The Maharaja's tomorrow rides on its legacy
Business Standard|January 29, 2022
“Dear guests, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard this historic flight, which marks a special event.
AKSHARA SRIVASTAVA

Today, Air India officially becomes a part of the Tata Group again, after seven decades...

Welcome to the future of Air India! We hope you enjoy the journey.

Thankyou." This was the welcome announcement in all Air India flights on Friday, as the airline went back home to the Tatas.

While regular fliers and employees heave a sigh of relief, the salt-to-software conglomerate has its work cut out for the coming years.

The airline that took off in 1948 was soon nationalised in 1953 under the Air Corporations Act, giving way to Air India-International and Indian Airlines operating on domestic routes. The entities remained under the chairmanship of JRD Tata till 1978, when he was asked to resign bythen prime minister Morarji Desai.

In the 30 years under Tata's chairmanship, Air India put India on the map by flying to virtually every country on the globe. Ads featuring the brand's mascot - the Maharaja - buying carpets in West Asia and climbing the Alps in Switzerland came to be loved by fliers.

Air India's name became synonymous with trust, reflected in the numerous rescue missions that the airline headed, including rescuing over 120,000 Indian nationals from Iraq and Kuwait when the Gulf war broke out in 1990-a feat that finds space in the Guinness World Records - and the more recent evacuation flights from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan.

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