Air India Rewards Midwest Partners with Awards

Chicago IL: Air India (AI) Midwest held its annual awards program for about 150 attendees on Friday, March 1, 2013 at Meadows Club, Rolling Meadows, IL. Guests were seated at tables allocated by their Indian city of origin. Regional manager for the Americas Riwo Norbu had flown in from New York to join Air India Midwest Manager Rishikant Singh in presenting plaques to travel agents, who had generated the most revenue for the airline for fiscal year 2011–2012. Guests were treated to a quiz, a game, photography sessions, and dinner, followed by dancing on the floor.

Rishikant Singh, who has 25 years of experience with AI, clarified that such recognition is an incentive to business partners to do even better and introduced Norbu, who quipped that he “expects a better performance next year.” Singh then introduced the rest of the Chicago AI team.

A rapid slideshow on the past achievements into the 81st year of service and current operations of India’s national carrier followed starting with the course charted out by JRD Tata’s vision and his maiden flight in 1932. Centered in Delhi and Mumbai, AI and its partners service more than fifty destinations with 101 operational aircraft including the new dreamliners. The carrier has been lauded for its humanitarian relief operations, especially its emergency evacuations that have benefited not only Indian nationals. The AI mission is to become the airline of choice in all the markets served. The presentation ran through a region-by-region breakdown of the current and planned global destinations, including via Alliance partners. Domestic Indian flights were covered and also the low cost arm Air India Express. The onboard facilities and allowances through the various classes of service were also touched upon. Most importantly perhaps it is now possible to fly Chicago-Delhi nonstop in just fifteen hours on Air India, which is of course the only trans-Atlantic carrier aboard which Indian festivals are celebrated with special menus.

The awards to the travel agents were presented by Norbu, Singh and Katherine Thorat. Agents were conferred awards in ascending order of performance starting with $1M award for gross ticket sales. The highest award for $11M went to Orbitz, followed by Airtours for $9M, Skybird Chicago $6M, Devon Travel $5M, and $3M Skybird DTW (Detroit). Direct Express, Krisbi Travel, R K Travel , and Aero Travel were the four agents receiving the $2M award, while six others were called up first to receive the $1M awards: Natraj Travel, Evia Travel, Skylink Chicago,, Skypass DFW (Dallas), and Riya Travel.

Tom Dempsey joined Norbu and Singh in presenting the cargo awards to Freight Systems, Inc.; Capricorn Logistics; OHL International; Geodis Wilson, Inc.; and Kintetsu World Express.

District Sales Manager Katherine Thorat thanked everyone, especially the Indian Consul NJ Gangte, partnering travel agents, airport provider services, Meadows Club, and the AI Regional Manager Norbu and the rest of the AI team.

Among the clients who resort to travel agents are a significant proportion of tourists, including growing numbers opting for exotic destinations. AI presented twenty scenic locations and monuments from around the globe, in order of decreasing familiarity, and the tables had to compete with each other in identifying the country and the specific scene. The winner was Hyderabad, with Nagpur and Bangalore tying for second place. This was followed, before dinner, by drawing lucky numbers in the game of Bingo, which put everyone in a lighthearted mood and some outrageous attempts at cheating greeted by good-humored booing.