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Air India-General Knowledge



 Air India    

Air India is one of the flag carrier airlines of India, whose headquarter is located at New Delhi. The airlines is owned by Air India Limited, a government owned enterprise. The Air India airlines operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft which serves in 102 domestic and international destinations. 

The hub of Air India is situated at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, alongside several focus cities across India. with an 18.6% market share, Air India is the largest international carrier out of India. The airline serves over 60 international destination across four continents. On July 11, 2014, Air India became the 27th member of Star Alliance. 

Founded as Tata Airlines by J.R.D. Tata in 1932, The airlines became Air India after the World War II as it became a public limited company. Mr. Tata himself flew its first single-engine de Haviland Puss Moth aircraft carrying air mail from Karachi's Drigh Road Aerodrome to Bombay's Juhu aerodrome and later continuing to Madras(present day Chennai). On February 21, 1960, Air India had its first Boeing 707 delivered, this aircraft was named as Gauri Shankar. The new aircraft made the company the first Asian airline to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. During 2000-01, several attempts were made to privatise Air India, Indian Airlines was merged with Air India which made the company suffer loss from 2006 onwards. 

The logo of the airline consist of a flying swan with the wheel of Konark inside it and the mascot of Air India is the Maharajah (Emperor). The airlines also operates flights to Asian destinations through its subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express. 

History of Air India

In the very beginning Air India was working as Tata Air Services which got its name changed to Tata Airlines. J.R.D Tata of Tata Sons, who was also an Indian aviator and business Tycoon, founded the company. In April 1932, Tata won a contract to carry mail for Imperial Airways which led to the foundation of Tata Sons aviation department with two single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth aircraft. On 15 October 1932, Tata flew a Puss Moth carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay( present day Mumbai) and the flight continued till Madras(present day Chennai), Tata left piloting of the Puss Moth in Bombay, Nevil Vintcent, a former Royal Airforce pilot and friend of Tata took the command of the aircraft from Bombay to Chennai. 

Initial services included weekly airmail service between Karachi and Madras via Ahmedabad and Bombay. In its first year of operation, Tata Air Services  flew 2,60,000 km i.e., 160,000 miles while carrying 155 passengers and 10.71 tons i.e., 9.72 tonnes of mail and made a profit of Rupees 60,000 i.e., $840. 

 First domestic flight of Air India.

As Tata Airlines, the first domestic flight was launched from Bombay to Trivandrum with a six-seater Miles Merlin. In 1938 the airline company was re-christened as Tata Air Services and later as Tata Airlines. New destinations were added, Colombo in Ceylon and Delhi were added in the year 1938. The airline also served in the World War II, it helped the Royal Air Force with troop movements, rescue of refugees, shipping of supplies and maintenance of aircraft. 

Tata Airlines to Air India

On 29 July 146, Tata Airlines became a public limited company under the name Air India, after the Indian independence the company's 49% was acquired by the government of India in 1948 and on the same year on June 8, 1948, the airline had its first international flight, a Lockheed Constellation L-749A  named Malabar Princess registered as VT-CQP took off from Bombay bound for London Heathrow. 

Though the government of India bought majority of stake in the carrier from Tata Sons, J.R.D Tata continued as the chairman of the airline till 1977. The company was then renamed as Air India International limited and all of its domestic services were given to Indian Airlines as a part of a restructuring. International flights to major European destinations such as Rome, Paris and Dusseldorf and Nairobi in Kenya was introduced during 1948 to 1950. Services to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo was introduced when the airline got its first Lockheed Constellation L-1049. On 14 May 1962, Air India inaugurated its services to New York City. The airline name was officially truncated to Air India on 8 June 1962 and on 11 June 1962, Air India became the world's first all-jet airline. 

Accident and Incidents of Air India 

  • The first fatal accident of the airline happened on 27 December, 1947, when a Douglas DC-3 carrying nineteen passengers and four crew members crashed after it took-off from Karachi international Airport. The accident occurred due to instrument failure when the plane was heading towards Bombay. The crash killed all on board. 

  • On January 1, 1978, Air India flight-855, Emperor Ashoka an Boeing 747-200B crashed into the Arabian sea after it took off from Mumbai airport, the crash killed all 119 people along with 24 crew members on board.
  •  On 13 December 1950, a Douglas DC-3 which took off from Bombay and was flying towards Coimbatore and carrying 17 passengers and four crew members crashed into high ground near Kotagiri due to a navigational error, the crash killed all on board.
  • On 15 September, 1951 another Douglas DC-3, carrying 23 passenger along with four crew members crashed on take-off while it was travelling from Bangalore to Trivandrum, the crash killed a crew member.
  • On May 9, 1953, Douglas DC-3 registered as VT-AUD crashed after it took-off from Delhi, the crash killed all thirteen passengers and five crew members on board. 
  • On 7 May 1990, Air India flight 132 which was a Boeing 747-200B was flying on the London-Delhi-Bombay route was carrying 215 people. when the plane was all set to land, during the touch down at Delhi Airport the aircraft caught fire due to a failure of an engine pylon-to-wing attachment. There were no fatalities but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and the aircraft was written off.  

Air India in Guinness Book of world Records

During a mission Air India entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by civil airline company. the number of people evacuated was over 1,11,000. the mission was to safely bring the people from Amman to Mumbai. The distance between these two places is 4,117 kilometres i.e., 2,558 miles. from 13 August to 11 October 1990, 488 flights were operated in order to complete the mission which was to rescue Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq during Persian Gulf War. This event was later featured in the film Airlift. 

The airline was also involved into Vande Bharat Mission which was to rescue and evacuate Indian citizens from other countries during the Covid-19 lockdown. The mission started on 7 May 2020. 

Conclusion

Air India is one of the largest operating airlines of the world, with both international and domestic services the airline has a market share of 18.6%. The headquarters of Air India is located at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and. It became the 27th member of the Star Alliance and the first airlines in the world which had all jet powered aircrafts. 

At first the airline was a part of Tata Sons and later became Tata airlines, during this time J.R.D Tata flew the first plane from Karachi airport to Bombay which went further to Madras (Present Day Chennai). Later the airline was named to Air India and several attempts were made to privatise the company, the government of India acquired 49% of the airline after the independence. 

The airline also participated in several missions in one of which it entered in the Guinness Book of World Record.      

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