Faster, higher, stronger

The security drill is over. Now tighten your seatbelts and get ready for take off. It’s almost a year since Indian Airlines was relaunched with a new brand name, Indian, a new logo and spanking new colours. In the final leg, the national carrier is working on the ad agency empanelment process. Reports are that all major agencies were in the race; the 12 that have been shortlisted include Everest Brand Solutions, FCB-Ulka, Bates Enterprise, JWT, Lowe, Leo Burnett, Adfactors, Interpublicity, Mudra, Rediffusion DY&R, RK Swamy/BBDO and Triton.

So far, Indian does appear to be on track in its bid to project a “youthful” image. For starters, the airline is looking to reduce the average age of its fleet with 43 brand new aircraft. New designer costumes for the cabin crew are on the anvil and the airline claims it has “already taken a big technological leap” this year. It signed deals with two major global distribution service providers, Galileo and Amadeus, and has also been one of the first few to introduce e-ticketing. It will soon introduce a new Passenger Service System to streamline the entire process—ticket booking through passenger boarding. Last but not the least, the airline has launched an end-to-end integrated cargo automation system (refer efe, December 11).

On the strategy front, Indian recently announced a whopping 45% salary hike for its pilots. In exchange, it has put down a mandatory fourth landing for each pilot every day (against a maximum of three landings earlier). This, in effect, means better fleet utilisation, thereby enabling the company to commence flights to new sectors and increase flights on important routes. It’s also signed a MoU with an international specialist in maintenance, Snecma Services, to set up a maintenance repair and overhaul facility to service its CFM engines.

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