Monday, October 27, 2014

350 commercial pilots flying skies with invalid licences

Published : 27 Oct, 2014

Indian airlines currently have almost 350 commercial pilots flying the skies with lapsed or invalid licences due to their failure to appear in exams that have to be given after every few months to remain eligible to operate in the cockpit. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is now contemplating action against the heads of training department of these airlines, while asking the carriers to complete the required training of pilots in a time-bound manner. 

"All Indian carriers — Jet, Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo (in this order)—have some pilots who have not completed all checks required to keep their flying licences valid. While Jet and AI have 131 and over 100 such pilots, respectively, the three low cost have almost 100 cases. Now, we have written to AirAsia India and Air Costa to tell us if they too have any such pilots," said a senior official, adding that in all there would be over 350 pilots with invalid licences. 

DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar is learnt to be contemplating action against the training heads of airlines, just like he had ordered removal of Jet's training chief last month after 131 pilots of that airline were found to be flying even after expiry of validity of their last pilot proficiency check (PPC). This test is required to be given every six months and Pilots are not supposed to fly without a valid PPC. The action will be decided when the data from all airlines comes in. 
"It is not possible to ground so many pilots in one go, else flights will be grounded in the ongoing peak travel season and travellers will be left stranded. We may take action against the heads of training of these airlines," said a senior official. 

On its part, AI said that the issue arose after the DGCA last September made it mandatory for pilots to give the PPC every six months. This check was earlier also required to be given bi-annually but the first one in first eight months of the year and the second in last four. "This new six-monthly check would have required us to renew nearly 800 licences overnight, which was not possible. All licences valid before this CAR has been renewed uptil October 2014 as per the old rule by DGCA," the AI statement said.

AI added that all the licences have been renewed till date. "At present, therefore, there are no pilots flying without a valid licence," the airline statement said. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Indian Proposal Threatens Charter Operators

Published : Oct 23, 2014
Indian lawmakers are considering a proposal by the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that would revoke the commercial licenses of nonscheduled operator permit (NSOP) holders with fewer than three aircraft available for charter. Affected NSOPs that do not augment their fleet to at least three aircraft within one year will have to operate in the private category, depriving them of permission to offer charters. India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) sees the proposal as “a kneejerk reaction” to the DGCA’s shortage of flight observation inspectors (FOIs) and its difficulties in recruiting more of them. The process of registering private aircraft owners as NSOPs requires the services of an FOI. This scarcity of FOIs is also hindering India’s compliance with an FAA requirement that would help restore the country’s safety ranking to Category 1.
According to the DGCA, most NSOPs are running limited charter operations and in reality fall under the general aviation (privately owned) category. Aircraft importation duty costs private companies 20 percent, while NSOPs pay only 3 percent. “This imbalance is creating problems. Private owners register under NSOPs that in turn require FOIs, which are not easily available. We are asking for rationalization in the tax structure that will charge both categories the same duty,” BAOA president Rohit Kapur told AIN.
The issue could be overcome, said Kapur, if aircraft management companies are permitted to function in India. Of the 120 NSOP holders operating in India, 93 own a combined 147 aircraft and just 27 own more than three aircraft each.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Aerotech FMS wishes all your staff and families A Very Happy Peaceful and Prosperous Diwali.

Total CEO Killed in Moscow Falcon 50EX Crash

October 21, 2014
The CEO of oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed in the crash of a Dassault Falcon 50EX business jet at Moscow Vnukovo airport last night. The three crewmembers aboard also perished in the accident. The Falcon, registered as F-GLSA, was operated by Le Bourget-based Unijet, part of the Luxaviation group.
According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the aircraft was taking off of Runway 01 for Paris when it struck a snowplow, caught fire and fell to the runway. The criminal investigation has already revealed that the snow-clearing machine’s driver was drunk, but other factors are also being scrutinized, including ATC, weather and the pilots’ decisions.
Vnukovo Airport gave some data on the conditions on Runway 01: visibility was 1,150 ft and the surface friction coefficient was 0.5. The accident took place at 11:57 p.m. local time, and the airport was closed after the crash until 1:34 a.m. The condition of the snowplow driver was unknown at press time. The probe also involves the Interstate Aviation Committee and three representatives of the French BEA.

Monday, October 20, 2014

22 hurt as SIA flight does hard landing

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. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Airbus Cuts A330 Production Rate

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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

India to overtake United Kingdom in world aviation market ranking

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

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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mixed Verdicts in Indian AW101 Corruption Case

October 15, 2014, 7:25 AM
On October 10 an Italian judge found former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini not guilty of international corruption, but convicted the pair for the lesser crime of “false invoicing” and sentenced them to two-year prison terms and fined each €1.5 million. The sentence is suspended pending an anticipated appeal.
Italian prosecutors had charged the duo with being part of a plan that used middlemen to funnel bribes to Indian officials in relation to a $734 million sale of 12 AW101s to that country’s government in 2010. The Indian government canceled the contract after it received three of the 12 when the corruption allegations surfaced and is continuing its probe of local officials. Indian law enforcement officials said the Italian verdict would not affect the ongoing investigation of the matter there. This August, Italian prosecutors dropped related corruption charges against AgustaWestland after the company agreed to pay a €7.5 million ($9.3 million) fine. Days later, India banned AgustaWestland and its parent company, defense conglomerate Finmeccania, from participating in future government tenders. For now, that ban remains in place. Earlier this year the Indian government took measures to recover $380 million held by Italian banks as a 45% advance on theAW101 deal.
Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti hailed the verdict and said he would travel to India soon to get the ban against his company lifted. “This removes a shadow that has caused us so much suffering,” he said. Orsi also seemed to take the verdict as a victory, proclaiming, “We've always known that there hasn't been any corruption.” He further claimed that his acquittal on the more serious charge, by implication, automatically clears suspect Indian officials and former officials.
India has a $13 billion annual defense budget and is the world’s largest arms importer, purchasing $6 billion in finished defense goods in 2013. Finmeccanica’s exclusion from new contracts in India would be a major blow to the company, which is 30 percent owned by the Italian government.
Italian prosecutors claimed that Orsi and Spagnolini approved invoices totaling $67 million for “engineering services” to international middlemen who then used the money to pay bribes in India. One of those alleged middlemen, Guido Ralph Haschke, cooperated with prosecutors as part of a plea agreement, providing testimony and extensive documents used in the trial. However, in rendering her verdict, Judge Luisa Bovitutti said she dismissed the international corruption charges because “there was no case.”
India’s case is progressing, albeit slowly. However, on September 23, India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), the federal law enforcement agency charged with fighting white-collar crime, did arrest Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan for suspicion of money laundering related to the case and seized his computers and mobile phones. Khaitan sits on the board of Aeromatrix, a firm that allegedly served as a financial front in the deal according to The Times of India. Khaitan’s attorney maintains his client’s innocence.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also is involved in its own official investigation, but has yet to bring charges.
As a replacement for the AW101s, which remain in storage, the Indian air force is presently upgrading six Mil Mi-17V5s for VIP use.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gulfstream Launches New Large-Cabin, Long-Range Jets

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Garuda Indonesia orders 50 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbodies

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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DGCA grounds three aircraft belonging to domestic operators

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.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nine airports to have e-visa facility this month

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. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Airbus Preparing A350-900 For First Delivery

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. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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

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.