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East-West Airlines (India)

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Title: East-West Airlines (India)  
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East-West Airlines (India)

East-West Airlines
Founded 1991
Commenced operations 1992
Ceased operations August 8, 1996
Fleet size See Fleet below
Key people Thakiyudeen Wahid (Managing director)
Tail colors of an East-West Airlines Boeing 737

East-West Airlines was the first scheduled private airline in India to take off the ground after the Open Skies policy was announced in 1991. The airline ceased operations in 1996.[1]


East West Airlines began operations in early 1992, when the Indian Government opened up the industry to its "open skies policy" that gave rise to numerous private 'air taxi operators' that serviced India. The airline operated its offices in Mumbai/Bombay, New Delhi, Chennai/Madras and Trivandrum.

It started, as per government stipulations, with three aircraft, all Boeing 737-200s.[2] During the Indian Airlines strike In 1992, to counter the impact of a crippling Indian Airlines pilot strike, the then-Civil Aviation minister, Madhavrao Scindia aked the airline to bring in more aircraft. East West went on to acquire four more planes taking their count to seven Boeing 737s.[3]

The Indian Government granted scheduled domestic airline status to nine private air-taxi operators including East West in 1994. [4]

On November 13, 1995 The company's managing director Thakiyudeen Wahid was shot dead near his Mumbai office.[5] The airline owed 3.3 million dollars to PLM Equipment - the company from which they had leased three Boeings.[6] The American company first appealed to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to deregister the aircraft and then went to court. The Delhi high court ordered East West to pay up or return the planes. The three planes were then grounded. In May 1996 the airline sought and was given DGCA permission to stop flying trunk routes due to a shortage of aircraft. By June 1996 they decided to fly only from Bombay to non-trunk destinations like Calicut, Trivandrum, Cochin. Finally, on August 8, 1996, East West Airlines ceased all operations.[2]


East West operated a total fleet of eleven aircraft, comprising eight leased Boeing 737-200s[7] and three Fokker F27s. After the airline shut down operations, the Boeings were returned to their lessors;[7] while two Fokkers were stored at Mumbai Airport until 2006, when they were auctioned off by AAI to recover some of the fees it was owed by way of parking and landing charges.[8][9]

Accidents and incidents

On 1 July 1995, an East West Airlines Fokker F-27, registered VT-EWE, was engaged in a training touch and go exercise at Vadodara Airport when the aircraft's left main landing gear failed on touchdown. The aircraft continued moving forward on its belly and skid to a halt on the runway. There was no fire and no injury to persons on board the aircraft. Poor maintenance was cited as a contributory factor in the accident. The aircraft was written off.[10]


  1. ^ "Reports & Position Papers :Chronology of Events of Indian Civil Aviation Sector". APAO. 
  2. ^ a b "Why are India's private airlines in such bad shape?". Rediff On The Net Business News. 28 Jan 1997. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Govindraj Ethiraj: Why private airlines can be trusted".  
  4. ^ "India raises status of air-taxi operators".  
  5. ^ "Deadly Ricochets".  
  6. ^ "India's private malaise".  
  7. ^ a b "East West Airlines - Historic Fleet". Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Junk aircraft at Mumbai airport find new masters".  
  9. ^ "East West Airlines F 27 Moves from Mumbai". Warbirds. 8 Nov 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Accident Description". Air Safety Network. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
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