16th April 2024

Commercial and civil aviation in India

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Aviation in India

Aviation in India

The history of commercial and civil aviation in India dates back to 18 February 1911. Frenchman Henri Pequet flew a biplane from Allahabad to Naini with about 6,500 letters to deliver. He covered the 10-km distance between the two cities in 13 minutes. This is considered the world’s first official airmail service.

In 1912, Indian Air Services Ltd collaborated with Imperial Airways, UK, and introduced the first domestic air route between Karachi and Delhi.

On 15 October 1932, the first Tata Sons ­flight – founded by J.R.D. Tata – flew from Karachi to Bombay and then to Madras. Neville Vincent, a former Royal Air Force pilot, was in charge of the airmail. Following the success of their first flight, the airline commenced another weekly airmail service between Karachi and Madras via Ahmedabad and Bombay. It had carried a total of 155 passengers and around nine tonnes of airmail over a distance of nearly 2,60,000 km in the very first year of its operation. Other feats included a domestic six-seater flight between Bombay and Trivandrum. The airline name, Tata Sons, changed twice – to Tata Air Services and later to Tata Airlines – before becoming Air India in 1946.

International aviation in India began on 8 June 1948, and the first flight flew to London Heathrow from Bombay. In 1960 Air India became the first Asian airline to operate a jet aircraft; it became the world’s first all-jet airline in the year 1962.

Air India began its first non-stop service in 1993 between Delhi and New York.

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