Air India used to be one of the great airlines of the world under the dynamic leadership of JRD Tata. They have had the distinction of winning Best Transatlantic Service awards way back, as well as being the first all-jet airline.
When Air India International 'AII' became nationalized under a socialist zietgiest, it's values also changed towards providing transportation for everyman. Miss Indias no longer sought employment as F/As on the airline, and the best and brightest no longer sought to work at India's most glamorous employer.
I am not sure if this is good or bad. AI
was also criticized by Indians as too snooty in its service, even though Indian hypersensitivity in these matters is well-known. In a swing to the other extreme, AI
over the years became a downmarket airline everybody loved to complain about (like Aeroflot). However, it did serve its core low-cost market, Indian migrants, quite well and they have retained a strong loyalty to the brand. I've heard comments on 'you get what you pay for' etc but along came Jet and shattered the notion that Indian passengers didn't deserve any better. They, like everybody else, behave quite well when treated well!
Every Indian would like AI
, India's flag carrier, to be a shining example of what India can do - look at India's great hotels in the hospitality sector. However, short of returning the airline to the Tatas, this is not likely to happen.
Post Independence, the Government of India spent heavily on a national industrial infrastructure; but 58 years later, private-sector India knows how to run its businesses quite well, and one wonders if there really is a need for an Air India in its present form anymore, much less a need for government to be involved in running an airline.