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Merged airline to take off as 'Air Indian'
Chanchal Pal Chauhan in New Delhi
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March 29, 2007 03:25 IST

Blending the names of the country's state-owned domestic and international carriers, Indian and Air-India, respectively, the government is planning to brand the merged entity as "Air Indian". The Cabinet cleared a proposal to merge the two airlines last month.

Sources close to the development reveal that after hectic negotiations and several rounds of meetings, the choice of brand was a unanimous one.

A new company called National Aviation Company Ltd has been registered by the government to amalgamate the two airlines along with their low-fare subsidiaries, Air India Express (of Air India) and Alliance Air (of Indian).

As for the new airline's logo, Air India's famed "Maharaja" is reported to have found more favour than Indian's "Ashok Chakra" at discussions involving the brass of the two carriers. An official announcement on the decision is expected next week.

When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said, "We have not been informed of the new brand or the logo yet. A decision on the broad contours of the proposed merger is expected soon."

The logic behind the new brand name is to maintain the current top position of Air India on the ABC directory, which lists airlines alphabetically and is widely used as a reference book by the International Air Transport Association, other international airlines and tour operators worldwide.

An Air-India functionary told Business Standard, "It makes sense and is practical to retain the names of both the airlines."

Also, the initials of the new airline would remain A-I.""It makes sense and is practical to retain the names of both the airlines. Also, the initials of the new airline would remain A-I."

There was intense pressure from the staff of the two airlines to maintain their respective identities in the new brand.

While the Air India staff had maintained that their international brand equity is much higher, the union representatives of Indian Airlines were lobbying for their stronger brand value due to higher passenger load than Air India.

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