Air India is the flag carrier of India with its headquarters based at New Delhi,India.
Air India had its humble beginning as Tata Air services in 1932,founded by JRD Tata. An entrepreneur and an aviator, JRD Tata also happened to be the first holder of a commercial flying license in the country.
Air India’s foremost logo
JRD Tata designed the first logo of the carrier which was in the form of a “centaur”. Designed with the concept of “Sagittarius” zodiac sign in mind, the centaur was drawn circumscribing a circle, which was believed to represent the wheel of Konark. As any Sagittarian can relate, the centaur was drawn to project an idea that aimed for higher spiritual things and the quest to know the unknown. The emblem and the lettering below were set in red against a white backdrop.
This year saw the merger of Air India with the short-haul carrier, Indian Airlines. All flights under the Indian (Airlines) brand and ‘IC’ flight code were terminated on 26 February 2011.
The merger introduced a new livery- a Flying Swan and the wheel of Konark,only this time the wheel was much smaller and placed inside the swan’s wing.
With not much difference in the overall look,the letters appeared to have grown much heavier with less spacing between them.
It was towards the end of summer of 2014 that Air India joined the “Star Alliance” group. A new logo was unveiled thereby, although it was only a minor update from the former one.
The lettering ” A Star Alliance Member” now appeared under the former logo together with a circular emblem.
The Maharaja, Air India’s mascot
We call him a Maharajah for want of a better description. But his blood isn’t blue. He may look like royalty, but he isn’t royalBobby Kooka, the man who conceived the Maharajah
What began as an attempt to design an inflight memo pad inadvertently gave birth to the poster face of Air India’s sales and promotional messages to millions of travellers across the world.
The Maharaja came to life with the collaboration of Bobby Kooka,who was then the commercial director of Air India and Umesh Rao, an artist with J.Walter Thompson Ltd. Mumbai,
The Maharaja has come a long way from having debuted in Air India in 1946 to the world figure he has become now. One of the most recognisable mascots, he could be anything from a lover boy in Paris,to a sumo wrestler in Tokyo, a red Indian, a monk…He’s seen it all. With an innate talent to effortlessly flirt with the beauties around the world and quite easily get away with it. Why? He is the Maharaja afterall!
His unique antics and expressions have allowed Air India to promote its brand and services with an unparalleled sense of subtle humor and grace. Air India has won many international awards for humor and originality, thanks to the Maharaja.
Some lesser known facts about Air India
1. During its hayday, Air India was prominently known for its exceptional customer service. Being the perfectionist that he was, JRD Tata strived for excellence and this resulted in the airline setting high standards even for its competitors such as Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, and others.
2. The pampering and the inflight service was top notch so much that in the 1950s, people preferred Air India even over other airlines with better aircraft configurations. Air India was only operating the slower propellor-driven aircrafts at the time.
3. With the launch of the Boeing 707-42, Gauri Shankar, in 21st February 1960, Air India became the first Asian airline to introduce a jet aircraft in its fleet. On 11 June 1962, Air India became the world’s first all-jet airline.
4. Air India introduced its “palace in the sky” on its first Boeing 747-200B in 1971.No other aircraft,at the time, brought into service such luxury. An epitome of luxury travel indeed.
5. Air India holds the record for the biggest evacuation in history. During the Gulf war,Air India flew 488 flights between Amman and Mumbai over 59 days in a mission to repatriate 111,000 expats stranded in the Middle East.
6. In 2005, Air-India removed the hyphen from its name to gain a competitive advantage in computer reservation searches as the systems wouldn’t recognize a “dash”.
COVER: Times Now