Air India is the oldest and most popular airline in India. The airline is part of Air India Limited [AIL], owned by the Indian government. Ranked 16th among Asia's top airlines. It remains India's national airline, with a global passenger and freight service network.
Air India was formerly Tata Airlines in 1932, but had to close operations during World War II. After the war, the company resumed service in 1946 and became a public limited company called Air India.
On June 8, 1948, the company began providing international services, flying from Mumbai to London via Cairo and Geneva every week. Under the Airline Act of 1953, the government nationalized the air transport industry, and Air India International Limited was born.
The airline's main hubs are Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The airline earlier had an international hub at Frankfurt International Airport, but closed in 2010 due to the number of setbacks and losses. The company's chairman announced the use of Indira Gandhi International Airport as its international and domestic hub.
In 1960, it entered the era of jets and received the first Boeing 707420, which was named Gauri Shankar and registered as VT-DJJ. The first jet service began to fly to New York City through London. Two years later, it became the world's first jet airline. From August to October 1990, the airline and Air India jointly operated 488 flights to evacuate civil airliners from the Guinness World Records and conducted the largest evacuation, with more than 111,000 people evacuated from Amman to Mumbai at a distance of 4,117 Kilometers. The operation lasted 59 days. The operation was performed during the 1990s Persian Gulf War.
Air India's combined loss for the 2009-10 fiscal year was Rs. 7.7 million. Currently, airlines operate about 44 destinations worldwide. It also has code-sharing agreements with many international airlines to expand coverage.
It offers First Class, Executive and Economy Class cabin services. Other services include luxury lounges for first and business class passengers at specific destinations in their ground terminals. The company's flights are sold duty-free and are called "Sky Bazaar". The two airlines are now proud partners of the Star Alliance and are expected to connect via Alliance Air and Air India Express. Between 2006 and 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, Mumbai, southern India, the airline relocated there in 1970. The building was also the headquarters of Air India.