Incredible India is also known for Air India airline that is a national air carrier Air India is owned by Air India Limited that is a government’s company. It has both Airbus and Boeing in its fleet and flies to over 90 domestic and International destinations. The airline was founded in 1932 by J. R. D. Tata, and at that time it was known as Tata Airlines. After World War II, Tata Air was renamed Air India.
The operations started in July 1946 i.e. 71 years ago. Air India’s has the Maharajah or the Emperor and the logo of the company has a flying red swan with orange Konark wheel inside it. The airline was launched with the objective to provide convenient air connectivity to the people of the country. Here are some lesser known facts about Air India.
The first Air India logo that was finalized by the founder of the company, J.R.D. Tata was a centaur. It basically was a stylish version of what you can best describe as a Sagittarius shooting an arrow pointing towards the sky. It was designed within a circle, which was believed to represent the wheel of Konark. The centaur in the logo was known to symbolize an idea that aims for higher spiritual ideal and lesser known traits, which as we all know are the powers of a Sagittarian.
The concept of the exclusive service dedication to its customers is what Air India was known for, JRD Tata had an obsession for perfection, that simply reflected in the airline service. The airline set high standards for other Asian carriers, which included, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, and others right from 1940.
J.R.D. Tata, the owner of Air India was known for giving surprise visits to ensure everything is being done with utmost perfection. Whether it was about serving food or dressing properly, he wanted everything perfect. In fact he even went to the extent of cleaning dirty counter, if he noticed that it was not clean. He wanted to lead by example.
Air India had slower propeller-driven aircrafts, while the British Airways always provided faster jet air service. But to your surprise, in the 1950’s people still preferred travelling through Air India only because of the pampering and excellent service by staff on board.
On 21 February 1960, Air India was tagged as the first Asian airline that had introduced a jet aircraft in its fleet, as it launched its first Boeing 707-42. Further, on 11 June 1962, Air India was known as the world’s first all-jet airline.
Some of the first-class passengers of Air India were gifted an ashtray that was designed by a surrealist artist named Salvador Dali. This was a novel gesture by the airlines as it had not happened earlier that a gift designed by such well-known artist was given to passengers. For doing such a remarkable favour, the company gifted the artist a live baby elephant and also transported him from Bangalore to Geneva with its mahout.
Air India’s “palace in the sky” in the form of its first Boeing 747-200B was introduced in 1971. This embodied luxury air travel alike its name, Emperor Ashoka. No other aircraft at that time brought into service such luxury.
During the Gulf war, 111,000 Indian expatriates were stranded in Iraq and Kuwait. It was by Air India airlines that they were brought back home in 1990. Air India flew 488 flights between Amman and Mumbai over 59 days. This was the biggest evacuation carried out by any civil airliner in world’s history, and that made is a point of remembrance. In fact, this move was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Record.
The Air India One, also known as Boeing 747 is always reserved for the President, the Prime Minister and other prominent Indian dignitaries. The flight is designed like a well-equipped work place with lot of room to take rest. It includes a stylishly designed bedroom and a conference room and its well-equipped with services like internet, fax, satellite phone and other necessities to make sure work doesn’t stops. Besides, eight experience pilots are always on duty to fly the VVIP to any destination across the globe.
Air India was always known for its interesting advertisement ideas. It is also known for launching taglines that immediately grabbed the attention of the people.
We all are well-aware of the Air India Maharaj that came up with some different and naughtier with every new launch, and it remained to be the prominent part of the company’s promotion endeavours. The Maharaj actually symbolises high living and graciousness which tend to make the travellers feel more pampered and classy.
The aircraft reserved for carrying VVIP passengers is operated by the Indian Air Force, and in all cases, it takes flights from Palam Air Force Station, New Delhi. When a VVIP takes the flight, a jumbo aircraft is always kept on a standby mode, with the aim to tackle all sorts of emergency situations.
It is interesting to know that Air India was the first Asian airline that flew Jet aircraft and was the also first airline worldwide that had only jets in its fleet in June 1962.The Boeing 707 was a new addition later that served for about 25 years.
The first flight of Air India took off on 15 October 1932 in Karachi. At that time the airline was called Tata Air Service, founded by business giants J.R.D. Tata. It was a single engine de Havilland Puss Moth that carried air mail to Bombay and then went ahead to Chennai. The flight's pilot was Neill Vintcent a former RAF Pilot who was a well-known friend of JRD Tata.