Air India is the oldest and most popular Indian airline. This airline is part of Air India Limited (AIL), a company owned by the Government of India. It ranks 16th among the best airlines in Asia. It is still India's national airline with a global network of passenger and freight services.
Air India was formerly founded as Tata Airlines in 1932 but had to close down during World War II. After the end of the war, the company renewed its services in 1946 and became a joint stock company called Air India.
On June 8, 1948, the company began its international service with a weekly flight from Mumbai to London via Cairo and Geneva. In accordance with the 1953 Air Corporation Act, the government nationalized the airline industry and created Air India International Limited.
The airline's main hubs are at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The airlines used to have their own international hub at Frankfurt International Airport, but it was closed in 2010 due to a series of setbacks and losses. The company's chairman had announced that Indira Gandhi International Airport would make it an international as well as a local hub.
In 1960 it entered the Jet Age and obtained the first Boeing 707,420, named Gauri Shankar and registered as VT-DJJ. The first jet services were launched to New York via London. 2 years later it became the first jet airline in the world. The airline entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest evacuation of a civilian airplane, evacuating more than 111,000 people from Amman to Mumbai – 4,117 km – on 488 flights with Indian Airlines between August and October 1990. and this operation lasted 59 days. The operation was performed during the Gulf War in 1990.
The total loss to Air India for the 2009-2010 financial year was Rs. 770 crowns. The airlines currently operate in approximately 44 destinations worldwide. It also has code-sharing agreements with many international airlines to increase coverage.
It provides first class, executive class and economy class cabin services. Some of the other services include luxury lounges for its first and executive class passengers at certain destinations at its land terminals. The company has duty-free sales of its flights, known as Sky Bazaar. The airlines are now a proud partner of the Star Alliance and are expected to join Alliance Air and Air India Express. In 2006-2007, airlines began to show signs of a financial crisis.
The Maharaja Lounge is available for first and business class passengers. Currently headquartered in Nariman Point, south of Mumbai, the airline moved there in 1970. The building also served as the seat of Indian Airlines.