First look: Air India’s all new first and business suites, branding

The Indian flag carrier is charting a fresh course with a sleek logo, revamped livery and wide-reaching refurbishment.

By Chris Ashton, August 11 2023
First look: Air India’s all new first and business suites, branding

Star Alliance member Air India is embarking on an ambitious transformation which will see it represent the “bold new India” with a fresh look and feel, new cabins from nose to tail plus an enhanced loyalty program, together with a bolstered fleet – and much more.

The most immediate change is the airline’s new logo and symbol, dubbed ‘The Vista’, which replaces the familiar flying red swan adorned in orange spokes with a rather restrained golden arch, said to be inspired by the peak of a window.

Air India's new livery and logo.
Air India's new livery and logo.

A fresh livery of red, aubergine and gold highlights will also take wing across the fleet, starting with the airline’s first Airbus A350, which enters service from December 2023, before rolling out across the full twin-aisle fleet as part of a $400 million refurbishment project.

By March 2024, it’s expected 33% of the airline’s widebody fleet will have been upgraded.

Inside the airline's refurbished Boeing 777-330ER First Class cabin.
Inside the airline's refurbished Boeing 777-330ER First Class cabin.

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson describes this as a “total transformation”, adding the bold and confident new brand is one reflecting an “ambition to make Air India a world class airline serving guests from around the globe.”

Codenamed ‘Vihaan’, after the Sanskrit word for dawn, the project – first teased in May – includes all-new first and business suites, replete with sliding privacy doors in both cabins.

First class features a lie-flat bed, large touchscreen TV and wireless charging.
First class features a lie-flat bed, large touchscreen TV and wireless charging.

Based on the Safran Unity platform taking wing on Qantas’ new A350 from 2025, the business class is adorned in an elegant grey and aubergine colour scheme with rose gold and silver accents. It’s a stark contrast to the red and mustard currently in play.

Business class onboard Air India's refurbished Boeing 777-330ER.
Business class onboard Air India's refurbished Boeing 777-330ER.

Passengers seated in a 1-2-1 layout will be cocooned behind sliding privacy doors, with the suite itself featuring modern conveniences such as wireless charging along with a large touchscreen monitor and pull-out tray table.

The same seat will be seen in first class too, though the grey colour palette will be replaced by a deep red reminiscent of Qatar Airways’ QSuite and SWISS’ forthcoming Allegris business class.

A larger screen and ottoman footrest, which looks like it may double as a second seat allowing dining for two, is also among the notable differences.

Those seated in premium economy will find smart red, grey and white interiors in a 2-4-2 layout. Each seat is fitted with a foot rest along with a small drinks table between the seats.

Air India engaged London-based JPA Design for the wide-reaching overhaul; JPA’s impressive body of work spans from Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines to The Orient Express and Belmond Grand Hibernian.

Premium Economy has been given a significant makeover too.
Premium Economy has been given a significant makeover too.

In addition to the new look and feel, the airline has confirmed a blockbuster US$70 billion order for 470 new Airbus and Boeing jets to be delivered over the next ten years.

From Airbus will come 40 of its long-range A350 series and 210 A320neo-family jets; Boeing will supply 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, ten of the yet-to-launch 777-9s and 190 of the 737 MAX series.

“We see significant opportunity in long-haul international (flights),” Wilson says, adding that the order for 70 twin-aisle aircraft means “a many-fold increase in Air India’s widebody long-haul fleet, and therefore, capacity.”

The light and bright business class cabin.
The light and bright business class cabin.

It’s all part of a sweeping reinvention of Air India under new owners Tata Group, which ironically founded the airline in 1932, only to see it nationalised in 1953.

Tata purchased the debt-ridden airline in October 2021 for US$2.4bn, which will merge with Vistara – a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines – in the first half of 2024.

The airline also says its Flying Returns loyalty program will be overhauled in early 2024, unlocking “thousands of new redemption possibilities”.

Additional reporting by David Flynn.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 233

Livery is a bit of a hit and miss, I was hoping they'd bring back the centaur. But the interiors look nice. Let's hope their customer service levels drastically improves to match their new fleet and cabins.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 273

The issue previously wasn't just the seat, but upkeep and maintenance of the seats. Some of the seats looked like they hadn't been cleaned in years - will all that be changing, or will these seats follow suit?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2017

Total posts 30

The seats in the Premium economy photo look so hard.     It's not only Air India, but just about all airlines have gone in for these wretched slim-line seats for economy, which look about as comfortable as sitting on an ironing board.    What's happened to those older seats with proper padding where you sit into the seat and not just on them.   I don't look forward to the prospect of long-haul in economy on these slim-line seats of today.   My experience is that seats back in the 1970's and 80's on most airlines were much more comfortable than these slim-line seats of today.    The airlines may have these made by a famous seat company, but I don't care.    I only know that these slim-line seats are not very comfortable after a few short hours.   They may be OK for one hour short hops on domestic commuter sectors, but NOT on international long haul. 

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 23

Agree! Economy seats on a PER-LHR Qantas flight were torture after a few hours -- so hard! And Premium Economy LHR-SYD via Singapore was no better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2020

Total posts 30

Looks like a similar J seat to what QF will have on the 350

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 233

It's the same seat -Safran Unity

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 61

I can’t believe how bland the business cabin is considering that India is a country of colour, spice and culture. It’s like visiting the 1960s. Plus time will tell how long before the sliding doors, flat beds and IFE start falling apart without proper maintenance. Let’s hope Tata spend millions on that too.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 139

The tail colours overlap with some of the TG colours and could have perhaps made a bolder statement that reflected India in a more targeted unique way

Great seats are part of reform - the actual challenge will be re-shaping the entire service culture of a non customer focused cabin crew who are a far cry from SQ

Gym
Gym

04 Nov 2019

Total posts 2

The cabin just looks drab.

12 Aug 2023

Total posts 1

I hope it's not the same as putting lipstick on a pig

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 139

cuddles115

Only if the pig had survived the SQ cabin crew training programme first !!


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on First look: Air India’s all new first and business suites, branding