Skift Take

We appreciate how the new Air India livery has cleverly incorporated the Vistara colors, as the two airlines prepare to merge into one entity.

The transformation of Air India from a national institution to a source of national inspiration will undoubtedly require time.

Nonetheless, in a significant step within its Vihaan.AI transformation — Air India’s five-year plan to establish itself, once again, as a world-class global airline with an Indian heart — the airline revealed a contemporary brand identity and a fresh aircraft livery on Thursday.

And yes, the iconic Maharaja that has been the Air India mascot for decades, is here to stay. As Campbell Wilson, Air India CEO and managing director, said, “The rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Maharaja will live on and continue to be part of the airline’s journey into the future!”

The Air India Maharaja

As part of the Tata Group’s endeavor to transform the longstanding struggling Indian flag carrier into a prominent global aviation leader, Air India has pledged to acquire a minimum of 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. This strategic commitment amounts to an approximate value of $34 billion.

Conveying the aspiration to establish the airline as a genuinely world-class and iconic carrier, evoking pride among every Indian, Chairman of Tata Sons, N Chandrasekaran, said the group has been working over the past 15 months to bring back the experience that Air India used to be known for.

“Our vision is to make this airline world class in terms of modernity and safety, technologically most advanced and exceptional in terms of customer service,” Chandrasekaran said.

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines have also agreed to consolidate Air India and Vistara by March 2024. Tata Group owns a 51% stake in Vistara with Singapore Airlines owning 49%.

The new logo

What Does the Logo Symbolize?

The reimagined new logo integrates the iconic Indian window shape, traditionally associated with Air India, transforming it into a gold window frame that takes a pivotal role in the brand’s fresh design system. The element, referred to as ‘The Vista,’ draws inspiration from the crest of the gold window frame, representing limitless possibilities progressiveness and confidence.

The logo has been designed in partnership with the brand transformation company, FutureBrand. “Colours, patterns, shapes and how they come together and what they represent matter, but our actions speak so much louder. We are in the midst of a total transformation to reimagine the
role of India’s flagship airline,” Wilson said.

The Air India livery

7 Other Business Updates we Learnt at the Event

1. While the airline has launched a new website and mobile app, a completely new customer care center will also be setup by the end of the year, said Wilson. The carrier will launch a new “open all hours, every day” customer contact center in nine Indian and foreign languages by the end of this year.

2. Air India will also be launching its completely redesigned loyalty program in early 2024.

3. From mid-2024, the airline will commence a $400 million programme to completely refurbish the interiors of its legacy fleet of 43 widebody aircraft. By March 2024, 33% of the airline’s widebody fleet will be upgraded, and over the next two-and-a-half years, its entire long-haul fleet will be “reborn.” “This is the largest refit ever undertaken by an Indian airline,” Wilson said.

4. Travelers will begin to see the new logo from December this year when Air India’s first Airbus A350 enters the fleet in the new livery.

5. Air India will look to lease some aircraft for longer periods until deliveries of new aircraft picks up pace.

6. Air India has so far integrated over 5,000 new personnel into its ranks, comprising 3,200 cabin crew and nearly 1,000 cockpit crew. The airline is making investments in the establishment of a vast aviation training academy in India. “During the last 12 months we have put together a strong team and are focusing on upgrading all human resource aspects in the airline,” Chandrasekaran said.

7. The airline plans to deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence. “Our aim is to equip the airline with the best technology in the next 9-12 months,” Chandrasekaran said.


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Tags: air india, artificial intelligence, asia monthly, branding, india, livery, machine learning, skift india report, technology

Photo credit: Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson and Tata Sons Chairman Na Chandrasekaran at the brand relaunch event. Air India

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