* CODE SHARE AGREEMENTS
* AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
* CRITICISM AND CONTROVERSY
* CORPORATE AFFAIRS AND IDENTITY
* FINANCIAL CRISIS
* RE-PRIVATISATION PLANS
* RETURN TO PROFITABILITY PLANS
* THE GOVERNMENT IS STUCK IN
* AN UNENVIABLE POSITION ON AIRINDIA
Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government of India owned Air India Limited (AIL). The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai. Air India has two major domestic hubs at Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. An international hub at Dubai International Airport is currently being planned. Air India has the fourth largest share in India's domestic air travel market, behind Jet Airways, IndiGo and Spice Jet, as of May 2012. Following its merger with Indian Airlines, Air India has faced multiple problems, including escalating financial losses, discontent amongst employees, and poor customer service. Between September 2007 and May 2011, Air India's domestic market share declined from 19.2% to 14%, primarily due to stiff competition from private Indian carriers. In August 2011, Air India's invitation to join Star Alliance was suspended due to its failure to meet the minimum standards for the membership. In October 2011, talks between the airline and Star Alliance have resumed. In April 2012, the Indian government granted another bailout package to Air India, including Rs300 billion ($5.8 billion) of subsidies. * |
Air India was founded by J. R. D. Tata in July 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. In 1932 Air India was based out of a hut with a palm thatched roof at Juhu Aerodrome and had 1 pilot and 2 apprentice mechanics along with 2 piston engined aircraft, one Puss Moth and one Leopard Moth aircraft. Post-war expansion
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 Heathrow 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 25 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 (now renamed as Indian). In 1954, the airline took delivery of its first L-1049 Super Constellations and inaugurated services to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
The jet age
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...