Some associate it with airberlin and Malta Air, others with Iberia, Emirates, and Air Belgium. But the new livery that Air India has revealed on August 10 is full of Indian tradition and heritage. It will be rolled out across the fleet with the delivery of the first Airbus A350-900 in December.
The new livery marks the real start of the new Air India, which was acquired by Tata Sons in January 2022. That the new owners are serious to rebuild the airline is evident from the new management under CEO and Managing Director Campbell Wilson. This spring, the new Air India placed orders for 470 narrowbodies and widebodies with Airbus and Boeing, which were confirmed at the Paris Airshow. Two months later, Wilson invited selected media to the Taj Palace in New Delhi for the livery reveal.
White is the dominant color of the new scheme, on which the Air India wordmark in bold red dominates a large part of the fuselage. The ‘A’ is inspired by the hero window frame that is also evident on the vertical tailfin in red, gold, and aubergine/purple. It’s not all new, as the Jaali pattern in the red section is inspired by the chakra from the original Air India logo. The hero window frames also return on the inside of the wingtips, while the outside is gold.
While the current livery already has a red belly, this window-shaped red area has grown in size in the new livery and is marked by a golden hero frame. Air India follows the likes of Emirates, airberlin, Qatar Airways, and a few others so feature the name prominently on the belly, so its aircraft can be identified easily even when flying at all altitudes. The engine nacelles remain red, but spot a golden band around the front.
The first of six ex-Aeroflot A350-900s are currently being prepared for delivery to Air India and recently started flight tests, having been in storage since early 2022 when trade sanctions were imposed on Russia. The first aircraft are in plain white, in preparation for receiving the new livery in the coming months.
As our Sarin & Co contributor Vinamra Longani reported on Twitter, Campbell Wilson also shared some other updates. From HY2 2024, Air India will introduce a full retrofit of its cabins on the Boeing 777-300ER with a new First Class, Business Class suite, Premium Economy, and refreshed Economy Class. And the carrier will launch a new loyalty program by the end of the year. Much to the joy of Longani, Air India retains the Maharaja, its mascot since 1946, although he too has got a makeover.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.