JRD Tata was the first commercial pilot in the country. He got his pilot’s license on 10 February 1929. JRD first started Tata Airlines in India in 1932, which later transformed into Air India in 1946. However, in 1953, the government took it into its own hands. JRD Tata remained its director. Now that Air India is going through a bad phase, then Tata is taking over it again. It is expected that the fate of this oldest airline of India will be changed now.
Air India was born in April 1932. It was founded by the then industrialist JRD Tata. It started with the name of Tata Airservices. Then she used to work to bring airmail from Karachi to Mumbai. It had two single-engine PAS Mot aircraft, which were flown by Tata and his friend Neville Vincent. After this, he also started setting up passengers. Its name was changed to Tata Airlines.
There were no passengers on the first flight
JRD Tata later got his pilot’s license. But he took the first commercial flight on October 15 when he took a single-engined ‘Heaviland Puss Moth’ plane from Karachi to Mumbai via Ahmedabad. There were no passengers on this flight, but there were 25 kg letters. These letters were brought from London to Karachi by ‘Imperial Airways’. Imperial Airways used to be Britain’s princely aircraft carrier.
The company was made in 2 lakhs
The year 1933 was the first business year for Tata Airlines. The Tata Sons company, established at a cost of two lakhs, also carried 155 passengers and about 11 tonnes of mail in the same year. In a single year, Tata Airlines ships have covered a total of 160,000 miles. In the first year, he made a profit of Rs.60,000.
Four annas used to meet on every letter
The process of carrying mail regularly started. But the then British government in India did not give any financial help to Tata Airlines. Only four were allowed on each letter. A postage stamp had to be pasted for that too. When Tata felt that he could handle the airline business well, he started the first passenger flight from Mumbai to Trivandrum. This 06 seater aircraft was introduced by Miles Merlin. When JRD was showing interest in the airline, his company itself was not very sure about its success.
The problem increased in the rain
In the initial phase, Tata Airlines operated from a mud house near Juhu, Mumbai. A ground there was used as a ‘runway’. Whenever it rained or monsoon came, this ground was filled with water. At that time, Tata Airlines used to have two small single-engine airplanes, two pilots, and three mechanics. JRD Tata used to operate his airplane from Poona in case of waterlogging.
After this, services of Sri Lanka and Delhi were also started on the map for domestic passenger flights. It gradually became popular. However, challenges came during the Second World War. Then he helped the Royal Air Force of Britain. When the Second World War ended, Tata decided to enter the airline sector in a big way.
Became Air India
After the Second World War, when the airlines were restored, then on 29 July 1946, Tata Airlines became a public limited company and its name was changed to ‘Air India Limited’. After independence i.e. in the year 1947, the Government of India took a 49 percent stake in Air India.
In 1953, a new Air Traffic Corporation was formed in the country. Under this, the government nationalized it by buying more shares of Air India. JRDdata, however, remained its chairman till 1977. After nationalization, it split into two companies. One was Air India, which operated foreign flights and the other was Indian Air Lines, which handled domestic flights.
After this came the era of private airlines in the country. From the 90s, all the private operators in the country came into the aviation sector. Due to this competition and wrong decisions, Air India started to falter. She went on drowning in losses. Eventually, the government decided to sell it. Many companies had bid to take over Air India. But the news is telling that this big airline is going to Tata again and they will rebuild its fortunes.