Air India first flight Route Evolution  1955 - 1960 

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Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Tokyo 7 May 1955 Via Calcutta, Bangkok, Hong Kong.
Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation. L-749A

Name of Aircraft: Maratha Princess,

Registration Mark: VT-DAR,

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Air India extended its service to Tokyo on 7th May 1955 via Calcutta , Bangkok & Hong Kong.
Here is a Unique flight cover designed by Shavak Mistry using Air India Luggage label with Shinjuku cancel dated 10th May 1955.

The Original Complete Luggage Label is shown below.

37FA03D4-6EE1-4052-9F02-3F12401545B9.jpe
AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0002
AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0002
AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0003

Another cover by Shavak Mistry with a souvenir card also enclosed is his letter head. Also addressed to Shinjuku.

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AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0005

Top cover sent by Mukhi a Philatelic dealer in Bombay. DLO cancel at the back. Bottom cover has a beautiful quadrille paper effect by storing inside quadrille pages.

AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0006
AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0007

Air India souvenir cover sent to Tokyo, cancelled at Tokyo.

Here the Maharajah is seen greeting a girl dressed in Kimono in the traditional Japanese way.

Air India First Flight Cover Zurich Bombay 5 July 1955

Type of Aircraft: Lockheed Constellation. L-749A

AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0008
AIR INDIA_7th May 1955 Bombay Tokyo_0009

Air India introduced Zurich as a stop in the Bombay London route on 5th July 1955, this is a unique cover received in Bombay on 9th July.

Air India First Flight Cover Singapore Paris Via Bombay Rome 5 July 1955

AIR INDIA_4TH SEPTEMBER 1955 SINGAPORE P

Air India souvenir cover sent from Singapore to Bombay. The flight flew to Paris via Bombay and Rome. Receiving Bombay Stamp at the back

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Air India souvenir cover sent from Singapore to Rome.Bombay.  Receiving Rome Stamp at the back

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Air India souvenir cover sent from Singapore to Paris. Receiving Paris Stamp at the front.

Air India First Flight Cover Rome Prague 4 April 1956

Type of Aircraft: Vickers Viscount VV700.

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AIR INDIA_4TH APRIL 1956 ROME PRAGA_0001

Further route expansion saw Prague getting connected to Rome. Here is an Air India souvenir cover with Italian stamps, Prague comet cancel at the back. 

AIR INDIA_4TH APRIL 1956 ROME PRAGA_0002
AIR INDIA_4TH APRIL 1956 ROME PRAGA_0003
AIR INDIA_4TH APRIL 1956 ROME PRAGA_0004

Here is an Air India souvenir cover with Italian stamps, With Souvenir card and a visiting card of the sender enclosed.

Air India First Flight Cover Prague Delhi Bombay  6th April 1956

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Further route expansion saw Prague getting connected to Bombay via Delhi. 

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A rare private Flight cover from Prague to Bombay via Delhi. 

A smudged Bombay receiving cancel at the back.

Air India First Flight Cover Rome Sydney 4 October 1956

AIR INDIA_4TH OCTOBER 1956 ROME SYDNEY_0
AIR INDIA_4TH OCTOBER 1956 ROME SYDNEY_0

Further route expansion saw Rome getting connected to Sydney. Here is an Air India souvenir cover with Italian stamps, Sydney cancel at the back. Souvenir card also enclosed.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Sydney 5 October 1956 Via Madras & Singapore
Type of Aircraft: Super Constellation L-1049G.

Name of Aircraft: Rani Of Golconda,

Registration Mark: VT-DIL,

Pilots: Capt. H.B. Mistry to Singapore, Capt. K. Mathen to Singapore.

AIR INDIA_5TH OCTOBER 1956 BOMBAY MADRAS
AIR INDIA_5TH OCTOBER 1956 BOMBAY MADRAS

Further route expansion saw Bombay getting connected to Sydney via Madras and Singapore. Here is 2 Air India souvenir covers with both Bombay and Madras cancel,  Bombay with a blue flight cachet and Madras with a black flight cachet, Sydney cancel at the back. 

Type of Aircraft: Super Constellation 1049-G.

Frequency of Service: Once a week.

Here the Maharajah is seen riding the Kangaroo like a Jockey.

AIR INDIA_5TH OCTOBER 1956 BOMBAY MADRAS
AIR INDIA_5TH OCTOBER 1956 BOMBAY MADRAS

Here is an private Air Mail with the flight cachet , senders address from Belgaum (Southern India).

Air India First Flight Cover Sydney London 8 October 1956

AIR INDIA_8TH OCTOBER 1956 SYDNEY LONDON
AIR INDIA_8TH OCTOBER 1956 SYDNEY LONDON

Air India souvenir cover for the return journey connecting Sydney to London via Bombay. Here is an Air India souvenir cover with Australian  stamps. The Maharajah and the Gentelman he is meeting can be seen on the coasters(beer mats) also.

Air India First Flight Cover Delhi Moscow 14 August 1958
Type of Aircraft: Super Constellation L=1049G.

Name of Aircraft: Rani Of Bijapur,

Registration Mark: VT-DJW,

Frequency of service: Once a week.

AIR INDIA_14TH AUGUST 1958 DELHI MOSCOW.
AIR INDIA_14TH AUGUST 1958 DELHI MOSCOW_

Further route expansion saw Delhi getting connected to Moscow via Tashkent. Here is an Air India souvenir cover with dual cancels at the back dated 15th and the return flight date 18th.

Here on the cover shows the Kutub Minar in Delhi and the Saint Basils Cathedral in Moscow.

AIR INDIA_14TH AUGUST 1958 DELHI MOSCOW_
AIR INDIA_14TH AUGUST 1958 DELHI MOSCOW_

 Here is a private Air Mail with dual cancels at the back dated 15th and the return flight date 18th.

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Air-India Moscow Tashkent New Delhi  Private cover.

Sent from

Germany.

This FFC was sent before the official cover of

14th August 1958.

FFC received in Delhi on 29th July 1958.

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AIR INDIA_14TH AUGUST 1958 DELHI MOSCOW_

Some private covers Delhi Moscow

This cover marks the return journey of the flight from Moscow to Delhi on the 18th, with Delhi arrival cancel of 19th.

Some private unaddressed covers bearing the dual cancel of both 15th and 18th.

AIR INDIA_15TH 18TH AUGUST 1958 MOSCOW D
AIR INDIA_15TH 18TH AUGUST 1958 MOSCOW D
AIR INDIA_15TH 18TH AUGUST 1958 MOSCOW D
AIR INDIA_15TH 18TH AUGUST 1958 MOSCOW D
AIR INDIA_15TH 18TH AUGUST 1958 MOSCOW D

Private cover with 15th cancel addressed to Moscow.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay London 19th April 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707 jet engine.

Name of Aircraft: Annapoorna

Registration mark:  VT-DJJ.

Pilots: Capt. Byramjee to Cairo, Capt. K.R. Guzder to London

Frequency of service: Twice weekly.

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AIR INDIA_19TH APRIL BOMBAY LONDON_0001.

Bombay London signed cover by Pilots K.R Guzder and Byramji

This flight covers marks the start of jet engine age , by 1962 Air India became the first airline to have complete fleet of Jet engines.

The cover shows the Silhouette of 3 Boeings flying in the Air. The back ground represents colors of our National Flag.

AIR INDIA_19TH APRIL BOMBAY LONDON_0002.

Air India stationery used for the flight Flight cover bears the cachet.

Air India First Flight Cover Rome Bombay 21 April 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707

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Rome Bombay flown on 21st April 1960 on an Air India International souvenir cover with an address card and a souvenir card.

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Cover Addressed to Delhi from Germany it flew Rome Bombay sector on 21st April 1960 . Received in Delhi on 22 April 1960 and sent to Germany from Delhi  on the 23rd.

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Air India First Flight Cover Bombay New York

14 May 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707 jet engine.

Name of Aircraft: Annapurna

Registration mark:  VT-DJJ.

Frequency of service: Once a week.

Pilots: K.R. Guzder, Bilimoria (Bombay to New York)

R.V. Goday ( New York to Bombay)

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK.

The cover shows the Maharajah offering a Hookah to the Native Red Indian Chief and the Chief offering the Peace Pipe as a sign of Good will and Friendship.

The above 2 covers signed by Pilots: Capt.K.R. Guzder and D.J. Bilimoria.

Please click on the link below to know more about these flight's and the Pilot K.R. Guzder.

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_

Bombay New-York First flight on 14th May 1960.

The flight flew 8500 miles route to New York via Beirut, Zurich, Paris & London.

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_

Unique Bombay New-York First flight covers sent to Paris and Zurich stopovers.

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14th May 1960 - The 8500 mile journey was made via Beirut, Zurich, Paris and London to New York. This flight cover is for Paris to New York sector.

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_

Private Bombay New-York Flight Cover with the Maharajah print.

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AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 BOMBAY NEW YORK_

Flight cover covering the Bombay New-York Sector.

Signed by Pilots K.R. Guzder and Bilimoria.

Special Metuchen and New york cancel at the back.

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_

There are lot of Varieties of return covers. Some diffrentiated by stamps like from USA or United Nations, some diffrentiated by color of the cancel. Mainly 4 different.

The cover on top is quite a unique one sent from New-York, firstly sender forgot to put a stamp or it came off before it reached Bombay, secondly there is no postage due mark. Thirdly it was stamped retour-inconnu and sent back to sender's address in Germany. There is a plethora of delivery cancels at the back.

AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY.
AIR INDIA_14TH MAY 1960 NEW YORK BOMBAY_
AIR INDIA_14th MAY 1960  NEY YORK BOMBAY

4 different color flight cachets for New York to Bombay.

Air India First Flight Cover Rome New York 20 May 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707

AIR INDIA_20TH MAY 1960 ROME NEW YORK _0
AIR INDIA_20TH MAY 1960 ROME NEW YORK _0

On 2oth May 1960 Rome was added as a stop in Bombay New York Sector. Also enclosed Souvenir card.

AIR INDIA_20TH MAY 1960 ROME NEW YORK .j
AIR INDIA_20TH MAY 1960 ROME NEW YORK _0

Unique Vatican stamps and San Marino stamps on the Rome New-York  flight cover

Air India First Flight Cover Calcutta, Bombay, Cairo, Rome, Frankfurt, London , New York  09 June 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707

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Air-India International inaugurated the First Flight of their Boeing 707 Jet service from Calcutta to New-York sector. Cover showing all the stops. Calcutta , Bombay, Cairo, Rome, Frankfurt, London and New-York.

Following Information given by Jal Cooper

Only these many Covers exist's of this flight.

Calcutta to Cairo, Frankfurt,Rome, London- only  62 each carried.

Calcutta to New York- only 171 carried.

Air India First Flight Cover Geneva Bombay 03 July 1960

Type of Aircraft: Boeing 707

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AIR INDIA_3RD JULY 1960 GENEVA BOMBAY_00

Further route expansion saw Geneva connected to Bombay. Seen here Geneva Bombay cover with both Liechtenstein and Swiss stamps.

Air India First Flight Cover Bombay Bahrien, Kuwait 04 Oct 1960

Type of Aircraft: Super Constellation L-1049C,

Name of Aircraft: Rani of Ajanta,

Registration Mark: VT-DGM

Pilot: Capt. Screwvala

Frequency of Service: Once a week.

AIR INDIA_4TH OCT 1960 BOMBAY BAHRIEN_00
AIR INDIA_4TH OCT 1960 BOMBAY BAHRIEN_00
AIR INDIA_4TH OCT 1960 BOMBAY BAHRIEN_00

4th October 1960 Bahrein was connected to Bombay on the India UK route.

The Maharajah is seen greeting a Sheikh and offering him a flower.

The bottom cover again due to storing in Quadrille pages has given a beautiful Quadrille paper effect to the cover.

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AIR INDIA_4TH OCT 1960 BOMBAY KUWAIT_000

4th Oct 1960 also connected Kuwait to Bombay via Karachi and Bahrein.

Type of Aircraft: Super Constellation L-1049C,

Name of Aircraft: Rani of Ajanta,

Registration Mark: VT-DGM

Pilot: Capt. Screwvala

Frequency of Service: Once a week.