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Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000

22 hurt as SIA flight does hard landing

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:35:00 +0000

Times of India
Updated : Oct 20, 2014

MUMBAI: In the first incident involving an Airbus 380 in India, 22 people, including eight passengers, onboard Singapore Airlines' double deck aircraft sustained injuries after the jet flew into severe turbulence during its descent into Mumbai airport on Saturday night. 

The incident highlights the importance of keeping seat belts fastened and secure during descent and climb phase of a flight. 

Flight SQ 424 from Singapore to Mumbai with 408 passengers and 25 crew members on board touched down at 10pm, five minutes past its scheduled arrival time.

"About 30 minutes before touchdown, the aircraft seemed to have encountered inclement weather. The sudden turbulence threw some of the passengers off their seats, though the most hit were the flight attendants. There was some damage to some inside panels of the passenger cabin," said an aviation official. 

Singapore Airlines confirmed the incident. 

An airport source said that the injured passengers and crew were administered emergency medical aid at the airport and then moved to two private hospitals. Spokespersons of LH Hiranandani hospital in Powai and SevenHills hospital in Marol said that the injured were brought in around 11.30 pm. 

"Most flyers sustained superficial injuries to shoulders and knees. Nobody had sustained any serious injuries," said a doctor at SevenHills Hospital. 

Hiranandani Hospital CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee said 12 patients came to the hospital with minor injuries. 

"All were treated on outpatient basis and discharged," he said. 

Airbus Cuts A330 Production Rate

Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:18:00 +0000

Updated : Oct 17, 2014
Airbus has decided to cutA330 production rates ahead of the transition from the current model to the A330neo.
The manufacturer will reduce monthly output to nine aircraft, from 10, in the fourth quarter of 2015, Airbus confirmed on Oct. 17. It had only raised production to 10 in 2013.
"Our role as an aircraft manufacturer is to anticipate and adapt our output to ensure we continue to maintain a smooth production flow for Airbus and for our supply chain," said Tom Williams, Airbus’s Executive Vice President Programs. "We are confident we will sustain a steady production towards the A330neo ramp-up period."
The production cut comes two years prior to the planned entry into service of the A330neo in the fourth quarter of 2017. By contrast, Airbus has decided to increase production of the A320 even as it has to manage the transition to the A320neo starting in late 2015; demand for the current model is still strong enough.
As for the current A330, Airbus has seen a slowing in demand since 2013, which raises the question of whether a reduction of one aircraft per month will be enough. Airbus currently has outstanding orders for 69 A330-200s and 154 A330-300s, equivalent to less than two years of production. But there are three years left until the A330neo comes online.
Airbus has to bet on large orders from China to materialize, but those appear to be pending the establishment of a completion center alongside its Tianjin A320 final assembly line. A letter of intent has recently been signed, but the final decision remains to be made.

India to overtake United Kingdom in world aviation market ranking

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:22:00 +0000

Updated : 16 Oct, 2014
India, which is now the ninth largest aviation market in the world, will overtake the UK to take the third position in over 15 years, after China and the United States, global airlines' body IATA said today.
India would be among the top five fastest growing markets in terms of adding more passengers every year, the first IATA projection for the next two decades showed.
"Currently the ninth largest market, India will see a total of 367 million passengers by 2034, an extra 266 million annual passengers compared to today. It will overtake the United Kingdom (148 million extra passengers, total market 337 million) to become the third largest market around 2031," a report of theInternational Air Transport Association (IATA) released today showed.
By 2034, "the five fastest-increasing markets in terms of additional passengers per year will be China (856 million new passengers per year), the US (559 million), India (266 million), Indonesia (183 million) and Brazil (170 million)."
The Indian and Brazilian domestic markets would grow at 6.9 and 5.4 per cent respectively, with the former adding 159 million extra passengers and the latter 147 million. Their total domestic air markets will be 215 million and 226 million respectively, the IATA projections showed.
Eight of the ten fastest-growing markets in percentage terms over the next two decades would be in Africa, with Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burundi and Kuwait making up the five fastest-growing markets.
Interestingly, intra-Pakistan flights would also grow at a fast average rate of almost ten per cent.
Among the highlights of the report is the expectation that China would overtake the United States as the world's largest passenger market -- defined by traffic to, from and within, by 2030. "Both markets, however, are expected to remain the largest by a wide margin," the study said.
In terms of country-pairs, Asian and South American destinations would see the fastest growth, reflecting economic and demographic growth in those markets, the IATA report said.
"Intra-Pakistan, Kuwait-Thailand, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Ethiopia, Colombia-Ecuador and intra-Honduras travel will all grow by at least 9.5 per cent on average for the next 20 years, while Indonesia-East Timor will be the fastest growing pair of all, at 14.9 per cent," it said.
"It is an exciting prospect to think that in the next 20 years more than twice as many passengers as today will have the chance to fly. Air connectivity on this scale will help transform economic opportunities for millions of people," IATA chief Tony Tyler said in his comments on the report.
In 20 years' time, "we can expect aviation to be supporting around 105 million jobs and USD six trillion in GDP," he said.
The report, the first from the new IATA Passenger Forecasting service, analyses passenger flows across 4,000 country pairs for the next 20 years, forecasting passenger numbers by way of three key demand drivers -- living standards, population and demographics, and price and availability.

Indian aviation sector to be recertified post US demotion

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:27:00 +0000

Updated : Oct 16, 2014

For many players in India’s aviation sector, it is time to go back to basics. With an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audit around the corner, sources say veteran airlines like Air India and Jet Airways and even new entrants like Vistara will have to go in for a re-certification reports CNBC-TV18s Sindhu Bhattacharya & Shereen Bhan. 

India's demotion to category-II safety status by the US Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year is both a boon and a curse. A boon, because the demotion has helped both airline companies and government agencies clean up their act, and rework the certification process by eliminating the many flaws that existed; A curse, because for many of these airlines, it means getting re-certified. This means a fresh look at almost every process at an airline, and applying for flying permits all over again. 

CNBC-TV18 learns that aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wants to get this done before the next FAA audit, which could begin as early as December. To this end, sources say it has already begun rectifying one big problem - a shortage of flight operations inspectors. This puts Air India and Jet Airways, which have the most number of international flights, especially to the USA, first in the queue. 

The DGCA is keen on ensuring that airlines which seem to have bypassed, ignored or just not followed the rules laid down on paper, fall in line. This basically means a complete overhaul of all processes related to safety, training and licensing. So don't be surprised if airlines have to conduct 'proving flights' - something only an airline looking to fly for the first time usually has to do. 

Once Jet and Air India are done, it will be the turn of other players like SpiceJet. Already, the DGCA has found some lapses with SpiceJet's engineering checks. But this re-certification exercise will come as a bigger blow for new entrant Vistara. The airline has already had to push its maiden flight due to a delayed delivery of aircraft, and now, with a longer certification process before it, its maiden flight may now be at least 2-3 months away.

Gulfstream Launches New Large-Cabin, Long-Range Jets

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:20:00 +0000

Updated : Oct 14,2014
For its latest large-cabin, long-range business jets, the G500 and G600, Gulfstream has moved away from its long-time engine supplier, Rolls-Royce, and left behind its original fuselage cross-section, as it did for the flagship ultra-long-range G650. The new aircraft were unveiled ahead of the industry-showcase National Business Aviation Association convention this week in Orlando, Florida.
The G500 and G600 are launch applications for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s (P&WC) PW800 turbofan and fit into Gulfstream’s product line-up above the Rolls-Royce-powered G450 and G550, which are to stay in production as long as demand continues. In addition to a larger fuselage cross-section, the new jets share with the G650 wing aerodynamics, fly-by-wire controls and systems.
The new aircraft not only have longer and larger cabins than the G450 and G550 but also will fly higher, faster, quieter and farther on less fuel. High-speed cruise for both aircraft is Mach 0.9. At Mach 0.85 long-range cruise speed, the $54.5 million G600 has a range of 6,200 nm, compared with the G550’s 6,000 nm, while the $43.5 million G500 has 5,000-nm range, compared with the G450’s 4,220 nm at Mach 0.8.
“We have a very long-term development strategy,” says Scott Neal, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Cabin volume, range and speed were the design drivers, [and that combination] will be matched by no other aircraft.”
In the works since 2008 under Gulfstream’s project P42, the G500 rolled out in Savannah, Georgia, Oct. 14. With 1,800 hr. of wind-tunnel work completed, the G500’s first flight is planned for 2015, leading to expected certification in 2017 and entry into service in 2018. Five aircraft will be used in a two-year, 3,000-hr. flight-test program. The G600’s design, which includes a longer fuselage and increased span, will be frozen by year-end, aiming for a first flight in 2016 and service entry in 2019.
The new models’ enhanced performance is due to the new engines and a wing with G650 high-speed aerodynamics, including supercritical airfoil, 36-deg. quarter-chord sweep and increased span—10 ft. more than the G450, in the case of the G500. Gulfstream says the P&WC engines are lighter and more fuel-efficient than current 16,000-lb.-thrust-class engines. The G500 is powered by two 15,144-lb.-thrust PW814GAs, the G600 by 15,680-lb.-thrust PW816GAs.
Operators told Gulfstream they wanted a bigger fuselage but better fuel economy, and the company briefly evaluated using the G650 fuselage cross-section for the G500 and G600. But the weight and drag imposed unacceptable performance penalties. Instead, the aircraft have a new fuselage shape that is 7 in. narrower and less tall than the G650’s but provides 2 in. more headroom, 7 in. more cabin width and 8 in. more floor width than the G450 and G550. Used in the G650, the four-radii fuselage shape provides more head and shoulder room than a circular cross-section. The floor sits proportionately lower in the fuselage than in the G650, and headroom is only 1 in. less than in the flagship Gulfstream.
The new aircraft have the same cabin windows as the G650, 16% larger in area and positioned 3.4 in. higher than those in the G450 and G550. With a cabin 2.5 ft. longer than the G450’s, the G500 has six windows per side and three seating areas. The G600 cabin, 1.6 ft. longer than the G550’s, has seven windows per side and room for 3.5 seating areas—the extra length accommodates an optional crew-rest compartment. The 10.7-psi pressurization system provides a 3,000-ft. cabin altitude at 41,000 ft. and 4,850 ft. at the aircraft’s 51,000-ft. maximum ceiling, the lowest cabin altitude in their classes.
The digital fly-by-wire system is based on that in the G650, with a pair of dual-channelThales flight-control computers and Parker electronic power-control actuators. But new to the G500 and G600—and a first for civil aviation—are the active-inceptor sidestick controls supplied by BAE Systems. These are electrically back-driven, so they appear to be mechanically linked side to side: When one sidestick is moved, the other moves with it. The sidesticks also move in response to autopilot inputs, providing the pilots with tactile and visual feedback.
In addition to the active sidesticks, the new Symmetry flight deck for the aircraft introduces touchscreen displays and other features that distinguish it from the PlaneView cockpits of current-production Gulfstreams. Based on Honeywell integrated avionics, Symmetry provides four large-format, landscape-orientation flight displays, their associated cursor-control devices relocated from the sidewall armrests to the center console to make room for the sidestick controls.
Three large, software-driven touchscreens on the overhead panel control virtually all airframe systems. Four smaller touchscreens, two outside the main displays and two in the center console, provide flight management system, radio and avionics/display controls. There are no conventional multi-function control display units. Wider-screen standby flight instruments are installed in the glareshield. All this provides unprecedented redundancy. Gulfstream’s goal is to allow dispatch with one overhead, one lower touchscreen and one standby flight display inoperative.
The new aircraft are equipped with a standard head-up display and third-generation Elbit Kollsman EVS III infrared enhanced-vision system camera with four times the image resolution, an integrated exterior window and digital interface to the avionics suite.

Garuda Indonesia orders 50 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbodies

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:58:00 +0000

Updated : Oct 12, 2014
Garuda Indonesia has announced an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, valued at $4.9 billion at list prices. The carrier will purchase 46 737 MAX 8s and convert existing orders for four 737-800s to 737 MAX 8s, Boeing said in a statement Sunday.
The order was previously listed on Boeing's orders and deliveries website as an unidentified customer. 
Garuda, a new SkyTeam alliance member, operates 77 737s. The MAXs will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1Bs, the sole-source engine the MAX.
Boeing said the total number of 737 MAX orders to date is 2,295 aircraft from 47 customers worldwide.

DGCA grounds three aircraft belonging to domestic operators

Sun, 12 Oct 2014 10:19:00 +0000

Published in Business Today Updated: October 11, 2014
In a series of surprise checks over the week, the aviation regulator has grounded three aircraft belonging to domestic operators such as Air India.
According to a senior official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the three grounded aicraft include two A320s and one Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) belonging to Air India, GoAir and a non-scheduled private operator (NSOP).
Substantive safety lapses were found in the aircraft, the official told IANS.
Till now in the year, DGCA has conducted 55 surprise checks leading to the grounding of 14 aircraft.
The development assumes significance as in January the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) downgraded the safety ranking of India's DGCA.
The DGCA was downgraded under the pretext that the regulator does not meet international safety standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in areas such as adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks of aircraft.
Currently, India is downgraded to category-II in terms of safety related aspects of its civil aviation operations.
The DGCA has been trying to improve its safety audit and has been conducting surprise checks ever since.

Nine airports to have e-visa facility this month

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:52:00 +0000

Updated: October 9, 2014  | 21:54 IST
In a move to boost tourism, nine airports equipped with e-visa facilities will be operational for 13 countries including USA and South Korea and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to launch it this month.
In order to give a major boost to tourism in India, the facility of Electronic Travel Authorisation (e-Visa) would be introduced atnine airports in the country where necessary infrastructure are being put in place, sources in government said.
The authorisation facility would be operational at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Trivandrum and Kochi airports in the first phase and will be extended to other airports later.
The date of its launch will be decided shortly, they said.
In the 2014-15 Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley acknowledged the importance of tourism as a major job creator and announced the government's intention to relax the existing visa regime.
Besides tourists from USA and South Korea, visitors from all 11 countries which have been given visa on arrival facility are being covered under the e-visa scheme.
Currently visa-on-arrival facility is extended to Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Finland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Luxembourg and Laos. 

Airbus Preparing A350-900 For First Delivery

Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:33:00 +0000

Published in on 6 Oct, 2014 

With European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification now in place for the A350-900, Airbus is shifting gears to prepare for first delivery of the aircraft and a steep production ramp-up.

EASA issued the type certificate for the Airbus A350-900 on Sept. 30 following an almost flawless flight-test campaign that started in June 2013 and involved five test aircraft. “We dealt with a very mature aircraft,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky says. “Airbus and EASA have learnt from experience and have established pragmatic working methods which have proved to be the recipe for the successful type certification and the way forward for future certification programs.” The A350 was the first all-new Airbus aircraft certified by EASA.

While the latter phase of development and flights tests took place without the huge delays and disruptions to which the industry has become accustomed, the A350 went through several iterations in the early project phase that included an updated version of the A330 initially and later several material selections or fuselage changes. The latest turn in the A350 strategy affects the A350-800, development of which Airbus says is “frozen,” a euphemism for being scrapped. In its August statistics for orders and deliveries, Airbus still listed 34 firm orders for the type, but program head Didier Evrard says more airlines have agreed to transition either to the recently launched A330neo or the larger A350-900.

The aircraft maker plans to deliver the first A350-900 to Qatar Airways before year-end. That aircraft, MSN006, is now “ready to be transferred to the flight-test team,” Evrard says. The exact delivery date will be determined jointly with the carrier in the coming weeks, he says, during which time Airbus is working on familiarizing Qatar Airways with the aircraft. Evard says that will require “a number of flights,” but it is difficult to predict just how many flights or hours. But he says, “If I were a golf player, I would say we are on the green.” 

Meanwhile, the next challenge, ramp up of production, is nearing. Airbus plans by year-end to reach a build rate of three per month from the current two, and by the end of 2015, it aims to produce five A350s per month. Output is to be expanded to 10 aircraft per month by 2018. However, chief salesman John Leahy is concerned that Airbus may not build enough A350s  to meet demand. “We are being prudent, but it bothers me,” he says. Airbus might soon decide to raise production rates, he indicated at the Istat conference in Istanbul late last month. “I believe this will be decided sometime next year,” he said.

Airbus had orders for 750 A350s at the time of certification of the first version. The -900 is by far the most popular version, with 547 firm commitments, followed by 169 orders for the A350-1000 and 34 for the -800, which will most likely never be built. Leahy said the further stretch represented by the -800, while technically possible, might not be a good idea.

For the A350-900, Airbus expects to receive FAA approvals “very shortly,” according to chief engineer Gordon McConnell. “It is in process just now, but not completed yet,” he says. The initial extended twin operations (ETOPS) clearance also has not yet been published by EASA, and McConnell believes it may take several more weeks. He says initial ETOPS will be “perfectly adequate” for the needs of the operators. The EASA certification document indicates there will be a 180-min. ETOPS approval and a separate one beyond that limit.

Airbus will return to lithium-ion-batteries—all A350s will be delivered with those batteries from 2016. As a consequence of the lithium-ion battery fires experienced on the Boeing 787, Airbus decided to use more conventional nickel-cadmium batteries temporarily to avoid schedule risk in case certification requirements changed. As it turns out, Airbus did not need to alter its original design. “We were fully aware of the risks inherent in the [battery] design,” Evrard said. “We have put measures in place to mitigate that to zero.”

The A350-900 has been certified by EASA for a maximum of 440 passengers, depending on the exit configuration. That will require at least eight cabin crew.

The maximum takeoff weight for the basic variant is 268 tons, although EASA has certified the aircraft for up to 275 tons, giving Airbus room for higher-weight versions later, even as part of the initial certification. While the A350 is available only in the basic 268-ton variant at this point, the A350-900 is about three tons heavier than initially planned. The aircraft is certified with a maximum operating altitude of 43,100 ft.

EASA has also determined that the A350-900 “is a variant of the A330/340 series aircraft” and, more precisely, is considered to be “a variant of the A330-200.” Pilots will be able to fly both the A330 and the A350 with the same type rating. 

On the move: Civil Aviation Ministry to strategise on improving city airport

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:22:00 +0000

The Hindu

Published in The Hindu Updated: September 30, 2014 02:05

The Union civil aviation ministry will soon formulate a new strategy to improve conditions at Chennai airport, said P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union minister for civil aviation, on Monday.

Mr. Raju said many members of Rajya Sabha had complained about the condition of Chennai airport a few months ago.

Following this, a couple of officials from the ministry had taken pictures of the prevalent conditions at the airport. “If there are complaints of incomplete engineering works or design-related issues, nothing can be done overnight. But, there is no excuse for not maintaining elementary hygiene.” However, the conditions had improved since, he said.

“My staff took 75 pictures a few months ago. But, when I inspected the terminal last Saturday, there seemed to be definite improvement. But it should not slide,” he said. Talking about privatisation, Mr. Raju said the Union government ‘is neither enamoured about privatisation nor against it completely’. “We have a few airports that are privatised and working successfully,” he said. During his inspection, he also visited the new cargo complex in Meenambakkam.

Mr. Raju noted that Chennai was the leader in cargo services in the country. The cargo sector had exciting possibilities if the State government could think of backward and forward integration, he said.

New aviation policy soon, says Minister

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:28:00 +0000

Published in The Hindu Updated: September 17, 2014 03:23 IST

Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Tuesday that a new aviation policy would be brought out soon to develop infrastructure and attract investments.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the 65 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Hyderabad chapter, he warned that there was every chance of some unused airports becoming a liability to the government. “There are 125 airports in the country out of which 75 are in use. There needs to be a strategy regarding the rest of the airports. Otherwise, they will end up as non-performing assets.” He ruled out the possibility of bailing out private airlines that were incurring huge losses.

On the industry’s demand for a reduction in tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), he said Andhra Pradesh was among the few States that had responded positively to the Union government’s appeal to lower the tax on ATF.

“Along with A.P., Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab also want to reduce the ATF prices. We are pursuing the issue with other States as well. The States that see less aviation activity have responded to our request positively, whereas the States that witness heavy aviation activity are dragging their feet on this,” he remarked.

Domestic air passenger traffic rises 8.31% in August

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:46:00 +0000

Published in Business Today
Updated: September 16, 2014  | 18:21 IST

Domestic air passenger traffic increased by 8.31 percent in August to 56.97 lakh passengers - up from 52.60 lakh ferried in the corresponding month last year.
According to data furnished by the civil aviation ministry on Tuesday, on a month-on-month basis, there was an increase of over five per cent in the passenger traffic.
"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Aug 2014 were 433.25 lakh as against 411.40 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, thereby registering a growth of 5.31 per cent," the ministry said in a statement.
The data showed low-cost carrier IndiGo achieved the highest market share at 32.6 per cent followed by SpiceJet at 19.5 percent, Air India at 16.2 percent, Jet Airways at 16.1 per cent, Go Air at 10 per cent, and JetLite at 4 percent.
Regional carriers AirAsia India reported a market share of 0.06 per cent and Air Costa at 1.1 per cent.

Civil Aviation Minister sets strict rules for Air India

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:09:00 +0000

Updated Aug 14, 2014

Civil Aviation Minister A. Gajapathi Raju has cracked the whip on national carrier Air India by putting in place a strict set of rules for monitoring the management of the loss making airline.
According to sources, Raju has issued a detailed set of instructions to Air India seeking details of route-wise profits of the airline. He has instructed the national carrier to make improvements on 20-odd parameters relating to streamlining operations, discipline in the work force, adequate use of mammoth manpower and ways being adopted to make a turnaround.
Monthly report
The minister also wants the national carrier to submit its progress report during the first week of every month.
Falling in line, Air India on August 8 had issued an order to all its 23,000 employees across the country to strictly follow working hours and threatened disciplinary action against erring officials.
"It has been brought to the notice that some employees are reporting late to office and leaving early. Also, during office hours, employees are not found at their workplace. Many of the employees are also not punching their attendance while coming or leaving office," the notice states.
The Air India management is now putting in place a biometric system to ensure regular attendance as the earlier system of punching cards was being misused.
A top Air India official told MAIL TODAY on Wednesday that they had received an order from the Civil Aviation Minister's office in this regard. When contacted, Air
India executive director Deepa Mahajan confirmed the development, saying "as per the ministry's instructions, we have issued a tender for installing biometric attendance system at all our offices."
Though punching of attendance has been made mandatory since 2007 by the Air India management, it is hardly followed, another Air India official said. The official also claimed that some senior officials have not issued attendance punching card in their name.
"They have done this so that their movement at the workplace is not tracked."
"Employees rarely punch their attendance cards at automatic attendance recording machines installed at the Air India headquarters and the Safdarjung airport. At many times, these machines don't even work," the official said.
Disciplining Air India employees has been a very serious issue. After the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India in 2007, the national carrier has witnessed serious issues related to its workforce. Challenging task A former top Air India official admitted that his tenure at the airline was extremely challenging.
"Be it a pilot, a cabin crew member or even the junior most employee in the organisation, many of them are well-connected. If you initiate action against them, you start getting calls from the higher ups,'' he lamented.
 "The airline is financially supported by the government and you cannot annoy anyone in the government. This makes it difficult to infuse discipline in the airline. There is no sense of fear of losing jobs. It is a pakka job. If you want to change the work culture in the airline, you need to implement extremely bold measures," he added.

Flight operations to stop at Hubli airport for two months

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:51:00 +0000

Published in on 28 July, 2014

Bangalore/Hubli/Belgaum: The twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad will have no air connectivity for at least two months from August 1, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up an expansion project. However, small aircraft such as four to six-seaters and helicopters can land at the airport.

Spicejet has been operating two flights per day on the Hubli-Bangalore, Hubli-Delhi-Jabalpur-Mumbai routes. The airline will provide service from Belgaum city during the period. Spicejet is the only service provider from Hubli.

The AAI will increase the length of the runway from 4,500 ft to 7,500 ft and width from 90 ft to 135 ft, at a cost of Rs 60 crore. It is feared that the project would get delayed as the Hubli-Dharwad City Corporation and other local utility providers are not co-operating.

Though the Public Works Department (PWD) has handed over three km of the road (major district road) that has been acquired for expansion, the urban local body and the traffic police have not taken steps to stop vehicular movement on the stretch.

Tatas aim to build aircraft for Ruag Aviation

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:38:00 +0000

Published in The Hindu, Hyderabad, 23 Jun 2014

The Tata Group on Monday said it aims to bring out a fully built aircraft for Ruag Aviation — makers of Dornier 228 new generation aircraft, parts of which are to be made in India by TASL.
Tata Advanced Systems Ltd held ground breaking ceremony in Hyderabad for manufacturing Dornier 228 fuselage and wings.
The Tata-Ruag partnership is a glowing example of cooperation between India and Europe, TASL Chairman S. Ramadorai said.
“It is our belief that this project is a significant step forward in India’s growth as a high technology, precision, manufacturing destination. Ruag has entrusted the Tatas to deliver its showcase product, the Dornier 228, at world-class standards of precision and quality,” he said.
“Our vision is to work with Ruag in having a full aircraft, equipped with systems flying out from a Tata final assembly. This will be of significant importance to the Indian Armed forces in their desire to produce products locally,” he said at the function.
Within five years, TASL has become a significant player in the Global Aerospace market by delivering successfully over 70 Sikorsky S-92 cabins, and delivered Empennage and Center Wing Box for the C-130 J aircraft through its separate JV with Lockheed Martin, Mr. Ramadorai said.
It has also made Hyderabad a premier manufacturing destination for Global OEMs, he added.
The Ruag project is the fourth Aero structures unit to be set up by TASL since 2009 in Hyderabad and the products of all the units are 100 per cent exported.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, chief guest of the function, said the government will soon announce new industrial policy and consultations with stakeholders are underway.
“The goal is to make the Made in Telangana label as a globally recognised brand for its quality and innovativeness,” Mr. Rao said.
The city — hosts many research and development bodies such as DRDO, DRDL, Midhani and BDL — is ideal for setting up aerospace industries, he said.

Bangalore airport grants indirect sops to AirAsia India

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 08:53:00 +0000

New Delhi: Bangalore airport has decided to offer sops to new airlines in a move being seen as a way of benefiting budget airline AirAsia India Pvt. Ltd, which launched operations this month with a flight to Goa from Bangalore. 

Bangalore International Airport Ltd, which runs the airport, has crafted a new definition for what will be called a home carrier for the airport and got it cleared by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (Aera) on 10 June. 

The airport has defined home carriers as those that declare Bangalore as their home base and station half their fleet in the city. The airlines will have to be headquartered in Bangalore, have the highest number of base aircraft (planes parked in the night) at the airport and have at least 1 million additional passengers annually. 

Given that AirAsia has stationed its first aircraft, an Airbus A320, at Bangalore airport and may do so with the next aircraft too and possibly shift its operations to the city from Chennai, it may meet the requirements specified by the airport operator. 

A home carrier will get a 50% discount on landing and housing charges and fees will be waived for night parking. Bangalore airport declined to comment for this story. 

The move may face resistance from the rivals of AirAsia, a joint venture between AirAsia Bhd, Tata Sons Ltd and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt. Ltd. No other airline cleared by the aviation ministry fits the tag of home carrier. “There will be opposition,” said a senior private airline official. “Everyone will not keep quiet. They will talk of pulling out or neglecting Bangalore airport.” 

Major airlines including Air India, with a 120 aircraft fleet, Jet Airways with 112 aircraft, IndiGo with 78 and SpiceJet with 52 aircraft cannot station half their aircraft at Bangalore to qualify for the status. Also, the airport wouldn’t be able to handle such a large number of aircraft. Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet declined to comment. Aera also didn’t comment. 

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed Aera was justified in clearing the Bangalore airport operator’s move. The move had been approved because it was the first time any airport operator had come up with such a proposal anyway. Every sop given to any airline has to be cleared in the tariff card, which has to be Aera-approved. Secondly, it is not as if it’s being done exclusively for AirAsia India; other airlines that meet the criteria can also take advantage of the incentives, this official said. “If they don’t like it they can go to airport tribunal or knock at the doors of the CCI,” the government official said, referring to the Competition Commission of India. This official said it was logical that airport operators will offer sops to new airlines and not to old ones if it wants to attract more passengers. “Those Indian airlines which are themselves opposing new competition should be the last ones to complain about these sops,” the government official said. Aera has also added to the burden of passengers using Bangalore airport, which has been allowed to charge Rs.342, up from Rs.260, in user development fee from domestic travellers and Rs.1,368, up from Rs.1,070, from international travellers starting on 1 July, Mint reported on 14 June. 

An analyst said providing incentives and rebates to attract airlines was a practice followed by all airports. Bangalore airport’s “offer to ensure AirAsia shifts base is cleverly done but on expected lines,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of the consulting firm Capa. “I expect other airlines to seek more rebates from Bangalore airport.”

Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju takes charge as Civil Aviation Minister

Thu, 29 May 2014 09:07:00 +0000

Economic Times Link
PTI May 29, 2014, 12.02PM IST

NEW DELHI: Senior TDP leader Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju took charge as the new Civil Aviation Minister, assuring that he would strive to create a level- playing field for all players in the crucial infrastructure sector.
"We will strive to create a level-playing field for all the players and make the aviation sector more people- oriented," he told reporters soon after the taking over charge at the ministry headquarters in Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan here.

Rajasthan to operate State planes for air taxi service

Tue, 27 May 2014 06:02:00 +0000

Five-seater King Air C90 A and seven-seater King Air B 200 to be deployed for the purpose

The Rajasthan government is all set to introduce an air taxi service linking major tourist destinations and commercial hubs in the State.

“The proposal has been given approval by the Chief Minister and we are almost ready to operate our two State planes for the air taxi services,” Kishan Singh Verma, Director, Civil Aviation, Rajasthan government told PTI.

The government will deploy five-seater King Air C90 A and seven-seater King Air B 200 for the taxi service. The planes are used for the movement of the Governor, Chief Minister and other VIPs visiting the State.

For the five-seater plane, the fair would be Rs.50,000 per hour while Rs.70,000 per hour would be charged for flying in the seven-seater aircraft. Besides, charges for night hold, extension of ATC watch hour, (ground) handling will also be applicable.

Minimum of two hours are required for the booking.

The service will help tourist cut short their travel time by flying to various destinations including Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Ranthambore, Chittorgarh, Bikaner and Udaipur.

“The idea is to boost tourism prospects as well as making a unique facility available in the State.
The service would also generate revenue for the government. We are hopeful that it will receive a good response,” he said. - PTI

DGCA grounds 3 flights for safety-norm violations

Sat, 29 Mar 2014 05:49:00 +0000

NEW DELHI, March 28, 2014, DHNS:

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday refused to allow a private chartered flight to take off from Delhi and two others in Mumbai for violating safety norms.

In Delhi, a Hawker 800 XP of SRC Aviation, which was to fly to Colombo, was not allowed to take off for several hours as DGCA officials found several safety violations, like absence of life jackets or minimum equipment list, during a search.

In Mumbai, officials held up two flights—one of L&T and the other of Poonawalla Aviation company—on the same grounds, said sources.

The tough action comes at a time when more and more private choppers and small aircraft are being used by political leaders across the country for poll campaigning. A week ago, the DGCA grounded a Reliance Industries-owned 14-seater Falcon 900EX and suspended its pilot for violating safety norms. While the aircraft was released after the deficiencies were rectified, sources said the Reliance pilot has now been dismissed.

The regulator, which had also issued show-cause notices to SpiceJet on safety violations after its flight crew danced on board a flight to celebrate Holi, has also received a letter from the no-frills carrier saying it would not repeat such activities without the DGCA's permission.

The DGCA has also decided to enhance the period of pilots' licence renewal from two to five years, subject to the airlines and the cockpit crew meeting all requirements. The decision was taken at a meeting between the aviation regulator's top-brass and senior officials from all Indian carriers.

The decision to enhance the period was being taken only under the condition that the onus of carrying out all other checks and tests would lie on the airlines and their pilots. Such a move would also lessen the burden on the DGCA, which is facing a staff crunch, said officials. 

Could missing jet be in AUSTRALIA? Search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 extends to more than 15 countries

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 05:45:00 +0000

Mail Online Link

  • Chief of Australia's Defence Force re-deploys two search planes 
  • Australia among more than 15 countries where plane could be found
  • Search will move to the north and west of Cocos Islands
Australia has extended its search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to include parts of the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says Australia is among more than 15 countries considered to be possible locations for MH370, which has been missing since March 8, The Age reports.
Other countries in the search include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and France.
It could be anywhere: Malaysian authorities have called on Australia to broaden its search in the Indian Ocean
It could be anywhere: Malaysian authorities have called on Australia to broaden its search in the Indian Ocean
Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley, has re-deployed two planes in the search for MH370
Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley, has re-deployed two planes in the search for MH370
'Malaysian officials are requesting assistance from these countries,' Mr Hishammuddin said.
'Officials are also asking countries to provide further assistance in the search for the aircraft including satellite data and analysis, ground search capabilities, radar data and maritime and air assets.'
The Boeing 777 was last picked up on satellite at 8.11am on March 8. Authorities are considering hijacking and piracy as possible reasons behind the plane's disappearance.
Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley, confirmed Australia had been asked to help broaden the search area off the country's north-west coast.
'One RAAF AP-3C Orion commenced searching the Indian Ocean to the north and west of the Cocos Islands,' he said last night.
'This aircraft is expected to recover to the Cocos Islands overnight and launch from that location on Monday to maximise mission time in the expanded search area.'
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Monday afternoon that Australia would lead the extensive Indian Ocean search, after speaking with Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

'I agreed that we would do so,' Mr Abbott told Parliament.

'I offered the Malaysian Prime Minister additional maritime surveillance resources which he gratefully accepted.

'I wish to assure the House and the Australian people that Australia will do its duty in this matter.'

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Mon, 10 Mar 2014 05:40:00 +0000

Tragic news coming from Malaysia of missing Malaysian Airlines B777 with 227 passengers and 12 Crew enroute from Kuala Lumpur to China.

Our Prayers are with the families of the Pax and Crew.

‘India biggest market for biz jets in Asia Pacific’

Sat, 01 Mar 2014 04:50:00 +0000

The Hindu, Special Correspondent, February 28, 2014 12:26 IST 

India has emerged as the biggest fleet owner of business aircraft in the Asia Pacific surpassing China with business houses and high net worth individuals (HNIs) acquiring aircraft.

Even during the economic slowdown period of 2008- 12, Indian businessmen purchased 38 per cent more aircraft than the previous five years as per estimates by Beechcraft Corporation.

According to Beechcraft, a leading manufacturer of business aircraft, India has a fleet of 254 business aircraft as compared to 213 in China, 192 in Japan, 150 in Hong Kong, 66 in Malaysia, and 53 in Thailand, making it the biggest fleet owner in Asia Pacific with 15 per cent market share.

As per latest data from Beechcraft, 65 business aircraft were delivered in India between 2008 and 2012, up from 47 in the previous five years. This was compared to 119 delivered in China, 19 in Japan, 47 in Hong Kong and 10 in South Korea.

Quoting Knight Frank Wealth Report 2013, Beechcraft said the number of wealthy businessmen (HNIs) in India would double from 8,481 in 2012 to 17,032 in 2022. During the same period, the number of HNIs in China will grow 137 per cent from 10,849 to 25,660.

“Our survey of senior executives from around the world, and fund managers based in London, revealed that 96 per cent of global professional investors and senior business executives forecast growth for the Indian economy over the next five years and 41 per cent of respondents stated that this growth would be ‘significant’. About 53 per cent believe that the business aviation sector in India will grow significantly over the coming decade,” Beechcraft said. Considering this, Beechcraft has identified India as one of the most attractive markets in the world for business aviation and has committed significant investments.

“The country continues to be an exciting market for us. With significant growth in deliveries over the past decade, the country continues to show huge potential for future growth. This is why we have decided to make a significant investment in increasing our presence in India,” said Richard Emery, President, APAC and EMEA, Beechcraft, at a press conference in Mumbai.

DGCA grounds United Airlines’ plane at Mumbai airport

Sat, 22 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000


New Delhi: A Boeing 777 aircraft of American carrier United Airlines was grounded at Mumbai airport last night after engineers found that its right engine cover was badly damaged, official sources said today. The aircraft, operating flight UA-48 from Newark to Mumbai, arrived around 2200 hours yesterday and the engineers found the right-side engine cowl badly damaged, the sources said

Cowl is the cover of an aircraft engine. DGCA officials, who inspected the aircraft thereafter, grounded the plane, terming the damage as "major", the sources said, adding it was being suspected that the damage may have been caused during take-off. The damage to the aircraft was found after the passengers had disembarked and the plane was being readied for the return flight, they said.

Read more at:

US FAA downgrades DGCA over aviation safety fears

Sat, 01 Feb 2014 04:47:00 +0000

,TNN | Jan 31, 2014, 01.34 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Exposing the gross inadequacy of our aviation regulator to ensure safe air travel here, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded India's aviation safety ranking. 

India has now been put in category II of safety ranking, from category 1 that directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) was in earlier. 

The decision was conveyed to DGCA's new chief Prabhat Kumar by an FAA delegation on Friday. The downgrade means that Indian carriers will now not be able to add flights to US. Also aircraft of Indian airlines that fly there — Air India and Jet Airways — can be be held indefinitely for checks there, which will make it difficult for them to adhere to schedule. 

The first to be hit could be Air India which is supposed to join Star Alliance this summer. A number of US carriers are also part of this alliance but American laws prohibit them from entering into commercial relations like code share — a vital part of an alliance. So now if they will be able to do so with AI or not remains to be seen. Jet already has a code share with United. 

India had for years been trying to evade a downgrade by US FAA due to the serious implications of such a move on Indian carriers by making tall claims on strengthening DGCA. But all that was mainly on paper and in reality the government has struggled to find someone to even head the regulatory agency. 

After a recent audit last year, FAA found 33 inadequacies in the DGCA. 

Like in the past, the government this time also tried to get away by making tall claims but the FAA did not buy the same now. 

"This is a true reflection of the DGCA. Unlike the past when India and US ties wee very good and hence DGCA avoided a downgrade, the relations are not so strong now and hence the move. This will have very serious implications for Indian airlines," said a source. 

The current category II ranking of India means that DGCA does not meet the norms of International Civil Aviation Organization standards in areas like technical expertise, trained personnel and record-keeping or inspection procedures. 

Aviation minister Ajit Singh will brief the media on Friday afternoon on the issue.