BOAC First Flights - covers flown to/from India


As Air services to different parts of the globe expanded, the number of airlines flying through India increased.  All the major airlines wanted to or had to fly through India to destinations to the east or to the west from the east.  India was a half-way house for pioneering world fliers and all airmail development was through India.  India was very much an important part of post World War II air connectivity.  

One of the major airlines to make India an important part of their airline network was BOAC.   They flew covers on all first flights and the covers have a somewhat similar format: squarish covers with a printed vertical design on one side stating the aircraft used, route and a map.  Covers were usually flown on the first flight of new aircraft on each sector. No first flight covers were flown if a sector was repeated on other routes.  Covers were mostly back-stamped, if not postally then by means of the airline date stamp.

I have attempted to prepare a checklist of covers flown to/from places in India. The listing is of BOAC covers flown to/from Indian cities on various routes, on first flights of new aircraft.  Do let me know if you have covers of stages which are not listed here.  Please send me a scan (front & back) of the cover to my email id: rudypinto@gmail.com.  I'll list it with acknowledgement to you.


1952-53 COMET-1 JET AIRCRAFT

 London - Colombo Route.  11.8.1952:

London - Bombay
Rome    -  Bombay
 Beirut   -  Bombay
Bahrain -  Bombay
Karachi -  Bombay 
 Bombay - Colombo

Return First Flight

Colombo - Bombay
Bombay  - Karachi
Bombay -  Bahrain
Bombay -  Beirut
Bombay - Rome
Bombay - London
.


1952 - First flight between London and Colombo.


Cover flown from Beirut to Bombay 




Cover flown from Bombay to Colombo


Return first flight

Cover flown from Bombay to Karachi



Cover flown from Bombay to Bahrain
 


Cover flown from Bombay to Beirut


 
 Cover flown from Bombay to Rome

London - Singapore Route

Bi-Weekly service with two routes A & B.  The 'B' route commenced on 14th October 1952 and the 'A' itinerary on 31st October.

14.10.1952:  Route 'B'

London - Calcutta
Rome   - Calcutta
Cairo    - Calcutta
Bahrain - Calcutta
Karachi - Calcutta 
Calcutta - Bangkok
Calcutta - Rangoon
Calcutta - Singapore

Return first flight:   Delhi was added as a stage on the return flight

Singapore - Calcutta
Singapore - Delhi
Bangkok -   Calcutta
Bangkok -   Delhi
Rangoon -   Calcutta
Rangoon -   Delhi
Calcutta -   Karachi
Calcutta -   Bahrain
Calcutta -   Cairo
Calcutta -   Rome
Calcutta -   London
Delhi     -   Karachi
Delhi     -   Bahrain
Delhi     -   Cairo
Delhi     -   Rome
Delhi     -   London

31.10.1952:  Route 'B'

London - Delhi
Rome   - Delhi
Beirut  - Delhi 
Beirut  - Calcutta 
Bahrain - Delhi
Karachi - Delhi
Delhi    - Calcutta
Delhi    - Singapore 

Return First Flight

Calcutta - Beirut
Delhi     - Beirut 





























The first flight left London on 4th March 1953.



March, 1957 - London-Sydney Route

The first flight G-ANBK  left London on 22nd March, via Zurich, Istanbul, Karachi, Calcutta, Dingapore, Djakarta and Darwin arriving at Sydney on 4th March. No mail was flown between London-Istanbul, London-Karachi, London-Calcutta, Karachi-Calcutta and Istanbul-London.  No mails were flown to or from Zurich and Djakarta.  Return journey commenced on 5th March from Sydney and reached London on 11th March.

Istanbul - Cacutta
Calcutta - Singapore
Calcutta - Darwin
Calcutta - Sydney

Return

Sydney - Calcutta
Darwin - Calcutta
Singapore - Calcutta
Calcutta - Karachi
Calcutta - Istanbul
Calcutta - London






July, 1957 - LONDON-TOKYO ROUTE

The Britannia G-ANBK left London for Tokyo on16th July, via Rome, Basra, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon and Hong Kong.  Return flight left Tokyo on 20th July calling at Hong Kong, Bangkok, Calcutta, Karachi, Istanbul and Frankfurt, reaching London on the 22nd.  Souvenir covers were flown from London, Rome, Beirut, Basra, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon and Hong Kong on the outward flight and from Tokyo,Hong Kong and Karachi on the return flight.

London - Calcutta
Rome   - Calcutta
Beirut  - Calcutta
Basra   - Calcutta
Karachi - Calcutta
Calcutta - Rangoon
Calcutta - Hong Kong
Calcutta - Tokyo

Return     

Tokyo - Calcutta
Hong Kong - Calcutta

   
August/September 1957 - LONDON-BOMBAY AND LONDON - COLOMBO 

Britannia aircraft were introduced on these routes and two separate occasions but the extension is regarded as one.  The flight for Bombay left on 30th August reaching there on the 31st.  The return flight left Bombay on 1st September and reached London on the 2nd.  The Colombo flight left on 17th September, arriving there on 18th, and the return flight left on the 20th.
London    - Bombay
Frankfurt - Bombay
Beirut     -  Bombay
Bombay - Colombo
Return
Colombo - Bombay
Bombay  - Beirut
Bombay -  Rome
Bombay - London
     





1959-1960 COMET-4 JET AIRCRAFT

G-APDH Comet-4 Jet aircraft left London on 1st April and arrived at Tokyo on April 3rd.  The route was London, Frankfurt, Beirut, Karachi, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo.  However, no mail was flown to or from Frankfurt on the outward flight.  The return flight left Tokyo on the 4th arriving at London on the 5th.

London  - Delhi
London  - Calcutta
Beirut    - Delhi
Beirut    - Calcutta
Karachi - Delhi
Karachi - Calcutta
Delhi      - Calcutta
Delhi     - Bangkok
Delhi    -   Hong Kong
Delhi    -  Tokyo  
Calcutta - Bangkok 
Calcutta - Hong Kong
Calcutta - Tokyo

RETURN   

Tokyo - Calcutta
Tokyo -  Delhi
Hong Kong - Calcutta
Hong Kong - Delhi
Bangkok - Calcutta
Bangkok - Delhi
Calcutta  - Delhi
Calcutta - Karachi
Calcutta - Beirut
Calcutta - Frankfurt
Calcutta - London
Delhi      - Karachi
Delhi     -  Beirut
Delhi    -  Frankfurt
Delhi -    London











June 1959 - LONDON-SINGAPORE ROUTE

The first flight on this route left London on June 1st,  the aircraf was G-APDE.  The route: London, Rome, Beirut, Bahrain, Bombay, Colombo, and Singapore.  The return flight by G-APDM left Singapore on June 4th arriving at London on June 5th.

London - Bombay
Rome   -  Bombay
Beirut   -  Bombay
Bahrain - Bombay
Bombay - Colombo
Bombay - Singpore

RETURN    

Singapore - Bombay
Colombo   - Bombay
Bombay   -  Bahrain
Bombay  -   Beirut
Bombay  -  Rome
Bombay  -  London

       
 
November , 1959.  LONDON-SYDNEY ROUTE

Souvenir covers depicting a map of the route between St. Paul's Cathedral  on the left and Sydney Bridge on the right, were flown on the first flight which left London on November 1st.  The outward route was London, Frankfurt,Beirut, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta, Darwin and Sydney.  On the return flight Bahrain was substituted for Karchi due to runway repairs there.  No covers were despatched from Singapore.  Commemorative cachet was applied at Jakarta.

Frankfurt - Calcutta
Calcutta  - Singapore
Calcutta  - Jakarta
Calcutta -  Darwin
Calcutta -  Sydney

RETURN

Sydney  - Calcutta
Darwin - Calcutta
Jakarta - Calcutta
Calcutta - Bahrain  




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