Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Airbus keen to participate in ‘Make in India’


Airbus had earlier announced that it would increase its Indian outsourcing to USD 2 billion.

European major Airbus on Monday expressed its keen interest in participating in ‘Make in India’ programme in the area of defence and space.
Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, who called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, told the latter that Airbus was keenly interested in becoming a partner in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, through a cluster approach with regional partners, according to a PMO statement.
The Prime Minister welcomed the interest shown by Airbus in India, it added.
Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group responsible for defence and aerospace products and services.
During the meeting, Mr. Modi discussed with Mr. Gerwert various projects in India, in the aerospace, defence and civil aviation sectors.
Mr. Gerwert recalled the Prime Minister’s visit to the Airbus manufacturing facility in Toulouse in France in April and said it had generated “positive atmosphere and interest.”
During that visit, Airbus had announced that it would increase its Indian outsourcing to USD 2 billion.
Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, who had received the Indian leader in Toulouse, had said: “India already takes a centre-stage role in our international activities and we want to even increase its contribution to our products.”

In India, Airbus Group already operates two engineering centres — one focused on civil aviation and the other one defence — besides, a research and technology (R&T) centre which together employ over 400 highly qualified people.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No fee on check-in luggage, govt. tells budget airlines


A move by budget carriers to charge for check-in baggage was rejected on Saturday by the government.

A move by budget carriers to charge for check-in baggage was rejected on Saturday by the government. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said the airlines concerned had approached the Director-General of Civil Aviation for approval of their proposal but the government has not accepted the request.
“We have got the proposal from low-cost flights to charge for check-in baggage. We have rejected it and there will be no consideration at the Aviation Ministry level. We will not want to put this burden on passengers,” Mr. Sharma said.
The proposal, if accepted, will be a “dampener” in air traffic growth in India, he said.
Cabin OK on hold

Also on Saturday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) put on hold its controversial Cabin OK initiative — on cabin baggage restrictions — following pressure from passenger groups in North America, travel firms and flyers in India opposing this ‘pro airline’ initiative who said that it would put passengers at a disadvantage.
Airlines suggest discounts for zero baggage travellers
Turning down a proposal from low-cost airlines to charge for check-in luggage, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told PTI on Saturday, “I want the airline to continue with the present system (of allowing upto 15 Kg free check-in baggage) and at the same time provide incentives to those flyers who travel light.”
The DGCA is looking into a proposal from three Indian carriers wherein travellers will have to pay for every kilogram of checked-in luggage. The proposal, at the same time, envisages providing incentives for passengers who travel light.
A senior DGCA official said on Friday that SpiceJet, Indigo and AirAsia have approached the regulator with the idea of ‘zero baggage fare’, whereby passengers having no check-in luggage would be given a discount.
Cabin not ok
Lalatendu Mishra writes from Mumbai:
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has put on hold its controversial Cabin OK initiative due to pressure from passenger groups in North America, travel firms and flyers in India.
“The Cabin OK guidelines, if implemented in India, will inconvenience travellers as many of them prefer carrying their luggage in the cabin. The IATA guideline states that the revised Cabin OK rules will reduce the baggage size by 21 per cent which is a huge drawback for passengers who would prefer a quick exit on landing,” said John Nair, Head, Business Travel, Cox & Kings Ltd.
The initiative was aimed at speeding up the boarding process since airlines find it difficult to accommodate all the cabin luggage when flights are full, forcing them to transfer bags to the cargo hold.
‘Voluntary programme’
“Cabin OK is a voluntary programme for airlines and for consumers. This is clearly an issue that is close to the heart of travelers. We need to get it right. We are pausing the rollout and launching a comprehensive reassessment,” Tom Windmuller, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA said in a statement recently.
As per the Cabin OK initiative announced by IATA on June 9, 2015, air passengers needed to ‘voluntarily’ buy new cabin bags with an optimal size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5” inches to ensure that their bags (one bag per passenger) travel with them inside the aircraft cabin even when the flight is full.
The bags which are smaller in size than the normal bags need to be labeled Cabin OK by the bag manufacturers so that they can be immediately recognized by the cabin crew who would ensure that these bags get priority to remain in the cabin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Possible for India to make large aircraft: Boeing


The country needs to consistently develop skill-set to get to the stage of making large planes, aircraft giant said.

“It is very much possible for large airplanes to be manufactured in India, although it will take a long time because the capital, skills and infrastructure requirement is huge,” US aviation giant Boeing said.
The aircraft maker also said that the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme has become a major incentive for the foreign investors, and every company wanted to be associated with it because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal involvement in the initiative.
Stating that India is on the right track, Dinesh Keskar, Senior Boeing Executive, said that the country and the companies in India would need to consistently develop the skill-set and other necessary requirements to get to the stage of making large planes.
“That will be a long time. Even China which is way ahead in manufacturing is still not doing it. It takes three things - a huge amount of capital, a highly skilled labour force and high-end facilities,” Mr.Keskar told.
“Boeing bets it is big every time, it builds a new plane. You need billions of dollars,” said Mr.Keskar, Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and India Sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He was at the Paris International Air Show, which concluded the previous weekend.
Explaining further, the aircraft industry veteran said, “You need an amazing amount of skilled labour who knows how to build different systems and integrate it all together. Today, there are only two companies, Boeing and Airbus, who know how to do this. Others are making smaller planes. So, money, skills and facilities are the three things we need.”
The Boeing executive said India has got the money and workforce, but no Indian firm has so far decided to do it. “Even the smaller airplanes are not being made so far. I think we should start with 50-seaters or 100-seaters and then look at the bigger ones. That is how it works,” he said.
Boeing’s arch rival Airbus India, Managing Director, Srinivasan Dwarkanath also said it was very much possible for India to manufacture large planes over the years.
Giving example of the proposed replacement for the Indian Air Force’s Avro aircraft fleet, he said “It would be totally made in India. I don’t see a reason why it (manufacturing of large aircraft) cannot happen in India,” said Dwarkanath, who was also present at the Air Show.
“With the sustained support of the government policies, and the government looking up to the private sector for advanced products and technology solutions, it should be able to manufacture, design and develop advanced technology over the foreseeable future,” Indian defence systems firm OIS, Chairman and Managing Director, Sanjay Bhandari said

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rise in passenger traffic in India to drive $5 trillion aircraft demand


India and China among biggest aviation market

Growing air passenger traffic in India and other emerging markets would help generate aircraft demand worth about $5 trillion in 20 years and the fleet across aviation industry would double by 2034, Airbus said on Tuesday.
The domestic traffic flow in India alone is estimated to grow nearly 6 times, making it one of the fastest growing markets globally. Releasing its Global Markets Forecast at the 51st Paris International Air Show, it said, “From the world’s first commercial flight in 1914 to today’s 32 million flights annually, aviation has become part and parcel of our everyday lives.”
“With some three billion air passengers, and 50 million tonnes of freight carried every year by planes, it is estimated that aviation contributes $ 2.4 trillion annually to global GDP.”
In the next 20 years, global passenger traffic will grow at an average 4.6 per cent a year, driving a need for some 32,600 new aircrafts above 100 seats (31,800 passenger and 800 freighters greater than 10 tonnes) worth $4.9 trillion, it said.
“By 2034, passenger and freighter fleets will double from present 19,000 to 38,500. Some 13,100 passenger and freighter aircrafts will be replaced with more fuel efficient types,” Airbus said.
Emerging economies accounting for 31 per cent of worldwide private consumption will grow at 5.8 per cent a year compared to more advanced economies, which are forecast to grow collectively at 3.8 per cent.
The tendency to travel by air is increasing, it said, adding that in emerging economies, 25 per cent of the population take one trip per year, and this will increase sharply to 74 per cent by 2034. In advanced economies, such as North America, the tendency to travel will exceed two trips per year.
“Asia-Pacific will lead in world traffic by 2034 and China will be the world’s biggest aviation market within 10 years, and clearly Asia and emerging markets are the catalyst for stronger air traffic growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New aviation policy soon


The Central Government expects to finalise the long pending new aviation policy and also the much debated revised international flying norms for domestic carriers within a month, according to a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official.
Industry is keenly looking forward for both the policies, amid increasing traffic and competition from both domestic and foreign players.
Airports privatisation
There will be no rolling back on the decision to privatise airports, he added.
“We are almost close to finalising the two policies and would be ready in a month,” the senior official said.
There has been much debate about doing away with the ‘5/20’ norms, which allows only those carriers having been in operation for at least five years and with a fleet of at least 20 aircraft to fly on international routes.
The Federation of Indian Airlines, which has IndiGo, Spicejet, Jet Airways and GoAir as its members, has opposed the move for any relaxation in the 5/20 norm, while Vistara and AirAsia India have been strongly in favour of doing away with the rule.
The senior official said the Ministry would look at having some more discussions on the subject, before relaxing the norms.
No plans for rollback
On the privatisation, the official said there are no plans to roll back the decision.
Airports Authority had recently extended the deadline for submitting bids for control of four State-run airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur to July 1.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Air India shelves plan to acquire Boeing 787-9 aircraft


National carrier Air India has shelved its plan to acquire five Boeing 787-9, the higher range variant of Boeing Dreamliner (787-800) aircraft, after failing to secure the nod of its Board and would stick to the original model.
Air India currently has 20 Dreamliners in its fleet. The carrier had signed a deal with the American aircraft maker Boeing Co in 2005 to acquire 68 planes, of which 27 are the Boeing 787-800s. The rest 41 are Boeing 777s (23) and 737-800 (18).
Of the remaining seven planes, which are to be delivered to the Air India by mid-2016, the carrier had late last year proposed to replace five of them with Boeing 787-9.
“Air India had put across its proposal to acquire five Boeing 787-9 in lieu of Boeing 787-800s to its Board recently. But the board did not accept it (the proposal),” an official source said.
The airline was looking at inducting the higher range variant of the aircraft, which has more seating capacity than the existing model for its ultra long-haul routes such as the US and Canada.
The Boeing 787-800 has 256 seats, of which 18 are in business class and remaining 238 in economy class.
Currently, these aircraft caters to Air India’s European and some Asian routes besides servicing some domestic destinations.
Government had early last month said that Air India was evaluating switching its order for Dreamliner aircraft from Boeing 787-8 to the larger version 787-9.
Model substitution rights are available for Air India under the purchase agreement for the B787-8 aircraft signed by it with Boeing.
The national carrier has set up a committee, comprising representatives from finance, commercial, engineering and strategy & planning departments, to evaluate the option to exercise the model substitution rights, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said.
Boeing had provided four interior layout options for the B787-9 in two class (executive + economy) configuration, Sharma had said.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Jet Airways sacks 50 expat pilots


JetAirways has a total of 1,120 pilots, after termination of the service contracts of these 50 expats, Jet Airways now has 88 foreign pilots.

Jet Airways has handed over pink slips to 50 of its expat pilots by prematurely terminating their contracts, bringing their number to 88, as part of its cost—cutting measures as well as reducing dependency on the high-cost overseas flight crew.
“We have prematurely terminated the service contracts of 50 expatriate pilots between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015,” Jet Airways acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ravichandran Narayan said during a post-earnings analysts call.
Narayan said as part of the contract obligations, the airlines paid retrenchment compensation to the sacked pilots.
The Naresh Goyal-promoted airline has a total of 1,120 pilots, after termination of the service contracts of these 50 expats, Jet Airways now has 88 foreign pilots.
The country’s civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has also given the airlines a deadline of December 2016 to phase out the expatriate pilots.
Narayan, while speaking about the measures taken by airline to contain cost, said Jet Airways has taken several steps particularly in the areas like sales and distribution, engineering and maintenance in this regard.
“We are continuously improving our aircraft utilisation by adding more red-eye flights and early hour departures in our schedule,” he said.
A red-eye flight departs late at night and arrives early next morning. Because of their very low priced tickets, these flights are quite popular abroad, especially in the US and Europe.
Narayan also said the airline was in the process of restructuring its overseas hub at Abu Dhabi by re-assigning some of the flights and withdrawing a few.
“We are restructuring our Abu Dhabi gateway by converting Goa-Abu Dhabi-Goa flight into seasonal one and cancelling the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait and Abu Dhabi-Dammam services,” he said, adding the airline has also decided to reduce the frequency from three daily flights to two on Mumbai-Bangkok route from July 15.
We continue to rationalise our route network in line with the industry condition and traffic evolution, he added.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways on Monday announced a limited period offer of discount of up to 30 per cent on base fares on its premier and economy-class tickets for travel beyond September 14.

ATF price hiked by 7.5%; non-subsidised LPG by Rs 10.50


Jet fuel price was hiked by a steep 7.5 per cent on Monday and rates of non-subsidised cooking gas (LPG) by Rs 10.50 per cylinder in step with global firming of rates.
Price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, in Delhi was raised by Rs 3,744.08 per kilolitre (kl), or 7.54 per cent, to Rs 53,353.92, oil companies announced on Monday.
On May 1, ATF price was hiked by a marginal Rs 272 per kl or 0.5 per cent to Rs 49,609.84.
Following global trends, the price of non-subsidised or market-priced domestic cooking gas (LPG) was hiked to Rs 626.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi from Rs 616 till Sunday.
The price hike comes on the back of a Rs 5 per 14.2-kg cut in rates effected from May 1.
Non-domestic LPG, which consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 bottles of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates, will cost Rs 626.50 as against Rs 616 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
Households are entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each or 34 bottles of 5-kg each at subsidised rates of Rs 417 or Rs 155, respectively in Delhi. Any requirement beyond this has to be bought at the market price.
While the market priced or non-subsidised 14.2-kg cylinder will cost Rs 626.50 from June 01, the in 5-kg pack will cost Rs 318.50.
Following similar trends, rates of market-priced 19 kg LPG cylinder has been hiked to Rs 1,151 per bottle from Rs 1,134.
Rates vary from state-to-state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.
Jet fuel constitutes over 40 per cent of an airline’s operating costs and the price cut will reduce the financial burden on cash-strapped carriers.
No immediate comment was available from airlines on the impact of the price hike on passenger fares.
State-owned fuel retailers, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) revise jet fuel and non-subsidised LPG prices on the first of every month based on average imported cost and rupee-dollar exchange rate. The same on petrol and diesel is done on a fortnightly basis.