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Civil Aviation in India Down The Ages

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By Team ADU

New Delhi. 07 December 2016.

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  • The first commercial flight in India took place between Ahmedabad and Naini, which is a distance of six miles, on February 18 in 1911. Flight officer Henri Piquet carried 6,500 mails on a Humber biplane.
  • In December 12, 1912, the British Imperial Airways started a London-Karachi-Delhi flight. This was the first international aeroplane service in India.
  • In 1930 Mrs Urmila K. Parikh opted for the adventurous career of becoming a pilot. She was the first Indian woman to obtain a pilot’s licence. After Independence, many more women turned towards aviation.
  • Tata Airlines was the first private Indian aviation company. Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, more popularly known as J. R. D. Tata, had set up India’s first commercial carrier, Tata Airlines, for mail and passengers under a palm-thatched roof at Juhu Airstrip in Mumbai in 1932. Tata himself flew the first leg of Tata Airlines’ inaugural Karachi-Madras (now Chennai) flight service.
  • Between 1933 and 1934 a number of private Indian airlines – Indian Trans Continental Airways, Madras Air Taxi Services, Indian National Airways commenced operations.
  • The Indian Aircraft Act was promulgated in 1934 and was formulated in 1937.
  • In 1940, industrialist Walchand Hirachand in association with the then Mysore Government set up Hindustan Aircraft at Bangalore. We today know this company as Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. or HAL.
  • India’s first aircraft, the Harlow trainer was rolled out for test flight in July 1941.
  • On April 2, 1942 the colonial government announced that Hindustan Aircraft had been nationalised by its buy-out of the stakes of Walchand Hirachand and other promoters.
  • In 1943 the Bangalore facility of HAL was handed over to the United States Army Air Force but still using HAL management. The factory expanded rapidly and became the centre for major overhaul and repair of American aircraft and was known as the 84th Air Depot. When returned to Indian control in 1945, HAL Bangalore had become one of the largest overhaul and repair facilities in the East.
  • The first commercial engine used in Tata Airlines was a single-engine, De Havilland Puss Moth. In the first year, Tata Airlines flew over 3,50,000 kilometre, carrying around 155 passengers and more than 10 tonnes of mails.
  • In 1945, Tata joined hands with the Nizam of Hyderabad to find Deccan Airways, India’s second domestic flight operator.
  • In 1948, Prem Mathur became the first woman to operate flights as a pilot for Deccan Airways. She obtained her commercial aviation pilot license in 1947.
  • In 1953 Indian Airlines Corporation was established and to begin its operation.
  • Durga Banerjee, who became the first pilot of Indian Airlines in 1956.
  • In 1981 Vayudoot was founded as a joint venture between Air India and Indian Airlines.
  • Saudamini Deshmukh was the first lady captain in the world to fly an all-women crew IATA schedule flight on Nov 27, 1985.
  • In 1993 Vayudoot was merged into Indian Airlines in 1993.
  • In 1996 Alliance Air (now Air India regional) was formed as a subsidiary of Indian Airlines.
  • In 2005 Indian Airlines was re-branded as “Indian”.
  • In 2011 Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) merged with Air India. Post merger, Alliance Air was renamed as “Air India Regional.”

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