Page 1


The mangoes will be ripe for plucking! mirates Airline President Tim Clark said the other day that the Dubaiheadquartered behemoth is K Srinivasan simply not interested in any Indian carrier. Of course, there was a caveat. He said they were not interested as the deal presently stood. As he succinctly said: “If we put money into an Indian carrier and then said we wanted to take down the labour force by 50 per cent, would they let us do it? No. If we wanted to drop airports that were uneconomical, would they let us? Probably not.” What Clark said is frankly the real deal as far as Indian aviation goes at the moment. There is, of course, liberalisation — with plenty of controls still in the hands of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. So, who will really be interested in a 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stake if it comes with all the ifs and buts that govern our skies? While there is plenty of commercial sense in what Tim Clark has to say, there are many truths too, to the contrary. How do you deal with regions in India that are low on traffic, but high on the strategic quotient? Do you look at seat factor and load factor or does one look at the security paradigm? Similarly, how does one deal with the internecine battle between airports and operators on a variety of issues including ground handling. In Dubai, the airport and the operator have one single boss and life is indeed easy. It’s a different ball game in India. Try that here and the airlines will yell blue murder or the operators will yell their heads off. The one state with its own airport — Kerala — has been trying for years to get a licence to run its own airline with no luck. What Clark says has merits, but what’s the equation for the sub-continent? There is little doubt that Emirates is a world class airline just as Etihad and Qatar are. But the



fact of the matter is that all of them, along with Singapore Airlines do not suffer from the complexities of managing airspace as India does. There are no mandatory routes to operate, there are no non-profitable routes to service and there are Tier-II and Tier-III cities to zoom into. It makes for a simpler and straightforward commercial operation. Even then you had the spectacle in Singapore that stopped Air Asia from flying into the country. Tony Fernandes poked fun at them non-stop and his last stop was Johar Baru — a Noida or a New Mumbai like distance from the main city. As with everything we do, we are a few years late with FDI, too. Maybe in the hot summer of 2008 when the sector was growing at a blistering pace, FDI would have been alluring despite all the flaws, but now in a hump situation when the economy is down and out, the warts are all too visible. But one must still thank Tim Clark for being blunt and forthright. He does have a valid argument. FDI may not be alluring at the moment. But it will be, sooner rather than later. Indian aviation is ‘a work in progress’, the regulatory mechanism is moving at a snail’s pace compared to the footsteps the sector has taken. But that’s the way this country works. Nonetheless, when the time comes, the mangoes, as the ad goes, will be fresh and juicy and just right for plucking.


A totally new concept — eyetracking — will “enable passengers to virtually browse the commercial premises at their arrival destinations before they have landed”. A Flightglobal report from the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo 2012 at Hamburg, where the eyetracking in-flight entertainment (IFE) system was displayed, pointed out that airlines had reacted so positively that the manufacturer, Panasonic, would be fast-tracking its release. The report said that the “quest to provide passengers with more room in the cabin is far from over” and now virtual space was opening up. By integrating eye tracking, gesture control and voice command control technologies into an IFE interface, Panasonic believes it can use electronics to enlarge passengers’ onboard environment. Although some of the improvement could be in actual physical space, a lot of the benefit would be in perceived space, “created by allowing passengers to explore virtual environments, both real and artificial”. Eye-tracking would allow users to navigate digital landscapes by looking at different parts of a screen, as their eyes would be tracked by camera. Panasonic’s model at Hamburg allowed users to roam around settings like airports and cities and views from around the aircraft. Panasonic, however, is planning on an IFE system that would have both eye-tracking and voice control. According to Panasonic, eye-tracking is more advantageous than hand gesture controls. The company showed how an infrared camera mounted on the IFE screen, like a webcam on a laptop, monitored a user’s hand movements.







Off the cuff

Let your eyes search



With three brands in its portfolio, Jet Airways seemed confused. What prompted the carrier to announce that JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect would come under one brand Jet Konnect?




Civil aircraft enterprise has never really taken off in the country and the effort to start work on our "very own 90-seater" aircraft is questionable since it could go the same way as so many of our Government-run projects.





Volume VII „ No 1

With the Delhi Cargo Service Center starting operations, air cargo from Delhi will see a quantum jump in the coming days. Plus: Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has ramped up its cargo services and has become very important for carriers from Asia.


K SRINIVASAN Managing Editor

TIRTHANKAR GHOSH Group Consulting Editor

R KRISHNAN Consulting Editor



p53 p43 FOCUS That the Tata-Singapore

Due to a Facebook group, Suratwants2fly, that Surat airport in Gujarat has managed to get more connectivity. It was a concerted campaign but at the end of it all came victory when Spicejet started operations. Plus: Estonian Air's Social Loyalty Programme has achieved what no other airline has done: get 1,340,000 wall impressions in Facebook in its first ten days.

Airlines tie-up for the establishment of a private airline was opposed tooth and nail has been an open secret. The facts are now out in a book by former bureaucrat and Secretary Civil Aviation M K Kaw.

Assistant Editor


ASHOK KUMAR Senior Sub-Editor-cum-Reporter

PUNIT MISHRA Senior Designer







Director (Admin & Corporate Affairs)

RAJIV SINGH Director (Marketing)

RAKESH GERA Senior Manager (Sales & Marketing)




Ever since Bell sold its first helicopter in India in 1957, the manufacturer has not looked back. Today, it has the highest market share in the country and John L Garrison, President and CEO of Bell Helicopter, was justifiably positive about the growth opportunities in the country and finds it to be an extremely promising market.


To celebrate the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games, British Airways will be flying nine A319s for well over a year with the special 'Dove' livery that has been designed by Kingston University design tutor Pascal Anson with mentoring from artist Tracey Emin.

Cover Design: Ruchi Sinha HC TIWARI

Cover Photo: HC Tiwari The total number of pages in this issue: 72+4



Manager (PR)

ASHUTOSH MISHRA Sr. Executive (Coordination)

ALKA GOSWAMI Subscription

ASHNA PANDIT, ANJALI ALEX, CHARU SHARMA (9650433044) Executive Director


For advertising and sales enquiries, please contact: +91-9810030533, 9810159332 Editorial & Marketing office:

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.



Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Mar 2012 were 152.69 lakhs as against 143.31 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of + 6.55%. 2011

Air India (Dom) 17.9% IndiGo 21.9%


Pax Carried (in Lakhs)

180 160

Growt- YoY (+ 6.55%) - MoM (+1.12%)


Jet Airways 21.9%


140 120

Go Air 7.5%

100 80 60



JetLite 7.3%

40 20 0




Demand (RPKM)

% Change over Month

40 30 20

The months of January-March 2012 witnessed a growth of 6.55 per cent in the number of passengers carried by domestic carriers. The figure was 152.69 lakhs against 143.31 lakhs during the corresponding period of the previous year.

10 0 -10 -20 -30 -40 Mar Apr May Jun

Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar

Year over Year


Mar 12


Seat Factor (%)

Spicej et 17.1%

Jet Airways + JetLite = 29.2%






69.7 68.9





80.2 82.8

73.1 73


60 40 20 0 Air India JetLite Spicej et Jet Airways Kingfisher

IndiGo Go Air


• Total number of complaints (Mar 2012) - 859 • Number of passenger related complaints – 1.8 per 10,000 passengers carried Air India (dom)








Jet Airways

The domestic carriers that held the top position in the market were Jet Airways and IndiGo: both with 21.9 per cent. Of this, if the Jet Airways figure is taken, it is 21.9 per cent and along with JetLite's 7.3 per cent, ends with 21.9 per cent. Following the two carriers, were Air India (17.9 per cent), SpiceJet (17.1 per cent), GoAir (7.5 per cent) and Kingfisher (6.4 per cent). The months of February and March 2012 witnessed rise in seat factor, according to the figures released by the Director General of Civil Aviation. IndiGo's seat factor was 82.8 per cent in February and 76.5 per cent in March, GoAir was 83 per cent and 80.2 per cent in February and March, respectively, JetLite was 80.4 per cent and 74.1 per cent, and Kingfisher was 80.4 per cent and 69.5 per cent, Jet Airways was 78.8 per cent and 75.8 per cent, SpiceJet's was 73.1 per cent and 73 per cent and Air India was 69.7 per cent and 68.9 per cent in February and March 2012. The number of passenger complaints recorded by scheduled domestic airlines in March 2012 was 859. The number of passenger-related complaints was 1.8 per 10,000 passengers carried. GoAir had 3.3 complaints per 10,000 passengers while IndiGo had 2.1, Jet Airways had 1.6, Kingfisher and JetLite had 1.5 each, SpiceJet and Air India (Domestic) had 1.4.





Go Air

3.3 0








No. of Complaints/10,000 Pax


Kingfisher 6.4%


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


100 80

OTP (%)











40 20 BLR









100 84.1





OTP (%)



















94.8 86.4


OTP (%)

40 20 0












92.3 80

60 40






CCU 20

120 100




95.5 82.4













GO AIR 89.1












20 0



60 40 20 0 BLR

cent, GoAir with 79 per cent and Air India with 73.6 per cent. According to the data received by the DGCA, the overall cancellation rate of flights in March 2012 was 1.9 per cent. Leading the carriers was Kingfisher (6.4 per cent), Air India - Domestic (3.5 per cent), JetLite (2.2 per cent), SpiceJet (1.3 per cent), GoAir (0.5 per cent) and IndiGo (0.2 per cent). The reasons for the cancellations: Miscellaneous 43.7 per cent, Technical 16.9 per cent, Commercial 15.8 per cent, Operational 12.7 per cent and Weather 11 per cent.





T ech 3.9% W x 3.9% Reactio n ary 60.1%


Ai rp o rt 2.5% AT C 2.4% Misc 2.1% Ramp 1. 5% Pax 1.4%



MOVING AHEAD Three months down the ¸ line, Dr Nasim Zaidi will retire after three decades-plus as a distinguished civil servant. Without a doubt, he will be India’s most knowledgeable bureaucrat on issues

What is with Captain ¸ G R Gopinath? Like the unsinkable Molly

concerning aviation unlike many who claim to be so. He was the Joint Secretary in the Ministry when the privatisation process was set in motion, India’s representative at the International Civil Aviation Organization, DG of the DGCA before taking over as Secretary in the Civil Aviation Ministry.

What next?


If reports are to be believed Dr Zaidi will be India’s nominee for the President ship of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) when it opens up next year. In the meanwhile, he will, in all probability, be joining the central government in a very senior position in the next couple of months. Sources indicate that he has been shortlisted for a top job and the formalities are likely to be completed in the coming weeks. We are also told that he is also under consideration for several other constitutional positions within the government and it is very well possible that he could end up getting nominated to one or the other in case the present post for which he is under consideration is delayed.





Dr Nasim Zaidi

Brown, he surfaces at regular intervals to announce his latest airline and then launches it. Always on the move, Gopi is blessed by the never-say-die spirit and a dreamer par excellence. We remember what he said in an interview not too long ago: “I think I am still dreaming — sometimes the dream takes over. Even before I realised, I had set up Deccan 360. I am a man who is rising and falling, and rising and falling, and rising again!” Indeed, he had risen again and though he has remained out of the headlines for quite some time now, he has been working hard. His latest move (or should we call it experiment?) — now that the supposedly novel air and ground cargo service Deccan 360 is virtually a closed chapter — is to launch a scheduled airline that will fly to 21 destinations from its base in south India. He has plans to use Airbus 320s and ATR-72s. Among the

destinations that Deccan Charters — Gopi’s original company — has acquired the permission to fly to are: Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Madurai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Goa. The first flight will take place sometime next year because the ‘no compete’ clause with Vijay Mallya that he had agreed to follow when he sold Air Deccan will end in 2012. So Deccan Charters will be a replay of the lowcost pioneer’s marvel, Air Deccan. Come 2013, when the common man will once again get the opportunity to “simplifly”, Capt Gopi will take on the likes of the big daddies of the low-cost carriers, IndiGo and Spicejet. The good Captain has critics and fans in equal numbers and this time around, everyone will be watching the Deccan Charters’ take off with interest. And given the fact that this will be the third big venture, will Gopi be lucky? We will keep you posted.

Pulok Chatterjee


Now it is rather rare for the ¸ Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister seeing his daughter

getting a cold ‘no show’ card at the airport and taking it in the right sprit. It so happened that Pulok Chatterjee’s daughter was going to Chandigarh and showed up much after the mandatory “check-in 45 minutes before departure” dictum of the DGCA. It was an Air India flight and they politely told the lady that they wouldn’t be able to put her on the flight. For about ten minutes there was a tornado and a flurry of calls to GMR and Air India from the PMO asking for the girl to be accommodated on the flight. But both the airport operator (who is, of course, helpless in the manner) and Air India stated categorically that they simply couldn’t violate the DGCA’s diktat without inviting penal action by the regulator. To be fair to Pulok and his daughter, there was no hungama. Apparently, she had to be there by the afternoon for some critical meeting. A taxi was organised and the young lady left for Chandigarh by road. Now, compare this with what some of our netas do and you will know the difference. Elsewhere in this issue there is a riveting account of what transpired when Ratan Tata wanted to set up an airline in India in collaboration with Singapore Airlines. Even that’s nothing compared to what the late K R Narayanan, India’s first Dalit President, wanted when he occupied

Rashtrapati Bhawan. Apparently, he wanted that the special aircraft he would fly on should have two full commanders rather than the standard one commander/one first officer retinue. Not just that; he wanted the latest aircraft from the fleet and when the Secretary (M K Kaw) and the Cabinet Secretary of those days demurred, Narayanan picked up the phone and thought nothing of talking directly to Prime Minister I K Gujral who apparently gave the goahead. AI took a huge beating on its schedules; the government was abused for ill-treating the airline when actually it was one man responsible for the whole mess.

K R Narayanan



Accountant was the former Member (Finance) at the Airports Authority of India. Chatwal had actually completed his five-year tenure a yearand-a-half back and promptly looked at extension till superannuation that was cleared by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). Now, for a variety of reasons that we won’t go into, Chatwal wasn’t cleared by successive Ministers, Vayalar Ravi and Ajit Singh, to been reappointed and, finally, he has taken a bow and left. The Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) declined to hold fresh interviews till the time Chatwal’s file was rejected and sent back. That wasn’t done and, therefore, the position was in limbo and Member (ANS) in the Airports Authority of India V Somasundaram held extra charge of the job. Finally, the PESB has held interviews for the job and selected Executive Director S Suresh as the new Member (Finance). The file is believed to have also been cleared by the Ministry and is now in the ACC (Appointments Committee of the Cabinet) circuit for formal approval of Suresh’s candidature.




Satish Chandra Chatwal? ¸ Does the name ring a bell? Well this Chartered

S Chandrashekar

Deepak Brara


Finally, the man who ¸ has given even Director (Finance) and Chairman

advice since the last decadeand-a-half is in the hot seat himself. Well, for those of you who don't get the point, we are talking about Mr Teflon, S Venkat, the ubiquitous Company Secretary at Air India who is sitting in the hot seat. Venkat succeeded S Chandrashekar, the former Director Finance at Indian Airlines who continued in that position in the unified Air India. If ever there was a strokeless wonder, then it was surely Chandrashekhar. Never opened his mouth, never had a point to make, never had a red flag to raise and believed that silence was golden. We suggest that one of the first things that he must do is share the recipe of his success: How is it that he got along so famously with V Thulasidas, Raghu Menon, Arvind Jadhav and now Rohit Nandan? Friend, philosopher and guide across generations! Bhai maan gaye! Hopefully, he will also be seen and heard a little more often. The head of Finance at Spicejet and Kingfisher

have to sweat it out each quarter. The argument is that they are listed and need to meet the investors, but Air India is now receiving such a huge influx that it is only fair that he too tells the world what's up financially with the Maharaja considering that so much money is being given to it.

Meanwhile, Deepak Brara has finally taken over as the Director (Commercial) at Air India. Now that’s something that took the real backing of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and his own CMD to achieve. Brara had been dragged into a vigilance issue and it took the intervention of the Ministry to quash it and get the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to clear his candidature. But the smart cookie that he is, he was again watching the progress of his file like a hawk and actually took charge within minutes of the approval of the government. As the indefatigable Ajit would have said: “Smart boy.” Now comes news that Air India which is pruning flights and shrinking capaci-


S Venkat

ty is actually wanting to appoint General Sales Agents (GSAs) across the globe. Brara will have his hands full as GSAs are like liquid oxygen: jeene bhi nahin deta aur marne bhi nahin, as Ajit told Mona. But we wish him good luck and God speed. He is an industry veteran who has splendid domain knowledge and we hope he will be able to take the Maharaja a few notches up.

The race for the Chief Operating Officer’s job is hotting up. The number of applications, we are told, is so large that a small committee is now short-listing the best and brightest. Now, Air India despite all the turbulence of the last few years somehow still attracts a lot of talent. Amongst the insiders one man who seems to be lunging ahead of the rest is Captain A K Sharma. The lanky former Captain in the Indian Army has a fine track record having spent two outstanding terms outside India – first for three years in Tokyo and then five years in London. Sharma also has formidable backers: he is a skilful networker who has well-wishers across the line in Delhi.When Arvind Jadhav had sent him packing to Shillong as the Regional Director, Sharma returned to his perch in Mumbai in 48 hours flat — thanks to his backers in the capital. Will he get the job this time? Let’s wait and watch…


Qantas’ $2 bn order for LEAP-1A engines The Qantas Group recently announced that it had selected CFM International’s advanced LEAP-1A engine to power 78 Airbus A320neo aircraft currently on order. The engine order was valued at $2 bn at list price, including spare engines. The announcement has taken the total LEAP orders and commitments to more than 3,500 engines. In addition to the LEAP-1A being an option on the Airbus A320neo, the LEAP-1B and LEAP-1C are the exclusive powerplants for the Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919, respectively. “The LEAP engine was chosen for our new A320neo aircraft because of its performance, fuel efficiency and maintenance program,” Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said. The first aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and will support Jetstar, the low-fare subsidiary of the Qantas Group. The foundation of the LEAP engine is heavily rooted in advanced aerodynamics and materials technology development programs. The engine is designed to provide 15 percent better fuel consumption and an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to today’s best CFM engine, along with a 50 per cent reduction in oxides of nitrogen emissions, and up to a 75 per cent reduction in the engines noise footprint. All this technology brings with it CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs.

Blame CAA of P for all ills Experts of the aviation industry have called the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan the mother of all ills plaguing the crucial sector of the country. Experts said the CAA ignored all local and international aviation regulations in giving a go-ahead to Bhoja Airline to conduct operations. They pointed out that Bhoja Airline applied to the CAA for restarting its operations in November 2011 when it had only two aircraft, while the CAA laws indicated that no airline could start operations unless it had a fleet of four aircraft — three for routine operations and one on stand-by. Sources said the airline got its third aircraft in January 2012 and the fourth aircraft, which was shown in documents as parked somewhere in Dubai, had not reached Pakistan. However, in connivance with CAA officials and with due political influence, the airline successfully got an approval for starting its operations, which proved fatal for several families. The experts added that under CAA rules, it was mandatory for all airlines operating in Pakistan to make insurance arrangements with renowned insurance operators in the country, but Bhoja Airline submitted an insurance cover of some unknown Russian underwriter, which offered merely half-a-million rupees of insurance cover per passenger, they maintained.

Diamond’s robotic helicopter Tapping into its evolving expertise in airborne sensing systems, Diamond Aircraft will soon be testing a robotic helicopter, the Hero. The aircraft is intended for the military and commercial airborne sensor and reconnaissance market but it won’t be just another UAV. One example of the aircraft’s judgment is that in the event of an engine failure, the aircraft will be capable of analysing and picking the best landing spot before entering an autorotation approach and touchdown. Unlike typical groundcontrolled UAVs, the new Diamond Hero can complete its mission autonomously with or without any kind of ground monitoring. The aircraft is powered by a pair of AE55 rotary engines made by Diamond’s sister company, Austro AG.



Superjet 100 starts “Welcome Asia” tour On May 3, the SSJ 100 aircraft would start its first roadshow: “Welcome Asia”. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft will take the airplane to six countries: Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. The airplane will be outfitted with the dual class cabin configuration, so that customers, stakeholders, government officials and media can enjoy the first-hand in-flight experience of the unparalleled comfort a regional jet can give and share it with almost 200,000 passengers who have already travelled with Aeroflot and Armavia. At each destination point the aircraft will be demonstrated on static display and will perform demo flights for specially invited guests and media. Sukhoi Superjet 100 is designed for transportation of 98 passengers and possesses a number of technical and economical advantages allowing it to compete successfully with products of leading western regional jet manufacturers. Sukhoi Superjet 100 has an essential efficiency advantage on cash operational cost if compared to competitors. The aircraft enjoys unique piloting characteristics and controllability.






200 rupees more for cancelling an airline „ ticket from April 1. All domestic airlines except Air India have increased fee for cancella-

tions and date change from `200 to `950. Already the cost of tickets have gone up by about 5 per cent due to increase in service tax. Cancellation fees were introduced to deter passengers from making last minute cancellations. Business travellers make multiple bookings resulting in “no shows” at airport.


19.1 billion rupees „ ($363,143,305,36) was the operating loss of

group losses came despite it having lucrative ground handling and catering SriLankan Airlines in monopolies at Sri Lanka’s 2011. SriLankan main international airAirlines’ revport. Mihin Lanka, a enues had state budget airline grown 16.3 that is now jointly per cent to managed with 78.9 billion SriLankan which SRI LANKA’S rupees in has made losses BOOMING LOSS! since its inception, 2011, but operating expenses had made an operathad risen 32.2 per cent ing loss of 455 million to 98 billion rupees, the rupees, down from an country’s Central Bank’s operating loss of 788 milannual report said. The lion a year earlier.



56 general sales agents (GSAs) are to be appointed by „ Air India in the next few months. Seeking to expand its ticket sales and distribution network globally, the GSAs would be appointed across the Asia-Pacific, Gulf and West Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and Latin America, sources said, adding that strengthening of the distribution network across the globe would help the carrier boost its international sales. They would have an initial contract for five years, which would be subject to review every year.

`100 crore. The move will take the overall holding of promoters in the airline to 48.6 per cent. The company approved the allotment of up to 42,900,000 equity shares to Maran on a preferential basis.



1.35 million pound bonus to Willie „ Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) was denied after the company failed to hit financial targets. Heavy losses at Spanish airline Iberia are understood to be the main reason behind Walsh receiving just £302,000 out of a possible £1.65m under IAG’s incentive scheme.

Bank of India allows six months to provide proof of import from the time money is sent out of the country for payment. Bharat Hotels allegedly flaunted this rule with a foreign-registered aircraft that was imported with duty and continued to fly around India. Customs duty for private use of aircraft in India is 18 per cent and for charter operations 2.5 per cent.


5 per cent stake enhancement „ by promoter Kalanithi Maran was approved by SpiceJet shareholders at a cost of about


crore rupees fine on Bharat Hotels for not paying „16.5 customs duty on the Embraer Legacy 600 it imported for charter services in 2009.The Reserve







1 per cent more flights will be operated this month compared to April 2011. The total number of scheduled flights operating in April 2012 was 2,553,480 with an overall seat offering of 328,335,126, an increase of 3 per cent as compared to April 2011. This marks the eleventh consecutive month of growth, according to the latest statistics from OAG.





ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ AAI’s web flight planning facility launched

We decided to merge the two brands to create a sense of uniformity across the Jet brand.” Naresh Goyal Chairman

We thought it is best to consolidate our products in the low fare segment with a single brand — Jet Konnect for enhanced brand recall.”

V P Agrawal, Chairman AAI and Dr. Nasim Zaidi, Secretary, Civil Aviation launching the AAI's web based flight planning facility.


z` 20

Dr Nasim Zaidi, Secretary (Civil Aviation) launched AAI’s web based flight planning facility in front of a large gathering of non-schedule, general aviation and helicopter operators. Also present on the occasion were DG DGCA, E K Bharat Bhushan, V P Agrawal, Chairman, AAI, and other board members of AAI. Dr Zaidi congratulated V P Agrawal for fulfilling this longpending demand of the civil aviation sector. He said that this was another unique initiative by AAI for creating a user-friendly environment for stakeholders such as non-schedule, general aviation and helicopter operators, who are likely to grow manifold in the future. He especially complimented AAI officers from Bengaluru who developed this software in-house.

UP wants faster work on Agra Airport In a fresh impetus to tourism in and around the Agra region, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has Akhilesh Yadav asked officials to complete all ground work for the international airport project at Agra and chalk out a plan to encourage tourist influx in the Braj area. Chairing a high-level meeting in Lucknow, the Chief Minister asked officials to work on a time-bound plan for the Mathura, Agra and Vrindavan area.

Delhi, Sydney airports sign MoU Delhi Airport has signed a MoU with Sydney Airport aimed at strengthening aviation services between India and Australia, by exploring opportunities for direct flights between the two

Sudheer Raghavan Chief Commercial Officer

Jet dilemma et Airways has announced that the operation of JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect will come under one brand “Jet Konnect”. By the time the readers get to read this copy of CRUISING HEIGHTS, the rebranding exercise would have been completed even though repainting of the aircraft in the Jet Konnect livery and integration of flight numbers would take some more time. JetLite was created after Jet Airways took over Air Sahara from Subroto Roy in April 2007. Though some outstanding legal issues between the two promoters Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways and Subroto Roy of Sahara remains to be resolved, the rebranding of Air Sahara into JetLite happened immediately. In the five years Jet Airways used JetLite as its low fare arm, it only incurred losses — notwithstanding the fact that both the full service carrier that Jet Airways is and the low fare arm, JetLite, had the common Boeing 737 fleet and hence common cockpit and cabin crew, engineering



facilities, etc. It may be mentioned here that Air Sahara, prior to takeover by Jet, was a full service carrier and it was only after its conversion into JetLite that it became an all-economy low fare carrier. Whether you call it Naresh Goyal’s bad luck or misfortune, the fact remains that JetLite could not make money even though it managed good passenger loads. Even before it was allowed to complete five years in April 2012, the Jet Airways management, perhaps, knew about the issue and launched its own version of low fare carrier Jet Konnect out of its own fleet of Boeing 737-800s in May 2009. Thus, Naresh Goyal ended up having one full service carrier Jet Airways and two low fare arms: JetLite and Jet Konnect. So, for nearly three years — from May 2009 to April 2012 — Jet had three brands trying to achieve the same thing: get passengers both high end and low end to beat the competition. However, the futility of this approach became evident when in July 2011, the Jet Airways


management decided to extinguish the identity of JetLite and merge it to Jet Konnect in terms of brand identity. However, the separate air operations permit JetLite had, by virtue of its earlier avatar as Air Sahara, would remain and for some more time the flight numbers of Jet Airways would remain in the 9W series while that of the low fare arm could be S2. The two entities will continue to operate separately with their own finance department, human resources, etc. and also separate balance sheets for the two entities. Unlike the normal LCC offering, Jet Konnect will include premier services on certain routes where passengers may be offered and get to enjoy services identical to that available on the flights of full service carrier Jet Airways. JetLite planes, at present, have all economy seats that will be reconfigured to include eight business class seats. Thus, the 19 Boeing 737 aircraft of JetLite after their conversion and configuration will have 152 business class seats that would be available across the network. This would mean that an additional 10 per cent business class seats would be available on the domestic network. The aircraft of JetLite would be reconfigured over the next 12 months. This will also help it attract corporate and business traffic in the rebranded JetLite that is still going to IndiGo, the premium LCC of India. As part of the overall rebranding, the cockpit and cabin crew of the two carriers will have the same uniform. Some of the Jet Konnect flights will operate with the S2 code and some with the 9W code. The standalone Jet Airways, at present, has a fleet of 101 aircraft comprising 12 Boeing 777-300 ERs and 12 Airbus A 330-200 wide bodies, 57 Boeing 737 series and 20 ATR 72-500 turboprops. JetLite has 19 aircraft comprising 10 Boeing 737-700s and 9 Boeing 737-800s. It was during the downturn of fiscal year 2009 that Jet Airways consciously decided and reconfigured two-thirds of its domestic fleet by converting premium seats to economy seats which helped it to maintain demand and load factors despite

lower yields. Again, when demand for premium business revived in FY 2010, it reconfigured all economy Jet Konnect planes to have front-end premium seats. This provided a significant boost to its margins, as yields on business class seats were two-and-a-half times that of economy seats. According to Jet Airways Chief Commercial Officer Sudheer Raghavan, the launch of brand Jet Konnect is the culmination of a well-coordinated effort by constantly looking at opportunities to optimally deploy and cross-utilise common resources of Jet Airways and JetLite wherever possible. The rebranding exercise will help further in synergising the airline’s collective operations. The higher brand perception of Jet Konnect compared to JetLite, higher operating efficiencies of Konnect, tie-up synergies and improved connectivity are some of the benefits the company expects to reap with the rebranding and merger of JetLite into Jet Konnect. Jet Airways currently has 55 of its own aircraft flying domestic skies. Besides, it had JetLite that is being rebranded as Jet Konnect and reconfigured into business and economy class. Once the merger process is completed and rebranding done, 80 per cent of all Jet Airways’ domestic flights will be Jet Konnect flights. At present, before the reconfiguration of JetLite planes, Jet Airways had under deployment 17 twin class Boeing 737800 and 737-900s and 20 ATR 72-500. It may be mentioned here that in May 2011, Jet Airways Vice President for Investor Relations and Commercial Strategy, K G Vishwanath, said with Air India dropping fares, Jet started losing customers even at the JetLite level. The passengers found it was much cheaper to fly Air India than JetLite/Jet Konnect flights. Later, while announcing the Q1 results of FY 2011-12, Vishwanath said the management was clear that there would be only one brand in the low fare category and that is something that will emerge very clearly in the near future. One of the compelling reasons was that CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

countries, a Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) official said. The collaboration with Sydney Airport, one of the world’s best airports, would be on sharing of operational Kerrie-Mather expertise and further extension of Sydney Airport’s growing network of strategic partners, the official informed. Working together with Delhi Airport makes sense in terms of achieving our common objectives of growing this market,” said Kerrie Mather, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Airport. The Australia-India market was the single largest market not served by direct services. “There is heavy traffic between the countries. With a large Indian community in Sydney and growing demand for inbound travel, India is a key emerging market for tourism, as well as business travel. About 44 per cent of Australian residents with Indian ancestry live in Sydney, so it’s no wonder that Sydney is the preferred gateway for Indian travellers with almost 40 per cent of the market,” Mather explained.

Kushinagar project to be revived There is new hope for the long-awaited Greenfield Kushinagar international airport project in eastern Uttar Pradesh which was first abandoned by the Mayawati government and later developers on grounds of being ‘unviable’. The SP government has taken it up as a priority project and efforts are on to invite letters of intent (LoIs). The state government has decided to send the project to the Centre for viability gap funding after restructuring and scaling it down significantly. The airport project, which is to be built with public-private partnership (PPP) on a design-buildfinance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis, was earlier estimated to cost `650 crore. The international airport at Kushinagar is expected to cater to the heavy traffic originating from Japan, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, South Korea, Bhutan, Singapore, Thailand,

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Sri Lanka and Nepal. The project is integral for the development of the entire Buddhist circuit, comprising Kushinagar, Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kapilavastu, Shravasti, Sankisa and Kaushambi.

More dog squads for BIAL To deal with the increasing demand for trained sniffer dogs at the Bangalore

A security personnel with a sniffer dog while doing inspection.

International Airport (BIA), the Customs Department is planning to hire two more sniffer dog squads ahead of the terminal expansion at the airport. In India, government agencies believe in training the dogs themselves. This is because these dogs are supposed to detect arms, ammunition, explosives and narcotics and the government does not believe in providing this material to private trainers to train the dogs. Outside India, many countries depend on private agencies for trained dogs.


Chennai airport may get travelator As per the revised proposals of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Chennai airport will get a travelator to connect the new domestic terminal to the new international terminal and a multi-level car parking (MLCP) facility. Both facilities were part of the original mega expansion project when

Passengers using the travelator at Delhi airport.


the problems of JetLite reached such proportion that it had to have a seat factor of 99 per cent to break-even. The low fare arm as an independent entity — though a subsidiary of Jet Airways — was always making losses that severely impacted the finances of the full service carrier. Perhaps, it was the thought of its unexpected consequence on Jet Airways that Jet Konnect took birth as a separate brand and was also carved out of the full service carrier. It is now the other low fare arm, JetLite, is being merged with JetKonnect to be rebranded under the latter’s name. It must be mentioned here that JetLite will continue to function as a separate entity in terms of having its own balance sheet. It is possible that the rebranded airline will, perhaps, see a more positive impact of the erstwhile Jet Konnect on the total rebranded Jet Konnect. Where does this leave Jet Airways?. Yes, healthier for sure and more about it later. On his part, Sudheer Raghavan denied that JetLite brand had limitations

with LCCs not only in India but also foreign carriers like Air Arabia, Flydubai on the Gulf routes and some on the South East Asian sectors. Jet Airways, meanwhile, will continue to meet the demand for full service and premium traffic on medium to long haul flights in order to compete with Emirates, Qatar and Singapore Airlines. All along the rebranding, streamlining exercise, seeking to expand its international presence, Jet was looking at opportunities to optimally deploy and cross utilise its common resources of Jet and JetLite wherever possible. Jet group operates 620 flights a day with a fleet of 120 aircraft. Of this, Jet Airways operates 101 aircraft connecting 76 destinations both domestic and international. Jet Konnect connects several key domestic routes with around 290 flights day. Analysts both in the realm of stock market and aviation feel Jet Airways is best placed in India to capture 16.5 per cent CAGR in domestic passenger traffic and 15.5 per cent in international traffic during the period fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2015. Jet Airways by itself has a dominant share in the domestic market with 26 per cent and 36 per cent in foreign bound traffic from India. This allowed leeway to Jet to reshuffle part of its fleet depending upon the seasonality in demand and in a way the full service and low fare offerings helped in doing BYGONE ERA: Fliers at the erstwhile Jetlite airways counter. this. What has been seen such as high break-even factor or slower as an important development in Jet’s airline revenue growth. In fact JetLite had business is the sharp turnaround in its registered high seat factor consistently. international operations from being loss What was sought to be done now as per making until fiscal 2008-09 to begin Raghavan was mere streamlining low contributing 74 per cent of the airline’s product offerings to simplify brand recall consolidated Earnings Before Interest Tax serving the same markets. Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA). In support of his argument, he said, The international division has not only “Given that our low fare, high quality all led to higher margins and profitability for economy product, Jet Konnect has proved the company but also aided growth by to be a successful model since its providing segments like (i) ready-made introduction in May 2009, we thought it is passenger base to feed its domestic flights best to consolidate our products in the low and (ii) diversifying its passenger feed or fare segment with a single brand — Jet traffic source. These two vital factors could Konnect for enhanced brand recall.” In help Jet and its subsidiary to harvest fact, late last year, industry watchers said demand throughout the year. With strong Jet Airways management was advised by brand image, operational synergies and experts to eliminate its low cost brand flexible business model, Jet expects a sharp confusion by consolidating and developing upturn in its fortunes. It has already a distinctly separate and strong brand. planned and will be inducting 17 Boeing After rebranding and streamlining its 737-800s to its existing fleet over the next low fare offering, Jet expects to compete 18 months. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012




it was launched, but in course of time, escalation of costs of certain components forced the authorities to jettison the important facilities. With the project nearing completion, the AAI had sent a revised estimate for the expansion project to Public Investments Board (PIB) a few months ago. The AAI had already constructed a shell for the benefit of comfortable movement of passengers from the new domestic terminal to the new international terminal on the southern side of the airport and vice-versa. Once the PIB gives its nod the AAI will import the travelators and install it.

Skytrax honours Indian airports Between the four private sector airports — two Greenfield and two modernized — are the top four airports in India according to Skytrax. Delhi and Hyderabad are at number one and number three spots while Bengaluru and Mumbai are sandwiched at two and four, respectively. However, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has been rated as the World’s Most Improved Airport in 2012. The World Airport Awards were based on 12 million survey questionnaires completed by airline customers of over 100 different nationalities during a nine month survey period in 2011-2012, covering more than 388 airports worldwide. Commenting on the occasion Edward Plaisted, the Chairman of Skytrax, said, “Coinciding with the opening of the new Terminal 3, there has been a significant improvement in product standards for passengers travelling into Delhi International Airport. The enhanced airside transit service, and better shopping and dining options have really improved the passenger experience and Delhi

Passengers in the VIP lounge at Delhi airport.


Training future aviation leaders

n the framework of the EU-India Institutional Capacity Building for the civil aviation sector initiative, an Aviation Diploma project has been awarded to the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main (UAS Frankfurt). The main aim of the programme is to support the booming Indian aviation sector with highly qualified staff and the establishment of institutional networks between European and Indian institutions. The MBA in Aviation Management programme is designed for those who aim to assume managerial responsibilities, possibly in an international context, while meeting the special requirements of the aviation sector. In order to attract participants from different regions, lectures have been arranged in two-week blocks. The study programme will be based in Delhi and the Indian partner, the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), will support the project by providing faculty. The study course will last four semesters and lead to the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA) from UPES and UAS. Admission requirements will include an undergraduate degree, two years’ professional experience in aviation, advanced English-language skills and a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or CAT. According to Andrea Janssen of the



Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, who was in Delhi to announce the launch of the programme, the initial response from the Indian aviation majors has been good. “There will be two groups of 25 students each to kick start the programme which will begin in September this year,” she said. She also added that the course cost would be much less — possibly onefourth the cost — than what students would have paid to attend the university in Germany. Frankfurt University has the relevant expertise and experience in the field: the English-language part-time Master’s Degree Programme in Aviation Management, the only one of its kind in Germany, was launched in the winter term 2011-12 at the UAS Frankfurt. During the course, postgraduate students from both Germany and abroad will be given the necessary education for taking on executive positions in international companies operating in the field of aviation. “We are pleased that we have been chosen by the EU to carry out the programme,” explained Professor Yvonne Ziegler, Dean of the Business and Law Faculty at the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt. “Together with our partner university in India we now have the unique opportunity of preparing students on the spot for the challenges arising from the rapidly growing aviation sector in India.” Delhi International Airport (DIAL) has welcomed the revision in aeronautical charges promulgated by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA). In a press release, DIAL has said, considering that the charges were stagnant for the last decade (since 2001), the revision of charges was much below its expectations. Tariff calculations show that the approximate increase in ticket pricing on account of passenger fee per passenger, for the year 2012-13, worked out to `290 on an average for domestic and `580 on an average for international. Delhi airport will compare favourably to other major global airports where passenger fees range between $ 25(`1300) to $ 30 (`1560) on an average, thus making a very soft impact on the passengers.

Costly Delhi airport he current aero tariffs levied in Delhi were amongst the lowest in the world. Considering additional investments done as per the terms of the concession, including capacity building and new features were factored in; the tariff hike effective from May 15, 2012 would be less than half of the requested increase and was, therefore, inadequate, stated the press release. DIAL had been making losses due to the delay in revision of aeronautical charges and significant airline overdues. Nevertheless, this increase would be a significant step in stemming the losses of DIAL and taking DIAL towards viability. DIAL has reiterated that had the revision come into effect from 2009, the percentage increase for airlines and passengers would have been far lesser. The revised tariffs would be charged in the form of an enhanced Landing and Parking fee for aircraft and a User Development Fee (UDF) for passengers and would be applicable from May 15, 2012. On its part, IATA has reacted strongly to the hike. The increase approved by


AERA is extremely disappointing. This will make Delhi the world’s most expensive airport. It will also have a larger impact on India and its economy, with an expected 5-8 per cent decrease in demand at Delhi as a result of higher costs, a fall in tourist arrivals and further damage to local and international airline connectivity. This is a big step backwards for Delhi’s ambition to be an aviation hub, according to a press release. India’s aviation industry is already sick, commented IATA. This increase in Delhi’s charges will put it in intensive care from a cost perspective. The government needs to better coordinate its policies on aviation. While on the one hand the government is trying to help the airlines, the increase in Delhi’s charges will set back significantly whatever assistance the government is trying to provide. The Ministry of Civil Aviation as the custodian of India’s aviation industry needs to intervene in order to moderate this steep increase being imposed on both the airlines and the passengers. The government needs to take into consideration the long-term development of Indian aviation at its hubs.


ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ¨¨ International Airport now provides a most competitive international standard”. Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) has been declared as India’s third Best Airport, 2012 by airline customers at the Skytrax World Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal Expo in Vienna. The World Airport Awards are the most prestigious recognition of quality for airports across the world, based on the annual Skytrax airport passenger satisfaction survey, covering 388 airports from over 160 countries in 2012. The Awards are the global benchmark of airport excellence and quality ranking, and guaranteed for their total independence. It may be mentioned here that last year number top ranking Bangalore International Airport finished at the second place, while Mumbai’s Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport at the fourth place and Chennai International Airport secured the fifth place for airports on the sub-continent.


Is it that you are dedicated to the Airbus only? The IAE engine is available on three aircraft types: the Airbus A320 family — 319,320,321. Also, the Boeing MD 90 — which has now ceased production — has the V2500 engine on it. The newest application is the Embraer KC-390 which is the Brazilian Air Force’s choice for military transport and tanker. Historically, Air India has been with V2500, but for the recent 43 aircraft, why did they move to CFM? I think you’ll have to ask Air India that. That’s a choice they’ve made, not us. H.C. TIWARI

Are you are looking at any wide body options or is the whole focus is on narrow bodies? The IAE V2500 is an engine with a thrust class between 23,000-33,000 pounds and that’s only suitable to the narrow bodied market. The wide bodied markets are adequately powered by our parent companies: Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney.

commercial programme, not a support programme per se, like the fleet air agreement. And I really can’t discuss the details of that because it is commercially confidential between Kingfisher and us.

Can you say something about ‘pure power’ that was first signed by IndiGo in India? Yes, that’s nothing special with IndiGo. That is the service that we offer all our customers whether it be on new airplane or on used airplane. It’s called an FHA (Fleet Hour Agreement) and it is powered by our maintenance programme where the airline pays $1 per flight hour and in return we maintain the engines to an agreed work scope level.

You have a market share of 65 per cent, but Kingfisher’s is a shrinking fleet, Air India has gone for CFM, GoAir has gone for Pratt and Whitney and even IndiGo in round two has gone for P&W. So where does that leave you and what are doing to regain your position in India? It’s a very good question and the answer is IAE provides V2500 engines for the current family of A320 airplanes and that airplane is called Current Engine Option (CEO). So, if the airplane’s been in serv-

So, you are literally providing maintenance by the hour so to speak? Yes. Part of the service is what we call an AOG service (an Aircraft-on-the-Ground service). So, if an engine has to be removed because of a problem — that normally isn’t the case as most engines can be fixed on wing and that is normally the most beneficial route for the airline. But if an engine has to be removed, then it is removed and the spare engine is fitted. A spare engine can be part and provided by IAE’s fleet air agreement because we provide spare engine services or in some cases the airline has its own spare engines. Kingfisher too has an agreement for maintenance with you? No. I mean there are different types of maintenance programmes. The maintenance programme with Kingfisher is not a fleet hour agreement. It’s a different kind of a maintenance programme, more of a

RARING TO GO: A model of an engine by IAE displayed at India Aviation 2012.

What’s the shareholding? At the moment, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce have an equal shareholding of 32 per cent. The other shareholders are MTU of Germany and a Japanese Consortium-IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries) and KHI (Kawasaki Heavy Industries). CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

ice for the last 30 years, and it’s available with an IAE engine or a competitor’s CFM… Now from 2016, Airbus will offer the A320 in a different guise. It’s called the NEO and that’s the New Engine Option. And the engine options on the NEO are Pratt and Whitney DTF or CFM LEAP-X. The V2500 isn’t provided on the NEO airplane as today’s CFM engine isn’t provided on the NEO airplane. So, it’s a natural progression of the A320 family into the next generation of fuel efficiency. And IAE and its shareholders — and the majority of which is to be Pratt and Whitney after the company is restructured — has decided that it wants to use the route to market with the Pratt and Whitney engine with the NEO aircraft rather than the V2500. What’s the road ahead? The road ahead for IAE is to continue providing the V2500 engines on today’s Current Engine Option airplanes and there are already 2,000 engines on firm backlog and as long as the airlines in the world want to buy today’s engine on today’s airplanes, and there are a lot of them out there still, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea to want the NEO. And airlines already have a fleet of V2500 want to grow a little more, maybe for now would want to maintain the same engine. So, there are different reasons why the Current Engine Option will continue in production and the partnership between the IAE and its partners, signed up to 2045. So, we are committed at least until then. This programme’s half way over. The planes delivering now will be in the market for 30 years and we’ve been here for nearly 30 years. „ So we are halfway there.









ongress MP Navin Jindal, an avid flier, believes that the best way to hop from place to place for those in business is a private jet. The millionaire businesman, who has assisted in the formation of the Business Aircraft Owners Association (a sort of advocacy group) in India, had some interesting points to make at a recent Business Aviation event in Delhi (Indian Business Aviation Expo). His very useful observations simply translated meant it was very difficult to get things done in the government and this was his own experience. For instance, when his steel company wanted to have its own fuel refilling bowser in the eastern state of Orissa, the authorities said: ‘Why not use the one available at Raipur, the capital of a neighbouring state?’ That was just about


IN THE LAP OF LUXURY: Newly-wed Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Bachchan, Beyonce, Tiger Woods, Jennifer Lopez and Shahrukh Khan in the luxury of private jets.



EMBRAER In China, the demand for small jets is almost non-existent. Normally, people talk about the bigger planes. There is not much demand for within China for private jets. But in India, it is the contrary — because if you are a successful business entrepreneur in India and you want to move around in India depending only on the existing infrastructure or airlines and so on, sometimes you may take one or two days off your schedule to go to some places and back. And then that’s why having an efficient, small, midsized plane makes much more sense.

„ On the meltdown and the impact on General Aviation Well, the downturn in 2008 affected all sorts of businesses including private jets. Basically the financial crisis affected every possible business and many companies, many entrepreneurs had to have liquidity and, therefore, private jets, cars, houses, boats everything was for sale. Also, the manufacturers suffered due to postponement of deliveries. These were tough times — especially 2008-9 and to a certain extent 2010 as well. What has happened today is that the manufacturers have adjusted capacity. So there was a surplus of available airplanes in the market for sale and that, of course, was depressing prices and everything. And the worst we can do or any manufacturer could do is try to compete with a situation like that. So, everybody had to cut capacity. We had unfortunately to reduce our workforce by 20 per cent by February 2009. Unfortunately, we had to lay off something like 4,000 employees and some competitors even had to go much deeper than that. So, to an extent you know we suffered but we pretty much navigated through the storms. We kept the company healthy and we continued to be profitable regardless. We kept our promises so we continued to develop the planes that we had launched and certified the ones that were ready and going. Today, I’m not saying that we have a blue sky. What we say is the industry has a healthier backlog of orders. Demand is not as it was three years ago but again it is picking up nicely. So we see things improving with care because we live in a much more volatile economy today.

„ On the order book Embraer total backlog — we don’t make breakdowns by divisions — but today it is $16 billion. We delivered 99

private jets and 124 commercial jets. We said the company will be a company of revenues above $5.5 billion last year and that we met those targets.

„ On the India orders It’s not a big order book as one could wish for, but the good thing is that India is one of the few countries in the world where Embraer has customers for every single product we have. We announced as well the certification of the Legacy 650. This means all of our products are certified in India. All of our products are flying in India and there is a good prospect of growth. In customer support worldwide, we have invested a lot — more than $200 million — over the last five years and we have about 60 authorised service centres worldwide. In India alone, mainly during the last three years, we have made a huge investment. There are seven different locations in India where customers can count for support — through Air Works and Indamaar — and all of our product lines are now capable of being supported in India which is very good. And we have announced that we will have onsite stock in Bengaluru through Air Works for spare parts. We have a Field Service Engineer based in Mumbai and soon we will have a second guy as well. That is just to make sure that we support customers and the companies doing the support are doing the right job. So, when you look at the amount of investment that we did in support, training the people, investment in parts, investment in certifying the planes... Since a year ago we have a dedicated Sales Director who is an Indian guy based in Delhi with experience in the industry, helping to knock (on) doors and to uncover and turn every stone possible in India. That shows how big our commitment is to this market.

„ On the 650 — Gulfstream has one with the same number, so do you? We named it 650, I believe first! Our branding strategy when we developed the business unit for private jets was to have three differentiated segments. It is not a segment but a cluster of products and for each of them we worked with a branding company how to better communicate back to the market. So, for the entry level jet and the light jet — that is the Phenom family — and the two products are the Phenom 100 and the


Phenom 300. On the midsized to the large, we call the Legacy family. And then you have the 450, the 500, the 600 and the 650. So there are actually four products. And on the ultra-large cabin, that is the Lineage 1000. So, all our products today and possible future products, we’ll have maybe different numbers but they will stick to these three main brands. Our Legacy 650 is one step above the Legacy 600 — that is an airplane with almost 200 units around the world. The 650 was first certified by FAA less than two years ago. What it has different from the 600 is more range basically. So you can do 3,900 nautical miles with the 650. With the 600 you can do 3,400 nautical miles. Cabin size, baggage, avionics, pilots — everything else is the same. The engine is more powerful. You have a couple of more things and you get 500 nautical miles more range. In the 2012 model that we are presenting now — and this applies both to the 600 and 650 — we have restyled interiors. We have a new in-flight entertainment system you know like Blueray and touch-screens and those kind of things. In the galley we have stone flooring now possible. So now you can choose the stone to put on the floor. That normally is a wet area. Carpets are always messy. So we said, why not be bold? It’s a few milimetres (thick) stone. It’s actual stone. It’s not synthetic material. On the tabletops, in the galley and in the sink, you have Korean synthetic (stone) because it’s light and beautiful. But on the floor, that would not resist abrasion… there you have to put stone.

„ On the interiors Yes. Well, we do all the seating ourselves although you know the components and parts, they come from suppliers of any other jets, but we do the fitting and finish ourselves. By the way we inaugurated last year the facility in Melbourne, Florida. So we started to produce the Phenoms in the US. We actually delivered the first ‘Made in US’ Phenom 100 in December last year and now we are growing our production. There is a customer design centre there where the customers can go. We have our interior designers. We have all these electronic and software screens and tools, materials and design rooms to sit together with the customer and choose the design.


Continued from Page 30`

a composite airplane, well we’re not prepared to do that until we make a decision on a product. But the G 650 has a lot of composite skins. It’s not a composite airplane. We did utilise composites where it is not structure- loading. We think that the airplane is definitely the latest state-of-the-art production. We spent $400 million in facility improvements four years ago. We just announced another $500 million facility improvement in November last year and that’s a new production facility for the G650. When we introduced the plane in March 2008, we introduced the airplane in the production facility that we were going to manufacture. That is rarely done in this industry because generally companies will announce a product and then decide where they want to build it. We did what we wanted we were confident enough in the market and confident enough in the airplane to build the facility before we announced it.

„ A brief idea of your customers in India Well, we don’t talk about our customers for some very obvious reasons. Worldwide we’ve got about $17.9 billion backlog.

„ The list price of the 650 The 650 is $64,500,000 in 2013. So it’s escalated.

„ And its engine It’s a Rolls Royce. We have one engine certified on the aircraft.

„ You are doing really well in the Asia Pacific Asia Pacific, which includes the whole Asia Pacific, we have 175 aircraft in total and out of the large cabin segment

which is the G450, 500 and 650, we have 48 per cent of the market. The potential we see here… we’re very optimistic about it. I wouldn’t say it’s enormous but obviously you know we’re here to support the industry — business aviation — and we think there is a market here and that will be enough to share with all.

„ On improving general aviation in India It’s anywhere; it’s not just India it is its facilities. It’s landing-take-off permits and it’s the infrastructure to where you can apply for a permit to fly the aeroplane and be able to do it within hours and not days. The whole benefit of business aviation is to be able to say that I’ve got a problem with a factory in Delhi and I’m in Hyderabad today and that I need to go there in one hour. The benefit of business aviation is efficiency. If you take a look at the Fortune 1000 companies in the United States, of those that own business jets have a better return on investment and greater profits than those that do not (own an airplane). It’s a revenue generator. Lots of people just say aviation costs money. It’s an expense. But a business jet produces revenue.

„ On where the plane interiors are done Gulfstream completes all of the aircraft themselves. For the interiors we have five locations throughout the US. We’ve got two in Georgia, one in Savannah which is where the headquarter is located and one in Brunswick, one in Dallas, Texas, one in Appleton, Wisconsin, one in Long Beach, California. We do all of the interiors in all of our plants. We do all the engineering. We have workshops that do all the wood interiors.

„ On whether the fittings are as

per customer’s desires

Yes, and it depends on the airplane because large airplanes come with satellite communications. All the large cabin aircraft — 450, 550, 650 — have satellite communications. You’ve got an entertainment system, you’ve got fax machines, it’s optional for high speed internet. So that’s why a business jet is so efficient today because the CEO or the staff can be flying to a location. They can be in touch with their office or other customers for whatever the issues are at that time. I mean in real time.


2012. A study by PWC indicates that by 2017, the Indian aviation market is projected to be among the three largest markets globally. The GA market, which includes business jets is expected to grow at 10 per cent per annum to cross `16 billion as nearly 300 business jets, 300 small aircraft and 250 helicopters are expected to be added to the present fleet by then. The civil aviation industry is strongly dependent on the general economy. Hence, the past and projected future growth of general business aviation in India has been driven by the strong economic growth the country has witnessed in the last five years. Aviation is no longer considered a luxury and the poor connectivity between the metros and smaller cities is why more and more companies and individuals are realising the benefits of using private jets and helicopters. There are 150 airports in India which are capable of handling BA aircraft. However, there is significant variation in the level of infrastructure and facilities available at these airports. Aviation infrastructure capable of handling big commercial jets is not readily available in most of the Tier II and III cities in the country. The Government has taken major decisions to promote aviation — like 100 per cent FDI in MRO, flying training institutions and technical training institutions — through the automatic route. Dhiraj Mathur said the government has also taken many steps to improve the ecosystem for the civil aviation sector. But most of these decisions and programmes are focussed only on scheduled commercial aviation. Due attention is, therefore, required to be paid to GA. In these days of uncertainty it is better to lease aircraft even if meant for GA. But the tax regime and other related issues inject uncertainty. The tax regime that governs IT (information technology) and ITES should also be extended to MROs that include service tax exemption, Customs duty rationalisation, etc. both within and outside a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) environment. A significant impediment in the growth of the GA market in India is the absence of full service fixed base operators (FBOs), considered essential for services in BA. However, a start has been made in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) with the introduction of FBO Shaurya Aeronautics Ltd which offers services such as ground handling, passenger services, maintenance support, lease and purchase of aircraft and helicopters and spare parts for various fixed wing business jets and helicopters (the operations have since been taken over by


For instance, the London City airport in the UK which is pretty demanding in terms of requirements of not only noise but the landing performance and so on. The Falcon range are all approved since 2012 to London City which is not the case with all the competitors. None of them have more than one airplane which is certified. From London City we are capable of doing New York, which is great. For Indian customers, that is a very interesting airport and capacity to offer. But at the same time there are some limitations because you have to have your crew qualified… So it is not as easy as London City even if you’ve got the airplane. But we show what none of the competitors are doing. For instance, in Europe there are some competitors like Shell Gas Company where they have a huge aviation department. They are flying almost daily to London City. For them, that is a great asset.

„ The Gulfstream 650 can do Delhi-New York. Do you have something like that? When you look at even the 7X — it features the biggest range of our aircraft (we have delivered 150 airplane so far). The average flight time is 2 hours 15 mins The airplane is capable of a range of 6,000 nautical miles but on a normal usage that is done very, very rarely. So we think that when you have to do a long range mission, then you can do a stop. And with 6,000 nautical miles range you are almost capable of 90 per cent if not more, of the biggest city pairs. Our aircraft are very, very optimised in comparison to the others — 40 per cent less than the direct competitors. We have equivalent range and equivalent cabin size, meaning we have a very, very optimised airplane, meaning much more capabilities, much more flexibilities and most of everything (including) low fuel consumption and low emission which is something great. Look at our ad campaign. We focus mostly on the fuel consumption because for each Falcon airplane you burn on an average 20 per cent-40 per cent atleast less fuel than competitors. This is talking about fuel meaning cost, cost of operation. Our customers are sensitive about environmental issues. When a corporation buys an airplane, a business jet… you feel better off claiming that the airplane that you use or one that you have bought for your company, is producing

40 per cent less emission than others. I was discussing with (Indian) sales people about what you want us to advertise, what are your key sales points for the Indian market and I was surprised that Indian customers share the global concern for the environment and that it is a sensitive issue in India, which is great.

„ Your orderbook At the end of 2010, we had a backlog of 150 airplanes. It was something like $40 billion. Last year, we sold 50 per cent of our airplanes in Asia. In 2011, Asia was booming significantly and it’s not temporary… It’s the future.

„ On the slump and after In 2005, the market peaked; 2006 was a very good year. 2007 was a great year. 2008: we start to be eaten by the crisis. The peak was in 2007: we sold 214 airplanes that year. (It was an) amazing year. The business worldwide that year was at the highest level. It was totally crazy. The waiting time for delivery was five years for a 7X. Totally amazing. Then 2008 was a terrible year, not in terms of sales… the American market was so severely hit. Remember the big three? Remember the story? The CEOs of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford flew in their own airplane to Washington to ask for money! All the big companies were using business jets and they were very proud of using these jets. But since the big three story, none of them were keen anymore to talk about their business tours. A lot of customers and operators sold their airplanes just because of the bashing of aviation. There was such a revolution in the US because they were not accustomed to do that. When you had a business jet you were proud. It was a sign of success for your company. It was a sign of success for wealthy people. But since then the market has never recovered yet. There are a lot of signs every year. Every six months people say, well six months from now things will improve. We don’t have any crystal ball. Business aviation, I think, is the thermometer of the economy. The American economy seems to show signs of recovery. So, normally the business aviation market will follow. The positive thing is that the US market… they still have a lot of airplanes or fleets to replace. There are still a lot of big corporations, which are


doing operations worldwide, that are still using their business jets and they will need to replace them. You know big companies, our corporate customers used to replace their airplanes every four or five years before Cchecks or things like that. Now their fleet is getting old — meaning more costs, more maintenance… South America is an enthusiastic market. The news coming from South America is mostly (from) Brazil. As in India, we have been established for a long time in Brazil. So we have the biggest market here. We are very well established. We have the biggest market share by far. It is a large segment. So, market is doing pretty well.

„ Issues in India Probably regulations, yes. Regulations and infrastructure because we can anticipate the scope of the market but at the same time operators will need… customers will need a bigger infrastructure. For instance, China started behind (India) but they are progressing very fast. The government has put business aviation as one of their top priorities, for the future of their economy. And it’s publicly said. In fact, practically they are going very fast. You have a lot of FBOs coming. A lot of infrastructure of maintenance and service centres.

„ On the iconic Falcon brand Cost is a critical issue. So, if you can ensure cost savings which is not only in fuel efficiency which is the case for all the Falcons that are burning 40 per cent less than the competition but also in operating costs and also fixed costs. Because the plane is lighter, it costs less to anchor it, It costs less to land, it costs less to insure and it depreciates less because it’s an aircraft which can last forever. There is no life limit on the Falcon. It has a legendary reputation. The first plane that we built is still flying. It’s about fifty years old. 1962 was the first flight. People know that Falcon is synonymous with efficiency, robustness and technology.

„ On the 12 aircraft to be delivered in India Mostly corporate clients. Maybe there is one individual, I am not sure but mostly corporate clients, yes. And they are big names. We cannot disclose because they like us to be confidential but they are ‘major’ Indians.


US there are 228,000 GA aircraft and they fly to 5000 public use airports in the US, carry 166 million passengers completing 260 million flight hours each year. Over two-third of all hours flown by GA is for business. In India, of the total 449 airports and airstrips, only 100 are in operational use. The Indian aviation sector supports 9.95 million jobs and in the just-concluded eleventh Five Year Plan (20072012), an estimated $8 billion was invested in airports: Delhi: $3 billion, Mumbai: $2.5 billion, Hyderabad: $0.7 billion, Bengaluru: $0.6 billion and others about $1 billion. By 2017, investment worth $14.65 billion is expected to be made in the airport sector which includes 60 per cent by private participation including $1.5 billion in nonmetro airports. In the decade 2000-2010, the BA/GA

125, in that mid-sized jet market, there’s more 125 series in this country than there is any other model. If you look at the turbine market share in India, we’re roughly about 60 per cent.

„ On the plans We’ll continue with the King Air but I think we’ll continue the King Air more in a special mission role. It can be used in a surveillance role… in a training role. Right now, there’s 29 being used in Iraq as surveillance aircraft. India has a huge coastline and I know that the maritime agencies — mainly the navy and the air force — are more concerned about security in India. The King Air 315 R is an economical solution for surveillance. So, we’ll continue with the King Air and on the jet side of the house, we’ll continue with the 900 and we need to promote and work for those a little bit harder in India.

„ On civil and defence aviation It’s an added advantage everywhere and it’s also an added advantage when the market is down, when the general economic market is down. A lot of the military sales also help us through those tough times.

„ On the big three travelling by jets Yes, it has affected business poorly, very poorly. As an US manufacturer having US jobs in the United States, it’s been very tough on our company as a whole and the industry as a whole. It’s not just

EASY JOURNEY: Celebrity Victoria Beckham in her private jet.

us but across the industry it’s been a very tough time but it’s been the diversity in our product line with the King Air, with the foreign government sales that have helped us maintain a healthy order book during this downturn of the commercial products. Again, it’s the diversity of the product line which has really helped us through that tough time.

„ On how it’s coming back Very slowly.

„ On the numbers Not at the present, no. The propeller products have come back pretty strong but the light jet market is still very difficult in the United States.

„ On the order book We’re about flat with last year. We did, I think it’s about 160 aircraft — approximately. But if you look 4-5 years back we were in the 300s. So it’s been tough. If you look at the other major manufacturers in the US you’ll find it’s pretty much the same. We’re slowly coming back.

„ On the Asia Pacific outlook Everybody talks about China. China’s important to us. The market is very strong at the moment and we usually will compare India and China being very similar markets for us right now. China is stronger than what India is. I don’t know what the reason for that is but China’s quite strong for us right now. India seems to be coming up and down in cycles as you go through a fiveyear period. But India as a market for


sector registered an average CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 12.5 per cent which slowed down to 7 per cent in 2011. The future does not look very rosy considering the deceleration of the economy. In the twelfth Plan, the objective is to achieve faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth. Revenue from GA is expected to grow more than `1100 crore by the end of 2012 to `1700 crore by 2017. A total investment of `20,000 crore or just over $4 billion is expected in GA. The MRO industry which was at `2250 crore ($450 million) in 2010 is set to grow to `7000 crore ($1.4 billion) by 2020. Another 30 functional airports will be needed by 2017 and by the end of the current decade of 2020 there is need for 180 functional airports. The key enablers for this to happen is a

our company has been very, very strong over the fifty years that we have been selling airplane in India and we can expect it to continue that way.

„ On the yo-yo effect in India There’s no doubt that the infrastructure or the lack thereof has certainly been a challenge for us. Some of the issues that we deal with the DGCA have been a challenge for us but I think it is economics more than anything else. I think it’s just pure economics that drive the cycle more than anything else. If we get the infrastructure up and you make buying business aircraft easier for the buyer, the more that is accepted across the marketplace, the more they will be used. That’s what we are finding in China. China’s putting up lot of infrastructure in place right now. People have been flying business aircraft in India a lot longer than what they have been in China. China has really made a concerted effort right now to put dollars into infrastructure and in general aviation but they are limited by their air space which is still controlled by the military.

„ On the defence deal The Coast Guard and the Navy both have active programmes to purchase aircraft but they are looking for larger aircraft than what we provide right now. We are trying to show the value and the economics of the King Air sized aircraft (which) can do much of the mission that they want. But right now their head is around a larger platform.


COVER STORY regulatory framework for equitable treatment to GA operators, support infrastructure at Tier II and III airports including night landing facilities, up-gradation of non-operational airports. Most importantly there is an urgent need for development of heliports to support the growth of GA in India especially in areas that cannot have runways due to financial or terrain-related challenges. Monitoring 150 GA operators could be another challenge to the DGCA and these numbers are only going to rise in the future. Hence, an option for separate monitoring and facilitation agency will be required for GA. The BAOA has demanded alternate dedicated GA airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Agra and Goa. This would mean five new airports and redesignation of Bengaluru’s HAL airport and Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport. The BAOA said typically metro cities would require two or even three heliports while Tier II and III cities should each have their heliport besides some kind of heli facility in district headquarters. This means there will be between 600 and 700 helicopters. A total of 20 FBO should cover major operational GA airfields. About five MROs will be needed to maintain the GA fleet of aircraft and helicopters and should be geographically spread across the country. The Government, then, needs to develop 100 non-operational airstrips across India for GA use in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Some of what the BAOA asked for, however, will be difficult to obtain. For instance, the BAOA has asked for converting Terminal 1D in Delhi airport for GA use, Terminal 2 for Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs) and Terminal 3 for Flying Sports Cars (FSCs). The hangars near Terminal 1 should be used for GA MRO. Significantly, runway 27/09 in Delhi should be designated for GA aircraft. In Mumbai, Juhu airport should be converted into a full-fledged heliport and the runway there should be extended to support small jets and turboprops. Along with these the Navi Mumbai Greenfield airport should be developed at the earliest and the LCCs could be considered to move there. Begumpet and HAL airports at Hyderabad and Bengaluru should be opened at the earliest for GA and proper facilities for FBOs, MROs, hangars should be put in place there. According to a detailed cost estimate of BAOA, there is an urgent need for five dedicated GA airports which at an estimated cost of `2500 crore per airport will mean `12,500 crore. There is need for 20 FBOs which may cost `1000 crore, 600 heliports at a cost of `5 crore each therefore a total investment of `3000 crore


In the decade 2000-2010, the BA/GA sector registered an average CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 12.5 per cent which slowed down to 7 per cent in 2011

Qatar eyes Bombardier atar Airways plans to place a large business-jet order with Bombardier “soon”, the companies have said. Qatar Executive, the carrier’s business-jet unit, already flies six Bombardier business jets, including three Global 5000 models and three Challenger 605s. Bombardier, which is developing the CSeries narrow-body jet to compete with the smallest commercial planes produced by Boeing and Airbus, said sales of its business jets increased 79 per cent last year to 191. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the order would be for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000, its two largest corporate aircraft yet, whose development was announced two years ago, and that are due to enter service in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Qatar Executive already operates an allBombardier fleet of six aircraft: one Global 6000 (formerly XRS), two Global 5000s and three Challenger 605s. Al Baker said that he would be satisfied for the executive division to operate “10 to 15 aircraft” eventually, but it wasn’t clear if that means the order will be for between four and nine Global 7000 and 8000s. At list price starting at about $65 million apiece, nine planes could top $600 million.



besides 100 airstrips costing `10,000 crore. Five MROs at `100 crore each totalling `500 crore. All these together will cost `15,750 crore or $3.15 billion. This investment estimate does not include the cost of land which has to be given on long-term lease agreement. Taking the plan further, BAOA President Rohit Kapur asked: “How do we get there?” He said a strategic plan at the national level should be conceived for GA infrastructure growth and one which will need an overall vision rather than a piecemeal approach. He demanded that GA airports should be excluded from the present concession agreements signed with the airport developers. The government should permit 100 per cent FDI in all GA infrastructure projects. Also, an infrastructure status and IT exemption under Section 80 IA should be extended to Brownfield expansion of airport business. In order to reach there, holistic support should be given by the state governments to BA. There is need to evolve innovative funding solutions and fast track clearance for GA infrastructure development projects. Issues relating to land acquisition for such projects should be facilitated by special powers vested with authorities. The concluding remarks of BAOA President were indeed dramatic: “Nothing can stop an idea whose moment has arrived. Growth for GA and BA is inevitable. It is for us to decide whether this will be systematic, organised and sustainable growth or will it become a disorganised growth. We at BAOA truly believe that this decade belongs to us and we will get our rightful recognition.” A sensible point was made by Ashish Sharma of GE Capital India who told the participants that financing was becoming difficult as part of this asked them that they should see if their cash flow in and cash flow out was in sync. If you applied this to Kingfisher Airlines or others in scheduled commercial aviation business it was mostly out than in. The question he said, was pertinent that is “Are you willing to live with refinance risk which could include forex, etc and perhaps even unleveraging of assets (including existing planes) so that they can be refinanced to free up cash for core business.” Despite all the permutation and combination, financing was indeed becoming difficult especially at a time when the Greek debt crisis was yet to blow over, EU remains in some kind of trouble and the western economies yet to rise above the water mark. As a consequence it is being seen that the average asking price for second hand jets drop by 14 per cent. As a result, asset only financing was

becoming very tough to get. Lenders had begun to focus on the strength of the borrowing entity and lenders themselves needed credit enhancement. In his presentation, the CEO of CAPA India, Kapil Kaul said there was huge potential in the Indian economy which was expected to maintain strong and sustained growth for decades. In 2011, India’s GDP was $1.84 trillion and at 7.5 per cent annual growth rate this would reach $15 trillion by 2040 which was equal to the US GDP of $15 trillion of 2011. Kaul, therefore, concluded that within a space of a single generation, India’s economy could grow to as large as the US economy today. He remarked “If India’s BA was to grow from where it is now to become the equivalent of its US counterpart in less than 30 years, we can only imagine the pace and scale of the change that is required.” Kaul, however, was quick to add that some major structural challenges would have to be overcome. The fleet size of GA/BA aircraft as per the official Indian register maintained by the DGCA shows 1166 aircraft which is in variance with the Government’s own numbers of 900 and CAPA’s estimate of 834. The fact remained that the number of business jets grew dramatically over the last 15 years from 26 in 2005 to 127 in 2011 and this growth happened notwithstanding the global downturn of 2008-09. The growth drivers were primarily the private corporate rather than the commercial charters. The pace of growth would have been faster had commercial charters taken off. The official records do not reflect this aspect as it showed 92 of the 127 aircraft in the non-scheduled category. But what is now well known is that often companies use this route to import aircraft to avoid import duty. Statistics presented showed that 45 per cent of jets were five years old or less and more than 70 per cent were aged 10 years or less. Aircraft in the six to ten-seat category dominated the segment accounting for 73 per cent of the fleet. In future, the subfive seat category was expected to see a greater share reflecting growth of light and very light jets. There was and is no structured commercial BA sector in India and until this was addressed, Kaul said growth would remain modest. Among the 136 registered non-scheduled operators only three or four could be considered as genuine commercial business. Moreover, Mumbai which is the commercial capital of India has no parking bays available for GA aircraft at its air-

GALA TIME: Charlie Sheen uses his private jet for excursions.

The commercial aviation sector will see investment of up to $130 billion over the next 10 years in aircraft, airports and support services. It was therefore imperative that the Government prepare a specific policy for GA which supported growth and investment CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

port until the new one planned at Navi Mumbai comes up fast. Even Bengaluru airport has got congested. According to CAPA projection, the total GA aircraft fleet could go up from 750 today to 2000 by 2020. This could go higher if the Very Large Jets (VLJ) and the Large Jets (LJ) segment really take off. A capital expenditure on aircraft of $8.25 billion to $12.5 billion over the next 10 years could be supported by $500 million in supporting infrastructure including five MROs and training centre. CAPA projected that by 2020, India would have 180 million domestic passengers and 90 million international passengers totaling 270 million passengers a commercial fleet of 1000 aircraft (compared with 2000 GA aircraft) and India will be the third largest aviation market behind the US and China. The commercial aviation sector will see investment of up to $130 billion over the next 10 years in aircraft, airports and support services. It was therefore imperative that the Government prepare a specific policy for GA which supported growth and investment. It may be mentioned that GA/BA leaders pointed out that regulation could not be left only to DGCA and BCAS and the GA/BA sector needed different approach. Both the eleventh and twelfth Five Year Plans did not make any specific reference to dedicated infrastructure for GA. While this needs to be addressed, training academies have to be established and a new fiscal-friendly regime introduced. Jose Eduardo Costas, Vice President (Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific) of Embraer said that India’s GDP growth would outperform world and Asian rates as well as emerging countries like Brazil and China. Notwithstanding the present lull, the Indian economy will grow from 2012 to 2017 and then perhaps slow down up to 2023-25. But from the point of view of GA/BA, what was important was that other than businesses, it was the presence of high net worth individuals (HNWI) numbering, according to Costas, 3.3 million. Embraer forecast for 2012-2021 showed that GA/BA fleet in South Asia, which is mainly India, may see the number of business jets rising to between 390 and 485. To attain India’s full market potential, he said, India should make flying within the country via business aircraft less time consuming. The country must improve its infrastructure, allow FBOs, less onerous import duties, flexible cash outflow and harmonise pilot require„ ments to international practices.








The first serious move by India for indigenous aircraft came when it signed a protocol with Russia for the construction of M-1 102/Saras (picture alongside)

recent news item, “India plans 90-seater civilian plane” made interesting reading. Interesting, because the effort of selfreliance has begun almost after 65 years of independence of the nation. Since India has “started” working on “development” of its “very own 90seater” civilian aircraft with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the “strategy for its production has already been evolved”, one is curious to understand what the stipulated time period i.e. gestation period, from “conception to deployment” of the said “90-seater civilian plane” would be. The gestation period is important because the quality of any new product by a non-aviation nation like India would need a Herculean effort to catch up for lost time, opportunity and technology. Indeed, while the world has moved on, India still needs a longawaited self-propelled power to produce civil aircraft in right earnest. Perhaps, the most interesting as well as intriguing feature of India’s technology evolution till date has been the country’s demonstrable and demonstrated



success in the military field of long distance missiles, warship building, and nuclear war ingredients thereby leaving a huge internal vacuum in civil aviation which indirectly paved the way for a monopoly by the western manufacturers to fill up space of the civil aircraft market of New Delhi. Thus, except the sole manufacturing enterprise of the twin turbo-prop Avro-748, technology transfer of which came from UK, India has never been serious in getting into the inherently-risky project of an indigenous civil/passenger craft/military transport enterprise until the 1990s. The first serious move by India, for indigenous aircraft, came only in the 1990s when a general agreement was concluded in 1993 to combine the Russian Myasishchev and Indian programmes. The Russian participation turned out to be short-lived (ending in February 1995) “for financial reasons” in the aftermath of the demise of the Soviet Union. It took another six long years for the revival of the programme with Russia and India signing a protocol on the “construction of M102/Saras”. Moscow’s Myasishchev continued to assist India in flight-test and certification planning as late as 2009. Thus, the experiment began with CSIR’s twin-turboprop aircraft “Saras” (crane). It was estimated that there will be atleast 250 orders within the country in which the Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard were expected to be users. However, signs of early turbulence surfaced owing to “over-weight” of the aircraft. Else, how does one justify or defend the suggestion of “weight saving to permit

` SEATING CAPACITY 78 ` MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT 36,850 kg (81,240 lb) ` RANGE 820 nautical miles (1,530 km) ` MAX. OPERATING SPEED Mach 0.82 ` POWERPLANTS Pratt & Whitney PW1217G ` DEBUT June 2007; Prototype manufacturing: September 2010; and, Maiden flight: Scheduled for 2012

The experiment began with CSIR’s twinturboprop aircraft “Saras” (crane). It was estimated that there will be atleast 250 orders within the country in which the Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard were expected to be users CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

©Embraer 170/190


` SEATING CAPACITY 700: 90 ` MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT 700:40,500 kg (89,000 lb) ` RANGE 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km; 1,400 m) ` MAX. OPERATING SPEED Mach 0.82 ` POWERPLANTS General Electric CF34-10A ` LAUNCHED November 2000; Rollout: December 2007; and, Maiden flight: November 2008

©MRJ 70/90




` SEATING CAPACITY 80 ` MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT 35,990 kg (79,300 lb) ` RANGE 1,800 nautical miles (3,334 km) ` MAX. OPERATING SPEED Mach 0.82 ` POWERPLANTS GE CF34-8E turbofans ` ANNOUNCED Feburary 1999; Rollout: October 2001; First flight: Feburary 2002; Certification: November 2003; and, First delivery: March 2004

1200 kilogram (2646 lb) payload”? The problem for the project escalated further following the loss of second prototype in 2009, and postponement of third aircraft’s maiden flight to late 2010 thereby delaying the development of the craft and the certification thereof. Two things emerged. First, it was clear that the power plant of the aircraft had to be imported in toto. Hence, the first and second prototype aircraft had two 6.34 kW (850 shaft horse-power) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66/PT6A/67 turboprops, pylon-mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage. The second was a comparatively inferior “payload” capability of the aircraft. With a maximum take-off weight of 6100 kilogram (13448 lb), a maximum payload of 1232 kilogram (2716 lb) is surely not commensurate with the optimum operational efficiency and financial viability of the project. If an aircraft cannot fly with a “profitable payload” to make an “operating profit” in the civil aviation market, then the entire project is bound to come under question. Theoretically, as well as technically speaking, Saras could not have been suitable as a true, reliable and state-of-art civil aviation aircraft operating either on high density trunk routes or “daily frequency” feeder routes of India’s aerial transport system. Also, with a comparatively slow rate of climb at 130 metres (427 ft per minute); low (maximum) level speed of 297 knots (550 kilometre/342 miles) per hour at flight level of 25000 ft, Saras has a limited capability, notwithstanding its launching in right earnest by the Government of India.




Understandably, India’s civil aviation manufacturing industry has a long way to go, public declaration of grandiose scheme announced through a media blitz notwithstanding. It would be in order to explore as to what it takes on the part of nations to make a successful foray into the civil aviation mart. The first step begins with an explicit determination to define “what exactly is needed, for which market, with how much financial prospect and possibility”? Coming back to the news of the 90-seater Indian aircraft, which falls under “regional jet airliner” category, it needs to be appreciated that there already exists American, European, Brazilian, Chinese and Japanese enterprise which would have been deeply entrenched much before the entry of the Indian product in the market. Since the European Airbus and the US Boeing jets are well-known and time-tested commodities, let us see the non-traditional civil aviation aircraft makers like Brazil first. Embraer’s regional jet airliner/large business jet “170/190 and Lineage 1000” programme was announced in February 1999. Even before the first prototype was cut in July 2000 and rolled out in October 2001, the first flight took to air in February 2002, certification obtained in November 2003, the first delivery made in March 2004, it was “selected by Crossair and Regional Airlines” of France. And, as on January 1, 2010, the performance report card of Brazil’s Embraer stood at: “861 ordered; 604 delivered and 257 backlog”. Of the Embraer customers, the following list would give an idea of the success of Brazil in the market at the moment: Canada 30; Italy 12; Egypt 24; Finland 20; France 20; China 100 plus; Japan 20; Netherlands 34; Poland 12; Germany 30; Switzerland 30 and America’s Northwest 72 and US Airways 56. Understandably Brazil’s civil aviation industry has come of age with quality, cost and timely delivery system. Else, it would not have been possible for a non-traditional aircraft manufacturer to


UNTAPPED POTENTIAL: The then Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal with the first flight crew along with Senior Scientists associated with the Saras programme after its maiden test flight.

Several facts will have to be considered by India to do well to beat the existing players in the market. Time, cost and technology will have to be studied and analysed in great detail CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

penetrate so deep into a conservative market which is used to Western technology. Nearer home, it is the Chinese COMAC ARJ-21 Xianfeng regional jet airliner, with unit cost between $27 million and 29 million, which already has an order log book of 35 firm orders as of March 2007. Officially launched on November 7, 2000, as a $700 million project, China estimates a sale of 500 (350 domestic and 150 export) “over 20 years”. With several versions in the production line, China appears to have made strides with a powerful push into the future Asian market. One of the toughest and hardest competitors for any nation, however, would continue to be Japan owing to its technology-savvy and research and developmentoriented industry. Thus, when Mitsubishi 70/90 passenger jet airliner made its debut at Paris (Le Bourget) air show in June 2007, it emerged loud and clear that Tokyo’s marketing focus would be Japan, Europe and the USA. Indeed, what should come as an eye opener and a learning lesson for all, including India, from Japan, is the time-management skill pertaining to “conception-to-delivery-system” of the product. Mitsubishi (MJET) MRJ already has six variants in place. Powered by two US-made Pratt & Whitney Pure Power 1217G geared turbofans, the aircraft (depending on the type) would have an operational range between 860 nautical miles and 1820 nautical miles and maximum take off between 36850 kilograms (81240 lbs) and 42800 kilograms (94357 lbs). Clearly, Japan is not only moving fast but is already miles ahead of India. Understandably, several facts will have to be considered by India to do well to beat the existing players in the market. Time, cost and technology will have to be studied and analysed in great detail. What is the market like? Who could be the targetted customers? Who would be the potential risk-sharing partners of the project? Where would the investment/capital come from? What exactly will be the role of the Government of India? Will the project be allowed to flourish in the free market environment or will it be conveniently allowed to flounder and fail as a fiasco? The intention expressed by the Government of India, though belated, appears well meaning. Nevertheless, lest the civil aviation aeroplane enterprise becomes like the three-decade vintage “yet-to-be-operational” light combat aircraft project, one perforce recalls the consequences of the failed programmes of the 14th century Delhi Sultan, Muhammad bin Tughlaq, all of which had begun with great fanfare and public„ ity but ended in a ludicrous fiasco.



Tingo sets hotel rates

on fire



A MAJOR FILLIP TO THE CAMPAIGN: Neil Mills, CEO, Spicejet (in the middle) at Surat airport after the first flight to the city. With him is a Facebook fan (with white cap).

Surat flies, with a little help from Facebook urat airport in Gujarat state of India will possibly go down in history as the airport that got more connectivity due to a concerted digital campaign by residents and trade associations. While the trade associations — the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) and the Federation of Surat Textiles Traders Association (FOSTTA) - highlighted the need for an airport with more connectivity and air cargo facilities, the credit for the peoples’ campaign goes to the Facebook group, Suratwants2fly. The Facebook group was started by two brothers, Shaunak and Priyank Desai, sometime in April 2011. While Shaunak resides in Surat, Priyank lives abroad. Both of them felt that their city needed air connectivity. The site points out that “this is a special cause started by the people of Surat — “Surtis” to have a working airport to keep boosting unstoppable growth of Surat. Many organizations tried for this noble cause earlier in last 20 years but this time its common man effort and everyone is so


excited that we’ve got support of more than 11,000 people on just facebook group and growing exponentially. The end goal was very simple, the website pointed out: “We just need a working airport and air cargo facilities which is blocking exponential growth of Surat. We are going ahead with proven strategies and public awareness. We are trying all these possible ideas came up by all Surtis via Facebook and other mediums.” They put it rather simply: “We are all aware of the problem of not having right air connectivity to Surat airport and in the last 50+ years Surat city has suffered extreme opportunity loss in terms of income, establishment and national and international recognition…” The group went on to point out that Surat deserved an international airport but to begin with, the basic domestic airport itself was a big issue. In fact, a number of corporate houses had declined to set up offices in the city since Surat lacked aircargo facilities. And as for the diamond and textile businesses, many had been forced



What do you do if you have overpaid millions for hotel rooms in 2011? To ensure that it does not happen again, log on to Tingo. Part of the TripAdvisor stable, the new hotel booking site was launched recently. An affiliate of, Tingo uses Expedia’s inventory and pricing. In turn, it receives part of Expedia’s booking commissions. Tingo’s USP is that it refunds the difference to customers if the price of the room they booked on actually drops after booking. The press release announcing the launch of proclaimed that in “2011 alone, Americans could have saved nearly $314 million if they had had access to a site like”



GURU MANTRA The future of online travel

47 ¨¨

FIVE LAKH AND MORE Jet has a huge Facebook community

50 ¨¨ SCORING ON AIR Estonian's move to popularise carrier and nation







to establish registered offices in Mumbai, though the actual work and transactions happened in Surat. Along with their friends, the brothers Desai received support from businessman Manoj Singapuri and in no time the group grew rapidly. In fact, at one point of time, 4500 people lent their support in a week. From then on, the movement moved out of cyberspace to the ground. Around May 2011, the number of supporters reached a whopping 12000. Today, there are 80-odd associations who have lent their support to the movement for more air connectivity. This April, the dream of Suratwants2fly saw fruition at last when low-cost carrier SpiceJet started flights to the city and Surtis finally found a reason to rejoice. Their city - the centre of the international diamond trade and the hub of the textile industry in India became more accessible. And, in a short while, cargo services between Surat, Mumbai and Delhi will begin. The Facebook entries record the event in a special way. “History will remember us,” wrote Utpal Mistry of the National Institute of Technology, Surat, “the 15.7 K people on FB Group and all those Surtis and Surti Lovers...cherished dream came true when the Spicejet CEO Mr. Neil Mills and Spicejet Executive Director Mr. S. Natrajhen alighted from the maiden flight from Delhi... We had acheived victory and that too technology helped us to unite together as a group and achieve what seemed to be impossible. We, the Facebook members, were given utmost


MASS SUPPORT: Members from the 'Suratwants2fly' group during the inception ceremony of one of the flights to the city.

importance.... much more than everyone... we were the first to meet Neil (CEO) & S Natrajhen (executive director), and for us, Neil spent maximum time with us. We presented him our own Surti fafda and jalebi box with his own photo on the box, chocolates and also offered them our FB cap.” Surat has a massive textile industry and produces around 70 per cent of the country’s synthetic fabrics. According to Rohit Mehta, President, South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), now that Surat was connected to Delhi and Mumbai, indirectly the city “was connected to the whole of India” and air cargo facilities would ultimately increase business of the textile and diamond sector in the city. Surat has been demanding more air connectivity over the years. Consider the facts: While eight out of every ten diamonds sold in the world are cut and polished in the city, Surat is adjacent to Hazira, a deep-water LNG terminal and

Coming: More smarter devices for



multi-cargo port and is a major manufacturing centre for synthetic textiles. Hazira, incidentally, has a number of the country’s top industrial corporations of the country. As mentioned earlier, among the associations that led the demand for international air connectivity were the SGCCI and FOSTTA. While both associations made presentations, FOSTTA officials specifically said that if there were air cargo services connecting Surat to Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata and eight other cities, it would help the textile trade immensely that is handled by around 55,000 textile traders spread over 140 textile markets in the city. Meanwhile, SCCCI President and a former president of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), Rohit Mehta, put forward a request for a direct flight from Surat to Dubai and Antwerp. Along with SpiceJet, the city hopes that it will be connected internationally by June 2012 when the airport that is under construction, is finally ready. With the number of industries in and around the city - along with the diamond trade aviation experts estimate that more than 10000-odd fliers take a flight out of the city every month. To top it all, the city could provide healthy air cargo tonnages. To tap the potential, logistics player Gujarat State Export Corporation Limited (GSECL) has shown an interest in putting up an air cargo complex at Surat airport. According to estimates put out by GSECL, the city can generate between 8,000 or 9,000 metric tonnes of cargo every year. To top it all, there is potential to record double digit growth in import and export volumes coupled with improved connectivity.

India leading the way. India’s online travel market alone is expected to see growth of seven billion (US$) by the end of the year, the biggest in the region. While the opportunities are plentiful, travel players looking for a piece of the growing pie will need to demonstrate a keen understanding of their local customers’ behaviour and adopt the right technology to engage them,” Brett said. Amadeus recently released an industry report which has identified consumers’ behaviour and motivations when shopping for travel online. Titled, ‘Empowering inspiration: The future of travel search’, the report has singled out travellers’ experience during the shopping and

online booking Asia Pacific travellers will dominate the online travel market. According to David Brett, President of Amadeus Asia Pacific, online travel was a key growth area in Asia Pacific. “With increasing access to the internet and a growing middle-class, industry experts are predicting that Asia Pacific is on course to dominate the online travel market, with emerging markets like









Jetting to

500,000 and more ¤

Jet Airways is the first Indian airline to add more than five lakh fans on Facebook. The airline achieved this milestone in just two years of the launch of Jet Airways Facebook community ( on January 19, 2010. Jet’s presence on Facebook is aimed at providing guests with realtime news updates about flight schedules, new customer programmes, route additions, services and special offers etc., besides introducing them to an online forum to share their experiences and suggestions. Jet Airways celebrated this milestone with the initiation of Facebook’s Timeline - an enhancement that will provide its fliers with a more qualitative and interactive user experience. The new design provides for a complete transformation in the way brands

communicate their social image through brand stories, milestones and marketing campaigns. It also enables guests to access past events, updates and activities with an easy to use interface. These initiatives are part of the airline’s strategy to actively reach out to a larger cross section of guests and engage with them on a real time basis through these social media platforms. Commenting on the achievement, Sudheer Raghavan, Jet’s Chief Commercial Officer, said, “Our innovative marketing initiatives with strategic use of social media tools reflect our endeavour to deliver unique opportunities to our guests. Jet Airways has been a pioneer in the Indian aviation sector in terms of recognizing and harnessing the power of social media networks to listen, engage and respond to our guests. The journey towards

reaching the 500,000 fan milestone has involved a great deal of research and analysis to ensure we understand and engage with our guests effectively. The introduction of initiatives like Jet Facts, Jet Polls, Flying Tips and Jetstinations has been appreciated by our fans who find such information useful and engaging. Besides this, Facebook provides us with an opportunity to communicate real time with guests.” Jet also has a presence on the popular LinkedIn, the professional network with more than 90 million members. Similarly, Jet Airways became the first Indian operator, to have a presence on foursquare, a location-based mobile social networking application. Guests may create an account on foursquare and follow Jet Airways by visiting

booking processes. The study, conducted by PhoCusWright, surveyed 4,638 travellers in the US, UK, Germany, India, Russia and Brazil and interviewed 18 executives to find out where travel search was headed. Although Amadeus admitted that the travellers under review were not representative of the mainstream consumer, it identified them as having “the most sophisticated shopping needs” and representing the “early adopters” whose current preferences are leading indicators of behaviour in the future. The study’s key findings included the frustrations travellers faced when planning and booking travel. Incidentally, buyers from emerging markets were more frustrated during the destination search,

shopping and booking process: while only 47 per cent US travellers experienced online frustration, among Russian travellers the figure was more than 78 per cent. This was put down to an information overload. Around 50 per cent of travellers in developed markets said that when they searched, they had a particular place in mind, while in the emerging markets, it was only about a third of the travellers. Perhaps, what is surprising is that in terms of mobile usage, three in 10 travellers in Europe currently had no interest in using their mobile phones for travel-related activities, while US consumers showed levels of interest that were comparable to emerging markets. This included mobile features such as

alerts and check-ins. The report also looked at how new technologies would change travel planning in the future. These include highly targeted consumer segmentation, micro-targeted promotions to specific consumers, and offering products that are actually relevant for the buyer. In addition, technology would learn about an individual’s behaviour over time by observing and aggregating common patterns. Finally, devices would become smarter and more inter-connected, and would store and make sense of information consumers look at. Programmes will recognise and process inputs from the sites consumers visit and what they do on them, and will act as an assistant on the consumer’s behalf.










favourite ¤

With so many airlines vying for eyeballs on the net, it must be indeed an effort to be the most ‘tweeted’. Well, that is what AirAsia claimed recently: The carrier’s official Twitter accounts in various countries have a total of 514,852 followers. Quoting reports published by, a web and mobile social network that feature tweets and location-verified reviews related to travel, AirAsia gained almost double the number of mentions, or tweets, in February this year. The airline jumped from 13,500 to almost 23,000 mentions over the period, ahead of Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. The statistical information on Twitter usage in the airline industry shows AirAsia at the top of the list in two main categories: „ ‘Best in class’: Top performing airline brand with the greatest number of all the tweets exchanged between an airline and its consumers. This accounts for all the tweets collected: outbound (from airline to consumer) and inbound (from consumer to airline). „ ‘Airline Listening Champions”: The top airlines that have received the most tweets from consumers. AirAsia was also in the top three among 192 airlines with Twitter accounts in ‘Airline Talking Champions” category, having sent the most tweets to consumers. According to the carrier’s Regional Head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan, “AirAsia is a very sociable brand and we embrace social media. The brand strives to be bold, passionate and one-of-a-kind and the social media team in AirAsia shares the same attributes. From management to executives, social media is an important part in any communication, and when an effort as such is strongly championed by the top management at AirAsia, it further improves the social media experience for both the team and the fans. AirAsia Allstars, including our Group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and senior management are active on Twitter,” she added.


Facebook boosts

Emirates’ popularity ¤

The Dubai-based Emirates recently launched its Facebook page. A late starter in the social media race, Emirates has attracted more than 300,000 fans within the first three weeks of its existence. The Facebook page was set up to support the company’s evolution from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. The page will look at building stronger relationships with existing fans and encourage more people to become Emirates fans through interactions. Today, fans of the carrier around the world can now connect and engage with the airline directly through Facebook. Incredibly, in its first two weeks Emirates was also established as the number one airline in Facebook in the MENA region. The Emirates Facebook page soft launch occurred on March 25, 2012 in preparation for the April 2, 2012 launch of the airlines’ new global brand platform “Hello Tomorrow”. A series of teaser

quizzes highlighting vignettes from one of the new TV commercials were featured, attracting more than 3330 likes and 1300 comments over a one week period. The page allows fans to interact with the brand through Facebook exclusive content on the timeline feature, apply for jobs through the careers app or find out more about sponsorships through its sports and culture tab. Fans can also look at how Emirates has grown since its early days in 1985 through Facebook’s milestone feature - from its launch with just two aircraft, to its current status as one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. “Emirates new brand platform ‘Hello Tomorrow’ is connecting people and cultures by creating relevant and meaningful experiences and Facebook is a proven mechanism to do just that,” said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group. “Our Facebook page is part of the vision we have for the future growth of the airline, so it’s very encouraging to see that the page has broken records in first few weeks and is being received so positively by our fans who are engaging with us.”

Oz travel push by Tripwolf


Tourist boards, tour operators and travel publishers in Australia can now have their own apps for iPhone and Android. The technology is being offered by mobile travel guide tripwolf ( in the country. Before offering the technology, tripwolf joined hands with tour aggregator TourRadar to launch the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef app that received a good response. tripwolf and TourRadar have not only built iPhone and Android apps but also a range of Facebook apps.




The little






one of the world’s top powerhouses in airline loyalty: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Programme. Earlier in the year, Estonian Air was also recognised for excellence in social media marketing by winning the second Annual SimpliFlying Award for “Excellence in Social Media” as the best airline in the world driving revenue via social media, beating out another big airline, Malaysia Airlines. What is AirScore? Launched by Estonian Air on October 27, 2011, it is unique in the world’s aviation history. AirScore aims at introducing the airline outside its country and also Estonia as

giant killer Sometime in the middle of January this year, Grapevine Rewards, the leader in travel social rewards, announced that its Bamboo Facebook and Twitter Rewards Platform was the “secret component” that was fuelling Estonian Air’s Social Loyalty Program, AirScore. Running in parallel to the carrier’s frequent flyer programme, AirScore, which achieved more than 1,340,000 wall impressions in its first ten days, had been awarded two major social media awards in the aviation loyalty and frequent flyer programmes industries. For those who want to keep track of this small airline, Estonian Air has been hailed as Europe’s most innovative airline. With its fleet of 11 aircraft, Estonian Air is owned by the Estonian government (97.34 per cent) and SAS Group (2.66 per cent), it has 372 employees (March 2012). Unlike its affiliated carrier, Scandinavian Airlines, Estonian Air is not a member of the Star Alliance but it is a part of the SAS loyalty programme, EuroBonus. Estonian Air started operations on December 1, 1991. In November 2011, the airline received a Mega Award for “Best Social Media Campaign” at the fifth Annual Mega Conference for Airline Loyalty and Ancillary Revenue Programs in Florida, USA. At the event, Estonia’s national carrier scored a major victory by beating


POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: (Top) A grab of an AirScore page of an Estonian Air fan; and (above) Estonian Air crew pose in front of an airplane.



destination while increasing customers’ commitment. The programme rewards customers and fans for being strong online advocates: for example, by sharing on their Facebook wall Estonian Air’s offers or information on cultural and sport events taking part in Estonia. For an airline that flies to 20 destinations in CIS, Scandinavia and in Europe, Estonian Air has been recognised as a master in using social media. It all began in 2010 when the carrier launched Flight Book, a Facebook app that allowed anyone to let friends know he/she was flying on a specific Estonian Air flight. Passengers were able to make contact with others on the same flight, even arrange seating together, if they so requested, at the check-in. In fact, this was the first of its kind programme among airlines. In 2011, the carrier began experimenting with Facebook auctions (regular, reversed, group, pay-as-you-wish) and that turned Estonian Air an international sensation. The success of the Facebook campaigns prompted Estonian Air to look for similar initiatives and thus was born AirScore, the first-ever airline virtual loyalty program. AirScore “Ambassadors” share Estonian’s offers or information on their Facebook wall, including airfares, cultural and sport events taking place in Estonia. Supporters of the airline are rewarded with discounts for social media advocacy, without even having to fly the airline. Simply put, it is a pure business deal: publicise Estonian Air and you are rewarded. AirScore also helps the airline to bring in traffic to its website. Adding the element of a game, Estonian Air rewards with tiers and badges. Among the rewards are tickets or a dinner with the company’s president, invites to company do’s - some events that are not in the ambit of normal loyalty programmes. Tero Taskila, the CEO of Estonian Air, in an interview to, a website that helps ‘airlines and airports engage travellers profitably’, pointed out the advantages of AirScore. “First, we value increasing website sales through social media integration. Conversion of fans to travellers is the ultimate goal of any airline social media site. Second, we view social media as the top brand awareness site and try to educate our fans about our news, products.” Indeed, AirScore has enhanced Estonian Air’s passenger sales: the number of ambassadors according to is growing by 41 per cent, content sharing by 37 per cent. The airline has more than 3000 ambassadors whose audience adds up to 440,194 unique connections.

FOCUS ON ‘COPTERS he Bell Helicopter saga began way back in1957 when a helicopter came to India for Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary’s conquest of Everest. Since then, the company has never looked down: it opened a liaison office in 1995 and today with its full-fledged office in the country it can claim to be the market leader. Textron, Bell Aircraft Corporation’s parent firm has a Global Technology Centre in Bangalore which is growing. John L Garrison, President and CEO of Bell Helicopter, was justifiably positive about the growth opportunities in India and found it to be an extremely promising market. He was on a whistle-stop trip to India for the opening of a brand new office at Delhi and interacting with customers. The importance of the Indian chopper market can in no way be undermined. Garrison, made this very clear when he stated in a recent interview, “There are 107 Bell aircraft operating in India, and with a 42 per cent market share, we are the leader. I would be disappointed if we don’t see double-digit type percentage growth in India.” In fact, the company is keen to enhance its presence in India. It is setting the pace for the industry by talking to the Navy for its light utility helicopters requirements while hoping to boost civilian aircraft sales. Textron’s Global Technology Centre has about 80 engineers working for Bell Helicopter’s enormous range of products and services. “We are hoping to double the number of engineers at this centre by the end of this year,” said Garrison. Praising the capabilities of the “incredible Indian engineers” who are doing “great things for our global product line”, the CEO said that Bell was planning to put a simulator for pilot training and substantial investments in Bangalore where it is building a facility for 400 engineers. “These are near-term investments,” Garrison clarified in the interview. The company was also interested in India to develop its global supply chain. In fact, Garrison had brought along a team that visited a number of local suppliers and industrialists “to take advantage of the engineering capability and the high quality of manufacturing here”. In addition to the engineers, the CEO highlighted the work being done by Jubilant Enpro, an independent representative for the company that had been doing work for the company for the last 16 years. India had huge potential for growth in commercial as well as military aircraft, the CEO explained. “In fact, Asia is going to be the growing market over the next




GOING HIGH: A model of the Bell Helicopter recently unveiled at the brand new office in Delhi.

two decades, with two massive economies - India and China - both of which are currently under-served in helicopters.” The fact that the helicopter market in India had lagged behind, although the airline market had grown at a good pace, Garrison explained that there was need for bringing about change in the regulatory environment and very importantly, developing infrastructure, helipads, heliports, etc. Explaining the hindrance, the CEO said that the need to take pre-clearance before take-off completely defeated the purpose of an emergency helicopter in emergency medical services. However, the emergency medical services offered great opportunities for helicopters. The tourism sector, he said, was another promising area where choppers could be extensively used. The company

Bell Helicopter is taking numerous steps for making its presence stronger in India. A full-fledged office, stronger supply chain, improved technology centre and talks of military procurements are a few measures CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

was building its supplier base to extend its market and services, and was in talks with companies for the purpose. “As we are talking to companies here, we have a longer vision in mind so that someday, if we want to do more assembly work in India, we could. Especially keeping in mind India’s offset policy that requires us to invest (30 per cent of defense and aerospace sales). We will see over time if we need to assemble here.” Talking about choppers, it is inevitable that the talk veers to military procurements in a country with one of the strongest military mights in the world. “We don’t have any military projects as of now. But the navy has sent several requests for proposals for light utility helicopters and we have been responding. So, in military sales, the navy is the nearest-term option. One of the good things is that offset requirements have been relaxed from India’s previous onerous norms, which prevented us from bidding in the past. We would have had to move all of our production facilities to India to meet those offset norms, which didn’t make business sense. Liberalised offset norms give companies like Bell a better opportunity to compete,” Garrison said. As for tapping the helicopter’s value from Indian suppliers is concerned, the company would start small and then keep growing over time. “Right now, we are looking at different metal fabrications, but we will start looking at dynamic components as well,” said the CEO Bell, it is obvious, is on path of setting milestones, and with such a long association with India, it looks certain that the links will grow stronger.





US Army AH-64D Block III helicopter crews exercised directional control of the MQ-1C Grey Eagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during the recently completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the upgraded Apache. The Army will decide whether to approve full-rate production of the Block III in July, including production of the mastmounted UAS tactical datalink assembly

(UTA) developed to control the Grey Eagle. The Army plans to acquire 690 Apache Block IIIs, mostly remanufactured by Boeing from earlier versions. Apache Block IIs can receive streaming video from unmanned aircraft through the VUIT-2 (Video from UAS for Interoperability Teaming Level II) and follow-on MUMT-2 (Manned-UnManned Teaming-2) systems. The UTA is a twoway datalink that provides higher-tier Level 3 control of UAS sensors and weapons and Level 4 capability to redirect an unmanned aircraft to points of interest in flight.

COMING: WORLD'S LARGEST CHOPPER TENDER In one of the world's largest ten¤Indian ders for multirole helicopters, the Navy is planning to procure


choppers could be delayed as India is investigating the flight trials evaluation process of the two contenders Kamov and Eurocopter. The nearly 200 light helicopters were to be supplied under a $1 billion contract. The Defense Acquisition Council set up a technical oversight committee led by a general who will complete a report by the end of May. In the trials were Eurocopter's AS550 C3 Fennec and Russia's Kamov KA-226T. The current acquisition glitch comes after the first round of initial bids was annulled in December 2007 because bidders hadn't followed tender guidelines. A new bid for helicopters, to be used for reconnaissance and surveillance operations, particularly in highaltitude areas, was floated in July 2008. Defence Minister AK Antony said there will be “no cover up and no vendetta” when it comes to defense purchases and allegations of irregularities. India also is looking to purchase 71 more Russian-made Mi17 V5 helicopters on top of the 80 on order from the manufacturer Kazan Helicopters.



more than 75 such choppers at an estimated cost of over $4 bn to meet the demand of its expanding area of operations. The Indian Navy had recently asked global helicopter vendors to provide details about naval multirole helicopters and is planning to issue a global Request for Proposal in this regard. “The Indian Navy would require more than 75 of these Naval

Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) and this would be world's largest tender for multirole helicopters,” US defence major Lockheed Martin Vice President for Ship and Aviation Systems, George Barton, said. The Indian Navy is already holding a competition for procuring 16 multirole helicopters in which European NH-90 and American Sikorsky S-70 are in the race. The Navy at present relies on its fleet of Sea King helicopters nducted in two different phases in the 80s.

The purchase of new helicopters ¤ageing meant to replace Indian Army's fleet of Cheetah and Chetak




chopper manufacturer ¤partUS-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, of United Technologies

such important missions during the tour. The India tour also will feature several demonstrations of the helicopter for commercial and military customers. Sikorsky's off-the-shelf proven helicopters are well-suited for India's climate, size, topography, developing infrastructure and diverse mission requirements.

NO CHOPPER TRAINING TILL PROBE ENDS The recent incident in Bangalore, ¤(RWA) where a Rotary Wing Academy chopper force landed atop a


building has resulted in bad news for 28 trainees of the academy. These trainee pilots, including Army pilots, Border

Security Force (BSF) officers, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers, Coast Guard and civil pilots, have been deprived from being trained in basic helicopter flying. “Their training will continue with the turbo engine and later,




Sikorsky Aircraft's S-92 “Legacy of Heroes” demonstration helicopter recently visited New Delhi, hosting customers and recognising local heroes. The aircraft began the India leg of its worldwide tour with activities lasting over two weeks in Chennai, Bangaluru and Hyderabad. Visitors to the Sikorsky S-92 “Legacy One” helicopter have had a chance to experience it, step inside, interact with the pilots and crew, and sign a portion of the aircraft, becoming part of what the company calls an “interactive postcard” to the world. The tour is on an extended visit in India. Stacy Sheard, pilot for the S92 Legacy of Heroes tour, said, “The Legacy of Heroes demo tour gives us the opportunity to share the success stories of the extraordinary people who use Sikorsky helicopters and to introduce the aircraft capabilities and product solutions to those who may be unfamiliar with them.” The Legacy of Heroes tour highlights the importance of helicopters as a rescue tool to save lives, and Sikorsky is recognizing those who fly

they will graduate to the Cheetah and Chethak helicopters of HAL,” official sources said. RWA is now starting training at the intermediate level. According to senior RWA officers, this will continue till investigations by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are completed. There were two variants of the helicopter: piston engine and turbo engine. The trainee pilots would start training with the piston engine and then graduate to the turbo engine. “These helicopters were bought with this training aspect in mind,” HAL officials said. The helicopter, which is now grounded, will be back in the air only after investigations in the case are complete. HAL officials expect it to take 4-6 months, and claim the helicopter did not suffer any damage. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

Corporation, and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have applied for a defence licence to manufacture components and assemble helicopters for use by the Indian Navy, according to Steve Estill, VicePresident, strategic partnerships, Sikorsky. “The licence will pave the way for us to set up an assembly line in this country. We will decide on our plans once we hear from the Ministry of Defence. We expect our application to be cleared from the ministry in the second quarter of this financial year,” he said. According to Sikorsky Aircraft Executive Vice-President for India and South Asia, Air Vice-Marshal (Retd) Arvind Walia, the company was among the two firms to be shortlisted by the ministry to supply 16 multi-role choppers to the defence sector. “The Indian commercial and military helicopter markets are set to touch $8 billion and $33 billion, respectively over the next 25-30 years, to become the second largest chopper market in the world after the US. We hope to sell at least two units in the commercial market here, if not more, this year,” Estill said. Moreover, Sikorsky has plans of doubling the rate of cabin production at its Hyderabad facility and develop India as the cabin manufacturing hub for its helicopters. Sikorsky has a joint venture with Indian firm Tata for assembling helicopter cabins and has requested the latter to ramp up the capacity to deliver two cabins a month from June this year and to further scale it up and give three cabins from 2013.

FOCUS hen I took over as Secretary, Civil Aviation, I K Gujral was the Prime Minister and Chand Mahal Ibrahim was the Minister for Civil Aviation. Ibrahim was the right hand man of Deve Gowda who was Gujral's predecessor. When Deve Gowda handed over power to Gujral, he had one condition. He should retain Ibrahim in the Cabinet and he should continue as Minister for Civil Aviation. Gujral had known me since 1968 when he was the Minister for Urban Development in Indiraji's Cabinet and I had to move to a larger flat. Aditya Nath Jha was the Lt. Governor of Delhi. He had written a D.O. letter to Gujral and I had met Gujral with the request. Gujral knew of my reputation. When I called on him after taking over as Civil Aviation Secretary, he was frank and forthright. “Mr, Kaw, I depend on you for one thing. You have to ensure that there is no scandal in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.� He did not elaborate, nor did I ask for the details. But we both knew what he meant.



Tatas had to say goodbye

That the Tata-Singapore Airlines tie-up for the establishment of a private airline was opposed tooth and nail has been an open secret. The facts are now out. Former bureaucrat and Secretary Civil Aviation M K Kaw points out in these extracts from his latest book that along with the then Minister for Civil Aviation, C M Ibrahim, a private airline lobbied to ensure that the deal did not get the necessary Ratan Tata stamp of approval. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012


FOCUS Soon after I joined I had to take a stand on a very tricky issue. My predecessor Yogesh Chandra had blessed a proposal of the Air India Board to allow free travel to all directors of Air India with family for their whole life. There was some criticism of the move before I joined. The resolution of the Board had already been approved by my predecessor. I summoned the file and recorded an adverse note and resubmitted the case to the Minister. He was good enough to agree, but I am sure I made several powerful enemies with this one decision. The first thing I noticed was that the country did not have a Civil Aviation Policy. I spent the first two months grappling with day-to-day issues, but part of my mind was always on the evolution of a policy. Two months into the job, I called a meeting of all the senior officers in the ministry and our public sector undertakings. “Why do we not have a Civil Aviation Policy?” I asked them pointblank. There was a pregnant silence. I had probably asked a childish question and they did not know how to say something without sounding rude. The truth came out in bits and pieces. Probably, no one had tried hard enough or long enough. I wanted to know whether they had worked out a policy for their respective sectors. There were elements of policy spread all over the department, but these had not been strung together into a policy document. I gave them two weeks' time to come up with those elements of policy which already stood cleared and elements which according to them deserved inclusion in the policy document. When we met after a while, I found that not much progress had been made. There is an inherent mental block which prevents us from thinking over new initiatives. I could see that there would be no policy even in my time, if I let them off the hook. Suddenly, I found myself saying, “Gentlemen, I am going to try an experiment with you. We shall continue to sit here in this committee room till we have hammered out a draft policy. It may take one day, two days, three days or even more. Food will be served here. You can call for officers and papers from your offices, but no one can leave the room till we have achieved our objective. At the end of our labours, we shall conclude in the manner in which the Pope is elected by the Collegium of Cardinals, with a puff of smoke.” At first, they thought it was a joke. But when they found that I was serious, they


I K Gujral

C M Ibrahim

One of the last decisions taken by the outgoing Deve Gowda government had been to disallow such contribution in new proposals. This would block the Tata proposal effectively. Jet was given a time of six months to buy back the equity from its foreign contributors. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

started exerting. I do not remember how long it took. Probably within 36 hours we had a draft policy document. I asked the draft to be circulated as a confidential document, stating clearly that it had not been approved and it was just a paper for discussion. But as is customary in government, there are too many stakeholders with different interests. Someone leaked out the document and the next thing we knew was that it was in the press. Now there was one particularly sensitive paragraph in the draft. When privatization of airlines was permitted, several airlines were established. Only Jet Airways survived. Jet had come up with 40 per cent equity contribution by two airlines from the Gulf. The Tatas had mooted a proposal for a private airline with 40 per cent equity contribution from Singapore Airlines. As this would have been a formidable competitor, Jet tried hard to upset the rule regarding foreign equity contribution. One of the last decisions taken by the outgoing Deve Gowda government had been to disallow such contribution in new proposals. This would block the Tata proposal effectively. Jet was given a time of six months to buy back the equity from its foreign contributors. Now one of the paragraphs in the new draft policy related to the allowing of 40 per cent equity contribution by foreign airlines even in new proposals. This was seen by Jet as a victory for the Tatas. If approved as policy, it would enable favourable consideration of the Tata proposal. Ibrahim was not happy. He called me and wanted to know why such a para had been proposed when it went against the present policy approved only three months back. I told him that this was just a suggestion made by someone. It was not part of the draft, as no draft had been made. He was not convinced. Probably, Jet people had told him that I was trying to show undue favor to the Tatas. After a few days, we held another meeting and produced the tentative draft of a civil aviation policy, which did not have the offensive paragraph. The minister did not clear the file, despite several attempts on my part. The history of civil aviation in this country would have taken a different trajectory, if Tata Singapore Airlines had been allowed to float an airline. After a while, it occurred to me that the policy on airports was less controversial and it could probably be separated out. We did that. This document was cleared at all the levels, including the Cabinet. I had the satisfaction of having the policy printed and circulated before I demitted office.


But the Civil Aviation Policy did not see the light of the day, either in my time or later. The country does not have a civil aviation policy even today. It is the considered view of many experts in civil aviation that FDI investment will not be allowed in India till this is permitted by the powerful owners of Jet Airways. The Tatas still did not benefit from the policy framework on airports now enunciated. They wanted to set up an international airport at Bangalore. They had a foreign collaborator with all the expertise connected with setting up of world-class airports. Normally the proposal should have been through. I submitted the case to the Minister. He did not okay the proposal. One fine morning, Ratan Tata came to my office with prior appointment. He was frank and blunt. “What are our chances?” he asked. I said that it was difficult to guess. He said that he had been approached, but it was not the policy for Tatas. I said that the best strategy would be to wait and watch. The Tatas finally got tired of waiting and withdrew their proposal. Recently, Ratan Tata explained that one person had stood between the Tatas and the fulfillment of their aspirations in the civil aviation sector. But he did not elaborate. I have the satisfaction that the airport policy has yielded enormous dividends, with so many world class airports coming up in Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. A major event during my time was the strike by the Air Traffic Controllers. They paralyzed the working of the airlines completely. We tried to negotiate the terms with them, but did not make much of a progress. We tried the Essential Services Maintenance Act and going to the High Courts and liaising with the Air Force to borrow their ATCs. It was no go. One day we were all struggling with the union leaders when the RAX rang. It was the cabinet secretary. He was very serious in tone and demeanour. “Kaw, listen carefully. I am giving you a personal message from the PM. He wants that the strike should be called off immediately. The situation is rather serious. He suggests that if necessary you may concede all their demands. But at any cost the


The Tatas finally got tired of waiting and withdrew their proposal. Recently, Ratan Tata explained that one person had stood between the Tatas and the fulfillment of their aspirations in the civil aviation sector. But he did not elaborate. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

strike has to be called off within the next fifteen minutes.” I was puzzled. You do not concede all the demands just like that. These become precedents for the future. One has to weigh the pros and cons. And if they taste blood once, the unions would ride rough shod over us all the time. “But, sir ...” I tried to argue. “Kaw, you think I have not argued with him already. He believes that if the strike continues one more day, this government may have to exit. So, no arguments. Let us do it.” I was in a daze. I called my officers. Without disclosing to them all the details of my conversation with the Cabsec, I gave them the mandate to concede all the demands, without further discussion. They tried to reason with me, but I said that orders were orders. We called the leaders of the strike and broke the news. I did not know what to expect, but I was not prepared for what actually happened. The top chap just fell down unconscious. Medical aid had to be summoned, but within half an hour, the strike had been called off. That evening we were all guests at the residence of the British High Commissioner. When the evening news came on, the details of what had happened during the day started appearing in the bulletin. Air services had started hobbling back to normalcy. I believe that Ibrahim was not happy with the turn of events. He would have liked the strike to continue indefinitely, so that the PM was embarrassed. After the dust settled down, we sat down to draft a ten point secret plan to deal with ATC strikes of the future. This involved a training programme for ATCs of the Air Force, so that they could take over civilian services in an emergency. Writ petitions were kept in readiness, so that simultaneous orders could be obtained from the High Courts of Delhi, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, declaring the strikes illegal. Government would use their emergency powers to dismiss the leaders from service without enquiry and so on. (Extracted with permission from M K Kaw: An Outsider Everywhere; Konark „ Publishers, New Delhi.)






DELHI I May 2012


AND WILLING With the Cargo Service Center starting operations, the air cargo capabilities of the Indira Gandhi International Airport is certain to go up significantly.


Cathay and Thai focus on south Hyderabad’s cargo facilities is attracting freighters


AA Cargo Chief optimistic Dave Brooks predicts better times from middle of the year


JetLease launch by Jettrainer A global leasing service for ULD emergencies started


Mid-year good times coming

TRENDS improvement in the beginning of 2012, but by the time six months are over, some favourable trends will be seen. Brooks is of the opinion that fuel prices will stabilize - although they will continue to be high. The stability will provide the air cargo sector the opportunity to project needs for the rest of the year more accurately. The best forecast from Brooks is that the Eurozone “currently facing devastating economic challenges that upset manufacturing, commerce and international investment, will also begin to stabilise. This will improve investor and consumer confidence, which helps air cargo”. The forecast by the Air Cargo Chief has a rider. Predicting air cargo has never been easy for the simple reason that it is influenced by a whole range of factors in which the world does business. Take, for instance, the political revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan. That is why, advises Brooks, the industry needs to come together and collaborate.

THE AIR CARGO sector is awash with stories about the drubbing it received in 2011 and how 2012 would be a shade better. However, Dave Brooks, President of American Airlines Cargo, believes that “the beginning of 2012 will be challenging, the logistics industry will eventually realize benefits from economic and jobs growth and improving international conditions”. And, yes, the “soft start to the year is likely to get better before year’s end”, says the cargo professional. The air cargo industry will not see much

Easy way to get ULDs JETTAINER, the leading international service partner for outsourced ULD management, recently launched JettLease - a global short-term leasing service for 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 Kongeach one features an individual emergency hotline for JettLease customers.They can indicate a ULD shortage up to one day prior to their demand. “As a new service, JettLease now offers additional value for our customers, helping them achieve higher quality and cost advantages, attracting new business and partners in the industry”, says Alexander Pluemacher, Managing Director of Jettainer.”Based upon our expertise in ULD steering, monitoring and tracking, we have ambitious goals for our future growth.” said Pluemacher.


“We are extremely disappointed by the decision to uphold the night-time ban (at Frankfurt airport)… Today, night-time cargo flights are part of a seamless supply chain that means consumers and businesses can plan their stock levels and production schedules with confidence. This is now at risk.” ) Oliver Evans

Chair of TIACA’s Industry Affairs Committee, reacting to the night ban at Frankfurt airport


KPMG has predicted that there will be more mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the logistics sector. These M&As will follow the trend shown by the UPS-TNT Express deal. The KPMG annual survey of the transport and logistics industry states that the “first quarter of 2012 saw a big increase in the value of deals announced, with a global value of $19.7 bn. The combined value of completed and announced deals for the quarter stands at $27.9bn, bigger than in any of the previous four quarters”. According to the survey, most of the M&As will take place in Europe: there have been 87 deals this year, with a combined value of $4.9bn. One of the major reasons forwarded by KPMG is that large logistics service providers have a lot of funds on their balance sheets and will be prompted to make purchases and the main factors pushing forward the deals will be the growth of GDP, “the M&A appetite of strategic investors and the investment pressure among financial investors”. That, however, does not mean that there will be a spate of M&As. In fact, KPMG has advised investors and possible acquirers to study the market and proceed. While many businesses up for sale, acquiring a company does not guarantee profitable returns. What is important is that demand for logistics services will continue to grow as world trade goes up. The profusion of logistics companies only goes to show that the supply-side of the sector is highly competitive and seeing a return on investments would require real skill.


Delhi cargo readies for


Now that the Delhi Cargo Service Center has started operations, air cargo from Delhi will see a quantum jump in the coming days. Tirthankar Ghosh spoke to Radharamanan Panicker, Group CEO of Cargo Service Centre to find out more about the Greenfield facility MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Cargo at the airport terminal being taken to carriers for being flown to their destinations.




n these uncertain times for air cargo - all across the spectrum from carriers to airports - the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi has come out with refreshing news. The brand new Delhi Cargo Service Center (DCSC) has sent out a clear message to air cargo stakeholders, “Delhi is ready and willing”, even as it opened its doors barely a month ago to start operations. The Greenfield Cargo Terminal’s first customer was Hercules Aviation, which approached DCSC to move 150 MT of shipment headed to Kabul. With three freighters spread out over three days, CSC’s warehouse staff and management handled the shipments efficiently enough to receive a pat on the back. Commented Sujeen Paulose, Director-Commercial, Hercules Aviation,”Hercules Aviations has used DCSC Terminal and is proud to give the first loads. DCSC and Hercules will be remembered in history for being partners. The service provided was first class and we are satisfied with the work and quality of staff. We hope the same endeavour will remain.” For Radharamanan Panicker, Group CEO, it was another pat on the back that DCSC was doing things right. Sitting in his office on the top floor of the terminal building, Panicker pointed out that the Delhi facility marked the advent of the best-in-class air cargo handling terminal in a major airport in India. “It brings together the best of Indian cultural ethos and efficiency of the best in the world,” he said. As for his colleagues, he noted that “CSC-ians are passionate people and work not only with their mind but heart also. That’s what makes us different from others.” The soft opening - if one may call it that - with Hercules Aviation could have come earlier. The terminal was supposed to start in July last year, informed Panicker,


but it got delayed due to a variety of reasons. “We got the Customs clearance in February this year and the security clearance in March this year… Technically we are now ready for the airlines to start using DCSC,”he said. The Delhi cargo facility has been approached by quite a few carriers and most have shown their eagerness to start operations. As carriers start utilizing the facilities, the Delhi Center will aim to achieve its first year target: handling about 1,50,000 tonnes of cargo. Together with the second cargo terminal that is being operated by Celebi, Delhi airport will possibly be handling the highest tonnage of cargo in the country. The focus on Delhi comes at a time when international airports in southern India Bengaluru and Hyderabad are being seriously considered by foreign carriers simply because of the facilities the two airports provide. Northern India required topof-the-line air cargo facilities and that is exactly what DCSC is doing. “Delhi and North India,” said Tushar Jani, Chairman, Cargo Service Centre, “is a very strategic area for the logistics industry and for the country’s economy. This area has tremendous potential owing to its huge capacity of disposable income.” The presence of a second cargo handler at Delhi airport - the Celebi terminal - came because of the government’s decision that there has to be competition in airport services, which

R Panicker Group CEO of Cargo Service Center

incidentally is part of OMDA (Operation, Management and Development Agreement). As a result, two independent handlers for cargo have come in. While Celebi got the go-ahead for operations of the facility that was there through a tender process, “we were given the option to build a new facility which is what we have done,” said Panicker. (DCSC operated the perishable cargo terminal at Delhi airport from 2001 to the end of 2009 and handed over the facility to Celebi after it was give the go-ahead to start the Greenfield terminal. During DCSC’s tenure, perishable cargo tonnage went up from 4,500 tonnes to nearly 26,000 tonnes). The airlines have the liberty to choose whichever handler they want on the basis of their demand

The Delhi facility marks the advent of the best-inclass air cargo handling terminal in a major airport in India. It brings together the best of Indian cultural ethos and efficiency of the best in the world.


for quality, efficiency, etc. In addition to establishing the cargo facility, “one of the mandates that we had was to create capacity,” Panicker mentioned. “We are supposed to create one million tonnes of capacity. This facility — the one that is ready — will have a capacity of 800000 tonnes. The other one that we will build will have a capacity of 400000 tons.” The total tonnage when the project is complete in 2016-17 will cross a million tonnes. CSC’s joint venture with Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Delhi Cargo Service Centre, has been a major breakthrough in the growing cargo industry. DCSC was incorporated in 2009 as a joint venture between CSC (74 per cent) and DIAL (26 per cent) to provide air cargo handling services at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi by constructing a Greenfield Cargo Terminal. It was the second such entity to receive a concessionaire agreement for a period of 25 years to provide air cargo handling services. The concession by Delhi airport entitled DCSC to design, build, develop and operate an integrated Greenfield Terminal at the airport.

WORKING TOWARDS A GOAL: Delhi Cargo Service Centre staff deserve a pat on the back for efficiently handling the cargo at the airport.

To be built in two phases — 1 A and 1 B and 1C — T1 will have a total area of 50,000 sq m while T2 will be spread out over 20,000 sq m. T1 and T2 will have the capacity to handle approximately 1.2 million MT. According to CSC, Phase 1A has a capacity of 75,000 tonnes for general cargo and 75,000 tonnes for perishables. In the next phase, 1B, capacity for 250,000 tons of general cargo will be created and when the automated handling system starts operations in 2014, the terminal, will have a capacity to handle 650,000 tonnes. Incidentally, Celebi has been handling around 500,000 tonnes of international cargo. Now that DCSC has started operations it handles export and import as well as domestic cargo — Celebi will handle domestic cargo too and prompt a lot more competition. In Phase 1C, space will be created for either transshipment cargo or domestic cargo. In addition, DCSC has the option to utilize a plot of 28,000 sq m where a structure will be put up if cargo volumes rise. DCSC has plans to invest around $110 million for the two terminal

buildings of which nearly $50.72 million has been spent for 1A and 1B. The company would be spending $36.52 million alone for the handling system. Come 2016-17, when Delhi will have a capacity to handle two million tonnes of cargo per annum, will the airport’s handling facilities be at par with airports in the region like Singapore, Dubai or Hong Kong? On what terms, questioned Panicker. “We have to understand that these airports -- Singapore, Dubai or Hong Kong -- are conceptually different from ours,” he said. Putting his point across, the DCSC CEO said that the cargo flow at these airports was different: the airports dealt in transshipment cargo. “That is as high as 70 per cent at these airports but at Delhi it is negligible,” he said. However, what will set DCSC apart will be its efficiency. A confident Panicker emphasized that the facility was new and with the automation that will be ready for operations in a few months inside, processes within the terminal building will be faster. The CEO also mentioned that in the big international

airports of the region, the Customs processing was done outside the airport and not within. “But it is totally different here,” he said, “100 per cent of the cargo is Custom processed at the cargo terminal. That not only means more time consumption but also space consumption.” Incidentally, Customs is just one part. There are others like the Drug Controller, the Quarantine department, etc… “if you look at the export side, one has to go through 20 different clearances before a shipment is released to the aircraft. There is, therefore, a vast difference between our airport and Singapore, Dubai...,” said Panicker. Among the facilities that DCSC is especially proud of, it is the perishables section. As a cargo handler, DCSC has wide experience in moving perishable cargo. It used to operate such a terminal at Delhi some time ago and that provided it the knowledge and expertise to create a facility in the Greenfield terminal. Panicker was forthright: “We have created a fantastic facility for perishables. There is not only a facility for export but this is the only airport where there is a large facility for import perishables: The cold rooms at Delhi airport will have the capability to hold around 300 tonnes of cargo at minus 10 or minus 20 degrees. This tonnage can be increased if the situation demands it,” said Panicker. According to projections, Delhi would be able to get a large volume of import cargo now that the facilities exist. Earlier, in fact, the airlines had put an embargo on such imports because of the lack of dedicated space. With its special perishable zone, the airport will try its utmost to attract pharmaceutical exports. The airport handles a large tonnage of pharma and as


Panicker put it, “When we were handling the perishable terminal earlier - the one that we handed over to Celebi when we started this facility in the last year, we handled around 18,000 tonnes.” DCSC managers realized that a number of pharma companies around Delhi and Chandigarh and from Baddi in Himachal Pradesh were sending their products away from Delhi for flights to Europe or USA. “Now that the facility is there, they will come,” said Panicker, “because it is a costly proposition to go to Mumbai or Hyderabad when Delhi is so much nearer. To top it all, the capacity is here,” he said. With the cargo terminal functioning, Panicker dwelt at length on air cargo infrastructure in the country. There was a feeling among air cargo stakeholders that air cargo was still being treated as a step child. To that the DCSC CEO put a question: “What is the land area available for air cargo at the airports?” he asked and went on to reply that it was less than one per cent. “Unless there is a coherent government policy for air cargo, not much improvement will be seen. Take Delhi, for example. We have to create the capacity nobody has thought about creating the capacity.” The only way out of this problem is the development of Air Freight Stations. Once these stations start functioning, a major chunk of the problems will be over, said Panicker. For then, most of the cargo that will be coming to the airports will be built-up units that will bring down processing time for exports from 36 hours to three or four hours. “For imports, the present five days will come down to a day or two,” according to Panicker. Given the opportunity, DCSC would like to see the creation of at least 50 airfreight stations in country - something that Civil Aviation Secretary Dr Nasim Zaidi would also like India to have. „



It’s love Hyderabad First, there was only Lufthansa. Today, the southern city has become very important for carriers from Asia and the latest to fly in will be Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific — both keen to ramp up services to India.


ven as carriers from Asia struggle to keep their heads in the air – Cathay Pacific, for instance, has seen its profits going down by 61 per cent from a year earlier Thai Airways recently launched its first B747-400F freighter service connecting India to Europe. The once-a-week freighter service will fly the Bangkok-HyderabadFrankfurt route. That, incidentally, will be one more addition to Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) that is vying to become the country's first cargo hub. It also marked a milestone


P Chunganuwad MD of Thai Airways Cargo and Mail Division

Thai Airways is bullish about India and has worked out a blueprint to tap the air cargo market in the country.

since the service connected RGIA with Far Eastern and European nations. The airport handles four Lufthansa freighters a week. In addition, a number of other airlines, according to sources at the airport, have started showing interest to

use its cargo facilities that are possibly the very best in India. The converted B747 is the first of Thai Airways freighters to be inducted for service on the India route. A second freighter is scheduled to start operations from May


this year: it will operate on the Bangkok-ChennaiAmsterdam route. These freighters with 100 tonnes capacity each is part of a well planned strategy by the South-East Asian carrier to become a carrier of choice from India for transportation of pharma, electronic components, fruits, flowers and textile from the southern belt, home to top Indian industries. In addition to these products, Thai has decided to apportion a part of the cargo space within the freighter for heavy-density cargo that will be marketed at a premium. The airline hopes that the space will be used by other

carriers for transportation of aircraft engines and parts needed for maintenance in Asian destinations. Launching the Hyderabad service, Pichai Chunganuwad, Managing Director of Thai Airways Cargo and Mail Division, said that Thai Airways was bullish about India and had worked out a blueprint to tap the air cargo market in the country. Chunganuwad also pointed out that in addition to the weekly service, the airline had the capacity and capability to deploy chartered freighters from Delhi as well if there was demand. Thai Airways also operate four weekly A330s to Hyderabad. Thai, it is now apparent, has brushed aside its almost flat growth of 2011 — it did 700,000 tonnes — and gone ahead with its India plans. According to Chunganuwad, looking at the good growth in the first three months of the year, the carrier was expecting a 10 per cent growth in cargo in 2012. Talking about the Thai flight, Vikram Jaisinghani, Chief Executive Officer of Hyderabad Airport pointed out that the start of freighter services by a cargo airline like Thai was “testimony to the world class facilities and immense potential waiting to be tapped at RGIA”. He also

V Jaisinghani Chief Executive Officer of Hyderabad Airport

The start of freighter services by a cargo airline like Thai is “testimony to the world class facilities and immense potential waiting to be tapped at RGIA.”

said that Hyderabad's potential as an important pharmaceutical manufacturing centre needed to be tapped. “Thai Airways expertise, connectivity and the modern infrastructure at Hyderabad Airport will enable us to offer our customers the best and most reliable infrastructure facility for air cargo transport in South Asia,” he said. Ground handling for Thai's freighter operation at Hyderabad is being handled by Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS), a joint venture between Air India Limited and SATS Limited. AISATS started its Hyderabad operations in March 2008 and in 2011 handled more than 9,000 flights out of Hyderabad. Hyderabad will also see Cathay Pacific expanding its presence with a new twiceweekly freighter service from the middle of May this year. It will become the first airline to offer an air cargo

service linking the south Indian city with East and North Asia. In addition, a third weekly freighter flight to Bengaluru will be added to meet high demand to and from India's leading information technology hub also in May. The launch of the new Hyderabad service and the added frequency to Bengaluru will give shippers more choice and flexibility for connecting to the airlines international cargo network through the Hong Kong hub. Said Cathay Pacific Director Cargo, Nick Rhodes: “Hyderabad is one of the major hubs for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, accounting for around one-third of the countrys drug production, so we expect a strong demand for our specialized Pharma LIFT products and services. For Bengaluru, we have been seeing increasing demand since we launched


our freighter service last August and we believe the time is right for an additional flight each week.” According to General Manager South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Tom Wright, Hyderabad was an emerging market in terms of both imports and exports. “We believe in the potential of India and with the launch of our new Hyderabad freighter and the additional service to Bengaluru we look forward to strengthening our position in the country,” he pointed out. While the Hyderabad service will operate on a Hong Kong-DelhiBengaluru-Hyderabad-Hong Kong routing every Thursday and a Hong KongChennai-Hyderabad-Hong Kong routing on Sundays, the third weekly flight to Bengaluru will operate via Mumbai on Saturdays, in addition to the current flights every Monday and Thursday. “The launch of these new flights will reinforce Cathay Pacifics position as one of the biggest airfreight operators in India. The latest schedule enhancements mean that Cathay Pacific will operate 19 cargo flights a week to five major commercial cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad,” added Rhodes. „


CARGO JOTTINGS A cargo hub in the making A cargo hub at the Indore airport will transform business — especially agri-based — around Indore, said the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh after formally kicking off the new airport terminal building of the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport at Indore. The Minister preferred the idea of converting the old terminal into a cargo terminal, saying the state had vast potential in textile, information technology and tourism. The Minister also urged the state government to mull over allotting additional land near the airport to Airports Authority of India (AAI) so as to help its expansion. Singh declared that Gwalior and Khajuraho airports will be developed under the XIIth five-year plan. “The new integrated terminal of the airport has all the facilities of an international airport and it would not take much time to grant it the status of an international airport,” said Singh. Chief Minister, Madhaya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan also urged the Centre to accord international status to Indore airport and start a cargo facility at Indore, so that industries and farmers of the state could be benefitted.

Cathay announces Hyderabad touchdown Cathay is ramping up in India. Along with the service to Hyderabad incidentally the first airline to offer an air cargo service linking the capital of Andhra Pradesh, INDIA ON TARGET: Cathay Cargo planes lined with East and up at one of the airports. North Asia - the carrier will be adding a third weekly freighter flight to Bengaluru to meet the high demand to and from India’s leading information technology hub. Both services will start from May 17, 2012. The Hyderabad service has been prompted by pharma exports. Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Nick Rhodes said that Hyderabad was one of the major hubs for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in India, accounting for around one-third of the country’s drug production. “So we expect a strong demand for our specialized Pharma LIFT products and services. For Bengaluru, we have been seeing increasing demand since we launched our freighter service last August and we believe the time is right for an additional flight each week.” To dispose old freighters: Cathay Pacific has decided to park one of its older freighters as the new Boeing 747-8 freighters roll into service amid a worsening market outlook. The B747 converted freighter is undergoing maintenance in Xiamen and will probably be parked in California, Director of Cargo, Nick Rhodes told Cargonews Asia in Hong Kong. “It is one of the older freighters in our fleet and for the second quarter of the year we have one too many with all the Dash-8s coming in,” Rhodes said on the sidelines of the Cargofacts Asia conference. He said the airline has also recognised a second Boeing converted freighter to be discarded owing to market decline. “As the Dash-8s come in and if the market is still flat, it makes sense to park freighters rather than keep flying them.”

DHL inaugurates new service centre DHL is investing in infrastructure and inaugurated a new, modernised service centre facility in Noida. The new Service Centre facility features new, state-of-the-art conveyors and sorting systems and spread over 13,000 sq ft. The facility was


AWARDING THE BEST: Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice PresidentCargo, Emirates Airline (first from left, third row), Keki Patel, Cargo Manager-India and Nepal, Emirates SkyCargo (second from left, second row) and Halim Modassir, Cargo Manager-North India, Emirates SkyCargo (Fourth from right, front row) with awarded agents at Emirates SkyCargo Top Agents Awards in New Delhi.

SkyCargo awards ‘top agents’ in Delhi

Emirates SkyCargo hosted a special evening in Delhi to felicitate their top agents for their efforts and achievements that contributed to the growth of the airline’s business during the year. The evening was held at New Delhi’s Le Meridien Hotel. “Our agents are our partners in the growth that we have inaugurated by Malcolm Monteiro, SVP & Area Director, South Asia, DHL Express. Commenting on the occasion, Monteiro said, “DHL Express has maintained its leadership position in India for more than three decades through continuous expansion of its network, enhancement of its portfolio and by providing superior customer service to meet the needs of a growing customer base. The new modernised service centre facility showcases our commitment to India and our customers so they continue to receive the highest level of service from DHL.” With the upgraded service centre, DHL Express will be able to take care of all the logistics requirements of industries in the Noida region. The Noida service centre will have 19 routes, 31 staff members and 14 vehicles servicing the area. In 2011, DHL Express handled about nine million international shipments in India.

FedEx offsets Carbon Dioxide emissions The iconic FedEx Express envelope, which has been already made from 100 per cent recycled content and is 100 per cent recyclable, is getting another environmentally-friendly boost. FedEx Express recently launched a carbon-neutral shipping programme for its most widely used packaging solution for document shipping, making it the first company in the transportation industry to offer a carbon-neutral shipping option at no extra charge to the customer. FedEx Express will make an investment in projects around the world that displace or sequester greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, neutralising the impacts of the carbon emissions emitted during the shipment of all FedEx Express envelopes around the world. The initiative is recognised as part of EarthSmart, the FedEx sustainability programme, offering concrete solutions that benefit the planet and the company’s environmental performance. “Customers around the world value responsible


witnessed in all markets from which we operate in India. It is due to them that we have become a global name in the air cargo business today. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our agents for their continued support in the Delhi market and look forward to a continued patronage from their end”, said Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, Emirates Airline. Shores-up Australian operation: Emirates SkyCargo is strengthening trade partnerships between Middle East and Australia with the launch of an additional dedicated weekly freighter service from Sydney. A dedicated Boeing 777 freighter is now flying twice a week on the Dubai-Singapore-Sydney-Hong Kong-Dubai route providing these key trading points with additional connectivity to Emirates’ Dubai hub and onwards to more than 120 destinations on the carrier’s network. “The demand for a bi-weekly service is a good indication of Australia’s growing importance as a trade partner to major international markets,” said Greg Johnson, Emirates’ Cargo Manager, Australia. “Emirates SkyCargo is committed to providing Australian businesses access to trade opportunities in the 70-plus countries we operate to via our state-of-the-art cargo mega terminal in Dubai.”

Kale’s software offers unique proposition

Kale is the first company to introduce thoroughly tested EDI messaging for Indian ICD custodian’s in compliance with ICES v.1.5 requirements. ICDs will now be able to exchange EDI messages from April 1, 2012 as per the e-trade initiative, anchored by the Ministry of Commerce. Indian Customs has mandated ICDs to send electronic messages to customs for Export Container Exit List (COCHE07) and Import container Arrival List (COCHI02). The ICD custodians will be required to receive EDI messages from Customs ICEGATE for IGM (CHCOI01), shipping bill (CHCOE01) and acknowledgement for container arrival (CHCOI02A) electronically. CAPELLA software equips ICDs with the ability to send and receive shipment information electronically using standard EDI message formats. With realbusiness practices,” said Beth Galetti, VicePresident-Planning and KE EP Engineering, FedEx The icoING CLEAN EN V nic Fed Ex Exp IRONMENT: Express-Europe, Middle ress en velope . East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa (EMEA). “By making the FedEx Express envelope’s shipping carbon-neutral, our customers are provided with an environmentally-sound solution backed by the renowned high-quality service provided by FedEx-a winwin solution the customer can be proud of.” Through the carbon-neutral FedEx Envelope shipping programme, FedEx will calculate on an annual basis the tonnes of Carbon Dioxide released through the shipment of all global FedEx Express envelopes. FedEx Express will purchase the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide offsets from the notfor-profit organisation, BP Target Neutral, which will neutralise the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions by investing in alternative energy or conservation projects.

time information transfer, ICDs will experience faster customs clearance and save time and manual efforts in inputting the data on ICEGATE. The EDI messaging for ICES vs 1.5 software is already live in case of air custodians. Kale’s GALAXY-Airport Cargo Management System is empowering the operations of leading custodians like Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), AISATS-Bangalore, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and Air India among others, for EDI message exchange with Indian Customs at their respective Airports.

Dubai Insurance tenders cargo insurance online Calogi has forged an agreement with Dubai Insurance to offer cargo insurance online via the Calogi portal. The new service enhances Calogi’s reputation as a ‘one stop shop’ for the cargo industry. The online cargo portal currently serves a user base of more than 500 companies and 1,500 discrete users, all of whom require insurance to protect their cargo against loss USHERING BUSINESS: Patrick Murray, Head of Calogi and Abdelatif Abuqurah, CEO Dubai or damage. With Insurance signing the agreement. cargo insurance quotes now available online, forwarders no longer have to use outdated communication modes such as the telephone and fax to satisfy their insurance needs, increasing productivity and eliminating paperwork for both the forwarders and insurance company. “Cargo insurance is an essential in our industry as cargo in transit means cargo at risk,” said Patrick Murray, Head of Calogi. “Our portal prides itself on being a one stop shop to harness business opportunities for our subscribers and the agreement with Dubai Insurance will help save even more time for our users.” “As the first local Insurance Company to be formed in the UAE we already offer capacities in all lines of insurance and we pride ourselves on being as accessible as possible,” said Abdellatif Abuqurah, CEO, Dubai Insurance. “We recognise the sheer reach that Calogi offers in terms of the UAE community and we believe that by working together, we can service the insurance needs of the cargo industry more efficiently.”

TNT Express gets Franz Edelman Award TNT Express was awarded the 2012 Franz Edelman award for its “Global Optimisation” programme (GO), which uses advanced operations research methods to optimise the company’s transport network. TNT received the award from the Institute for Operations Research and the management Sciences (INFORMS) in Huntington Beach, California. “We are delighted to receive this award, which testifies to the sophistication and efficiency of TNT’s operations,” said Chris Goossens, TNT Express Managing Director, Global Networks and Operations. “Using operations research helps TNT save costs, improve service to customers and develop manager’s skills.” The awarded GO programme covers multiple aspects of TNT’s operations, including site location planning, optimal truck routing, fleet management, and staff scheduling. TNT Express carried out 200 network optimisation projects in 2011.





 A telling incident z A strange incident occurred on a South African Airways flight from Ghana to Johannesburg when a Minister was returning home from a government trip. A fellow passenger told how Lulu Xingwana shouted at a white air hostess who was telling her that business class was full: "Shut up! Shut up! Is it because I'm a Kaffir?" "The Minister was like an ill-disciplined child," the unnamed passenger stated to African newspaper Rapport. Dilesang Koetle, a South African Airways spokesman, confirmed the incident

 A flight to remember z

A JetBlue flight from John F Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas, US was diverted after the pilot began behaving erratically, pounding on the door of the cockpit and yelling about threats from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Flight 191 left New York City with 135 passengers on board, and at about 10 am, the plane was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, US. Tony Antolino, a 40-year-old executive for a security firm, who was in the flight said the Captain walked to the back of the plane, that he seemed confused and nervous, and then began screaming about an unstipulated threat linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. "They're going to take us down, they're taking us down, they're going to take us down. Say the Lord's prayer, say the Lord's prayer," the captain screamed. "He was furious," said passenger Josh Redick. "He was ranting about Afghanistan and souls and Al-Qaida." The Federal Aviation Administration said the Co-pilot became concerned about the captain's erratic behavior during the flight and locked the cockpit door while the pilot was outside. Antolino, who stated he sat in the 10th row, said he and three others tackled the Captain as he ran for the cockpit door, trapped him and held him down while the plane landed. "That's how we landed," he said. "There were four of us on top of him‌ Everybody else kind of took a seat and that's how we landed."


and apologised for being unable to upgrade the Minister. While Cornelius Tanana Monama, Xingwana's spokesperson, denied that the Minister had shouted at anyone or that she had used the k-word. "As a Platinum Card holder, the Minister was asking courteously if she could be upgraded to business class and was shocked by the disrespectful attitude from the SAA official," he said.

In an amazing incident, an Australian pilot did a fast change-of-mind and headed back to the airport after he spotted a snake that had just crawled out of his dashboard. Braden Blennerhassett, who flies for Air Frontier, said the snake appeared about 20 minutes after he left Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, Australia as the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. No passengers were on board. Blennerhassett communicated to Darwin airport requesting a snake handler: "I turned around and got it headed

 Unusual grub z n a bizarre incident, an Australian woman discovered live maggots in a snack while on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne. "It tasted freakish, and I turned the light on and looked at the rest of the packet, and just started seeing maggots coming out of it everywhere," Cleven, 42, told the Herald-Sun. "I couldn't talk. I was nearly throwing up. I was beside myself." Her 15-year-old son then checked



two other packets of the snack and found they also were buzzing with maggots. Qantas stated it had apologised to the woman and would investigate how this situation happened. "We've apologised to her for her experience," a Qantas spokesman said. "We're speaking to the supplier of the trail mix to try to establish how it could have happened. We're taking it very seriously."

 A woman of substance z

back towards Darwin and said look, you're not going to believe this. I've got snakes on a plane." By the time he landed, the snake had retreated into the plane's innards. Air Frontier Director Geoffrey Hunt said traps had been set and the plane would not be used until the snake has been found.

Believe it or not, Helen Collins, a 80year-old lady took the controls of the Cessna twin-engined plane after her 81year-old husband John had a heart attack mid-air. Only seven minutes away from the airport, John Collins alerted his wife to his condition and called her to the cockpit. As she took controls of the plane, which was running low on fuel, he became unconscious. Helen, who has flown hundreds of hours, called police before landing the plane with help from her son over the radio and another pilot

 Abusive pilot at controls z

A pilot was fined `70,894 for cursing a Customs Inspector while making sarcastic remarks about him and his family and Arabs following a road rage incident. The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the American pilot of cursing the 21-year-old Emirati Customs Officer for using bad words against him, his mother, family, and Arab people. When the defendant appeared in court, he pleaded not guilty and argued that he did not recall his outburst. The prosecutors accused the pilot of cursing a Customs Inspector and mocking him and his family. The Inspector took the stand that the defendant honked his horn maddeningly as he chased his car. "My friend was present with me while I was driving my car. Suddenly we heard someone honking his horn annoyingly behind us," he said. "Then he overtook me from the left side and suddenly pulled over in front of me. I was forced to hit my brakes to avoid ramming into his car. Then he walked out of his seat and came directly towards my window‌ without any hesitation he started cursing me and my family. Then he walked away and drove off," the Customs Inspector told prosecutors.

 A tale of aspiring genius z

There was a case of robbery on an Arik Air flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria heading to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Nigeria. A passenger stole `66,703 belonging to another passenger in the business class. The passenger stood up in the aircraft and opened the overhead cabin as if he was searching for missing items in his luggage, but picked `66,703 that another passenger had kept in the bag. He was, however, spotted by other passengers while trying to keep the stolen money in his own baggage.

who guided her to safety. Her son James praised his mother's calmness throughout the tribulation. "At one point, she didn't even want the pilot to go up," he said. "She said, 'Don't you guys think I could do this on my own? Don't you have confidence in me?' She was calmer than everybody on the ground.

The crew immediately interfered by holding up the male suspect. On landing at the Lagos airport, Nigeria, the suspect was handed over to security officials of Arik Air, who subsquently handed him over to aviation security personnel attached to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who in turn transferred the passenger with the exhibit to the domestic wing police station of the airport for further investigation and possible prosecution. An official of FAAN, who confirmed the development, said the authorities were briefed about the incident, but added that the matter was being handled by the police. However, the Divisional Police Officer at the domestic wing station said she was yet to be briefed, though the development could have been reported to the station.

 A drunken flyer's peril z

A passenger, who was supposedly in a drunken state misbehaved with the pilot and CISF officials on his arrival at Karippur International Airport in Kozhikode. He was taken into custody. Police said the 38-year old Jaleel, hailing from Tirur in Malappuram district, Kerala had allegedly tried to manhandle the pilot before the Air India Express 344 DubaiCalicut flight took off. After it landed at Kozhikode, the pilot had informed the CISF, with whom also the passenger misbehaved. A medical check-up revealed that the passenger was drunk and a case was registered.




DOMESTIC AIRLINES JetKonnect extends Premiere services JETKONNECT recently has enhanced its premium service offering with the introduction of its Premiere service onboard its S2 coded flights. Premiere cabins will be introduced on the aircraft in a phased manner, commencing with the first set of six flights. The airline has introduced Premiere on JetKonnect S2 flights on several sectors including Mumbai-Delhi, KolkataGuwahati/Delhi/Agartala, Imphal-Guwahati, MumbaiAurangabad, Delhi-Bengaluru/Chandigarh, among others. JetKonnect guests on these flights may now enjoy the airline's famed Premiere services (identical to that offered by the full-service Jet Airways) - including plush, extra-wide seats, extra legroom, warm service, and personalized, multi-course dining options. According to Sudheer Raghavan, CCO, Jet Airways, “We are delighted with the strong guest response to the launch of JetKonnect, our dedicated low-fare service. The extension of our Premiere services to certain JetKonnect S2 flights is a step towards product harmonisation of the JetKonnect brand, and is in keeping with the increasing demand from our guests for premium services on select routes.”

IndiGo strengthens its summer schedule INDIGO FURTHER enhanced its customer experience with the launch of new flights on its network in April. The airlines introduced two new daily and direct flights between Delhi and Patna, taking the total to three daily services on the route. The airline is now FOCUS CLEAR: IndiGo’s domestic expansion plans operating its could inspire other airlines’ to increase domestic presence. sixth flight from Hyderabad to Delhi, and a new daily flight from Delhi to Vizag via Hyderabad. IndiGo also launched daily and direct flights from Hyderabad to Vishakhapatnam and a new daily flight from Patna to Hyderabad via Delhi.

The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options. Speaking on the addition of new routes to its services, Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo said, “In line with our endeavour to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers, we have introduced additional flights from Delhi, Hyderabad, Patna and Vishakhapatnam. It gives me immense pleasure in announcing these new frequencies, which will provide even more flexibility of choice for our customers, and connect these destinations across India.”

Good news for AI flyers NOW ECONOMY class travellers can get themselves upgraded to Executive Class in an Air India flight flying from any of the 45 cities the carrier operates in. The national carrier has extended this scheme to 28 more cities apart from existing 17. “Under Air India's on-going airport up-grade scheme named 'Get Up Front', passengers flying in Economy Class can avail upgrade subject to availability of seats in Executive Class at the airport, on payment of a fixed amount of `4,000 for travel distance up to 750 km and `6,000 for distance more than 750 km,” an Air India Spokesperson said. The offer is open to all passengers holding tickets in Economy class, including APEX fares. Passengers holding frequent flyer award tickets would also be able to avail the upgrade facility by paying the requisite upgrade amount. The scheme is valid till June 30. The scheme would now be available at Chandigarh, Gwalior, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Khajuraho, Leh, Srinagar, Udaipur and Raipur in Northern sector. It can also be availed at Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Jamnagar, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot in Western sector, Coimbatore, Madurai, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Vijaywada, Mangalore in Southern sector and at Bagdogra, Bhubaneswar, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal, Ranchi, Silchar in Eastern sector. 100 per cent Bonus Miles on select domestic and international routes: As part of the switch in the domestic schedule from March 26 onwards, Air India has made certain changes to its schedule and capacities by adding new flights on three routes, namely Delhi-Bahrain-Delhi, VisakhapatnamDubai-Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad-Kolkata-Hyderabad. In addition, services have been increased on certain routes. The airline will be flying five flights a week on the DelhiTokyo-Delhi route instead of four, seven flights a week on Delhi-Dammam-Delhi instead of two, three flights a week on Delhi-Riyadh-Delhi route instead of two, and two daily flights on Mumbai-Cochin-Mumbai route instead of 1. Air India has also upgraded its equipment on few of the

GoAir spreads its wings to Chennai AS PART of GoAir's growth strategy to strengthen the existing network, connecting 22 places in India, Chennai has been added as its 22nd destination. The airline, with the addition of its 12th Airbus A320 has started operations from the city. GoAir introduced double daily round trip services between Chennai-Mumbai, a daily flight between Chennai and Pune and five weekly frequencies between Chennai and Port Blair. The schedule of Chennai-Mumbai flights will allow easy connections between Chennai and Delhi, Chandigarh, Patna and Ranchi.



SpiceJet first to import jet fuel has become the first airline to receive government approval for directly importing Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). Reliance Industries Ltd is likely to import jet fuel for SpiceJet. “SpiceJet is negotiating with leading oil marketing companies. We are hopeful of commencing the import of fuel in due course. Importing fuel from overseas markets at comparatively lower price would help us considerably bring down our operational cost,” said a release from the airline. The low-cost airline will start importing fuel at an airport in southern India on a pilot basis to check the economic viability of the process. Kingfisher Airlines and Air India are the

segments as well. It is using B777 on Mumbai- Riyadh Mumbai and Delhi-Singapore-Delhi route instead of B747 and A319 respectively, A330 instead of A320 on MumbaiSingapore-Mumbai route and A321 instead of CRJs on DelhiVisakhapatnam-Delhi. They are offering all Flying Returns (Air India's Loyalty programme) members a 100 per cent bonus mileage for flights taken between April 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012 on any of these routes.

DDF launches new Gucci fragrances Delhi Duty Free Services (DDFS) recently launched a new selective collection of fragrances from Italian fashion house Gucci exclusively in India at Indira Gandhi International airport, Terminal 3. The Gucci Flora Garden range features three scents, Glamorous Magnolia, Gracious Tuberose and Gorgeous Gardenia, and has been created by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini. DDFS CEO, Steve O Connor said, “Perfumes have been one of the highest-selling and most popular product categories at Delhi Duty Free after liquor. DDFS' aim is to ensure that customers from around the world are offered the latest and best perfumes, and our goal is to keep launching new ranges from global brands. Partnering with a brand like Gucci to exclusively launch its Flora Garden range at our shops not just enhances our store's variety and distinctiveness, but also gives GoAir started has been operating in Port Blair since last October from/to Kolkata and Delhi. The new flight from Chennai will allow an easy connection with the same aircraft from/to Mumbai. Speaking on the occasion, Giorgio De Roni, CEO, GoAir, said, “We have been looking to expand our footprint in southern India for a while and Chennai is another step forwards. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility and choice to our customers, delivering value for money both to business and leisure travellers.” In talks with European firms for maintenance, spares: GoAir is in talks with two European companies for taking care of

other two airlines which have shown interest in importing jet fuel directly. Approached by Gulf-based, Southeast Asian airlines: Spicejet has been approached by several Gulf-based and Southeast Asian airlines for investments. However, no concrete steps will be taken before the government reaches a decision on foreign investment. “We have been approached by several Gulf and Southeast Asian airlines, all on a tentative basis,” Neil Mills, carrier's Chief Executive, told Reuters. “We have said that we are interested in exploring any option for us that makes business sense but until a decision has been taken on FDI there is no point in taking it further,” Mills said in an interview.

the Indian travellers the extra edge. We are grateful to our business partners for rendering such timely launches and working creatively with us to ensure each launch is successful.”

Kingfisher pushes for ATF import Kingfisher Airlines recently began the process of importing aviation fuel, a move that could help the cash-strapped carrier bring down its fuel bill but present substantial and costly LUXURY-REDEFINED: Inside view of an logistical challenges. Kingfisher’s aircraft. “Kingfisher Airlines has received authorisation from the Director General of Foreign Trade for the import of aviation turbine fuel ... and we are taking active steps to initiate the process of ATF import,” the company said in a statement. Oil and gas major Reliance Industries said that it was in talks with a number of airlines to provide jet fuel infrastructure and transport services. Earlier, India in February gave the green light to direct imports of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), a long-standing demand from carriers forced to buy fuel more than 50 percent costlier than the global average, mostly due to local taxes. the company's aircraft maintenance and supply of spare parts. After launching service to Chennai, which will be the 22nd national destination for the airline, Giorgio De Roni, Chief Executive Officer, Go Airlines (India) Ltd said, “Currently the aircraft maintenance is done in-house. As the airline's fleet is increasing, it will be better to have a maintenance agreement with another carrier which will help bring down the cost.” “While minor maintenance activities will be carried out in the country, major overhaul will be taken up outside India,” added Kamal Kikani, Vice-President - Customer Service and Airports, Go Airlines (India) Ltd.




INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES Etihad commences flights to Nairobi ETIHAD AIRWAYS' inaugural passenger flight to Kenya recently touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi. The A320 aircraft has 16 Pearl Business class and 120 Coral Economy class seats. The new daily, two-class A320 service is the airline's first passenger service to East Africa and a critically Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan important step in expanding its presence in Africa. Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said, “We are delighted to introduce Etihad Airways to East Africa. This year will see considerable growth for us within Africa as a whole, as we observe strong and emerging markets across the continent. We expect to see strong loads to China, including our new destinations - Chengdu and Shanghai - and of course Beijing, though the schedule allows sub-four hour connectivity to key destinations across North Asia, South East Asia, the Indian

British Airways' amazing fares to Spain ALL IBERIA flights operating between London Heathrow and Madrid will depart from and arrive into London Heathrow Terminal 5, giving travellers a wider network choice in addition to an enhanced travel convenience. Travellers will now USHERING TRAVEL: British Airways plane have the advantage to lined up at one of the airports. mix and match Iberia and British Airways' flights to and from Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria and Palma Mallora enabling them to access flights to suit their schedule and budgets. “Owing to popular Bollywood cinema and destination promotions, Spain has increasingly become a hotspot for Indian tourists and leisure travellers.” said Christopher Fordyce, Regional Commercial Manager - British Airways South Asia. “Our customers can now reap the real benefits of our merger with Iberia as we welcome them into Terminal 5. We are excited to introduce these thrilling fares to them, making their entire travel experience one of ease and delight.” Enters new codeshare agreement with American Airlines: Sharing deeper links into Asia, British Airways and American Airlines recently announced a new codeshare agreement on flights from London to five key Indian cities. Attributable to British Airways' extensive flight network, travellers can travel to global destinations hubbed from London. Flyers can experience Terminal 5 in Heathrow as the nucleus of British Airways' network structure and London as the destination to be, in 2012 with the impending Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee celebrations this year. This new codeshare agreement will provide British Airways' Indian customers with more convenient choices and greater connectivity when travelling on transatlantic routes. The two airlines will code share on services from Heathrow to Bangalore,


Subcontinent and Australia.” Etihad President named as WTTC Vice Chairman: The President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, has been named World Tourism and Travel Council's (WTTC) Vice Chairman for the Middle East and Africa. The announcement was made at the 12th WTTC Global Summit being held at the Pamir Convention Centre in Tokyo, Japan. James Hogan is a member of the Executive Committee for the 2012 WTTC Global Summit event. Hogan said he was delighted to accept the position of WTTC Vice Chairman for the Middle East and Africa and looked forward to playing a major role in planning the 13th WTTC Global Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi in April/May 2013. “The WTTC annual Global Summit is the pre-eminent event in the global travel and tourism calendar. It brings together more than 1000 industry and government leaders from around the world to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing travel and tourism and to set the agenda for the future health of the industry. The travel and tourism industries are a major contributor to the meteoric rise of Abu Dhabi and its emerging role on the global stage,” said Hogan. Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. “India remains one of our most important long-haul destinations and this codeshare service with American Airlines will serve as the perfect complement to our existing European routes providing customer access to US, Canada and Mexico.” said Christopher Fordyce, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager-South Asia.

Turkish Airlines introduces promotional fares TURKISH AIRLINES recently announced new promotional fares for Indian fliers this summer on its daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai. This is yet another initiative taken by the company to woo its Indian customers and offer them prices like never before. The new fares will be valid until July 31, 2012. Speaking on the occasion, Adnan Aykac, General Manager, Northern-Eastern India, Turkish Airlines said, “With a view to serve our Indian fliers in the best way possible, we are pleased to announce the special promotional fares this summer. These fares are aimed at giving our fliers the freedom to travel to any destination across the globe this holiday season without having to worry about exorbitant airfares.”

Fly to Kenya directly from New Delhi KENYA AIRWAYS recently announced commencement of direct flights from the Indian Capital, New Delhi from May 16, 2012. The launch of this new route highlights Kenya Airways' efforts to provide seamless travel and accessibility to travellers from Africa to the Indian subcontinent and vice versa. Kenya Airways will fly to Nairobi from New Delhi four times a week on a Boeing 767-300. “New Delhi is the second city after Mumbai that we will be flying to India, we intend to open four more destinations in the sub continent as


part of our 10 year expansion strategy,” said Dr Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Further elaborating on the same, Jennifer Opondo, Head of Marketing, Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) highlighted that, “India has become the primary source market for Kenya in Asia region with 58,986 Indian arrivals to the destination for the period January - December 2011. India ranks at number 5 amongst the largest tourism generating source markets for destination Kenya. We anticipate consistent forecast of 10 per cent to 15 per cent increase in Indian arrivals for the coming few years.”

Dragonair ushers flights to Jeju, Chiang Mai DRAGONAIR recently announced that three more destinations will be added to its regional network, with new services to Jeju in South Korea and Chiang Mai in Thailand, together with the resumption of scheduled services to Taichung. The strengthening of the airline's network will offer more options for people travelling from Hong Kong and Mainland China within the AsiaPacific region. The service to Jeju began from May 1 with three flights a week. Chiang Mai will be a seasonal scheduled service with four flights a week operating from July 1 to the end of September. Taichung, meanwhile, will be served by two flights a day starting from May 14. Airbus A320 aircraft will be in use for all three routes. When Jeju and Chiang Mai come online, Dragonair will be the only airline operating direct non-stop services between Hong Kong and these popular tourist destinations. “This latest strengthening of our network will reinforce Dragonair's strong position in providing seamless connectivity for passengers in both our core Mainland China market and within the wider Asia Pacific region. We believe these new and resumed services will be a significant boon in terms of developing business and tourism ties between Hong Kong and

ON AN EXPANSION SPREE: Dragonair’s has been strenghthening its regional network.

these three destinations,” said Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Patrick Yeung. Dragonair has earlier announced its expansion plans for fleet and network together with the enhancement of products and services. A few destinations are being studied at the moment. Besides the mentioned destinations, the airline is also planning to operate to Clark, The Philippines and is now pending for government approval.

Emirates announces new global brand platform EMIRATES is set to launch a new global brand platform and direction, themed “Hello Tomorrow,” which positions the global

INNOVATIVE MEASURES: Emirates’ has been clear in its focus to give worldclass experience to its passengers.

airline as the enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences. Emirates is embarking on an integrated marketing communications campaign with a new brand promise as the company continues its evolution from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. “Our new corporate image and global marketing campaign both underline the confidence we have in our existing products and services, and the vision we have for the future growth of the airline,” said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Vice Chairman of Emirates Airline and Group. “Emirates, slated to become the world's largest airline by 2017, represents these global individuals who we call 'globalistas' - they are our customers and also our multi-cultural work force which is made up of more than 45,000 people from over 165 different nations. Emirates is the brand that is enabling this global lifestyle,” Sir Maurice Flanagan added. The campaign was created with Emirates lead communications partner Strawberry Frog, the world's first Cultural Movement agency. “We're building on decades of innovation in Emirates marketing to launch this new and innovative movement for the world's most thoughtful and incredible brand,” said Scott Goodson, Chairman of Strawberry Frog.

Virgin Atlantic's perfect pout BareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in shade 'Upper Class Red' will mark the launch of the airline's redesigned Upper Class cabin which takes to the skies this spring. The airline has chosen the award-winning makeup brand bareMinerals to select the perfect lip product to re-create the iconic 'Virgin Atlantic Red' giving high-flying passengers the chance to experience the jet-set glamour and style synonymous with the airline's cabin crew. The striking lip colour, 'Upper Class Red', will be made available for being sold to the public for preorder on board Virgin Atlantic flights through the

airline's inflight shopping guide, Retail Therapy. It will also be sold at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Spa at Heathrow, Gatwick and New York's JFK airport before it is made more widely available later this year at selected bareMinerals stockists. Rebecca Creer, Senior Spas and Grooming Manager at Virgin Atlantic, said, “Red hot lips have always been a trademark of our cabin crew, signifying the strength and confidence they embody. With the launch of 'Upper Class Red', this is finally being made available to passengers - meaning one swipe is all you need to create a classic and timeless look - something our cabin crew can certainly vouch for!”


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TRAVEL & TOURISM Japan Visa Application Centre opens in Delhi THE EMBASSY of Japan in India introduced the processing of visa applications through external service provider in North India by formally inaugurating the Japan Visa Application Centre (JVAC), located at International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi. Operational since April 2, 2012, this new facility is managed by VFS Global, the global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. VFS Global will be responsible for accepting and processing

FAST FORWARD: Aya Yoshida and Vishal Jairath lighting the lamp at the inauguration of Japan Visa Application Centre.

Amadeus, Accor extend 10-year collaboration AMADEUS and Accor recently announced an extension of their revenue management partnership. Under this new agreement, both companies will work on achieving higher adoption of Amadeus Revenue Management that will permit Accor to make more informed decisions, optimise the room capacity and drive revenue growth by selling the right product to the right customer at the right time for the right price. Jean-Luc Chrétien, Executive VP Sales, Distribution and Loyalty at Accor Hospitality commented, “Over these 10 years of cooperation, Amadeus has proved to be a key partner and supported us in the deployment of the revenue management solution across our organisation. For this reason, we are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with Amadeus to keep collaborating in a closer way to provide our Hotel Revenue Managers with a sophisticated solution to increase the profitability of our hotels.” While Jeff Edwards, Amadeus Head of Global Hotel Business, commented, “We are very enthusiastic to extend our relationship with Accor, cooperating in more depth to support their operational processes and achieve a higher adoption. Accor Revenue Managers will further benefit from a unique technology to adjust more rapidly to an ever-changing environment and to ultimately maximise their competitiveness.”

Eurail Italy pass tops popularity charts EURAIL GROUP G.I.E., the organisation dedicated to the marketing and management of the Eurail pass products, announced that the Eurail Italy Pass is the second most popular Eurail pass sold in 2011, indicating that Italy remains one of the most appealing European countries to visit for passengers travelling by rail. “The success of the Eurail Italy Pass is really the result of sales and marketing efforts by the entire Eurail team and its sales agents around the world. Of course, an excellent rail and tourism product such as the one Italy offers is of importance as well,” said Ana Dias e Seixas, Marketing Director, Eurail Group. The total passenger numbers for the Eurail Italy Pass in


applications for Japan visas from applicants residing in India. All applications will continue to be assessed by The Embassy of Japan in New Delhi. The key features of the centre are longer operating hours, dedicated website for easy access, visa information including visa types, applicable fees and application status, professional and responsive staff dedicated to handle visa queries, dedicated call centre unit along-with a dedicated Japanese speaking helpline, email support and door-step delivery of passports.

2011 reached 68,732, a remarkable 8.5 per cent increase on 2010 sales. The Eurail Global Pass, valid in 23 countries (including Italy), was the most popular pass with a notable 100,856 START TO FINISH: Eurail provides passes sold in 2011. FROM unmatched connectivity. Besides the number of pass holders who travelled to Italy with the Eurail Italy Pass and the Global Pass, more than 200,000 travellers purchased a Eurail country combination pass, which included Italy. Italy's railway network is as attractive as the country itself, offering an impressive high-speed system connecting Italy from North to South. As a result, rail travel has become increasingly popular within the country.

Vivid Sydney to light up city VIVID SYDNEY, the annual festival of light, music and ideas commences from May 25 to June 11, 2012 featuring the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails. Vivid Sydney is one of five signature events in the New South Wales Events Calendar developed by Destination NSW with the NSW Government as the major investor. Now in its fourth year, Vivid Sydney has become Sydney's major festival in Australian winter, lighting up the city each night from 6 pm and with free and ticketed events at Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay and The Rocks. As a major partner of Sydney Opera House, Origin Energy will support Vivid LIVE 2012 by offsetting carbon emissions from this year's Festival. From May 25-June 3, Vivid LIVE will take over the Sydney Opera House with an extraordinary series of performances including exclusive concerts, unique collaborations and one-off projects. With over 22 events including 11 Australian premieres, 2 world premieres and many artists exclusive to Sydney, Vivid LIVE 2012 reinforces Sydney Opera House as the ultimate winter destination for music fans across Australia. Vivid Sydney 2012 will feature Vivid Ideas, an 18-day programme of public and industry events that will focus on creative ideas, discussion and collaboration.


This year's programme will consist of a selection of international keynote talks, information sessions and discussion panels all open to the public and industry only events including conferences, workshops, networking and fundraisers.

Tourism Board stall was appreciated and International travelers showed interest in visiting Chhattisgarh in the future.

Vantage Hoteliers launch VanMYT Hospitality

SUBODH KANT SAHAI, Minister of Tourism, Government of India inaugurated the Conference on Rajasthan: The Heritage Corridor on April 15, 2012 at Hotel Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, organised by PHD Chamber in Jaipur. Sahai said that even when the entire global economy was hit by recession and incurred heavy losses, the tourism sector had flourished profusely and has become an important tool for earning foreign exchange. The Minister also stated that Ministry of Tourism should aim at doubling the inbound tourist traffic and should aggregate to around an increase of 5 million by 2017. He further added the Planning Commission's 12th Five Year Plan highlighted the tourism sector as a tool for poverty alleviation. Bina Kak, Minister of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan said the PHD Chamber has taken the initiative of conservation and preservation of heritage sites in the state of Rajasthan. The State Government has taken measures for preservation of Heritage sites, and also informed that the Amber Development Authority, Government of Rajasthan has initiated and taken steps to build & preserve heritage monuments in the state.

Chhattisgarh Tourism Board wins award CHHATTISGARH Tourism Board recently won the “Best Tourism Promotion” award at International Tourism Conclave and Travel Awards (ITCTA) held in Shimla. The board received the award from Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister (Himachal Pradesh) in presence of R H Khwaja, Secretary, Tourism (Govt. of India) and Manisha Nanda, Principal Secretary, Tourism (Govt of Himachal Pradesh). This award was given to the board on basis of a special networking survey conducted among tour operators and travel agents across India. Recently Chhattisgarh was ranked fourth among the top five tourist destinations by the Sunday Indian-Abacus Market Research 'State of the States' survey and also won the “Best Emerging State” in tourism given at Travel and Hospitality award 2012. Also, during the Tourism Fair in Germany, the Chhattisgarh

Mauritius Tourism Promotion receives award MAURITIUS Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) bagged 'Best Outbound Tourism Promotion Award' at the prestigious award ceremony of International Tourism Conclave and Travel Awards function. At SERENE BEAUTY: Mauritius boasts of worldclass beaches and islands. the function, Rajeev Nangia highlighted various facets of destination Mauritius through an interactive presentation and showed an engrossing video on Mauritius. Prominent travel trade personalities like Guldeep Singh Sahni of Weldon Tours and Travels, Riaz Munshi of N Chirag Travels also shared their experience of Mauritius. ITCTA is one of the finest event dedicated to inbound, outbound and domestic tourism to Discover India- Discover World. The aim of the event was to accumulate tourism, hospitality, aviation industry, tour organisers, tour operators and travel agents. AUTOCARHIRE.COM

A SIGNIFICANT alliance was announced at the Hotel Investment Conference South Asia, as Vantage Hospitality Group and three preeminent names from the Asian American lodging community introduced VanMYT Hospitality and revealed plans to launch Vantage's Value Inn Worldwide and Value Hotel Worldwide brands in India. Vantage Hospitality has given the exclusive right to develop its limited-service and select-service brands in Southeast Asia to VanMYT Hospitality. VanMYT brings together the resources of Vantage and Mukesh Mowji, Yogesh Patel, and Tarun Patel, representing top leadership in the Asian American lodging industry and the Indian travel market. The group's goal is to have multiple properties in key geographic regions of India during the first year and to exceed 100 properties in three years. Serving as Chairman of VanMYT, Vantage Hospitality President & CEO Roger Bloss, said, “Vantage Hospitality has been growing internationally, and to be able to now have our brands enter India through a relationship with three esteemed industry veterans is very exciting. I'm also pleased that VanMYT plans to emulate Vantage's unique Freestyle Brand Affiliation model that allows hotel owners to 'be in business for themselves, not by themselves.”

Rajasthan: The heritage corridor

Jonty unveils travel diary

undertake. At the same time we wanted the information to be In a first of its kind association, South African Tourism presented in a manner that would really tempt the Indian recently teamed up with renowned traveller to visit South Africa.” cricketer, Jonty Rhodes and Lonely Caroline McClelland, a South Planet to unveil “My South African African Fashion Photographer and Diary” penned by Jonty to promote the Jonty Rhodes' fiancé has done the destination amongst Indian travellers. photo shoot for this travel diary. Commenting on the launch, Elaborating on his association Hanneli Slabber, Country Head, South with South African Tourism, Jonty African Tourism said, “South Africa as Rhodes, said, “People often mention a travel destination is steadily gaining about going to various exotic locations popularity among Indian travellers. for holiday but for me some of the We thought of creating a handy guide most memorable holidays have been HAILING SOUTH AFRICA: (L-R) South African Deputy Minister of National Department of Tourism, on South Africa that will give detailed in South Africa. The country Tokozile Xasa along with Hanneli Slabber Countryinformation on the must-visit places mesmerises you with its pristine Head, South African Tourism, India and Jonty and activities that one look forward to beauty and vibrant culture.” Rhodes unveiling the book. CRUISING HEIGHTS May 2012

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Fly the white dove into the sky…

A TRIBUTE TO LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: (L-R) Mentor Tracey Emin and Designer Pascal Anson in an elated mood after unveiling the design of BA’s ‘Dove’ aircraft; a model of BA’s ‘Dove’ aircraft and signature of Designer Pascal Anson on the newly-designed plane.

s it a bird, or is it a plane? Well, it is both: a plane painted as a Dove in white and gold. Launched to celebrate the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games, BA’s ‘Dove’ has been designed by gay designer and the Kingston University design tutor Pascal Anson from Brighton in southern England, with mentoring from artist Tracey Emin. Nine A319 aircraft with the Olympic design will be flying on European routes over the next year. Anson, one of the winners of BA’s “Great Britons” — a competition that was held to discover hidden British talent — used the plane’s cockpit for the Dove’s beak, the fuselage and wings for the bird’s main body and the tailfin for the tail feathers. The Dove was chosen because they are “internationally recognised as a symbol of peace and social



unity, and were also used in previous Olympic Games ceremonies, including the last London Games in 1948”, according to the carrier. The choice of the Dove was significant. Pascal said, “I’ve often looked up at aircraft landing and wondered if it’s a bird or a plane, and the idea developed from there.” He also mentioned that “the Dove signifies a positive message wherever you go in the world. I also hope it makes people stop, think and look twice.” Proud of her ‘protégé’, mentor Emin pointed out that the first time she saw “Pascal’s design, it made me smile. I will constantly be looking up every time I hear a plane fly over. The plane is universal. Everyone will understand it.” While a team of 10 people took 950 hours to spraypaint the aircraft, the design has evoked some sharp respons-


es. One such came from the art critic of the Guardian, Jonathan Jones. He commented that the Dove was a symbol of the Holy Spirit closely associated with the annunciation. However, though “Pascal Anson has had a beautiful idea”, no one was going to “mistake it for a Dove”. Incidentally, it was a complex project that BA’s operations manager for external appearance, David Barnes, and his team had ever undertaken. The main reason for that was the intricacy of the design: it is difficult to make a plane look like a feathered bird. To top it all, Pascal wanted to use a metallic colour but that was not allowed since metallic paints interfere with radar signals. So, a new mica resin was created for the bright gold finish. Yes, and it was named, ‘Dove Gold’.

Cruising heights  

cruising heights may 2012

Cruising heights  

cruising heights may 2012