Progressive Years 1948-1954

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Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Aden 21 Jan 1950
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

Air India International inaugurated their new destination to Nairobi via Aden. The Post & Telegraphs Department used a special round rubber cachet which was applied to almost all the letters carried by this plane.
As the plane took off half hour past midnight on the 21st , that is why you will find all the stamps were cancelled on 20th. Though the letters were received at GPO and the Airport Post Office, other dates also might exist. The cut-off  for clearance was 1800hrs at GPO and 2130hrs at the Airport Post office.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg
air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg

This Cover was flown from Bombay to Aden with 10 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of AIRPORT BOMBAY, BATCH III-B, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Delivery cancel of 21st Jan on the back. Violet Cachet  on the front. On the reverse is the arrival mark Aden 21 Jan 50, and delivery mark, Aden Camp, 21 Jan 50.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg
air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg

This Cover was flown from Bombay to Aden with 10 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of AIRPORT BOMBAY, BATCH III-B, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Delivery cancel of 21st Jan on the back. Violet Cachet and an Airmail sticker on the front. On the reverse is the arrival mark Aden 21 Jan 50, and delivery mark, Aden Camp, 21 Jan 50.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg
air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Aden .jpg

This Cover was flown from Bombay to Aden with 10 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of AIRPORT BOMBAY, BATCH III-B, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Delivery cancel of 21st Jan on the back. Violet Cachet and an Airmail sticker on the front. On the reverse is the arrival mark Aden 21 Jan 50, and delivery mark, Aden Camp, 21 Jan 50.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Nairobi 21 Jan 1950
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg
air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg

Air India flight cover to Nairobi. This Cover was flown from Bombay to Nairobi with 12 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of AIRPORT BOMBAY, BATCH III-B, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Delivery cancel of 21st Jan on the back. Violet Cachet and an Airmail sticker on the front, no delivery cancel was given at Nairobi.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg

Air India flight cover to Nairobi. This Cover was flown from Bombay to Nairobi with 12 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of AIRPORT BOMBAY, BATCH III-B, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Violet Cachet and an Airmail sticker on the front, no delivery cancel was given at Nairobi.

air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg

Air India flight cover to Nairobi. This Cover was flown from Bombay to Nairobi with 12 as. postage and a circular postal cancellation of Hughes Road, Bombay, 20 Jan 50 was applied. Violet Cachet and an Airmail printed on the front, no delivery cancel was given at Nairobi.

The curious case of Air India's 2nd Flight Cover Bombay Nairobi 21 Jan 1950
A rare, unique, first of its kind aerophilately cover, Air India flight cover.

rare unique air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg
rare unique air india first flight cover ffc 21 JAN 1950 Bombay Nairobi .jpg

Presenting you a special

Air India 1950 Bombay Nairobi flight cover which travelled on the 2nd flight as it missed the first.
I am grateful to Shri Piyush Khaitan for his guidance and in helping me understand this cover. He himself being an avid Air India collector, his vast and beautiful collection can be seen on indianairmails.com and airindiacollector.com.
The cover in question has an arrival mark of 26th Jan 1950. Please see the calendar of January 1950 and the timetable attached below to understand. Though the first flight was on 21st Jan 1950 ,the flight was scheduled weekly once every Thursday from Bombay at 00.05 hrs. So the 2nd flight flew from Mumbai on Thursday 26th Jan 1950 at 00.05 hrs and reached Nairobi on the same day Thursday 26th Jan 1950 at 11.00 hrs. Hence the cover bears a double 26th Jan arrival mark at the back.

BOMBAY NAIROBI TIME TABLE.jpg
jan-1950-calendar.jpg

Image Courtesy: Shri Piyush Khaitan

Air India First Flight Cover Calcutta London 17 October 1950, Blue Cancel
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON
air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON

Air India announced its next route from Calcutta to London via Bombay. Violet cancel is applied here on both front and back, usually there is only one cancel. This cover is sent from Lungleh, Mizoram to Shropshire, England.

Air India First Flight Cover Calcutta London 17 October 1950, Violet Cancel
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON
air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON

Air India Calcutta London flight cachet with Maroon cancel and Circus, Calcutta postmark. Addressed to Germany delivery cancel of 20th Oct. A commercial cover flown on the first flight.

rare unique air india first flight cover ffc 17 OCT 1950 Calcutta London .jpg
rare unique air india first flight cover ffc 17 OCT 1950 Calcutta London .jpg

Cover flown on Air-India's inaugural flight from Calcutta to London via Bombay . Stamps cancelled CAL FGN. POST, 16 Oct, 1.45 PM, 1950, Air., and a maroon boxed rectangular cachet saying, CALCUTTA - LONDON, FIRST FLIGHT 17th OCT '50, G.P.O. CALCUTTA, on the reverse. a small square box. You can also see a Rhombic black cancel on the cover, it is a GB census marking (introduced 1922) to keep record of volume of mail passing thru a particular post office, mostly done in Sep/Oct every year. 
This type of cover is the only type where it was typed first flight cover, all others are commercial covers

air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON
air india first flight cover ffc_17TH OCT 1950 CALCUTTA LONDON

17th October 1950 Calcutta London FFC Registered mail-from Park Street to South Devon UK. A commercial cover flown on the first flight.
No official Flight cover was issued, the mail carried on the flight was stamped to commemorate the flight.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Dusseldorf 21 February 1953
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

Image by Samuel Regan-Asante

Coming Soon

Air India First Flight Cover Dusseldorf Bombay 
01 March 1953
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

Type 1: Airmail aerogramme, Dusseldorf Bombay Dusseldorf

air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf
air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf

Type 2: Durch Luftpost aerogramme, Dusseldorf Bombay

air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf
air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf

Type 3: Durch Luftpost aerogramme, Dusseldorf Bombay Dusseldorf

air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf
air india first flight cover ffc_1st march 1953 dusseldorf bombay dusseldorf

Duesseldorf was added as an extra stop in the Bombay London Route on 1st March 1953. No official cover was issued by Air India, these are the only 3 types known or seen so far. The aerogramme was posted to Bombay , two delivery marks behind

Air India First Flight Cover BombayMadras Singapore 16 July 1954
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

air india first flight cover ffc_16th july 1954 bombay singapore
air india first flight cover ffc_16th july 1954 bombay singapore

16th July 1954 Bombay Singapore via Madras Inaugural Flight sent by Shavak Mistry. Singapore receiving Stamp of 20th July 1954 and returned back to sender by Surface mail received in Bombay on 6th August 1954.
AI350 would depart Bombay every Friday at 18.30 reach Madras at 21.15, depart at 22.45 and reach Singapore at 07.35 hrs Saturday morning.
AI351 would depart Singapore at 07.00 hrs Sunday morning, reach Madras at 12.00 noon Saturday, depart at 14.00 and reach Bombay at 18.30 Sunday evening.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Hong Kong 14 August 1954
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.
Name of Aircraft: Himalayan Princess,
Registration Mark: VT-DAS,
Pilots: Capt. H.B. Mistry, Capt.R.N. Goday

air india first flight cover ffc_14th august 1954 bombay hong kong
air india first flight cover ffc_14th august 1954 bombay hong kong
air india first flight cover ffc  BOMBAY HONGKONG 1954.jpg
air india first flight cover ffc  BOMBAY HONGKONG1954..jpg
air india first flight cover ffc_14th august 1954 bombay hong kong
air india first flight cover ffc_14th august 1954 bombay hong kong

Air India next connected Bombay to Hong Kong via Calcutta on the 14th August 1954. The 8th June 1948 official cover was modified to use here. All covers have a 12 As stamps with Bombay Stock Exchange Postmark. DLO mark at the back dated 16 Sep 1954.

Air India First Flight Cover Hong Kong Bombay 17 August 1954
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.
Name of Aircraft: Himalayan Princess,
Registration Mark: VT-DAS,
Pilots: Capt. H.B. Mistry, Capt.R.N. Goday

Air India Calcutta London flight cachet with Maroon cancel. Addressed to Germany delivery cancel of 20th Oct.

air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954  hong kong bombay
air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954  hong kong bombay
air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954  hong kong bombay

Air India Hong Kong Bombay flight took place on the 17th August. Special cover was printed showing the map connecting Bombay via Bangkok and Calcutta. Also enclosed special souvenir card.

07.05.1955 This route was extended to Tokyo.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Bangkok 
14 August 1954
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation.

Image by Samuel Regan-Asante

Coming Soon

Below is a Really Unique flight cover for the Bombay Hongkong flight from Germany with a plethora of cancels, need more study......

air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954 bombay hong kong
air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954 bombay hong kong
air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954 bombay tokyo
air india first flight cover ffc_17th august 1954 bombay tokyo