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Air India – Most trusted brand in Indian aviation? Are you serious ?

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At the outset I would like to point out that I don’t have anything against Air India, Economic Times or AC Nielsen. I got the idea of this post after reading the recent article about Air India being voted as the most trusted brand in Indian aviation by the Economic Times survey of Most Trusted Brands. Yes you heard it right – Air India is the MOST TRUSTED BRAND IN INDIAN AVIATION !

AirIndia[1]

To be honest, I don’t buy it, but before I say that let us first analyze the survey a little.

The methodology of the survey includes these basic points –

  • Brands are evaluated on relatedness, perceived popularity, quality connotation, distinctiveness or uniqueness, value for money that it offers and repurchase intent
  • Other factors include sales, media and retail visibility and also market and trade feedback
  • Sample includes SEC A, SEC B and SEC C constituent of the population in Urban India

Taking these factors into account, the survey was conducted in one Class 1 town (population between 5 and 10 lakh) and one Class 2 town (population between 50,000 and one lakh) in each geographic zone.

Physical problems in the planes, employee strikes, Unsavory incidents aboard plane, problems with the merger with Indian Airlines and above all a financial mess – Air India has seen it all in the last couple of years. So one really wonders as to how it can be regarded as the most trusted brand in Indian aviation with all these problems to boot.

This led me to analyze each and every point on the basis of which the survey was done. The conclusions below may not be same for everyone else.

Relatedness

This point is based on whether the brand evokes warmth or friendliness. Truth be told – Whenever I have encountered staff at Air India – be it ground staff or those in the air, I have never faced a feeling or warmth or welcoming hospitality. The employees treat the passengers in such a way that they are doing a service by treating us passengers well rather than pampering us.

Perceived popularity

The market share which is a good way of determining popularity shows that Air India has lost the first and second spots to Jet and Kingfisher respectively. Its soon set to lose the third spot to Indigo

Quality connotation

 In terms of quality it has gone down drastically in service, overall ambience, safety standards – everything. The fact that its new Boeing flights overseas to the West are pretty good in terms of quality cannot rule out the fact that its quality is suffering

Distinctiveness

 Is there anything unique or distinctive which Air India has to offer? I seriously doubt it.

Value for Money

 With the coming in of other low cost airline options, Air India doesn’t have any differentiation through its value for money offer. Infact, under normal circumstances, their prices are much higher than low cost airlines.

Repurchase Intent

– The fact that the market share has fallen drastically proves that the repeat flyers on Air India are decreasing drastically

Other factors

– Going through the above points has also resulted in a detrimental effect on Sales, Media presence, visibility and customer feedback

I don’t doubt Economic Times or AC Nielsen. But, once you analyze all these factors, he / she would surely wonder on what basis Air India has been given the crown of the most trusted brand in Indian aviation.

I often hear that these surveys and awards are rigged – and entities pay to get the top spot. After seeing these kind of surveys, I sometimes really think it must be true..

What do you think?

  1. Axle Blaze says

    That's right, Air India has been wrongly called "The most trusted brand in Indian aviation".

  2. Axle Blaze says

    That's right, Air India has been wrongly called "The most trusted brand in Indian aviation".

  3. Abhishek says

    A well researched article. I have no intention of travelling with these “patriotic” carrier as long as private airlines are operating. Survey results seem to be fixed !!!

  4. Altaf Rahman says

    And yes !! While critical of their service, I have to agree on one aspect which I forgot to mention (like my comments in other article on the same subject). Their catering ! Their food is better than most of the otehr airlines. I still rate their biryani the best over any otehr food served on any otehr airline.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      hehehe I completely agree on tht ;)

  5. Altaf Rahman says

    I would like to put my two paisa here as the discussion has brought the ‘other side’ of the views.

    My views on topic discussed
    Subject : The above comment highlights the “service” done to the nation by launching rescue operations in Leh while other airlines are solely concentrating on profitable sectors.
    When Air India and Indian Airlines were set up in the socialist environment, they were given monopoly over the air. No private operators were allowed till last decade.
    So doing social service is not a meherbani of Air India. They have enjoyed the monopoly for long time. During this monololy period, they (owners who are govt politicians and the staff pilots, crew, ground staff) have developed a pathetic approach towards their bread and butter, just like any government job. The approach is “Once you are in any govt job, nobody can remove you for inefficiency and you can retire after 60 or 65 at your own convenience”
    What I am trying to say is while Air India offered social commitments, they also got favors (monopoly status) all the while.
    When the sector was opened to private sector, they already have first mover advantage. Still they failed to adjust to reality. Even today they offer such pathetic service. Just critisizing an Indian outfit stating the pathetic service can not be construed as being “unpatriotic”.
    I have suffered at the hands of Air India and Indian Airlines for almost 13 years (I had no alternatives I had to go by these airlines). When I shifted to a place for work where I had a choice, I never travelled by these “patriotic” “pathetic” airlines again since 2006.
    I can not say Air India is best while they dont have decency (ground staff or crew or ticket sale point staff or baggage staff) just becasue they offered rescue mission in Leh.

    My view on Air India rated best airlines :
    Well!! As this is a survey result. It can be rigged (usual nowadays), it can be genuine (may be as the author states the 8,000 people who polled happen to get some special service while the whole lot who suffered may not have voted) I have no comment except this : I had no chance of voting int he poll, otehrwise I would have voted against Air India. (If no one thetened me that voting against Air India will be construed as being unpatriotic)

    My views hold for the other sectors also.
    Like banks. As long as PSU banks were the only option, every one suffered. When private operators entered the fray, the service scnario changed. You can say opening an account in a private sector bank is unpatriotic and selling soul to the temptations of unscrupulous private banks – so be it.

    People critical of this article on the percieved view that writing against anything India even for reasonable facts is being unpatriotic, may continue with the patriotic services of PSU units. But they can not stop people from voicing their view.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Really balanced comment from you…

      Criticising a national airline or anything to do with India doesnt necessarily mean one is being unpatriotic..

  6. Guruchetan Virdi says

    The fact you or any other media person has got the time to read and derogate Air India and also the negative sentiments created by media makes one thiink so.
    1. Why is Air India the most talked about airline?(Agreed to your tax payer’s money sentiment, still think about it! why so many contrasts, )

    2. Despite all the media back ups and caveats about other Airlines, AI has also never bothered to bog down to mighter than sword critics.

    3. Facts : More than 75 yrs old, it has come along a long way depicting a progressing India/ Bread and Butter of 30 k plus professionals with knowledge unmatched to any other airlines staff. Also does the over hauling , maintainence , repair of other airline’s planes. Also training their Operational Crew/Staff.

    Having all the facilities and resources, it has all the imprints of being a world class airline. Request the Media to concentrate on making it one than breaking one.

    The Company despite so many odds and thumbs down, still standing, still awaits its God father.

  7. Guruchetan Virdi says

    The fact you or any other media person has got the time to read and derogate Air India and also the negative sentiments created by media makes one thiink so.
    1. Why is Air India the most talked about airline?(Agreed to your tax payer’s money sentiment, still think about it! why so many contrasts, )

    2. Despite all the media back ups and caveats about other Airlines, AI has also never bothered to bog down to mighter than sword critics.

    3. Facts : More than 75 yrs old, it has come along a long way depicting a progressing India/ Bread and Butter of 30 k plus professionals with knowledge unmatched to any other airlines staff. Also does the over hauling , maintainence , repair of other airline’s planes. Also training their Operational Crew/Staff.

    Having all the facilities and resources, it has all the imprints of being a world class airline. Request the Media to concentrate on making it one and breaking one.

    The Company despite so many odds and thumbs down, still standing, still awaits its God father.

  8. Mithun John Jacob says

    There are 3 kinds of lies in this world…Lies, Damned lies and Statistics.

    Surveys are part of statistics, Right ?

  9. samik bhattacharya says

    It is hardly a surprise that the clan of reverse-patriots like Mr Rastofi- the ‘aspiring novelist’ finds it very convenient to buy popularity by denouncing anything that has got something to do with India. They find it eminently fashionable to put their country and its assets and organisations to shame to earn cheap popularity. The decades of yeomen’s service that the national airline has been extending to the nation as its second line of defence in spite of being a commercial airline will obviously fall flat to these dumbheads- who have sold their souls to the temptations of unscrupulous private carriers (the ones who hike their fares four times when there is a real crisis – recent instance being private airlines hiking fares to evacuate stranded passengers from a devastatede Leh) vis-a-vis the national carrier which lowered its fares and flew in relief material to bail out stranded victims there. There are so many instances of selfless service offered by Air India – which the voice of the nation has acknowledged by adjudging it as the Most Trusted Airline. The blogger may go to any extent to play down the importance of the national carrier but his perverted vision- is , luckily, not shared by the mind set of the greatest democracy in the world. So, lets stop acting as agents of private players and start adopting an objective, unbiased view in judging an enitity not for its hollow glitz and glamour but for the integrity of its soul- something that may seem to be an alien idea to this ‘aspiring novelist’…

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Sir,

      I would like to point out certain facts here –

      1. I completely agree on the point of Air India providing service to us when no others did for eg: in Leh or in another crisis

      2. My post here deals with the way the Economic Times makes it survey. The points mentioned have been directly taken from Economic Times on the basis of which it makes the survey

      3. I am not a supporter or one who hates any of the airlines be it Air India or any other private players neither I am in any way affliated to them by way of my work or any other family member

      4. FYI, what you call mindset of the largest democracy is just 8,000 people who have signed for this survey. 8000 out of more than a billion. Just giving you some facts.

      5. All the facts I have pointed out here have been researched well and put forward as that’s been my experience and the other facts like market share and all are ones which do exist. But you are entitled to your views. My view on this post is not to make anyone agree or disagree. Its just something which I analysed and it didn’t really match the perception what people have.

      6. And FYI, I would like to point out that I am an Indian living here for the past so many years and studying here and also would like to work in this country for many more years to come. If I had to denounce everything Indian, I would have by now been on a flight to the US or any other country for that matter.

      And yes I don’t really understand what my being an aspiring novelist has got to do with this whole post.

      I would just like to say that I have a point of view and it is not to put anyone down. If you don’t agree its fine. But please refrain from judging my Indianness or my being an aspiring novelist in things like that. For further details you can read my blog if you wish

      aseemrastogi2.wordpress.com

      1. Anita says

        Well written reply to Mr. Samik!! Looks like Mr. Samik sees things only from a patriotic point of view and not from a balanced point of view. We all are Indians and criticising Air India doesnt mean that blogger is anti Indian.

        Before using this kind of language, Mr. Samik should have read the blog carefully.

  10. Mudit kalra says

    I completely 100 % agree on what you said.

  11. shailesh Agrawal says

    Cent percent agree with you. Thanks for pointing it out. Lets make it big.

  12. business news by neel says

    I completely agree with the conclusion given in this post. Yes, certainly some other factors are to be considered. Some other companies in Aviation sector are performing very good.

  13. Yaamini says

    Personally speaking even i dont buy it. I completely agree with the points you have mentioned. Its hard to believe how Air india can be the most trusted brand in the aviation industry when it has done actually nothing to improve their quality of services. Today many other Airlines offer better services and the air fares are much cheaper. ot only these also the hospitality of some of these airlines are so good that you feel really comfortable with them. I personally have never experienced any such comfort with Air india

  14. Rahul @ MazaKaro says

    But kingfisher is also a good brand.

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