Indian National Airways Ltd

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Time Table cover of Indian National Airways c.1933

Indian National Airways Ltd was an airline based in Delhi, India.[1] The founder of the airline was R. E. Grant Govan, a Delhi based British industrialist who also co-founded the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Cricket Club of India.[2][3][4] The airline was formed on the basis of a government airmail contract.[5]

The company was started by Govan Bros Ltd. in May 1933 with a capital of Rs. 3 million.[6] It became the second airline to start operations in India in December 1933, with a weekly passenger and freight service between Calcutta and Rangoon as well as between Calcutta and Dhaka.[7] It also started a weekly service between Karachi and Lahore, a feeder service for Imperial Airways,[1] the company then had a fleet made up of light single engined aircraft.[8] By 1937 the airline had clocked over a million miles and made a slender annual profit.[9]

The airline was awarded another government contract in 1938 under the Empire Air Mail Scheme for carrying first class mail on the Karachi - Lahore and Karachi - Colombo routes for a period of ten years along with Tata Airlines. This was a major boost for aviation in India, as this contract promised a minimum income along with an operating subsidy, the company was able to expand and renovate its fleet.[7][10] During World War II, all mail contracts were suspended and aircraft put under government disposal. Only spare capacity was allowed for commercial use, which affected the industry on the whole.[7]

It was one of the four major airlines in India at the time of Indian Independence in 1947,[11] as of 1947, the airline had a fleet of six Vickers Vikings with another nine De Havilland Dove on order.[12] The company also bought some war-surplus Douglas DC-3 aircraft from the United States of America at the end of the war;[13] in 1953 Indian National Airways was nationalised and merged into Indian Airlines.[7]


  1. ^ a b Khosla, Gopal Das (1966). Award on the industrial dispute between Air-India and their workmen. India. National Industrial Tribunal (Airlines Disputes), Manager of Publications. p. 288. Page 15
  2. ^ (London, England), East India Association (1957). Asian review. East & West Ltd. Page 105
  3. ^ Aeroplane directory of British aviation. 1964: Published by the English Universities for Temple Press. Page 458
  4. ^ Vasant Raiji,, Anandji Dossa (1987). CCI & the Brabourne Stadium, 1937-1987. Cricket Club of India. p. 114. Page 22
  5. ^ India today and tomorrow, Volume 5. V.J. Joseph. 1973. Page 7-9
  6. ^ Aviation news, Volume 67. HPC Publishing. 2005. Page 845
  7. ^ a b c d Seth, Pran Nath (2006). Successful Tourism: Volume II: Tourism Practices. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 431. ISBN 81-207-3200-6. Page 93-96
  8. ^ India: annual review. Information Service of India. 1960. Page 92
  9. ^ Aeroplane and commercial aviation news. 1947. Page 796
  10. ^ Boulger, Demetrius Charles (1970). Asian review. East & West. Page 106
  11. ^ Dr.SC Aggarwal, Dr. RK Rana. Basic Mathematics for Economists. FK Publications. p. 654. Page 472
  12. ^ Hudson Wood, Robert (1947). Aviation news, Volume 7. McGraw-Hill Pub. Co. Page 32
  13. ^ Reed, Sir Stanley (1949). The Times of India directory and year book including who's who, Volume 35. Bennett, Coleman. Page 275