Today, air transport, though the most expensive, is the fastest and most comfortable mode of transport.
At the time of partition there were four companies but after nationalization in 1953 two corporations were formed: the Air India International and the Indian Airlines. At present, the civil aviation is managed on the following pattern:
1. Air India operates from international airports. Its main services are to U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Russia, Gulf etc.
2. Indian Airlines handles domestic traffic and carries passengers, cargo and mail to different parts of the country. It also provides services to 12 countries viz. Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand etc.
3. Vayudoot. This airline was set up in 1981 and provided links with the remote areas of the country.
4. Pawan Hans Limited: The Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited was established in 1985. It provides helicopter services to Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Oil India Ltd. and connects remote and unaccessible areas.
It also provides services to some state governments and public sector undertakings like NTPC, Gail and B.S.F. Besides these there are many private companies providing air services at low cost.
Advantages of Air Transport
1. It is the fastest and most comfortable.
2. It can cover difficult terrains like mountains, deserts, forests and oceans with great ease.
Disadvantages of Air Transport
1. It is expensive and beyond the reach of the common man.
The Airports Authority of India, formed on 1st April, 1995 is responsible for providing safe and efficient air traffic service. It manages 11 international and 112 domestic airports including 28 passenger terminals at defence airfields.
The four major international airports are:
1. The Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi.
2. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Kolkata.
3. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai.
4. Meenam Bakkam International Airport at Chennai.