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VOL. XIV, ISSUE 2, 2017                                        SANDS OF TIME                                                    03

                         THE EXHILARATION OF FLYING...

Thereafter, the Imperial Airways plane arrived in Karachi       Tata’s were faced with the problem of nding a
every Friday evening, sat on the tarmac and left every          name for the new Air Line Company which they
Wednesday morning. The tiny Tata plane took off from             were forming to take over and extend the
Karachi (Saturday) morning and arrived at Bellary around        activities of the Tata Air Lines which had hitherto
sunset. The next morning the plane took off again at dawn        functioned as a department of Tata Sons Limited.
and arrived in Madras (now Chennai). The return mail left       A choice had to be made between the following
next afternoon (Monday), spent the night at Bellary and         four alternative names: Indian Air Lines; Air-
left next morning for Karachi, where it arrived the same        India; Pan Indian Air Lines and Trans-Indian Air
evening and left the next morning by Imperial Airways for       Lines. It seemed a good idea to let the selection
London.                                                         be made by popular opinion in Bombay House
                                                                through a sort of Gallup Poll or Sample Opinion
The air mail service grew in strength year after year. New      Survey. Accordingly, voting papers were
routes and new aircrafts were added. As time went by and        distributed so as to ascertain the views of
the planes became marginally bigger, a lone passenger           representative sections of opinion among Tata
was accommodated in an open seat behind the pilot. It           employees. The voters were requested to indicate
took Tata pilots some time to get accustomed to a human         their rst and second preferences. The nal count
being riding in the seat behind them.                           showed 72 votes for Air-India and 58 for Indian
                                                                Air Lines. Thus, the name of the new Company
 A passenger wishing to book a seat on the plane                came to be "AIR-INDIA".

 had to come to Bombay House and after 30                      Air-India International retained its name but lost its
                                                               character. In 1962, the word International was dropped
 minutes of corridor hunting, eventually locate the            from its name.

 Aviation Department of Tata Sons, to be told that

 there would be no guarantee of a seat as this

 would depend entirely on the quantity of mails

 which the Post Ofce would offer on that

 particular ight.

Within six years, the air mail operations had grown large      RE-ENACTMENT OF THE FIRST AIR MAIL FLIGHT IN
enough to necessitate the setting up of a bigger               1962:
organisation to look after its affairs. It was thus that the
Aviation Department of Tata Sons was enlarged and was          The Nationalisation of Air-India in no way affected JRDs
renamed Tata Airlines in 1938.                                 personal piloting and his dedication to ying.

At the end of the Second World War, the Airline's              In early 1962, an idea started to develop. October 15
operations had grown substantially. It was therefore felt      would be the 30th anniversary of his historic ight. He
necessary to convert Tata Airlines into an independent         wanted to re-enact his solo ight from Karachi to Bombay
public limited company. Air-India Limited was thus             in a single engined plane of the same vintage. JRD at fty-
formed in July 1946.                                           eight, was as t as ever. While no Puss Moth was available,
                                                               a De Havilland Leopard Moth of the same vintage was
Soon after India's independence, JRD proposed to start a       found in Calcutta and refurbished. The Leopard was
new company – Air-India International for overseas             almost identical to the Puss Moth, the only additional
operations, as a collaborative venture between the             factor was the installation of the Murphy VHF radio
Government of India and Air-India Ltd. (Tata's), which was
promptly accepted by the Government.

When everything seemed to be going smooth for                  JRD Tata admiring the logos of the Tata Airlines, Air-India and
Air-India International, Air-India Ltd. was facing problems       the Indian ag on the Leopard Moth which he ew on the
on the domestic front. Airlines had mushroomed within                  30th Anniversary re-enactment ight from Karachi.
the country, thanks to the Government's liberal but
thoughtless policy of licensing new airlines. With the
resulting chaos and confusion, the Government decided
to nationalise all airlines in 1953, including Air-India Ltd.
and Air-India International. All domestic airlines including
Air-India Ltd. became Indian Airlines Corporation.

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