Airways are other means of transportation system. Air Transportation plays an important role in India's transportation system. It has an advantage of speed as compared to other means of transportation.
During natural calamities, relief materials like medical aid, clothing and ration etc. can be quickly supplied to the sufferers. During war, airways help in speedy deployment. Aircrafts help in supply of ration, ammunition and casulty evacuation of troops. Mountains, deserts and forests are no barriers for air transportation.
Air transportation was started in 1911 in this country. It was a very modest beginning. Later in 1929-30 and then, in 1933 the foundation of air transportation was laid with the setting up of Indian National Airways.
This airways introduced air service between Karachi and Lahore. By the end of the Second World War, major cities like Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Lahore etc were having air service. At the time of independence four airways like Tata Sons Ltd, Air India, Indian National Airways and Indian and Deccan Airways had been operating in India.
By 1951, four new airways entered in the air transportation business in India. These were Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation Ltd, Kalinga Air Lines and Airways India. In 1953, the air transportation was nationalized and two corporations were formed like Air India and Indian Airlines.
Air aviation made steady progress with economic development in the country.
It handles international air service. It operates from a number of cities of India like those of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram, Amritsar and Bangalore.
It operates air services in 96 different countries of the world, with which it has bilateral air service agreements. Air India has a fleet of 26 aeroplanes of B 747 - 400 (six), B 747 - 300 (two), B 747 - 200 (seven), A 300 - B 4 (three), and A 310 (eight) aeroplanes.
Indian Airlines handles domestic traffic of passenger, cargo, mail etc. It provides services to Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, UAE, Oman, Myanmar and Kuwait.
Its operation covers 69 destinations including 15 abroad. Indian Airlines has about 60 air crafts.
This Airlines was set up in 1981. It provided links with remote and inaccessible places not being served by Indian Airlines. Later it was merged with Indian Airlines.
This airways service was commissioned in 1985. It serves ONGC, Oil India Ltd and Enron Oil Gas. It connects far away drilling centres of these organizations. It also serves some state Governments like those of Punjab, MP, Lakshadweep and Public sector undertakings such as BSF, NTPC and GAIL.
The Government in 1990 ended the monopoly of Indian Airlines and Air India. Private taxis started playing feeder role to Indian Airlines. These are:
(i) East-west Airlines Jet Airways, (ii) Modiluft, (iii) Archana, (iv) Sahara.
International Airports Authority and National Airports Authority have been merged and Air port Authority of India was formed in April 1995. The object of the Authority is to provide safe and efficient air service in the country.
Aerodromes in India have been classified as major intermediate and minor. This classification is based on the volume of traffic and availability of facilities. Amristsar, Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Bangalore.
Tirchirappalli, Guwahati and Agartala are major air ports of India having modern facilities. There are airports which are maintained by the ministry of defence, state Governments and other agencies.
The Indian Airlines is the 2nd largest airline in the world after that of the USA. Nearly 28,600 passengers fly every day. In 1998-99 the Indian Airlines carried 80 lakh passengers. The Indian Airlines operates 73 stations including 9 in foreign countries.
India has bilateral air service agreements with 96 countries. There are 93 airports in the country. Air India flights are to Europe (Moscow, Paris, Geveva, Frankfurt, London) USA (New York), some African and Middle East cities, Japan (Tokyo), Australia (Sydney).
The fleet is of 26 aircrafts of Boeing 747 family. The Airlines also operates freighter services to cities in Europe, Japan, UK and USA. Passengers and goods carried in 1998-99 were as under:
(i) Passengers carried by A1 - 31.7 lakh,
(ii) Passangers carried by 1A - 80 lakh
(iii) Goods carried by A1 - Rs 152 crores
(iv) Goods carried by 1A - Rs 84 crores.
Air transportation has large scope in India because of its large size and development and utilization of resources, increased standard of living of the people and keen competition in business activities.