You might have noticed an alpha-numeric code written in bold letters on airplanes. India’s code or call sign is VT.
What is VT?
VT means Viceroy’s Territory and it was the country code given to us in 1929, when Britishers were ruling the country. Shockingly, India has been unable to get rid of this tainted code till now.
In 1947, India retained ‘VT’ initials used by its former rulers and 67 years later continues to use it even as countries like China, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have gotten their codes changed long back.
What is a call sign?
According to international laws, the aircraft of every nation must specify the name of the country to which it belongs using a unique alpha-numeric code. The code containing 5 characters has two alphabets that is the country’s code and the rest shows which company owns the aircraft.
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in consultation with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) assigns the code to the countries.
When India decided to retain VT, Pakistan adopted the initials ‘AP’ from the newly allocated call signs APA-ASZ. Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan, use 4R, 9N and A5 respectively.
Recently Central Govt. was planning to change it as they wanted no British Influence in it. But the aviation industry people are so used and attached to VT and they opposed it. The government tried to replace VT with codes like IN for India or BH for Bharat or even HI for Hindustan. But none of these are available. However There are not many options left for India as I-Italy, HI – Dominican Republic.