Ashwini Phadnis As a special tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary, Air India will paint images of Mahatma Gandhi on its aircraft.

This is part of the two-year- long celebrations planned by the government; they will end on October 2, 2020.

The first of these aircraft should be ready in the next two weeks, a senior airline official said. Air India has a fleet of over 100 aircraft.

The airline also plans to play Gandhiji’s favourite bhajans on its flights apart from playing short videos on the Mahatma on it international flights.

Reinforcing goodwill

“Gandhiji is a global icon, and it is the right fit for the national airline to mark his 150th birth anniversary, even if it possibly won’t have any operational impact. It will certainly reinforce the goodwill for the nation,” said Devangshu Dutta, Chief Executive, Third Eyesight, a consulting firm.

Calling it a good move, Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, said the airline needs to imbue into its DNA the value represented by the line “timeliness is next to godliness. No better tribute than that.”

The government also plans to have Gandhiji’s pictures on trains, metro rail, and State roadways buses.

Incidentally earlier this year, Vistara paid tribute to its parent Tata Group turning 150 years by painting one of its aircraft in new colours, registering the aircraft with the same registration that the old Tata Airlines aircraft had and getting its cabin crew to wear uniforms of the 1950s and 1960s vintage. Vistara is a joint venture domestic airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.