When Air India Was Owned By Tata's
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A Sneak Peek Into History
Air India, the national carrier of our country was first owned by J R D Tata, who obtained the first pilot licence issued in India. Tata won a contract to carry mail for Imperial Airways in April 1932. Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long-range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe.The aviator Nevill Vintcent had an idea to run mail flights from Bombay and Colombo that connected with the Imperial Airways flights from the United Kingdom. He found a supporter for his plans from J. R. D. Tata of the Tata Iron and Steel Company. After three years of negotiations Vintcent and Tata won a contract to carry their mail in April 1932 and in July 1932 the Aviation Department of Tata Sons was formed.
Tata flew a single-engine De Havilland Puss Moth carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay and the aircraft continued to Madras. Initial service included weekly airmail service. This route was chosen because of the presence of provision of radio and night landing at Karachi. The route was a dangerous one as it crossed many hill ranges, swamps and parts of the country which received the highest rainfall, despite the challenges Tata Airlines clocked 160,000 miles in its first year without any lapses.