Celebrating Air India's First Boeing 707 Flights from Sydney and Perth
I recently happened to acquire two very interesting hand painted covers, both from 1962, that commemorated the Air India First Flight from Sydney to Bombay on on 9 May 1962, and from Perth to Bombay on 3 October 1962.
Until introduction of the Boeing 707 on the Sydney route in May 1962 the Sydney service was operated by Air-India using Lockheed Constellations and first started on 5 October 1956. The Sydney cover has the hand painted Maharajah, and the violet oval Air-India first flight cachet. It is franked with an Australia 1'6 shilling postage stamp, and has a Sydney 9 May 62 postmark. Flight AI-407 departed Sydney on Wednesdays at 11.00 hrs and made it's way via Darwin (technical halt), Singapore, Bangkok and finally arrived at Bombay 23.40 hrs the same night, providing convenient connections for the onward Air-India flight to various European destinations, and on to London and New York. The aircraft here was the Nanga Parbat VT-DNZ.
Darwin was abandoned as a technical halt upon introduction of Perth as a commercial halt on this service starting October 1962. AI-407 now departed from Sydney at 10.35 hrs every Wednesday, and flew via Perth, Singapore and Bangkok, arriving Bombay at 23.40 the same night, facilitating the same western connections as described above. This cover has similar 1'6 shilling franking, and is postmarked Perth 3 October 62, and has the violet oval Air-India First Flight cachet. The hand painted design here is a map of Australia and India depicting the Perth-Bombay connection. The artist has left out the intermediate stops in the drawing.
Both covers are a treat, and I've never seen them before. Not sure how many of these were hand-painted, or who the artist was, but the artist's passion surely stands out. His initials R.W.B. are clearly visible in the bottom left corner. Delighted to add them to my collection.
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