Fastest means of transport is Air Transport. There are several favourable circumstances for the development of Air Transport in India. Credit goes to India for inaugurating the first Air Service Asia in 1914 by Post and Telegraph Department by carrying mail from Allahabad to Naini across the Ganga River.
But the real progress was made during World War II. In 1947, we had 27 airways companies in India and these covered a distance of about 22 crore kilometers on their scheduled flights and carried about 3 lakh passengers. Now they cover a distance of about 10 crore kilometers and carry more than 72 lakh passengers per year.
The number of aerodromes/airports increased to 91 by 1990-91. It includes 5 international airports at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi and Trivandrum. International Airport Authority of India was established in 1972 in the public sector. National Airport Authority of India was formed in June 1986.
Vayudoot and Pa wan Hans are the two airlines added to civil aviation recently. Previously Air India International for international services and Indian Airlines for domestic services were established in 1953. Vayudoot operates to inaccessible remote stations not touched by Indian Airlines.
Pawan Hans provides helicopter services to remote places. Indira Gandhi Rastriya Urban Academy (GRUA) has been set up to train commercial pilots. In 1950, Air Transport Enquiry Committee was appointed. On the recommendations of this committee, in 1953 air transport was nationalized and three corporations were set up.
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