Air India’s brand new look to take to skies next week; old aircraft to get a makeover

AI to set up pilot training facility in partnership with Airbus in Gurugram

Air India makeover Crew members pose next to India's first Airbus A350 of Air India airline during the 'Wings India 2024', an exhibition and conference on civil aviation, at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad | AFP

It’s makeover time at Air India. Two years to the date the legacy airline changed hands from the government to the Tatas, it’s new look aircraft, complete with new logo, branding and interiors, will take to the skies this coming week.

“We will also start sending our older aircraft for retrofitting from August onward,” Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said while speaking to THE WEEK.

Presently, the aircraft with the new branding and livery is a new Airbus A350, India’s first incidentally, which will, provided all DGCA clearances come through, start plying on domestic routes. The plane, presently on display at the aviation show Wings India 2024 in Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport, is likely to start with a flight on the Hyderabad-Delhi sector.

Following the debutante, six more new A350 aircraft are set to come in through March-end, all first operating on domestic routes, before venturing internationally.

“After this, we will start sending our planes which are operational right now, in batches, for retrofitting,” said Campbell Wilson. This process will continue till 2026, when the five year transformation process set in motion by Tata will be complete.

Of course, not all presently operating planes will get a makeover. “The process includes painting with the new branding and livery, changing the interiors, seats etc. So we have to see what value we get. The really old planes will not go for this and will be retired from service,” the Air India CEO said.

Air India also announced on Thursday morning its setting up of a pilot training facility in partnership with Airbus in Gurugram, near its new corporate headquarters. The 3,300sq m facility, which will open next year, will train pilots for A320 and A350 aircraft.


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