As Air India seeks to reinvent itself in the Tata era, it has debuted a bold and brazen new livery..and also offered a not-so-subtle jab against Emirates, its Dubai-based competitor.
Bold New Air India Livery + Dig At Emirates
Purely coincidentally, I published my initial impressions of a recent flight on Air India prior to the debut of the new livery today. I am excited for the future of Air India and think that with the right investment and leadership, there is the possibility of creating a world-class carrier.
> Read More: My First Flight On Air India…
Earlier today, Air India unveiled a new livery. While fresh and modern, my first thought was that the new livery looked more suited for a budget carrier (and heck, even that may not be fair because I think the Indigo livery is actually very attractive) than a full-service carrier that seeks to compete with its Gulf competitors.
The tail stripes (red, gold, and purple) strike me as quite generic and the bold Air India logo on both the fuselage and belly seem to be even plainer. I get vibes of Avianca and especially Iberia, which make sense considering the flag carriers of Colombia and Spain, but less so for the flag carrier of India. I suppose the purple recognizes that Vistara will fold into Air India…
And then there is the F-UBAI registration code in the same aircraft (pictured below), which seems to me like a nasty jab against Emirates and Dubai. Like One Mile At A Time, I find it improbable that the code simply stands for:
- F-UB – FutureBrand, the company that created the new livery
- AI – Air India
Why would FU instead of just F be used? On the other hand, this strikes me as the sort of clever shade that can be denied as totally innocent. I simply do not buy that this was not deliberate.
Such childhood twaddle aside, Tata has made clear that it wants to compete directly with carriers like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. These three Gulf carriers are currently preferred by many Indian travelers, even if an extra connection is required, due to higher service levels onboard.
It may be that the livery grows on me over time, but at this point, I rather strongly dislike the new Air India livery. I understand a refresh was needed as the carrier seeks to shed its old image, but I think something that better encapsulates Air India’s role as the Indian flag carrier would have been more appropriate (i.e. national flag colors). Instead, Air India now appears as the latest budget carrier.