NEW DELHI: Bobby Kooka’s Maharaja takes a back seat in Air India‘s new branding unveiled by Tata Sons and AI chairman N Chandrasekaran here on Thursday. AI MD & CEO Campbell Wilson said “reports of Maharaja’s demise are exaggerated,” and added that the mascot – in a ‘fitter’ avatar – will be seen more in India and not so much abroad where it is “not quite understood to what he stands for.” So, abroad he will become a silhouette on in-flight bone china and glasses.

Chandrasekaran said the new logo, which merges AI’s famed jharoka (window) and Vistara’s purple with AI’s traditional red and white “signifies limitless possibilities, progressiveness, and confidence.” The Airbus 350s that will join the AI fleet this year will be the first to feature the new livery.
Terming AI’s revival as a world class airline a “national mission”, Chandra said: “This requires enormous amounts of work because of where we start from… on technology, fleet, maintenance, ground handling, all aspects of operations and more…”

“Our fleet requires a lot of work. While we have placed one of the largest fleet orders, both narrow-and-wide-body, it’s going to take time for them to arrive. In the meanwhile, we have to refurbish and get our current fleet to acceptable levels,” he said.
Wilson says one-third of AI’s wide-body fleet will be modern aircraft by next year. Then, the refurbishment of existing wide-bodies will begin. “All our wide-bodies will have new state-of-the-art facilities including onboard WiFi by end of 2025,” Wilson said.
Meanwhile, the loss of Tata group airlines – Air India, AirAsia India and Vistara – was Rs 15,531.7 crore in 2022-23. Air India Express was the group’s only profitable airline last fiscal. Tatas had acquired AI and AI Express in January 2022.
According to Tata Sons annual report 2022-23, AI’s loss last fiscal was almost Rs 11,388 crore on a turnover of Rs 31,377 crore. AIX Connect (earlier AirAsia India) made a loss of Rs 2,750 crore on a turnover of Rs 4,310 crore. Vistara posted a loss Rs 1,393 crore on a turnover of Rs 11,784 crore. AI Express saw a profit of Rs 117 crore on a turnover of Rs 5,669 crore.

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