through 2011
Boeing 787-8 27 ??? (0/??/???) Service entry: 2011[28]
Total 35 33
Airbus A310-300

Two Airbus A310-300 aircraft were previously owned by Singapore Airlines and as such feature the older two-class Singapore Airlines configuration. Business and Economy class seats are standard and no personal televisions (PTVs) are provided in either class. These aircraft will be replaced by the Boeing 787-8.

Airbus A330-200

Both A330-200s are ex-Novair aircraft and feature Novair's interiors. There are widescreen displays in Business and Economy classes but no personal televisions. These aircraft will be replaced by the Boeing 787-8.

Boeing 747-400

Boeing 747-400s are configured in a three class configuration with a new interior. First class features a flat bed seat, with up to 180 degree recline. Business class also has premium seats, with added recline and cushioning. Economy class features 32-34 inch seat pitch.

All Boeing 747-400 aircraft have undergone refurbishment, adding enhancements such as widescreen PTVs with Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) in all classes and improved seats in First and Business class. The cabin is upgraded with all new economy seats, cushions and upholstery. New overhead bins and aircraft side panels, a new coat of paint for the side trims, new cockpit trims and new toilets are part of the refurbished aircraft.[29]

In-flight entertainment on the refurbished Boeing 747-400s features the Thales TopSeries i4000 Entertainment system. This system has 10.4" widescreen displays for First Class and Business Class seats and 8.4" widescreen PTVs in Economy Class seats.

The Boeing 747-400 began service in late 1993 and was brought in to replace the aging fleet of Boeing 747-200Bs. They have been named after places of cultural interest in India.

All Boeing 747-400 aircraft are due to be retired by 2010, and will be replaced by Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Three aircraft will be returned back to lessors and remaining three will be used as VIP planes for the Government of India.

Boeing 777
First Class seats onboard the Boeing 777-200LR

Air India operates variants of the Boeing 777 — the Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER.

Business Class seats onboard the Boeing 777-300ER

The Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-200ER in the fleet used to be part of United Airlines, and thus feature United Airlines interiors. All seats in all classes feature a PTV with AVOD, and Business Class and First Class.

Air India's fleet of Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft have new interiors. The airline opted for the Thales TopSeries i5000 entertainment system for in-flight entertainment on board its new Boeing 777-200LRs and Boeing 777-300ERs.[30].

First Class features flat beds with 23 inch widescreen PTVs with AVOD. The seats include an in-seat massage function, USB ports and laptop power port. Business class is the "shell" type and also converts into a flat seat. Business Class seats feature 15 inch widescreen PTVs with laptop power and USB ports. These 777 aircraft feature Air India's new Economy Class seats which have 33 to 35 inch seat pitch and 10.6 inch widescreen PTVs with AVOD.


Air India has codesharing agreements with the following airlines[31][32]:

With Air India's own entry into the Star Alliance (SA) expected in 2010,[33] all other codeshare agreements with non-Star Alliance partners may be terminated.[34]

Awards and recognitions

  • Preferred International Airline award for travel and hospitality from Awaz Consumer Awards 2006 [35]
  • Best International West Bound Airline out of India for three successive years by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award
  • Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award [36]
  • Best Short-Haul International Airline by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award 2008[36]
  • The Mercury Award for the years 1994 and 2003, from the International Flight Catering Association, for finest in-flight catering services.
  • Amity Corporate Excellence Award instituted by the Amity International Business School, Noida, Uttar Pradesh to honour Corporates with distinct vision, innovation, competitiveness and sustenance.[36]
  • Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Award[36]
  • Dun and Bradstreet Award(D&B)- first in terms of revenue out of the top airline companies out of India[36]
  • Best South Asian Airline award by readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG Mice and TTG-BT Mice China, all renowned Mice and business travel publications.[36]
  • Cargo Airline of the Year at the 26th Cargo Airline of the Year Awards[37]
  • The airline entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner. Over 111,000 people were evacuated from Amman to Mumbai  – a distance of 4,117 km, by operating 488 flights in association with Indian Airlines, from 13 August to 11 October 1990  – lasting 59 days. The operation was carried out during Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq.
  • The Montreal Protocol Public Awareness Award was awarded to Air India by the United Nations for environmental protection, especially in the ozone layer.[38]
  • World's first all-jet airline- June 1962
  • World's largest operator of Airbus A310-300
  • Air India's security department became the first aviation security organisation in the world to acquire ISO 9002 certification (31 January 2001).
  • Air India's Department of Engineering has obtained the ISO 9002 for its Engineering facilities for meeting international standards.

Air India One

Air India One is the callsign of the aircraft of the President of India

This callsign is used when an Air India aircraft is being used by the government of India for the transportation of the Prime Minister or President of India. Normally a Boeing 747-400 aircraft is used for overseas visits.


Air India Express Boeing 737-800

Air India's subsidiaries are Air India Cargo, a division that provides air cargo services with a dedicated fleet, and Air-India Express, a low-cost airline that operates flights mainly to the Middle East. With the merger of Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Air India Regional into Air India, these two airlines will be folded into Air India.

Affiliated carriers

An advertisement in Times Square for travel on the Boeing 777-200LR from New York City to Mumbai


The profitability of Air India as published in the 2004-2005 annual report by Ministry of Civil Aviation with figures in billions of Indian rupees.

Year Revenues Rs Billion Profit/(Loss) Rs Billion
2003 63.22 0.96
2005 92.51 0.19

Accidents and incidents

Seven Air India flights have fatally crashed, including those due to terrorist attacks. Air India has a record of 6.82 fatal events per million flights.[39]

  • On 19 July 1959 Rani of Aera a Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation (registered VT-DIN) carrying 46 people (39 passengers and 7 crew) approached Santacruz Airport in conditions of poor visibility due to rain. The captain was using an altimeter with the barometric pressure set at 29.92". An overshoot was delayed and the aircraft crashed and suffered damage beyond repair. There were no fatalities.
The Air India Memorial in Toronto, Canada dedicated to the victims of Air India Flight 182
  • On 7 May 1990 Air India Flight 132 Emperor Vikramaditya a Boeing 747-237B (registered VT-EBO) flying on the London-Delhi-Bombay route and carrying 215 people (195 passengers and 20 crew) touched down at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport after a flight from London's Heathrow Airport. On application of reverse thrust, a failure of the no. 1 engine pylon to wing attachment caused this engine to tilt nose down. Hot exhaustion gasses caused a fire on the left wing. There were no fatalities but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and written off[46].


  1. ^ "Air India to launch IPO after 18 months". 7 August 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Management of Air India". Air India. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Air India Limited: Private Company Information". BussinessWeek. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Address & Contact Numbers within India." Indian Airlines. Retrieved on 27 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Air India and Indian merger attains official status". Air India. 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Kingfisher Airlines leads in February market share
  10. ^ All-women crew on AI
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ [4]
  14. ^ Air India joins Star Alliance – The Hindu
  15. ^ Air India to join Star Alliance
  16. ^ For India’s Airlines, Passengers Are Plentiful but Profits Are Scarce - New York Times
  17. ^ Air traffic fell by 4% in June -
  18. ^ India & Pakistan
  19. ^
  20. ^ What sent Air India crashing?
  21. ^ Air India restructuring plans being readied
  22. ^ SBI Caps prepares roadmap for Air India restructuring
  23. ^ AI sells 4 aircraft in Mar to tackle financial crunch
  24. ^ Ten year statistics
  25. ^ [5]
  26. ^ "Air India Fleet Details". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  27. ^ NACIL Fleet (As on 1st February 2010)
  28. ^ Air India to get 1st Boeing Dreamliner in 2011
  29. ^ [6]
  30. ^ [7]
  31. ^ [8]
  32. ^ AirIndia - Code-Share Partners
  33. ^
  34. ^ Air India to end ties with KLM, BA, Cathay
  35. ^ The Hindu : Business / Briefly : Air India bags Awaz consumer awards 2006
  36. ^ a b c d e f
  37. ^
  38. ^ UN Environment Award for Air India – India Airline News, Airport developments, Aviation, A380, B787, Kingfisher, Deccan, Jet Airways, Air India, Indian Airlines, Spicejet
  39. ^ "Accident Rates By Airline". 
  40. ^ "MALABAR PRINCESS". Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  41. ^ "The "Malabar Princess" Catastrophe". Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  42. ^ [9]
  43. ^ Accident Database: Accident Synopsis 06221982
  44. ^ Fatal Events Since 1970 for Air India
  45. ^ "Indepth: Air India". CBC News. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  46. ^ [10]
  47. ^ "AI plane catches fire; probe ordered". NDTV. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 

External links

Simple English

Air India (Hindi: एअर इंडिया) (officially known as Air India Air Transport Services Limited) is the national airline company of India. Air India is part of the National Aviation Company of India Limited


Air India was founded in 1932 under the name Tata Air Line by the company Tata Sons. In 1946 the name of the company changed to Air India International. Its name changed again in 1953, this time to the current name Air India. By that time Air India was owned by the government of India. From 1999 a lot of attempts were made to merge India Air and Indian Airlines. Air India kept its name regardless of the merge.


  • 2010: Flight 812 goes beyond the runway and crashes. 160 people are killed.

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