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Air India is the state-owned flag carrier airline of India. Until the mid-2000s, it operated only long-haul routes. A second flag carrier airline, Indian Airlines, operated domestic and short-haul routes, unil they merged in 2007, with Indian Airlines ceasing operations in 2011. It has been a member of the Star Alliance since 2014 and also owns the low-cost airline Air India Express and the regional carrier Alliance Air (Air India Regional).

In October 2021, the Tata Group, which owned Air India until 1953, won a bid to take back control of the airline.

Tata Air Lines

1932–1946

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Businessman J.R.D. Tata founded Tata Air Lines in 1932 and renamed it to Air India in 1946. The airline was fully nationalised in 1953. The government held a monopoly on aviation until 1993, when the full-service airline Jet Airways started operations.

The Tata Group re-entered the aviation sector in 2014 with the launch of the low-cost carrier AirAsia India and the full-service carrier Vistara, which is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines. On 8 October 2021, the Tata Group won a bid to acquire Air India, Air India Express and its related companies, which may be merged with its existing airlines, AirAsia India and Vistara.

Air India

1946–2007

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2007–present

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Air India merged with short-haul flag carrier Indian Airlines in 2007 and unveiled a new logo and livery. All flights under the Indian (Airlines) brand and IC flight code were terminated on 26 February 2011.

Air India joined the Star Alliance on 11 July 2014, several years behind schedule. Since then, no airline has joined the alliance as a full, non-affiliate member.


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