Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / International Travel Insurance / Articles / Travel Tips / Charting the Boundary-Breaking History of Commercial Aviation and Its Technological Revolution

Charting the Boundary-Breaking History of Commercial Aviation and Its Technological Revolution

Team AckoMay 8, 2023

India has a rich history of commercial aviation, with a number of technological developments taking place in the country since the inception of airlines in the early 1900s. Allowing for easier, faster, and more comfortable travel, commercial aviation has become a way of life in India, and many of the technological advancements in aviation are uniquely tied up with Indian history and culture. This article looks at the ten most remarkable advances in commercial aviation technology in India and traces their past and discusses the potential of their future.




1. India’s first commercial airlines - Deccan Airways (1927)

In 1927, Deccan Airways became India’s first commercial airline, and it soon gained a reputation of being both reliable and comfortable. Flights were originally restricted to the major cities of Madras (now Chennai) and Calcutta (now Kolkata), however, by the end of the decade, the company had added two new cities – Lucknow and Hyderabad, to its network.

At a time when air travel was expensive and still regarded as luxurious, Deccan Airways provided a unique, memorable experience for passengers. It operated and maintained a fleet of American-built Junkers F13s, and passengers were provided with onboard refreshments.

For the better part of the 1930s, the company enjoyed success due to its monopoly in the market. But with the end of World War II, the technological advancements of the era began to outpace the infrastructure that Deccan had put in place. This eventually resulted in the company’s demise as competition in the aviation industry began to increase.

2. The advent of jetliners (1959)

The 1950s saw the development of the first commercial jetliners in the form of the twin-jet Boeing 707. India was one of the first countries to put the jets into commercial service in 1959. The introduction of the Boeing 707 significantly impacted the performance of airlines in India as the jets were three times faster than the propeller-driven aircraft of the time.

The main Indian airlines that pioneered the jets were Central Indian Air Lines, renamed Deccan Airways, and Air India. These airlines used powerful jets to provide the first jetliner service on the subcontinent. This helped to revolutionize air travel in India, as it enabled passengers to travel in comfort and enabled airlines to go beyond the limits previously set by their propeller fleets.

3. Indian Airlines acquire wide-body jets (1971)

In 1971, Indian Airlines acquired their first wide-body jet in the form of the Boeing 747. This aircraft allowed airlines to provide non-stop services to international destinations such as Tehran and Tokyo, as well as transcontinental flights.

The airliners of the time were also unable to compete with their Western counterparts in terms of payload capability. The Boeing 747 changed this, as it was able to carry more than twice the payload of its predecessor.

This marked the beginning of a new era for Indian airlines, as they began to acquire larger, more efficient wide-body jets. Soon, many of the major Indian airlines were operating Boeing 747s, 737s, Airbus A300s and A320s, ushering in a new period of international air travel for passengers.

4. Introduction of turbofan engines (1982)

Turbofan engines were introduced to commercial aviation in 1982 and had a significant impact on fuel efficiency and thrust capabilities. The engines increased the thrust-to-weight ratio, thereby allowing the aircraft to fly faster and farther while consuming less fuel.

This technology was not adopted in India until the 1990s, when Jet Airways, the first private airline in the country, began operating. Jet Airways quickly established itself as a modern and efficient carrier, and it was the first Indian airline to introduce turbofan engines on its fleet of Airbus A320s. This resulted in reduced fuel consumption and higher efficiency, leading to significant cost savings for the airline.

5. Introduction of digital flight control systems (1993)

Digital flight control systems (DFCS) were introduced in India in the early 1990s, when they were added to the Air India and Indian Airlines fleets. Primarily designed to automate flight operations, the system has the capacity to monitor and adjust the performance of the aircraft in real time and enables pilots to maintain a smoother, more efficient flight path.

The introduction of DFCS in India has significantly improved the efficiency and safety of air travel, as the technology allows for more precise control of the aircraft’s flight path and reduces the potential for costly delays.

6. Introduction of GPS navigation (1994)

GPS navigation systems became a common feature in Indian commercial aircraft from the mid-1990s when airlines began to install the systems on their fleet of passenger and cargo carriers. GPS navigation systems enable pilots to track the aircraft’s exact location, altitude and heading in real-time. As a result, pilots can reduce their risk of becoming lost or flying off course.

The introduction of GPS navigation in Indian aircraft also significantly improved the efficiency of air traffic control, as it allowed air traffic controllers to monitor the progress of aircraft with greater precision and accuracy. This helped reduce air traffic congestion and enabled the more efficient management of air routes.

7. Introduction of the Internet in Indian Airlines (2001)

The Internet revolution of the late 1990s created an opportunity for the commercial aviation industry to make use of new technologies to further improve their services. Indian airlines were among the first to make use of this technology, and by 2001, they had started offering Internet connectivity on their fleet of passenger and cargo carriers.

The introduction of the Internet allowed Indian airlines to provide a new level of service to their passengers. Passengers were now able to access information about the airline and its services, receive flight status updates, and even book tickets online. This made air travel more convenient, secure and efficient for customers.

8. Introduction of automatic flight control systems (2009)

Automatic flight control systems (AFCS) is a technology that has been popular with airlines around the world since the early years of the 21st century. In India, this technology was first introduced in 2009, with the Indian Air Force becoming the first user of the system.

This technology has the ability to automatically adjust the aircraft’s flight path based on the weather and other external conditions. This form of automation has significantly improved the safety and efficiency of air travel in India, as it ensures that the aircraft is always flying in the most ideal flight path.

9. Introduction of satellite communications (2010)

Satellite communications have revolutionized communication in the commercial aviation industry, allowing airlines to communicate with aircraft in flight more efficiently. Satellite technology has allowed airlines to track their aircraft more precisely, reducing the likelihood of incidents and delays. In 2010, Indian airlines began to install satellite communications systems on their fleet of passenger and cargo aircraft.

This technology has allowed airlines to gain real-time access to their aircraft’s performance and provides an additional layer of safety and efficiency. This has enabled Indian airlines to provide passengers with a smoother, safer, and more reliable experience when flying.

10. Introduction of advanced air traffic management systems (2019)

The most recent development in Indian Aviation technology is the introduction of advanced air traffic management systems (ATMs). ATMs are designed to provide a unified system that enables air traffic controllers to accurately and efficiently manage all aircraft in their airspace. This provides a safer and more efficient air travel experience for passengers.

The introduction of ATMs in India in 2019 is expected to have a positive impact on Indian aviation, as it will enable air traffic controllers to better manage air traffic flow, reduce delays and help airlines maintain punctuality and customer satisfaction.


The history of commercial aviation in India is an intriguing one, as it has seen many technological advancements in the past century. From the introduction of the first commercial airline in 1927 to the latest advanced air traffic management system, Indian airlines have consistently sought to provide a superior level of service to their passengers by utilizing the latest technologies. Whether it’s for speed, efficiency, or safety, Indian airlines have consistently sought to improve the air travel experience of their passengers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions answered about the history of commercial aviation and its technological revolution.


What is the history of commercial aviation in India?

The history of commercial aviation in India dates back to the early 20th century when the first commercial airlines were established. Since then, there have been a number of developments in the technology used in aviation, from the introduction of jetliners to the latest advanced air traffic management systems.

How has air travel been impacted by the introduction of new technologies?

The introduction of new technologies in Indian aviation has had a significant impact on air travel. From improved fuel efficiency and increased safety, new technologies have enabled airlines to provide a smoother, safer, and more efficient experience for their passengers.

What is the potential of future technologies in aviation?

The future of aviation technology is an exciting one, as there are many potential applications and developments. Autonomous air travel, advanced navigation systems, and improved air traffic management systems are all areas of research that could have a huge impact on the way we travel in the future.


Want to post any comments?


Ensure a safe trip with a comprehensive travel insurance plan.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming journey.

quote icon

Get Quote

quote icon