About Us

History

Air India is India's national flag carrier. Although air transport was born in India on February 18, 1911 when Henri Piquet, flying a Humber bi-plane, carried mail from Allahabad to Naini Junction, some six miles away, the scheduled services in India, in the real sense, began on October 15, 1932. It was on this day that J.R.D. Tata, the father of Civil Aviation in India and founder of Air India, took off from Drigh Road Airport, Karachi, in a tiny, light single-engined de Havilland Puss Moth on his flight to Mumbai (then known as Bombay) via Ahmedabad.

He landed with his precious load of mail on a grass strip at Juhu. At Mumbai, Neville Vintcent, a former RAF pilot who had come to India from Britain three years earlier on a barn-storming tour, during which he had surveyed a number of possible air routes, took over from J.R.D.Tata and flew the Puss Moth to Chennai (then Madras) via Bellary.

Tata Airlines
Tata Airlines, as Air India was then known, consisted of one Puss Moth, one Leopard Moth, one palm-thatched shed, one whole time pilot assisted by Tata and Vintcent, one part-time engineer, two apprentice-mechanics and unlimited optimism.

In 1933, the first full year of its operations, Tata Airlines flew 160,000 miles, carried 155 passengers and 10.71 tonnes of mail. Tata Airlines was converted into a Public Company under the name of Air India in August 1946.

Going Global

By the beginning of 1947, Air India turned its attention to the international scene. Towards the end of the year, an agreement was reached with the Government of India for the formation of Air India International Limited to operate international services.

At Air India's request, the Government agreed to limit their capital participation to 49 per cent, subject to an option to acquire, at any time, a further two per cent from Air India.

Air India International, which was registered on March 8, 1948, inaugurated its international services on June 8, 1948, with a weekly flight from Mumbai to London via Cairo and Geneva with a Lockheed Constellation aircraft.

Nationalisation
The early '50s saw the financial condition of various airlines operating in India deteriorate to such an extent that the Government decided to step in and nationalise the air transport industry and accordingly two autonomous Corporations were created on August 1, 1953.

Indian Airlines was formed with the merger of eight domestic airlines to operate domestic services, while Air India International was established to operate the overseas services.

The word 'International' was dropped in 1962. Effective March 1, 1994, the airline has been functioning as Air India Limited.

From a total of three stations served at the time of nationalisation, Air India's worldwide network today covers 44 destinations by operating services with its own aircraft and through code-shared flights. Updated information can be accessed by clicking here. (Air India today