10 Amazing Facts About Air India

10 facts on the colourful journey of the Maharaja of skies through pictures

First Air India flight
JRD Tata with Nivell Vintcent

Air India was founded by JRD Tata on October 15th, 1932. Nivell Vintcent was an aviation enthusiast from South Africa who proposed the idea of airmail service to JRD. Click here to watch the video on the origins of Air India.

Tata Airlines & Air-India Limited - Air-India Collector
An old Tata Airlines Poster

The Airline was not always known as ‘Air India’. It was founded and operated as Tata Air Services, and then renamed as Tata Airlines and finally Air India in 1946.

That kid is Rajiv Gandhi along with his father Feroze Gandhi in late 1940s.

But are you wondering what is he doing in a post on Air India? Before entering politics after the untimely death of his Sanjay Gandhi in a plane crash, Rajiv was working as a pilot with Air India.

Nationalisation of Air India

The Government Of India under Jawaharlal Nehru nationalised all the airlines in India through the Air Corporations Act 1953. It was not just Air India but also several other airlines of the time which included the Bharat Airways by Birla, Deccan Airways by the Nizam of Hyderabad, Kalinga Airways by the former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik.

But why was nationalisation required? Click here to watch the video on why it happened

Tata Group Expected To Win In Air India Sale - Simple Flying
JRD Tata with the Puss Moth air craft on the 50th anniversary of foundation of Air India in 1982

JRD Tata remained as the chairman of Air India until 1978, even after the nationalisation of the corporation. In 1982, he piloted a commemorative flight from Karachi to Ahmedabad to Bombay which was also the route of the first-ever Tata Air Services flight in 1932.

Rahul Bajaj and Ratan Tata

Rahul Bajaj and Ratan Tata were appointed as the chairmen of Indian Airlines and Air India respectively in 1980s. Did you know that!?

An old Air India advertisement

Air India International was the first-ever joint venture of Tatas with the Government of India. Formed in 1948, the government-owned a significant 49% stake in Air India. Who owned the rest 51%? Was it the Tatas entirely? Watch this video to know more

Air India Original Travel Poster, Wherefor Art Thou? Romeo and Juliet |  David Pollack Vintage Posters
Air India Maharaja depicted as Romeo in one of the ads.

Air India was the first-ever Asian airline to run a westbound air service since 1948.

Indian Postage stamp commemorating the Air India international flight from Bombay to London
Unknown/ International Magazine Service - Salvador Dali - Catawiki
Salvador Dali receiving the baby elephant

The famous surreal artist Salvador Dali designed a limited edition ashtray for Air India. And guess he asked as the remuneration? As you can see in the picture, all he asked was for a baby elephant.

The life has come a full circle to Air India, from the Tatas to the Tatas. Watch this short video to learn all about the airline from its origins to the days of glory to the days of debt and finally re-privatisation.

The Story Of Air India: From Tatas to Tatas

Thank You!


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