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Air India is India's national flag carrier. Although air transport was born in India on February 18, 1911 when Henri Piquet, flying a Humber bi-plane, carried mail from Allahabad to Naini Junction, some six miles away, the scheduled services in India, in the real sense, began on October 15, 1932. It was on this day that J.R.D. Tata, the father of Civil Aviation in India and founder of Air India, took off from Drigh Road Airport, Karachi, in a tiny, light single-engined de Havilland Puss Moth on his flight to Mumbai (then known as Bombay) via Ahmedabad.
In its ever-growing quest for providing direct services from various points in India, Air India currently operates international flights from Mumbai and 16 other Indian cities, viz. Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Jaipur, Varanasi, Tiruchirapalli, Gaya and Thiruvananthapuram. Commencement of international operations from these cities has obviated, to a very large extent, the need for passengers from these regions to necessarily travel to Mumbai and Delhi, the traditional gateways, for taking international flights. Passengers boarding or deplaning in these cities can now complete their immigration and custom formalities at their city airport, both at the time of departure and arrival.