Kannur: Eight decades ago, every Wednesday a plane use to land in and take off from Kannur. Tata Air Services’ Bombay-Thiruvananthapuram service had stopovers in Goa and Kannur. The fare for Mumbai to Kannur was Rs 135 and from Goa to Kannur it was Rs 75.
P K Sreemathy, MP, is the custodian of a prized relic - the photo of an advertisement given by Tata Air Services. The air service was started at the request of Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma. It was Pooyam Thirunal Gowri Parvathy Bayi and Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi who told Sreemathy about Kannur's aviation history. Sreemathy obtained a photo of the advertisement from them.
The history of Tata Air Services also talks about the Kannur service. Tata Air Services began with a flight carrying letters from Karachi to Mumbai in 1932.
With the success of the Karachi-Madras service in 1933, the Mumbai-Thiruvananthapuram service was started in 1935. Taking off from Bombay at 6.30 am, it used to reach Goa at 9 am and after a layover of half-an-hour, it takes off for Kannur. It used to reach Thiruvananthapuram by 4.30 pm. The friends of J R D Tata were the first passengers, who included traders Jal Naoroji and Seth Kanji Dwarkadas.
The only place where a plane could land in Kannur then was Kottamaithanam, which served as Kannur's first runway. The service which had booking agents at its stopovers - Goa and Kannur.
In 1946, Tata Airlines was nationalised and renamed Air India and then Air India International.