June 10, 2023

The Indian subcontinent has seen some attention-grabbing aeronautical gamers inside the previous couple of years. Some carriers in India’s historical past are extra memorable than others. What are a few of these forgotten names that will have left a mark (for higher or worse)? We thought it will be attention-grabbing to take a step again in time.

Air Deccan

Air Deccan was an Indian regional airline primarily based out of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Its route community was small, with solely 4 locations: Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Diu, and Mundra.


The fleet was additionally small and consisted of Beech 1900D plane previously flown by an Air New Zealand subsidiary. Air Deccan served cities with little to no air service and minimal competitors with main airways. Issues didn’t go as deliberate throughout its inaugural flight in 2003, which carried Indian dignitaries. Sadly, an engine fireplace throughout taxi grounded that oh-so-important flight.

Regardless of the dangerous begin, Air Deccan expanded its fleet and route community and, in 2008, accomplished a merger with now-defunct Kingfisher Airways. After being designated Kingfisher Pink, the airline flew till its excessive working prices and low yields scared off Kingfisher, who determined to close down its subsidiary in 2011. It then reemerged by itself and continued to realize some traction.

As with each different provider world wide, COVID-19 considerably affected Air Deccan’s operations, and in October 2021, the airline suspended operations. Actually, it was the primary Indian provider to stop operations amid the pandemic.

Air Sahara

Air Sahara was as soon as a rapidly-growing Indian airline, with robust home operations and increasing worldwide routes. The airline was nearly completely a Boeing 737 provider, ranging from the -200 and transferring to the -800. Air Sahara was based in 1991 and made its inaugural flights in late 1993.

The airline was a subsidiary of the Sahara Group conglomerate. It started flights utilizing a fleet of two 737-200s and went on to function each subsequent 737 variant besides the -600. It later added the Bombardier CRJ household to its fleet. The airline primarily centered on North India home routes when flights began, flying from its base in New Delhi. Air Sahara was finally purchased out by Jet Airways.

East West Airways

One of many first personal corporations to acquire an Air Operator Allow (AOP) from India’s aviation regulators was East-West Airways. Headquartered in Trivandrum, it was the primary national-level personal airline in India to function after nearly 37 years.

The airline started operations in early 1992 and established places of work in Trivandrum, New Delhi, Madras (now named Chennai), and Mumbai. Its fleet first consisted of three Boeing 737-200s, and in 1992, East West acquired 4 extra -200s, totaling seven Boeing 737s.

Enterprise operations expanded by way of its scheduled service after which later, thanks partly to some government-backed impetus. In 1994, the Indian Authorities granted scheduled home airline standing to 9 personal air constitution operators, together with East West, in 1994. Sadly, sudden storms loomed on the airline’s horizon.

On November 13, 1995, the corporate’s managing director Thakiyudeen Wahid was assassinated close to his Mumbai workplace. Apart from the human tragedy of dropping a key chief, East West’s administration now needed to take care of lingering debt to a number of collectors, together with an American firm from which it had leased three Boeings. A excessive courtroom ordered East-West to pay up or return the plane.

In Might 1996, the airline obtained DGCA permission to cease flying main routes as a consequence of a scarcity of plane and subsequently significantly decreased its operations. The tip got here on August 8, 1996, when East West Airways ceased all operations


One of many shortest-lived airways in India was Kalinga Airways. This firm was based in 1947 by famed Royal Indian Air Drive World Struggle II pilot, Bijou Patnaik who additionally served because the airline’s chief pilot. In 1953, Kalinga was nationalized together with different carriers. In 1957, it will definitely merged with Indian Airways and restarted operations as a non-scheduled constitution operator transporting passengers and cargo by way of a fleet of Douglas plane.

Sadly, Kalinga’s historical past included a number of accidents and incidents. For instance, in 1951, a Douglas DC-3 carrying three crew members struck timber as a consequence of low visibility. In September 1952, a Douglas Dakota cargo flight crashed in Wadi Halfa, Sudan, killing three crew members. That very same yr, A Douglas C-47 carrying 4 crew members misplaced management whereas finishing up an emergency touchdown following an engine failure.

Three years later, one other Douglas Dakota lifted off prematurely in Nepal whereas making an attempt to keep away from hitting somebody crossing the runway. Two out of three crew members have been killed because of this. After 25 years of flying, the provider finally ceased operations in 1972.


Like many international locations, India went via a deregulation interval, and ModiLuft emerged because of this. Based mostly in Delhi, ModiLuft was launched in April 1993 by Indian industrialist S Okay Modi. His technique was to function a non-public airline that benefited from strategic partnerships. German flag provider Lufthansa was the accomplice of selection.

Modi’s objectives have been reached in February 1993, when the settlement got here to fruition. The German airline supplied pilots and educated ModiLuft’s Indian workers, together with pilots, cabin crew, mechanics, and floor passenger dealing with workers. Lufthansa Technik supplied upkeep, overhaul, and spares assist. Due to this association, ModiLuft’s plane have been configured in first, enterprise, and financial system class, making it the one personal airline in India on the time to fly a three-class configuration on home routes.

Like many partnerships, all was properly for a time frame, however the relationship soured when ModiLuft accused Lufthansa of not protecting to its funding dedication. The German airline responded with its personal allegations that ModiLuft had defaulted on lease funds on 4 Lufthansa plane. In the meantime, S Okay Modi pressured Lufthansa to take as much as a 40 % stake in ModiLuft. Lufthansa was not .

ModiLuft made a powerful begin with seven home locations and a fleet of seven plane in beneath three years. Photograph:
Aero Icarus by way of Flikcr

In Might 1996, the German aeronautical large introduced its determination to terminate its settlement with ModiLuft. The plane belonging to Lufthansa have been grounded because of the litigation and the Indian provider finally acquired Boeing 737-400 plane from Air UK.

Nevertheless, life with out Lufthansa was tough, and the breakup actually affected MobiLuft’s capacity to compete. The airline ceased operations in 1996.

Many airways have flown India’s skies all through its historical past. We opted to call just some that have been a part of the nation’s aviation previous and maybe opened the door for others to comply with in its brilliant future.