Observe 15 Oct as Aviation Day to Celebrate JRD Tata: Indian Pilot

Having flown his 1st commercial flight on 15 Oct 1942, JRD Tata has been considered the father of civil aviation.

3 min read
Hindi Female

An Air India captain Sabu S launched a petition on around two weeks back appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare 15 October as National Aviation Day.

The petition, which has garnered more than 3,300 signatures as of now, chooses 15 October as it was on that day, 85 years ago (15 October 1932), that French-Indian aviation pioneer JRD Tata flew his first commercial flight from Karachi to what was then Bombay.

As a 2013 Economic Times article points out, the flight “was meant to demonstrate the viability of airmail from London to the subcontinent right down to Ceylon”. Thus, JRD Tata’s first flight provided the seminal push to airmail services in the subcontinent.


Tata, who was also the founder of Tata Airlines, which eventually went on to become Air India in 1946, has been considered the father of commercial, civil aviation in India.

Considering his role in providing an impetus to aviation in the subcontinent, the online petition says “it would only be appropriate that 15 October be declared as the National Aviation Day of India”.

As we march towards the leading position, it is only appropriate that we also display our commitment to the cause of aviation… We too have a rich aviation heritage of which we are justifiably proud, and now it is time that India too starts celebrating our own National Aviation Day. petition

The petitioner further goes on to indicate how India should follow the example of USA, which observes National Aviation Day on 19 August,  the day on which aviation pioneer Orwille Wright was born. Orwille, along with his brother Wilbur Wright, were the people behind the world’s first successful airplane.

Having flown his 1st commercial flight on 15 Oct 1942, JRD Tata has been considered the father of civil aviation.
The petition. 
(Photo Courtesy:

‘Name Next Major Airport After JRD Tata’

In addition to commemorating 15 October as National Aviation Day, captain Sabu also appeals for the the next major airport in the country to be named after JRD Tata. Here, he cites examples of various airports across the world which have got their names from famous aviators and aviation pioneers.

Among the names cited are that of George Bush International Airport in Houston, named after George HW Bush, 41st President of the US, who was one of the youngest pilots with the US Navy in the 1940s.

Notably, efforts to have Mumbai airport's international terminal (T2) named after JRD Tata have been made in the past. The JRD Trust had requested the state government in this regard three years back.

A retired Air India captain was quoted in a Hindustan Times report as saying:

The JRD Trust had approached the authorities years back to name Mumbai’s international terminal after Tata. However, there was no response from the state government or ministry officials. Realising that the name of the airport should not be changed, we wished to call only the Mumbai’s terminal 2 after Tata. But nothing shaped up.

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Topics:  Air India    JRD Tata   Indian aviation 

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