Are Days Numbered For Air India’s Iconic Maharaja?

Mumbai: It may not be long before Air India’s iconic ‘Maharaja’ walks into the sunset.

Tata Group, which took over Air India in January, has hired British brand and design consultancy firm Futurebrands to rework the airline’s branding strategy, Economic Times reported.

The aim is to make Air India more appealing to a global audience.

Many within the company are of the opinion that the 76-year-old ‘Maharaja’ is outdated, and hence a introducing a new mascot is a distinct possibility.

Maharaja’s association with Air India started in 1946, when Air India’s Commercial Director Bobby Kooka and Umesh Rao, an artist with J. WalterThompson Ltd., jointly created the mascot.

Air India has not been using the Maharaja logo in its campaigns of new destination launches.

According to the ET report, rebranding of the airline is important as Tata Sons is planning to merge its four airlines into two companies. Vistara and Air India are to be merged to create a full-service airline by 2024, while AirAsia India and Air India Express will be merged to create a low-cost airline.

Air India has hired former MakeMyTrip executive Sunil Suresh as chief marketing officer, and also roped in Colin Neubronner — who conceptualized branding of Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways — to its new brand-building team.

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