India’s merging state-owned airlines will be branded Air India and the merged carrier plans to sell shares in an initial public offer next year, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said on Tuesday, unveiling the new logo and livery of the merged airline.
The carrier, registered as National Aviation Company of India Ltd, has appointed consultants to re-value its hard assets including vast land banks. That exercise, due to be over by June, will add at least Rs8,000 crore to the firm’s balance sheet. Patel said 25 new aircraft will be inducted into the fleet of the merged entity this calendar year and a direct Mumbai-Newark flight will be started. Air India’s new logo and livery has been designed by Mumbai-based brand consultant AliaGroup.
V. Thulasidas, the pre-merger chairman and managing director of Air India, said a global advertising campaign in July will re-position the new entity in an increasingly crowded market together with a wardrobe makeover for in-flight crew. “The airhostesses will sport specially designed Ritu Beri outfits in red and orange, while the men will wear black Pierre Cardin,” Thulasidas said. The new merged airline will retain Air India’s ‘Maharaja’ (Emperor) mascot.