The "Palace in the Sky" colors was orignially conceived in the 1960's as an extension to AI's 'Maharaja' mascot by the then AI mktg mgr(i forget his name) and JRD's right hand man. But it was not implemented on AI's all 707 fleet, and was introduced only with the arrival of the 747s, which also sported the new-look interiors, with paintings from the Khajuraho and Ajanta temples. The red stripe over the windows was replaced by giving each of the windows a Rajasthani look.
The colors are extremely popular here in India and a mere suggestion of changing it is sure to evoke a violent response! Having grown up with seeing AI in these colors, most Indians wouldnt like to see it go. When the Yogi Deveshwars of the world introduced the new red-gold and white "corporate" colors with "Sun" logo, it provoked an enormous backlash, and there were even arguments in Parliament! I must have read hundreds (ok mebbe not hundreds) of editorials criticizing the move. AI hurriedly switched back to the old colors again.
But since the current emphasis is on turning AI into a "world airline", on the lines of SQ, perhaps a survey needs to be conducted about how WESTERNERS in particular feel about the colors. I personally would'nt want the colors to be changed.
some of my favorite AI pics :
Well yeah,thats what i said: the "Palace in the Sky" colors were introduced with the 747's, but were concieved in the 60's. My source was JRD's autobiography.
The Centaur was there even on the Puss Moth that JRD flew from Bombay to Karachi in 1962 to commemorate AI's 30th anniversary, and my grandpa remembers seeing it on the Air India building when he first landed in Bombay, so it must be OLD!
JRD owned the airline thru Tata Sons till 1953, but he stayed on as CMD and default honcho even after it was nationalised, thanx to the Mrs.Gandhi connection. until 1977 i think? I think he was removed by the Morarji Desai gang.
And AI introduced the Paris, Geneva and Frankfurt runs then. AI definitely flew to GVA and FRA in the 60's thats for sure.
All three A300B4's have already been sold for 9 million $ to IC (economic times: Dec 9th).
Regarding the "doubling of the fleet", thats a report i read in a Financial paper, but i too have serious doubts about it. Such things dont happen here! Jet Airwyas mebbe. But Air India. no siree!
But arent atleast 4 A310's and 3 747-300's (if not more) joining the fleet? I believe the A310's deal has been finalised, and RFPs have been put out for the 747-300's. 2 A310's are being leased at $210000 pm and are around 11 years old.
The Hindujas are very much in the race. Again Economic Times (Dec 18, i think). They are bidding thru their truck company Ashok Leyland, btw. Very Surprising since they are vocal supporters of the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the Dhoots are in trouble, after Cathay Pacific said that they had no formal understanding with the Dhoots over the IC deal. the dhoots are renowned in the home appliance industry, but have no experience in the airline industry. They had orig. claimed to have a technical support from Cathay.
Sean, do u have any info on the actual no. of aircraft to join the fleet, the source and new routes planned etc?