Monday, June 08, 2020

Air India Celebrates 72 Years Of International Flights

Today, Air India is celebrating 72 years since its first international flight. Its very first overseas service took place on June 8th, 1948. The milestone comes as commercial flights to and from India remain banned due to the current crisis.
Indian airlines are currently restricted in the flights that they can operate. While the country has allowed domestic flights to resume, international flights are mostly off-limits. An exception exists for a limited schedule of government-sanctioned repatriation flights to India. While it remains unclear when international flights will resume, many are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to return to India.
Today marks the 72nd anniversary of Air India’s international flights. The first service that the Indian carrier operated flew from Bombay to London. However, unlike today’s direct non-stop flights, this flight was not undertaken in one hop.
Indeed, it took three stops to complete the 5,000-mile journey to London in 1948. The flight first operated from Bombay (Mumbai) to Cairo, the longest leg at around 2,700 miles. The second leg saw a slightly shorter 1,760 mile hop from Cairo to Geneva.
Finally, the aircraft completed its shortest flight of the journey, just under 500 miles to London. Although the plane departed India on June 8th, it didn’t arrive in London until June 10th. The route now takes around ten hours non-stop.
The flight was operated by an Air India Lockheed L-749 Constellation aircraft. With the registration VT-CQP, the plane was known as the Malabar Princess. According to Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, 35 passengers were on the flight, including the famous Indian aviator J.R.D. Tata.
Unfortunately, the original aircraft that operated Air India’s first international flight is no more. It was destroyed flying the same route just over two years later. On the leg between Cairo and Geneva, the aircraft crashed into Mont Blanc on its descent. All 48 onboard perished in the accident.
08/06/20 Simple Flying
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