To pay tribute to Bharat Ratna Air Vice Marshal JRD Tata, considered as the father of national carrier, an Air India captain has launched an online petition on Tuesday to declare October 15 as National Aviation Day, when the country will celebrate 85th year of the first flight that landed at Juhu aerodrome from Karachi via Ahmedabad.
The petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has already received 1,040 supporters, requests that the next major airport in the country be named after JRD Tata. It is a common practise overseas to name airports after famous aviators and aviation pioneers such as the George Bush Airport in Houston, Texas, that is named after former US President George Bush who was a pilot in the US Navy and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
Three years ago, the JRD Tata trust had asked the state government to name Mumbai’s international terminal (T2) after Tata for his contribution to the aviation industry.
It was Tata’s first three-seater Tata Airlines flight on October 15, 1932, which started the airmail services. “It will be a proud moment for not only the national carrier but also for aviation enthusiasts to see the day recognised on the 85th anniversary of his flight,” said Captain Sabu Sivaraman.
The online petition has cited examples of National Aviation Day observed in various parts of the world including the United States of America that celebrated the day on August 19, which is the birthday of Orville Wright who was the first person to accomplish a powered flight. ‘It is only in the fitness of things that they (US) decided to celebrate his date of birth as the National Aviation Day,’ stated the petition.
“The JRD Trust had approached the authorities years back to name Mumbai’s international terminal after Tata. However, there was no response from the state government or ministry officials,” said a retired Air Indian Captain. “Realising that the name of the airport should not be changed we wished to call only the Mumbai’s Terminal 2 after Tata. But nothing shaped up,” he added.
In order to remember Tata and honour his contribution to Indian aviation, Air India arranges an annual event focusing on the developments in the aviation sector. Captain Russi Bunsha, executive trustee of JRD Trust said, “Any move to commemorate JRD Tata is welcomed. In the past too, we have been holding events to keep him alive among us.”