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Makeover at Kingfisher oa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has literally caught his fellow politicians by K Srinivasan surprise with one sweeping stroke of slashing taxes to keep petrol prices within reasonable limits. “I want to expose the Central Government on the petrol prices. It's an artificial hike created by the Central Government. The Centre is simply looting the people,” Parrikar, an IIT engineer-turned-politician, said in an interview*. Parrikar also cut taxes on Aviation Turbine Fuel from 20 per cent to 12 per cent — cheered by the industry — but hardly welcomed by other states. Just days before Parrikar slashed the tax on fuel, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister droned on and on at the India Aviation 2012 about how aviation was all about low cost travel (although that's just one part of the aviation spectrum), but no one in the political world seems to be taking note of it. Even the so-called progressive Chief Ministers like Nitish Kumar, Sheila Dikshit and Shivraj Singh Chauhan have simply turned a blind eye to an issue that simply requires an executive edict from them. Question them closely and at least some of them tell you bluntly that it is the airline owners themselves who are responsible for their present sorry state. In fact, more than one said that the image of Vijay Mallya as a fun-loving wine and beer-guzzling tycoon who is comfortable with models in beachwear and Formula One race track — oblivious of the mess that is Kingfisher Airlines — leaves them with little scope to explain away any slash in taxes. The citizen at large sees no difference, they said. “If one were to prioritise, there are scores of other issues that require a tax cut. Even if one was to drop all that and move aviation to the top, the industry must present the image of one that is serious, structured and in need of help,” said one official. He



elaborated that episodes like the state of affairs at Kingfisher Airlines only underscores that it was blatant profligacy and poor business sense that has brought it to the present sorry pass and not intrinsic issues connected with the regulatory mechanism that govern aviation. One of the questions that have often been asked these past few weeks is whether Kingfisher will indeed survive or will the government save it? The point is: Where does the government come into all this? If an iconic brand like American Airlines can declare itself bankrupt and go for restructuring, why should there be an intervention to save Kingfisher? Moreover, in critical phases like the one Kingfisher is going through, it is imperative that the shareholder and the management be completely detached if anything worthwhile has to emerge from the mess. The problem with Kingfisher is that Vijay Mallya who directed the mess in the first place is still at the helm. Till he moves over and allows a fresh team to take charge, there can been no makeover at Kingfisher. If anything there will be more protests. One should see plenty as the IPL season gets under way. The umpires sport the Kingfisher logo as does the Royal Challengers team. No one knows what's in store for them with hungry employees and pilots on the prowl. Thank you, Manohar Parrikar! But even ten of you can't save Kingfisher. Only Vijay Mallya can save himself and his beloved airline!

*Reported in First Post


Off the cuff


Fighting jet lag






Jarkko Konttinen said. "Finnair is an innovative airline and we actively look for new ways to improve the wellbeing and comfort of our passengers.” According to Finnair, the headset works by emanating a bright light into the brain via the ear canal, thereby stimulating passengers and helping them to better adapt to jet lag. "Bright light headset simulates the effects of daylight by channelling bright light through the ear canal to very close proximity of the tissue in need of treatment in the brain,”the airline said in a statement. Jet lag is mainly caused due to the brain’s inability to adjust to the change in time zone while travelling on long distance flights. This is a physiological condition suffered by long distance flight passengers. Major symptoms of jet lag includes headaches, fatigue coupled with irregular sleep patterns. The pilot service will be offered in business class between Helsinki and Shanghai from March-end until April end.



Nordic carrier Finnair said it will start a unique pilot project to test a revolutionary headset technology that helps in fighting jet lag in a bid to provide hassle free travel. “Introducing the Valkee bright light headset is one way of adding interesting experiences onboard Finnair flights,”Finnair Vice-President



A close look at the pulls and pressures that is holding up the 49 per cent FDI in aviation from foreign carriers. Plus: Kalanithi Maran's plans for SpiceJet and the financial problems that is shaking the very foundation of Kingfisher. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012



The third edition of India Aviation, the country's top international exhibition and conference on civil aviation, brought together 200 companies from 18 countries with planes and aviation-related products. A report from the grandstand.







Volume VI „ No 12

Announcing the launch of our regular section on General Aviation. India has 154 business jets and is second only to China with its 215 jets but what has been troubling operators and owners is the fact that while there is no policy framework for the sector, there is a lack of infrastructure. A look at the sector around the world.




TIRTHANKAR GHOSH Group Consulting Editor

R KRISHNAN Consulting Editor


p28 p61 INTERVIEW Tommy Hultin, Business

KLM recently became the first airline to integrate social networking in its regular flight process. Named 'Meet and Seat', passengers with a reservation can link their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to the flight they will be on. Also, the launch of Tripalong by India's MakeMyTrip, which allows users to plan share their travel details, and much more.

Development Director, Saab Group, on the opportunities in India and the competition. He speaks of the opportunities available and believes that the only way forward was to have a joint venture with an Indian partner.

Assistant Editor


ASHOK KUMAR Senior Sub-Editor-cum-Reporter

PUNIT MISHRA Senior Designer






HEMANT RAWAT —————————— Director (Admin & Corporate Affairs)


Director (Marketing)


Manager (PR)




Eurocopter India delivered a strong performance during the first year of operation as a full-fledged Eurocopter subsidiary, leading the market with 65 per cent of new aircraft deliveries in 2011. It is expanding its support and services network in major cities to provide proximity services to customers across India. An interview with Xavier Hay, head of Eurocopter India and Cecile Arnaud, Sales & Marketing Director, South Asia.

Sr. Executive (Coordination)



A look at airports in three cities — Helsinki, San Francisco and Kagoshima — and how each is making life for the common flier easier by introducing lounges such as a special room for yoga and a hotspring spa for tired feet.

Cover Design: Ruchi Sinha


Cover Photo: A view of the “Air Cargo Makes it Happen” tunnel display in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport departure hall put up during the World Air Cargo Symposium to serve as inspiration for awareness-raising activities in important markets. The total number of pages in this issue: 72+4



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Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd., D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -110 013 Tel: +91-11-41033381-82 All information in CRUISING HEIGHTS is derived from sources we consider reliable. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. Opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract or in interviews are not necessarily shared by us. Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part(s) without prior permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any loss caused by any delay in publication, error or failure of advertisement to appear. Owned and published by K Srinivasan 4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar Phase- I, Delhi-91 and printed by him at Nutech Photolithographers, B-240, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase- I, New Delhi-110020.


On a high “With huge growth prospects, the Indian aviation industry has immense potential to become the maintenance, repair, and operations hub of the future.”

ANKUR BHATIA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BIRD GROUP on the future scenario of Indian aviation industry.

Basic principle


Head-to-head on ground-handling (March, 2012) was interesting to read. Ground handling operations have become a nightmare for airports in India due to the government's indifferent attitude. The new ground-handling policy which aims at improving security and quality of ground-handling services in all airports across the country has not seen the light of the day. Punit Jain, Mohali

“All we want is to be the first airline from India to join Star. Other airlines could join after us.”

ROHIT NANDAN, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, AIR INDIA, on the carrier's chances of being the first airline from India to join Star Alliance.

No questions, please! “The Bombardier routes are doing fine. We started our regional operations last September and have 59 flights now. We hope to make net profit in Bombardier operations by September 2013.” SPICEJET CEO NEIL MILLS on the reliability of Bombardier planes.

Clear mandate “IndiGo seems to have pipped its peers in building a stronger brand saliency around on-time performance, as a result of its consistency in strategy and communication.” HIMANSHU SINGH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TRAVELOCITY on IndiGo's good performance vis-à-vis other carriers.

CLARIFICATION The photo of the ATC tower in Flooring Flyers, BIALStyle (Outlook Special - Cruising Heights, March 2012) on Page 98 is from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad and not from Bengaluru International Airport. The error is regretted. All correspondence may be addressed to Editor, Cruising Heights, D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -13, OR mail to


E K BHARAT BHUSHAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL, DGCA on the civil aviation requirement (CAR) for the pilots in India.

Be the first

Indian airports: The emerging big picture (March, 2012) by Inderjit Singh was a pleasure to read. According to a report by CAPA-SITA, India's major cities will need additional airports as the number of fliers is set to treble to 450 million by 2020, making it the world's third largest aviation market. Indian airports are in the interesting phase. The PPP model has brought in rich dividends for the airports while revolutionising air travel in the country. Rakesh Pandey, Rewa The MRO business is gaining momentum in India as the story MROs in for a long haul (March, 2012) illustrated. India is among the regions being explored to set up MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) facilities by various companies. The coming of MAS GMR Aero Technic (MGAT), an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) complex at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad bears testimony to the fact that the MRO business is going to be next big thing on the radar of the Indian civil aviation sector. Kumar Rajesh, Bulandshahr

“The civil aviation requirement (CAR) that makes serving a sixth-month notice period mandatory has a provision which states that if a pilot is unpaid the person is free to leave the airline.”


Necessary support “Odisha would provide all necessary support to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI in their task of upgrading Bhubaneswar airport to an international airport and in making other domestic airports in the state operational.” ODISHA CHIEF MINISTER NAVEEN PATNAIK on the feasibility of international and domestic airports in Odisha.

Incheon is the best airport

5 points. The Korean airport was not only the overall winner but also came top in the categories of best waiting areas and best for shopping. The Top 10 were:  Incheon International  Vancouver International  Changi International Airport  HKG Hong Kong  Bangkok International Airport  Franz Josef Strauss MUC Munich  Nürnberg NUE Nurenburg  Narita NRT Tokyo  Larnaca International  Porto OPO


Here comes another survey, this time by eDreams that recently announced the best airports of 2011. The company compiled worldwide airport reviews from thousands of customers, all of whom actually travelled through the airports they rated. eDreams shared the best airports in a variety of categories including, shopping, city connections and regions of the world. Other categories for best airport rankings in 2011 included shopping, restaurant options, lounge areas, and airport-to-city transportation options. Incheon was named the best overall airport for the year. Customers of eDreams, one of Europe's largest online travel agencies, who travelled through airports during 2011 were asked to rate and review them in a number of categories. Incheon International Airport was the overall winner with a rating of 4.8 out of


The Pauper Prince!

Starring Vijay


4 shows

Bolt from the blue “Vijay Mallya is a big businessman. He has to marshall his own funds to bring the carrier out of the financial crisis.” CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER AJIT SINGH taking a dig at Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya.

Tough ask “We are facing a serious handicap as our accounts are frozen. We are not asking for bailout from the government but hope for help from banking sector to de-freeze our accounts.” KINGFISHER PROMOTER VIJAY MALLYA on the financial crisis that the airline is going through.








Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Feb 2012 were 103.95 lakh as against 95.12 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year.

• Total number of complaints (Feb 2012) - 921 • Number of Passenger-related complaints – 1.8 per 10,000 passengers carried


¢ ON-TIME PERFORMANCE (OTP) Scheduled Domestic Airlines


Feb 2012 – 85.4% Overall Cancellation Rate in

Feb 2012 – 1.7%






The months of JanuaryFebruary 2012 witnessed a growth of 9.3 per cent in the number of passengers carried by domestic carriers. The figure was 103.95 lakh against 95.12 lakh during the corresponding period of the previous year. The increase in seat factor, according to the figures released by the Director General of Civil Aviation. IndiGo’s seat factor was 85.9 per cent in January and 82.8 per cent in February, JetLite was 80.1 per cent and 80.4 per cent in January and February 2012, respectively, Jet Airways was 76.8 per cent and 78.8 per cent, SpiceJet’s was 75.6 and 73.1 per cent, GoAir was 77.4 and 83 per cent, Air India was 71.2 and 69.7 per cent and Kingfisher was 70.2 per cent and 80.4 per cent in January and February 2012, respectively.


Departures 74.9%

Arrivals 78.1%

The number of passenger complaints recorded by scheduled domestic airlines in February 2012 was 921. The number of passenger-related complaints was 1.8 per 10,000 passengers carried. GoAir had 5.3 complaints per 10,000 passengers while Kingfisher and IndiGo had two each, Jet Airways had 1.6, SpiceJet had 1.5 and JetLite had 1.4 and Air India (Domestic) had 1. The overall on-time performance of airlines in February 2012 was 85.4 per cent. Jet Airways led the carriers in on-time performance with 91.8 per cent. It was followed by JetLite with 89.7 per cent, IndiGo with 88.9 per cent, SpiceJet with 85.1 per cent, GoAir with 79 per cent and Air India with 73.6 per cent.

Scheduled Domestic Airlines



The overall cancellation rate of flights in February 2012 was 1.7 per cent. Leading the carriers was Air India (4.1 per cent), Kingfisher (4 per cent), SpiceJet (1.2 per cent), GoAir (0.7 per cent), Jet Airways (0.7 per cent), JetLite (0.4 per cent) and IndiGo (0.2 per cent). The reasons for the cancellations: Miscellaneous 49.3 per cent, Operational 19.3 per cent, Technical 16.9 per cent, Commercial 10.7 per cent and „ Weather 3.7 per cent.




BA 2012 ready for take-off

Qantas goes budget for China Qantas will establish a budget airline in China. The JV will be under a new management with China Eastern Airlines. Jetstar Hong Kong—as the new airline will be called — will begin flights next year, flying short-haul routes in China and to Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia. Jetstar Chief Executive Bruce Buchanan said that the airline wanted to capitalise on the China market’s enormous potential. “Jetstar Hong Kong’s fares will be 50 per cent less than existing fullservice carriers, which we’ve seen creating new travel demand in our markets across Asia because it enables people to make more trips, more often, he said.” Jetstar’s vision was to make air travel more affordable for millions of people across Asia, and China’s demographics with its booming middle-class were a key part of that plan, said Buchanan. Hong Kong was a major travel hub in Asia, with about 40 million passengers travelling a year, he said.

If you are in London for the Olympics, do visit the ‘BA2012’ on Shoreditch High Street. Open for only a few days in April, BA2012 is a venue created specially for the Olympic Games. At the venue, British Airways will be launching a pop-up restaurant in a ‘plane cabin’ and the food served will be part of a new special Olympics menu. The menu has been created by Michelinstar chef Simon Hulstone (along with Heston Blumenthal) and will be nowhere like the ones served in the air. However, more than the food, visitors to the eatery will be able to move around in an adjoining art gallery, which incidentally will be part of the restaurant. At the gallery, visitors can have a sneak peek at BA’s dove-themed plane art, before it’s painted on a few of the planes for the Games. In addition, there will be a small cinema area showing the airline’s new inflight entertainment. The Olympics-inspired menu, livery and in-flight entertainment were created by the winners of BA’s ‘Great Britons’ programme - the airline’s competition to find British talent in food, art and film.

Qantas hub on hold JAL receives 787 Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has confirmed that plans to set up a full-service carrier in Asia have been delayed by “a year or two or three”. .The decision came after the Australian carrier failed in its attempts to build a hub in Singapore or Malaysia. “We are still in dialogue with both the Singaporeans and Malaysians but nothing is happening in the short term. It’s more of a longterm issue,” Joyce told journalists. The idea was to build a base in Asia and hire workers at a lower cost and offer a greater choice of connecting flights in the fastest-growing aviation market.



Lufthansa Technik’s Asia plans Lufthansa Technik would establish a completions centre in Asia “sooner rather than later,” Walter Heerdt, the company’s Senior Marketing and Sales Vice President, told the media at Asia Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE). Although there is no news on where its new Asian facility will be located, LHT already has three joint ventures in Southeast Asia, including two in China. These facilities focus on maintenance, repair and overhaul services for airliners. “There is a peak on widebodies entering the market now,” said Heerdt. “The first VIP 747-8 was expected in September 2010, but will actually be delivered for completion in September 2012. We now have a compressed delivery schedule from Boeing, where we will get a high number of widebody VIP aircraft within a short period of time. However, this peak will stabilise at a high level.” (See more stories in business aviation section on page 39)


Pinnacle for Star


PIA has filed a lawsuit against Transparency International Pakistan and 17 others for permanent injunction for restraining continuing malicious and baseless campaign regarding purchase of five aircraft from Boeing Company.

Tories, U-turn on Heathrow

If vote blue, go green, was the slogan of the Conservatives evolution into an eco-friendly party, a part of that transformation was a “no for a third runway at Heathrow airport. High-speed rail was preferred instead! Now, a carefully about-turn is happening. Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was not blind to the need to increase airport capacity. Chancellor Osborne followed with a call to “confront” the lack of runways in the London area. Prominent business figures such as Willie Walsh, chief executive of the BA parent International Airlines Group, ratcheted up their public campaign for a Heathrow U-turn as they smelled weakness in the government’s position. The Labour Party is scathing. Lord Adonis, the last transport secretary under Gordon Brown, said: “David Cameron is paying the price for playing Nimby party politics with Heathrow before the last election. It has been a stark staring obvious for years that a third runway at Heathrow was in the national interest, to safeguard jobs and new investment from abroad.”


Airport Freezone booms


PIA sues TIP

International Airlines Group (IAG) is awaiting word from European Union regulators on the status of IAG’s acquisition of British Midland International (BMI). “At this stage, it is in the hands of the EU regulators,” Willie Walsh said. “There is nothing we can do until we get permission.” Virgin Atlantic Airways, which also tried to buy bmi, has asked anti-trust officials to block the deal, arguing it would harm competition (ATW Daily News, March 14). Walsh said: “If we get approval, we will integrate BMI as fast as possible into British Airways,” he said, adding that integration could take between nine and 12 months. Walsh said BMI pilots would have to be trained for BA’s standard operating procedures and BMI’s fleet will be repainted in BA colours. Meanwhile, IAG is considering acquiring a stake in American Airlines to stop the carrier from being bought by a rival. According to media reports AA’s parent AMR Corp and some of its subsidiaries, including American Airlines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011. IAG is said to be close to appointing an advisor to evaluate its options. IAG operates a cost-sharing joint venture with American Airlines on transatlantic routes, which it is anxious to protect.


Star Alliance members Lufthansa, its subsidiary Austrian Airlines and Air China launched their long-haul joint procurement seat programme by selecting a common-seat architecture for economy class based on B/E Aerospace’s popular Pinnacle design. The Star Plus seat is based on the Pinnacle economy- class-seat platform from B/E Aerospace. It offers economy-class passengers superior ergonomic comfort, modern design features and best-in-class technology. Lufthansa will equip 39 aircraft with the Star Plus seat, beginning in 2013. Austrian Airlines will equip 10 aircraft with the Star seat. Lufthansa will maintain the standard pitch of 31. Star Alliance conducted a programme in which B/E’s proposal was the most convincing. This result was confirmed in two seat tests with customers, carried out in Frankfurt and Beijing. In the course of this test, the B/E prototype received the best grades overall.

IAG’s AA and BMI heartache

Dubai Airport Freezone, the fastest-growing free zone in the Middle East, has seen an increase of more than 100 per cent in the number of new companies setting up in 2011 compared with the previous year. The number of new companies that registered in the free zone last year amounted to 202— an increase of 110 per cent over 2010. The general business sector grew a significant 139 per cent with 151 companies opening; aviation and electronics sectors achieved around 13 per cent growth; more than 11 per cent growth within engineering and construction materials sectors; and eight per cent in the freight industry. There was also a 45 per cent increase in the services sector with 48 new companies. 13


Seniors on the Go: ‘Airpasses’ of limited use

MAS set to join oneworld

The Skyteam airline alliance has  announced a new “Go Africa” airpass, which joins the alliance’s existing

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is  well poised to become a full member of the oneworld alliance

Moscow, and the only way to fly from Bangkok to Delhi is connecting through Guangzhou. Although these high-mileage detours don’t cost extra, they involve many extra hours of flying and waiting around hub airports for connections. Moreover, specialised discount agencies can usually undercut alliance fixed-price rates by a substantial amount.

AI shows interest in joining Star — again


Love is back in the air, once again.  Air India and Star Alliance are talking! The Maharajas’s management is

Star’s new Heathrow home

Star Alliance will move to a new  home: Terminal 2 at Heathrow when the terminal opens in 2014. The Terminal 2 programme comprises four elements: the new terminal, a satellite pier, a new multi-storey car park and the redevelopment of the associated road system. The design of the terminal provides a modern, technologically-progressive and environment-friendly space for travellers and employees alike.

likely to catch up with the new CEO of Star Alliance, Mark Schwab, when he’s in India soon. The alliance had nixed AI’s entry into the Alliance last year on grounds that it did not meet the minimum joining requirements as stipulated in the contract signed in 2007. That was during the Arvind Jadhav, regime. Apparently, the new CMD, Rohit Nandan has informed the alliance that AI is keen to pursue the membership. “Their new CEO will visit India by the end of this month or the next to discuss the membership. We fulfilled all the joining requirements last year. Membership of a second airline was the bone of contention then,” he told the media. Obviously, the first-mover advantage still stays, as Nandan said: “All we want is to be the first airline from India to join Star. Other Airlines could join after us.”

by the end of this year. In a statement, MAS group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: “After airberlin, Malaysia’s national carrier will become a full member of oneworld alliance.” “The prospect of being able to offer improved global coverage and connectivity through an expanded network of great airlines to Ahmad Jauhari Yahya Malaysia Airlines’ guests is indeed very exciting. Our customers, in particular members of our enrich loyalty programme, will benefit from increased rewards and recognition whilst enjoying more seamless air travel options,” he added MAS hopes this membership will be among the significant catalysts that will complement its efforts to win back customers and become a profitable preferred premium carrier as outlined in its business plan. oneworld aims to be the airline alliance of choice for the world’s frequent international travellers, bringing together some of the best and biggest names in the airline industry including airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.


regional airpasses for Asia, China, Europe and Italy. The other two big alliances already offer an Africa pass as well as similar lists of regional and continental passes. All three alliances also offer a few similar “circle” programmes — circle Pacific is probably the most popular — as well as fixed-price, round-the-world programmes. Only round-the-world permits online booking, scheduling and pricing, however, and itineraries can suffer from some of the same problems as regional passes. On Skyteam, for example, the only way to fly from Delhi to Dubai is via connecting flights through

In celebration of airberlin’s inauguration into the oneworld alliance, members can Airberlin Joins  earn double miles every time they fly with an eligible fare on airberlin between 20 and May 15, 2012. AAdvantage members were already eligible to earn and oneworld alliance March redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on airberlin, but with it joining the oneworld alliance, travel on airberlin will now count toward qualification for AAdvantage elite status. The alliance with airberlin, combined with airberlin’s affiliate Niki, will expand oneworld’s network to more than 800 destinations in more than 150 countries.





ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ AAI bags the Jane’s Award 2012 Airports Authority of India (AAI) as an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) recently won the prestigious Jane’s Award for the year 2012 for achieving the best operational

H D Deve Gowda

Dinesh Trivedi

I K Gujral

FDI IMBROGLIO V Somasundaram, Member (Air Navigation Services), receiving the prestigious award on behalf of AAI at ATM World, Amsterdam.

efficiency through its upper airspace harmonisation programme. The award was presented to AAI at an impressive ceremony in Amsterdam on March 5, 2012 in the presence of CEOs and top executives of major ANSPs of the world. Jane’s ATC (Air Traffic Control) Awards have established a reputation for recognising and rewarding excellence within the air traffic control industry. India had sent in the nomination for the coveted Jane’s Award under the operational efficiency category featuring Indian upper airspace harmonisation programme. The upper airspace harmonisation programme involves redesigning the airspace to increase airspace capacity through operation of multiple ATC sectors enabled by Air Traffic Service (ATS) Automation, networking of radars and very high frequency (VHF) frequencies. The redesigned airspace would cater to future growth of air traffic and contribute to enhanced efficiency and safety. The redesigning of airspace is being taken up in phases in the four flight information regions (FIRs) with Chennai FIR being the first one. The entry focussed on achievements/benefits associated with upper airspace restructuring of Chennai FIR as it has been completed and commissioned in September 2011. The salient features of upper airspace harmonisation in Chennai FIR include complete Air Traffic Management (ATM) Automation, operation of one Upper ACC Centre


e do not how long one will have to wait for the Government to put in place the policy and necessary rules to allow 49 per cent FDI in aviation from foreign carriers. As on date, FDI in aviation is allowed up to 49 per cent from foreign companies but no foreign airline is allowed to hold equity in a domestic carrier directly or indirectly. We had stated earlier in these columns about the opposition to it from important political parties as well as existing domestic airlines. There has been a small change since then in the attitude of at least one domestic airline — Jet Airways — whose promoter Naresh Goyal had on all earlier occasions lobbied severely against the move lest his own empire was threatened. Today ironically, his empire is being shaken in the domestic market not so much by foreign carriers but his own domestic competitors, mainly the LCCs, IndiGo and SpiceJet. During a recent visit to Pakistan by the Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma accompanied by high-profile Indian industrialists with Naresh Goyal being one of them, the Jet Airways promoter and Chairman said: “Jet Airways does not need FDI but will back moves to open up the aviation sector to foreign airlines.” Though we do not need FDI, Goyal said we nevertheless welcome the move. Incidentally even the tourism sector is betting big on 49 per cent FDI in Indian domestic carriers by foreign airlines. It feels the move will lead to improved connectivity through higher fleet capacity and competitive fares. Naresh Goyal’s response came strangely in a foreign land while he always maintained a studied silence in the recent



past on the FDI issue. In fact, he was one of the prime movers against the Tata-SIA project and continued to oppose it even when SIA fell out not just from Tata Airlines but even from the proposal to acquire Air India when it was on the verge of disinvestment ten years ago in 2001-2002. We can see ironically today that Air India is not even a skeleton of its past and Jet Airways is paying a high price for its own follies on the policy issue. We are constrained to say this as Jet Airways also has a huge debt, which Naresh Goyal is unable to shake off easily and even though his foreign forays are doing better in terms of revenue generation, he continues to take severe hits in the domestic market. Jet no longer prides itself for the fine product it had been known for years since its launch in May 1993. As we said Naresh Goyal’s response came after a key Group of Ministers (GoM) reached a consensus on allowing foreign airlines to buy up to 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers in January 2012. Look at the delay. It was in the second week of November 2011 that Kingfisher Airlines for the first time revealed its serious financial crisis after a year earlier it had got relief through a restructuring of its debt by nearly 13 banks of which SBI was the leader. The November crisis set in motion two important long-pending decisions. While the first was related to FDI by foreign carriers, the second was to reduce ATF prices by sharply reducing the sales tax. Government decided to take the second first but since it involved an agreement by the states which in turn required an amendment to the Constitution, an easy route was followed. As a consequence, the government notified on February 21, 2012 allowing the domestic carriers to


Lalu Prasad Yadav

Mulayam Singh Yadav

import fuel directly under the actual user conditions thus abolishing all duties, mainly sales tax. This policy decision though seemed easy to take is becoming difficult to implement as the domestic carriers do not have the infrastructure to import, store and supply fuel to aircraft. The state-owned oil companies apprehending loss of business opposed it in writing first and may well oppose it literally as they have the fuel supply facilities in the six metros and would want to deny it to those who import fuel instead of buying from them. So, even after a policy decision has been taken, it is becoming difficult to implement, or should we say to take advantage of it? The first issue namely allowing 49 per cent FDI by foreign carriers does not require any legislative change but only at the administrative level, which can be done by a Cabinet decision. The policy hanging for the last 14 years since the Tata-SIA project was killed has now entered a critical zone. The GoM has cleared it and the Ministry of Civil Aviation is supposed to make the policy and send it to the administrative Ministry of Commerce and Industry ,which in turn would drive it to the Union Cabinet. If one looks at it, if the decision is taken, it will be very easy to implement as the airline concerned will need to get a suitable foreign partner and subject to SEBI regulations induct it with approval of the government. This is in sharp contrast to the fuel import permission which even after the decision has been taken is seemingly becoming difficult to utilise or take advantage of. The new Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said in early February 2012 that the Ministry of Civil Aviation proposal to allow foreign capital by international airlines in cashstrapped domestic carriers might come up for Cabinet approval before the budget session. But post-election, will the government be able to pass muster on the issue?

Mamata Banerjee

The earlier opposition to FDI by foreign carriers from Naresh Goyal has allegedly been taken over by IndiGo promoter Rahul Bhatia, whose officials have been of late informing the media that it is not such a good thing after all to allow foreign carriers to dabble in Indian domestic skies. Strangely, Bhatia wants to do exactly what Goyal did in his formative days. If Rahul Bhatia is indeed forward-looking and does not oppose the FDI move, then like Naresh Goyal he should come forward and express his neutrality in public, if not his support for the move. More than anything, there is also a policy issue, which needs to be resolved before the new FDI policy can move forward. Under the SEBI code, an entity acquiring 25 per cent or more equity in a listed Indian company has to mandatorily make an open offer for another 26 per cent to ensure that individual shareholders also get an exit route. In the case of airlines, this would mean that a foreign airline can acquire up to 51 per cent, which means breaching the 49 per cent FDI cap. It seems an understanding has been reached, which, of course, only time will confirm. As per this, a foreign carrier will have to first make an open offer of 26 per cent to shareholders of the targeted domestic airline and later acquire up to 23 per cent so that the FDI cap of 49 per cent is not violated. It will have to be a simultaneous process and not independent of each other. This policy thinking arose when SEBI refused to make an exception only for the aviation sector. It said that it could not tweak the takeover code specifically for one sector. The upshot of the whole thinking is that the open offer can precede the base transaction but it will have to be simultaneous. Are the Indian carries happy with this move? This is the big question that can only be answered by the airlines. Under the prevailing circumstances, an airline, CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

with five dynamic sectors from Chennai enabled by successful integration of 10 radars, crosscoupling of VHF frequencies and implementation of air traffic services inter-facility data communication (AIDC). Some of the benefits are marked improvement in ATM operational efficiency, availability of user-preferred flight profile, on-time performance of aircraft and increased airspace capacity. The restructuring of airspace in Chennai FIR alone would result in fuel savings of 22.3 million litres per annum to the operators on a conservative estimate, apart from substantial reduction in carbon emission. Similar nominations in the category of operational efficiency from various ANSPs across the world were assessed by a high-level panel of judges from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), EUROCONTROL, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), IATA and Jane’s. The defining moment was AAI emerging on top from the shortlist and bagging the award. It drew much appreciation and glowing tributes from major ANSPs of the world. V Somasundaram, Member (Air Navigation Services) received the prestigious award on behalf of AAI. The award not only adds another feather in the cap of AAI but also marks the rare distinction of AAI being the leader among many major ANSPs in achieving ATM operational efficiency.

Amritsar’s CAT-II becomes operational As part of its continuing efforts to improve air navigation facilities for aircraft and passengers at all the airports in the country, AAI has recently taken up the initiative of

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Amritsar Airport presents a dazzling look at night.



ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ upgrading the existing Instrument Landing System to Category II at Amritsar for supporting safe and smooth aircraft operations. The upgradation of the system to Category II required improvement in airport infrastructure, removal of obstacles in and around the airport and training for controllers and maintenance personnel. Having completed all the requirements and on obtaining the regulatory approval, the ILS CAT II has been operationalised. The advanced landing system would reduce the visibility requirement for an aircraft for landing at Amritsar airport from the existing 650 metres to 350 metres. The implementation of ILS CAT II system has proved a big boon for the passengers of this pilgrim city usually during winter when the visibility goes down well below 650 meters as it happened this year too. The aircraft would be able to land safely even during poor visibility (up to 350 m) reducing the chances for diversion of the aircraft to other airports in such cases. Additionally, aircraft would be able to take off from the airport even when the visibility is as low as 400 metres. The implementation of Cat II ILS system would benefit the airlines in terms of increased safety, avoiding diversions, minimising holding for visibility improvement with consequent gains in operating costs, lesser fuel burn and substantial environmental efficiency.

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IAA starts Aviation Security Instructor’s Course The first ICAO-Aviation Security Instructor’s Course was inaugurated by the Secretary, Civil Aviation, Dr Nasim Zaidi, at the Indian Aviation Academy (IAA), New Delhi, recently. Senior officers from the Ministry of

Dr Nasim Zaidi, Secretary, Civil Aviation inaugurating the course at Indian Aviation Academy, New Delhi.


which desperately wanted FDI was Kingfisher Airline. It has been wanting it for more than four years. The first time when it lobbied for it during UPA I, the then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, a staunch opponent of FDI by foreign carriers and being more friendly with other main operators, simply vetoed it. In fact, it was during the earlier part of his reign in Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, he got a vision 2020 drafted and got it circulated to a Group of Ministers that included the likes of Lalu Prasad Yadav who openly opposed FDI. We do not know what Lalu Prasad Yadav as the then Railway Minister had to do with aviation. It may well be asked that it was during his tenure as the Bihar Chief Minister that an Alliance Air Boeing 737-200 crashed near Patna on

landing. Though he was in no way connected to it, he was requested to provide additional land near Patna airport to make take-offs and landings safe. This is yet to be provided even six years after he left the Bihar government. It is such a strange coincidence that the last Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, an aviator himself, expressed his opposition to FDI by foreign carriers. His boss Mamata Banerjee has opposed FDI in multi-brand retail. Much before during the United Front days of 1996-97 under Deve Gowda first and later Inder Kumar Gujral, among others it was Mulayam Singh Yadav, now once again the leader of UP with his Samajwadi Party registering a victory, who strongly opposed FDI by foreign carriers. The only way things will

ow, the good news for SpiceJet first. On March 2, 2012, SpiceJet Chairman Kalanithi Maran decided to infuse `100 crore in his airline to get additional equity of 4.29 crore or 5 per cent of total stake. Accordingly, the board approved it subject to a SEBI nod, which is only a formality. According to the statement from SpiceJet: “The Board of the company decided to issue and allot up to 4,29,00,000 equity shares of face value of `10 each at a price to be determined as per SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations 2009 to Kalanithi Maran on a preferential basis subject to approval.” In September 2011, Maran injected `130 crore for 5 per cent stake in his airline. Taking all these together, Maran’s personal stake in the airlines will now

rise to 48.6 per cent. What the auditors said about SpiceJet was if the company had the ability to stay afloat as its accumulated losses eroded its net worth. In a limited review report, SpiceJet auditors S R Batliboi & Associates said the accumulated loss of `1077.85 crore as on December 31, 2011 “substantially” eroded the company’s net worth raising questions about the airlines ability to continue as a ‘going concern’. SpiceJet’s net worth stood at `321.11 crore as on March 31, 2011. Its market cap was `1108 crore. However, in the first three quarters of fiscal April 1, 2011- March 31, 2012 ( the three quarters are April December 2011) saw its accumulated losses touching `344 crore. This meant the net worth was negative `23.89 crore and hence forcing the auditors to ask if



improve is if there is collective prayer by all in the Indian aviation sector. But to even get them to pray together it will need separate prayers. News has come that the big boys — though not any more after being shrunk financially as well as fleet and networkwise — like Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Air India failed to pay their pilots on time and the latter threatening the management with some kind of work-to-rule or cash-and-carry principle, the so-called impending problem of SpiceJet seems to be dwarfed. Let us just look at the debt of these three big boys. Kingfisher Airlines has a debt in excess of `8000 crore and keeps growing in geometric proportion, Jet Airways with over `14,000 crore and Air India with more than `44,000 crore. In sharp

MARAN’S PLANS FOR SPICEJET SPEAKING THE MIND: Kalanithi Maran, Chairman, SpiceJet, speaking at Bombardier Q400 NextGen delivery ceremony.

SpiceJet could at all be described as a ‘going concern’. At a time like and with this kind of observation, Kalanithi Maran has only emphasised and re-emphasised his seriousness in running the airline by pumping in his own money. Unlike the unwanted excess baggage in terms of huge financial liability, which faces Kingfisher Airlines and Air India, SpiceJet does not have much baggage that will cause serious headwinds should the government finally okay and put in place FDI by foreign carriers. Maran already owns 48.6 per cent and soon could take it beyond 51 per cent to have his own majority stake without having to meet the obligations under the takeover control order by making a public offering. It may be recalled that Maran did make the public offer in 2010 soon

contrast, the debt of SpiceJet to say the least is not even insect size. Its debt, according to available figures is much lower or just under 15 per cent of Kingfisher. But even this level of debt has provoked its auditors to observe that SpiceJet’s net worth is eroded and whether it should be called a ‘going concern’. For the first time, the expression of ‘going concern’ was raised by the auditors of Kingfisher Airlines for Mallya’s carrier which now appears to have virtually gone. True, there is a lot of difference between virtual reality and reality. However, in the case of Kingfisher the two seem to have merged very fast, perhaps, even faster than Kingfisher merged into Air Deccan which it took over few years earlier in an irrational business mood.

after he acquired 38 per cent in SpiceJet mainly from Wilbur Ross and Bulo Kansagra. His open offer did not elicit any response. So, the same rule will not be applied to him again and as luck would have it, he is acquiring stakes in SpiceJet at a price, which is even lower than what he paid earlier to acquire it. Though it may look simple, we feel it could be more to make a killing when FDI from foreign carriers is allowed as the latter need not look for many sources to buy a stake. Before his acquisition of 5 per cent stake in March 2012, Maran owned 43.6 per cent, Mutual Funds and Banks and Indian Financial Institutions 12.4 per cent, FIIs/NRIs/OCBs 5.2 per cent and Indian public 38.9 per cent. On the issue of erosion of net worth, it was stated that even during fiscal 2009 and 2010, SpiceJet net worth stood negative at `430 crore and `342 crore respectively. But it was constantly getting adjusted as the airline made profits in the previous fiscal thus restoring its net worth at the end of the calculation. The auditors said SpiceJet had not accounted for forex differences as borrowings to the extent they were regarded as an adjustment to interest costs. SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills said that the difference on account of forex borrowings would be corrected soon. “Half of the impact of the depreciating rupee has been factored in and during the quarter ended December 31, 2011 it suffered a loss of `30 crore on account of rupee depreciation against the US dollar. SpiceJet was seriously considering re-capitalisation option though they are in a comfortable position as a going concern and the airline will be able to raise funds as and when required CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ Civil Aviation, AAI and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) were present. The programme, which concluded on February 29 saw 11 participants from Ghana, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Tanzania and the UAE. The Indian Aviation Academy formed under the aegis of (National Institute of Aviation Management and Research) NIAMAR society was registered on July 22, 2010 as an autonomous body. The Joint Training academy of Director General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Airports Authority of India has been created with the objective to provide education, training, research and consultancy in the field of aviation. Various training programmes on safety and regulation, aviation security and airport management are conducted at the academy for capacity building in civil aviation to meet the challenges of rapid growth of civil aviation in the country. The Indian Aviation Academy has been approved as the Aviation Security Training Centre by ICAO.

AAI wins SAP-ACE award for public service In order to bring in transparency in procurement, the AAI management decided to implement e-tendering. The basic objective was to leverage Information Technology and also to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of the procurement process. For this purpose, E-TAPS based on a SAP-SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) platform, which is a global standard, was deployed. The IT division of AAI was entrusted with this task which was completed in a record time of four months through effective programme management. The E-TAPS application conforms to the latest Central

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P K Kapoor, Executive Director (IT), AAI receiving the trophy.





Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines and Transparency International matrix. The portal is being extensively used by internal users as well as the vendor community in India and abroad. In this endeavour, AAI management demonstrated a spirit of innovation with commitment to bring transparency in the procurement system through leveraging the information technology. This has not only improved organisational efficiencies, streamlining of procurements, procedures but also delivered better services to the citizen. Taking cognizance of the initiatives taken by AAI management, E-TAPS application was nominated for SAPACE award for public services. An eminent panel of jurists judged the ETAPS application of AAI as “Best Run in Procurement” and the award was given to Airports Authority of India at a ceremony held on February 16 in Bengaluru. The award comprised a trophy and a certificate and was received by P K Kapoor, Executive Director (IT), AAI on behalf of V P Agrawal, Chairman, AAI.

New passenger facilities at Patna Airports Authority of India keeps on providing new facilities for the passengers and airlines as a regular exercise at its various airports. Many new passenger facilities have been introduced at Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport, Patna, for the comfort of passengers such as a new cyber café, a shoe shiner machine; additional visitor chairs, a money exchange counter, mini snack and pharmacy counter outlets. For the safety and security of passengers, which is the prime responsibility of AAI, some initiatives have been taken: provision of new fire

New furniture has been placed in the reserved lounge area at Patna Airport.


SMALL BUT COMFY: Inside a Bombardier Q400 cermony.

but it will not raise funds in a hurry. Last year alone, the promoters pumped in ` 200 crore. None of the so-called bad news impacted SpiceJet in terms of its fleet acquisition programme. Compared to Jet’s debt of `14,000 crore, the debt of SpiceJet was `712 crore as on September 30, 2011 with a debt-equity ratio of 0.7 compared to Jet’s 1:4.2. The problem which faces the entire aviation sector also hit Spicejet as evident from its Q3 2011 results. During Q3, its revenues increased by 41 per cent to ` 1175 crore as compared to ` 831 crore in Q3 2010. The average yield during Q3 2011 inreased by 9.5 per cent when compared year on year to previous Q3. The airline’s market share increased 16.8 per cent compared to 13.6 per cent in Q 2, the largest for any domestic carrier. Despite all this, Spicejet posted a loss of `39.26 crore for Q3 2011 compared to a profit of `94.44 crore in Q3 2010. During the latest Q3 passenger growth was 29 per cent, ASKM 32 per cent and departures rose by 60 per cent. The most constraining part of the Q3 performance was that the ATF prices were 90 per cent higher than in the same period of 2010 and fuel cost was 50 per cent of the total revenue compared to 37 per cent in Q3 a year ago. Neil Mills said: “We continued to maintain our growth rate in terms of fleet additions, passenger traffic and destinations. During Q3 2011 we were able to realize major gains in market share, improve the revenue mix and achieve significant cost savings aided by relentless drive to boost operational efficiencies.” Accordingly, SpiceJet’s losses at profit before tax level dropped by over ` 200 crore compared to the immediately preceding quarter. But for the rising fuel prices, sharply falling rupee against the US Dollar, Spicejet CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

would have put up a fine performance. Peeping into the future, Mills said the industry continued to grow in volume though pricing continued to be weak. But the outlook for the industry was better now — though marginally. SpiceJet also seems to be waiting eagerly for the liberalised FDI provisions to be put in place. Spicejet currently has 33 Boeing 737s and seven Bombardiers. By March 31, 2012 the total number of aircraft will increase to 41 with the addition of 4 more Bombardier Q400s. During the fiscal 2012-13, Spicejet expects to add 5 more Boeing 737-800s and possibly 4 more Q400s. Spicejet has options for another 15 Q 400s which it may well exercise as it expects the Bombardier turbo-props being deployed in the regional routes to make money in another 18 months. Market analysts expect Spicejet to achieve a CAGR of 35 per cent. While the net sales rose from `2181 crore in fiscal 2010 to `2934 crore in fiscal 2011, it will go up to `4044 crore in 2012 and further to `5384 crore in fiscal 2013. The net profit which was positive `61.4 crore in 2010 and `101.2 crore in 2011 is like to change to a loss of `410 crore in fiscal 2012 and fall to a lower loss of `144 crore in fiscal 2013. The renewed confidence also comes from the induction of Q400s on the regional routes. Launched in September 2011, today it has 59 flights. By fiscal 2013, Bomardier Q400s will begin to make profits. At the end of February 2012, SpiceJet was operating 270 flights daily and this will increase as the LCC is planning to launch flights to Varanasi from Delhi. On fresh fund infusion of `100 crore by Kalanithi Maran, Mills said it will go into normal working capital and for general growth. “Our debts are affordable and we are paying oil companies and salaries on time,” he said.

ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ and rescue vehicles; perimeter lighting; runway re-carpeting; provision of new ambulances; increase in the height of boundary wall in operational area; and additional ramp for parking of airline equipment. In addition, CCTVs have been installed and barrack accommodation has been provided for CISF personnel. Also new furniture has been placed in the reserved lounge and a new look has been given by beautifying the city side of Patna Airport.

AAI to develop Deoghar airport

KINGFISHER’S TALE OF SORROW ingfisher Airlines should have closed down at least a year or more earlier. Had its promoter Vijay Mallya done it, he would have saved crores of rupees as he would not have incurred those losses which he has by continuing to operate his airline. The issue is not the product, or safety or its on-time performance. Simply put, Kingfisher Airlines has never made money since it began operations in 2005 — in fact, the airlines’ shareholders never got any value for their money — and after the disastrous takeover of Air Deccan just to fly foreign routes drove the last nail on its wings. Can you imagine an aircraft without wings? It will probably look like a big shark that even the bigger brand, Kingfisher, cannot rescue. In the last few months, especially since November 2011, we have witnessed a strange spectacle where those holding the airline’s tickets could not rightfully occupy their seats as the carrier simply stopped flying to important destinations. This followed the decision of Kingfisher Airlines to cancel many of its important trunk routes and metro flights. Obviously, the problem inside Kingfisher was far more serious than what had been perceived so far. The DGCA, the supposedly tough regulator, initially had no clue about it. But later it realised that without ensuring safety it would be dangerous to allow the airline to fly. Since it did not want to single out


Kingfisher, it decided to do a safety check of financially-strained airlines that brought under its focus all airlines. A shrinking Kingfisher Airlines seemingly passed the test — though with some bruises. Kingfisher Airlines had accumulated losses of `6000 crore and an accumulated debt of `7000 crore. It owed `518 crore as on February 28, 2012, to oil company HPCL, `265 crore to Airports Authority of India (AAI), `60 crore to GMR (Delhi and Hyderbad airports) and `75 crore to GVK for using Mumbai and Bengaluru airports, respectively. Its total debt rose to an alarming proportion before the

An MoU has been signed for development of Deoghar Airport between the Government of Jharkhand and Airports Authority of India in the presence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda. The MoU includes development of the airport initially for

V P Agrawal, Chairman AAI (left), signing the MoU. Also seen in the picture is Arjun Munda, Chief Minister, Jharkhand (3rd from left).

ATR -72 type aircraft operations and subsequently for A-321 type of aircraft operations depending upon the demand and traffic potential. Speaking on this occasion V P Agrawal, Chairman, AAI, mentioned that the state government would provide land to AAI on priority so that after developing the airports, charter and regular flights could start at the earliest. Operations would start with ATR-72 aircraft initially and later on once the traffic was increased, operation of bigger aircraft would also start from the airport, he said.

IATA signs MoU with GMR

NOT MUCH TO SPEAK: Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO of Kingfisher Airlines talking to media after meeting with DGCA.ivery cermony.


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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed an MoU with the GMR Aviation Academy, accrediting the latter as the Authorised Training Centre (ATC) for the aviation-related programmes in India. Representing IATA, Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO and Maunu

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IATA Chief Tony Tyler (standing in the middle) unveiling MoU to the media.



Von Lueders, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific and Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman — Airports and P S Nair, CEO Corporate-Airports representing GMR Airports signed the MoU. To start with, GMR Aviation Academy will conduct three IATA Certificate Programmess: Airport Operations, Travel and Tourism and DGR courses. GMR AA has already been appointed by Airport Council International (ACI) its Global Training Hub (GTH) worldwide. DGCA has accredited GMR Aviation Academy to conduct the Dangerous Goods Regulation trainings. It has also signed an MoU with ‘Incheon International Airport Aviation Academy’ for joint development and delivery of training programmes. GMR AA is in the process of acquiring ICAO’s ‘Trainair Plus’ stature. GMR AA earlier achieved ‘a first in India’ when it hosted ACI/ICAO’s AMPAP Gateway programme (Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme — Air Transport Systems) towards an International Airport Professional (IAP) designation. The Aviation Academy has been functioning from the GMR Hyderabad International Airport campus in Shamshabad, Hyderabad since 2009.

NOT A GOOD SIGN: Deserted check-in counters of Kingfisher Airlines at one of the Indian airports.elivery cermony.

Reserve Bank of India approved debt restructuring by lending public sector and private banks in early 2011. After the recast, Kingfisher Airlines total debts reportedly came down to `7057 crore, which is still considered very high for a private domestic carrier. In the process of restructuring, lending banks also lost lot of money. In the debt restructuring done by banks, 13 public sector banks agreed to convert a big part of their debt into equity by taking the Kingfisher Airlines share at `63 per scrip as against the then prevalent price of `40. The banks hold over 24 per cent of the airline equity. But between then and now, the share value has eroded sharply to around `22 which is just onethird of what it was when the shares were given to them as part of debt restructuring. One can imagine how the banks have also suffered serious blows. A

GHIAL inaugurates MRO facility “MAS GMR Aero Technic Limited” (MGAT), a 100-per cent whollyowned subsidiary of “MAS GMR Aerospace Engineering Co Ltd” (MGAE) is a 50:50 joint venture partnership between Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn. Bhd. (MAE) and GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL). The joint venture was formed to develop an integrated, best in class third-party airframe

LAST ATTEMPT: Kingfisher Airlines has sent out personal letters to its King Club members to avail low fares and help its revival.


top State Bank of India official has now said the bank has stopped extending any kind of credit to airlines in India. We don’t know if this excludes the stateowned Air India whose problems and financial woes are more than Mallya’s. But being state-owned, Air India’s owner, the Government of India, could always find ways to save Air India. However, Mallya had no such option. He may be forced to spirit away the spirit money from UB Holdings to save his carrier. But the speed with which that money is drying up even faster than the spirit is evaporating is amazing. Obviously, no entrepreneur worth his salt can continue to do business if he does not make money even six years after being in the business. In the liquor business, one can feel high while on ground but in the airline business, one can soar high to feel high. Mallya announced in November 2011 that his airline would cancel some of the flights till such time as he was able to reconfigure his aircraft so that he flew more economy and less business class. Following this, the airline filed a new schedule with the DGCA. But as days passed by, he could not even maintain this schedule; forcing him to reschedule this schedule as well. It was a desperate measure since the number of aircraft in his fleet began to shrink. This was also a clear indication of a serious financial crisis. Just two months before his November 2011 press conference, Kingfisher Airlines auditors B K Ramdhyani & Co. had in their comments in the airline’s annual report asked if Kingfisher Airlines could be even described as a “going concern” and these remarks were published in the 2010-11 annual report of the company. A “going concern” refers to a company’s ability to continue as a


ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Special Economic Zone within Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad. The facility was inaugurated by Ajit Singh, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, in the presence of S Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, during Aviation India 2012. (See story on Page 32) MGAE has developed this MRO facility to provide full aircraft base maintenance service infrastructure in India, and will cater to the maintenance needs of the regional and global airline customers. MGAT will perform the engineering and maintenance service operations on narrow-body aircraft such as B737 NG, ATR 42/72, and A320 family of aircraft types and on wide-body aircraft such as B777 & A330, in this MRO facility. The stateof-the-art facility includes a wide-body hangar (accommodates two narrowbody aircraft alternatively), a narrowbody hangar with two bays, and a narrow- body-cum-paint hangar. At any point of time, MGAT can provide maintenance services to five aircraft simultaneously, with wide- and narrowbody aircraft configuration. These hangars are backed-up with the necessary workshops to handle aircraft maintenance, painting, avionics upgrades, interior refurbishment, structural repairs, component replacements, etc. MGAT operations are certified by both Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and will perform Aircraft MRO operations in compliance with these regulatory requirements. MGAT operating out of the Special Economic Zone in an operational airport and strategically located at Hyderabad, Airline customers can look forward to reduced

MASGMR MRO facility in hyderabad.


LUXURY AT ITS BEST: Vijay Mallya in a Kingfisher flight.

business entity in the near future and rarely do auditors make such mention. As per the definition of the erstwhile Sick Industrial Companies Act, if the net worth of any company had been eroded by more than 50 per cent, then it had to be referred to the (now) defunct Board for Industrial Reconstruction (BFIR). If that rule is applied, Kingfisher Airlines is certainly a very sick company. However, a never-say-die Mallya said: “We are 100 per cent viable strong going concern”. The company’s finance director Ravi Nedungadi said when debt restructuring was done, the airlines lenders along with lead bank SBI and SBI Caps independently assessed Kingfisher Airlines’ viability. Nedungadi even said the company’s accounts with the banks were classified as “Standard” which meant they were not classified as nonperforming. If it was not non-performing and standard, then Kingfisher Airlines could have gone ahead with its proposed GDR which, incidentally, is based on the previous six months’ average stock price. Even when it wanted to raise USD 300 million both before and soon after debt restructuring, it felt the ruling share price was not high enough to go in for GDR. Today, the ruling price of its shares is just around `20. Of its total debt of over `7000 crore, a sum of `5608 crore was owed by the airline to 13 PSU banks which obviously included the lead bank, SBI. The remaining money is owed to ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. Incidentally, with the airline’s share prices crashing, ICICI Bank has asked Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya to provide more collateral for loans already given or face a credit squeeze. The demand for more security from banks has arisen after the share prices of both Kingfisher and United Spirits Limited have fallen. The gravity of the situation is evident from the fact that just before the crisis hit the ceiling in CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

November 2011, Kingfisher Airlines in September of that year had 370 daily flights using 64 aircraft. Interestingly, this fleet of 64 aircraft was a draw-down from the even earlier fleet of 84 aircraft. At that time the airline blamed International Aero Engines for supplying faulty engines which led to the grounding of a few A 320s. Later, when the airline did not have money to pay for spares, it began to cannibalise its older aircraft for spares. However, as the weeks passed, the lessors began to repossess the aircraft. There were also media reports that the airline owed some British companies over USD 26 million in connection with lease, etc. After all this, Kingfisher announced yet another revised schedule in late March 2012 by which it admitted it had only 20 aircraft and would, therefore, fly 120 flights a day. The rapid decline in connections from 320 to 120 and fleet from 64 to 20 aircraft tells a great story. Despite all this, Mallya seems to be hopeful. Is it only optimism mixed with sheer wish that can revive the airline. Or, probably Mallya has a back-up plan. People have begun to ask if Mallya will now part with his holdings in his liquor company to keep his airline flying to whatever height it can. A question that is being asked by everyone is why not simply withdraw Kingfisher Airlines’ licence. The answer to this question was given by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh when said that as long as a licenced scheduled domestic carrier had five planes flying, the licence cannot be withdrawn. That is the reason why the DGCA is now tackling Mallya on the safety issue. But Mallya says his problems have risen because the government has not taken any decision to allow FDI by foreign carriers besides other operational issues like fuel, taxes, etc. Notwithstanding what CRUISING HEIGHTS and many others have said about Mallya and his airline, he certainly has a point about FDI. It is clear now that the earlier opposition to FDI by foreign carriers in domestic Indian carriers by people like Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways has been replaced by new Swadeshi champions, particularly one airline which claims it has been making profit. While one may congratulate that airline, the fact remains that there should not be any further roadblocks to FDI by foreign carriers. One wonders if this is the same Dr Mallya, who four years ago was talking of operating Airbus A340-500 for long haul direct flights to the US from India. In fact, he had even booked five A380s. All that is now part of his dream. True Mallya chose to chew more than he could swallow.

AUF WIEDERSEHEN, KOLKATA! he end of March saw German airline Lufthansa snapping links with Kolkata, one of its first destinations in India. In between it had stopped flights only to begin again six years ago. Lufthansa's last flight - it used to have three flights a week — snapped the City of Joy's only direct link with Europe. The reason cited was simply that the city was “unprofitable” for long-haul international flights. The flight from Frankfurt landed with 204 passengers and took off with 184 passengers. However, Lufthansa was not the only one to stop flying to Kolkata: it followed British Airways and Air India. All three international carriers have pointed out low passenger volumes from the city. In fact, British Airways and Air India mentioned that there was low profitability on the Kolkata-London route. The German carrier, however, will continue to maintain its sales office in the


city. “With this measure, Lufthansa reacts to changing market demand on this route. Lufthansa will continue its sales activities in Calcutta,” said a spokesperson for the airline. According to airport officials, Kolkata handled around 1.45 million international passengers over the past year, registering a 15 per cent growth. The airport, in fact, is undergoing a massive makeover — a `2,325-crore project — to accommodate more passengers. Officials have been hoping that with the inauguration of the integrated terminal that is under construction, Kolkata would see a number of foreign airlines. An Airports Authority of India official was quoted saying that Lufthansa's exit was a shock. The new terminal is equipped to handle four million international passengers annually, so questions about capacity utilisation have already started cropping up.


ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ cost of maintenance and improved turnaround times, adding value to their operations. MGAT has brought in an investment of `350 crores. Speaking on the occasion G M Rao, Group Chairman of GMR Group said, “Our road map envisages a very comprehensive set of activities Airframe MRO, training, design and engineering, technical support services, component MRO and lastly, engine MRO. With its strategic and location advantages, MAS GMR Aero Technic is poised to be a leader in this region by providing cost effective services, with international standards in quality, and turn-around times benchmarked with the best in the world.

BIAL certified ‘Green Company’ Marking another milestone in the company's green initiatives, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) recently announced that it has been certified by the GBC of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a Green company in adherence to its GreenCo Rating System. The GreenCo rating

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ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ system is the “first of its kind in the world” to assess and analyse the environmental impact of the company's entire activities or operations. This rating helps in defining the path forward to ecologically sustainable business growth. With this commendation, BIAL becomes India's first company to have been certified as 'Green' by CII's Green Building Council (GBC). BIAL has been credited as GreenCo Silver rated company in line with their specifications. Initiated by CII GBC, this certification programme was officially launched by the Union Minister for Energy in February last year.

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CSIA gets certification for greenhouse gas verification The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai is the first Indian airport to be accredited the prestigious ISO 14064-1:2006 certification for its Carbon Emissions Accounting by Bureau Veritas, a global leader in carbon certification worldwide. Incidentally, CSIA is also the second airport in Asia to receive this certification. CSIA is also the first airport in India to voluntarily initiate its carbon footprint mapping process even before the circular issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in January this year. Thus it was again the first airport to submit all data pertaining to energy consumption by facilities and offices located at CSIA. Commenting on CSIA receiving the ISO certification for its Carbon Emissions Accounting, G V Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director, Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd said, “We at MIAL are proud to have received this certification as it demonstrates that we are taking visible action to reduce the carbon emissions. The certification is also a reaffirmation of our long term commitment to achieve environmental friendly and carbon neutral goals in the long-term. It is truly gratifying to note that we are the first airport in India and the second in Asia to be certified in accordance with global standards.”

VIRGIN REVISITS MUMBAI irgin Atlantic recently announced that it would launch new flights to London from Mumbai on October 29, 2012. The daily flight will serve the UK and open up easy connections from London Heathrow Airport to cities in the USA including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington. Virgin Atlantic’s newest A330 aircraft offering the best in the airline’s new product and service will be deployed and the investment will create 100 jobs in India and the UK. Since 2009, the number of people who have flown between Mumbai and Heathrow has grown by 9 per cent to more than one million passengers, making it Heathrow’s 12th busiest long-haul route. The new Mumbai service is being launched on the back of another success story with Virgin Atlantic’s New Delhi to London and New York service enjoying 20 per cent growth in 2011. A Virgin release said that in 2009, when it had withdrawn services from Mumbai, the carrier had said that “the withdrawal was a result of the recession and it was a temporary decision. We also said if it was economically viable we would come back. The economic environment is now right, with 9 per cent growth in the market since 2009, and we’re looking forward to coming back and



serving the people of Mumbai”. Virgin also pointed out that it was hopeful of selling USA from Mumbai even when there were three direct carriers flying to USA from the city. The release said, “We have had great success in offering a service from Delhi-Heathrow-Newark and we are confident we will do the same here. The connections are some of the best compared to other airlines and people will love our new flying experience.” Sir Richard Branson, President, Virgin Atlantic Airways said, “Virgin Atlantic is proud to be flying to Mumbai again, linking this wonderful city to our key destinations of London, New York, Boston and Washington. India’s phenomenal growth continues to drive travel to the UK and the USA and we know our passengers are going to love the connections the new flight offers.” He also mentioned that Virgin was passionate about providing a unique service to customers and the new Airbus 330-300 would feature the brand new Upper Class Dreamsuite. “We’ll continue to offer Indian entertainment and delicacies on board served by local Indian crew. Importantly the plane is also our most fuel efficient aircraft, delivering Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to flying a lower carbon fleet,” Sir Richard said. James Bevan, British High Commissioner to India, was delighted with Virgin Atlantic’s expansion into Mumbai. “This is a welcome new offering for passengers travelling to and from India’s commercial capital, be it for business, leisure, education, sport or culture. The expansion of air links between the UK and India helps to underpin the vibrant people to people ties between our two countries. And it reinforces the UK’s position as an unrivalled global hub for business and a stepping stone to the rest of the world.


“We want to see

Saab 2000

flying with the defence forces”

TOMMY HULTIN, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, SAAB GROUP, ON THE OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA AND THE COMPETITION. „ On lease aircraft for civil market We do have a company called Saab Aircraft Leasing which handles Saab's own portfolio. Depending on the number of aircraft we have people leasing them, sometime we sell them and sometime we get them back from other operators. So, today how many they manage we have absolutely no idea. At one point in time, we had about 100 aircraft that were from both the 340 and the 2000 versions.

„ On Indian lease market


We are seeking all the opportunities. We have activities to sell civilian aircraft but we don't know where we are in the process. I am not sure whether we are leasing or not. We have experience of both dry and wet lease. We had dry lease with the Scandinavian airline system for many years. We call it turnkey. We provide everything except the crew. We are service providers for Saab 340 AEW to the UAE. We maintain aircraft for them. They own the aircraft. We do full MRO. We do all the turnaround on the ground. We do run availability contract with them.



INTERVIEW „ On joint ventures in India We are working on quite a few opportunities but no contract has been signed yet. We believe that the only way has been forward in this country is to have a joint venture with an Indian partner. AIRCRAFTINFORMATION.INFO

„ On support We have all the support that is required from spare availability, capability, dry lease, wet lease and performance-based logistic. And, we are offering everything. We have experience of everything. We also have a parts exchange programme where you pay on the flying hours. What it means is that you pay for the flying hours and we make sure you have all the spares available with you. If you have high reliability on dispatching your aircraft on time then this is for you. Basically, you pay for having it on the shelf so when anything breaks it is made available to you. Depending on how much you pay, you can have the whole aircraft on the shelf. Together, the fleet has flown 17 million flying hours. We start with the most-sensitive parts on the shelf. Then we take care of piloting, infrastructure including the airports.

TOUGH CONTENDER: Saab 2000 aircraft would prove beneficial for Indian defence forces as it has got good multi-utility features.

„ On Saab 2000 production

„ On business target It is to have cooperation with the Coast Guard and the Navy and to see Saab 2000 flying with the defence forces. We think we have a strong case. If we are allowed to participate — so to speak — we have a very strong case. Because we think we are worth the price. And my strong case will be on low life-cycle cost, state-of-the-art sensor, integrated in a mission system. We hope to see the RFP (Request for Proposal) of both the Navy and the Coast Guard this quarter.

„ On Coast Guard maritime aircraft On May 20, 2011 RFI for the Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft, six initially… we are offering the Saab 2000 maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy is asking for airto-ship missiles, whereas the Coast Guard is focussing on the humanitarian and environmental control sensors to check for oil spills, air ambulance, search-andrescue and anti-terrorism. That means radar, FLIR sensors, looking for small boats and also the mission system that can pick those objects. It is also asking for guns of 12.7 calibers. So, there is a big difference between these two programmes. Even the Navy has asked for six but I think it's six plus six… so option for another six.

„ On RFI by Navy Navy gave the RFI in November 2010


and we answered that one early. We sent the reply in December 2010. We also sent extra information by February 2011. So, for both the tenders we are offering Saab 2000.

In Saab 2000, we have almost attained jet speed. In the airliner version, we have a cruising speed of more than 370 knots, which is quite substantial. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

The Saab 2000 production was closed down in 1999. That was the time when the public was nervous with the turbo props and preferred to fly jets specially in the US market, which was at that time the strongest market for the turbo prop. Turbo prop is outstanding when it comes to value for money in terms of fuel usage, number of passengers. When the US market dropped after the AKR accident outside Chicago… It was a turbo prop aircraft. And the signal that was picked up was that the US public wanted to fly jets for some strange reason… they are not safer when it comes to icing conditions. The turbo prop has made a comeback — I think because of fuel prices. I think that is the main reason for turbo prop re-ntering the market. In Saab 2000, we have almost attained jet speed. In the airliner version, we have a cruising speed of more than 370 knots, which is quite substantial. We have the world record in climbing up to 10, 000 ft. I don't remember figures but we have set records in the beginning of the 90s. So it's very speedy, very low lifecycle cost compared to competitors and, definitely, jets. This is also perfect for short runways. So, we look at operating from small runways or islands.. we have 1100 metre runway requirements. It is perfect for those conditions. Other design criteria that we fulfil with this aircraft are low maintenance assets. It is designed for commuter airliners. For example, when this aircraft lands far away, only the pilot is required to turn around the aircraft. You need assistance to refuel but you don't need any technician. The ground handling requirements of this aircraft is very low. You only need fuel. You don't need power, tow bars or anything. Because you have a battery that starts the APU, the APU starts the engine, and we

can actually reverse the thrust. We believe these are unique selling points for the Coast Guard programme and the other major programme. We don't need any ground stations to load the mission systems. We can do it onboard the aircraft. If we land far away, we just start the engine and we are ready to go. We hope this is something that India are looking for.

from the aircraft. This was quite a small modification in the aircraft. Basically, you can do photography from the belly of the aircraft. We have Saab 340 as maritime security aircraft. This is operated by the Japanese Coast Guard — there are four of them and they call it Search and Rescue aircraft. We have now since then re-baptised it.

„ On the aircraft on offer

„ On Coast Guard and Saab

We are basing our aircraft on the regional airlines business. The Saab 340 — it's a 35 seater passenger aircraft designed in the beginning of the 80s. It has the capability of more than 90,000 flying hours. We have capability to extend that further. The Saab 340 was designed by Fairchild. We had a divorce after 100 aircraft for business reasons. So, we started to manufacture the wings ourselves. The Saab 340 — a version was later developed into the B version and it is a hot and high version based on the requirements of our largest operator CrossAir, the Swiss operator. At that point of time, it wanted to go above the Alps instead of around the Alps. Saab 340 — we produced 459 altogether, the A and B. And the Saab 2000 developed in the 90s — we produced 63 of those before the production was ceased. All the aircraft are still in service as they have a lot of flying hours left in them. Even the first eight aircraft are still operating. We are spread worldwide. Saab 2000 can cruise at the 31,000 ft, payload 6.5 tonnes up to 55 passengers. The number of passengers can go to 60 but for business class it will carry 50 passengers. Also the forward-looking infrared is with HD-looking camera, laser illuminator, normal infrared and these are all state-ofthe-art.

We are offering the Saab 340 to the Coast Guard in a lease programme. The RFI came to us in 2008. We have had the dialogue but I guess the Coast Guard is fulfilling the requirement for helicopters then it will look at the aircraft. We do have a cargo version. We have done it only for the ‘340’ but it is possible for the ‘2000’. This is a quick change version where you change an aircraft from a transport aircraft into a cargo aircraft within a couple of hours. We have operators that fly passenger during daytime and cargo during night. We are offering it in this configuration but we are not running any campaign. It is part of our portfolio and our local office is looking at the possibility. Another thing we have done is that we have sold the Saab 2000 flight inspection aircraft to the Japanese civil aviation bureau. We also have the Saab 2000 early warning, which we have sold to Pakistan and other countries. We are also busy negotiating with quite a few countries. So this is a very popular aircraft for AEW, as this has very low speed and can fly from remote airfields and at high altitudes. The angle of the antenna is a three-degree angle that is for optimal patrol speed of 160 knots. If you have a jet aircraft you have a higher angle of attack so this angle suits and for the operator sitting inside you will have to do something with the seats. By tilting we have ensured that the antenna remains in level. It is comparable to AWACS, it has 450 km of reach to discover very small objects you can track and follow 200 objects with very few operators. Typical crew will be two pilots and three to four mission operators as opposed to other similar planes which has up to 15 mission operators. The system does most of the job that is very difficult to convince the operator that you actually don't need five. The system screens away all the friendly signals so the system does a lot of job for you. Today India, South Africa and the US are our home market. We have a Saab India company, we are here to stay not to sell the products. We are also looking at new areas where we can partner with Indian companies. In our India office we have representative from all of Saab business areas. „

„ On off-the-shelf system We have actually more options …I don't want to name them, but I want them to compete. It also might be an Indian requirement. The mission system, that's the brain of aircraft, you can have local sensors but you need the brain to fill all the information and that is the Saab system. It was developed initially in the 90s. It was used for the Saab AEW for the Swedish Air Force based on the Saab 340. We have upgraded it quite a few times since then. It worked in conjunction with the Eerie eye system that we have. We are using that technology and I guess you are also using that technology in some sort of network… it was developed by Ericsson. Saab 340, as I mentioned, was an AEW aircraft. We also have Open Sky as a corporation in the 90s where we did photography

Saab 2000 can cruise at the 31,000 ft, payload 6.5 tonnes up to 55 passengers. The number of passengers can go to 60 but for business class it will carry 50 passengers. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012



Wings of hope




t was a Dreamliner beginning for India Aviation 2012. Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh flew into the city on the state-of-the-art 787 ferry flight that was coming into the Andhra Pradesh capital for the static display at the show. The aircraft was commanded by a woman, Heather Ross, who had flown the composite materials beauty from Seattle all the way into Delhi and then into Hyderabad. The aircraft flew in Air India colours and it is apparent that the national carrier will indeed by acquiring the Dreamliners. However, the government is yet to take a call on the mode of induction of all the 27 B-787s Air India has ordered — whether to curtail the order or leaseback all or purchase some of them outright. It also wants the compensation issue to be sorted out before Air India starts inducting them. With the Civil Aviation Minister flying in the aircraft, it is clear that the process for acquisition would now be fast- tracked. If that was one development, the other big fillip was the Agusta Westland-Tata tie-up to set up a JV at the Shamshabad Aero Park. This single move will get the ambitious aviation zone plans of the GMR-lead Rajiv Gandhi International airport on to the fast track. “I would expect that in the next few years, the park will


Indian aviation has tremendous potential to drive economic growth in the subcontinent. But to realise this, India needs a common vision for aviation: National Aviation Policy.

READY TO JOIN THE BANDWAGON: Business jets on the tarmac at the India Aviation 2012 — perhaps, a precursor to the future when India will be competing with the likes of China in the number of business jets.


see big-time activity with more companies moving in to acquire land and jet up aviation industries,” said one of the participants at the show. Ajit Singh also unveiled the GMR group’s maintenance, repair and overhaul unit (MRO) at Hyderabad. Built at a cost of `300 crore, the first phase of the MRO is spread over 30 acres and has three hangars for maintenance work. The MRO has been developed on a 50:50 basis by GMR Hyderabad Airport Ltd and Malaysian Aerospace Engineering. There was to be a third partner in Jet Airways but the latter as predicted by many, backed out last year. The Russians too, were there in big numbers: they brought a Sukhoi Superjet that did several sorties around the city and also announced their plans for the Indian market. Vladimir S Prisyazhnyuk, President, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), a subsidiary of the Russian defence aircraft major Sukhoi, said that a preliminary agreement was signed with India's Aviotech Pvt Ltd last year for the sale of 10 aircraft. “India is one of our priority markets. We see a good potential here,” he said. During the last eight months, the company delivered eight SSJ 100s to Aeroflot, a Russian airline and one air-




craft to Armenia’s Armavia. SCAC has an order book of 170 for the medium-haul airliner available in the 75 and 95-seat configuration and can operate on routes of up to 4,500-km. The company will make its first delivery to Southeast Asian countries this year. A total of 20 deliveries are scheduled in 2012, 40 next year and 60 in 2014. They also had a model of the MC21 expected to be first delivered in 2016. This is the aircraft they want to pit against the A320neo claiming it has over 15 per cent more fuel efficiency than the Neo!

India can emerge as third largest aviation market by 2029 “India improved its ranking from 101st in 2007 to 12th in 2010 in terms of airport maintenance, traffic handling and passenger facilities and is expected to be the third largest aviation market by 2029," Rafael Echevarne, Director, Economics and Programme Development, Airports Council International said at the India Aviation-2012 . But there were a few caveats: he said the country would need to put in place a regulatory framework that encourages investment, ensures safety and facilitates development of tourism. Speaking in a similar vein, Amber


Dubey, Director Aviation, KPMG, which is the knowledge partner of India Aviation 2012, said initiatives such as formulating an Air Cargo Promotion Policy, proposal to set up a full-fledged aviation university, investments in MRO hubs are positive steps taken by the Government. He, however, felt that there is an urgent need to develop no-frill airports in tier two and three cities in keeping with increase in air passengers in the country.

Restoring Indian aviation competitiveness

IATA will be fully engaged in the team effort to turn Indian aviation into the great success story that it has the potential to become. India has pure gold potential CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

International Air Transport Authority Director General Tony Tyler asked India to develop a common vision for Indian aviation expressed in a National Aviation Policy with a strong implementation plan. “Indian aviation has tremendous potential to drive economic growth in the subcontinent. But to realise this, India needs a common vision for aviation — expressed in a National Aviation Policy strongly linked to an implementation plan. Such a policy would need to re-build competitiveness by addressing the difficult issues of tax, cost, investment and infrastructure,” Tyler said in a keynote address at the show. Here are some of the other critical points he made:

FAST-GROWING MARKET: Photos show the release of the special postage stamp to mark the conclusion of the year-long centenary celebration of aviation in India by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy; among the others in the photos are Civil Aviation Secretary Dr Nasim Zaidi, AERA’s Yashwant Bhave, DGCA E K Bharat Bhushan, Joint Secretary Alok Sinha, IATA Chief Tony Tyler, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America A. Peter Burleigh, Jet Airways’ Naresh Goyal, IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh and Boeing’s Dr Dinesh Keskar; and, models of the Boeing Dreamliner and the Airbus A 320neo.

4 “Aviation’s contribution to the India

economy could be much more. If India’s 1.17 billion people travelled at the same frequency as in the US, a market of 2.1 billion travellers would be created. Even one-third of that would be an air travel market of about 700 million, rivalling that of the US.” 4 “The high cost of jet fuel has been hijacking the competitiveness of the Indian air transport industry for over a decade. It is now clearly recognised by all that fuel taxes are sucking the life blood from the Indian aviation sector. The industry is now in crisis and we need a coordinated effort among all Ministries — at national and state levels — to restore competitiveness.” 4 “Mumbai is bursting at the seams. The first phase was meant to open in 2014 but construction has not even begun. Land acquisition is not yet complete. We need a coordinated effort across all government ministries to facilitate success without further delay — as was achieved for the opening of Delhi’s new terminal.” 4 “The new terminal and third runway have been a much needed boost. But if the 340 per cent increase in charges

The capital cost to develop a Greenfield nonmetro airport is Rs 200 crore while the operational cost is Rs 10 crore per year. This can go down further by smart technology and a simple business plan. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

over the next two years is implemented, it will make Delhi the most expensive airport in the world — and destroy its competitiveness. Given the broad economic implications that this would have it is important that the government takes immediate action. First, 340 per cent is unacceptable. It would be a shock to the system that would ripple throughout the economy. The Ministry cannot stand by and let this happen. It must intervene with a broader context. This should take into consideration the long-term development of Indian aviation at its hubs. And if need be, the concession contracts, which at Delhi channel 46 per cent of revenues to the Airports Authority of India, need to be rethought with the aim of offsetting aeronautical charges. The solutions are readily available and there is no reason why the 340 per cent, or any increase of this magnitude, should be allowed to go through.” But Tyler was positive about the future, in fact he waxed eloquent on the years ahead: “I am passionate about aviation. And I am an India optimist. IATA will be fully engaged in the team effort to turn Indian aviation into the great success



story that it has the potential to become. India should not settle for a bronze medal in the world of aviation. It has pure gold potential,” he said.

AVID WATCHERS: People flock to see the static displays of aircraft on the tarmac.

Small airports are the next big thing Umesh Kumar Baveja, Founder and Chairman of Regional Airports Holdings International Ltd (RAHI) was much in demand after a discussion on ‘Roadmap for Civil Aviation: Turbulence and recovery'. Clearly, smaller airports are an exciting possibility as the country moves ahead to network and connect the hinterland. RAHI is developing two non-metro airports, at Gulbarga and Shimoga and Baveja believes that there is a huge scope and opportunities in this segment. Baveja had to request for off-line questions when the discussion wound up before lunch as he was inundated by questions from the audience. Counting on the growth potential of an Indian market that is expected to have 300 million passengers by 2020, industry players are exploring various business models in different domains. In the wake of these developments, it would be safe to say that the sentiment on non-metro airports is bullish. “Tapping the aviation market in Tier-II and Tier-III cities is a different ball game altogether. The financials are different and the revenue model is unique. You can’t measure it by the same yardstick used to measure the biggies, so the game is not exactly easy," Baveja said during the course of the discussions.


Counting on the growth potential of an Indian market that is expected to have 300 million passengers by 2020, industry players are exploring various business models in different domains CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

His argument is simple: The capital cost to develop a Greenfield non-metro airport is `200 crore while the operational cost is `10 crore per year. This can go down further by smart technology and a simple business plan. While the expected air traffic is a mere 45 aircraft a week, the accruals depends on both aeronautical and non-aeronautical factors including landside development. In Gulbarga, which is one of the airports that RAHI is developing, of 700 acres of land, 350 acres is used for airport development, while another 350 acres is being utilised for landside development that includes setting up of an international aviation academy. RAHI, a joint venture between IL&FS Transportation Network and Comet Infra Development, is also likely to start a regional airline by mid 2012. Both the projects will be carried out simultaneously. If indeed they do, they’ll probably be the best airport developer in the world to also run an airline! Initially, the company will introduce five 10 to 50-seater aircraft in five years to service the proposed airports at Shimoga and Gulbarga and subsequently will have a portfolio of 99 regional airports by 2025 connecting Bengaluru and Mumbai with Shimoga.

Airshow’s theme lost in translation Where was the the theme of India Aviation 2012: Centenary of Civil Aviation in India? Frankly, it was completely lost, barring the coffee table presentation release during the opening ceremony.



There was a centenary pavilion on one end of the exhibition hall, but frankly, it could have really been a piece of innovation if someone had applied their mind to it. Instead, it was like one of those drab DAVP (the government-owned Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity) AVs that are verbose, unimaginative and full of errors. But there were some interesting tit-bits: One had rare photographs of the India Trans Continental Airways (operations between Karachi and Kolkata) in 1933 or the largest aircraft of its time — Lockheed L-749 Constellation (Mughal Princess) — that first flew from Mumbai’s Santa Cruz airport in 1948. One whole wall was devoted to that magnificent pioneer of Indian Aviation and the founder of Air India: J R D Tata.That apart a model of the the Humber Sommer biplane (that Frenchman Henri Pequet flew over the Yamuna — from Allahabad to Naini across the river, a distance 13 km — in 1911 attracted some attention. That flight is viewed as India’s first commercial flight. It carried over 6,500 pieces of mail and was considered the world’s first airmail service. Every stamp released on Indian aviation was there at this show, but one wishes there had been greater clarity and imagination in planning this event. Even the funny portraits of pilots sleeping on board a plane didn’t produce much laughs. That only goes to show that the best material without creativity is an opportunity lost as the centenary exhibit at Hyderabad was.


FUTURE READY: (Clockwise from top left) A helicopter on display; J K Jain is caught by our photographer in front of a business jet; the entrance to the HAL pavilion; and, IATA’s Tony Tyler with Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, DGCA E K Bharat Bhushan and AAI Chairman V P Agrawal.

Every stamp released on Indian aviation was there at this show, but one wishes there had been greater clarity and imagination in planning this event CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

Aviation show disappoints visitors It is a bit of a farce that exhibitions like India Aviation 2012 have a public day without any restriction on the numbers that can be allowed into the gates. The result is that there is a mad rush to get in, the numbers swell and sometimes become unmanageable, damaging costly equipment and aircraft. Two years back the police had a real tough time controlling the crowds and this time exhibitors wizened up to the dangers of an unrestricted free for all. The exhibition halls wore a deserted look barring a few choppers that were around. But the big birds including the Dreamliner had already flown away. What also dampened their spirits was the distance from where they could view the birds. But that’s understandable considering the security. There were only 17 aircraft that stayed on post the three-day business meet. During the business days, 22 aircraft, including a few helicopters from across the globe, were on display at the expo. FICCI Regional Director Lt. Col. Vivek Kodikal had earlier during a briefing before the start of the show said that the event was not a ‘mela'. It was being organised to provide a platform for aviation and allied businesses to interpret exposition of their product and services into business.The decision to display planes and allow the public to have a look at them was the sole discretion of the owners. n For more stories on India Aviation 2012, see News Digest (from Pg 16) General Aviation (from Pg 39) and Focus on ‘Copters (from Pg 57)





Embraer’s high five from Jackie


brand ambassador in China. In fact, the aircraft and Chan were in China to boost Embraer’s presence and were spotted at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) at Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai in late March. The ABACE 2012, jointly sponsored by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), was held in Shanghai from March 27 to 29, 2012. Jackie Chan’s private jet, which was exclusively designed by Embraer for him with the Traditional Chinese character (the first name of Jackie’s Chinese stage name) on the tail, was on display at the event, too. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

Tokyo gears up for a business jet terminal.


CHEERING-UP: Jackie Chan giving a thumbs-up in his business jet.



Dassault Falcon presented its business jets at the India Aviation 2012.


Air Works MD Vivek Gaur on the tie-up with Dilip Chhabria.

here couldn’t be a better thumbs up for the Embraer Legacy than Kung Fu star Jackie Chan. The superstar owns a Legacy 650 executive jet worth $30 million that he received in early February. Chan was announced by Brazil’s leading planemaker Embraer’s


Embraer too is bullish Embraer is bullish about „ the prospects of the Indian business jet market, the second-largest in the Asian region after China. “In Asia (demand forecast for business aircraft) after China...India is the second-largest market. We cannot overlook by any means developments of this market,” Embraer Executive Jets VicePresident Asia Pacific (Marketing and Sales) Jose Eduardo Costas told reporters at the India Aviation 2012 show. The size of the market for business jets in the Asia-Pacific region for the 2012-2021 period is worth $40-48 billion with 1,363 to 1,690 units and for South Asia it is 390 to 485 business jets worth $10-12 billion. India would represent at least 90-plus per cent of this number, he said. “India is one of the few countries in the world where Embraer executive jets is enabled to sell all its products from the Phenom 100 to Lineage and it is key to our growth strategy in the Asia Pacific,” Costas said, when asked about the company’s projected sales and current order book.



Aviation t’s the sort of combustible idea that can get the cash box ringing if it clicks. And that’s what Air Works Managing Director Vivek Gaur is betting upon. India’s leading third party MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) player Air Works India has now — joined hands with the iconic Dilip Chhabria to craft aircraft interiors — designed, produced and made in India. The funny looking tube that the company unveiled at the India Aviation 2012 was, in fact, a prototype fueslage of a business jet with the DC-designed interior developed at over `2 crore at the DC Design studio in Pune, Air Works hope to get its certification this year before taking orders. Excerpts from an exclusive chat with Gaur in Hyderabad:


„ On reaction to the concept They were surprised at the quality and the fact that when you go in and see the design it is not the conventional or the classic business ambience, the colours and fluidity and contouring — people have been excited. Now the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers or aircraft makers) are technical experts — that’s their business. So, the fact that not one but all of them have expressed admiration at the quality of the work and the designing is heartening. „ The key element in the design What they found difficult to believe is that every single piece has been fabricated in India. I haven’t purchased anything from abroad and assembled it here.

Everything has been made in DC Design, our Pune workshop. Designed in India, made in India. „ On the trigger moment Interiors is a unique business which is primarily done out of North America and Europe. There is almost no one in Asia who does it — with some very minor exceptions — and then you have groups in Europe and Australia who do it. So, anybody in India who owns a business jet flies all the way to Europe to get his interiors done. India is rich in craftsmen, rich in talent and in Dilip Chhabria we found a partner who is rich in artistic capability. He is India’s foremost designer. He really understands creativity and he designs himself. We discovered that his clients

“Business jet interiors is a big market”













and my clients were the same. He’s designing cars for them and I have the aircraft maintenance agency for the same persons. So that’s when we said we must tie up and build out within India — labour-intensive work, create jobs in our country for craftsmen by building interiors business in this country. Now, this is a first small step. It has taken us one year to build this. „ On when the journey began We started exactly a year back in March last year when we built the shed.Then we took it step-by-step. We studied many interiors of aircraft. We asked ourselves: what should we be doing that’s different, what kind of quality would they like? We invited people who are owners of aircraft and experienced in these matters. We showed them many concepts. We said walk through it and tell us what it feels like. And then we sort of drafted it together. But the brainchild in terms of quality of design and colour is all Dilip’s. „ Who were the owners you invited? A few who have owned jets for many, many years and are themselves users. We took a lot of feedback from them. Some of them are my shareholders. So it was easy for me to reach out to such people…Punj Lloyd also gave inputs. In fact, the original idea came from Atul Punj. (He said) This is a big market and if you get into it… „ The way ahead It will take us about two-three years to develop this into a full-fledged business because we have to get all the airworthiness approvals, a million certifications from various authorities all over the world. It’ll take time but I expect that in the coming financial year, if I can do two jobs, we would have recovered our investments. We have to get all the certifications before that, yes, not only from India but from abroad also. „ How will you get the shell here? Initially, we will not start with the shell aircraft ( bare machines without interiors) because it will take us time to progress to the point where the OEM is willing to tie up with us. That is five years away. But there are many people who buy second hand jets, pre-owned jets as they are called. The maximum number of jets coming into India are pre-owned jets. Now you buy a pre-owned jet, you have spent say $5 to 10 million on it but the interiors are also 5-10 years old then. So the first thing you want to do is redo the interiors and redo the paintwork. Other-

USHERING CREATIVITY : Air Works MD Vivek Gour unveiling a prototype fuselage of a business jet at India Aviation 2012.

wise you are not getting the full value of the investment you have made. So our aim is to target the pre-owned jet buyer, who wants to get his interiors refurbished. That’s going to be our preliminary market and next three-four years that’s what we will focus on. „ What is the cost? Getting our whole act together will cost us upwards of $1 million. We have already spent $450,000 on developing this prototype. Plus we will now have to spend some money on training, some money on tooling specifically. Plus all the certifications I have to get will cost money and time. So I would say a little over $1 million will get invested. „ The arrangement with DC Design We are going to do a partnership. Now, whether that partnership is a commercial contract or a joint venture, we have to work out. Our preference is to make it as a joint venture between DC Design and Air Works, but on that Dilip and I are still working our way through. But we are both convinced we can work together and work very well. „ On the feedback from the OEM The statements that have been coming from them is that, firstly the way Dilip has designed the fluidity and the contours moving make the cabin look larger than it is. So it is interesting that two separate senior OEM officers came and made the same comment; From two separate OEMs on two separate days. So that’s obviously something that’s striking… The other is that the colour scheme is something that will appeal to an eastern audience. In the west typically, in business jets everything is beige or some variations of light brown and that’s it. But we have done it in blue, we could do it in CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

green, we could do it in orange, we could do it in three colours and so on as you will see. The second thing which they have found interesting is that they have done a lot of craftsmanship, from light points to handles to shape of the bulb to shape of the windows. We have been craftsmanlike in each detailed item. We did not do any buy and fix. „ On electricals and certification Each aircraft type has got identified hard points for electrical, pneumatic which is air blowing or weight bearing points which could be a chair, for example. The designing you have to do has to be around these hard points. You can’t change the hard points.That applies to us as it will apply to anybody who does the interiors. As we do the maintenance of the aircraft we are 101 per cent familiar with all the hard points and we do the designing based on that. „ On maintenance So long as we are an authorised service facility for it, we are comfortable. We service most of them — Hawker Beechcraft, Dassault, Gulfstream, helicopters of Agusta Westland, Bell. We do the major maintenance for all of them. We don’t do Eurocopter and Sikorsky, though we do have a couple of Eurocopter machines but we are not the authorised centre. We are not the authorised centre for Cessna, though we do a lot of them on a case-by-case basis. „ On the depth of the market We have not done an official survey but the market in India spends between $ 150200 million for interiors of business jets and helicopters. I am not talking about airlines. It’s a big market. All that money is being spent outside the country. There is no reason why it should not be spent in India creating jobs for Indian craftsmen.




India gets cracking for business aviation DASSAULT.FALCON900.CS

India has 154 business jets and „ is second only to China with its 215 jets but what has

Dassault on top Dassault Falcon presented its „ Falcon Fleet of large cabin, long-range business jets at the India Aviation air show. Dassault built its reputation for advanced high-performance aircraft in the region with the Indian Air Force, which has been operating Mirage fighters for years. But today, this reputation for design excellence is also driven by advanced business aviation aircraft such as the Falcon 7X, the Falcon 900LX and the Falcon 2000 series, which offer unparalleled performance, comfort and fuel economy. Dassault is the Indian market leader for large cabin, long-range aircraft. Some 20 Falcons are currently operating from airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Dassault Falcon commands a

large share of the Indian market for executive jets and continues to consolidate its position as the benefits of business aviation become recognised by an increasing number of Indian companies and private owners. Private investment in the country’s aviation infrastructure and growing support by Indian authorities are making this dynamic market even more attractive. In addition, Dassault aircraft are very well suited to the longrange requirements of Indian customers. The Falcon 7X can connect Mumbai to Cape Town, for example, or Bengaluru to London City Airport, the heart of London. The 7X is the only jet in its category to meet the demanding performance requirements of London City, with its steep approach and noise restrictions.

been troubling operators and owners is the fact that while there is no policy framework for the sector, there is a lack of infrastructure. The Indian Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA) has been instrumental in lobbying for its cause with the government. In a recent move, the Civil Aviation Ministry along with representatives from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has started work on a blueprint outlining the future strategy for business and general aviation in the country. The plan will cover helicopters, fixed-wing operations and amphibious aircraft and is being prepared in anticipation of sales of business aircraft amounting to around $12 billion by 2020. To begin with, the infrastructure has to be improved. At Mumbai airport, for example, there are no parking bays for general aviation. In fact, though Mumbai has the largest number of business aircraft, the airport discourages business aviation and has peak-hour curfews. In addition, the sector suffers from obstacles that hinder flyers from coming to the country or investing in it. Clearances are always a matter of concern. There has been a demand for a streamlined permit system that would bring down the number of requirements for landing and overflight approvals and introduce a favourable fiscal and regulatory climate for the purchase and operation of business aircraft.

BBJs say we are no less Boeing Business Jets has „ unveiled the latest BBJ to enter service, showing the aircraft in ShangBOEING

hai. It features a high-end luxury interior and a new Honeywell Ovation








Gulfstream Aerospace views „ India as a long-term growth market for its business jets, Regional

Senior Vice President of International Sales for South America and the Far East, Roger Sperry said during India Aviation 2012. The company displayed a midsize G150 and large-cabin G450 at the Hyderabad show.

Select high-speed digital communications system The BBJ in question, a Boeing 737-700 with 737-800 wings and other modifications for longer range, was delivered earlier this month to a private businessman in the United States. It is the second BBJ for this customer. The aircraft is the first BBJ to enter service with Honeywell’s new Ovation Select digitalconnectivity system, allowing the




Top market


“Gulfstream has been part of the India market for more than two decades,” said Sperry. “Our market in the Asia Pacific has been our fastest growing of recent years, today accounting for 27 per cent of our aircraft order backlog. We’ve been moving more product support resources into the region to support

passengers to be as productive on board their aircraft as they are in the office. “Ovation Select offers the latest technological advancements to deliver seamless and easy connectivity — whether passengers are connected via their BlackBerry, using their laptops or iPads or conducting a video conference call,” said Tony Brancato, Vice President for Business and General Aviation aftermarket at Honey-


today’s operators and position ourselves for growth.” The company announced at the show that it would soon be basing a parts manager in India to oversee parts storage and distribution in the country. Gulfstream maintains major parts bases in the region, including Dubai and Hong Kong.

well Aerospace. The BBJ has a centre island and appliances similar to that in a typical kitchen including convection and microwave ovens, a refrigerator, a wine cooler and a trash compactor. With seven auxiliary fuel tanks, this BBJ offers a range of more than 5,600 nautical miles (10,370 kilometres) at Mach 0.80 — equivalent to about 12 hours non-stop flight time, plus reserve fuel.




Tokyo gets a business jet terminal

Bombardier booms 4,000 aircraft in the 20 to 149-seat category over the next 20 years of which 1,300 will be in India. “Business aviation in India is experiencing rapid growth. Bombardier’s latest market forecast for

the aviation industry predicts a total delivery of 1,330 business jets destined for India over the next 20 years,” the statement said. Bombardier had the Learjet 60XR, Challenger 300 and Global 5000 business jets, as well as the Q400 NextGen turboprop at India Aviation 2012 .



Bombardier has forecast that „ the Asia Pacific region including China will take delivery of about

ACJs grow in China

The ACJs are growing in China! „ There are eight ACJs already based in China and Airbus has sold

more than 20 ACJs in that country in total. The eight Airbuses include a combination of ACJ318s, ACJ319s and ACJ320s. Airbus expects to continue selling ACJs into China at a rate of around five jets per year. An interior outfitting option that is expected to


be popular for Chinese customers is the Phoenix interior, which includes a round dining table with a seating for six. This is possible only because of the ACJ’s wide cabin. The table features a rotating centre platform and also folds into a square for airborne Mahjong tournaments. The private office in the aircraft can also double as a Karaoke bar.


READY FOR BUSINESS : Construction work in progress at Narita's new general aviation terminal

In an effort to woo rich tourists from „ China as well as investment from multinationals keen to have offices in Tokyo, Narita Airport recently launched a dedicated business terminal. Comprising customs and immigration counters, allowing travellers to avoid queues, each plane will have to pay $3,040 for using the terminal. There are 18 parking spaces. Said Kunihiko Muroi, a parliamentary secretary at the transport ministry on the new terminal, “We want to prepare ourselves so business leaders from overseas can come to Japan, adding to the country’s growth. We also want Japan’s young small and medium-sized business owners to be flying around the world.” The terminal may also boost the use of business jets in Japan, where the fleet totaled 55 at the end of 2010, compared with 12,074 in the US, according to the Japan Business Aviation Association. The new centre is located about 100 metres from the plane-landing spots at Narita’s terminal two. It’s opening alongside wider expansion work at the airport that has boosted the total annual capacity to 250,000 takeoffs and landings a year from 235,000. That will rise to 270,000 by the end of March 2013. “Access to airports and landing slots in Tokyo has always been a problem,” said Ernie Edwards, President of Embraer SA (EMBR3)’s executive-jet division. By contrast, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing all already have dedicated business-jet centres. The facility at Narita, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) from downtown Tokyo, will be only the fourth dedicated business-jet terminal in Japan, following two in the Nagoya area and one in the western city of Kobe, according to the Japan „ Business Aviation Association.




AIR CARGO ABOVE ALL: (Clockwise from left) The tunnel at Kuala Lumpur International Airport highlighting the importance of air cargo for the economic development of nations; A view of the audience at the inaugural session of the World Cargo Symposium; IATA Chief Economist Brian Pearce makes his prediction about the future; and Aleks Popovich, IATA SVP moderates the session on 'Taking Charge of Change' at the World Cargo Symposium.


ndia’s status as a significant player in the air-cargo scenario seems to have been recognised. For the first time, the Government of India was represented at the recent World Cargo Symposium in Kuala Lumpur: M Kannan, Economic Adviser in Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the person heading the working group to study the country’s air-cargo industry and recommend the best way to handle expected future growth, spoke at one of the track meets during the symposium. Heading the panel that has been tasked to find out how to handle the potential for air-cargo growth, Kannan has also been studying the handling and


Continued on Page 50 `



uring my over three decades at Cathay Pacific, I developed a strong appreciation for the air cargo business. On the one hand, I could see it as a great enabler of economic growth by helping high-value products find their way to global markets… I also saw cargo as a growing part of the airline business. Without fancy wines and comfortable seats, cargo draws much less attention than business class — maybe because passengers — “self-loading freight”, as cargo people call them —make a lot more noise about the quality of the service! Or, could it be that air cargo connects markets so efficiently that what we do is taken for granted by governments, consumers and even businesses? Indeed, air cargo makes a lot happen. Global freight volumes exceed 45 million tonnes. And all indications are that it will continue to grow steadily to satisfy the needs of a growing population.


„ Growing the business together By value, about 35 per cent of goods traded internationally travel by air. But if we

look at volume, air cargo only handles half a per cent. The question for today is how to propel growth sustainably, with quality products, efficiently delivered by a well-coordinated value chain. Aviation is a team effort. And that is particularly true for air cargo. Under my watch at IATA, we will continue to manage the Cargo Account Settlement Systems (CASS) efficiently. Last year CASS safely handled $33.4 billion of your cash with 99.990 per cent accuracy in 104 locations worldwide. We will continue to drive cost efficiency and enhance customer service levels while safely managing the industry’s distribution needs. I am also making it a priority for IATA to work even more closely with our industry partners. One clear example is the need to modernise the cargo agency programme. I have tasked Des Vertannes and his team to collaborate with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) to bring forward proposals that I can present to the IATA Board of Governors at year-end.

I am also fully supportive of the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group or GACAG. All its members won’t always agree about everything. But our fates are linked as we are in the same business. By focussing on our common interests, I am confident that much can be achieved.

„ Safety is number one priority Safety is always the top priority for everyone connected with the industry… For cargo, safety has some unique challenges. In addition to managing safe operations, we need to ensure that what is loaded onto the aircraft itself is safe to transport…Managing dangerous goods is a dynamic challenge. Historically, regulators put the responsibility on airlines. With the proliferation of shippers, many of whom are unaware of dangerous goods regulations, that approach is no longer viable. The concerns over shipping lithium batteries are a good example of a situation, in which the supply chain needs to work together with regulators to manage safety throughout the shipping process.



MOVING AHEAD: IATA and the Malaysia Civil Aviation Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on expanding the Secure Freight pilot scheme, which began in 2010.

„ Cargo security Hand-in-hand with safety is security. The 2010 Yemen printer cartridge incident was a reminder of the evolving challenge and the need for constant vigilance. Many regard it as air cargo’s 9/11 in terms of the changes that it is bringing to the air-cargo business. It is important that we work together on industry solutions, or we will have regulatory solutions imposed on us. What are the parameters for an industry solution? First, we must preserve speed along with security. Entire industry sectors have built their business models on the availability of fast air-cargo supply chain links. If we don’t keep the speed, business models around the world would change dramatically-and many could disappear.

„ Competitiveness Alongside a license to grow based on safety, security and environmental responsibility, to be successful the aircargo value chain must meet customer expectations with efficient and quality products and processes. The e-freight programme is absolutely essential to air cargo’s long-term competitiveness. Our goal is 100 per cent coverage by 2015. How do we get to 100 per cent in 2015? I see three essential components: First, we need to understand e-freight is a supply chain initiative. GACAG has taken up the e-freight baton and is driving it forward as an industry initiative. Second, the IATA Board asked us to concentrate on the implementation of the eair waybill (e-AWB) in 2012. The challenge is to reach 15 per cent penetration by year-end and 100 per cent by 2014.

Achieving this will be an important motivating factor for other stakeholders, including customs. That is important because we will need governments to step up their verification and implementation of the Montreal Convention for this to succeed. Moving to a completely paperless system is a huge challenge. Technology exists to adapt to existing legacy systems. But it does take commitment and internal focus. Already, our colleagues at Cathay Pacific and Emirates have mandated 100 per cent e-AWB in their home markets. So we know it can be done. And finally, we need to ensure that we are ready to go paperless in the rapidly developing BRICS markets. I have challenged the IATA cargo team to put a special focus on those countries to ensure that they are ready to be a part of the global e-freight network with dedicated resources. E-freight is the single most important project to shore-up the competitiveness and efficiency of air cargo. Changing how an entire industry operates will not be easy. But we did it with e-ticketing in just 48 months. And I am confident that the foundation stones have been solidly laid and that, with a strong team effort, we will meet the 2015 goal.

„ The Quality Agenda Efficient processes can only deliver their maximum potential if quality is well managed. Last year we called for the Cargo 2000 standards to become industry standards used beyond the Cargo 2000 membership. The Cargo 2000 Board took up the challenge and made its Master Operating Plan an Open Source platform. This effectively makes Cargo


2000 the industry benchmark for performance and quality. They will also be introducing a membership grading system to further identify the highest-quality participants. Quality is not just an airline issue. Look at how we manage the growing demands for handling time and temperature-sensitive shipments — particularly perishable goods and pharmaceuticals. Ensuring the integrity of these products during transit is an essential obligation of the industry. In July this year, with the agreement of the whole industry, we are mandating the new ‘Time and Temperature Sensitive’ label, which will improve the quality of these important shipments. Lastly, we need to ensure quality data — whether for supplying regulators for risk management, customs to protect borders, or for airlines to ensure the safety of dangerous goods. The message improvement programme gives all parties the ability to check gaps in this area. It is key to the success of certain programmes, such as the planned automation of US customs in 2013 and of course e-freight. I passionately believe that aviation is a force for good in our world. But passion may not be enough to convince governments. So, we are quantifying aviation’s economic benefits in studies covering 58 countries conducted by Oxford Economics. These tell a great story about an industry that provides quality employment to millions and drives trillions of dollars in economic activity. It is a compelling story. The air cargo value chain does amazing things. Flower farmers in Kenya have jobs because they are connected to markets in Europe. Component producers in Japan and China provide local employment for products that are distributed globally. Vital medicines and supplies can be shipped to remote corners of the planet, provided there are just a few kilometres of runway. And the story is best told by a united industry. We will, of course, have our differences, which we will represent vigorously. But we all have a stake in air cargo’s success. And in fact the common interest extends beyond the value chain to all businesses that are enabled by air connectivity. We should all be sending a common message to governments everywhere of the need for fair taxation and policies that enable competitiveness. (Excerpts from the speech delivered at the recent World Cargo Symposium, Kuala Lumpur)


COVER STORY Continued from Page 47 `

security systems that are in operation and will be recommending policy initiatives. He was of the view that while procedures stifle growth, speed to market was a competitive imperative. As such, the regulatory environment must be simple and transparent. He also said that archaic procedures in a regulatory environment were not conducive for the aircargo industry. As an air-cargo player, India still has a long way to go. However, what is important is that India does not have to reinvent the wheel. A number of initiatives taken by the likes of IATA are smoothening the path for our air-cargo stakeholders. Even so, the times are challenging and the obstacles have to be faced head on. The mood was set by Brian Pearce, IATA’s Chief Economist. Speaking to the nearly 1000 delegates gathered for the sixth World Cargo Symposium in Kuala

Lumpur, at the beginning of the three days of intense debate on the key issues facing air cargo in 2012 and beyond., he said that growth was slow and things were moving slowly but sparking a “little bit more encouragement is that the US consumers are getting more confidence. This should bring some stability and we might see some growth. But we must emphasise,” said Pearce, “that it is still a very risky environment, particularly with the situation in Europe not completely resolved. This year we are expecting to see very moderate growth.” The current expectation of growth is 4 per cent although IATA will release a new forecast. Pearce underlined the fact that “we are in a very fragile situation. The financial issue in Europe and elsewhere has not been resolved. The situation may be stabilising in cargo markets but is not on firm footing just yet…” If there was any doubt about Pearce’s words, Andreas Hermann, Airbus Vice


HERALDING AN ERA OF COOPERATION: The GACAG panel answers questions on its activities at Kuala Lumpur.

artnership at work. The inaugural session at the recent KL World Cargo Symposium displayed just that. Forgetting their tiff, both IATA and FIATA representatives sat together to display to the 1000-odd delegates that it was time to move on and meet the challenging times head on. The spirit was amply captured by Glyn Hughes, Director, Air Cargo Industry Management, IATA. In a specially convened press meet (there were just a handful of us), Hughes fielded questions about the IATA-FIATA tiff, the IATA’s ‘non-transparent’ moves, GACAG and more. When questioned about GACAG and why the meetings were hush-hush affairs,

Hughes said that there was nothing of that sort. “It is all about collaboration and you are a partner,” he pointed out. “Selectively,” he emphasised, “you (the media) are the voice of the industry.” Not too long ago, there was a GACAG meeting and it was there that Hughes had raised the issue of communication with the press. “We talked a lot about that. Everybody in that room (in the GACAG) meeting felt it was absolutely crucial. What they have asked us is that, in future, whenever we have a GACAG during an industry event, the doors have to be opened up… we actually tried to open the doors for the press at KL…” Unfortunately, there were no time slots available. He promised that in future events, communication with the media



As an air-cargo player, India still has a long way to go. However, what is important is that India does not have to reinvent the wheel.


about GACAG would be on schedule. On his part, Chris Goater, Manager, Corporate Communications, IATA — who was incidentally, the ‘organiser’ for the press meet, if one may call it that— took pains to point out that GACAG was a comparatively young body and there would be more news as things got moving. It was also pointed out that GACAG had no employees and no money. Everything that was being done was entirely because of the initiatives of individual associations. “Going forward, we would like to emphasise that we are going ahead from a young group, how we engage with each other to moving on to delivering and communicating. We are looking at how we can structure that (communication)

President for freighters, made it quite clear that the expectations for the year were “relatively humble”. He said that a lot would depend on the 3Q and 4Q. “Towards the mid-year, we will have an inkling on how things will develop,” he said. Providing a light at the end of the tunnel, Hermann said that he was bullish about air freight which would remain the vital part of the global economy as it wa sbest in high value exports, in sectors like e-commerce and perishable goods. “I wouldn’t call it recovery yet but what we have seen in the last couple of months... things flattening out. 2,700 freighters are expected to handle cargo in the next 20 years while the Asia Pacific will require more than 700 aircraft.” The upshot of all the networking and the meetings was the “creation” — if one may term it that — of a new world order where the IATA would not be working on its own. Instead, it has set the foundation

going forward,” said Hughes. It would be a priority, promised Hughes. One important point that Hughes underlined was that this year the World Cargo Symposium had dropped the ‘IATA’ tag. It is not that the organisers wanted to name the symposium the GACAG Symposium but simply put across the view that “supply chain success will be achieved by the industry, for the industry”. Was it then hard to reach a consenus between the different bodies? “No, no and unfortunately, no!” said Hughes. Actually, when somebody said that the symposium would get these constituency groups in one room, there was indeed surprise — what with the issues IATA had with FIATA. But as soon as the groups came in for the first meeting, “everybody came in with exactly the same approach: We have to make this work. It is not about individual components in the supply chain. Each individual component in the supply chain cannot exist without the other components in the chain. When everyone walked into the room, everyone had the same view,” Hughes mentioned. Nobody had to be convinced, he said. The same sentiment was seen when the GACAG team met with Commissioner Alan Bersin in Washington. And when he met the team, he and his 25member team was “speechless”. For the US politician that Commissioner Bersin is, it was a totally changed scenario. Instead of meeting 10 IATA people to

The upshot of all the networking and the meetings was the “creation” — if one may term it that — of a new world order where the IATA would not be working on its own.

explain the airline position, or forwarders or shippers keen to explain their viewpoints, he got a single view. “When regulators hear a fragmented grouping, in a way that is music to their ears for they know they can do what they want” but what Commissioner Bersin got was a unified view. Each component of the supply chain could specify exactly what the problem was and the “reception the GACAG team got was overwhelming”, said Hughes. In turn, Commissioner Bersin told his team that before any proposals were made to the WCO, GACAG would have to be contacted for its views. “That, for us, we did not need any more confirmation (that we were doing the right thing).” Discussing the IATA-FIATA relations, Hughes said that there had been ups and downs with mutual respect and understanding about each other’s positions. “A couple of years ago, the lowest point in the relationship occurred. Since that point, we have continued to rebuild. We had Tony Tyler speak extremely positively about the dialogue that he had with FIATA. He has had three meetings with the President of FIATA (something which the last Director-General had not done — ever). Tony Tyler made a commitment to them and whenever he is in Brussels, he makes it a point to meet the FIATA President.” The areas of common interest between the two organisations have been identified and both are working towards these. “We both have an interest in


for partnership. As IATA chief Tony Tyler, who has a keen interest in cargo, put it so succinctly, “I passionately believe that aviation is a force for good in our world. But passion may not be enough to convince governments. So we are quantifying aviation’s economic benefits in studies covering 58 countries conducted by Oxford Economics. These tell a great story about an industry that provides quality employment to millions and drives trillions of dollars in economic activity…It is a compelling story.” “The air cargo value chain does amazing things. Flower farmers in Kenya have jobs because they are connected to markets in Europe. Component producers in Japan and China provide local employment for products that are distributed globally. Vital medicine and supplies can be shipped to remote corners of the planet provided there are just a few kilometres of runway,” said Tony Tyler (see accompanying box for

modernising the cargo agency programme... when the agency programme was established, the industry was a different one where the freight forwarder was very much an agent of the airline and the relationship was one where ‘I am the carrier and these are the terms and conditions of the goods to be moved’. That has changed. The airlines realise that their relationship with the freight forwarder is much more as business partners and, therefore, the programme that we have in place from the IATA perspective needs to be modernized. It will have to recognise that a new relationship exists,” said Hughes. There is also commonality on the airway bill, which is the very first layer of the wider e-freight objective. It will be a programme that will bring benefits to the forwarder and the airline. “We did work with FIATA to establish agreements and we continue to work with them which will bring more efficiency in the process.” Will all this bring in a new world order — in air cargo? Only time will tell. However, one thing is certain: we will get to hear more about GACAG and its working — never mind the fact that 83 per cent of the 300-odd delegates attending one of the interactive sessions, “Taking charge of change” that monitored the progress over the last year on the agreed priorities by IATA and the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG), did not know about GACAG.




Tony Tyler’s speech). Before everything else, Tyler pointed out that, governments had to be made aware about air cargo. In an interview, Tyler mentioned that air cargo was not that well recognised with the public as it deserved. However, more than the public, air cargo, said the IATA chief, needed to make an impression on the minds of policy-makers and government regulators because it is an important ingredient of the airline business. While educating policy-makers and regulators about air cargo, the many facets of the business had to get into a pro-active partnership. Such a move has seen an active Global Air Cargo Advisory Group. And the group means business: to begin with, it has launched its website that provides information about the four task forces: Customs and trade facilitation, e-commerce, security, and the sustainability of the global air cargo industry. The group has big plans that will be unveiled in the future. As Glyn Hughes, IATA’s director of cargo industry management, told CRUISING H EIGHTS (see accompanying story), there would be more communication from the group — atleast to publicise all the tie-ups and forward moves that it did. In fact, GACAG members have expressed the desire to share proceedings of private meetings between members to the media. Michael Steen, chairman of TIACA, said that while his organisation had provided the administrative base for GACAG, the other groups contributed too. “We are using TIACA’s secretariat as the main general administrative body, but the other member organisations also lend a lot of support,” he said. “There’s active participation by all members. If one pitches in more than another, then so be it.” As GACAG’s chairman, Steen has spearhead-


HI-TECH AND MORE: A view of the exhibitors at the World Cargo Symposium in Kuala Lumpur.

While educating policy-makers and regulators about air cargo, the many facets of the business had to get into a proactive partnership. Such a move has seen an active Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG). CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

ed the group over the last year-and-a-half to adopt a common agenda. Today, any discussion within the group centred not around the goals but how to achieve them. At the end of it all, the World Cargo Symposium concluded with a call to action by Heads of Cargo from the world’s biggest airlines. The IATA Cargo Committee, comprising 15 international carriers, has put renewed focus on the delivery of key programmes such as Secure Freight, and e-freight to tackle the challenges facing air cargo. The IATA Cargo Committee confirmed its commitment to pursue an agenda for improvements across the cargoindustry supply chain, by deepening cooperative industry and regulatory relations, encouraging a quality standard benchmark, increasing safety vigilance, driving a paperless cargo future, and promoting the value of air cargo. In line with this, the Cargo Committee agreed to: „ Inviting the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) to future Committee meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern. „ Endorsement of the Cargo Agency modernisation project recognising the key role played by freight forwarders. „ Making the Cargo 2000 Master Operating Plan an open-source global quality benchmark. „ Investigate a data exchange programme for members to record dangerous goods incidents, to encourage greater safety vigilance. „ Achieving the 100 per cent e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) adoption target by 2014. „ Urge civil aviation authorities to establish stakeholder programmes similar to those established in Singapore, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, to accelerate efreight adoption. „ Pursue with regulators a harmonised security framework that is mutually recognised across all states. “The theme of our Symposium was ‘partnership at work’ and we are committed to acting together not only as a united air cargo sector, but across the supply chain with our Freight Forwarder and Shipper partners,” said Des Vertannes, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo. He also pointed out that the meet had seen the firm establishment of “the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group as the single voice of industry on regulatory and sustainability issues. We have also established even stronger links with key regulators such as the US Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection, the European Union, World Customs Organisation and ICAO”. „


India could be a cargo hub, if… A FICCI-KPMG report lists out priorities that have to be worked on if India wants to be counted among the top for air cargo in the region.


here might be gloom all around in aviation circles in India, but the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has pointed out that there is hope. In fact, it has gone a step ahead to mention in a recently released paper, that the country had the potential of becoming a global aviation hub and the third largest aviation market by 2020 — only if an 8-point action agenda is pursued that includes closer collaboration between the Ministry of Civil Aviation, other related ministries (finance, home, defence, external affairs, commerce and industry, tourism, environment, HRD, etc.), regulators (DGCA and AERA) and the industry; reduction of tax on ATF and implementation of the policy decision of 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment limit, etc. Indian air cargo volumes are woefully low. In 2011, for example, the total air cargo volume of 2.3 million MT was handled by all Indian airports. The figure is less than the volumes handled by any of the international airports such as Hong Kong, Memphis, Shanghai, Incheon, Anchorage and Paris. Incidentally, the average weight load factor of air cargo in the last five years was 62 per cent, reflecting unused capacity. To top it all, air cargo has not kept pace with other transport modes like shipping: the five-year CAGR of air cargo at 11 per cent is lower than the growth rate of the country's overall exports and imports which grew by around 15 per cent and 18 per cent over the same period. The FICCI paper , worked

out in conjunction with KPMG, has shown that while cargo and passenger traffic have shown strong growth and infrastructure has been enhanced at both metro and non-metro airports, the country stands at a crucial juncture from where it can leap forward from its position as a leading aviation market to a global aviation hub with some fundamental changes. It is interesting to note that the paper acknowledges the contribution of air cargo. This realisation that air cargo is important for the economy of the country seems to have bypassed the country's lawmakers and planners. The contribution of air cargo, according to the paper, needs to be adequately and appropriately focused upon, so that the country's fastgrowing international and domestic trade by air is facilitated, enabled, integrated and expanded. While the volume of air cargo is just 1.5 per cent of the total trade, it constitutes almost 29 per cent of the total trade value. While total freight traffic handled by the airports of the country increased at a CAGR of around 11 per cent in the last five years, it is domestic cargo that has grown at a faster pace of 11.6 per cent. International cargo has grown at a slower 10.3 per cent. According to the 12th FiveYear Plan estimates, domestic and international cargo will grow at the rate of 12 and 10 per cent, respectively over the next five years. By 2017-18, while international cargo could touch the 2.7 mmtpa mark, domestic cargo would be around 1.7 mmtpa. In addition, the tonnages of transshipment cargo, considering India's geographic

location — that for many international airports is as high as 60 to 70 per cent. However, first the challenges have to be overcome. Among these are high dwell times, congestion at cargo terminals, missing and damaged cargo, manual processing, etc. These obstacles can be overcome if infrastructure is enhanced, procedures are simplified and new technology is introduced.

air cargo hub airports to compete against those in West Asia and South East Asia, establish Cargo Villages at all hub airports and Air Freight Stations (AFS) in smaller airports, formulate the Quality of Service (QoS) parameters for stakeholders in the aircargo supply chain, facilitate the expansion of freighter fleet in the country. The paper also suggests

GO-AHEAD: Unit Load Device area at cargo complex in one of the Indian airports.

Quick-fix measures suggested by the FICCI-KPMG paper states among other measures the establishment of an Air Cargo Promotion Board (ACPB). The ACPB can help in the growth of the sector by enabling policies and facilitating planned development of air cargo hubs in the country. ACPB could comprise representatives from relevant ministries, including finance, commerce, industry and civil aviation and meet on a quarterly basis. Other than the ACPB, the paper suggests the development of an Air Cargo Vision 2020 along with a time-bound implementation roadmap, the development of


the need to promote professional training programmes for air cargo since there is an acute shortage of trained manpower in the sector. To overcome the skills crisis in the air cargo sector, the government could set up a world-class cargo training institute in collaboration with the industry. Perhaps, the most important suggestion is 24X7 customs operations. The move would not only push India to compete with cargo hubs in the region but also facilitate faster clearances including processing of documents, assessment, examination and release of cargo. „



The award was conferred at The Logistics Week Supply Chain 2.0 Summit, organized by Hamburg Media, on March 15 2012 Kale Logistics Solutions Pvt Ltd. recently won the Best Technology Service Provider2012 award at this year’s The Logistics Week Supply Chain 2.0 Summit, organised by RECOGNITION: Sumeet Nadkar, CEO and Hamburg Media on MD, Kale Logistics Solutions receiving the award. March 15, 2012. The Logistics Week Awards 2012 encouraged winners and nominees alike to compete better in their chosen arena. Kale Logistics was conferred with the title of “Best Technology Service Provider-2012” in the category of ‘User’s choice Awards’. The nominations were evaluated by an independent jury. The award was conferred on the basis of innovations and initiatives undertaken and successfully executed for the benefit of supply chain industry in India. Sumeet Nadkar, CEO and MD, Kale Logistics Solutions accepted the award on behalf of Kale Logistics. Speaking on the occasion Nadkar said, “We are delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the industry. I take this opportunity to thank all our customers, partners and industry colleagues for supporting and bestowing tremendous faith in us. We assure the industry that we will continue delivering innovative IT solutions to ensure a wider technology adoption at all levels in the Indian logistics and supply chain for many more years to come.”

SkyCargo expands North American operation Emirates SkyCargo recently expanded its North American operation, increasing trade opportunities between US businesses

DHL to set up three FTWZ zones Logistics giant, DHL will set up three new FTWZ (Free Trade Warehousing Zone) in India and increase their warehousing capacity as the company looks to expand its foothold in the Indian market. “We have an FTWZ operational now at Chennai, and now we will be looking at increasing that foothold to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad,” said R S Subramanian, CountryHead, DHL Express. DHL’s global forwarding division had earlier set up an FTWZ in Chennai, and is now looking to increase its pan-India presence with the setting up of new warehouses and FTWZ’s at a time when global logistics giants Fedex and UPS looks to strengthen its position in the ADRIAN PINGSTONE/WIKIPEDIA

Kale: Best Technology Service Provider-2012

network in India and Africa.” Cargo being transported on Emirates’ flights departing the US will be handled at the airline’s cargo mega terminal, housed at its state-of-the-art hub at Dubai International Airport (DXB), a location within eight hours of two-thirds of the world’s population.

Jettainer launches JettLease for ULD Jettainer recently launched JettLease - a global short-term leasing service for Unit Load Device (ULD) emergencies. The new day-lease service enables leases from one day up to several months and can be ordered via regional telephone hotlines and the new JettLease website round the clock and around the world. The basic product includes lease and return within the JettLease hub-network. Optionally, ULD devices can be leased and/or returned at any point, not only at the base stations. Global hubs are operated in Frankfurt, Chicago and Hong Kong - each one features an individual emergency hotline for

Encompass launches first mobile app

USHERING BUSINESS: Senior officials from Emirates Skycargo and UAE ministry during the unveiling of inaugural service of the airline from Dubai.

and its global network. After the launch of daily passenger service from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) International airports espectively, Emirates SkyCargo connected seven points in North America with trade prospects in more than 100 destinations worldwide. “Our daily, non-stop flights from Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle-Tacoma will offer the fastest routes to the Middle-East and beyond,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior VicePresident Cargo. “We look forward to helping more American firms enhance their trade ties not only with the UAE, but also with markets in parts of South-Asia, such as China, South Korea and Japan, and numerous points throughout Emirates’ extensive


Encompass Global Logistics recently announced the launch of a cargo-management mobile application for use on all iPhone, iPad and iPod products. The application can be downloaded free of charge from the iPhone app store and iTunes. The free Encompass iPhone app gives importers and exporters instant access to key information about shipments. Encompass is one of the first logistics providers to develop and launch a mobile app that gives both exporters and importers greater control and flexibility over their shipments. “We are thrilled to be among the first international 3PL providers to offer a robust and contentrich, cross-platform mobile app that works with any smartphone,” said Asa Cheng, CEO of Encompass. “Shippers now can take charge of their own decisions, in the palm of their hand, to plan ahead, schedule the fastest transits and reduce any unnecessary shipping costs.” These capabilities instantly give shippers more control


country through acquisitions. The express and logistics company DHL, with over 40 per cent market share, plans to expand its air capacity and invest in warehousing capacity. “We aim to grow at least two per cent ahead of the market. To achieve this growth in India, our focus will be around key areas such as investments in air capacity, facilities, improving our service quality touch points, distribution with a focused reach and industry specific product innovations. One of the key focus areas of growth is SMEs,” added R S Subramanian.

allowing us this recognition.” Since 2001, FedEx has ranked among the top 20 in the Fortune Most Admired Companies list. FedEx also earned accolades for its reputation and culture among numerous regional rankings throughout the world. Most recently, the Great Place to Work Institute named FedEx Express as one of the top five global companies to work for in its inaugural ranking of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces.

Mercator guides cargo management technology Flydubai will use Mercator’s cargo solution, SkyChain to enable it to fully automate its cargo operations. Along with SkyChain, Flydubai has also engaged Mercator to provide revenue accounting services, using RAPID technology, to process and account for cargo transactions. This application will enable Flydubai to automate its cargo accounting processes, resulting in accurate calculation and analyses of the airline’s data. Information generated by RAPID technology will strengthen

JettLease customers. They can indicate a ULD shortage up to one day prior to their demand. PUBLICITY.GE

FedEx is again among most admired companies FedEx is once again among the top ten most admired companies in the world, according to a survey published in Fortune magazine. The annual “World’s Most Admired Companies” report released listed FedEx as the sixth ranked company, up two positions from the organisation’s rank in 2011. The survey measures nine attributes related to financial performance and corporate reputation. “The commitment and dedication of the 290,000 FedEx team members around the world has once again earned FedEx the honour of being included on the Fortune Most Admired Companies list,” said Frederick W Smith, Chairman, President and CEO, FedEx. “FedEx prides itself in being a responsible employer, caring neighbour and steadfastly committed to excellent customer service and we credit these attributes in

GREATER VIABILITY: Snapshots of Encompass mobile apps on iphone.

over their cargo and tremendous flexibility in moving freight, said Cheng. “We work in a business where product demand can change at a moment’s notice. Instead of being tied down to a computer, our customers now have the freedom and flexibility to access and track their shipments from anywhere in the world using this new mobile app.”

SYSTEMATIC PROCESS: Goods from FlyDubai cargo plane being unloaded.

the management of Flydubai’s financial processes and revenues. Both technologies will benefit Flydubai’s operations, by enabling the airline to optimise costs, increase operational efficiencies, and maximise revenues and profitability. “The ability for an airline to be able to capture and analyse accurate and consistent revenue records, and to manage its cargo operations in an integrated and paperless fashion, places it at distinct advantage amongst its competitors,” said Duncan Alexander, Vice-President Mercator.

UPS will acquire TNT UPS will buy Dutch peer TNT Express for 5.2 billion euros to boost its position as the world’s largest package delivery company outside the United States. The acquisition is the largest by far in UPS’s 104-year history. As a result, UPS will become the market leader in Europe and also gain access to TNT’s stronger networks in the fast-growing Asian and Latin American markets, increasing the US company’s global revenue to more than $60 billion from $53 billion in 2011 and leaving it with 477,000 employees. “TNT Express fits into UPS’s long-term network plan,” UPS Chief Executive Scott Davis told investors. “This broadens UPS’s global footprint.” “At the price they’re paying, we’re not going to be jumping up and down for it, but it’s not a bad deal and it’s going to be a longterm positive,” said Alan Lancz, President of Alan B Lancz Inc in Toledo, Ohio, which holds UPS shares. “It’s consistent with what we expect with management as far as trying to broaden out the global scale and keep costs low.”




Sweet music for cargo and logistics


2025, to $1 trillion, while creating up to 90 million domestic jobs”. However, to ensure that the opportunity is utilised, manufacturers will have to improve their productivity dramatically. While the central and state governments can help by facilitating land and lowering the tax structure, the major work will have to be done by the manufacturers themselves. The study also mentions that the country’s manufacturers have long performed below their potential. Although the country’s manufacturing exports are growing (particularly in skillintensive sectors such as auto components, engineered goods, generic pharmaceuticals, and small cars) its manufacturing sector generates just 16 per cent of India’s GDP — much less than the 55 per cent from services. If India’s manufacturing sector realised its full potential, it could generate 25 to 30 percent of GDP by 2025, thus propelling the country into the manufacturing big leagues, along with China, Germany, Japan, and the United States.

THE NEXT decade will provide India’s manufacturers a golden opportunity to join the global big leagues, according to a McKinsey analysis. The rise in manufacturing will open avenues for the logistics and cargo sector in the country. The analysis has found that rising demand in the country, “together with the multinationals’ desire to diversify their production to include low-cost plants in countries other than China, could together help India’s manufacturing sector to grow sixfold by

Gunning for cargo STEVE GUNNING, MD of IAG Cargo, which combines the brands British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo, has been elected Chairman of the IATA Cargo Committee for a period of two year. The committee was established in 1993 to provide a voice for the global cargo industry. A current focus is driving the implementation of the e-air waybill (e-AWB) which helps simplify the air freight supply chain. Gunning said: “Air cargo as an industry is vital to the global economy and a critically important part of the airline business. I’ve been part of the committee since 2007 and look forward to taking on the mantle of chairman, in what are challenging times for the market.” He succeeds Ram Menen, Divisional Senior VP Cargo at Emirates Airline, who will remain on the committee. Cargo Committee areas of activity include forwarder-carrier relations, cargo safety and security, automation, handling, regulatory development and quality standards. There are 15 member organisations: Air Canada, IAG Cargo, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM, Korean Air, LAN Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, South African Airways, Thai Airways, United Airlines and UPS.


“2011 saw air cargo demand weaken significantly compared to the restocking surge experienced in 2010, reflecting cautious management of supply chain inventories in the expectation of relatively weaker growth prospects for the major developed economies… ” ) Andrew Herdman AAPA Director General


THERE ARE mixed signals from the air cargo sector. According to a Bloomberg report, “A recovery in demand for cargo shipments is failing to lift prices as bigger passenger jets like the A380 superjumbo create a glut of belly space, crimping margins at Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Delta Air Lines Inc.” The report quotes Ulrich Garnadt, cargo chief at Lufthansa, the biggest freight carrier among passenger airlines, as saying that the more capacity is put into the market, the more profits will be under pressure. Airbus has delivered 68 A380s since 2007, while 240 Boeing 777 wide-bodies have entered service in the past three years. The carriers in the Middle East are fast adding planes with Emirates going for a fleet of 90 A380s. Apparently, a lot of freighter capacity has been moving around. It used to be mostly in Asia but now it is moving into India and Germany. Meanwhile, the 20112030 Airbus Cargo Global Market Forecast points out that the fundamentals for air freight traffic growth have not changed despite the economic downturn and pressure from higher fuel prices, leading to its expectation for a solid 5.1 per cent average annual growth rate during the forecast period. According to the 20112030 outlook, a key factor in air cargo trends will be the world’s emerging regions, requiring freighters with intercontinental range and payload lift capabilities from 30 to 80 tonnes.The need for more than 800 new factorybuilt cargo aircraft is anticipated through 2030, with the largest market segment being mid-sized freighters in the category of A330-200F.





Xavier Hay and Cecile Arnaud of Eurocopter unveil new plans for India.

Bell Helicopters signs an agreement with Naveen Jindal Group.




FINE START: An artist’s impression of the Indian Rotorcraft facility; and, below (L-R) AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata and GMR Chairman GM Rao during the unveiling of the JV between AgustaWestland and Tata Sons.

It was the big ticket announcement on ¤2012—yet the opening day of India Aviation another Tata venture into chop-


pers. As luck would have it, several in the audience wondered why Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh was talking of AugustaWestland when it was Sikorsky that was partenering the Tatas in a Chopper JV at Hyderabad. It turned out Singh was right and AgstaWestland had indeed tied up with Tata Sons to manufacture helicopters in India. The joint venture firm called Indian Rotorcraft began operations with the ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility in Hyderanbad. On hand to do the honours was Tata Sons Chairman,Ratan Tata and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini According to Ratan Tata, a successful partnership with AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, will go a long way in fostering the growth of the Indian aerospace sector. In a statement, Mr Ratan Tata said: “The project is integral to our plans in the aerospace sector and we look forward to an enduring and successful partnership with AgustaWestland for fostering the growth of the Indian aerospace sector.” Mr Bruno Spagnolini said, “Our joint venture with Tata

Sons will play an important role in the development of the Indian aerospace industry. Not only will this new facility be able to build helicopters for the Indian market but it will also supply helicopters to AgustaWestland customers around the world.” Indian Rotorcraft hope to manufacture the first of the new eightseater AW119Ke light helicopters by mid-2013. The joint venture’s new facility in Hyderabad will build helicopters for the Indian market and also become a part of the global supply chain. Capable of churning out 30 helicopters every year, the production facility will be further developed for producing and catering to other helicopter types like the 16-tonne AW101.


Built on a 10-acre site adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, the facility will include a 9,000-square-metre building, which will consist of a main assembly building, a flight hangar, office accommodation and several helicopter landing pads. This proposal for foreign direct investment in the country was among the ones that were cleared by the government last year to carry out the manufacture of the civil and military choppers.The AW119Ke is a topof-the line helicopter in the single-engine market and over 190 helicopters having been ordered to date in around 30 countries. Last year, the government had cleared several proposals for foreign direct investment in the country and this included the one from the joint venture firm Indian Rotorcraft to carry out the assembly of both military and civil helicopters. The project will also give a huge fillip to the GMR-operated Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad. For years they have been trying to gather steam for their ambitious aerotropoklis dreams at RGIA and the Tata-Agusta Westland deal seems to be the first step in that direction.


FOCUS ON ‘COPTERS avier Hay, who took over some two months back as the head of the year old Indian subsidary of Eurocopter is a delighted man. Eurocopter India delivered a strong performance during the first year of operation as a fullfledged Eurocopter subsidiary, leading the market with 65 per cent of new aircraft deliveries in 2011. It is expanding its support and services network in major cities to provide proximity services to customers across India. The company delivered nine brand new turbine helicopters out of a total of 14 registered last year, representing a 65 per cent market share. Of the nine Eurocopter aircraft delivered, five were twin-engine helicopters, with the remaining four being the single-engine AS350 B3. Other highlights of the year included the delivery of Pawan Hans Helicopters’10th and final AS365 N3 Dauphin in a deal that was signed in March 2010. This makes Pawan Hans the biggest Dauphin operator in the world, with a fleet of 35 helicopters and a record of over 375,000 flight hours logged. CRUISING HEIGHTS spoke to Hay and Cecile Arnaud, Sales & Marketing Director, South Asia.


„ On the Indian market

Hay: If we follow the trend of the past year of the potential of the market here in India for civil and for big operators in 2010 we got 40 per cent or so of the global market here and last year we could achieve 65 per cent with the delivery of 9 helicopters, out of 14, and in some niche markets like the light single-engine, we could even succeed towards 80 per cent of the market for this class of helicopter. So, it is very promising trend. We start from the moderate size of the market compared to the huge potential of the country and the vast space of the geography. In India, we have 260 registered helicopters for civil purposes. For a country of this size — when you can see that in Europe you have almost 20 times more or almost 5,800 units — which gives you an expectation and forecast of a very bright future to develop all the market segments. So far, it has been mainly for VIP, corporate use and oil and gas where the Indian market is mature. But SETTING THE AGENDA: Xavier Hay and Cecile Arnaud in an conversation.


emergency medical services, law enforcement, long-range endurance search and rescue — these are markets which are not really existing so far.

„ On the need to expand chopper services

Hay: I think we have to first generate awareness for use of commercial helicopters which may be rather new in India. If people see proof of success they may acquire more helicopters for commercial purposes. This awareness is slowly getting more and more. Also, we need to create the environment in terms of regulations so we had constructive talks with Civil Aviation Ministry and with DGCA.

„ On environment and regulation

Hay: When you talk about noise pollution and green helicopters, we are already at a very advanced stage in terms of technology because our helicopters are well-known to be very quiet and below the prescribed noise levels.

„ On the reason for lack of growth of chopper operations

Hay: We have to build more helipads in the country. Cecile: We need more infrastructure for helicopters. At present, helicopters have to land and take off from airports. That means, it’s easier for people to take fixed wing than to take a helicopter. We need more infrastructure dedicated to helicopters and more relaxed regulations to be able to land more easily and take off easily as well

done everywhere. We proposed a visit to Sao Paulo in Brazil (which has over 900 choppers) many times. If it is possible to land in Sao Paulo on an elevated helipad, then why is it not possible in India? We proposed many times to organise this kind of meeting. We have a close relationship with French authorities also. We can bring expertise for sharing of experience.

„ On the Sikorsky leap ahead

Hay: They are quite late entrants in this regard. If you look at Eurocopter, we have been here in India for the last 50 years, with HAL with the historical cooperation on the first generation helicopters ‘Chetak’ and ‘Cheetah’. But cooperation also exists in industrial collaboration on different chip-sets for composite; people in India have expertise in composite materials — the reason why we considered HAL as part of our global sourcing. We have signed a MoU with Mahindra in order to frame some work packages on different technologies — more on the metallic frame for the Eurocopter Ecureuil. The next step is to set up an assembly line so you need to have a market of course. We have strong relationships with big players in India, like Pawan Hans, on maintenance and operations side. They

„ On helping set up heliports

Cecile: A heliport is like an airport for helicopters. We are not manufacturing heliports. We are in touch with all concerned and we explained what is

“We have to

build more helipads in the country”


FOCUS ON ‘COPTERS are our global fleet leader in ‘Dolphin’. On the industrial side we are looking for opportunities.

„ On the facility in Sao Paulo

Hay: We have a subsidiary though we produce not the entire helicopter, but it is an advanced production line. Because the programme is for the lightweight helicopter and the market as you said rightly is on the civil side. We are ready to study the demand from any corporation should it be presented to us.

„ On the critical mass for production

Hay: It depends on the size of the helicopter as well. But I would stress the fact that out of the 12,000 helicopters sold worldwide by Eurocopter, half of them were manufactured under (joint) ventures, corporate agreements, licensees and so forth. It means we have the capabilities, the experience, and the willingness to cooperate whenever it is necessary or required in different modes but I cannot say beyond a certain number of helicopters it shall be an assembly line that you need at least 200 helicopters to manufacture — not exactly like that. We have the worldwide experience and nobody else — even if you name the

clear who’s doing what; is it under the Air Force or it’s under the Police? Hay: We can say that worldwide. More and more countries now -- their police forces which want to set up their own air wing. So it is true that we are talking with the different police forces. We are trying to also tell them that our helicopters are really well-adapted, thanks to all the raw equipment which are certified. Especially for police, if you want to have intervention — SWAT units for instance — you need to have all the different seating arrangements to be certified. The flares, hailers, the rappelling device, all the stuff you know for police forces are already certified.You can see that some of the competition it is customised, but with us everything is already available and certified because police rule is under civil aviation and certified. So, it is very important to have all equipment ready off the shelf.

competition Sikorsky - has as large an experience worldwide as Eurocopter in corporation agreements like licences, setting up subsidiaries that can manufacture themselves. In America for instance; US Army has ordered some EC145 for their homeland security. We have developed and opened an assembly line under American Eurocopter in Columbus, Mississippi to manufacture there. So there is no specific business model and no precise answer. Of course it should be viable economically and it should be effective. We have so many examples worldwide that we can use for this industrial corporation. I think here in India you have a very good and skilled workforce to be a part of the global sourcing of big groups like Eurocopter.

„ On the India experience-with internal security

Cecile: Something has to be determined between the police and the army to know who is under what. So we did a lot of education. We explained what they can do with our project. I think today it is not

„ On the relationship with

Pawan Hans

Hay: We have a maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) agreement for maintenance. Pawan Hans uses a fleet of 35 Dauphin helicopters. Cecile: We were in talks with with the previous Chairman and now he has moved to HAL we we will have to see if his successor has the same ideas.Three years ago we discussed and we announced -- when we signed a MoU with Pawan Hans — to extend MRO facilities, to put up summer training facilities and the discussion progressed with the previous Chairman. But for the future we have to wait a bit.

“We have

to generate awareness for commercial choppers”

„ On the collaboration with Mercedes Benz



Hay: We have some prospects in India. No deal sealed as yet. It is a very luxurious, like a luxury SUV and even the rear partition, the boot you can enlarge it a bit with the seating capacity. So it’s quite clever in terms of layout. It was designed in close cooperation with the Mercedes people. It’s really exclusive. With all the millionaires and billionaires here, yes I am quite confident we will sell at least a few here in the market. It is around Euro 7 to 8 million or around $ 10 million.


FIRST BLOCK C OSPREY DELIVERED TO MARINE CORPS The first MV-22 Osprey produced ¤upgrades with the new Block C suite of design has been delivered to the US Marine Corps. The Bell Boeing V-22 Programme is a strategic alliance between Boeing and Bell Helicopter, a Textron company. The latest Osprey variant features new weather radar, improvements in electronic warfare systems, situational awareness and aircrew comfort. The V-22 Block C design upgrade offers a host of advantages over previous variants. A new colour weather radar system improves the crew's ability to navigate in poor weather conditions while a redesigned Environmental Conditioning System improves cockpit/cabin air distribution to enhance aircrew and troop comfort. Expanded capacity and effectiveness built into the Electronic Warfare system — including additional chaff/flare dispensers — increases the Osprey's ability to defeat air-to-air and ground-to-air threats. The Block C design also improves cockpit and cabin displays, providing greater situational awareness. The V-22 Osprey is a joint service, multirole combat aircraft that uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its nacelles can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. More than 160 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation and the worldwide fleet has amassed more than 130,000 flight hours, with nearly half of those hours logged in the past two years.




Sitting at the table is (L to R): Katherine S. Dhanani, Consul ¤Julka; General with the Consulate General of the U.S.; Colonel Sanjay Sameer Rehman, Bell Helicopter’s Managing Director for AsiaPacific region and Capt. Ehsan Khalid. Standing (L to R): Rishi Malhotra, General Manager of Bell Helicopter’s India facility; B.S. Singhdeo, Bell Helicopter’s Managing Director in India; and Anirudh Luthra, Bell Helicopter’s Business Development Manager in India.


company will display its S-92 ¤citiesThe Legacy of Heroes chopper in five of India from March 26. The Legacy of Heroes tour follows similar exercises by the company in other countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand. The S92 Legacy of Heroes helicopter will be on display in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Mumbai in India. The helicopter has numerous abilities some of which are search and rescue, missions for offshore oil and gas rigs, coastal surveillance, emergency medical transport and VIP transportation. The visit to India is important as cabins for the S-92 choppers that are being manufactured in a base on the outskirts of Hyderabad which is part of a joint venture between the Tatas and Sikorsky. It commenced supply from November, 2011. With India serving as a global manufacturing base for this aircraft, it is


a homecoming for the helicopter The helicopter will visit multiple countries to recognise first responders to natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies around the globe while promoting the company’s family of products including the H-92 and helicopter, the military version of the company’s commercial S-92 helicopter. Since its first helicopter flew out in 2004, Sikorsky has sold 152 of the S-92 versions, which have flown a combined time of 4,00,000 flight hours S-92 helicopters perform search and rescue (SAR) missions as well as a variety of transportation missions for VIPs including Heads of State, offshore oil and gas crews, utility and airline passengers. A six-member crew will conduct cockpit briefings and aircraft tours at designated stops, and participate in first responder recognition ceremonies and other special events to provide commu„ nity support along the way.



Make mine Tripalong



In tune with the top online travel sites, India’s MakeMyTrip recently launched Tripalong, a social application around travel, which allows users to plan share their travel details — flight details, airport halts and cities they’re travelling to — with friends (LinkedIn contacts and Facebook friends), thus allowing them to connect if they’re on the same flight or airport or travelling to the same city. In addition, whenever a user adds flight details, he’s also able to see other people (who’re registered on Tripalong) travelling on the same flight, with their brief profiles, so that they can be added as friends, and connect. The user can also connect his MakeMyTrip account, so that flights booked through the site are automatically added. Currently, the feature is available only for domestic flights. Unlike other social networks, users cannot find and add friends outside their LinkedIn contacts and Facebook friends or unless they add a flight or an airport, and discover and add new connections.

Invite to meet, seat and inspire LM recently became the first airline to integrate social networking in its regular flight process. Passengers with a reservation can link their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to the flight they will be on, in order to see who else is on board. Launching ‘Meet and Seat’, Erik Varwijk, Managing Director, KLM, commented: “With Meet & Seat, KLM takes social networking a step forward. This new service connects passengers and aims to give them a more inspirational journey.” Meet & Seat facilitates contact with fellow travellers who have the same background or interests, making air travel even more stimulating. They can find out whether someone they know will be travelling on the same flight, or discover who else will be attending the same conference in the USA, for example, through Meet & Seat they might arrange to have a coffee before their flight, select adjoining seats or decide to share a taxi afterwards.


Passengers can only see other Meet & Seat participants after linking their Facebook or LinkedIn profile to their flight. They can decide what personal information from their Facebook or LinkedIn account they would like to share with other passengers. The Meet & Seat facility is available using Manage My Booking on intercontinental flights only. Passengers can choose their seat via Manage My Booking from 90 days until 48 hours before departure, and therefore easily make contact with fellow travellers. The facility began with a pilot project on flights from Amsterdam to San Francisco, New York and São Paulo. Later, it was rolled out to ten other intercontinental destinations that included Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi. Managing Director Erik Varwijk pointed out that the “new service was developed




TRAVEL TECH Travelocity unveils a white-label mobile platform.

63 ¨¨

GURU MANTRA A McKinsey report says that e-travel companies are in an intreresting phase.

64 ¨¨ CROWNING GLORY Amadeus emerges as the Best IT Company of the year.

Continued on Page 62 `









TPN’s new innovation



Continued from Page 61`

in cooperation with KLM’s customers. Following its success during the first month, we’re seeing a demand for the service on new routes. Meet & Seat is primarily used by business travellers for networking. The ten new destinations lend themselves perfectly for this.” What was the key to engaging customers in this time and age? For Martijn van der Zee, Senior Vice President of ecommerce at Air France KLM, the answer was simple: Get onwith the times, embrace failure and always listen to what your customers tell you. KLM’s Meet and Seat story began in late 2011 during a conference. Among those at the meet was Martijn van der Zee who showed a slide from a project they were experimenting with. The slide was so well received that it found its way to the net — and went viral. The name of the project was Meet and Seat and it spoke of a service that let passengers use Facebook or LinkedIn to view

the profiles of other passengers on the same flight and choose seat partners. To ensure passengers’ privacy, only those with confirmed flight reservations are allowed to take part in the Meet and Seat move. Perhaps, what is important is that the airline does not share information with companies. KLM has been among the few carriers that have come to be known for its innovative campaigns — all of them are conceived in-house by the airline’s social media team. According to van der Zee, the Meet and Seat programme is the result of a “co-creation”, simply put a collaboration between KLM and its customers. “What they (KLM’s customers) shared with us was very clear…No fancy stuff. Just make it work.” To top it all, van der Zee believes: “Given the attention and acceptance it’s received, it might grow into a very important tool for us so that’s why we want to do it ourselves and have the option of adapting it to customers’ needs.”

GFS has global routes and more


Google Flight Search has gone ahead to add a number of global airlines and international flights to more than 500 airports. While the addition of the airlines search to the website does not involve any new technology or global distribution system partnerships, the product is only available for users in the US. Even for the international flights, they have to originate from the US to show up.



The Travelocity Partner Network (TPN) has launched an innovation that is the first of its kind in the online travel space: a white-label mobile platform for its members and affiliates. This platform uses the robust, powerful technology behind TPN’s own online travel booking tools. The new TPN mobile platform is designed to detect the presence of a mobile device automatically and to serve up a mobile interface to consumers using smart phones compatible with HTML 5, including iPhone and Android devices. The CSS4 architecture supporting the interface enables affiliates to maintain a consistent brand experience from the desktop to the mobile screen. “Our affiliates want the ability to offer a consistent user experience across web and mobile devices,” said Yannis Karmis, President of Travelocity Business and Travelocity Partner Network. “TPN’s new mobile offering enables consumers the immediate convenience of booking a hotel via mobile device at any moment of the day, and the mobile interface detail is designed to accommodate the ease of use on fingertip-sized button selection and delivers quick autocomplete functionality when entering destinations.” Members can either opt to brand the mobile display with their brand imagery or utilise the powered by Travelocity logo to highlight the co-branding relationship. TPN members can configure the mobile display in TPN’s Partner Support Centre in a matter of a few minutes. Additionally, consumers can research hotel amenities, photos and rates to make their ideal hotel selection from several hundred online travel sites and destination management organisations. According to EyeforTravel, Google data shows that mobile hotel booking transactions accounted for more than $200 million in sales in 2010, and that they are in a strong growth position. Now, TPN partners are empowered to capture a piece of this growing segment.

Writing in his blog, Eric Zimmerman, Google Product Manager, commented about the new additions, “A




Sabre’s engine for travel agencies


Bahrain-based Sabre Travel Network, Middle East (Sabre), recently launched an online booking engine for travel agencies. The Sabre Web Booking Engine, which was developed in conjunction with the UK-based Billian IT Solutions, will provide agencies in Middle East and Africa (MEA) with advanced online website capabilities such as quick search, calendar shopping, branding options and access to Sabre’s popular lowfare search Bargain Finder Max. The result is a modern look-andfeel website that will help agents be competitive in the online marketplace, said Darren Wickham, Managing Director at Sabre. “Many years ago the Internet was considered a threat to the survival of the travel industry. Online travel accounts for around one-fifth of all travel bookings in EMEA, and it is forecast to grow to a quarter of all bookings in the next four years,” said Wickham. The engine gives consumers access to real-time fares, allowing them to book airline tickets, hotel and car hire. The technology can sit behind an agency’s branded website, providing new functionality such as access to airline seat maps, fare rules and transaction reporting, he said. The company hopes that about 2,000 travel agencies in the region will implement the solution to provide a better service to their customers.

quick click over each city on the map will show the different options available to you almost instantly — and click the chart next to the dates to show alternative dates so you can make the best choice for your trip.” Incidentally, booking links from Orbitz also appear in some North American search results. That has put an end to the airline-only hold on the links. According to an Orbitz spokesperson, the website was always exploring new channels and promotional opportunities and looking at “how we might collaborate with Google Flight is among those options”.

NetExpress E-travel companies need to tweak model GURU MANTRA T R A V E L L E R



A McKinsey report mentions that a decade after the Internet helped airlines, hotels, and other travel players to sell directly to customers, “the sector’s ecosystem is fracturing. Companies are abandoning the systems that are supposed to provide consumers with one-stop shops to book flights, accommodations, and other services. Lawsuits are being filed. And the very people whose interests should be paramount — customers — are being caught in the crossfire.” That has helped startups move into the sector that records annual online sales of almost $100 billion, around a third of all global ecommerce activity. The report says that the travel sector had reached the next phase in its evolution. In fact, companies are already investing billions of dollars in the next wave of travel ecommerce, from revamping websites to changing the technology infrastructure. The consolidation that has taken place is creating opportunities that were not there earlier. That, incidentally, has raised an important question: can the sector’s players find a sustainable path forward before the newcomers set the trend for them? The report’s authors suggest that it was time for the industry stalwarts to move away from a model focussed exclusively on reducing channel costs to one that seeks to maximise returns by best-serving customer needs. It was also time to understand that the customer experience begins before the time of search and sale and extends well after purchase and travel. The remedies suggested include focus on customers, not channels. For the last two decades, customers have been pushed to lower-cost yet more uniform distribution channels. Indeed, while some customers value price, that attitude is not universal. Suppliers should shift from a business-to-business, channelcentric approach to a decidedly customer-centric one: the overarching goal should be to win customers. Travel companies can and should craft focussed solutions for a range of broad customer


segments, advises the report’s authors. Price-driven leisure travellers, for instance, are drawn to transparency and comparability above all else, shopping at an average of three to four websites before making a purchase. Airlines, hotels, and carrental companies can bring price comparability to their own sites. The other move is to make an extensive use of data that travel companies have access to and suppliers have started thinking. A recent report mentioned that British Airways was planning to equip flight attendants with iPads rather than paper manifests. This would provide a way to capture and use unprecedented levels of customer data. The third important suggestion is to unlock the power of partnerships. Considering a customer’s mindset and thinking more creatively about products and services should be a priority, and that may require working with, as well as against, competitors. One good example of this approach is the recently-launched hotel search and booking site, Selling a product isn’t the beginning of a company’s relationship with customers; that starts when they first become aware of its brand. The relationship does not end at the point of sale, because every interaction with customers is an opportunity to foster their loyalty or lose their future business — like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ service that allows its passengers to use their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to choose seatmates on upcoming flights, innovations deploy technology to shape the customer experience, not just to conduct booking and customer service transactions. Consumers, says the report, are empowered by information: they have near-instant access to their flight, hotel, and car-rental options; virtual price transparency; and the ability to play suppliers off against one another. The game is now about delivering a superior customer experience.



Amadeus: Best IT Company


Amadeus was given the 2012 Air Transport News award as Best IT Company of the year. Ahmed Youssef, Regional Director, Marketing and Operations, Amadeus Middle East & North Africa, picked up the trophy on behalf of Amadeus during the official ceremony held in Athens. This recognition results from the publication’s readers’ votes over a month-long period. Voters analysed the organisations’ contribution to the airtransport sector, wishing to pay tribute to the best companies in the air transport industry, which despite the unstable environment, have made headway and helped the industry move forward. Based on the votes and the verdict of a jury of internationally known industry experts, Amadeus won the 2012 ATN Award for IT Company of the Year. Other category winners included: Embraer (regional aircraft manufacturer of the year), Airbus (aircraft manufacturer of the year), Rolls Royce (engine manufacturer of the year), Swissport (ground handler of the year), Lufthansa Technik (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul company of the year), Star Alliance (airline alliance of the year), Singapore’s Changi airport (airport of the year) and Emirates (airline of the year). “This is a happy moment for Amadeus. Awards such as this one clearly confirms that the industry recognises that we are following the right strategy of offering the most innovative and effective solutions through sustained investments in R&D, where we have spent € two billion Euros since 2004,” commented Ángel Gallego, Vice President, Western Europe, Middle East & Africa, Amadeus.





Verified hotel reviews from Expedia

¤ announced a thorough overhaul of its hotel reviews feature, incorporating new improvements that would make its collection of verified hotel reviews, more accessible and relevant to prospective travellers. As part of this overhaul, Expedia will incorporate all the verified reviews from its sister company,, into its collection, which will bring the total number of verified reviews available to Expedia customers to more than 7.5 million. Expedia reviews are vetted and verified. Expedia takes multiple steps to ensure the validity of customer reviews, including the step of ensuring that the reviews are posted by travellers, who have paid for a room in the hotel they are reviewing. One of the most important changes to the reviews programme is in its relevancy. Travellers can now write reviews for a particular audience of their choosing, such as dog-lovers or foodies. When a mother is looking for a child-friendly hotel in a large city, she will be able to sort through a rich collection of reviews written by other mothers, who have stayed with their,


ON A HIGH: Ahmed Youssef, Regional Director, Marketing and Operations, Amadeus MENA, received the trophy from Dr Kostas Iatrou, Managing Director of Air Transport News.


children in that city. Reviewers have an option to choose their review target audience as families, business travellers, couples, students or “other,” with the final category an open field. About two million existing reviews have been categorised as written for families, business travellers and couples. Also, in addition to the photos provided by the hotels, Expedia will allow reviewers to include their own photos in their reviews, to make those reviews even more descriptive. “Travellers will be able to see user photos, and reviews written for travellers that share their interests,” said John Kim, Senior Vice President, Expedia. “When they come to Expedia, we provide them with the best travel decision-making experience on the web.”

WorldMate is the best mobile travel app


WorldMate was nominated as one of the best mobile app in travel recently at the EyeForTravel’s Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel 2012 conference. “What put us over the top,” explains WorldMate’s CEO, Jean Tripier, “was our unique approach in building the contextual profiles of our users and then proactively serving them with personalised recommendations for hotel rooms and car rentals. The major implication for the travel industry is that WorldMate has disintermediated search.” WorldMate’s patent pending TripCatch technology automatically recognises travel confirmations as they arrive in the traveller’s smartphone’s email inbox. It then collates the flights, hotels, car rentals, and train reservations into a comprehensive travel itinerary, which serves as the basis for determining the traveller’s context. Over time, as WorldMate




aggregates more itineraries from each of its users, that contextual profile of the traveller evolves to the point where WorldMate recognises if a user is missing an accommodation and then recommends hotels that best match that traveller’s preferences while taking into account the specific logistics of his upcoming trip. The hotels and car rentals are booked in WorldMate with a few clicks of the button since the traveller’s payment details are also stored within his profile.



 Just take it while flying z In an interesting revelation, police at Newark Liberty International Airport said that they had nailed a sticky-fingered Flight Attendant. Police said that Jean Paulino had lifted about $140 in cash and two driver’s licences from a couple going through a security checkpoint. Port Authority officials said that Paulino was in a Flight Attendant uniform when he allegedly chatted with one of the travellers, waited until the other turned his back, then plucked the items off the X-ray machine. Authorities iden-

tified an airline they say he worked for but the airline says he did not. While Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners notified Port Authority police, and they retrieved video footage that allegedly showed Paulino taking the money. Paulino was arrested as he prepared to board a flight to Washington. He was charged with theft.

Asiana Airlines is famous for its immaculate cabin staff service. In fact, it won the World’s Best Cabin Staff Award at the 2011 World Airline Awards. However, some of the female cabin staff are not happy about one thing — the uniform. The Asiana Flight Attendants’ union is looking into filing a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission for outdated restrictions regarding uniforms and appearances. “There are many cases where we have to stand up and sit down in front of our passengers, which makes it not only

 Nothing racial about it z Believe it or not, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, an Atlanta-based Delta connection regional carrier, recently made aviation history when one of its flights from Atlanta to Nashville was conducted by a crew comprised entirely of African-American women. Captain Rachelle Jones, First Officer Stephanie Grant, and Flight Attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers worked the flight. It happened when the original First Officer became ill and was replaced with Stephanie Grant. She and Rachelle Jones - one of only 10 black, female pilots in the country — operated the cockpit, while Flight Attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers ran the cabin. “Fate may have a little bit to do with it, but for everyone that will look at us as role models or look to aspire to be what we are today, they need to know that it was hard work and dedication to get here,” Grant said. Captain Jones, who used to be a customer service agent for Delta, had never thought of becoming a pilot before a friend suggested it. She said it paid off, and she’s happy for what she’s accomplished. “Young girls need to see that yes, they can be flight attendants, and yes, they can be pilots, and the sky is the limit.”


 I swear by Osama z eBelieve it or not, a schizophrenic Saudi Arabian teenager created chaos on a flight when he swung his fist at a Flight Attendant, tried to hit passengers and mentioned Osama bin Laden during a flight to Houston. Police arrested 19year-old Yazeed Mohammed A Abunayyan at Portland International Airport, US after his Continental Airlines flight turned around after the incident. A cousin who was flying with the teen said his relative suffers from schizophrenia, and that he was flying home to see his sick mother and hadn’t taken his medication for three weeks. The cousin, Fahad Alsubaie told the Medford Mail



Tribune he was escorted off the plane with Abunayyan. Alsubaie said the disruption began after a Flight Attendant confronted the two for sitting together, because Alsubaie was in the wrong seat. The indictment said a Flight Attendant asked Abunayyan to stop smoking an electronic cigarette, but he refused. He has also been accused of yelling profanities and swinging his fist at the Flight Attendant and also hitting or attempting to hit several passengers. Abunayyan also spoke or sang about Osama bin Laden and his hatred of women, the indictment said. “When they asked him to stop the cigarette... he just went crazy, I couldn’t stop him,” Alsubaie told the Mail Tribune.

 No holds barred z

uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous,” an Asiana Flight Attendant, who declined to reveal her name, told CNNGo. “I hate wearing manicures all the time. They make my nails weaker and they break,” quoted another flight attendant.

In a rather unusual incident, a woman was detained on a Southwest Airlines flight after she got into it with a flight attendant. It all started when passenger Daniels started painting her fingernails while in her seat. The flight attendant asked her to stop because of the smell, so she finished in the bathroom. Jeanie Daniels was making her way from California on Southwest Airlines to see her boyfriend who lives in Houston. “She was screaming at me and wouldn’t stop,” Daniels told ABC Local. “I said, ‘OK, I’m sorry, I apologise,’ and

 From the skies with love z

A couple was enjoying an unseasonably warm day when their leisure was spoiled by an oil-like substance falling from a plane landing at JFK International Airport, the US. Interestingly, it was not oil. According to an interview with local NYC radio station 1010 WINS, Artie Hughes was informed of a black sludge falling from the sky by his significant other. “A plane was coming over. Next thing you know she says, Oh my God, it’s raining. I said, No, it’s not,” Hughes said. Hughes said that the entirety of his backyard was covered in dime-sized drops of a black, greenish oil. Out of fear of what may have happened, the couple then called the cops. After speaking to the police, a follow-up call revealed to Hughes that the oil had been “lavatory excreta” leaking out.

 iPhone bribe z

Hollywood actor Taylor Kitsch was allegedly asked for his iPhone as a bribe by airport officials as he entered Indonesia, The story of the alleged bribe emerged when the Late Show Host David Letterman asked the TV star about his recent shoot for the Oliver Stone film, Savages. Letterman mentioned the Philippines when he talked about the shoot — but Kitsch failed to correct him and said that the filming took place in Indonesia. Denny Indrayana, Indonesian Deputy Minister for Justice and Human rights, confirmed to

I put it away. Then about 20 minutes into the flight, I discovered I only had two nails left to paint and if I went to the bathroom and did it, it wouldn’t offend anyone.” Another flight attendant was waiting for her to exit the bathroom, and a verbal confrontation then ensued. For using a curse word, two Houston Police Department officers were waiting for Daniels as she exited the plane at Hobby Airport. news portal, that the Indonesian official who allegedly was bribed by Taylor Kitsch had been identified. On the Late Show, Kitsch described how an airport customs officer threatened to send him back to Japan, his port of origin, because he had run out of pages in his passport. The Canadian-born actor arrived at Bali island’s Ngurah Rai airport on February 1, as scheduled, to shoot a film in the neighbouring West Nusa Tenggara province. Kitsch said that he was finally allowed in after proving he was an actor by showing the officer on his iPhone the trailer for his recently completed film John Carter, in which he played a civil war veteran transplanted to Mars. “I said, ‘I can show you something to prove (that I’m an actor)’ and then I’m looking on my iPhone because their computers weren’t working, and he is like ‘Hey, can you get me one of those’...,” Kitsch told Letterman.

 Maniac on board z

Alaska Airlines has apologised after one of its flight attendants threatened to detain a plane full of passengers. The threat came when an inflight entertainment system went missing on a flight from Miami to Seattle, theUS. Writer and Technology Consultant Jeff Reifman, who was a passenger on the flight, wrote about the incident on his blog. He described himself as ‘horrified’ by the attendant’s behaviour and said, “Threatening to detain all your passengers over wrongdoings by other flyers is about the dumbest thing you can do for customer loyalty.” Reifman claimed that an attendant said that the cabin doors would not be opened and that passengers would not be allowed off to catch connecting flights if the last video player was not returned. He added, “I also have a brilliant tip for Alaska — when you rent a digiplayer, note down the seat number.” The digiplayer, which shows films and television episodes, was available to rent on board the flight for $14.




DOMESTIC AIRLINES Jet announces partnership with WheelTug JET AIRWAYS recently announced the execution of a Letter-of-Intent under which Jet Airways, subject to all financial, technical and operational feasibility checks and necessary regulatory approvals, has the right to lease WheelTug Aircraft Drive Systems for installation on its

LUXURY: Passengers in a Business Class Jet Airways’ aircraft.

Boeing 737NG aircraft. The WheelTug electric drive system uses highperformance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, to provide full mobility while on the ground, without the use of the aircraft’s jet engines or tugs for both pushback and taxi operations. Current commercial aviation practice utilises a tug for aircraft gate pushback, while forward taxi is powered by the aircraft’s engines. Typically, a taxiing Boeing 737 burns 24 to 27 pounds of fuel per minute. The electric WheelTug unit needs only four pounds of fuel per minute by using the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), representing an 80 per cent reduction in ground-operation fuel consumption, in addition to significantly less noise and freedom from dependence on tug availability. Clocks over three million hours on CFM engines: Jet Airways recently achieved a major milestone with the successful completion of over three million operating hours on CFM56 engines. This milestone came barely a few months post the airline inducting its 100th aircraft into its fleet. Incidentally, Jet Airways was the first airline to introduce the best-in-class-technology CFM56 engines to India and more importantly even in Asia, as early as 1993. Over the past two decades, Jet Airways has continuously collaborated with CFM to improve operational efficiencies and bring in technological advancements in engines to power its fleet and provide the best service to its customers. JetPrivilege inks partnership with Barista Lavazza: In an endeavour to offer its members an enhanced lifestyle experience, Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege entered into a partnership with Barista Lavazza. With this, JetPrivilege members may now earn JPMiles at any of the Barista Lavazza cafés across India on the entire network of Jet Airways. Effective March 19, 2012, JetPrivilege members will be able to earn five JPMiles on every `100 spent (exclusive of taxes) at any of the Barista Lavazza Cafés across India.


Plans to produce regional jets MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA Ltd and Taneja Aerospace & Aviation Ltd have started talks with the government separately to start production of regional jets, according to reports by Bloomberg. The move comes as India “seeks a partner for a planned regional jet that will spearhead its drive to develop a planemaking industry”, says the report. In interviews to Bloomberg, Arvind Mehra, Chief Executive Officer of Mahindra Aerospace and S M Kapoor, the head of Taneja's plane-making facility, said that they had held talks with National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). NAL last year announced a `40 billion plan to develop a 90seat aircraft. Bloomberg also mentioned that the “Indian plane, China's ARJ-21 and an in-development Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. aircraft will all compete against Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) and Embraer SA (EMBR3) models”. NAL could get government approval for the regional jet this year. Development and certification will probably take about six years, he said then. According to Harsh Vardhan, Chairman of Starair Consulting, a Delhi-based industry consultant, India needed to create an indigenous aircraft industry. After all, the country was one of the fastest growing aviation markets and “we need an aircraft that suits Indian conditions”, he told Bloomberg.

GoAir diversifies into online travel agency GOAIR, among others, is enhancing its exposure to the travel business with the launch of an online travel agency, Go Travel. This is the first time a budget airline company in India has diversified into the online travel agency business to compete with the likes of MakeMyTrip, Yatra. Go Travel is a one-stop shop, which addresses all travel needs of customers including holiday packages, air, hotel and ground transportation. The travel portal has offers on packages such as three days-two nights in Corbett, Kanha; four daysthree nights in hill stations such as Munnar, Thekady, Allepey; four days-three nights in Port Blair-Goa. “We have holiday packages at reasonable rates, including meals for the customers. So far, the response is pretty good. We have some

Air India to get seven Boeing 787s AIR INDIA will receive seven Boeing 787 Dreamliners by March 2013, Chairman Rohit Nandan said at the sidelines of the India Aviation air show. “The first 787 is expected to be delivered in May,” Nandan said. “The aircraft should have come in 2008. Our turnaround plan, route economics and profitability is based on it.” Air India has selected General Electric Genx engine for the aircraft and the engine is still to receive a type certification for the 787. According to the sources, the delivery could get postponed as the engine


of the best properties for stay,” a Go Travel company official told Financial Chronicle on condition of anonymity.

IndiGo only profitable airline INDIGO is an anomaly in the Indian market - it is the only profitable domestic airline this financial year (ending March 31, 2012). The carrier is however, like its peers, feeling the

do things that people love us more for.” With regard to capacity, IndiGo is adding nine more planes in this calendar year. “Additionally, we would be adding a few destinations,” Ghosh said. “We’ll open up few more destinations and we would be adding more frequencies in the destinations that we are already flying in too.”

SpiceJet to connect Nanded

DIVERSIFICATION: A GoAir aircraft on the runway at one of the airports.

pressure in a tough operating environment. President Aditya Ghosh noted the carrier would see a decline in FY2012 profits, with the results substantially impacted by high fuel costs, according to CAPA - Centre for Aviation. Quoting financial daily Business Standard, the report mentions that Ghosh said: “Margins were under huge pressure because average price of fuel is now higher than what it was in 2009. There has been a growth in revenue and we will turn out to be profitable at end of the year. It will be much smaller profit than we have done in the previous year.” The carrier reported an 18 per cent increase in profit to `6.5 billion in FY2011 but expects the FY2012 result to be a “fraction” of this figure. The CAPA report also said that IndiGo co-founder Rahul Bhatia had confirmed the LCC “will end the year making money”. IndiGo to add nine new flights: Speaking to CNBC-TV18, IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said that the company was pushing ahead with investments and capacity addition planned for the year. “Our centre of attention is to run a clean operation, flying the planes on time,” he said. “We continue to

is still to receive a certification on a B-787 plane. The engine has undergone trials and Boeing secured a special permission from US Federal Aviation Administration to fly the GE-engine fitted plane to India. Connects Surat with Europe, Canada: Surtis can take wings to Europe and Canada. In a revelation, Air India has extended Surat-Delhi flight service to Frankfurt in Germany and Toronto in Canada. Passengers willing to travel to any of the destinations in Europe and Canada can book their tickets directly from Air India. Official sources said that the airline had tied up with Lufthansa

SPICEJET RECENTLY said that it would begin services from Nanded to New Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum and Aurangabad, effective April 19. “We are pleased to connect Nanded with the capital. The booking is now open. The launch of flight will offer affordable and timely connectivity to many pilgrims who visit Nanded,” SpiceJet Chief Executive Neil Mills said in a statement. Nanded is home to the famous Sachkhand Gurudwara, visited by pilgrims from all over the world. The airline will also be connecting Nanded with Aurangabad, Mumbai and Trivandrum, deploying a Boeing aircraft. “Tickets from Nanded to Delhi start at as low as `3,885 per person. Passengers flying on the Delhi-Nanded route can now book their tickets online. Flights will start from April 19,” the statement said. The airline will operate four flights a week, the statement said.

DDF launches an unique promotion ON BUYING a bottle of Tequila Corralejo from Delhi Duty Free lucky travellers could win a trip to Mexico and also a date with Ms. Mexico, Elisa Najera. Delhi Duty Free in association with Tequila Corralejo has announced an exciting promotion for international travellers. Two lucky travellers, who buy a bottle of Tequila Corralejo from Delhi Duty Free between March 3 and April 10, 2012, could win a date with Miss Mexico Elisa Najera and one lucky winner could win an allexpenses paid trip to Mexico for four nights and five days. The trip would be inclusive of return air travel, accommodation, sightseeing, breakfast and visit to the famous beach city Cancun and to the Corralejo Distillery at Abasolo.

airlines in Europe to cater to the AI passenger travelling in SuratDelhi-Frankfurt flight. Passengers, who want to further travel to other European destinations, can book their tickets with Air India counters at Delhi airport. “Passengers travelling from Surat have a special advantage of getting extended service to destinations like Europe and Canada. We have extended the service keeping in mind the huge demand on these routes from the diamond industry in particular and NRGs and tourists in general,” said a senior officer at Air India. Air India’s announcement regarding international air connectivity with Europe and Canada has been warmly received by the world’s biggest diamond cutting and polishing industry in Surat. The industry sources said that Belgium is the world’s biggest diamond trading hub and there was a direct connection between the diamond traders in Antwerp and Surat. Many diamond dealers from Surat travel to Antwerp via Mumbai for diamond deals evry month. However, direct connection from Surat to Frankfurt in Germany will save much of their precious time.




INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES Cathay and Dragonair unveil expansion plans CATHAY WILL increase its flight operations between Hong Kong and Los Angeles with effect from March 1, moving to thrice daily operations. This in turn will benefit the Indian traveller as the increase offers superb connections for travel from India to Los Angeles. In India, Cathay Pacific operates from Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai and sister airline — Dragonair operates from Bengaluru. From March 25, 2012, passengers from South India will also be able to connect seamlessly to Chicago. Cathay Pacific currently operates daily flights from Hong Kong to Chicago. However, effective March 25, this flight is being retimed to offer fantastic connections to travellers from South India who can connect via the gateways of Chennai and Bengaluru. Said Rakesh Raicar, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager (South Asia), Cathay, “We are extremely excited about being able to expand our reach into the United States. These new and improved connections will help us meet demand for both business and leisure travel to and from India. We have a new destination to sell from South India, namely Chicago, thereby connecting South India with Midwestern USA.”

“We are committed to transforming airline travel into a memorable experience from the moment they board our planes until they reach their final destination, regardless of whether they are sitting in Economy, Comfort or Business Class,” said Turkish Airlines’ General Manager, Dr. Temel Kotil. “From our awardwinning five-star gourmet cuisine and our world class in-flight entertainment to our impeccable service, Turkish Airlines sets a new standard in air travel that is rare in the industry.” In an effort to accommodate its rapid global expansion, Turkish Airlines is committed to adding 19 new airplanes in 2012, along with new routes and destinations. In addition to Europe, Turkish Airlines has strategically expanded into Russia, Central Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa and The Americas. The airline recently announced new Balkan routes and continues to expand service from its US gateways of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC — all of which offer non-stop flights to the airline’s Istanbul hub with convenient onward connections.

Air Arabia to receive more planes AIR ARABIA said it had taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft in 2012, bringing its total fleet to 30 aircraft. Air Arabia has now received nine of the 44 A320 aircraft it has ordered from Airbus in 2007. Air Arabia expects a total of six aircraft will be delivered in 2012. Once completed in 2016, the delivery of the 44 A320 aircraft will be more than double the size of Air Arabia’s existing fleet, bringing the airline’s total operating fleet to over 50 aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines keen on new A380 features MALAYSIA AIRLINES recently revealed the design and specifications of its first new flagship aircraft, the Airbus A380800, that is on track for entry into service from July 1, 2012. The first Malaysian A380 aircraft’s exterior was showcased in a new livery that retained the national airline’s rich ‘wau’ heritage together with modern fonts in contemporary colours, demonstrating the national carrier’s commitment towards using new avenues to deliver its renowned Malaysian Hospitality brand experience in fresh and exciting ways. Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Encik Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, “We are the first to introduce the A380 into service using a uniquely refreshed look and feel, instead of the regular corporate identity, to showcase our latest premium offering in products and services. This will be our flagship aircraft to launch our exciting new levels of comfort, luxury and convenience in longhaul travel.” “At Malaysia Airlines, we continue to innovate and introduce new services for the benefit of our customers. The investment in this latest aircraft, its technology, futuristic style and innovative design in cabin comfort is our initiatives to ensure that our passengers continue to experience an exciting new level of comfort, luxury and convenience. This is the identity that will move us from traditional classic to premium contemporary in our efforts to position Malaysia Airlines as a preferred premium carrier,” added Ahmad Jauhari.

Turkish Airlines ushers in innovation TURKISH AIRLINES, recently selected Europe’s best airline by the world’s largest airline review site, Skytrax, is changing the face of air travel. Travellers can now fly from the US to 190 destinations around the globe via Istanbul while enjoying standard-setting service and gourmet cuisine with one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry.


TIME TO FLY: An Air Arabia aircraft taking off at one of the airports.

The carrier took delivery of its latest A320 at the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, and the new aircraft has gone straight into service across Air Arabia’s global network of 70 destinations, which it serves from three hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt. “We are pleased to receive our ninth aircraft on time and as per the fleet plan schedule we had set back in 2007,” said Adel Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia. “In just eight years, Air Arabia has grown to become a leading regional airline with a fleet of 30 aircraft and a strong network of destinations. We look forward to the delivery of five more aircraft this year as we continue to unlock opportunities for the low-cost model in the MENA region and beyond.”

Etihad launches Essential Stopovers offer ETIHAD AIRWAYS will offer a night’s free accommodation to passengers stopping over in Abu Dhabi for a minimum of two nights before December 1, 2012. The Essential Stopovers offer, part of the Essential Abu Dhabi programme, can be redeemed at 25 hotels, ranging from three to five star. Etihad Airways passengers taking advantage of the stopover offer can also enjoy two-for-one deals at Ferrari World, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Yas Links and Monte Carlo Beach Club. Two-for-one safaris or tours can also be


claimed from operators Desert Safari and Abu Dhabi City Tour. The stopover programme offer is available to all Etihad Airways guests, as well to passengers travelling on Etihad Airways marketed flights. All passengers must have an onward booking beyond Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner said, “We are delighted to invite people from all over the world to experience Abu Dhabi for themselves. The capital city of the United Arab Emirates has so much to offer both business and leisure travellers. This offer is intended to encourage people to make time to get off the aircraft at Abu Dhabi and explore the emirate — be that with a visit to the Arabian desert, a trip to one of the world’s largest mosques, a tour of the attractions on Yas Island or by sampling the emirate’s world-class hotels and restaurants. Abu Dhabi is a magical place with something to offer everyone.”

Lufthansa adds 61 new services for summer LUFTHANSA IS adding five new destinations and 61 new connections this summer, resulting in services to and from Berlin increasing fourfold. While flight offerings, particularly from Berlin to seasonal holiday destinations in Europe, have been increased, in the long-haul sector, two new destinations will be added to Lufthansa’s network in China. “Never before have we been able to offer our customers so many connections to such a large number of destinations,” said Jens Bischof, a member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board. “From June onwards, we will massively increase our offer of non-

Emirates celebrates 1,000th Boeing 777

stop connections to more than one thousand take-offs and landings per week.” The opening of Germany’s largest airport — Berlin Brandenburg (BER) — on June 3 will mark a new chapter for Lufthansa. From that date, the airline will offer 28 new non-stop connections, thus expanding its route network to and from the German capital from eleven to 39 routes (26 to European destinations and two SOLID START: Lufthansa planes lined up on new routes from Berlin the apron. to the Middle East).

Qatar reveals five new international destinations QATAR AIRWAYS recently announced further expansion of its international network with five new passenger routes, and capacity increases to a number of destinations served direct from the airline’s Doha hub. Iraq, Tanzania, Serbia and Myanmar are featured in the passenger route expansion programme over a sixmonth period starting in May 2012. Frequency of passenger flights will also be stepped up to destinations in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Airways unveiled the expansion programme on the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel show taking place in the German capital. Two destinations in Iraq — the northern city of Erbil and capital Baghdad — will be introduced to the carrier’s Middle-East network in May 2012 and June 2012, respectively. Qatar Airways will induct a second Tanzanian point to its African map with the launch of flights to Kilimanjaro. The Serbian capital Belgrade becomes the newest addition to the carrier’s European portfolio in September and the airline returns to Myanmar, serving the capital city Yangon from October 2012 after a four-year absence.

EMIRATES RECENTLY celebrated the unveiling of the 1,000th Boeing 777 during a special event at the m a n u f a c t u r e r ’s plant in Everett, Washington State. Emirates is the BA divulges new plans for India world’s largest SHARING DEEPER links into Asia, British operator of the Airways (BA) and American Airlines (AA) Boeing 777 and the recently announced a new code share agreement landmark aircraft on flights from London to five key Indian cities. became the 102nd SMILES ALL AROUND: Emirates 1000th aircraft being unveiled for Attributable to British Airways’ extensive flight to join the airline’s the audiences. network, travellers can travel to global 777 fleet. destinations hubbed from London. Flyers can experience The factory celebration was attended by more than 5,000 Terminal 5 in Heathrow as the nucleus of British Airways’ Boeing employees, suppliers and government officials, network structure and London as the destination to be, in 2012 including Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman with the impending Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, a celebrations this year. delegation of dignitaries from the UAE and senior Emirates This new codeshare agreement will provide British Airways’ executives. Indian customers with more convenient choices and greater “Emirates is honoured to be the recipient of Boeing’s connectivity when travelling on trans-Atlantic routes. For travel 1000th 777, an aircraft whose advanced, long-range capacity commencing March 29 this year and tickets on sale now, the two has been instrumental to our success in becoming a truly airlines will code share on services from Heathrow to Bengaluru, global airline,” said Sheikh Ahmed. Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. “India is a key market for Emirates and this latest delivery “India remains one of our most important long-haul is further testament to our commitment to providing our destinations and this codeshare service with American Airlines customers in India with an efficient and reliable service will serve as the perfect complement to our existing European operated by one of the youngest and most technologically routes providing customer access to the US, Canada and Mexico,” advanced fleets in the world,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ said Christopher Fordyce, British Airways Regional Commercial VP, India and Nepal. Manager- South Asia, British Airways. CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

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TRAVEL & TOURISM turns Dabanng with Salman Khan!

Royal Caribbean unveils luxury cruises

THE INDUSTRY’S most versatile star of recent times, Salman Khan, is all set to embark on a new yatra as the Brand Ambassador of India’s leading company in the online travel space, The superstar, who has set the box office cash registers ringing, will be the face of’s new marketing campaign in India and the US. Commenting on the association with Salman Khan, Dhruv Shringi, CEO and Co-founder, said, “We are delighted to have Salman Khan as part of the Yatra family both as a brand ambassador and shareholder. We have always wanted expand to newer mass markets and associating with Salman Khan would enable us to do the same.” Talking about his partnership with, Salman Khan said, “I am really excited about my association with This is not a normal brand association, where I am there just for face value. With Yatra, I am also now a shareholder. I have immense confidence on the brand and am hopeful that the association will be beneficial for the both of us.”

THIS SUMMER, see Alaska by sea! Embark on an immersive vacation amidst Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, active glaciers and a multitude of other awe-inspiring natural wonders. Royal Caribbean International is offering more than 34 cruises and 21 cruise tours (a combined cruise vacation and land tour in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and Whistler) ranging from 11 to 13 nights. Choose from a series of seven night roundtrip cruises or seven night northbound and southbound cruises from Seattle and Vancouver from May through September. State-of-the-art, award-winning Radiance and Vision Class ships offer breathtaking vistas through acres of glass surrounding their central atrium, solarium, sea-facing elevators and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. Standing in front of the thundering Hubbard Glacier has often been described as a life-altering experience and you can admire Alaska’s longest ice face and most active glacier with its 1,350 square miles of blue ice, from just about anywhere on the ship.

Malaysia ushers in water festival month

Carlson Rezidor opens another hotel CARLSON REZIDOR recently announced the opening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Chennai City Centre, in India. This is the second Radisson Blu hotel to be established in Chennai, also known as the ‘Gateway to South India’. The opening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Chennai City Centre marks Carlson Rezidor’s 51st hotel in India. “We achieved unprecedented growth across Asia-Pacific in 2011 and we are building upon this momentum in 2012 to establish

Rajasthan celebrates elephant festival

ORGANISED BY the events unit of the Ministry of Tourism, THOUSANDS OF foreign and domestic tourists Malaysia, the water festival is an annual traditional event. participated in the elephant festival at the famous Starting from April 27-29, the water festival is known Rambagh Polo Ground in for the fishing carnival and Labuan International Sea Jaipur. The festival, Challenge, which will take place at Labuan organised by the International Sea Sport Complex. Along with all these Department of Tourism, activities, there would be other supporting activities was inaugurated by the too at the event such as shore fishing competition, Tourism Minister, Bina Borneo Battle of the Band 2 competition, Beach Kak by beating of the Volleyball competition, Labuan Bike festival, traditional drums. 1MG1MC activities, stage show, etc. It began with a On offer would be some of the best water sports spectacular procession in such as Jet Ski, Parasailing, Kayaking, Yachting, Boat which as many as 90 Rides and Fishing to beat the tropical heat. A pleasure elephants participated. SPLENDOUR AT ITS BEST: An elephant in the seeker or an adventure junkie, the event promises to Elephants were elegantly Elephant Decoration Competition. offer something for everyone. dressed like brides. The procession had in its midst cultural performances/dances Royal rejuvenation at Ranbanka Palace like Gair Dance, Kalbeliya dance, Chang Dhap, Braj Ki THIS APRIL, break away from the stress and elevate your body, Holi, Bum Rasia and tribal dance among others. mind and soul. Ranbanka Palace’s poolside ‘Spa by the Baradari’ Always held one day before Dhulandi, the foreign offers its patrons traditional royal treatments, Ayurveda massages tourists also played Holi on elephant backs with sprinkling and exotic therapies like never before. colours on each other. The tourists also had a whale of a Indulge in the Abhyangam therapy to de-stress after a strenuous time participating in tug-of-war as well as the Matka Race. day. Revel in the palm and thumb strokes and gentle handwork on The gulal fireworks as well as the band recitals also won tired muscles as you soak in the fragrance of the exotic oils, infused the hearts of the visitors who thronged the Polo Ground. with the richness of kewda, rose and sandalwood. You can also In the Elephant Decoration Competition, Champakali pamper yourself with a host of other therapeutic treatments such as won the first position while Shanti and Rani ranked the Shirodhara, Kizhi or the Hot Lava Stone therapy. Relive the second and third positions respectively. Laxmi was given days of royal glory. Relax, refresh and rejuvenate or retire to your the special mention on account of the jeans apparel. luxury chambers.



a stronger presence across Asia Pacific,” said Simon C Barlow, President, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific. “The opening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Chennai City Centre, together with another 13 scheduled openings in India will bring our India portfolio to 64 operating hotels by year end. This will entrench our leadership position in India and places us closer to doubling our Asia-Pacific portfolio to achieve our ambition 2015 goal of more than 150 operating hotels,” he added. Located in the heart of Chennai City, Radisson Blu Hotel, Chennai City Centre, offers 162 stylish and modern guest rooms and suites with impressive views. The hotel offers complimentary high-speed Internet access to all guests and they can expect a 100 per cent guest satisfaction guarantee as part of Radisson’s guest promise. The hotel is ideal for business and leisure travellers as it is within easy reach of the airport and railway station.

Singapore launches new marketing campaign THE SINGAPORE Tourism Board (STB) recently unveiled its latest plan targeted at the India market, “Singapore-The Holiday You Take Home with You”, the third in a series of customised and differentiated marketing campaigns after those in China and Australia, which adopts a similar consumercentric approach by tailoring experiences based on a deeper understanding of the needs of EYE-OPENER: Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore the Indian leisure travellers. By understanding their needs, better quality experiences can also be created and delivered, which is a natural evolution of the YourSingapore destination brand with its emphasis on personalisation of experiences. The new marketing campaign will focus on quality-tailored offerings that appeal to the Indian audience. The core of the campaign rests on four pillars of enriching experiences, namely family fun, active lifestyle, culinary and romance. Singapore offers the promise of a deeper and more engaging experience beyond a usual holiday; through experiential and shared-learning activities, the campaign wishes to draw an emotional connection between travellers and the destination.

Swiss International eyes expansion in India SWISS INTERNATIONAL Hotels & Resorts, Zurich, recently announced that it had signed an agreement with Rockwood Associates, LLC to be its exclusive representative to develop and grow Swiss International Hotels in India and Southern Asia, which includes countries, namely Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Maldives. Swiss International Hotels will offer its two brands Swiss


Tune Hotels launches another hotel VISITORS and travellers seeking comfortable, quality accommodation at highly affordable rates need not look any further as Tune Hotels, the international value hotel chain, is now in town. Mayor of the City of Manila Alfredo S Lim did the honours by officially opening Tune Hotels’ first Manila hotel in Ermita recently. Located in Central Manila, Tune Hotel Ermita offers 167 rooms comprising 117 double, 48 twinsharing and two wheelchair-friendly rooms. Group CEO of Tune Hotels, Mark Lankester said, “We are very excited with SPLENDOUR: Front view of the Tune the opening of Tune Hotel. Hotel Ermita, our very first hotel in the capital city. With three more Tune Hotels coming up in Manila this year and next, Manila will be a very important growth centre for our regional expansion. With its international city stature and coupled with the rigorous economic landscape, Manila attracts tourists and business travellers from across the world and Tune Hotels is proud to serve them all.” “Manila and the Philippines as a whole are indeed an important market for Tune Hotels. With the rise of budget travel packages from airlines and increase in business travels, there’s a high demand for no-fuss hotels that would provide affordable, safe, clean, convenient and comfortable accommodations and that’s precisely what Tune Hotels is all about,” added Mark. International Hotel and Spirit Inns & Hotels in India and Southern Asia. Rockwood Associates, LLC, will establish a development and management office in New Delhi to serve hotels in India and the rest of Southern Asia. Anupam Narayan, Chairman, Rockwood Associates, LLC, said, “We are very pleased to be associated with a quality brand like Swiss International and look forward to expanding its presence in India and Southern Asia. We will target new-build hotels and conversions in primary, secondary and tertiary markets and seek hotel owners who believe in the well-known characteristics of quality, reliability and service associated with Swiss hospitality standards.”



Samyukth Sridharan recently joined Cleartrip as President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Samyukth will be responsible for providing leadership across the businesses. Samyukth has a vast amount of S Sridharan experience in scaling businesses in a way that brings considerable value to the customer. Prior to Cleartrip, Samyukth had beenat the helm of Sales and Marketing for over 18 years across a range of industries such as FMCG, insurance and aviation.

Shantanu Jha has been appointed General Manager - Sales (West) for Sarovar Hotels. He will be based at company’s head office in Mumbai. A hotel management graduate, Shantanu comes with a wide exposure and expertise in hotel sales and marketing S Jha with experience across brands such as Radisson, Grand Hyatt and InterContinental. This is also Shantanu’s second innings with Sarovar. At Sarovar, Shantanu will oversee the company’s sales offices in Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara.


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Yoga, foot bath and you’re almost at home hree cities. Three different cultures and three different experiences. Airports around the world are bowing to provide creature comforts and facilities to attract fliers. Take a look at what Helsinki Airport has done. To ensure that a flier does not miss his home, the airport has created an internationally-awarded lounge that is a cosy place where the furniture and atmosphere are similar to that of a Finnish home. Known as the Almost@home lounge, passengers can spend time at the airport in a leisurely atmosphere. The homelike lounge offers alternatives for both relaxation and work. The furniture used in the lounge was restored after years of service in Finnish homes. In addition, the lounge


FACILITIES FOR FLIERS: (Top row) Glimpses of Almost@home at Helsinki airport; (Middle row) The yoga room and signages pointing out where it is at San Francisco airport; and (Bottom row) Fliers rest their tired and aching feet in the hot spring at Kagoshima airport.


has been decorated with original artwork as well as handicraft and utility goods by renowned Finnish designers. The heart of the lounge is the kitchen and dining area. In the comfortable living room, fliers can sit on a sofa in the book corner, pick up a book to read and borrow a pair of comfortable woollen socks at the reception. Visitors can have access to workspace where their privacy is guaranteed and it is also possible to book a meeting room in the lounge. There is even room for families: in contrast to other lounge areas, the Almost@home lounge includes a play and games corner for children. From home to doing something at home: yoga. Well, San Francisco International Airport recently announced the opening of the first of its kind Yoga Room in the airport’s recently refurbished Terminal 2. The room, located just past the security checkpoint and adjacent to the Recompose Area, affords visitors the opportunity to easily step into a space devoted to CRUISING HEIGHTS April 2012

contemplation and self-reflection. Drawing inspiration from contemporary colour and light artists, the architects of Terminal 2, Gensler, designed a room enveloped in a calming blue. A floating wall symbolises a buoyant spirit and enlightened mind. Large, felt-constructed rocks will be arranged throughout in a nod to the Zen garden spaces of the Japanese tradition. Light levels are set low and warm in juxtaposition to the bright, lightfilled concourse. Gensler Design Director Melissa Mizell said that the Yoga Room gave modern travellers a space that fosters and supported quiet and reflection. Those aren’t emotions that people typically encounter at the airport.” Another airport that takes the stress out of flying is Kagoshima Airport, where passengers can sit for hours with their feet in a natural hot spring foot bath. Known as the ‘onsen’, the airport’s natural hot spring is one of many that are around Kagoshima on the volcanic island of Kyushu. „

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