It has taken 68 years, but independent India has finally decided to change its aircraft code, dropping the British colonist era VT (Viceroy Territory) for something new. The bid was launched in Indian Parliament stating that it is "high time" the prefix be replaced.
"The Indian civil aviation sector has grown stupendously and that it can be compared to any other developed nation," a parliamentary report mentioned. "The Committee also feels that it is high time to set aside the sign of a colonial past and acquire a new call sign which appropriately denotes the Indian civil aviation sector."
The VT code which is present on all civilian aircraft has been in use since 1929 when a British viceroy governed the country and the abbreviation has continued to find a place on Indian planes.
"How unfortunate it is that VT is still being used in the names allotted to Indian planes. This is a reminiscence of colonialism. India cannot be a territory of Viceroy," Tarun Vijay, an MP from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist BJP said during a questions session in Parliament on 3 May.
The VT discussion is not a new one. The matter has been raised a number of times, but failed to be changed because it was pointed out that "no other code which distinctly identifies with India was available" referring to the fact that the government would have liked to switch to using "I", but that code already belongs to Italy.
Aircraft of all British colonies have two-alphabet codes, but after gaining independence, many countries like Fiji, Nepal and Pakistan revised them to represent their independent names. All codes are allotted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and India will have to check with them for a new code that has not yet been adopted by any other country.