Air India vs. Indian Airlines

What's the Difference?

Air India and Indian Airlines are both major airlines in India, but they differ in certain aspects. Air India is the national flag carrier and operates both domestic and international flights. It is known for its extensive network, luxurious services, and modern fleet. On the other hand, Indian Airlines primarily focuses on domestic routes and serves as a regional carrier within India. It offers a more budget-friendly option for travelers within the country. While Air India provides a premium experience with various amenities, Indian Airlines caters to a wider range of passengers with its affordable fares. Ultimately, both airlines contribute to the growth and connectivity of India's aviation industry.


Air India
Photo by Praveen Thirumurugan on Unsplash
AttributeAir IndiaIndian Airlines
HeadquartersNew DelhiNew Delhi
HubIndira Gandhi International AirportIndira Gandhi International Airport
DestinationsDomestic and InternationalDomestic and International
Fleet Size127123
AllianceStar AllianceNone
RevenueINR 25,509 crore (2019)INR 7,245 crore (2019)
Indian Airlines
Photo by Vishu Joo on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to air travel in India, two prominent names that come to mind are Air India and Indian Airlines. Both airlines have been serving the Indian aviation industry for several decades, offering domestic and international flights. While they share the common goal of providing air transportation services, there are several attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will compare the key features of Air India and Indian Airlines, including their fleet, network, services, and overall reputation.


One of the primary differences between Air India and Indian Airlines lies in their fleet composition. Air India boasts a larger and more diverse fleet, consisting of modern aircraft from renowned manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus. Their fleet includes wide-body planes like the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner, which offer enhanced passenger comfort and amenities. On the other hand, Indian Airlines primarily operates narrow-body aircraft like the Airbus A320, which are suitable for shorter domestic flights.

Air India's larger fleet size allows them to offer a wider range of flight options, including long-haul international routes. They have the capability to serve destinations across the globe, connecting major cities in India with popular international destinations. Indian Airlines, on the other hand, focuses primarily on domestic routes, connecting various cities within India.


When it comes to network coverage, Air India has a more extensive reach compared to Indian Airlines. Air India operates flights to over 90 destinations worldwide, including major cities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This global network enables passengers to travel seamlessly to various international destinations with Air India as their preferred carrier.

Indian Airlines, on the other hand, primarily focuses on domestic routes within India. They connect numerous cities across the country, ensuring convenient air travel options for domestic passengers. While their international network is limited, Indian Airlines does offer flights to neighboring countries in South Asia, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.


Both Air India and Indian Airlines strive to provide a comfortable and enjoyable flying experience for their passengers. However, Air India often stands out in terms of the services and amenities offered on board. Their long-haul flights feature spacious seating arrangements, in-flight entertainment systems, and a wide selection of meals to cater to diverse tastes and dietary requirements.

Indian Airlines, while not as extensive in terms of services, still ensures a pleasant journey for passengers. They offer complimentary meals and beverages on their flights, along with a warm and friendly cabin crew. However, the range of entertainment options and additional amenities may be more limited compared to Air India's offerings.


When it comes to reputation, both Air India and Indian Airlines have had their fair share of ups and downs. Air India, being the national carrier of India, has often been associated with a sense of pride and prestige. However, it has faced challenges in terms of financial stability and operational efficiency in the past.

Indian Airlines, on the other hand, has been known for its reliability and punctuality. It has maintained a strong track record of on-time performance, ensuring that passengers reach their destinations as scheduled. However, the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India in 2007 led to a transition period that affected the overall reputation of the airline.


In conclusion, Air India and Indian Airlines are two prominent airlines in India, each with its own unique attributes. Air India offers a larger and more diverse fleet, a global network, and a wide range of services, making it a preferred choice for international travelers. On the other hand, Indian Airlines focuses primarily on domestic routes, ensuring reliable and punctual service for domestic passengers. Both airlines have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them ultimately depends on the specific travel requirements and preferences of the passengers.

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