Reports & Position Papers :Chronology of Events of Indian Civil Aviation Sector

1911, Feburary 18: First commercial flight from Allahabad to Naini made by a French pilot Monseigneur Piguet covering a distance of about 10 km and carrying 6500 mails on a Humber biplane. This is considered to be the world’s first airmail service and the beginning of civil aviation in India.
1912, December: The first domestic air route between Karachi and Delhi was opened by the Indian State Air services in collaboration with Imperial Airways, UK.
1915: The first Indian airline, Tata Sons Ltd., started a regular airmail service between Karachi and Madras without any patronage from the government.
1920, January 24: Royal Airforce started regular airmail services between Karachi and Bombay.
1924: Construction of civil airports began in India. Construction began at Dum Dum in Calcutta, Bamrauli in Allahabad and Gilbert Hill in Bombay.
1927, April: Department of Civil Aviation was set up to look after all civil aviation matters.  Aero Club of India was also established.
1932: Tata Airlines came to being as a division of Tata Sons Limited. It started Air Mail services on the Karachi, Ahmedabad, Bombay, Bellary, Madras routes on 15 October, 1932.
Between 1933 and 1934: Number of Indian airlines – Indian Trans Continental Airways, Madras Air Taxi Services, Indian National Airways etc. commenced operations.
1937: The Indian Aircraft Act was promulgated in 1934 and was formulated in 1937.
1940: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was set up by Walchand Hirachand in association with the then Mysore Government at Bangalore.
1941, July: India’s first aircraft, the Harlow trainer was rolled out for test flight in July 1941.
1945:Deccan Airways was founded – jointly owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Tatas. Its first flight began inJuly 1946.
1946: ‘Air India’ came into being when Tata Airlines changed its name to Air India.
1947: At the time of Independence, Nine Air Transport Companies were operational. Later the number reduced to eight when the Orient Airways shifted its base to Pakistan. The then operational airlines were Tata Airlines, Indian National Airways, Air Service of India, Deccan Airways, Ambica Airways, Bharat Airways and Mistry Airways. These airlines were operating within and beyond the frontiers of the company, carrying both air cargo and passengers.
1948: Air India signed an agreement with the Government to operate international services under the name Air India International Ltd. On June 8, Air India inaugurated its international services with a weekly flight between Bombay and London via Cairo and Geneva.
1953, March: The Indian Parliament passed the Air Corporations Act, 1953 and Indian Airlines and Air India International were set up after nationalisation of the entire airline industry. Eight formerly independent domestic airlines: Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalyan Aviation, Kalinga Air Lines, Indian National Airways, Air India, Air Services of India were merged.
1953: Civil Helicopter Services were introduced in the country
1972: The International Airports Authority of India (IAAI) was constituted.
1981: Vayudoot Airlines (a Government owned Airline Company) started operations.
1985: Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA) in Fursatganj, Rai Bareli in Uttar Pradesh for training of pilots were established.
1986: The National Airports Authority was constituted.
1987: The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security was established.
1990, April: The Government adopted Open-sky policy and allowed air taxi- operators to operate flights from any airport, both on a charter and on a non charter basis and to decide their own flight schedules, cargo and passenger fares. East-West Airlines was the first national private airline to operate in the country after almost 37 years.
1991, September 20: Sahara Airlines started its operations.
1993, May: Jet Airways started its operations.
1994, March 1: Air Corporations Act, 1953 was repealed and was replaced by Air Corporations (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 1994 thus enabling private operators to operate scheduled services and number of private players including Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Modiluft Airlines, Damania Airways, NEPC Airlines and East West Airlines commenced domestic operations.
1995: India’s six private airlines accounted for more than 10% of domestic traffic. Many foreign airlines started providing international services. In 1995, 42 airlines operated air services to, from, and through India.
1995, April 1: Airport Authority of India was constituted by merging the International Airport Authority of India with National Airports Authority.
1997: Policy on Airport Infrastructure of India was developed for the use and development of airport infrastructure.
1999, June 10: CIAL Airport was the first airport in India which was built with public-private participation and was made operational. The process for development of CIAL as a private airport began in 1993.
2000, October 2: Sahara Airlines was rebranded as Air Sahara.
2003: Entry of low cost carriers. Air Deccan started its services
2004: Government approved setting up of private Greenfield airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore.
2004, June: Low Cost Carrier – GoAir started it operations.
2004, December: Indian Scheduled carriers with a minimum of 5 years of continuous operations and a minimum fleet size of 20 aircraft, were permitted to operate scheduled services to international destinations.
2005: Indian Airlines was rebranded as Indian. The Government designated Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara to operate international services.
2005, May: Kingfisher Airlines (Full Service Carrier) and Spice Jet (Low Cost Carrier) commenced operations.
2006, August: Low Cost Carrier – Indigo started its operations.
2006: The government approved the restructuring and modernisation of Mumbai and Delhi brownfield airports through the public-private partnership model.
2007: The Regional Airlines Policy was announced wherein licenses were given for operation of airlines within a particular region.
2007: Indian aviation saw three mergers :
 
1.
AI-IA merged and was cleared by Empowered Group of Ministers on February 21, 2007.The Cabinet approved it on March 1, 2007 and was effective from August.
2.
Jet Airways acquired Air Sahara for Rs 1,450 cr on April 13, 2007.Air Sahara was renamed JetLite.
3.
Kingfisher Airlines acquired Air Deccan for Rs 550 cr on June 2007 .In October 2007, Air Deccan was renamed Simplifly Deccan and the old logo was substituted by the Kingfisher logo.
2008, April 24: The path breaking Greenfield Airport Policy of the Government was announced.
2008, August: Simplifly Deccan was renamed as Kingfisher Red.
2009, May 12: AERA was established to regulate the economic aspects of airports. It is an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament.
2010: Airport Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT) was established.

At present, India is the 9th largest aviation market in the world with 90 operational airports, 1,180 aircrafts, 303 helicopters, 11 operational scheduled airlines and 133 non-scheduled operators. It is envisaged that by year 2020, India will be among top 3 Civil Aviation Markets in the world and will handle about 300 million passengers.