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Asia: Air India Updates



It's been a busy few weeks for Air India and they have started the New Year with gusto.


Not only did they rollout their new brand entity, they unveiled new uniforms (pictured above), the obtained regulatory approval for the maintenance of the A350 aircraft type and in addition received their first A350 which has now entered service. A whirlwind of manifested deliverables over the peak travel season lays testament to CEO Campbell Wilson's energy and focus to ensure he delivers his future vision for the legacy and well loved Indian carrier.


AIR INDIA UNVEILS FASHION-FORWARD CREW UNIFORMS TO MARK THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW ERA IN INLIGHT COUTURE


• Air India cabin crew to don Manish Malhotra-designed ombré sarees and bandhgalas

• New uniforms will debut with Air India’s first Airbus A350 entering commercial service


The carrier unveiled its much anticipated, brand-new collection of uniforms for cabin and cockpit crew, marking the arrival of a new age of inflight couture.


Crafted by Indian celebrity couturier, Manish Malhotra, in his Mumbai atelier, the new uniforms

feature an array of colours and timeless designs. The collection mirrors a rare, harmonious blend of rich Indian heritage and aesthetics with 21st-century style, elegance, and comfort.


The new uniforms will be introduced in a phased manner over the next few months, starting

with the entry of service of Air India’s first Airbus A350.


Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India, said: “Air India's crew uniforms are amongst the world’s most storied in aviation history, and we firmly believe that Manish Malhotra's innovative ensemble will script an exciting new chapter for Air India's future narrative. It perfectly captures the essence of our new identity, service principles, and our pursuit of setting new benchmarks in global aviation.”


Malhotra’s take on modern Indian style complements Air India’s recently unveiled new global

brand identity as the flag-bearer of a more confident, progressive, and resurgent new India.

The female cabin crew attire features a ready-to-wear ombré saree with intricate patterns

reminiscent of Indian heritage architecture (jharokha) and the Vista (new Air India logo icon),

paired with a comfortable blouse and blazer. The ready-to-wear sarees can be optionally worn

with comfortable pants, which provides greater flexibility to female cabin crew to choose the

style they most identify with and brings a unique East-meets-West look.


The ombré sarees for the senior female cabin crew will be aubergine-to-burgundy, combined with aubergine blazers, exuding a balance of authority and sophistication. Conversely, junior female cabin crew will wear vibrant red-to-purple ombré sarees combined with red blazers, embodying youthfulness and energy.


Manish Malhotra said: “I am honored to have been given the opportunity to design the uniforms for Air India. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to the national flag-bearer and showcase the elegance and charm of Indian fashion. My aim was to create uniforms that capture the essence of India's diverse culture and traditions while also embodying a modern and sophisticated look. By incorporating quintessential hues that are symbolic to India, I hope that these uniforms not only make the crew feel proud but also leave a lasting impression on the guests, representing the warmth and hospitality that India is known for.”


The hallmark technique of ombrés is a signature attributed to Malhotra, reflecting his deeprooted fondness for traditional attire and gradients. The color palette of the new uniforms comprises deep red, burgundy, aubergine, and accents of gold, paying homage to India's rich cultural heritage.



The well-fitting uniforms for both male and female cabin crew are practical and suited for them to perform in-flight duties with ease of movement. The new uniform designs were developed in close consultation with Air India’s cabin crew representatives and the airline’s In-flight Services team, who also conducted an extensive testing exercise for the new designs.


The cockpit crew’s uniform features a classic black double-breasted suit with a print inspired by the Vista, signifying professionalism, timelessness, and the gravitas of the flying profession.

Malhotra has also curated footwear that blends style and comfort, allowing each step to resonate with the grace and poise inherent in Air India’s sartorial overhaul. The female cabin crew will wear dual-tone (black and burgundy) block heels, and the male cabin crew will wear

comfortable black Brogues. The uniforms include pearl earrings and sling bags for female cabin crew.


“Air India has been in the world’s spotlight for some time. We are confident that our new crew

uniforms will rise to the heightened expectations, distinctly making a statement that defines the very best of Indian heritage and hospitality. Travellers across continents will be able to instantly recognise these uniforms as the new Air India,” Campbell Wilson said.

Malhotra has meticulously crafted uniforms not only for Air India’s cabin crew and pilots, but

also ground staff, engineers, and security personnel, which will be revealed in due course.


Sustainability and quality have been the cornerstones of the design and production process of these new uniforms. All fabrics and garments are proudly sourced and tailored in India.


AIR INDIA GETS KEY REGULATORY APPROVAL FOR A350 ENGINEERING MAINTENANCE

 

The carrier also received the DGCA approval for engineering line maintenance of A350 and A320 aircraft. This is a major step forward in ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of the six A350 aircraft which are set to join the Air India fleet, with the first one expected to land by the month end. Along with this key approval, Air India engineers also received the DGCA certification for attending to any work related to the maintenance of A350 aircraft.

 

Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) 145 provides certification to ensure that the processes, systems, and controls at the MRO have been thoroughly reviewed, evaluated, and tested by the regulatory body i.e. the DGCA and is certified to have the capability to perform maintenance tasks safely and effectively conforming to all the airworthiness requirements.

 

“This approval will further inspire us to ensure smooth operation of our fleet, including, of course, the A350, with the highest technical despatch reliability,” said S.K. Dash, Chief Technical Officer, Air India.

 

Air India is the first Indian airline to induct the technologically advanced A350 into its operations. The Engineering team of Air India has been gearing up to welcome the A350 aircraft and ensure that all necessary checks, maintenance, and repairs is available from the outset in the Air India facilities itself. The Engineering teams comprising Air India, Vistara, and AIX Connect representatives have successfully completed training at the Airbus centre in Toulouse.

 

Specialized courses on Structure Assessment and Engine Run Up have been conducted, enhancing the team's expertise in handling the A350. Senior executives from the Engineering department have undergone A350 General Familiarization Course to ensure comprehensive domain knowledge and understanding of the aircraft. Besides the engineers, technicians have received extensive training in General Familiarization to ensure smooth servicing and operation of the A350 aircraft.

 

In collaboration with SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC), Air India has been ensuring that its aircraft engineers have a hands-on experience of scheduled maintenance activities, turn-around inspections, and other essential orientation to have an immersive experience to handle the requirements of the A350 aircraft before it starts joining the fleet. Besides, the engineers have been participating in workshops on A350 for a comprehensive familiarity with the aircraft.


AIR INDIA STARTS ROLLOUT OF NEW GLOBAL BRAND IDENTITY


● Complete switch to new brand identity across online channels, including website, mobile app, and social media channels

● On-ground rollout begins with Delhi and Mumbai airports, with others to follow in quick succession

 

The carrier also started the rollout of its recently unveiled global brand identity across guest touchpoints, beginning with a full switch to the new look across digital and online channels and rebranding at Delhi and Mumbai airports.

 

The new identity, unveiled in August 2023, is centered around the ‘Vista’, Air India’s logo icon and a symbol of limitless possibilities and progressiveness. The new look features Air India’s new brand colours, including Air India red, aubergine, rose gold, and accents of gold, as well as the extensive usage of customised iconography and a bespoke font, Air India Sans - all crafted to reflect a bold, modern, and world-class airline with an Indian heart. This spirit is now reflected in:


● A redesigned website, airindia.com, and a new mobile app: Air India guests will now be able to enjoy a more seamless and intuitive online experience with streamlined booking flows, faster performance, new features, and a refreshed design that showcases the airline's new brand identity. The new website and mobile app were designed and architected by Air India’s teams in Kochi and Silicon Valley.

● New social media avatar: Air India's social media platforms have been revamped to reflect the new brand identity, offering engaging content and an interactive platform for guests to connect with the airline and fellow travellers.

● Gradual rollout at airports: Starting with Delhi and Mumbai airports, guests will begin to see the new branding come alive at various touchpoints, including check-in counters, boarding gates, lounges, and newly designed boarding cards. The rollout will progressively extend to other airports across Air India’s growing global network in the coming weeks.


"The network-wide switch to our new global brand identity is a landmark moment for Air India," said Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India. "It's not just about bringing our new logo and colours to customer touchpoints; it's a promise to our guests of a transforming travel experience that is modern, seamless, and infused with the warmth and hospitality that defines a new India and a new Air India. We are confident that the modern, world-class look of Air India will appeal to our guests globally and serve as a strong reminder of all the remarkable changes that have come or are to come to their Air India experience."


Rebranding on and inside aircraft

The new Air India livery will feature on the A350 fleet and subsequently on other incoming brand-new aircraft. The in-flight rollout of the new global brand identity is linked to the newly inducted Airbus A350 fleet as well as subsequent refurbishment of cabin products over the next few months.


“This is a transformation of great scale, and therefore, it may take us a while to achieve consistency in our product, service, and the overall ‘new Air India experience’. We will continue to seek the support of our guests as we modernise Air India and make it a world-class airline that India deserves,” Campbell Wilson added.

 

Earlier this year, Air India placed record-setting orders for 470 aircraft with Airbus and Boeing for US$ 70 billion (at published list prices), from which the much-anticipated Airbus A350 aircraft will start arriving this month. A US$ 400 million project for the refurbishment of 43 of Air India’s legacy widebody aircraft begins mid-2024, which will lead to the installation of brand-new seats in every cabin, new inflight entertainment systems, and inflight Wi-Fi internet connectivity.


AIR INDIA RECEIVES INDIA’S FIRST AIRBUS A350 AIRCRAFT SPORTING NEW BRAND LIVERY


Also in late December the carrier welcomed the first of 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, registered VT-JRA, in the airline’s bold new livery, marking a turning point in its ongoing transformation story.

 

The aircraft arrived at New Delhi at 13:46 Hrs (local time) today from the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France. The delivery flight, operated using a special call sign AI350, was welcomed by Air India representatives. Air India’s Senior Commander Capt. Monika Batra Vaidya, who is among the first few Indian pilots to be trained on A350, was on board as an observer.

 

Air India leads the way in catalysing the renaissance of Indian aviation, inducting the first new widebody fleet type in India in more than a decade, and thus, becoming the first Indian airline to fly the A350. Air India was also the first Indian airline to have inducted the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet type in 2012.

 

Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India, said: “This moment marks a red-letter day for all of us at Air India. The A350 is not just metal and engines; it’s the flying embodiment of the relentless efforts of all Air India employees towards our airline’s continuing transformation and of our commitment to setting new benchmarks. It is also, in many ways, a declaration of Indian aviation’s resurgence on the world stage.”

 

“As a symbol of the new age of flying, the A350 promises a world-class, long-haul travel experience on our non-stop routes, providing an unparalleled level of comfort. Its excellent flight economics and state of-the-art technology underscore our dedication to commercially successful operations and to achieving our sustainability goals,” Wilson added.

 

Air India’s A350 will enter commercial service in January 2024, initially operating domestically for crew familiarisation, followed by longer-haul flying to destinations across continents. The schedule of commercial operations with the A350 will be announced in the coming weeks.


Air India’s A350-900 aircraft come in a three-class cabin configuration with 316 seats designed by Collins Aerospace: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat beds, 24 Premium Economy seats with extra legroom and multiple other differentiating features, and 264 spacious Economy Class seats. All seats on the aircraft feature the latest-generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system and HD screens to provide superior flying experience.

 

The aircraft is first of Air India’s 20 Airbus A350-900 on order, with five more scheduled for deliveries through March 2024. Air India’s firm orders for 250 new aircraft with Airbus include 20 A350-1000.


Earlier in the week, the airline started the rollout of its new global brand identity across guest touchpoints, having launched a new consumer-facing website and mobile app. Last week, the airline unveiled its much anticipated new collection of uniforms for cabin and cockpit crew designed by Indian celebrity couturier, Manish Malhotra. Air India’s cabin crew and pilots will be seen in the new uniforms starting with the entry of service of the A350.

 

About Air India:

Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India pioneered India’s aviation sector. Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has built an extensive domestic network with non-stop flights to cities around the world, across the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far-East, South-East Asia, Australia, and the Gulf. After 69 years as a government-owned enterprise, Air India and Air India Express were welcomed back into the Tata group in January 2022.


Air India is navigating through a major five-year transformation roadmap under the aegis of Vihaan. AI, with an ambition to become a world class airline with an Indian heart. The first phase of this transformation, the taxi phase was recently concluded, and focused on fixing the basics. These included bringing back to service many long grounded aircraft, addition of talent across flying and ground functions, rapid upgradation of technology and strengthening of customer care initiatives amongst others. A member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium of leading international airlines, Air India offers seamless connectivity and facilities to passengers all over the world.


Ends


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