Air India to launch new first, business class in mid-2024

The fleet-wide US$400m upgrade program will also see the debut of premium economy.

By David Flynn, December 13 2022
Air India to launch new first, business class in mid-2024

Air India is planning a dramatic US$400m make-over of its inflight experience which will include all-new first class suites and business class seats, alongside the launch of premium economy on twin-aisle Boeing 777 and 787 planes.

The ambitious project is codenamed ‘Vihaan’, after the Sanskrit word for dawn, which also carries the symbolic meaning of ”beginning of a new age.”

Star Alliance member Air India has engaged London-based JPA Design for the overhaul.

JPA’s impressive body of work spans from Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines to The Orient Express and Belmond Grand Hibernian.

Also on the cards is a revamp of inflight entertainment “across all classes.”

The first jets fitted with Air India’s ‘next generation’ product will begin flying around mid-2024, the airline says, owing to a “lengthy but necessary process and the time required to manufacture seats.”

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson says he is “confident that, when revealed, the new interiors will delight customers and show Air India in a new light.”

But Air India isn’t stopping there, with the Indian flag-carrier expected to soon confirm a blockbuster order for as many as 500 new Airbus and Boeing jets.

“The orders include as many as 400 narrow-body jets and 100 or more wide-bodies, including dozens of Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s and 777s,” reports Reuters.

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 68

Keeping my eye on this one. Excited to see what Tata (and co-owner Singapore Airlines) achieve in the years ahead.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

It is good to see some new hard product but there is such a lot of work required at Air India for it to be considered a desired airline whatsoever.  There is no point putting in new seats if attitude doesn't improve.  So often, you hear about dirty planes and poor service at AI; these are the real challenges Tata needs to overcome.  

It is definitely possible though.  Both Jet Airways (before it folded) and Vistara have shown that a quality product is achievable.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 659

I hope with the "new" comes 'clean' and 'maintained'. That has always been AI's Achilles heel, very dirty and poorly maintained cabins.

08 Nov 2022

Total posts 2

If they up their game they could be competitive on the Kangaroo route. Would make a nice change from choosing between the Middle East and far east! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 147

That is what we use to do in the late 70's (I was a kid) Melbourne, Bombay (as it was) London

Then they pushed to Kuala Lumpur, but they couldn't do it with head winds (ex-London) I think these were 747-200

Personally, day flight to SIN and over night to Europe suits me, but on SQ ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 95

In '74 the Qantas flight to Athens and ( I think) Rome also went via Mumbai.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 386

Air India needs those new seats and needs those new planes too, but it also has to dramatically lift its standards for meals and service and just generally become a proper 'world class' airline. It's got a lot of potential.

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 55

i hope to god they do something abt the garish and tacky design choices 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Mar 2022

Total posts 13

Was very impressed flying Vistara recently - even with no status and a discount economy ticket. With Tata now combining the airlines, along with Singapore Airlines' continuing input, there's a lot of potential internationally and domestically for a strong *A presence, especially with India's forecast economic growth 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

19 Jul 2014

Total posts 29

It can only get better, hopefully..


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