Indian Airlines was major airline in India, with its headquarters in the Indian capital city of New Delhi. While the airline concentrated primarily on domestic routes, it also connected several Indian cities to neighboring countries. The airline used to be a state owned entity and was under the aegis of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It was one of the two flagship carriers of the country, the other being Air India. On 27 February 2011, the airline merged with Air India and the merged entity is known by the latter airline’s name.
Prior to merger, Indian Airlines was known as Indian. The name was changed on 7 December 2005 in order to revamp the image of the airline for the upcoming initial public offering, or IPO.
History of Indian Airlines
The airline was founded after the passage of the Air Corporations Act, 1953, which merged 7 private airlines, which were Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Airlines, Indian National Airways and Air Services of India. The airline officially began its operations on 1 August 1953 with a fleet of 99 aircraft.
In 1964, the airline enhanced its fleet with Caravelle aircraft and thereafter introduced Boeing 737-200 in 1970. The airline ruled the skies in India, but its monopoly came to end with the liberalization of India’s economy in the 1990s which allowed private airlines to enter the aviation industry. These airlines went on to revolutionize the Indian aviation industry, making air travel extremely affordable for the people of India.
Facing stiff competition from private airlines, Indian Airlines still managed to hold its own in the aviation industry. However, the scenario changed in the mid 2000s when private budge airlines enter the air travel market. This prompted Indian Airlines to slash its fares to be competitive.
Indian Airlines Today
After the merger and subsequent IPO, the Government of India still retains 51 percent of shares in the new holding company, Air India Limited. The airline is now known as Air India, and it is headquartered in the economic capital of India, Mumbai. Air India is a member of famed Star Alliance, and boasts of nearly 20,000 employees. The airline caters to both international and domestic destinations. The airline has the fourth biggest market share in the domestic aviation market, but is battling financial losses and escalating employee discontentment.