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Monday, August 31, 2009

Fifty Years of Airmail Service (February 15, 1981)

After the World War 1 (1914-18) significant developments took place in the field of civil aviation. The Post played a prominent part in its progress as the freight charges paid by the Post to the airlines were in those days their major source of income. These payments are even today among the main sources of revenue for both small and big air companies. Rapid development in air transport continued at a greater pace after the World War 11(1939-45). Bigger, stronger and ever faster aircraft were developed and put into service. The greatly increased capacity of modern wide-bodied aircraft has been utilized for the conveyance of air mail on a much larger scale.
The Hague Conference (1927) of the Universal Postal Union proposed the first airmail provisions, which were finalised at the London Congress of 1929. The regulations formulated at this Congress were put into effect in 1930.
In the Indo-Pak sub-continent mails were occasionally carried in aircraft between 1919 and 1 928. A significant event of this period was an experiment in 1920 of flying mail between Karachi and Bombay. Several flights were operated from each end, from 23rd January to 11th March. In the 12 flights which were successful, about 3000 articles were carried. A number of R.A.F. aircraft flights in 1 925 were instrumental in carrying mails between Risalpur-Calcutta-Quetta-Hindubagh (now Muslimbagh) and Quetta-Simla. In 1926, a flight carried letters from Karachi to Risalpur. Yet another carried letters from Karachi to Delhi in 1927.
However, it was in 1929 that a regular airmail service between the pre-independence India and England was established. In the same year, inland airmail service was established between Karachi and Delhi and in 1933 Karachi was connected with Calcutta.
With the progress of civil aviation after Independence, Pakistan Post Office made full use of the air services and utilised all the available services for conveyance of air mail. In 1959 “All-Up Airmail Scheme” was introduced under which all letters were given airlift between stations on the air network if this ensured speedier delivery. Later, in 1968 post cards were also included in this scheme. A prominent feature of this scheme was that no air surcharge was levied for the air lift. In 1972 Pakistan Post office went a step further and all letter mail articles were given airlift. The aim is speedier transmission and delivery of mails and to avoid their accumulation. Other classes of mail (printed papers, registered letters and parcels etc.) are also conveyed by air if air surcharge is prepaid on them.
Today Pakistan maintains airmail communication with almost all the countries of the world by means of direct mail exchanges or through intermediary countries.
To commemorate the 50 years of Airmail service, Pakistan Post Office is issuing one postage stamp of Re. 1/- denomination on the 15th February, 1981.