Air India’s new owners are actually its original owners. The Tata Group founded the airline back in 1932, before India nationalised all its carriers in 1953. Now Tata has Air India back, they aim to give the airline a whole new identity.
I can’t say I have ever considered travelling with Air India, but with new cabins on the horizon, maybe it’s time I give them a go.
In this post:
It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s A Window?
While Air India’s press team told Flight Hacks that their new logo “captures the essence of a bold new India” as the airline transforms into a “global inspiration”, the jury is still out. The logo is rather boring, and no, it’s not a bird or plane flying alongside the wordmark. Apparently, it’s a window, but you’d have to be told that to know.
Air India is calling its new logo “The Vista”, inspired by the peak of traditional Indian window frames. The airline might need to open a window, because they say this gold line symbolises “limitless possibilities, progressiveness, and the airline’s bold, confident outlook for the future”. There’s also a new custom font, called Air India Sans, which Air India says will position their airline as a premium carrier.
Here is the old (left) and new (right) Air India logos.
Air India’s New Livery: Underwhelming Clip Art
Air India’s new livery is hot off the press, and it’s quite different, which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.
I quite like Air India’s current livery, which is classically Indian and makes use of the iconic Indian window shape around every single window from nose to tail. But the airline’s new jets will scrap that concept, opting for boring white windows like everyone else.
The large lettering sits well at the front of the jet, and I always love wingtip detailing. The red engine housing looks good, as does the branded belly that can be easily recognised overhead. It all goes wrong at the tail though, which Air India describes as the “hero” of its new livery. For me, there’s too much blank space, and like the rest of the aircraft, it doesn’t feel particularly premium or Indian.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying the new design makes Air India look like a budget airline, and I’m not exactly sure why I think that. Perhaps it’s the overuse of gold or the generic tail, but hopefully, the new paint job grows on me over time.
For reference, here is Air India’s existing paint scheme.
A Cheeky Dig At Emirates?
Keen avgeeks like Ben noticed that Air India’s press kit contains an interesting registration on its aircraft renderings.
If you’re not addicted to jet fuel, it might come as a surprise that every country has its own aircraft registration prefix. So, for example, Australian registered aircraft bear “VH-???” while Indian aircraft see “VT-???”.
In their media release, Air India chose to use the registration code F-UBAI. As we know, one of Air India’s main transformation goals is to regain much of the traffic it has lost to Gulf carriers, particularly Emirates. Therefore, I really hope F-UBAI is a cheeky dig at Emirates.
Of course, it is possible that the fake registration stands for;
- “F-UB” – FutureBrand, the company that created the new livery
- “AI” – Air India’s IATA operator code
The Best Part: Air India’s New First And Business Class
As part of the unveiling of their new essence, Air India has released cabin renderings of refurbished Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The now Tata-owned airline is set to spend US$400 million refurbishing its entire widebody fleet from next year. This includes the installation of new seats across all four cabins and new inflight entertainment and WiFi systems.
A third of the fleet will feature these updated cabins by as soon as March 2024, with the full programme completed by the end of 2026.
Based on the Safran Unity product, the same seat Qantas has chosen for its Airbus A350, Air India’s new business class takes a sophisticated blend of grey and aubergine, with rose gold and silver accents. It’s a welcome update from the curry yellow and orange currently offered.
Sliding privacy doors and a now-standard 1-2-1 layout are bound to make Air India business class a passenger favourite. There’s also wireless charging, plenty of storage and a large touchscreen monitor and pull-out tray table.
In first class, Air India will fit exactly the same seat in a different colourway. First adds even higher walls, a slightly larger screen and an ottoman footrest.