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Aviation: quirky facts

Indian civil aviation started in 1912 when the London-Karachi flight of Imperial Airways (UK) was extended from Karachi to Delhi.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2008 19:47 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

Indian civil aviation started in 1912 when the London-Karachi flight of Imperial Airways (UK) was extended from Karachi to Delhi.

At the time of Independence, India had nine airlines, before Orient Airways shifted to Pakistan.

In 1948, government established Air India International Ltd in a joint venture with Air India (formerly Tata Airlines) with a capital of Rs 2 crore and three Lockheed Constellation aircraft. It was nationalised in 1953.

J.R.D. Tata brought the first airline to India in 1932 and piloted its inaugural flight.

After Independence, World War II-abandoned Dakotas were available for Rs 10,000 and many rich hobby fliers became aircraft owners.

In the early '90s, eight airlines came into existence following the open sky policy. These include NEPC Airlines, Skyline NEPC, Jet Air, Archana Airways, Sahara India Airlines, Modiluft, Damania Airways and East West Airlines.

The private sector had 34 aircraft and India's total fleet was 75 in mid-1996. All operators except Jet and Sahara suspended operations by 1996 because of non-availability of aircraft and lack of financial muscle to pull along.