Air-India steps up marketing in face of competition

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BOMBAY -- State-run international airline Air-India has introduced a new offer of free flights for a traveling companion, broke a new print campaign and launched a Web site as part of measures to increase its business, now under serious pressure from foreign rivals.

Passengers on the airline's first and executive classes will be entitled to fly to Tokyo or Osaka with a companion, who won't have to pay on condition that both have the same itinerary while going; they can return separately.

The new companion-free offer coincides with the introduction of bigger Boeing 747-400 aircraft instead of the smaller 747-200s. Air-India is keen to fill these aircraft in the face of stiff competition from other carriers like All Nippon Airways.

The beleaguered Air-India, which suffered a loss of $56 million on revenues of $1 billion in 1995, recently tapped Lowe Group affiliate ad agency Enterprise Nexus Communications, Bombay, for a new print campaign. The airline says it will continue to use long-time agency Hindustan Thompson Associates, Bombay, and is only trying the new shop for a one-off exercise.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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