Air India - A brand Maharaja (For sale)

Indian government's disinvestment in Air India has given me a lot of pain. I’m sure all of you have the same pain. What inspires many of us is, Air India’s Iconic symbol Maharaja holding hands like Namaste, welcoming the passengers, travelers on-board. Another important thing about Maharaja is, having a big mustache and wearing a Pagadi on his head, signifies rich heritage and culture of our many Indian villages.

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"Back in India, in my village wearing an yellow or a saffron Pagadi is a matter of pride" 


Personally, I neither have a mustache nor wear a Pagadi, hence I couldn’t full fill the dream of my ancestors and grandfather ( Who used wear an yellow Pagadi) but I tried to full-fill their dream of wearing Pagadi in marriage for rituals.

Air India is one of the country’s flag ship carrier and has helped the country in most turbulent situations, right from being a passenger vehicle to being a chopper in many emergency Airlifts. There are so many Bollywood and other movies out there, filmed on Air India based on the real historic stories. I would name few real stories here..
                                                                    
  • Air Lift
  • Kandahar
  • Hijack
  • Neeraja
  • Zameen
                          
Air India was founded in 1932, that was even before the India’s independence and republic. It was built by a most prominent personality JRD Tata, that’s where the foundation stone was laid down for the Indian aviation industry.

Right now, Air India is officially out for sale, Adani Group and Tata Group are the most prominent bidders in this biding. Tata Group (Vistara Air Line) showing a keen interest and making a potential bid, giving most Indians a big relief because Air India will be in the safer hands.

                           


"Air India right now operates to 45 International destinations in 31 countries and also operates to 58 domestic destinations"


What are the success factors of Air India? 
  • One of the world's oldest airline and has built its prominence over the last 90 years of service
  • Air India has always given Top 1 priority for safety and never compromised for such challenges, it has always ensured highest safety standards for its travelers
  • It is always having its own loyal customer base and many travelers always choose Air India over its competitors
  • Well experienced Captain, Pilot, Cabin crew members never led to any single disastrous situations
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What has led the Air India to go on Sale? 
  • Complex historical calculations in the bookkeeping (This would even lead incumbent owner to get in to lot of trouble)
  • Over utilization of Air India carriers to emergency airlifts and strategic missions by Govt increased the operating costs heavily
  • Very less attractive reward model has led the new customers to opt for other competitive air lines (Travelers from US region always look for attractive reward platform)
  • Uncertain and increased Oil pricing

What Govt can do to save this Heritage Airline? 
  • Merge this entity with Jet Airways to create a larger Aviation world and re brand it for multiple services including both passenger and cargo in both domestic as well as international service
  • Upgrade the reward platform standards to focus on customer friendly and attractive reward strategy.
  • Duty free shopping to be branded well
  • Govt to give freedom to management to take innovative initiatives (Avoid micro-management)
                                     
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What surprised me while travelling from JFK New-York to Delhi?

I witnessed a huge group of Non-Indian crowed choosing Maharaja over other carriers while I was travelling from US to India. What does it mean?
  • Safety concerns has led them to choose Maharaja. Air India has built that confidence over the 90 years of service
  • Direct flight to India with No Layover, which saves a lot of time
  • No Tension of corona virus as the passengers on-board a single flight


What is happening to Indian aviation industry? 
  • Kingfisher airlines went bankrupt and Govt couldn't auction the properties and carriers which could have become a huge asset, that has added value if it was merged with Air India
  • Jet Airways stopped its operation recently with huge customer base in Foreign countries and in India. It had a fantastic reward system and tie up with Tier 1 Airlines in abroad
  • Several smaller independently owned Airlines have been closed in last 10 years, For Ex: Deccan AirlinesAir MantraAir Costa, so many other prominent airlines were suspended their operations

I was deeply pained by seeing the Jet Airways carrier standing calmly in Delhi airport without operating and flying.

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"This is all for the love of my country and for the love of MaharajaJai hind !!





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