Air India is the flag carrier airline of India owned by Air India Limited (AIL), a Government of India enterprise. It is the third largest airline in India (after IndiGo and Jet Airways) in domestic market share, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving various domestic and international airports. It is headquartered at the Indian Airlines House in New Delhi. Air India has two major domestic hubs at Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, and secondary hubs at Chennai International Airport and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata. The airline formerly operated a hub at Frankfurt Airport which was terminated on account of high costs. However, another international hub is being planned at the Dubai International Airport.
Air India was once the largest operator in the Indian subcontinent with a market share of over 60%. Indifferent financial performance and service, labor trouble pushed it to fourth place in India, behind low cost carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet, and its full service rival Jet Airways. Between September 2007 and May 2011, Air India’s domestic market share declined from 19.2% to 14%, primarily because of stiff competition from private Indian carriers. However, after financial restructuring and enforcement of strict rules and regulations, the airlines showed signs of turning around. In March 2013, the airlines posted its first positive EBITDA after almost 6 years. The airlines bolstered its financial and physical performance with a 44 per cent slash in its operating losses in 2013-14 and an almost 20 per cent growth in its operating revenue since the previous financial year. As of January 2014, Air India is the third largest carrier in India, after IndiGo and Jet Airways with a market share of just above 19%.
The airline was invited to be a part of the Star Alliance in 2007. Air India completed the merger with Indian Airlines and some part of the agreed upgrades in its service and membership systems by 2011. In August 2011, Air India’s invitation to join Star Alliance was suspended as a result of its failure to meet the minimum standards for the membership. However, in October 2011, talks between the airline and Star Alliance resumed. On 13 December 2013, Star Alliance announced that Air India and the alliance have resumed the integration process and the airline became the 27th member of Star Alliance on 11 July 2014.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Its variants seat 242 to 335 passengers in typical 3-class seating configurations. It is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 was designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is replacing. The 787 Dreamliner’s distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. It shares a common type rating with the larger Boeing 777, allowing qualified pilots to operate both models, due to related design features.