In 1946, Tata Air Lines expanded from a division of Tata Sons into a company creating the need for a new identity as well. So far the Air Line company had functioned as a department of Tata Sons Ltd. Therefore, when they faced a problem in pinning down the right name for it, the Tatas turned to their employees to choose from four narrowed down options- Indian Airlines, Pan-Indian Airlines, Trans-Indian Airlines and Air-India.
In a recent tweet, the company shared the story behind the name of Air India and how they ended up choosing it in the first place.
(1/2):Back in 1946, when Tata Air Lines expanded from a division of Tata Sons into a company, we also had to name it. The choice for India’s first airline company came down to Indian Airlines, Pan-Indian Airlines, Trans-Indian Airlines & Air-India. #AirIndiaOnBoard #WingsOfChange pic.twitter.com/BKpmwyAMim— Tata Group (@TataCompanies) February 6, 2022
The follow-up tweet in the thread had a bulletin letter which revealed that the airline was named ‘Air India’ by the company’s employees. Over 75 years ago, when the choice had to be made among the four alternatives, the Head of the Tata organisation decided to involve the employees in the decision.
To the innately democratic mind of the head of the Tata organisation, it seemed a good idea to let the selection be made by popular opinion in Bombay House through a sort of Gallup Poll or Sample Opinion Survey.
-Tata Monthly Bulletin
Eventually, voting papers were distributed among employees to find out the views of representative sections. They had to mention their first and second preferences.
“The first count revealed 64 votes for Air-India, 51 for Indian Air Lines, 28 for Trans-Indian Air Lines and 19 for Pan-Indian Air Lines. When the less favoured names had been eliminated, the final count showed 72 votes for Air-India and 58 for Indian Air Lines,” the bulletin read.
And that’s how the first Indian airline, which was originally known as Tata Airlines, got its name.