Friday, July 21, 2023

Wings of Progress; A Journey Through India's Milestones In Aviation

The history of Indian aviation is an awe-inspiring saga of determination, innovation, and remarkable achievements. Over the years, the Indian aviation industry has witnessed numerous milestones that have transformed the way people travel and connect within the country and beyond.

From humble beginnings to becoming the world’s third-largest domestic aviation market after the US and China, India has overcome challenges and achieved remarkable feats.  India’s domestic air passenger traffic grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12% between 2010 and 2019, reaching approximately 341 million passengers in 2019. Post Covid numbers are looking bright again, and analysts are hoping, we would surpass them in 2023.

On February 18, 1911, India’s aviation journey took flight when a French pilot, Henri Pequet, piloted the first commercial aircraft from Allahabad to Naini. The journey covered 10 kilometres and lasted a mere 23 minutes.

On October 15, 1932, J.R.D. Tata founded Tata Airlines, which later became Air India. It was the first Indian airline to operate regular mail and passenger services within the country. Air India played a pivotal role in connecting various parts of the country and promoting tourism and trade. It went on to become the flag carrier of India and played a significant role in shaping the Indian aviation industry.

In 1953, the Government of India nationalised the airline industry, leading to the establishment of Indian Airlines. This move aimed to consolidate the aviation sector and provide better services to the public. Indian Airlines became the primary domestic carrier, ensuring connectivity to various regions of the country. The introduction of jet aircraft in the 1960s revolutionised air travel in India. Indian Airlines introduced the Boeing 707 jetliner, which enabled faster and more comfortable journeys, reducing travel times significantly.

The 1990s witnessed a significant milestone in Indian aviation with the introduction of economic reforms. The government liberalised the sector in 1994, allowing private airlines to enter the market. This decision led to the emergence of airlines such as Jet Airways, SpiceJet, and IndiGo, which brought competition, improved services, and expanded connectivity. This period also saw a significant focus on airport infrastructure development.

21/07/2023 Kashif Khusro/Free Press Journal

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