India Domestic Flights

With the lowering of fuel prices and opening up of skies to private airlines by the Government of India, aviation industry in the country has gained new vistas. Once a luxury, traveling by flights has recently captured the imagination of the burgeoning middle class in the country as well.

Different airlines in the country target different sections of the society, something which is evident from the ticket rates, in-flight services provided by the operator and the flight timings. The important players in the domestic segment are:

Air India

The first major domestic airline of India, Indian Airlines started its operations in 1953 under the Air Corporation Act, 1953. The airline came into existence with the merger of eight independent domestic airlines, which were operational at that time. They include Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Airlines, Indian National Airways and Air Services of India. Till 1991 Indian Airlines was the only airline with major Indian domestic flights. In 1991 with the Government of India's open sky policy, the monopoly of Indian Airlines in domestic flight market of India came to an end. Indian Airlines was renamed Indian in December 2005, and in 2007, both Air India, the national carrier of India in the international arena, and Indian Airlines were amalgamated into National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL). Name Air India has been adopted for the air services.

Jet Airways

Based in Mumbai, Jet Airways is the largest private sector airline company operating domestic flights in the country. The airline covers more than 50 domestic destinations along with six international ones. With more than 330 flights operating daily, Jet Airways is giving stiff competition to Air India. Recent milestone in the business expansion of Jet Airways is the acquisition of Air Sahara in 2007. Once owned by Sahara India Parivar, Air Sahara merged with Jet along with its fleet of new generation Boeings 737-700s, 737-800s and Classics 737-400s.

Kingfisher Airlines

A well-known name in the luxury airlines in India, it is based in Bangalore. Owned by the United Beverages Group, it became functional in May 2005. The airline operates flights to around 34 destinations. Joining the M&A (merger & acquisition) band wagon, Kingfisher acquired considerable number of shares in Air Deccan in 2007. Air Deccan, once touted as the flight for every Indian, is likely to redefine its target customers after this marriage.


An initiative of the Deccan Aviation Company, Deccan is one of the leading private airlines operating in India. Established in 2003, Deccan has a fleet of 23 ATR Turboprop airplanes and 20 Airbus A-320 aircrafts. This domestic airline of India has bases in all metropolitan cities including Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. The airline also connects comparatively smaller cities like Tuticorin, Hubli, Kandla, Belgaum and Vijayawada. The affordable rates of Deccan airline make it popular among all sections of travelers.

Jet Lite

After becoming a part of Jet Airways, Air Sahara was renamed Jet Lite and became operational in April 2007. A fleet of 20 aircrafts operating under Jet Lite connects 32 destinations across the country. About 141 daily flights connect cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Allahabad, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Ranchi, Indore and many others. Kathmandu and Colombo are the two overseas destinations connected by Jet Lite.

MDLR Airlines

An endeavor of MDLR Group, MDLR Airlines has been functional since 2007. A fleet of 4 Avro RJ aircrafts connects 5 destinations in India namely Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Ranchi and Jodhpur. Goa and Kullu are also to be connected soon via the flights operated by MDLR Airlines. It is the only domestic airline in India offering an all-vegetarian cuisine to passengers.

Paramount Airways

Set up by the Paramount Group, Paramount Airways is one of the leading airlines connecting different parts of South India with each other. Operational since 2005, this airway is based in Madurai and has a hub at the Chennai Airport. The Embraer aircrafts connect destinations like Chennai, Madurai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore, Cochin, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.


This domestic airline, based in Mumbai, is owned by the Wadia Group of Bombay Dyeing fame. Established in November 2005, today GoAir has to its credit a fleet of 4 Airbus A 320-200.

Jagson Airlines

The first private airline to avail the benefit of Open Sky policy of Government of India, it commenced its operation in 1992.

Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited

Incorporated in 1985 under the name of Helicopter Corporation of India Limited, it provides services mainly to the petroleum sector including ONGC, Oil India Limited and Hardy Exploration at Chennai. Located in New Delhi, it also operates in hilly and far-flung areas of the country and provides chartered flights for the promotion of travel and tourism.

Last Updated on 03 October 2011

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