Thursday, September 13, 2012

NEWS | AI drops JRD’s tradition, not to name Dreamliner

For more than six decades, Air India followed a tradition initiated by its founder J R D Tata. Before the airline took delivery of a new aircraft, it gave the fresh arrival a name, a very Indian name. The Maharaja's Lockheed Constellations were christened after Indian princesses, Boeing 747-200s after Indian emperors, the A310s after rivers and Boeing 777s after Indian states. The ritual survived through dispensations and technologies. But today, it has been abandoned, causing discontent.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner that joined the AI fleet was the carrier's first in 64 years to not get a name. The namelessness, to be sure, was in line with the erstwhile Indian Airlines' practice, where an aircraft was known only by its registration number. But for pilots and flight attendants of the old Air India, it was nothing short of sacrilege. They called the move the "Indian Airline-ization" of Air India. "It does not cost them a single penny to name an aircraft," said a retired AI B747 commander said. "They have done this only to show the dominance of Indian Airlines officials in the merged airline."
The last aircraft type that Air India took delivery of before it merged with Indian Airlines was the Boeing 777 series. These were named after Indian states.



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