Early flight to India


1929 First Commercial Flight to India - click here

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Vintage airline adverts - click here




Modern civil Aviation in India traces back to 18 February 1911, when the first commercial civil aviation flight took off from Allahabad for Naini over a distance of 6 miles (9.7 km). During the Allahabad Exhibition, Henri Pequet, a French aviator, carried 6,500 pieces of mail on a Humber biplane from the exhibition to the receiving office at Allahabad. This is the world's first official airmail service.[8] On 15 October 1932, J.R.D. Tata flew a consignment of mail from Karachi to Juhu Airport. His airline later became Air India.[9]


In March 1953, the Indian Parliament passed the Air Corporations Act. India's airline industry was nationalised and the eight domestic airlines operating independently at that time – Deccan AirwaysAirways IndiaBharat AirwaysHimalayan AviationKalinga AirlinesIndian National Airways, Air India and Air Services of India – were merged into two government-owned entities. Indian Airlines focussed on domestic routes and Air India International on international services.[8] The International Airports Authority of India (IAAI) was constituted in 1972 while the National Airports Authority was constituted in 1986. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security was established in 1987 following the tragic crash of Air India Flight 182Pushpaka Aviation operated scheduled international passenger flights from Bombay to Sharjah, as an associate carrier of Air India from 1979 to 1983.


East-West Airlines was the first national-level private airline to operate in the country after the government de-regularised the civil aviation sector in 1991. The government allowed private airlines to operate charter and non-scheduled services under the ‘Air Taxi’ Scheme until 1994, when the Air Corporation Act was repealed and private airlines could now operate scheduled services. Private airlines like Jet AirwaysAir SaharaModiluftDamania Airways and NEPC Airlines among others commenced domestic operations during this period.[8]


Air India placed orders for more than 68 jets from Boeing for US$7.5 billion in 2006 while Indian placed orders for 43 jets from Airbus for US$2.5 billion in 2005.[10][11] Jet Airways invested millions of dollars to increase its fleet,[12] but was later put on hold due to the recent economic slowdown.[13]IndiGo announced orders for 100 Airbus A320s worth US$6 billion during the Paris Air Show, the highest by any Asian domestic carrier.[14] Kingfisher Airlines became the first Indian air carrier on 15 June 2005 to order Airbus A380 aircraft worth US$3 billion.[15][16]


More than half a dozen low-cost carriers entered the Indian market in 2004–05. Major new entrants included Air Deccan, Air Sahara, Kingfisher AirlinesSpiceJetGoAirParamount Airways and IndiGo. But Indian aviation industry struggled due to economic slowdown, rising fuel and operation costs. This led to consolidation, buy outs and discontinuations in the Indian airline industry. In 2007, Air Sahara and Air Deccan were acquired by Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines respectively. Paramount Airways ceased operations in 2010 and Kingfisher shut down in 2012. Etihad Airways agreed to acquire 24% stake in Jet in 2013. AirAsia India, a low-cost carrier operating as a joint venture between Air Asia and Tata Sons launched in 2014. Vistara, another carrier was established as a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. As of 2013–14, only IndiGo and GoAir were generating profits.[17]