Indian Airline was the one of the early domestic airline in India. Today, though India has many airlines – domestic as well as international – like SpiceJet, IndiGo, Kingfisher, Deccan, Sahara, Jet Airways and many more. And not until 1994, Air India and Indian Airlines were the only popularly known airlines of India.
The Nationalization of Airlines
During the 1920s and 30s, India was being introduced to the concept of Airlines which connected the world to the country. But the first scheduled Indian airline was launced by JRD Tata called Tata Airlines in 1932. He piloted the first flight on the route Karachi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai, which was later flown to Bellary and Chennai, completing the flight.
The second domestic airline was the Deccan Airways which was owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It began its operations in 1946 and mainly flew in the Hyderabad region.
However, in 1953, the Government of India nationalized 8 private sector airlines and brought them together under the name of Indian Airlines. The carrier was a monopoly provider of scheduled domestic air service until 1994.
The Indian Airline was set up under the Air Corporations Act, 1953 with an initial capital of Rs. 32 million and started operations on 1 August 1953. And it dominated the Indian aviation sector during the 80’s and 90’s.
However the rules of monoploy was deregulated in 1994. Following which many carriers entered the market. However, only two strong competitors emerged during the 1990s which were the Jet Airways and Air Sahara. This competition from the new private carriers required the airline to adapt to the new order, a process which was difficult due to the fact that management did not have complete commercial freedom, and the government was unwilling to invest in the airline. Between 1999 and 2003, the carrier’s fleet did not increase by a single aircraft – during the same period the private carriers’ fleet almost doubled to 53. Inevitably, Indian Airlines’ market share declined, from 100% in 1994 to 40% by 2004 and just 20% by 2007.
The Changes in Indian Airlines
Today, the name Indian Airlines have been changed to ‘Indian’. Also the design and logo has been changed. The company’s aircraft was sporting a new look inspired by the Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa. The tail of their aircraft had a partial blue wheel since practically 3/4 of the remainder is cut off. The wheel is over an orange background with the carrier’s name “Indian” written in English on one side of the fuselage, and in Hindi on the other.
On 15 May 2007, the Government of India released the new livery, which was sent to Boeing in Seattle to repaint all the new fleet coming into the new Air India. The design is a cross between the Air India and Indian Airlines livery. The old fleets of Air India and Indian Airlines will also slowly be painted in the new livery.