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Post Info TOPIC: Why does Air India never learn? (Part 2)


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Why does Air India never learn? (Part 2)
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Starting Part 2



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Brand India's image issue
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(Sent by email --- appeared on BBC)

Brand India's image issue 
By Kaushik Basu
Professor of economics, Cornell University 

How India is being marketed abroad
The concept of advertising a nation may seem baffling, but the idea is the same as advertising a firm or its products.

There are, however, two special handicaps in promoting a nation.

First, it is frightfully expensive; and second, since the benefits accrue to so many agents in the nation, it is not in the interest of any single firm or individual to bear the expense.

Hence, the way to proceed is through a conglomerate of firms and the government.

Thus far India has played this well, with the Confederation of Indian Industry teaming up with the Government of India to invest heavily into promoting "Brand India".

Unfavourable impression

But for such an initiative not to backfire it is important that the actual products live up to the promise.

For a variety of goods and services India is doing exceedingly well, but for the one which is arguably the most visible, namely, its national carrier, much remains to be desired.


Send us your views on this issue 

Last month, when I had to make a quick trip to India, I decided to fly Air India (AI) to see for myself how the much-criticised airline was doing.

When, at New York's JFK Airport, I entered the aircraft cabin a technician was desperately trying to repair the hand-held TV remote attached to my seat.

When I told him I did not plan to watch TV, he was reassured and exited quickly.

The Velcro on our seat covers was peeling off, and the cleanliness of the cabin and bathrooms, right from the start, did not give a favourable impression.

Mysterious contraption

Across the aisle, seat 17B had a narrow, tray-like structure fitted to the handle, jutting out into the aisle some four inches.

India's domestic airlines offer a good standard of service

Soon after take-off, I noticed the passenger in that seat, a bespectacled Indian gentleman, examining it with the concentration of Faraday observing electromagnetic waves.

With the unerring instinct of a scientist who on discovering a puzzle first checks out if it has already been solved, he asked a passing stewardess what the tray was for.

She, evidently no Marie Curie, had noticed this for the first time and replied, "Sir, this is a tray."

"Thank you, thank you," said the impeccably polite scientist, "but I was wondering why only my seat is having this excellent facility?"

Undisturbed by this anomaly of mechanics, the flight attendant giggled and said, "so that you can keep your glass on it".

"Naturally," said Faraday, realising the futility of further quest for knowledge.

Clearly, privatisation is not sufficient - it has to be combined with intelligent regulation

The return journey from Delhi offered its own setbacks, like the malfunctioning sound system.

Undeterred, the November issue of Namaskaar, the in-flight magazine, proudly informs the traveller that Air India has been unanimously voted "Best South Asian Airline" by readers across the continent.

"The airline was presented the prestigious award at the glittering 17th annual travel awards ceremony by TTG Asia Media in Pattaya," the article proudly proclaimed, without explaining what TTG stands for.


Clearly India is capable of better. India's domestic airlines are world class. The Jet Airways flights I take within India are of a quality as good as the best in the world. Why is AI languishing and what should be done?

Privatisation is certainly worth considering. But that in itself may not be enough.

The domestic airline industry in the US is fully privatised, with minimal regulatory controls, but it is in dreadful shape - with abysmal punctuality and poor service quality.

Clearly, privatisation is not sufficient - it has to be combined with intelligent regulation.

What matters above all is the love of excellence. That is what has made India's IT and pharmaceutical industries what they are, and that is what AI lacks.

Given that Air India has significance that goes beyond the airline industry to what people think of "Brand India" itself, the plight of our national carrier deserves attention at the highest level of government.

A proposed merger of AI with another airline has been much in the news, and it is a good time for such strategic thinking.

If it does go ahead, let's hope they can work together to sort out the mystery of that stray tray...





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RE: Why does Air India never learn? (Part 2)
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Sent by email again

Best West Bound Airline From India                 AIR INDIA

The Evaluation Criteria

The award for the 'Best West Bound Airline From India' was evaluated on the following criteria:

Objective Criteria

  • International airlines
  • Number of landings and take-offs during the year

    • From Indian airports

  • Destinations serviced in India and from India
  • Number of ticket sale counters (excluding GDS)
  • Total seat capacity out of India
  • Load factor
  • Employee numbers

Subjective Criteria

  • Punctuality
  • Reservation assistance
  • Airport services
  • In-flight services
  • In-flight catering
  • In-flight entertainment
  • Value-for-money promotion offers
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Marketing and communications

The Nominees

  • Swiss International Airlines
  • Air India
  • KLM-Northwest Airlines
  • Air France
  • South African Airways
  • British Airways
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Gulf Air
  • Qatar Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic

And The Award Goes To...

V Thulasidas,
CMD, Air India,
receives the award from Mark Rozzoto, Vice President, Business Strategies & Market Development, Interglobe Enterprises

Air India


V Thulasidas
Chairman & Managing Director
Air India

From a total of three stations served at the time of nationalisation, Air India's worldwide network today covers 44 destinations by operating services with its own aircraft and through code-shared flights.

What is your reaction on winning this award?

Having won this award yet again means a great deal to the airline, especially because we are poised for a major overhaul considering our massive fleet acquisition. Winning the award for good corporate governance also was particularly special since it is testament to our approach as an airline which is not only about profits but creating overall wealth and well being.

What are the factors that have contributed to your success?

Being on time, and concentrating on providing onboard service as well as optimising costs that do not affect the product have made Air India a quality full-service carrier during a difficult time in the aviation industry.

What about future plans?

The future will see a larger fleet, larger network and an overall goal to become a force to be reckoned with in the international market.



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ROFL!!... 40+ flights a week from India into Europe and Lufthansa isnt even mentioned in the running?... this is bound to be a joke...

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