National carrier Air India has reportedly narrowed down its search for creative agencies to four following a multi-agency pitch. The strong contenders in the race to be empanelled include DraftFCB Ulka, RK Swamy BBDO, Mudra and Lowe Lintas. It maybe recalled that in July 2009, Air India had called for the initial round of the pitch, while in October 2009, the final rounds had taken place.
When contacted, sources at Air India denied any such development, but informed that they were still in talks with few agencies. However, industry sources claimed that the decision had been taken and it was believed that the four agencies – DraftFCB Ulka, RK Swamy BBDO, Mudra and Lowe Lintas – were among the strong contenders for being empanelled to handle the creative business of Air India.
As for the media part of the business, a decision is yet to be taken, however, it is believed that the media business could be allotted to the media agencies of the respective creative agencies that are empanelled.
Out of the four agencies, RK Swamy BBDO and Mudra will be retaining the business, while Prem Associates and Thompson Connect were among the agencies that were on the Air India roster.
The account size couldn’t be ascertained at the time of filing this report, but it is believed to be substantial.
Air India Ltd is state-owned and administered as part of the National Aviation Company of India Ltd, which was created in 2007 to facilitate Air India’s merger with Indian Airlines. It is the 16th largest airline in Asia. Air India was founded by JRD Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd (now Tata Group).
Air India’s current subsidiaries include Air India Cargo, a separate division that provides air cargo services with a dedicated fleet, and Air India Express, a low-cost airline that operates flights mainly to the Middle East. With the merger of Indian Airlines and its subsidiary – Air India Regional – into Air India, these two airlines also became subsidiaries of Air India.