Air India – A journey into the past

With Air India in financial disarray, the government is thinking of privatizing the company so that it can be saved and returned to its former glory. Lets take a trip down memory lane of Air India.

air India

The first Business scion of India, J. R. D. Tata, formed air India along with Neville Vintcent to mail flights from Bombay, now Mumbai, to Colombo. After three long years of negotiations they finally managed to get the contract to carry mail and thus was formed the aviation company of Tata and Sons. n 15 October 1932, J.R.D. Tata flew a single-engine De Havilland Puss Moth carrying air mail (postal mail of Imperial Airways) from Karachi’s Drigh Road Aerodrome to Bombay’s Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad.

havilland pussmoth

Tata Airlines launched its longest domestic flight – Bombay to Trivandrum with a six-seater Miles Merlin. In 1938, it was re-christened as Tata Air Services and later in the same year it was again renamed as Tata Airlines. By this time Delhi and Colombo were also serviced.

An air hostess of an airline sees to a passenger.
After the World War II, Tata and Sons became a public limited company on 29th July 1945 and the name was changed to what we know now – Air India.

air india 5

From the archives of Hindustan Times and Google life here are some photographs that will make us proud of one of heritages that is lying in utter decay.

One of the very first flights in 1946.

flight attendant
In 1946 airhostesses were first introduced.

air india 1946
Some of the leading airhostesses of yester years.

air india 2 Air India 3 air india 4
Here we have Vidal giving some hair grooming tips 40,000 feet above land, en route from London to New York in 1965.
Soon sari was introduced.


Soon Sari was introduced.

the sari

A daring ad that became an instant hit with the people in 1973 – “Next time you fly 747 to New York, Be unfaithful!”

indian dress
The innocent large eyes, giveaway who the dark haired beauty was. She created waves in the film industry at a later date. Yes you guess it right – Ah yes! she is none other than Zeenat Aman.

zeenat aman

Soon came in a bevy beauties who creates quite a flutter in the air and in land, they were Nilu Gaekwad, Sunita Gareware, Parmeshwar Godrej, Maureen Wadia and Nina Pillai. They not only ushered in a cosmopolitan trend but also brought in social acceptance. Here is Paremeshwar Godrej carrying in sari with elan and style.

And a  much later ad, ‘Lovely Lady’, by JWT, Mumbai.

jwt adJWT

3 thoughts on “Air India – A journey into the past

    • Atleast there will be accountability. Right now nothing is working out for AI. The crew is impolite, the services are atroicous. maintanance is not up to the mark and there are innumerable stories about it. Morever while AI is going bankrupt the aviation minister’s wealth has increased in leaps and bounds. So how long will we shy away from privatisation? It may not be the panacea but it still could be an answer to bring AI back to track.

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