India will make a renewed attempt to change the registration codes of civilian aircraft that begin with the initials VT (for Viceroy Territory), seen as a legacy of the country’s colonial past.
The VT code, stamped on the side of all India-registered planes, has been in use since 1929. It was retained by India after Independence even as other once-colonised countries like Pakistan, Fiji and Nepal opted for a revision.
The government has now decided to take a fresh look into the matter. “We are examining it,” aviation secretary RN Choubey told Hindustan Times.
A source in the aviation ministry said many feel continuing to use the VT code was odd. “We are planning to take up the issue with the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” he added.
“VT brings the British Raj to mind. What sense does it make for India to retain the code when most of the other countries with a colonial past have already got it changed? It should have been done away with a long time ago,” said an industry expert on the condition of anonymity.
This isn’t the first time India is mulling such a move. A similar attempt a few years ago met with little success because no code signifying India was up for grabs.
“We were keen on codes like IN for India, BH for Bharat or even HI for Hindustan. But we found they were already in use,” said another source.
However, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar – who owns a Bombardier 350 corporate jet and a Cessna 172 Skyhawk – isn’t amused by the move to change the registration code. “VT is an intrinsic part of India’s rich civil aviation history. We are known as VT across the world. The code means Victor Tango to us. Changing it now would be a waste of time and energy,” he said.