Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The operational hubs of the airline are Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai and Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India. The Airline operates flights that connect 39 destinations around the world including 12 gateways in India.
Air India currently caters approximately 44 destinations throughought the world. It also has code-sharing agreements with many international airlines to expand coverage. The airline ferried 3.39 million passengers during the financial year ending March 2003 and achieved a load factor of 71.6 per cent, substantially higher than the 66 per cent load factor recorded in the preceding year. The airline strives to achieve the best in-flight standards and receives a 4 star rating for cabin safety procedures from skytrax airline quality review. Three classes of seats are offered - First class, Executive class and Economy class. Flat bed seats are offered for first class passengers. The airline also offers a frequent flyer programme alone and in collaboration with many of its alliances. The airline also offers luxury lounges in its ground terminals for its First and Executive class travellers in select destinations within India. Air-India has duty free sale on board its flights effective June 1, 2003 named 'sky bazaar', meaning Market in the sky.
In 1954, Air-India commenced its freighter operations with a DC3 Dakota aircraft, giving Air-India the distinction of being the first Asian airline to operate freighters. Currently, the airline operates regular Cargo flights to many destinations of the world. The airline also has ground truck-transportation arrangements on select destinations.
An active member of IATA, Air-India carries all types of cargo including dangerous goods (hazardous materials) and live animals, provided such shipments are tendered according to IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and IATA Live Animals Regulations , respectively.
At the warehouse in Mumbai, Air India has developed an indigenous system of inventory management for cargo handling of import/export functions. This takes care of the entire management of cargo, supports Electronic Data Interface (EDI) messages with Indian Customs and replaces to a great extent existing paper correspondence between Customs, Airlines, and the custodians. This also replaces manual handling and binning of cargo at the warehouse in Mumbai by Air India.
Logo and Mascot
As it symbolises movement and speed, the Centaur, a stylised version of Sagittarius, was selected as Air-India's logo.
Air India's mascot, the Maharaja, is a turban clad king with over-sized moustache and a royal dress. "He may look like royalty, but he isn't royal" - these are the words of Bobby Kooka, the man who conceived the Maharajah. This figure first made his appearance in Air-India way back in 1946, when Bobby Kooka as Air-India's Commercial Director and Umesh Rao, an artist with J.Walter Thompson Ltd., Mumbai, together created the Maharajah.
As of February 2005 the airline has the following fleet:
- BOEING B777-200 - 2 (+1 to be delivered May 2005)
- BOEING B747-400 - 11 (+1 to be delivered April 2005)
- BOEING B747-200 - 2
- BOEING B747-300 - 2
- AIRBUS A310-300 - 19 (+3 to be delivered June-July 2005)
Air-India has registered a profit of Rs 133.85 crores (Approx USD 30 Millions) in the financial year ending March 31, 2003, after taking into account the deferred tax benefit. In the year 2002, it recorded a net profit of Rs 15.44 crores. Air-India earned a total revenue of Rs 5658 crores (Approx USD 1.26 Billions) in 2002-03 as against Rs 5017 crores (Approx USD 1.1 Billions) in the previous year. The airline has ambitious plans to expand its network and acquire new aircraft. The newly elected Government of India has appointed Mr.Praful Patel, as the Minister for Civil Aviation who plans to make the airline "A Maharaja of the Skies ". It is planning to buy 50 Long range planes in the time frame of next 10 years. Boeing, with its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 are in the cards. As of December 2004, Air India has leased 3 Boeing 777s from Untied Airlines . The first of the three is on its way to India, which will be put in Mumbai-London operations.
Air India traces its roots back to October 15, 1932 when its founder, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (aka J. R. D. Tata) flew a single engined De Havilland Puss Moth registed VT-ADN carrying air mail from Karachi’s Drigh Road Aerodrome to Bombay’s Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad. The aircraft continued to Madras via Bellary piloted by a Royal Air Force pilot named Neville Vincent.
That same year, the airline was formally established as Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group), the large Indian industrial house. Following the end of World War II, regular commercial service was restored in India and Tata Airlines was converted into a public company under the name Air India in 1946.
1948 was a very significant year in the history of the airline as 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India, with an option to purchase an additional 2% at any time. 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 June 8, 1948 a Lockheed Constellation L-749A named Malabar Princess and registered VT-CQP took off from Bombay bound for London via Cairo and Geneva. This marked the airline's first longhaul international flight, soon followed by service to Nairobi via Aden.
In 1953, the Government of India chose to exercise its option to purchase a majority stake in the carrier and Air India International Limited was born as one of the fruit of the Air Corporations Act that nationalised the air transportation industry. In 1954, the airline took delivery of its first L-1049 Super Constellations and inaugurated services to Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Air India International entered the jet age in 1960 as its first Boeing 707 named Nandadevi and registered VT-DJJ was delivered. Jet service to New York via London was inaugurated that same year. On June 8, 1962 the airline’s name was officially truncated to its current form of Air India. On June 11, 1962 Air India became the world’s first all-jet airline.
In 1970, Air India moved its offices into its own custom built skyscraper in downtown Bombay. The next year, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200 named Emperor Ashoka and registered VT-EBD. This coincided with the introduction of the 'Palace In The Sky' livery and branding.
In 1986, Air India made the decision to supplement its fleet with Airbus A310s and began to accept delivery of these aircraft later that year. The airline would later become (and remains today) the world’s largest operator of this type in passenger service. In 1988, Air India also took delivery of two Boeing 747-300s in mixed passenger-cargo configuration.
In 1993, Air India took delivery of the new flagship of its fleet when the first Boeing 747-400 named Konark and registered VT-ESM made history by operating the first ever nonstop flight between New York and Delhi. In 1996, the airline inaugurated service to its second US gateway at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport. In 1999, the airline opened its dedicated Terminal 2-C at the newly renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
In December 2004, Air India leased three Boeing 777-222ER aircraft from United Airlines, using them on the Bombay-London route. One was delivered by December 2004, while the other two are expected to be delivered by mid-January 2005.
Air-India is one of the few airlines to have women pilots. Currently, there are 17 women pilots on its rolls, including five trainee pilots.
On the occasion of the World Women's Day , March 3rd 2004, the airline operated an "All women Flight" from Mumbai to Singapore. Capt. Rashmi Miranda , who became Air-India's first woman Commander in November 2003 and Capt. Kshmata Bajpai, piloted the flight, an Airbus A310 aircraft. The flight despatch activities relating to this flight was also coordinated by a woman Flight Despatcher, Ms Vasanti Kolnad. The Safety Audit on board was also conducted by another woman, Ms Harpreet D. Singh.
Awards and Recognition
- The Airline entered the Guinness Book of World Records - The largest evacuation by a civil airliner, involving evacuation of over 111,000 people from Amman to Mumbai - a distance of 4,117 km, by operating 488 flights in association with Indian Airlines, during August 13 - October 11, 1990, lasting a total of 59 days.
- The airline received The Mercury Award for the years 1994 and 2003, from the International Flight Catering Association, for finest in-flight catering services.
- Air India's security department became the first aviation security organisation in the world to acquire ISO 9002-1994 certification(January 31, 2001).
- The Department of Engineering, Air India, has obtained the ISO 9002 for its Engineering facilities for meeting international standards.
Since 1970, Air India has suffered the following fatal events:
- Air India Flight 855 crashed into the Arabian Sea after takeoff from Sahar International Airport (now Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport) in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 1 January 1978, killing everyone on board.
- On 21 June 1982 a Boeing 707 crashed at Bombay airport while trying to land in a heavy rainstorm. 2 crew and 15 passengers were killed.
- Air India Flight 182 was blown up by Sikh nationalists on 23 June 1985. It was on the first leg on its Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay (Mumbai) flight when it exploded off the coast of Ireland. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. All 307 passengers and 22 crew on board died.
- Air India Fleet Detail
- Air India Fleet History
- Fatal Events Since 1970 for Air India
- Air India Passenger Opinions
- Air India Fleet Aquisition
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