Airways in India are considered as very significant owing to the country`s vast size and long distances involved between two cities. Moreover, the airways network is also supported by climate. In this country, climate is favourable for air transportation as prolonged cloudy weather and foggy conditions are almost missing over a large part of the country. The advantages of air transportation are numerous. Speed and ease are the two most significant advantages that can conveniently cross mountain barriers, large water expanses, sandy deserts, etc. Al these advantages make airways an indispensable one.
Further, airways are not only the fastest means of journey, but also are most comfortable and impressive. Today in this age of speed air travel is the most suitable and contented means of travel. In India, air transportation is practical for one more reason. It can cross pretty tricky topographies, like lofty mountains, dull deserts, impenetrable forests and vast stretches of seas, with minimum pain. For instance, one can envision the northeastern part of the country with enormous rivers, everyday floods, impenetrable forests, lofty mountain ranges and international limits, erecting obstructions in surface journeys. But air travel has made things far smoother, than one can barely reckon.
The first domestic commercial air travel in India had started in February of the year 1911. The flight was from Allahabad to Nainital which was a distance of just six miles. With the passage of time, air travel in India has improved to a large extent. The first commercial airline that had started operating in India was Tata Airlines in the year 1933 and in the year 1945 the second domestic airline industry in India had begun with the name Deccan Airways. In 1946 Tata Airways had changed its name to AirIndia and in 1947; Air India had signed an agreement with the Government of India to begin its international operation.
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Government of India has embraced a new `Open Skies` policy. Private companies in India, with predetermined foreign partnership, if needed, can now vie with two major public undertakings – Indian Airlines and Air India. Excluding Indian Airlines, now there are various scheduled private airlines, rendering regular domestic services. Presently there are several players in the field of airlines in India. They are namely, Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and Jet Life, Air India, Indigo, Spice Jet, Paramount Airways and many more. Airport Authority of India (AAI) looks after all the civil airports in India. Providing secured, competent air traffic services and aeronautical communication services is the basic occupation of Airport Authority of India.
After the independence of the country, aviation industry gas made considerable progress. India has both domestic and international airlines. Domestic airlines operate regularly between all important towns. However, the international airlines have a limited number of air connections with other countries. In Indian sub-continent, air services are controlled by the Indian Airlines. Regular flights are run between important towns like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Shimla, Chennai, Srinagar, Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Agartala, etc. Further, owing to India`s central position several foreign airline services pass through India. Airways in India right from its beginning till date have come up a long way and the several airlines in the country have a considerable market share.
Rapid economic growth in India has made air travel more affordable. Air India, India’s flag carrier, presently operates a fleet of 159 aircraft and plays a major role in connecting India with the rest of the world. Several other foreign airlines connect Indian cities with other major cities across the globe.
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Kingfisher Airlines, Air India and Jet Airways are the most popular brands in domestic air travel in order of their market share. These airlines connect more than 80 cities across India and also operate overseas routes after the liberalisation of Indian aviation. However, a large section of country’s air transport system remains untapped, even though the Mumbai-Delhi air corridor was ranked 6th by the Official Airline Guide in 2007 among the world’s busiest routes.
India’s vast unutilised air transport network has attracted several investments in the Indian air industry in the past few years. More than half a dozen low-cost carriers entered the Indian market in 2004-05. Major new entrants include Air Deccan, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, GoAir, Paramount Airways and IndiGo Airlines. To meet India’s rapidly increasing demand for air travel, Air India recently placed orders for more than 68 jets from Boeing for US$7.5 billion while Indian placed orders for 43 jets from Airbus for US$2.5 billion.
Jet Airways, India’s largest private carrier, has invested millions of dollars to increase its fleet, but this has been put on hold due to the recent economic slowdown. This trend is not restricted to traditional air carriers in India. IndiGo Airlines entered the limelight when it announced orders for 100 Airbus A320s worth US$6 billion during the Paris Air Show; The highest by any Asian domestic carrier. Kingfisher Airlines became the first Indian air carrier on June 15, 2005 to order Airbus A380 aircraft. The total deal with Airbus was worth US$3 billion.
There are more than 335 (2008 est.) civilian airports in India – 250 with paved runways and 96 with unpaved runways and more than 20 international airports in the Republic of India. The Indira Gandhi International Airport and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport handle more than half of the air traffic in South Asia. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
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Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai is currently India’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic.
India is dotted with airports handling national and international flights. India’s airport network efficiently caters to the millions of travelers and tourists coming to visit the country.
Due to this India’s travel and tourism industry is booming and benefiting the country’s economy. India has more than 20 international airports and several domestic airports.
The important airports in India include Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi, Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport of Mumbai, Begumpet Airport of Hyderabad, Calicut International Airport of Calicut, Chennai International Airport of Chennai, Cochin International Airport Limited of Cochin, HAL Airport of Bangalore, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata, Raja Sansi International Airport of Amritsar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport of Ahmedabad and Trivandrum International Airport of Trivandrum.
Length of runways Airports
runways (2008 est.)
runways (2008 est.)
3,047 m (9,997 ft) or more 19 0
2,438 m (7,999 ft)—3,047 m (9,997 ft) 55 1
1,524 m (5,000 ft)—2,438 m (7,999 ft) 77 7
914 m (2,999 ft)—1,524 m (5,000 ft) 84 39
Under 914 m (2,999 ft) 16 47
Total 251 94