New code for IA and Alliance Air

New Delhi: From 0001 hours tonight, Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Alliance Air will become history as the national carrier will now operate all its domestic and international flights with single code `AI`.

"Henceforth, all national and international flights, numbering nearly 100, will fly under the `AI` code, thereby making the `IC` code history from midnight tonight," an Air India spokesperson said.

All Air India flights departing after 0001 hour February 27 will be with the new mapped AI flight number, he said.

In 2007, erstwhile doemstic carriers Indian Airlines and its subisdiary Alliance Air were merged with Air India to form the corporate entity called the National Aviation Company of India (NACIL).

Despite the merger, Air India was operating its domestic flights with IC code of erstwhile Indian Airlines and CD code of Alliance Air. However, international flights were operating with AI code.

"I am happy to share that `we are one`. This was much awaited. It is a historic moment. Tonight`s migration into AI code strengthens our resolve to emerge as the country`s singular national carrier," Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav said.

The migration to a single code `AI` will bring in a lot of benefits to the passengers and they would be able to enjoy seamless travel all over the world, he said, adding it would also facilitate Air India`s entry into Star Alliance – thus giving Air India passengers access to 1,160 airports and 181 destinations.

The migration to the new system began in the early hours today. The airline`s website remained shut and no bookings could be made through it, despite Air India making special arrangements for emergencies with regard to new bookings, changes, frequent flyer redemption, refunds and ticketing.

The integration would help the cash-strapped national carrier, which suffered losses of Rs 5,551 crore in 2009-10 and around Rs 1,700 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal, to reduce some of its administrative costs.

The airline management has deployed a large number of executives at airports to assist passengers, put up stands about change in flight codes and also distributed colourful leaflets at all airports to keep the passengers updated.