25 Vintage Air India Posters and the New Maharajah

India’s national carrier, Air India, first began operations way back in 1932 when it was founded by J. R. D. Tata, a French-born Indian aviator who holds the distinction of becoming India’s first licensed pilot in 1929.

Tata would go on to found several companies including Tata Motors under the Tata group which is now India’s most valuable brand at US$21 billion in 2014.

Air India’s iconic Maharajah has been given a complete makeover.


Air India was once the nation’s largest carrier, holding 60% of the market on the Indian subcontinent. Poor management, coupled with labor troubles has seen the quality of service drop over the years –along with Air India’s ranking to the fourth most used airline behind IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Jet Airways.

 Air India logo 1940s–2007

Air India logo 1940s–2007

In 2011 Air India merged with India Airlines with hopes of turning things around, but that same year it’s invitation to join the Star Alliance was suspended as a result of a failure to meet the minimum membership standards. It was eventually accepted in 2014.

The Air India Maharajah gets a makeover

Earlier this year the Air India’s iconic Maharajah, the portly figure in regal garb that has been the company brand rep for decades was given a complete makeover.


Now Air India passengers are greeted by  anew and younger version –the turban has bee ditched for spiky hair, jeans and sneakers.

“The new Maharajah is aligned with the modern times and with the new AI which is also trying to cut flab to become a lean commercial entity. The Maharajah now has a leaner, young, sporty and more dynamic look,” a senior AI official who handled the Maharajah’s makeover said in an announcement in January.

Old and New Maharajah Air India

Out with the richly adorned Maharajah and in with the new hip casual version. The makeover was born out of incoming Prime Minister Nodi’s desire to bring air travel within reach of the common man and not just a privilege for the rich.

In honor of the old Maharajah, here is a Throwback Thursday look at some classic Air India posters over the years.


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