Friday, October 01, 2021

Air India bid: How the Maharaja fell from the skies

Air India (AI) was created by industrialist JRD Tata and it undertook its first international flight in 1948. At the time many people thought that it was a crazy idea for AI to start operations on the India-UK sector as it was dominated by airlines like KLM, Air France and Imperial Airways, which were all established players on the route. In 1948, a brand new Lockheed Constellation L-749 made its first Mumbai-Geneva-London flight, flying in Air India International’s colours. In 1953, the Air Corporation Act came into being and created two airlines—Air India International and Indian Airlines Corporation (IAC), the forerunner of Indian Airlines. The idea was that Air India would fly on international routes while IAC would fly on domestic routes. Over the years, AI inducted many more aircraft in its fleet and started flying to virtually all parts of the globe. AI also has the distinction of being the first airline from Asia to fly the Boeing 707 aircraft in the early 1960s. Its mascot, the portly Maharaja, captured AI’s journey across the globe. 

However, the good times for Air India and Indian Airlines were soon to come to an end. Read how >>

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