AERO COVER final:AERO COVER.qxd
REMEMBERING INDIA’S AND THE WORLD’S FIRST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT 100 YEARS AGO
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011 n ` 90
AERO INDIA 2011
ALL EYES ARE ON BENGALURU, THE AEROSPACE HUB OF INDIA , AS THE STAGE IS SET FOR ASIA’S PREMIER AIRSHOW
Over and out!
n January 19, Praful Patel finally relinquished charge as Minister for Civil Aviation. He was being promoted as a Cabinet Minister after close to six and three quarters of a year as the undisputed czar of the civil aviation sector. So, how will history remember him? First, that this period was marked by profound changes in the civil aviation sector. Not even half of what was achieved in the first years of his regime had, perhaps, been achieved in the earlier 50 years. But he was a lucky bloke as well; he was the right man at the right place at the right time. The liberalisation of the Narasimha Rao years and the steady progress under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) was finally coming to head and he simply used the tailwind to send his kite soaring. The entire exercise of acquisition of aircraft for Air India and Indian Airlines had gone back and forth for years without any clear-cut decision. When he came in, it was ready to be ordered: the evaluations had been done, the numbers had been calculated and all that needed to be done was negotiate and order. He pushed the orders through although many still ask about the offsets and the renegotiation. But that’s always the case. The NDA had given licenses to several operators and the first of these — Air Deccan — launched operations months (August 2003) before Praful arrived as Civil Aviation Minister in May 2004. Spicejet began operations in May 2005 and IndiGo arrived in August 2006. Suddenly, it was as if scores of Udipi Hotels (to use Air Deccan founder Captain Gopinath’s favourite express to describe low-cost flying as akin to seating idlis and vadas!) were operating from the sky! It sort of boosted the traffic growth by unprecedented levels of up to 40 per cent and you had Rs 1 and Rs 201 and Rs 500 tickets on sale all the time. While traditionalists like Jet Airways’ Naresh Goyal described it as lunacy, the aam janta loved it, revelled in it and many believed that Praful Patel had ushered in a revolution. Lucky bloke: right guy at the right
SMILES AND A SMOOTH TAKEOVER: Praful Patel (extreme right) hands over the reins of the Civil Aviation Ministry to Vayalar Ravi (with white shawl), the new minister.
place at the right time. And, mind you, he didn’t issue any fresh licenses except to regional airlines — none of which have come up. That, however, is really not the point. The issue is he was willing to bite the bullet and take a call when the subject was complex and controversial: be it privatization of airports or its modernisation, enhanced bilaterals (that has shot through the roof, caused plenty of controversy but enormously improved the options of scores of sectors) and set about freeing the sector. But the one great albatross around his neck was Air India. No one’s still understood the rationale for the merger or what it has achieved. But, it will be a pity if he is remembered for the merger and not for many of his other contributions. His successor Vayalar Ravi is a feisty politician who has spent years as a trade unionist. He is the sort of person who has the stamina and the guts for the long haul. It also helps that Ravi and Praful are great friends. It’s made for an easy transition. Good luck and God speed to the new minister and the promoted Mantriji!
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Off the cuff
Content 2-3 march CH 2008 final new.qxd
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
Aero India 2011, the country's top air show, held in Bengaluru, has made the nation proud: on one hand, it will showcase the country's progress towards indigenisation of the aviation sector, and on the other, it will be proof enough that India is a top aviation market in the world. A look of the air show and all that it promises.
Photo by H C Tiwari
Death of e-travel? Is it the end of e-travel? That is one question that is being asked by many in the US. Many airlines, according to the blog in The Economist, seem to be realising that dealing with many different external websites is not profitable. Southwest Airlines, for example, only makes its fares available on its website. Delta Airlines last month told three sites —CheapOair, OneTravel and BookIt—that their services were no longer required. And American Airlines stopped using Orbitz on December 21 because of a contract dispute. Now American is also embroiled in a dispute with Expedia, which has suspended the sale of the airline’s flights on its site (although they remain listed on Expedia’s corporate travel site, Egencia). The reason behind Expedia's decision is American's introduction of a ticket-selling system that requires agencies to link to its new “Direct Connect” platform. According to the blog, American says Direct Connect will “help travel agencies help their own customers by giving them access to customized choices.” But Expedia responds that American’s new commercial strategy is “anticonsumer and anti-choice,” and will result in “higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American’s ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines.” American said it didn’t expect any significant impact from Expedia's decision and has noted that year-onyear ticket sales actually increased following Orbitz’s removal. But it also insists that it isn’t planning to eliminate travel agencies altogether and that it hopes to reach new deals with both Expedia and Orbitz. Will such a move ever take place in India? Perhaps, it will take some time simply because no carrier wants to let go of any chance to get more passengers. With only a handful of domestic carriers, will the airlines be in a position to withdraw from e-travel portals?
A peek into the airlines industry shows it was a mega start for Indigo this year with its orders for 180 aircraft from Airbus. The Ground Handling Policy's journey faces turbulence. Plus: 2011 will be the year of Airbus and much more…
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Aviation around the world started with the first flight in India taking place a century ago. To commemorate the occasion, the government has declared 2011-2012 as Indian Civil Aviation Centenary Year. There will be specialised events and celebrations running up to 2012.
Content 2-3 march CH 2008 final new.qxd
contents ARTICLES NEWS VIEWS EDITS INTERVIEWS CLIPPINGS PROFILES NEWS DIGEST
CRUISING HEIGHTS Volume V No 10
K SRINIVASAN Managing Editor
CRUISING HEIGHTS talks to Marcel Hungerbuehler, President, BIAL, about Bengaluru airport achieving the rare distinction of becoming the fastest growing airport and its future plans Plus he ascribes the success to consistency in maintaining and improving facilities at the airport.
Group Consulting Editor
The former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will be remembered for his efforts to bring the Indian Civil Aviation industry in front of the world. Will the new minister continue the journey Well, its wait and watch for us to see how his successor Vayalar Ravi takes on the aviation industry?
NANDU MANJESHWAR Deputy Editor
P C SINGH Special Correspondent (Mumbai)
ROOHI AHMAD Copy Editor
ASHOK KUMAR Editorial Coordinator
LAKSHMI SINGH Sub-editor-cum-reporters
JASLEEN KAUR, PUNIT MISHRA Design
RUCHI SINHA, PRADEEP JHA, SHIV Picture Editor
PRADEEP CHANDRA Photo Editor
Cathay Pacific has notched up profits and has plans to expand services. A look at how Nick Rhodes, Cathay Pacific's cargo chief, has chalked out plans for Asia and India. Meanwhile, FedEx has established links between India with Asia and Birmingham Airport is all set to welcome direct flights to and from India. Plus: Mangalore airport emerges as important economic and commercial centre.
Wondering what's happening with airlines and air service providers? We bring you a wide spectrum of domestic and international updates that will keep you informed about their plans, performances, initiatives and special deals.
H C TIWARI —————————— Publishing Director
ROHIT GOEL Director (Admin & Corporate Affairs)
Did you know that Mile High Club is not meant for celebs alone? Mike Crisp dared to dream high by flying a Cessna Grand Caravan and provided opportunities to couples to join the Mile High Club. Read on to know how much Mike has invested on his Caravan and how the couples are treated to an experience that they can cherish for a lifetime. Cover Photo: Courtesy Ministry of Defence
Cover Design: Ruchi Sinha
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Asst. Manager (Subscription)
JAYA SINGH (Mob. 9650433044)
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Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd., D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -110 013 Tel: +91-11-41033381-82 All information in CRUISING HEIGHTS is derived from sources we consider reliable. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. Opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract or in interviews are not necessarily shared by us. Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part(s) without prior permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any loss caused by any delay in publication, error or failure of advertisement to appear. Owned and published by K Srinivasan 4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Delhi-91 and printed by him at Nutech Photolithographers, B-240, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi-110020.
final add 8x11 AAI.qxd
Providing state of the art transition through Indian skies
Emerging Global ANSP
2.8 Million Sq/NM 4FIRs 11 Enroute centres 124 airports 26 Radars ADS-CPDLC- Oceanic surveillance ASMGCS- Ground surveilalnce
UNDER IMPLEMENTATION GAGAN(SBAS), GBAS Additional Radars to achieve 100 per cent coverage ADS-B - to complement/ supplement radars Tower Automation - 38 airports Central ATFM Consolidation of enroute centres
Creating infrastructure for aviation with global approach
Periscope 4-5 March 2008.qxd
“By 2030, the commercial aviation industry is expected to be worth $350 billion, thus contributing 5 per cent to India’s GDP.” KAPIL KAUL, South Asia CEO, CAPA, on the future of airline industry in India.
Give me more
“India is a hugely important market for Etihad — in fact, we operate to more destinations in India than any other country. The (new service is the) first to operate between Bangalore and the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi.”
NEERJA BHATIA, Etihad Airways’ Country Manager-India, on Etihad Airways’ new flight service from India.
LETTERS TO EDITOR
THE interviews of various personalities were worth reading. All these celebrities had their own stories to tell about their inflight experiences and some of the stories were very interesting. I specially liked reading the interviews of Prahlad Kakkar, Daboo Ratnani, Vinod Dua, Sunil Shetty, Remo Fernandes, Arun Lal, Penaz Masani, Pritish Nandy, Pria Kataria Puri, Rajiv Jain, Sabyasachi Hajara, Sushil Kumar, Swapan Seth, Talat Aziz and Usha Uthup. The best things about the interviews were that all the personalities were candid and put their views forward without any inhibition. I would like to congratulate CRUISING HEIGHTS for coming up with such an issue, which the readers will cherish for a long time. Alok Singh, Dhanbad The take-off story A first against O’Leary! (January, 2010) was a nice read. Captain Morgan Fischer has really done a class act, which is rare nowadays. His courage of conviction is laudable because he took the CEO Michael O’Leary head on. Captain Morgan Fischer has set an example of how one can freely air his views when he thinks he is right. However, his outrageous comment cost him his job. The 41-year-old American is a true hero for those who believe in freedom of speech. Gyan Tomar, Ajmer
I truly relished reading the story AirAsia First: A wedding in the air (January, 2010). The wedding must have been truly unique and AirAsia should be complimented for that. Hosting a unique in-flight wedding for its long serving employee Iswara, and his bride, Thanusyia must have been indeed memorable not only for the couple but also for all those who witnessed the show. It is also heartening to know that the traditional Indian wedding, complete with drums and nadaswaram, was attended by friends and relatives of the bride and bridegroom. Ram Monohar, Surat
‘’We want to constantly improve the system. Earlier, the police would book unruly passengers under IPC (Indian Penal Code). The new clauses are a codified response to on-board indiscipline.’’ E K BHARAT BHUSHAN, Director General of Civil Aviation, on the incorporation of new clauses to deter on-board indiscipline.
“Kerala has very good traffic and connectivity to Gulf countries. Kochi, Calicut and Trivandrum airports remain very busy. It is time to create hubs in India for airlines the way Dubai has done.”
Air India CMD, ARVIND JADHAV, on creating more hubs for airlines in India.
Great promise “The Boeing 777F boasts the longest-range capability of all twin-engine jets, is quieter and uses less fuel per tonne than other freighters, which are all increasingly important as the industry demands more environmentally sound practices globally.”
RAM MENEN, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, on the Emirates SkyCargo’s new-generation Boeing 777 Freighter.
All correspondence may be addressed to Editor, Cruising Heights, D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -13, OR mail to email@example.com.
Out of the box
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Optimistic note “The airline’s (Air India) earlier proposal for providing `1,200 crore as equity is likely to go before the Cabinet soon. In addition, the airline has sought an additional `2,000 crore in Budget 2011-12.” Former Civil Aviation Minister, PRAFUL PATEL, on Air India’s equity infusion.
Periscope 4-5 March 2008.qxd
2010: Accidents and deaths on the rise
passengers in 2010, compared to one death for every 4.5 million passengers in 2009. The worst accidents were: ½ The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 that crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Beirut in January, killing 90 people. ½ The Air India Express Boeing 737-800 crash in May, which killed 158 people in Mangalore, India. ½ The Afriqiyah Airbus A330 crash in May in Tripoli, Libya, killing 104 people. ½ The Airblue Airbus A321, which crashed in Islamabad, Pakistan, in July, killing 152 people. The four crashes accounted for roughly 65 per cent of the total fatalities around the world in 2010.
The number of fatal aircraft accidents worldwide rose in 2010, with the bulk of the fatalities coming from airlines in India, Pakistan, and African nations, according to a report from the London-based aviation consultancy, Ascend Worldwide. In 2010, the number of fatal aircraft accidents worldwide increased to one in 1.3 million flights, up from one in 1.5 million in 2009, the safest year on record, according to the report. The total number of fatal crashes rose 22 per cent last year to 28 incidents, from 23 in 2009, exceeding the annual average of the past decade of 27. Last year, 828 passenger and crew were killed in crashes around the globe, up from 731 in 2009, and four per cent worse than the annual average for the past decade. That averages out to one fatality for every 3.8 million
LOOKING GLASS Handcuffs or a fine of Rs five lakhs? What will it be for bad behaviour?
Recovery path “Growth is slowing towards normal historical levels in the 5-6 per cent range. Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the momentum of economic expansion in developing markets.” IATA Director-General, GIOVANNI BISIGNANI, on the international air traffic.
Ushering growth “Overall, 2010 has been a good year, with a better than expected market recovery with, again, record commercial deliveries and an order intake, which will be at least 50 per cent higher than we expected it to be at the beginning of the year.” Airbus CEO, TOM ENDERS, on the record commercial deliveries by Airbus.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Off the Record feb new1.qxd
OFF THE RECORD
BHULO, MILLS AND MARAN!
Photocourtesy : arabiansupplychain.com
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
.The bloc of shares is held by Royal Holdings Services (RHSL), a US firm where Kansagra owns 85 per cent with the balance held by two other investors. These minority investors have opposed the sale, demanding a higher price. Apparently, Mills was hired by Kansagara on the recommendation of friends at Babcock & Brown Air Limited (now known as Fly Leasing) and came to India on the understanding that he will run the company and report to Kansagara. But that isn’t happening and insiders state that Spicejet is now stacked by a senior team that is hugely loyal to Kalanidhi Maran and that Mills is not the only one packing his bags, but several others in HR, Sales and Marketing too, are preparing to move. In the case of Mills, his family base continues to be Dubai which is where his wife and children are still based. The general feeling is that any changes at Spicejet will happen post-March — at the end of the last quarter of the financial year. Also perhaps, the exit will be governed by incentives that are these days written into contracts and measured not just by the output and performance but the amount of time you spend in the company. So the changes, if indeed the grapevine circuit is true, should happen closer to March-April. Watch this space for an update! Photocourtesy : business.in.com
s Neil Mills planning to pack up and grapevine has it that when Ross was exitmove elsewhere? For some strange ing and Maran was entering, Bhulo reason the grapevine is full of spec- entered into a deal with Maran to run the ulation that Mills who came with day-to-day operations of the company for much fanfare from FlyDubai may pack two years before handing the reins over to up and leave in a couple of months. the Maran. Why? No one knows. Is it true? No one At that time in an interview to Finanknows? Who started the speculation? cial Express, Bhulo said: “Yes, I am going Ask me not, is the answer. to continue on the board of SpiceJet. I Those who know the new management have spent 11 years in the airline business. at Spicejet state that Kalanidhi Maran’s This may be the reason for Maran to retain one-point agenda is to take on Indigo and me on the Board. Frankly, it’s very diffibeat them at their game. But for that to cult to guess why Maran wants to keep me happen, Spice will first have to make sure as part of the board. May be my white hair that it will have to equal the enviable Indigo record as far as attrition goes. People who join them stick with them and they too stick with their employees, handpicking the best and the brightest for key jobs. Spicejet, unfortunately, has a see-saw record in this regard. One argument could be that this is inevitable when there is a change of management. It hapBhulo Kansagara Kalanidhi Maran Neil Mills pened when Wilbur Ross walked into the airline along with Sanjay or no hair... (Laughs).” Aggarwal and it has happened again when But somehow, the story continues, Ross sold and left as did Aggarwal and in things unraveled between Bhulo and the walked Maran and Mills. Maran and the deal for him to run the comSurprisingly, for all those who believe pany came to nought. One reason for this that Mills is a Maran candidate, it’s wrong is believed to be the case in US courts news. In fact, he was handpicked to run lodged by a few business associates of the company by none other than Bhupen- Bhulo who had agreed to sell 7.7 per cent dra ‘Bhulo’ Kansagara. Apparently the stake in the low-cost airline to the Maran
Off the Record feb new1.qxd
OFF THE RECORD
Photos: H.C. Tiwari
Dr. Nasim Zaidi Photocourtesy : 4.bp.blogspot.com
CARGO, HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK!
AIR INDIA UPDATE>
ir India COO Gustav Bauldauf has started speaking less and is keeping more and more behind the scenes? Is that a pointed strategy or is on orders. Those in the know state that Bauldauf who had been operating from Mumbai so long, may now have to shift to Delhi on orders from the Ministry of Civil Aviation who want a senior operations man to handle issued at Delhi, post the chaos at T3 in October-November. There were some reports that Bauldauf has a difference of opinion with the AI Chairman and Managing Director on several issues, but there is really no confirmation on that. At the moment, though, Bauldauf is focusing on the job at hand: getting operations back on an even kneel.
One of the best and brightest of her generation, Rohita Jaidka retired from Air India end-January, as the
head of national sales and marketing. Jaidka had spent the last year selling the Maharaja to the sarkar and anyone else who cared to listen to her. Joining the airlines as part of the inflight crew, Jaidka later made the transition to sales and marketing and had a phenomenal run at AI’s North India office both as General Manager and later head of operations for sales in the entire zone. One great barometer to assess a person’s success is to look at the esteem in which travel agents hold them and on this count, Jaidka was a runaway success. They adored her for her ability to talk their language and keep her side of the bargain in every sales pitch she made. So what next? “Some rest, recuperation and introspection to start with," said Jaidka. No surprise. It’s a pressure cooker existence when you serve the Maharaja these days. Best to relax for a weeks. All the best Rohita! God speed and Good luck.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
ere’s news that is bound to see smiles in the freight forwarding and aircargo community. Treated for a long time as a step-child, aircargo has at last found a voice. As one in the know wryly pointed out: “We were only seen but never heard. Cargo never protests — in fact, it does not speak at all like passengers.” Waking up to the rapid growth in the aircargo sector, the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council (CAEAC) has set up a working group of officials of airlines, cargo carriers, aircraft manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Ministry to recommend measures to meet the challenges posed by the aircargo industry in the country. Incidentally, the CAEAC has been established to advice the government on a variety of issues, ranging from protection of consumer interests, ensuring transparency in airfare fixation and liberalising the aviation sector to providing air services to the remote corners of the country. The Working Group that constitutes representatives from the airline industries, airport manufacturers, cargo associations, airport operators, Customs and the Ministry will prepare and present “the current snapshot of the industry and assess its future growth potential in India”, says the note from the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Thinking without limits
More than a helicopter. A place where medical science can work wonders. Quieter, smoother, and with more flexible options, Eurocopter EMS helicopters are designed by doctors for doctors with the highest levels of emergency medical care in mind. Ergonomic cabins with easy patient access. Space onboard maximised for superior medical treatment, form transporting patients to offering in-flight intensive care. Engineered for faster response times to get patients to the treatment they need quicker. When you think saving lives, think without limits.
NewTraffic Data Feb 2011.qxd
on a roll PASSENGER GROWTH
Passengers carried by domestic airlines in the year 2010 (January-December) were 520.21 lakh as against 438.40 lakh in the year 2009 thereby registering a growth of + 18.7 per cent. 600
- YoY(+18.7%) - QoQ(+19.0%) - MoM(+16.1%)
Airline-wise details of Market share of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of December 2010 are as follows: Paramount 0.5% NACIL(I) 17.6%
400 300 200
Jet Airways 18.6%
JetLite 7.4% Kingfisher 20.6% SpiceJet 12.9% GoAir 5.9% IndiGo 16.3%
he year 2010 saw a robust growth in terms of aircraft movement and passengers handled. The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled airlines of India in the fourth quarter of 2010 — October to December, 2010 — were 147.05 lakh. The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled airlines of India in the third quarter of 2010 — July to September, 2010 — were 119.84 lakh. The total domestic
passengers carried by the scheduled airlines of India in the second quarter of 2010 — April to June 2010 — were 134.78 lakh. The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled airlines of India in the first quarter of 2010 — January to March 2010 ¾ — were 118.54 lakh. ¾ The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled airlines of India in the month of December, 2010 were 52.13 lakh. The break-up is as follows: CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Air India (Domestic) — 8.90 lakh, Jet Airways — 9.24 lakh, JetLite — 3.99 lakh, Kingfisher — 9.72 lakh, SpiceJet —7.21 lakh, Go Air — 3.36 lakh and IndiGo — 9.71 lakhs. The percentage share of the carriers in the month of December, 2010 was: Air India (Domestic) — 17.1 per cent, Jet Airways — 17.7 per cent, JetLite — 7.7 per cent, Kingfisher-18.6 per cent, Spice Jet — 13.8 per cent, GoAir —
NewTraffic Data Feb 2011.qxd
TRAFFIC DATA SEAT FACTOR The seat factors of various scheduled domestic airlines in December 2010 are as follows: Nov. 10
100 78.9 78.8
Seat Factor (%)
85.9 82 84.8 86.7
CAPACITY VS DEMAND Analysis of Capacity (ASKM) and Demand (RPKM) data on year-to-year basis indicates that trend of increase in both the capacity and demand continued in the month of December 2010 also.
CANCELLATIONS The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of December 2010 has been 1.7 per cent. Airline-wise details of cancellations are as follows:
20 10 0 -10 -20 -30 -40
% change over Month
Year over Year
PASSENGER COMPLAINTS DURING THE MONTH
During December 2010, a total of 1379 passenger-related complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of December 2010 has been 2.7. The airline-wise details are as follows:
Cancellation Rate (%)
VARIOUS REASONS FOR PASSENGER COMPLAINTS
Lost Baggage 28.9%
No.of Complaints/10,000 Pax
Staff Misbehaviour 9.3% Refund 5.4% IT Related 2.4%
6.4 per cent and IndiGo-18.6 per cent. The seat factor of the domestic airlines in the month of December, 2010 was: Air India (Domestic) — 78.8 per cent, Jet Airways-80.1 per cent, JetLite-84.8 per cent, Kingfisher Airlines — 85.9 per cent, SpiceJet-87.8 per cent, GoAir —87.0 per cent and IndiGo — 93.3 per cent. During December 2010, a total of 1379 passenger-related complaints had been received by the scheduled ¾
domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of December 2010 has been 2.7. GoAir recorded the highest numbers of passenger complaints while NACIL(I) was the lowest in terms of passenger complaints. Staff misbehaviour, lost baggage, refund of air ticket were primarily the reasons for most of the passenger complaints. The overall On-Time Performance
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
(OTP) of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of December 2010 has been 76.3 per cent. It has been found that majority of delays have been attributed to ‘reactionary’. At the time of compilation of traffic data, OTP data of 52 carriers was received. The overall On-Time Performance (OTP) of these 52 carriers for the month of December 2010 has been 66.5 per cent in departures and 65.9 per cent in arrivals.
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JAI INDIGO! A MEGA START TO THE YEAR
eading low-cost carrier, IndiGo has earned two distinctions in the new year: it became the first carrier — globally — to announce a deal with Airbus for the purchase of 180 of the A320 family aircraft, and, second, it has become the fourth Indian private carrier to get official approval to fly foreign routes once it completes five years in August 2011. IndiGo has got permission to operate flights to Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Muscat. These announcements have come at a time when the carrier is heading for yet another record profit in the current fiscal 2010-11 on top of `550-crore pretax profit it made in the previous fiscal. In a way, IndiGo is rewriting the rules for running LCCs in much the same way it had written when it launched services in August 2006. Even before it began flying, its promoter, Interglobe, and owner Rahul Bhatia along with his investor-promoterfriend Rakesh Gangwal, a well-known aviation expert from the US, had announced the launch of IndiGo with a massive all-time high order for 100 A320 aircraft. When IndiGo did that more than five years ago, it was considered more to be a news event. The fact that it is turning into a reality now has raised new expectations after its order for 180
aircraft. Across the spectrum of aviators, passengers, airline industry, tourism industry, etc. there is a feeling that India has now definitely entered the second phase of aviation boom after the global recession forced a slowdown in 2008-2009. A quick check shows that IndiGo has already received 34 A320s and is all set to induct 14 more A320s in the current calendar year 2011. In fact, it has already received 40 per cent of its earlier firm order of 100 such aircraft though there was news in between that the Sale and Lease Back route adopted by IndiGo enriched it rather than the manufacturer. As a result, it was believed that should IndiGo place orders on Airbus Industry again, it may not get the same deal. In fact, Rahul Bhatia told the media that his airline was seriously contemplating to place another order but was still not sure of the aircraft type or the manufacturer. So, when he went to Toulouse along with Rakesh Gangwal and IndiGo COO Aditya Ghosh, it was clear that everything was hunky dory between IndiGo and Airbus. The CEO of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, in his annual press conference in early January 2011 in Toulouse spoke in glowing terms about IndiGo and its 180-aircraft mega CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
THE RISING STORY
In a span of a mere five years, the budget carrier has risen from being a start-up airline to the joint second position in terms of market share for December 2010 with Kingfisher. The two airlines for that month had a market share of 18.6 per cent each behind the 25.4 per cent market share of the market leader Jet AirwaysJetLite combine. The national carrier, Air India has been pushed down to third position in the domestic market. IndiGo carried 9.71 lakh passengers in December 2010 as against 13.23 lakh by Jet AirwaysJetLite combine, 9.72 lakh by Kingfisher and 8.9 lakh by AI (domestic). It recorded the highest seat factor of 93 per cent in December 2010, followed by the other no-frill carriers SpiceJet (88 per cent), GoAir (87 per cent) and JetLite with 85 per cent. This was a major factor for IndiGo increasing its market share despite having just 34 planes compared to the other major players such as AI, Jet and Kingfisher. The airline has one of the best on-time performances (OTP) record in the industry. In 2010, its OTP was 85 per cent, second best in the industry and next only to Kingfisher’s 86 per cent. But the booming market did help. The year 2010 saw a near 20 per cent jump in air traffic to 5.20 crore from 4.38 crore in 2009.
order posi“tionsThisIndigo to take
is too far out in “theIt future to say
full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel and we are delighted that they continue to build their future with Airbus. The A320 family is the recognised market leader. The A320neo, offering maximum benefit for minimum change, will ensure that this continues to be the case for many years to come.
whether we will have a fleet of 280 aircraft by 2025. Potentially, we could have a fleet of 280 aircraft, but there is a chance that some aircraft are returned or added to the fleet, hence it’s difficult to predict the actual number. We are looking at a 20-year kind of relationship with Airbus.
ADITYA GHOSH President, IndiGo.
JOHN LEAHY Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. order to the world media. As per the deal, IndiGo will buy 180 A 320 of which 150 will be NEO (New Engine Option) category or A320neo and 30 the existing A320 category. The A320neo category is expected to deliver 15 per cent fuel saving with “sharklets” as against the winglets in the current version of A 320s have and also lower emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The first of the 180 A 320s will begin to be inducted from 2016 and the last of the 180 aircraft will be delivered by 2025. IndiGo has a
lead-time of six years to figure out how it proposes to fund the aircraft acquisition. It nevertheless speaks highly of IndiGo’s fleet planning. According to industry sources, IndiGo has the least attrition rate which is quite creditable in an industry where fortunes turn upside down in a short while. We have seen people leaving Jet, Kingfisher and even SpiceJet. But IndiGo has managed to keep this to the minimum. According to Aditya Ghosh, the A320neo, as and when inducted, will allow IndiGo to continue to offer low fares. The fuelsaving benefit would be passed on to its customers. The A320 neo will have over 95 per cent commonality with the A320 CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs? The opportunity to reduce costs and to further improve our environmental performance through the A320neo was the key to our decision.
RAHUL BHATIA Co-founder, IndiGo. family while offering 950 kilometres additional range or two tonnes of more payload. The 180-aircraft order has been valued at $15.6 billion based on list prices. While 100 of these aircraft will be for replacement, the remaining 80 will be an addition to the capacity. Commenting on the order, Aditya Ghosh said there was not enough supply and India required more capacity and this was the rationale behind the order. Further, he said the 100-aircraft order placed in 2005 would join the fleet by 2015 and, therefore, IndiGo needed to look beyond. It is like two companies in one — an airline on the one hand and the leasing company on the other! The argument follows from the fact that Indigo, at best could replace and retain 80 and place the rest in the market. There is also the argument that gradually, from 2016 onwards, Indigo may replace its entire A320s with the A320neos. Another
This is the largest “number of aircraft ordered in a single transaction in commercial aviation history. With this order, Indigo has given a kickstart to aviation coming out from a down cycle.
KIRAN RAO Executive VicePresident, Marketing and Contracts, Airbus. domestic airline official said that Indigo may consider replacing its entire fleet with A320neos in the long term:180 aircraft in ten years would mean roughly 18 a year. What would be the roadmap to use these aircraft? However, analysts concede that Indigo must have driven a hard bargain and got the fleet at a hugely discounted price. After all, they would be the launch customers for the ‘neo’ and to have such a splash, Airbus must have agreed to offer a massive cut on the list price. In the light of the permission granted for flying foreign destinations, Aditya Ghosh said there was no reason for Indians to find foreign travel unaffordable. Everyone is indeed waiting anxiously for the fare it will charge for the foreign destinations it has been permitted to fly to. IndiGo will remain an all-economy class airline. With 34 Airbus A320s, it currently flies to 24 destinations with 221 flights daily. By the end of 2011, the domestic footprint of IndiGo will enlarge its spokes sharply to foreign destinations mentioned above.
This order for “industry leading fuel-efficient aircraft will allow Indigo to continue to offer low fares.
RAKESH GANGWAL Co-founder, IndiGo.
“As IndiGo turns five in August 2011, this approval dovetails well into its planning process. This will hasten the process of Indian carriers taking back some of the market share that has been lost over the past many decades to foreign carriers,” the airline said in a statement soon after the government permission was received. IndiGo is planning to focus on Kerala traffic to the Gulf and will increase its presence there in the coming months. According to its early plans, IndiGo is proposing to have a base in Kerala connecting Dubai and Muscat from Trivandrum, Kochi and Calicut international airports. As for other services, they will be operated from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. As it has been doing, IndiGo will not keep all the aircraft and may continue to follow its model of taking planes on sale and lease back route with the lease between three to six years after which it will return the aircraft to the lessors. This has often helped IndiGo to save on heavy maintenance cost as it saved when it returned five A320s leaving its fleet with 34 aircraft as mentioned earlier. Since the new order and permission to fly overseas has changed the very face of IndiGo, it has decided that, for the time being, it will not venture into an IPO. At the end of CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
December 2010, IndiGo was reportedly sitting on cash reserves of `700-crore, an extremely rare occurrence in the present Indian aviation scenario. “No decision has been made as yet. You can’t run a business without considering various financing options with this (IPO) being one of them but it’s too early for me to comment,” Ghosh told journalists. When Air India was undergoing serious convulsions in November 2010, soon shifting to T3 in Delhi airport, it saw many of its flights getting cancelled or delayed forcing many passengers to switch carriers. It seems that it has benefited IndiGo enormously, as it is evident from a sharp rise in its market share to 17.3 per cent, pushing it up to the third biggest domestic carrier in India by passengers carried and market share. This saw a further endorsement in December 2010, when IndiGo’s share rose further to 18.6 per cent or the second position pushing even Kingfisher Airlines behind to be counted after the leader Jet Airways and its subsidiary JetLite. Does this mean, IndiGo will be able to capture the first position in due course? This is a question that will be very difficult to answer, as it would mean that all the other competing carriers will either not expand or expand very slowly and which everyone knows may not be the case except, perhaps, for Kingfisher Airlines whose fleet remains stuck at 66 with no signs of any expansion. As on date, IndiGo, as stated, has 34 A320s and it will add 14 more A320s in the current calendar year ending December 2011. But from August 2011 it also proposes to launch its foreign flights to Dubai, Muscat, Singapore and Bangkok. To operate these four foreign points, it will require not less than six of it’s a 320, as any technical trouble in one aircraft would mean its replacement by another. Since its gulf flights will largely be focussed in Kerala and those to South East Asia from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, it may virtually need to have two mini hubs. Though we do agree that this seems more like speculation, the fact remains that the external spread of IndiGo will definitely restrict the fast spread of its network, domestically. Taking all things into consideration, it seems IndiGo could hope to get the second slot in 2011-12 and may be the top slot in the year beyond. But we cannot hold ourselves back from wishing the IndiGo team all the best.
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Photo: H.C. Tiwari
AT THE CROSSROADS: The new Ground Handling Policy (2007) might get implemented in 2011.
he new Ground Handling Policy (GHP), which was announced in 2007 and had been missing the deadline each succeeding year due to opposition from scheduled domestic carriers, is likely to be implemented shortly. After a few postponements, the DGCA had notified in June 2010 that the new GHP was likely to be implemented in January 2011. As per the policy, it was decided that in the six metro airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru — none of the domestic airline operators would be allowed to do self-handling. The Union Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on Security, while granting approval to the new Ground Handling Policy had laid down that there would be three specialist ground handling companies in each of the six airports, namely Air India and its JV partner (foreign ground-handling company with lot of expertise in the field), the airport operator-led JV and a third independent company, which would provide ground support services, subject to that JV winning the bid in the respective airport falling in the category of the six metro airports. As for the existing Kolkata and Chennai airports, since state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been retained as the operator, it selected Messrs Bhadra International, as its partner, based on revenue-sharing bids. Bhadra International will provide ground-handling services in Chennai and Kolkata. Besides,
there will be Air India and its JV partner and another third independent groundhandling operator as in the other four metro airports mentioned above. When the deadline was approaching to implement the ground-handling policy from January 1, 2011, the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), approached the Delhi High Court in December 2010, seeking the declaration of the new ground-handling policy, as null and void, as its implementation would hamper the airlines’ business interest. The FIA, whose membership included all the domestic carriers, contended that member airlines could efficiently manage their ground-handling services of their aircraft as at present. Moreover, the airlines will also be forced to retrench nearly 30,000 workers, who are associated with groundhandling work, on behalf of these carriers all over India. However, Air India, which is also a member of FIA, kept out of this challenge, as it was a major beneficiary of the new ground-handling policy, as it would help in enriching its exclusive ground support division. Currently, the airlines do selfhandling like general administration, baggage, freight and mail handling, loading and unloading of aircraft, crew, passenger and baggage and fuel handling besides catering services. According to official sources, the domestic carriers had earlier promised that they would go along with the new ground-handling policy after it was stalled earlier and that was the reason for the DGCA to notify that the new policy would become effective from January, 2011. Instead the airlines chose to challenge the new policy in the Delhi High Court. CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Airlines, on the other hand, had a legitimate fear that handing over their ground-handling functions to independent companies, would take away airlines’ control over their cost, efficiency, scalability, and management of groundsupport activities. The centre, on the other hand, feared that allowing too many personnel on the airport tarmac and other restricted/technical areas could pose serious security risk. Even as this debate continued, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), had written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation much before the airlines sought judicial intervention that it wanted the airlines to provide ground-handling services and in this context listed atleast 13 security-related functions, which included access to aircraft, screening of baggage and security search at various airport points to be provided by official agencies. As all know, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), in all the airports in the country, provides all the security-related functions. The court also desired that these 13 security-related functions should be handled by the government and till then allowed the airlines to continue to do self-handling. However, the Additional Solicitor General informed the court that to meet the security-related activities, as listed by BCAS, would need nearly 10,000 personnel all over India. Though the court rejected the demand of the airlines to stay the policy, it merely said till these are in place and that the current policy may continue subject to conditions mentioned above. Accordingly, it reserved its judgement that was to come after mid-January 2011.
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NEWS DIGEST In pursuance of this, the DGCA on January 12, 2011, issued an order which said: “The Honourable High Court of Delhi in its order under reference No: CM No: 22244/2010, dated December 31, 2010, in the matter of FIA and others versus the Union of India and others in the Writ Petition 8004/2010 and CM 20063/2010 ordered that till 7-1-2011 status quo would be maintained, in respect of works relating to 13 security functions to be carried out by airlines. Now in the same court after the case was heard by the Delhi High Court on January 7, 2011, the High Court decided that status quo shall be maintained till the pronouncement of the final judgement in the case.” In pursuance of these directions, the airlines security staff entrusted to perform these functions will continue to do so till the pronouncement of the final judgement
in the case. The order was signed by the DGCA: E K Bharat Bhushan. The circular issued by DGCA was for information, guidance and compliance of all concerned. It was clear that the High Court barred both private airlines and ground-handling companies waiting in the wings, to start their business from undertaking the 13 security functions, which, it wanted, the government to perform. These will have to be provided by CISF, which simply does not have the requisite personnel. Hence, it has approached the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which in turn, has sought time. Thus, the delay continues, but this time it is expected to be only for a short while. But a bigger fallout of this policy implementation may be the fate of the so-called or estimated 30,000 ground support division workers, who are working in various airports on behalf of
the private airlines. The Executive Director, Bird Group, Ankur Bhatia feels, “The fear of the airlines that their staff will lose jobs, was unfounded, as they will be absorbed by the new ground-handling companies, which will be doing exactly their job”. Incidentally, Bhatia has got his own venture, Ground Global, which is already in one of the metros. However, if people lose jobs because of the new policy, what will the new Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, a self-confessed trade unionist, say? Soon after taking over, he said, he was a trade unionist and would ensure that the public sector Air India would be nursed back to health. Will his trade unionism begin and end with stateowned enterprises or will it be, in line with workers anywhere or workers everywhere?
GETTING THE RUNWAY IN ORDER
he GVK-promoted Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) which runs the muchcongested Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), is working overtime to make life better for both airlines and the passengers. CSIA has always been criticised for being a congested airport, both on ground and in the air space since GVK took it over in May 2006 as part of the PPP route. But when the airport was handed over by stateowned Airports Authority of India (AAI), it had less than half of the airport space available for airport activities as much of its land had been illegally occupied by politically-backed powerful slums. When GVK received the airport, the slums came along. It took more than three years for the new operator to even address this sensitive issue and after much deliberation, it successfully resolved to shift a section of the slum-dwellers to other parts of the city for which it had entered into a deal with HDIL. Once the first phase of the slum rehabilitation project is completed, nearly 275 acres of land now under illegal occupation will be freed for actual airport use and related real estate development. While clearing airport land of slums and illegal occupation is a long haul, the airport developer got down
seriously to address the other issue of how to improve the aircraft movement in the country’s then premier airport (Delhi has since overtaken Mumbai). For instance, CSIA handled 28.10 million passengers in the 2010, which was the highest-ever for Mumbai airport. With all the expansion and up-gradation plans under execution, MIAL will, in the three years from now, be in a position to handle a projected 45 million passengers that is also its saturation point. It is here that MIAL’s decision to hire NATS, UK, to increase the hourly aircraft movement assumes importance. A successful implementation of NATS’recommendation should help take the passenger traffic up from 28 million to 45 million sooner than later by clearing the air space over Mumbai that will enable increase in aircraft movement. There are other serious problems, which need to be addressed, like constraints in landing and parking besides offering new slots for take-offs and landing. MIAL first took up the job of recarpeting the shorter cross-runway and completed the job in March 2010. Once it had this strip with it, it then planned to undertake the re-carpeting and widening of the principal runway. The job on this started in November 2010 and will be finished by June 2011. For this purpose, the CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
airport has closed this runway. Obviously, this has impacted aircraft movement and the traffic also, though MIAL managers maintain that it did not affect the services as much as critics have made it out to be. It has, however, affected allotment of new slots and more new services to Mumbai from both within and outside India. As part of upgrading the cross-runway system and to create an efficient airside infrastructure at CSIA, MIAL is currently implementing the reconstruction of the primary runway 09/27. This work which had begun in November 2010, will be completed in June 2011. The reconstruction and re-carpeting of runway 27 required the runway — end or 463 metres of it — be modified. Accordingly, the runway gradient is being changed to make it compliant to regulation and to match its elevation to the newly-constructed Taxiway-N. The runway end is being raised by one metre. Further, the runway will also be widened from 45 metres to 60 metres in order to make it compliant to Code-F and this will also enable the CSIA to receive Airbus A380 or the Super Jumbo. A significant part of the reconstruction work is the construction of a 24-metre wide channel as part of the project to widen the Mithi river that flooded a few years ago and caused complete closure of Mumbai airport when it was drowned. A parallel drainage system is also being
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A SIGH OF RELIEF: With the implementation of new plans, MIAL would become more passenger-friendly airport.
built along the length of the primary runway. Besides, the reconstruction job also involves total airfield lighting, that includes shifting runway edge lights from its current location and installation of new central lights. Besides, upgrading all taxiways leading to and out of primary runway 09/27, two new connections are being provided. The last resurfacing of this primary runway took place in 2003. But the most important part of the job that is being studied for implementation is the engaging of NATS, UK, to increase the efficiency of airside operations or air traffic. Just before the onset of winter schedule, MIAL froze additional flights to and out of Mumbai. In fact, even the normal traffic handled by the airport came under severe stress because of the closure of the main runway between 9 am and 5 pm each day from Monday to Friday since November 2010 and will continue till June 2011. However, MIAL maintained that it had not cut down flights and as per its record the total slots at CSIA during last summer was 717 and in the current winter schedule is just slightly lower at 709. But airlines maintained that the movement and slot available was less than what was being officially stated. Much before these arguments and counterarguments go out of hand and well in
anticipation of the issue, MIAL submitted a proposal to AAI to hire a consultant to study and identify areas where the airport could be improved so that more flights could be added and new slots allotted. Following this in June 2010, a team of MIAL and AAI went to Gatwick, which like Heathrow (the world’s busiest airport), had engaged NATS to manage its air traffic services. Gatwick airport manages to handle 55 to 60 aircraft movement per hour, as against 35 flights being handled by MIAL during peak hours. When recarpeting of primary runway began, the hourly aircraft movement dropped by 12. In view of these developments, MIAL gave an overall mandate to NATS that had two components: the first was to conduct a comprehensive capacity enhancement study which is to be completed by April 2011 and the second is the actual implementation of the study once it is approved and accepted. NATS will utilise a number of software simulations and modelling tools for the purpose of runway and airport capacity determination, identify the bottlenecks that limited airport capacity, enhancement of capacity achieved through improvement in air traffic procedures besides making changes to physical infrastructure, better ATC equipment, improved groundCRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
handling system and ATM tools, etc. Till such time, CSIA remains constrained, a number of airlines have kept in abeyance their major expansion plans as Delhi and Mumbai remain major sources of passenger traffic. In fact, a senior official of Jet Airways stated that in the coming summer schedule, beginning April 2011 (with the primary runway in CSIA remaining closed for eight hours a day between Monday and Friday till June 2011), the carrier is planning to operate widebody Airbus A330s to and from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. According to Jet Airways official P K Sinha, the airline is thinking of taking on lease two A330s with 230-seat capacity, in two class configuration. Jet is planning to operate 20 flights a day with this widebody aircraft. With domestic air travel growing by nearly 20 per cent, all airlines both domestic and foreign, wanted 573 daily slots from Mumbai. However, capacity constraint issues have also forced the Indian regulator to freeze flights from Mumbai to 490, that is 223 less flights than its last year’s winter schedule and much less than Delhi’s 630 flights for this year. This has forced airlines to increase fares on the sector, during the peak season to abnormal levels. To beat the slot constraint, Jet Airways says “grow bigger and grow wider with A330s”.
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ir France-KLM Group has received an independent safety report, commissioned after the 2009 Rio de Janeiro-Paris air disaster and said it will implement the recommendations as soon as possible. An eight-member panel of external experts, including former US airline and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, handed over its report on January 25. Most of its 35 proposals “will be implemented rapidly”, Air France said, without detailing what the recommendations are, while, as per the company, a committee of management and union representatives will discuss the conclusions. The report found a lack of “strong safety leadership at all levels of management” that has resulted in lax cockpit discipline, ineffective pilot training and “an unhealthy relationship” with unions. The airline has declined to make the report public. The committee was set up after an Air France Flight (447) plunged into the mid-Atlantic on June 1, 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 people on board. While France’s BEA air-accident investigation bureau has so far failed to locate the plane’s wreckage and black-box flight recorders, preliminary findings blamed faulty readings from the plane’s airspeed sensors for a series of system failures recorded before the crash. The 35 recommendations include enhanced pilot training to in-flight monitoring of crew, to better use of incident data to prevent accidents. The
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
committee identified a range of systemic problems and shortcomings that need to be rectified, while reprimand pilots for routinely disregarding operating rules and also making safety issues part of labour negotiations. Calling the carrier’s safety structure “overly complex” with “blurring of the lines of responsibility”, the study team concluded that fixing it would require “more visible and clear leadership” from the chief executive and other top company officials. The committee applauded some of Air France’s safety practices as “excellent”, but found that others were “at variance” with industry standards and didn’t compare favourably with safeguards at various global carriers. By and large, it is far from flattering of Air France operations. Critical of the airlines, particularly the management, the report said that the message of “safety first”— which top management described as its highest priority — ”doesn’t appear to have penetrated the workforce”, for buckling under, to demands from an array of unions, as part of a “social peace at any cost” approach, the outside experts concluded that “union tension, particularly among pilots, has invaded the operational domain”. Critical of what it termed as “a small minority of pilots” for undercutting safety, by routinely ignoring rules, relying on procedural short-cuts and treating mechanics and flight attendants, “in an autocratic and arrogant manner”, the study revealed that captains, who abused
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Photo courtesy: abacuspub.com
their authority and violated safety practices weren’t punished. Rather, the airline tried to “fix” such problems by adding and often unduly complicating cockpit procedures rather than disciplining the individual. The result, it said, is that the complexity of Air France’s procedures is “substantially higher than among its counterparts”. In conclusion, the report said it was “an honest, forthright examination” of the carrier’s strengths and weaknesses, intended to provide “insights and recommendations that will enable Air France to become a world leader in aviation safety”. The study envisions, management accelerating the shift from a largely reactive way of responding to events toward “improved, more structured” assessments, focused on avoiding incidents and accidents through predictive methods of risk identification. At this point, however, the report indicates that such forwardlooking techniques are not yet mature, fully implemented (or) consistently executed. Among other things, the study recommended giving front-line managers more power to take a disciplinary action against pilots, improving the way flight instructors are chosen and incorporating lessons from in-flight incidents into simulator training sessions. The group also called for farreaching changes, so Air France and its various pilot unions will agree to keep safety issues separate from any type of labour negotiations. And, it urged the airline to develop more cooperative relationships with regulators, including the sharing of incident and safety data with them. Air France’s current safety systems, according to the report, do not reflect the trust and cooperation that senior management would like to see or the level of trust typically seen at best performing carriers. Air France pilot unions have called on management to improve communication over safety-critical incidents and criticised its failure to inform cabin crew or French aviation authorities about a spate of high-altitude sensor failures in the months before the Flight 447 crashed. Last year, a journalist released a book entitled, The Hidden Face of Air France, claiming the airline had a lax attitude to safety.
2011: THE YEAR OF AIRBUS
or Airbus, the year 2011 is shaping up to be even better than 2010, thanks to continued and strong airline demand and improved economic prospects, according to Airbus CEO Tom Enders. Airbus took in 644 aircraft orders worth a total of $84 billion at list price last year, or 574 net orders worth $74 billion after airlines cancelled orders for 70 jets. Last year’s performance once again gave Airbus the edge over Boeing, as the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft with 100 seats or more. It set a new annual record for deliveries of 510 aircraft, compared with Boeing’s 462, meaning it has delivered more aircraft than its US rival for eight years. In 2009, Airbus delivered 498 aircraft. Airbus also took the lead in orders, racking up 51 per cent of the world market at the gross level, and 52 per cent in terms of net orders. In terms of net order revenues, Airbus’s sales took a 59 per cent share, a total of $74.6 billion. Airbus also exceeded its previous delivery record of 498, set in 2009, by handing over 510 aircraft — although this remains more than 100 short of Boeing’s historical best of 620 in 1999. Boeing delivered 462 aircraft in 2010, taking the two main suppliers’ output to 972, just seven airframes down on their 2009 deliveries, the second-highest CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
combined figure for the decade. But the rivals’ figures, over the second half of the decade, show they remain evenly matched. Just an airframe separates their cumulative narrowbody and widebody totals, since 2006. Although Airbus has easily overtaken Boeing in the widebody market for the past three years as the delay-hit 787’s order books have stagnated, Airbus tends to mount a late charge in December. In the past six years, the final month has accounted for more than 20 per cent of its gross sales. In 2010, it made up nearly one-third of the annual total — largely because of finalised A320family agreements with Virgin America, LAN and China’s state import company, taking Airbus to 644 gross and 574 net orders. Boeing declared a net haul of 530. Boeing’s 737 put in a strong performance in 2010, with 486 net orders, bouncing back to the level of 2008. Airbus’s A320 range secured 416 orders. But Airbus overshadowed its rival in the widebody market, with only Boeing’s 777 making any significant ground with 46 net orders. Even the late cancellation of 18 A330s, by customers, including US Airways, and negligible sales for the A340 failed to make much difference to Airbus’s domination of the sector in 2010. It booked 62 net A330 sales and 63 A350s, taking its overall A350 order total to 583. Although this is still far short of the
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847, racked up by Boeing’s 787, the US twinjet — which has suffered yet another delivery delay, putting it three years behind schedule — ended the year with a net order deficit of four airframes. Leahy could not resist a “dig” at Boeing: “That is not something we did to Boeing; that is something Boeing did to themselves.” Airbus revenues touched roughly €30 billion, according to Enders. This, he said, when the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents the world’s main international airlines, had predicted in early 2010 that the year would be the worst in commercial aviation history. In fact, airlines are now expected to turn record profits. “We didn’t expect the economy and aviation would recover so
quickly as it did in 2010,” Enders told journalists and added: “I’m more optimistic about going into 2011 than I was at the beginning of 2010. The only cloud on the horizon is the rising price of aviation fuel that could crimp airlines’ finances.” Interestingly, aircraft deliveries will continue to rise in 2011 and orders are likely to continue outstripping deliveries. It will add to the company’s already massive backlog that stood at 3,552 aircraft at the end of 2010. This is equivalent to six years of future production and worth some $480 billion at list prices. To trim it, Airbus is planning another increase in production rates of its narrow and widebodied jets. Last year, the company decided to ramp up production of the single-aisle A320 from 36
SEAPLANE SERVICE STARTED IN INDIA
Every aspect of Indian aviation has been in a growth mode: a new service was added recently. The first seaplane service to the islands of Andaman and Nicobar was launched using a Cessna 208A on amphib floats. A couple of American pilots will keep it island hopping while the company starting the service, Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL), finds and SEA CHANGE: Pawan Hans seaplane charttrains locals to get ing out its first flight to Havlock. their feet wet. The Indian government is enthusiastic about the venture and predicts a big future for seaplane service. In a media event hosted at Mumbai airport, former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said, “The Centre is permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment in this sector and service providers like PHHL should float a subsidiary to run a fleet of seaplanes.”
a month at present to 38 by August this year and to 40 by the first quarter of next year. Enders said an increase to 42 or even 44 planes a month is possible, as is an acceleration in production of widebodied A330 and A340 aircraft from nine a month to 10 or even 11. However, this will depend crucially on the ability of suppliers to keep up. Airbus plans to hire up to 3,000 people this year after recruiting 2,200 in 2010, Enders said. They are also examining other issues notably as Airbus does not want to jack the supply chain up, and bring it back down again. On the A380, Enders said that 2010 was a year of big improvements. “Recurring costs have come down dramatically,” Enders pointed out and said, “production rates will increase slightly this year beyond two per month, with a goal of reaching three aircraft per month in 2012.” Airbus is still working through the aftereffects of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 uncontained engine failure on a Qantas A380 last year. Most of the aircraft are flying again, but some aircraft in the final assembly line still await their engines. There will be an impact on 2011 deliveries, although the scale will not become clear until May or June, with deliveries likely weighted to the second half of the year. Enders projects around 22-25 aircraft. 2011 will also be a key year for the A350; work on the final assembly line should commence at the end of the year, with nine months planned to build the first aircraft to lead to a 12-month flight testing for service introduction in the second half of 2013.
AAI PLANS TO RAISE `1,700CR
Through a blend of bonds and bank loans, Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to raise `1,700 crore over the next two years in order to fund upgradation of 35 non-metro airports. The AAI plans to borrow `900 crore in 2011 and `800 crore in 2012 in order to fund the upgradation of the remaining about 10 non-metro airports. It raised about `550 V P Agrawal crore last year, but was not granted the permission to issue bonds by the Finance Ministry. VP Agrawal, Chairman, AAI, said, “If that permission is not granted, we could look at debentures too. There is a possibility we might turn to the World Bank for our funding requirements.” The Authority is upgrading these airports at a total investment of `6,400 crore. Some of the airports which have already been upgraded are Amritsar, Jaipur, Trivandrum, Udaipur and Varanasi. Moreover, industry analysts are very upbeat about development of these 35 non-metro airports as they think that with the rise in purchasing power, the propensity to fly is increasing greatly in Tier-II cities.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
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eading infrastructure developer GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited (GVKPIL) recently signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Government of Indonesia to develop greenfield international airports in North Bali and Yogyakarta, Java. The MoUs were signed in the presence of Dr H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, who was on a state visit to India. The MoU for the Bali airport is a three-way agreement between Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM — a board set up by the Government of Indonesia for the facilitation of domestic and foreign investment), PT Pembangunan Bali Mandiri (a special purpose vehicle for airport development) and GVKPIL. The MoU for the Java airport is an agreement between Angkasa Pura I (the Government of Indonesia-owned airport operations and management company), BKPM and GVKPIL. The scope of the agreements provides exclusivity to GVKPIL and includes planning, design and development, operations and management of the airports along with all associated infrastructure, land and commercial development. Speaking on the occasion, G V Krishna Reddy, Chairman, GVKPIL, said: “The signing of these MoUs marks a very significant milestone for GVK. Our capabilities, expertise and strong track record in the airports sector is well established in India. We are very excited by the
GVK LOOKS AT BALI AND JAVA
HONOURED: GVK Reddy (top) was presented the Padma Bhushan this year for his contribution to trade and industry; and, (above) the signing of the MoU for the development of international airports at Bali and Java.
AF-KLM MRO IN INDIA
Indian carriers need not send their planes abroad for maintenance checks and also rely on overseas suppliers for their component requirements, as Air France-KLM Engineering and Maintenance has launched the first component maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit in a joint venture with Mumbaibased Max Aerospace and Aviation's Max MRO services. According to Franck Terner, President, Air France-KLM Engineering and Maintenance, construction is to start early this year and finish in the first quarter of 2013. Terms were not disclosed, but the company, as yet unnamed, is expected to start operations with a 108,000-sq-ft facility. Bharat Malkani, Chairman and Managing Director, Max MRO Services, said, “Given the high tax structure (in India), till the facility is set up, the company will import only the most needed components to TARGETING INDIA: An inside view of give us economies of scale.” AF-KLM MRO.
opportunity to create new landmarks in Bali and Java and we are confident that this agreement will yield significant synergies for all parties involved and help Indonesia in realising its growing potential as a key destination in the region.” The Indonesian economy, considered to be SE Asia’s largest, has performed consistently well with its GDP having grown by an impressive rate of 6 per cent in the last year. Moreover, both Bali and Java are prime destinations for tourist traffic from both Europe and Asia. Both the airport projects are expected to create a number of economic development opportunities in both Bali and Java. GVK, which operates India’s two key airports — the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai and the Bengaluru International Airport — has emerged as India’s largest airport operator in the private sector. The two airports together handled passenger traffic of 40 million in the year 2010. G V Krishna Reddy was honoured with the Padma Bhushan this year for his work in the field of trade and industry. An industrialist with interests in biotechnology, chemicals, hospitality, power, healthcare and infrastructure, Reddy has been serving society through the GVK Foundation. The foundation has built a number of schools in Nellore District and has also taken up the management of ambulance services after the Satyam fiasco and expanded it to 11 states in the country.
RAZING HILLOCK FOR NAVI MUMBAI
In an attempt to speed up the Navi Mumbai airport work, the state government is seeking opinion if it can start blasting the hillock near the site ahead of the bidding and land acquisition process. According to officials, land acquisition and shifting of project-affected people from the site will take at least another six months, after which the process for technical and financial bidding can begin. The entire bidding process and decision on awarding the contract itself will take another few months, which means that work on the airport can start only by the end of next year. Instead of waiting until then, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) and Urban Development Department (UDD) are considering if work can begin by blasting the 90-metre hillock and leveling the ground at the site so that time could be reduced. Moreover, to discuss the technical feasibility of the proposal, the UDD called a meeting with its consultant Louis Berger on January 10, 2011. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority has cleared offsite infrastructure relating to a road on the eastern side of the airport. which falls in Coastal Zone Regulation.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
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End of an innings!
He might be blamed for tilting towards private airlines but former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will be remembered in the Indian civil aviation industry for a long time for having taken it out and placed it before the world. In between, of course, there was the merger and the falling fortunes of Air India, comments R Krishnan, and mulls over its future. ndian aviation has reached a crucial stage. Praful Patel after being the longest-serving Civil Aviation Minister has been elevated as Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Heavy Industry. His long innings redefined the buzzword ‘PPP’. Instead of the accepted norm - Public Private Partnership, Patel’s greater tilt towards the private side and his long tenure as Civil Aviation Minister tells me it is an appropriate time to write on the new PPP -- Praful Patel Puran. As one unravels the new PPP, one finds its reason (Air India) has itself acquired a new dimension. Air India, which is supposed to serve the public of India irrespective of whether they hail from the private or the public sector, in the name of aggressive marketing strategy, has decided to lean more on the Republic of India with fare concessions to thousands of personnel working in the para-military forces employed by the Republic of India as well as their family members. An Air India release said these personnel and their family members would get 50 per cent discount on base fares (not apex fares) in the economy class on the domestic sector. The concessions also covered children and senior citizens across the spectrum. This news came at the end of the Puran and a day before the 62nd Republic Day spoke of the desperation of the Maharaja to ramp up his domestic flights, which, in the last few months, has shown an increase in seat factor. But competing domestic airlines recorded far higher seat factors without fare concessions. What will happen when 14 more A 320s of IndiGo arrives, 10 more Boeing 737-800s of SpiceJet flies in and an equal number of Jet and JetLite flights dot the domestic skies? I am not belittling the fare concession to para-military personnel but only hinting that Air India needs to do more to get back to the public of India. The list of organisations whose employees will receive concessions, includes the BSF, ITBP, Coast Guards, CISF, CRPF, Assam Rifles, RPF, Intelligence Bureau and the Sashastra Sena Bal. Interestingly, the mail from the Air India PR did not mention RAW as one of those organisations whose staff will get concessions. After leaving Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Praful Patel said: “Air India should not be declared sick and referred to the Bureau for Restructuring
Praful Patel earned the distinction of being a Civil Aviation Minister but not of Air India as it was with his predecessors who remained obsessed with the Maharaja. 34
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE). I have seen the turnaround plan formulated by SBI Caps and the initial report of Deloitte and I can say that restoring the financial health of the carrier is completely doable.” True, Patel earned the distinction of being a Civil Aviation Minister but not of Air India as it was with his predecessors who remained obsessed with the Maharaja. Patel per se was not against Air India as some airline insiders portrayed him though he was, perhaps, a shade friendlier with private airlines. How else does one explain the speed with which he pushed the purchase of new aircraft by the erstwhile Indian and Air India after he assumed office as Civil Aviation Minister in May 2004? Under him, Indian Airlines placed orders for 43 Airbus A 320 family aircraft in September 2005. Air India ordered the purchase of 68 Boeing aircraft in January 2006. In the case of Indian (Airlines), the new order came after its last order of 31 A 320s in 1986. Since then, the country had seen six Prime Ministers and as many governments. In the case of Air India, it last placed orders for six Boeing 747-400s in 1992. Air India had not acquired new aircraft after that and relied only on leased Jumbos and A 310s. Beyond a stage, growth through leasing becomes tough unless dovetailed with an acquisition plan. This did not happen with both Air India and Indian. When the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government assumed office in 1998 and again in 1999, it laid the ground for new aircraft induction by both Indian and Air India. This went on simultaneously even as it explored the possibility of selling the two airlines to strategic partners. In November 1998, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told this writer: “Air India ek badi gambhir samasya hai (Air India is a serious problem).” Attempts to divest Indian and Air India drew a blank for political reasons. Subsequently, the airline boards cleared the acquisition of 43 Airbus A 320 family aircraft for Indian and eight Airbus A 340 and 18 Boeing 737-800s for Air India. These proposals remained on the file when the Vajpayee government demitted office. What did Patel do? While retaining the Indian order for 43 Airbus A 320 family aircraft, he blessed the Air India board for its choice of 50
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END OF AN ERA: Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel showing Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh the first of Air India’s new Boeings in 2007.
widebody Boeings: 15 Boeing 777-300 ERs, 8 Boeing 777-200 LRs and the much-publicised 27 Boeing 787 or Dreamliners (whose delayed delivery continues to shock the carrier) and 18 Boeing 737-800s for Air India Express. The total order of 111 new planes by the two carriers valued at $11 billion was the biggest in Indian aviation history. This was widely welcomed by the AI-IA employees. Even as Patel obtained cabinet approval, he moved towards ‘Open Skies’ by granting liberal bilateral rights to foreign carriers. But before that, Praful Patel got cabinet approval for allowing private Indian domestic carriers to fly overseas, provided they had a minimum 20 aircraft and were in business for five continuous years. In fact, the idea of allowing private Indian carriers to fly overseas was considered even by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government but he deferred fearing political backlash. In a way, the Vajpayee government swung from one extreme of wanting to sell state-owned airlines to the other of retaining the monopoly of Air India and Indian to fly overseas. Patel did exactly what NDA government wanted to do but retreated at the last minute. Where Patel might have gone wrong could be his liberal grant of bilateral rights to Gulf-based carriers led by Emirates, Etihad, etc followed by European carriers like Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways and others. For some reason, he was not keen to welcome Singapore Airlines since it received fewer rights than Emirates, which today has 191 weekly flights to connect 11 important cities of India with 52,000 seats each week. Why did he do that? Obviously, to bring in non-Air India airlines like Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet and very soon IndiGo. The logic was simple. Unless you allow more rights to foreign carriers, there was no way you could get rights in those countries for private Indian carriers. This December 2004 policy of Patel was implemented from early 2005. At that time, he did protect the Gulf routes — mainly Dubai - for three years in favour of Air India and Indian. It is in this context one should view the decision to allow private Indian carriers to fly international and at the same time get Air India and Indian to induct new planes in the fleet.
In 2006, he moved the proposal to merge Indian and Air India to form one big airline with a fleet of nearly 150 aircraft. The legal merger took place in August 2007 when the mood in India and globally was bullish. Just when AI’s big birds started arriving along with Indian’s narrow bodies, global recession hit the aviation industry hard and India was no exception; in fact, the industry was virtually crushed. Private Indian carriers quickly adjusted by postponing deliveries and shrinking their network. But, for many reasons, a merged Air India-Indian got into a real soup which continues to remain inedible today as the ingredients — Air Indians and Indians — have refused to blend in. After the economy got out of recession, Indian aviation again began clocking 20 per cent growth in the domestic sector and there has been sizeable expansion in the international sector. Unfortunately, the merged Air India remains moribund. All it has done was change its name from National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) to Air India again. In the winter of 42 (it has been 42 months since the merger in August 2007), there is a semblance of recovery in Air India. However, it faces major challenges from competing carriers, locally and globally, that have recovered from the shock of recession much faster and emerged much stronger to fight even more aggressively. It is in this context that one has to view the turnaround plan of Air India and pass a judgment on whether it is “doable” or not. Patel said it is “doable” but his successor Vayalar Ravi says it is going to be a long haul. It will indeed as the current losses, debt and outstanding liabilities of Air India at over `40,000 crore will need its revenues rising three times compared to the present stream. This is possible only if other competing domestic carriers freeze their growth. A buoyant Indian economy can neither afford that or even permit such a thing to happen. My best wishes to Praful Patel in his new heavier task and my sympathies to Vayalar Ravi. (Veteran journalist and long-time aviation watcher R Krishnan is Consulting Editor at CH. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.) CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Where Patel might have gone wrong could be his grant of bilateral rights to Gulf-based and European carriers... he was not keen to welcome Singapore Airlines. 35
100 and flying strong! It was in India that the first commercial flight — carrying cargo — took place 100 years ago and a year-long calendar of events have been chalked out to mark the occasion, reports Tirthankar Ghosh. GRAND CELEBRATION: Former Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel chairing the first meeting of the Civil Aviation Centenary Celebration Committee.
he Wright brothers took their first flight on December 17, 1903, and aviation history the world over records that a Wright-built airplane piloted by Philip O. Parmelee carried a bolt of silk cloth from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio on November 7, 1911. However, contrary to popular belief, it was in India that international aviation history took place when the first airplane carrying a payload — it was, in fact, express cargo — flew. The date: February 18, 1911. So, by the time this issue of Cruising Heights reaches your hands, it will be time to celebrate 100 years of aviation. On its part, the government has declared 2011-2012 as the India Civil Aviation Centenary Year. That air cargo first event, according to history, was not only a pioneering effort but one of high adventures. The story of that first flight began in December 1910 when
On its part, the government has declared 20112012 as the India Civil Aviation Centenary Year CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
the SS Persia docked at Bombay. On board were huge packing cases and in them were parts of a plane. In charge of the important cargo was Commander Sir Walter George Windham and along with him were two pilots, Henri Pequet, a Frenchman, and Keith Davies, an Englishman. Besides, there were two mechanics: Haffkin and Billon, one English and the other French. The five-member team had been sent by the Humber Motor Company in Coventry, England to exhibit the plane at the Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition, held at Allahabad in UP (then the United Provinces). That was the year when Humber started manufacturing monoplanes, called the Humber Bleriot. Later, the company made two Roger Sommer biplanes, which were sent to India. The Roger Sommer biplane was basically a modified Henri Farman biplane with a 50 HP, seven cylinder air-cooled Gnome
rotary engine. The team started its journey and arrived at Allahabad where it assembled the planes. Before it could fly, Sir Walter was requested by a priest from the Holy Trinity Church at Allahabad if funds could be raised for a hostel. After thinking for a while, the gallant Sir Walter hit upon an idea: he could get his pilots to fly mail across the river Ganges to Naini and get a special postmark put on the letters. That would raise money for the hostel. The Postmaster General of United Provinces and the Director General of Post Office in India approved the idea and a special postmark was authorised. The cancellation read: “First aerial Post.” A clergyman was appointed as the Postmaster at the parade ground at Naini where the Roger Sommer was scheduled to land. A surcharge of six annas was levied and very soon letters started coming in from all over India. History records that one letter had stamps worth `25. On February 17, a day before the event, the Oxford and Cambridge Hostel at Allahabad was turned into a small post office. It was there that letters and postcards (approximately 6,000 were received) started at 9.00 in the morning and lasted till midnight. Henri Pequet, the 23-year-old French pilot (he died in 1974), is believed to have signed at least 400 postcards. The morning of February 18, 1911, was a clear one. Pequet strode to his plane, a wristwatch on his right hand and an altimeter on his left knee and in a few minutes he was off into the air. The biplane flew to Naini at 40 mph at an altitude of 130 feet. He landed at Naini, 8 km from Allahabad, to be greeted by the lone postmaster. Soon afterwards, Pequet flew back. The back and forth journey lasted all of 27 minutes. The letters were then taken to be put on a train to Calcutta. One of the recipients of the first airmail was King George V of England. His secretary sent back a thank you note to Sir Walter: “The King desires me to send you his thanks for the letter he received from India, bearing the inscription ‘First Aerial Post’, which will be an interesting addition to His Majesty’s stamp collection.” Commercial operations, connecting Delhi to Karachi via Jodhpur and beyond,
ON TO THE CENTENARY : Some of the committee members: (top row) Former Civil Aviation Ministers Praful Patel, Sharad Yadav,Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy; (second row) Satish Sharma, M P and Chairman of Aero Club of India and former Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar; (third row from left) Dipinder Hooda, M P, Captain G Gopinath, Naveen Jindal, M P and former Civil Aviation Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad; and, (fourh row) Industrialist Vijaypath Singhania, Saudamini Deshmukh, the first lady pilot in the commander's seat in India, Rakesh Sharma, first Indian Cosmonaut and Air Marshal Arjan Singh
A high-level committee has been constituted by the Civil Aviation Ministry that will “deliberate upon the period of celebrations...” CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
began almost 18 years later — on December 20, 1929 — and were operated by Imperial Airways. Since then, Indian aviation has grown at an even pace. Today, India is the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world and according to some civil aviation pundits, the country could well emerge as one of the three largest markets in the world by 2020. To mark the 100 years, running up to 2012, there will be special events and celebrations. A high-level committee has been constituted by the Civil Aviation Ministry that will “deliberate upon the period of celebrations, formulate an action plan for the entire year and decide events which may be undertaken during the centenary years”. During the year, there will be air shows, the establishment of an air and space theme park/museum as well as an aviation university, the release of a stamp by the President of India and commemorative coins. The committee is headed by the present Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi (though at the time it was constituted Praful Patel was in charge) and includes the former Civil Aviation Ministers among whom are Praful Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharad Yadav, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shahnawaz Hussain and Anant Kumar. The others in the committee are eminent Indians who have contributed to the Indian civil aviation story like Rakesh Sharma, the country’s first Indian cosmonaut, Vijaypath Singhania, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, Saudamini Deshmukh, the first lady pilot in the commander’s seat in India, Satish Sharma, MP and Chairman of Aeroclub of India, Capt G R Gopinath, Dipinder Hooda and Naveen Jindal, both MPs, Secretaries of the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Defence and Tourism, Chairpersons of all Indian airlines, Chairpersons of all Indian airports, CMD, Pawan Hans, Chairman ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), representatives of tour and travel operators, eminent pilots, representatives of IGRUA (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi), NFTI (National Flying Training Institute), NAL (National Aerospace Laboratories), HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security), DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
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rathi (right) in pilot Judith Jeslin Bha Bharathi (left) and Coicca Bav t. Cap OL: DUAL CONTR the cockpit.
LOOK MA, I CAN FLY At an age when a mother-daughter relationship moves to being one of friendship, here is a duo that has broken all conventional barriers and today has moved on to share the same cockpit. Roohi Ahmed traces the Bharathi saga.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
t 18, girls of her age would fancy going out for parties or at the most are movie-buffs. But meet Capt. Bavicca Bharathi, she is the world’s youngest licensed commercial pilot and commander, who dared to dream at 18. From her ambition to become a medical doctor during her high school days to being a licensed pilot, Bavicca has come a long way from a normal girl to a pilot. On being asked about her role model and her inspiration for becoming a commercial pilot, Bavicca says, “I was in Standard 12 and was busy preparing for the medical entrance exams, when I had a chance meeting with Prima Ramesh. Her husband was a pilot with an international airline. She inspired me to take up flying and that is when I decided to give it some serious thought and went ahead with it.” She acquired the license to fly at the age of 18 and in her 21st year had more than 2100 flying hours in her kitty. Breaking Indian Airlines’ Captain Nivedita Bhasin’s earlier record — she achieved the feat at the age of 23 — Bavicca got into the Limca Book of
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Photo courte sy: worldreco rdsin
I am thankful to God that my being a woman has not affected my training or work.
CAPT. BAVICCA BHARATHI
SENSE OF PR IDE: Proud fa ther and husb and of the Bh arathi duo.
Records for being the youngest pilot in India to have a commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18 in 2008. “Kingfisher has played a major role in helping me achieve the last two records. They expedited my flying so that I could complete the Advanced Training Pilot’s Licence (ATPL) requirements in time. They also relaxed the company policy so that I could be promoted to the post of commander,” says a jubilant Bavicca, crediting the Kingfisher Airlines. Currently, she is flying from Chennai to stations like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, etc. Not just that, when any mother of 40 would only think of her daughter’s career or marriage plans, here Bavicca’s mother Judith Jeslin Bharathi showed undaunting spirit by joining her daughter and also trained as a pilot. “During the training I had to stay away from home in a small town called Shirpur, 200 km from Indore. Compared to the urban setup I had been brought up in, the Flying Club was not as well connected. But I was very fortunate to have my mother with me. I never felt
homesick and she made sure that I was comfortable. While applying for my CPL, I did face a few glitches with the conversion of my Radio Telephony License,” says Bavicca and went on to point out, “I am thankful to God that my being a woman has not affected my training or work.” After getting their licenses, mother and daughter joined Kingfisher Airlines. Both of them shared an apartment and studied together during their training. They were always together throughout their journey to complete the 200 hours of flying and attain their commercial pilot license (CPL). After co-piloting, she has now become the main pilot. Both mother and daughter, today, share the same cockpit as pilot and co-pilot. Joining Kingfisher Airlines on her 21st birthday on July 30, 2007, Bavicca acquired her ATPL. She flew her first flight IT 2439/2440 with Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) on December 29. She flew an ATR-72-500 with more than 50 passengers on Bengaluru-HyderabadBengaluru route. She has taken up the challenge of being responsible for the safety of so many passengers in her stride. CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
“Flying is all about pre-planning and staying ahead of the aircraft. So, the aircraft status, weather at destination, Notams, communication, standard operating procedures, crew resource management, safety, etc are some of the things that run through my mind while piloting a flight,” she confides. Interacting with the passengers before flying the aircraft, Bavicca passes off as a pleasant person for the passengers. “After doing the walk around, I have sometimes walked in with the passengers and I do not think that my being a woman affects them as they know that they are in safe hands. After all, Kingfisher Airlines places the guest safety and comfort above everything else.” says Bavicca. Lavishing praise on her tutors, she points out, “I have been very fortunate to be trained by highly experienced instructors and line captains at Kingfisher Airlines.” This intelligent girl not only takes pride in flying planes but also enjoys diverse interests. “I enjoy painting, singing carnatic and playing the piano. I recently passed Grade 5 Piano from Trinity College, London,” she says.
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hile indigenisation is necessary for the progress of the nation, collaboration and co-operation in development and production would speed up the realisation of the products and help in reducing the costs,” stated Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence (R&D), during a recent press meet at Bengaluru. “Self-reliance needs to be redefined in terms of the contemporary global economic scenario,” he emphasised. He underlined the importance of the theme of “self-reliance” that has been selected for “Air Show 2011”. According to officials overseeing the Aero India preparations at Yelahanka, Bengaluru, this year’s show will be bigger in size with the possibility of extra pavilions and exhibition area. “The
show was big enough in 2007. Subsequently, in 2009 also the show turned out to be good despite the economic slowdown. This time, the responses so far clearly indicates that we would need additional space to accommodate exhibition pavilions and aircraft parking slots,” said IAF officials. The air show will be preceded by an international seminar. Organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with the Aeronautical Society of India, it is likely to be attended by more than 800 delegates from India and abroad. While a large number of delegates will be from the aerospace industry, there will be others from R&D institutions, academic institutions including students, besides those from the armed forces and DRDO laboratories. The theme of the seminar, ‘Aero and space technologies: Success through global co-operation’,
The mother of all air shows
AERO INDIA 2011,THE COUNTRY'S TOP AIR SHOW, IN BENGALURU,TAKES PLACE AT A CRUCIAL JUNCTURE: THE NATION HAS NOT ONLY BEEN ABLE TO KEEP ITS HEAD HIGH IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC TURNDOWN BUT IS ON THE CUSP OF BECOMING A WORLD POWER.THE AIR SHOW WILL ENABLE THE COUNTRY TO SHOWCASE OUR PROGRESS IN INDIGENISATION IN A SECTOR — AVIATION AND AEROSPACE — THAT HAS VIRTUALLY BEEN THE MONOPOLY OF THE WESTERN NATIONS. A SNEAK PEEK AT THE SHOW. >>> FLYING MACHINES UNLEASHED: Aircrafts lined up at Aero India 2009, held at Yelahanka, Bengaluru.
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>>> GOOD RESPONSE: The five-day show saw the largest number of business and other visitors ever in any Aero India Show.
The star attraction of the show will be the flight displays of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Aerostat and live exhibits of unmanned aerial vehicles. Cruising Heights
has been selected keeping in mind the global scenario. The meet will see 38 speakers from abroad along with the presentation of 64 papers. The speakers will include CEOs and technologists from leading companies such as Eurojet, Boeing, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, SAAB, Goodrich, professors from the Indian Institute of Science, MIT, USA, scientists from DRDO, CSIR and BEL. Contemporary and emerging technologies will be discussed during the seminar. The star attraction of the show will be the flight displays of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Aerostat and live exhibits of unmanned aerial vehicles. Keeping the home-grown aircraft company will be the Flying Bulls’ aerobatics team from the Czech Republic, led by a woman pilot Radoslava who currently flies Zlin 50LX aircraft. The four-member team’s breathtaking displays will include the signature mirror flight manoeuvre. While performing this manoeuvre, the leading aircraft flies upside down, immediately above a second aircraft flying right side up, mirroring the leading aircraft’s flight figures. Perhaps, the only aircraft that will attract the most attention will be world’s most-advanced combat aircraft, the F-22 Raptor from the US. According to sources, two of the stealth fighters will be showcased as a static display. While it was inducted into the US military in 2005, the Raptor has rarely been seen outside its country and has made appearances only at a few air shows, the first being at Farnborough in 2008. According to a release by the US State Department, the only other participation has been at an air show in Chile last year. However, the fighter has also carried out flying demonstrations at the Dubai air show. Besides these, France will be sending two
Rafale fighters. This will be a first showing of the Dassault Rafale in India. The French fighter is a contender in the Indian Air Force’s competition for 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), vying against the Boeing F/A-18, Lockheed Martin F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon, MiG-35, and Saab Gripen. Eurofighter has also announced that the Typhoon combat aircraft from the Italian Air Force would also be at the show. The DRDO’s emphasis on self-reliance will be on display through the government-owned Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) showcasing its entire range of C4ISR capabilities including Network Centric Warfare technologies developed in-house. These will include Command & Control System, Air Space Management, Multi Sensor Tracking, Situation Simulator and Tactical Algorithm for Air Defence applications, Battlefield Management System and an all-weather 24x7 coastal surveillance system. In addition, new products and technologies including Software Defined Radios, Next Generation Bulk Encryptor and High Data Tactical Radio will also be on show. Airborne products to be displayed include Radar Finger Printing System, Data Link, Digital Flight Control Computer and Identification Friend or Foe. Also on display would be the complete range of Opto Electronic equipment, including Night Vision Devices, Digital Hand Held Compass and Advanced Land Navigation System. Akash, the Indian-made guided missile air defence weapon system, for which BEL is the lead integrator, will be displayed among the static displays. Another major system is Weapon Locating Radar, the state-of-the-art passive, phased array radar, which has undergone successful user trials by our armed forces. February 2011
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US edges closer ONCE A VIRTUAL MONOPOLY OF THE SOVIET UNION,THE US HAS OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS ALLOWED INDIA TO PURCHASE DEFENCE-RELATED EQUIPMENT. R KRISHNAN TAKES A LOOK AT THE US-INDIA DEFENCE DEALS.
s there a slow transformation in Indiaâ€™s sourcing of its defence needs? Perhaps, yes. But it will still be a long way before the erstwhile Soviet Union and now Russia can be replaced by the new emerging supplier: the US. The fact is that India imports 90 per cent of its defence hardware â€” whether used in land, water or space. Of this, nearly 70 per cent was historically from Russia and now followed by Israel after it first broke the barrier big time in 2007 when it bagged contracts worth $4 billion. The third in queue of suppliers is Europe. The entry of the US is a recent phenomenon as the legal framework governing US defence enterprises to supply to India is largely governed by its domestic laws which put more spokes than actually catalysing such sales. After a lull of nearly 40 years, the ice began to break in 2005 when India and the US-initiated Civil Nuclear Cooperation that was formally approved by Parliament in July 2008. In these five years (2005-2010), American companies have bagged some really big ticket orders that formally began with the agreement Lockheed Martin signed with the Indian government to supply six 130-J Cruising Heights
Hercules transport aircraft in January 2008. The first of this big bird arrived in India in January 2011 and is on display at the Aero India Show, Bengaluru. Later, Boeing signed a deal with the Indian defence establishment to supply six P8 I maritime reconnaissance aircraft for use by the Indian Navy. This $2-billion order was a breakthrough for Boeing which had been selling civilian aircraft to Indian carriers and state-owned Air India. When US President Barak Obama visited India in November 2010, Boeing signed yet another big deal with the Indian Air Force to supply six of its C-7 Globemaster transport aircraft worth $4-billion. In the next five to seven years, India will emerge as the biggest buyer of defence hardware worth $60-billion. Some of these include the much anticipated $13-billion order for MMRCA, $4-billion for Jaguar and LCA engines, $3-billion order for heavy-lift and attack helicopters. Even as these orders await a final call, the Indian government has formalised a $12-billion deal with Russia for the joint development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aicraft. Soon, France may ink a deal with the Indian government to refurbish the
>>> CYNOSURE OF ALL EYES: The big bird 130-J Hercules will be on display at Aero India Show, Bengaluru.
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Boeing signed another big deal with the Indian Air Force to supply six of its C-7 Globemaster transport aircraft worth $4 billion. Cruising Heights
17 GLOBEMASTER III: The US has made an entry into the Indian >>> THE INTERIOR OF C-1 defence sector. French-made Mirage 2000. A $2-billion partnership agreement has also been formalized between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries. Interestingly, many times in the recent past, the Israelis had to take the permission of their principal American companies to supply defence-related equipment as the latter held the patent for it. It is, therefore, no wonder that the American companies are now wanting to supply such equipment themselves directly to Indian customers. In a way the Indian defence basket is
slowly diversifying but the pulls of history still weigh heavily on the ultimate sourcing of Indiaâ€™s needs. How much of it will the American companies be able to garner would largely depend on many domestic laws in the US and the exemption from the entities list that the US government had drawn up as part of the sanction following the testing of a nuclear device by India in May 1998. A major collaborative venture is in the offing as part of the American entry into the Indian defence sector. Recall the successful testing and agreement with the IAF to induct February 2011
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the Tejas or what is historically come to be known as the LCA. The Mark I version will be progressively inducted into IAF starting with 20 such fighters. Though there is widespread criticism that Tejas took 27 years to develop and has cost more than `17,000 crore over the years, it was also definitely a victim of the American domestic laws. Way back in 1998, an Indian team comprising the DRDO, National Aeronautical Laboratory, etc. had visited the US and were in Pentagon discussing the possibility of hosting a new engine for this LCA. It was around that time that news came that India had tested a nuclear device in May 1998, which immediately led to Cruising Heights
the Americans imposing sanctions. Unfortunately, the Indian team that had gone to the US at that time was also talking to Lockheed Martin for a possible collaboration for the LCA project, but had to leave the Pentagon premises. So hurried was their exit that they could not even take back their own designs relating to the LCA. There ended the Indo-US collaboration. Later, the DRDO scientists had to recall the same designs to put the Tejas project on keel again. After the sanctions were withdrawn, Tejas got GE 404 engine, which has been used in the current LCA Mk-I. HAL, which is manufacturing the Tejas, will supply 200 such aircraft to the IAF. It has also been decided that Tejas should get an even more advanced engine that would be capable of delivering a heavier payload. For this bid, the DRDO has chosen GE 414 engine that will now be developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bengaluru in collaboration with other DRDO agencies such as the Aeronautical Development Agency and HAL and could well take three to four years. Meanwhile, the indigenous effort to develop the Kaveri engine for Tejas is now gathering speed after remaining nearly dormant for more than a decade-anda-half. The gas turbine engine Kaveri will replace GE 404 that is now being used in the LCA. Incidentally, Tejas has also an imported radar. The Kaveri engine — the first prototype was made in 1996 — is now gathering speed but even then it will not be ready before 2018 for installation in the LCA. A joint venture between DRDO and the French company Snecma will be developing it. Though many areas have been earmarked for the Indo-US collaboration, the fact remains that many of them still require permissions under the US legal framework. Some of those issues that are still coming in the way are the Indian reservation on US regulation — Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). Secondly, there is the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). Further, India has also refused to sign the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA). The kind of clarity one sees in the Indo-US civil aviation deals and agreements, perhaps, needs to be transferred to defence deals as well and that could come in the way of the Indo-US defence-related collaboration of blossoming.
The Indian defence basket is slowly diversifying but the pulls of history still weigh heavily on the ultimate sourcing of India’s needs. February 2011
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China challenges Airbus and Boeing IT NOT JUST WITH MILITARY HARDWARE,THE CHINESE WANT TO BE ON TOP OF THE GAME IN CIVIL AIRCRAFT AS WELL.TWO OF THESE ARE NOW OFF THE DRAWING BOARD IN VARIOUS STAGES OF PRODUCTION WITH PLENTY OF FIRM ORDERS. WILL THAT MEAN THE START OF ANOTHER AVIATION POWERHOUSE OR JUST ANOTHER BLIP? ABHIJIT BHATTACHARYYA ANALYSES.
>>>TAKING ON THE WORLD: Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Tianjin Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli formally opening the A320 Family Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, on September 28, 2008
uangdong Changsheng Aircraft Design Company, a non-manufacturing, private enterprise company, formed in 2006, has a workforce of only 30 designers and engineers. But its ambition and enterprise is to challenge, and compete with, the established aviation giants of the west to get into the market of passenger aircraft thereby potentially giving Airbus and Boeing a run for their money and technology. Can the Chinese do it? Not as yet surely. But, for how long and when? One needs to look into the Chinese thought process to understand the scenario. It began in September 2007 at the Aviation Expo in Beijing followed by the Air Show China in Zhuhain in November 2008 when the Chinese exhibited conceptual models which included twin-aisle wide-bodied designs. The design features also revealed that the aircraft would have twin turbofan, supercritical wing section, under wing podded engines and seat width greater than Airbus-320 thereby implying superior
passenger comfort on board. Designated CS, implying Changsheng, the aircraft has been named China Star. What makes the aircraft design curious and interesting are its weights, loadings and performance features. Thus with an operational range of 5,200 nautical miles (9,630 kilometre; 5,984 miles) and the maximum take-off weight between 144 and 177 tonnes (depending on the model, etc) China’s design appears to throw a challenge to the present aviation giants of both Europe and the USA. In a way, if the Chinese indeed succeed in building a twin-engine, twin-aisle, wide-bodied short to medium-haul jet transport aircraft, it would be equivalent to Europe’s four-nation consortium’s Airbus-300, which made a spectacular debut in the 1970s and succeeded in checking the rampaging passenger aircraft sale of the three American aviation giants: Boeing, Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas. It would also be a record of sorts as except Europe’s four nations (France, Germany, Spain and Britain) built aircraft; USA built Lockheed-1011; McDonnell Douglas DC-10; Boeing-747, 767 and 777 and the former USSR made Ilyushin-86, no other nation could get into the twin-aisle wide-bodied passenger jet aircraft enterprise thus far. Although it is too early to go gaga over the Chinese plan of action, the very fact that they have thought of entering a highly competitive market, which is both sensitive to quality of machine and the price thereof in an era of economic downturn, speaks volumes of Beijing’s confidence and determination to play big in the high technology aviation club monopolised by the west. A comparison between the various widebodied contemporary aircraft of late 20th and early 21st century would reveal the potential reality of the Chinese initiative. Thus, with the maximum take-off weight between 142 and 165 February 2011
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2011 Who’s afraid of Comac’s C919?
Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, being bigger and heavier than the Airbus-300, with maximum take-off between 195 and 224.98 tonnes could operate between 2,870 nautical miles. Cruising Heights
ill the C919 being built by China’s Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) work? Last year, in November, the aircraft achieved a 100 orders after much huffing and puffing including options. Clearly, domestic airlines persuaded the government not to plump for an untried and untested plane. The exact order total was unclear, but it did not exceed 55. Comac has taken its first orders for the C919 passenger planes from three domestic airlines and General Electric’s leasing arm. The orders are being seen as a vote of confidence in the state-owned enterprise. Comac expects to sell more than 2,000 C919s over the next 20 years. The model, which has 166 seats competes with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320.Perhaps, most notable was the unwillingness of the big three state airlines to take options on more than 15 C919s each, even though Comac’s programme must envision them eventually operating hundreds apiece. Considering that the C919 is one of 16 top-priority national technology projects demanded by the government, the ability of Beijing’s own airlines to avoid significant commitment to the aircraft is all the more remarkable. Comac is planning to build C919s at a rate of 150 a year, meaning that the programme should exceed 2,000 units by the early 2030s. The first flight is due in 2014 and the first delivery in 2016. CFM International, supplier of the C919’s LeapX1C engine, expects Comac eventually to sell more than 1,000 C919s. Says its Executive Vice President, Chaker Chahrour: “We hope they sell 3,000 airplanes.” Other suppliers say privately that their business cases reckon on fewer sales than Comac is assuming. Comac describes the 100 orders and options at Zhuhai as launch orders. But the pro-
tonnes, the twin-engine Airbus-300 had an operational range between 1,800 nautical miles (3,334 kilometres; 2,074 miles) and 2,750 nautical miles (5,095 kilometres; 3,165 miles). America’s three-engine Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, being bigger and heavier than the Airbus300, with maximum take-off between 195 and 224.98 tonnes could operate between 2,870 nautical miles (9,653 kilometres; 5,998 miles). Another three-engine aircraft, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, heavier than all with maximum take-off weight between 206.384 and 259.45 tonnes had a flying range between 2,350 nautical miles (4,355 kilo-
gramme was launched in 2008 without orders. A billion Chinese are predicted to be flying for business and leisure in the near future and China is keen to reduce its reliance on foreign planes. “The customer signing lays a market foundation for the C919, which has smoothly entered the engineering development phase,” Comac chairman Zhang Qingwei said in a statement. Speaking at a Comac press conference to announce the order, the company’s chief accountant, Tian Min, said: “In the future we expect to see 3,000 new planes here in China and more than 30,000 new planes globally. So this is a very big market.” The C919 jumbo jet will fly for the first time in 2014 and will go on the market in 2016. The Chinese regional jet ARJ-21, which has already completed a successful test flight, will be put on the market in 2011, according to COMAC. Since 2009, when the China-made regional jet ARJ-21 made a successful maiden flight, the Chinamade jumbo jet project has been the subject of growing public concern. Jin Zhuanglong, the general director of COMAC, said in an academic forum at Fudan University that, after two years of testing adjustment, the first ARJ-21 jet will be put on the market this year, and it has received a total of 240 orders, including US and European customers. Jin said development of the ARJ-21 required eight years and attracted worldwide attention. Many well-known aircraft supporting suppliers, such as General Electric and Honeywell, have all called for cooperation. “During the development process of the China-made regional jet ARJ-21 project, we always adhered to a premise, which is that all overseas suppliers must transfer technology to us,” Jin said.
metres; 2,755 miles) and 4,050 nautical miles (7,505 kilometrs; 4,663 miles). In comparison to Europe’s twin-engine Airbus-300 and USA’s three-engine Lockheed and McDonnell Douglasmade aircraft, however, the USSR-manufactured four-engine Ilyushin-86 has proved to be somewhat below par in technology as well as operational capability. Thus, despite four engines, the Ilyushin-86 could not display any remarkable capacity to improve its payload which stood at 42 tonnes with an operational range between 1,944 nautical miles (3,600 kilometres; 2,235 miles) and 2,480 nautical miles (3,600 kilometres). February 2011
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It needs to be remembered, however, that it takes at least a decade for a new aviation project to operationalise from conception to commission with millions (may be billions!) of US dollars spent on research and development, drawing, design and delivery. Indeed, the situation today is so hard and expensive that except the USA, no European nation can afford to be on its own steam to launch any new aviation project without a risk-sharing partner. China, however, is the sole nation to stand out. And it is thinking, initiating and commissioning an indigenous aviation plan in style and great elan. Of course, China can afford to go alone because of its fat cash purse, foreign investment and its own technology enterprise. Europe, on the other hand, is a tottering economy with hardcore “liability nations” like Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece that all are threatening to wipe out the financial recovery and rejuvenation plan of the European Union’s collective kitty. Further, Europe is facing the hard and harsh reality of a reduced budget and all-round big-ticket cancellation of defence hardware. USA, too, faces a comparatively dim prospect of a declining military mart. In fact, except Brazil and Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, UAE and India, the world today appears to be a very difficult place to do business with nation states who till yesterday were coveted clients of the arms merchants of the west. No doubt, military markets still exist today. The production lines too are in order. But, for how long? Because, everywhere there is a cash crunch owing to a spectacular western miscalculation of the financial formula. “Deficit” is a dirty word. But the dirty word has eaten away the surplus of the west thereby compelling it to look to the east, hitherto the junior and inferior partner in the world economic order and the aviation market thereof. With trillions of dollar cash balance, China understandably can afford to go alone for a decade without any problem as long as Beijing maintains the current rate of internal growth and exert its external force on the international monetary and financial systems. If indeed, therefore, China comes up with its planned largecapacity wide-bodied short/medium-range jet transport aircraft, like the one produced almost 29 years ago in 1972 in the form of Airbus-300, one may be in for some exciting battles between west and east for supremacy in the air. In fact, the singular and spectacular four-nation consortium of European success played an unprecedented role in breaking the US monopoly Cruising Heights
in civil aviation which also saw the departure of at least two types — the Lockheed L-1011 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 — of US aircraft from the map of world aviation. It would be important to know and note what a new aircraft at times can do to a conservative aviation market, which normally goes by established conventions and success of a manufacturer’s past performance. Thus, when the four-nation European Airbus-300 entered the operational zone in 1972, it did not take long for it to come to Indian skies in 1976. From then on, it has flown more than 30 years and the unique record it holds so far -- not a single passenger has been killed by this aircraft, two nasty accidents involving this flying machine notwithstanding. In September 1986 when a Chennai-Delhi Airbus-300 crashed just short of the airport perimeter periphery after an aborted take-off run, owing to false fire alarm, a few sustained minor injuries, but there were no deaths. Again, when a Chennai-Hyderabad-Delhi Airbus-300 crash-landed in a paddy field off Tirupati in November, 1993 the fully loaded aircraft was a complete wreck. Yet not a single passenger was grievously hurt. The landing certainly was more spectacular and sensational than the new year landing of an US Air Airbus-320 at New York’s Hudson river a few years ago. Although it is too early to predict the ultimate outcome of the Chinese aviation venture in a crowded market of production over-capacity and an overall consumer nervousness owing to cash crunch and financial downturn, it would be interesting to see how the Chinese make their presence felt in the future aircraft mart — indigenous technology and the fat purse of Beijing notwithstanding.
>>>FIRST FLIGHT: The first A320 aircraft assembled on the Airbus Final Assembly Line China (FALC) successfully completed its maiden flight on May 18, 2009.
China, is the sole nation to stand out. And it is thinking, initiating and commissioning an indigenous aviation plan in style and great elan. February 2011
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Eurocopter India off to a flying start EUROCOPTER GROUP HAS ESTABLISHED ITS 25TH SUBSIDIARY TO KICK OFF ITS FULL-FLEDGED OPERATIONS IN INDIA.THE LEADING HELICOPTER MANUFACTURING COMPANY IS AIMING TO BECOME THE LARGEST SUPPLIER FOR THE CIVILIAN AND GOVERNMENT MARKETS IN INDIA,TOO,WRITES CECILE ARNAUD.
Eurocopter India initiative is the most important milestone in the Eurocopter-India journey, and is a result of Eurocopter's goal of expanding its footprint. Cruising Heights
ver the past several years, the Eurocopter Group has confirmed its preeminent position as the world's top helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market. With a turnover of â‚Ź4.8 billion, orders for 346 new helicopters, and a 49 per cent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors achieved in 2010, Eurocopter commands over 33 per cent of the total world civil and parapublic helicopter fleet today. Offering the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world, its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 27 subsidiaries and participations in five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 11,200 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,900 customers in more than 147 countries. Towards the end of 2010, Eurocopter created history with the inauguration of Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. on October 20, 2010, as it became the first foreign helicopter manufacturer to have a fully-fledged subsidiary in India. This initiative is arguably the most important milestone in the Eurocopter-India journey, and is a result of Eurocopter's goal of expanding its footprint in the highly-promising and fastest-growing market of India. It also reinforces Eurocopter's support and services network throughout the country, further developing the company's four-decade-long relationship with the Indian industry. The global leader has continually broken new grounds in terms of technology, growing product line and expanding international footprint. It believes very strongly that in order to understand the market and catch the pulse of a country, it is very important to adapt to the local market and absorb the local flavor in the way
business is conducted in that country. Be it adapting to the local culture, or adding a local workforce, being physically closer to the customers is very important. Keeping this in mind, Eurocopter chose to take on Indian avatar, and unveiled a landmark initiative in the process. Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. is the 25th subsidiary established worldwide by Eurocopter and the 10th in Asia. This new subsidiary, headquartered in New Delhi, has an existing facility in Bengaluru for the management of industrial activity. â€œThe Indian helicopter industry has great potential for expansion, given the country's
>>>STRONG INDIA CONNECTIONS: Eurocopter and Pawan Hans has a long relationship
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expanding economy, its size and challenging terrain, as well as the industrial potential,” says Eurocopter India CEO Marie-Agnès Veve. She added, “Eurocopter is the world's first major helicopter manufacturer to establish a subsidiary in India, which underscores our objective of being a key player in this very important marketplace.” The Eurocopter India subsidiary is part of the company's continuing investment in staff, resources and services to achieve this objective. It will address current and future operators' needs for maintenance and support by offering responsive, cost-effective solutions for spares management, technical documentation, warranty claims and training. A country-wide MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) network will be developed by the subsidiary, building on Eurocopter's existing local assets and partnerships within India. A very important pillar of Eurocopter India's plans for the Indian market is its commitment towards increasing industrial co-operation. With this as the context, Eurocopter plans to increase local sourcing as well as identify synergies for indigenous manufacturing. A planned engineering centre is also part of the plan to help Eurocopter consolidate its position in the Indian industry. While strengthening existing relationships with the public sector remains a priority, Eurocopter is also in the process of identifying opportunities for industrial partnerships with private
Indian companies in the aerospace segment. Eurocopter India also has set the goal of applying Eurocopter's culture of excellence in assisting the country's civil aviation authorities and operators to further evolve and mature the helicopter sector — with the focus on safety and infrastructure. This will build on Eurocopter's demonstrated track record in other countries, where it has successfully established a presence and worked cooperatively with helicopter operators and governments. The setting-up of Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. is but a natural progression on the long tradition of cooperation and business that Eurocopter has had with India. India was the first nation with which Eurocopter signed a license agreement which included technology transfer. This association began in 1962 when Eurocopter joined hands with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), through two cooperation agreements. These agreements enabled HAL to manufacture more than 600 helicopters of the Alouette III and Lama type (Cheetah/Chetak). In 1984, HAL also assisted Eurocopter in the development of the Advanced Light Helicopter equipped with twin-engine and 5tonne capacity transport helicopter. A few years later, Eurocopter began outsourcing exhaustive Ecureuil work packages to HAL for the global market. Over the years, HAL has become a first line partner for the global supply chain of Eurocopter's Ecureuil and Fennec and decisively contributes to the fact that Eurocopter's yearly production rate of all Ecureuil versions is more than twice that of its closest competitors. In the civilian space, Eurocopter has had a strong relationship with Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited, India's largest civil and the only scheduled helicopter operator. PHHL is Eurocopter's biggest customer in India, and owns a fleet of 30 Dauphin helicopters, the biggest Civil Dauphin fleet owned by a single operator in the world. “We have shared a very special relationship with Pawan Hans for the past 24 years, and are very happy to further strengthen this association. Through our association with Pawan Hans, wish to come closer to the Indian customers and serve them better. We look forward to providing even better support, service and fleet safety solutions to the Indian market in the coming years,” adds Mrs. Veve. Another key pillar of Eurocopter's association with India is the company's relationship with Indocopters. Indocopters is a key partner for Eurocopter, offering all Indian customers a Eurocopter-approved maintenance centre in its stateof-the-art base in Greater Noida near Delhi. (Cecile Arnaud is Sales & Marketing Director — South Asia, Eurocopter.)
Eurocopter has had a strong relationship with Pawan Hans, India’s largest civil and the only scheduled helicopter operator. February 2011
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Bengaluru is India’s aerospace capital AS THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY ENTERS INTO A FAST FORWARD MODE, KARNATAKA AND ITS CAPITAL BENGALURU ARE GEARED TO MEET THE DEMAND AND SUPPLY CHALLENGES IN THE AVIATION ARENA.WORLD AVIATION MAJORS HAVE, IN FACT, ESTABLISHED THEIR WORK STATIONS OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS AND IN THE NEAR FUTURE, BENGALURU CAN EXPECT TO BE AT THE TOP SPOT AMONG AVIATION SUPPLIERS THE WORLD OVER, REPORTS OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.
The business opportunities offered by the growth of civil aviation has prompted Karnataka to facilitate aerospace industrial developers. Cruising Heights
rowing passenger traffic has already enhanced the demand of civil aircraft in the country. Domestic passenger traffic is anticipated to surge by more than 75 per cent to more than 52 million passengers by 2016-17, while international air passenger traffic is estimated to rise to 33 million passengers during the same period, With such high growth projections, India is expected to take delivery of more than 1,000 aircraft in the coming 20 years, thereby emerging as one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. The business opportunities offered by the growth of civil aviation has prompted the government of Karnataka to focus on facilitating potential aerospace industrial developers to areas in and around Bengaluru. Karnataka stands uniquely poised: it has had more than seven decades of aerospace history. The state, in fact, is integrated to meet the demand and supply challenges in the global aviation arena. Karnataka is already home to many well-known aerospace industries. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) located in Bangalore has over 60 years experience in design, development, manufacturing and maintenance of advanced Aircrafts, helicopters and associated aero engines, aircraft systems, equipment and avionics. The deep-seated foundation for aerospace in Karnataka already exists in the form of suppliers, large and small, who supply to major players like HAL, DRDO and ISRO. These public sector units with their cutting edge technology are making their mark in the global aerospace arena.
Karnataka’s enthusiasm in harnessing an engineering workforce and Research and Development capabilities makes it a vibrant base not only in India, but in the whole of South East Asia. To add to that, Bengaluru is poised to become a potential hub for aircraft manufacturing and MRO. There are several firms and laboratories that have established themselves
>>>INNOVATION AT ITS BEST:Engineers at work at HAL production unit.
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8TH INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION ON AEROSPACE, DEFENCE & CIVIL AVIATION
in Bengaluru in the field of production, design and development. Air India and Boeing MRO have selected Karnataka for the development of MRO facilities other companies like Jupiter Aerospace and Taneja Aerospace manage their MRO centres in the city. Karnataka is thus poised to be the MRO hub of South East Asia in the coming years. One of the shortcomings that any MRO faces is the availability of land. The state has effectively identified this problem and has endeavoured to establish a land bank. In fact, the aerospace SEZ is operational and is proof enough that Karnataka means business. Almost every major Western aerospace firm wants to establish a presence in our country. Boeing, for example, has projected a demand for 900-1,000 commercial aircraft worth $100 billion over the next 20 years. In the near term, $25 billion spent on commercial aircraft and $100 billion on defence aircraft by 2014. All these factors will drive the growth in the aerospace sector. Apart from Government support, Indiaâ€™s advantages are its relatively lower costs, the availability of talent, the capabilities of its information technology firms and its location between the major markets in East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Before 2000, state-owned firms such as Hindustan Aeronautics dominated the local market. These companies also helped the development of an indigenous aerospace industry by subcontracting much of their work to other firms in the country. As a result, private sector firms such as Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra and the Tata Group began to acquire the capabilities in the market as well. The doors opened in 2001, when the Government allowed 100 per cent domestic private investment in the defence sector upon obtaining an industrial license and foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent with conditions were permitted. The rules have been further relaxed over the past three years in the defence sector, with the private sector now allowed to become Tier-1 suppliers in military contracts and giving foreign firms greater flexibility in their choice of local partners. The government has taken prompt measures for the development of the aerospace industry. The State has played a crucial role in encouraging the development of a critical mass of resources capabilities, technologies and suppliers. In an effort to facilitate the growth of Aerospace industry in Karnataka, over 1000 acres for an Aerospace SEZ have been identified. The proposed SEZ is adjacent to the existing Technology and Software Park, where Cruising Heights
knowledge sharing will result in moving higher up in the value chain. The defence unit at Chitradurga, where it is proposed to establish a manufacturing facility for unarmed aircraft, shall be another step towards major support from the Government. Strong economic growth, liberalisation of policies, cost competitiveness, a research and development hub, well educated knowledge pool, Information Technology competitiveness and liberal special economic zones are major contributory factors for the development of Karnataka as a manufacturing hub. We assure you of quality and value added facilitation in Karnataka. A close look at the trends in manufacturing suggests that Research and Development capabilities available in Karnataka are being recognised, since large aerospace majors are forming academic partnerships and establishing captive research centres in Karnataka. Technical capabilities and the availability of skilled manpower has prompted companies like Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, BAE, Rolls Royce and Dassault to establish their engineering centres. Boeing, for example, has entered into strategic partnerships with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore while Mahindra and Mahindra has signed a joint pact with NAL. Several such initiatives are already in the pipeline. One of the trends in manufacturing is the evolution of Engineering Services Outsourcing (EOS) and Karnataka has evolved from low-end BPO into high-end design services. Software companies like Wipro, Infosys, HCL and Tata Consultancy Services have been active in the aerospace industry for several years. In fact, IT application calls for a hub in avionics and Karnataka is poised to be the leader in Asia for avionics in the coming years.
>>>LEAPING INTO FUTURE: (L-R) Dr Dinesh Keskar, President Boeing India; Dr John Tracy, Chief Technology Officer and Senior VP, Boeing; and Dr T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, at the inauguration of the Boeing Research and Technology India Centre at Bengaluru.
In an effort to facilitate the growth of Aerospace industry in Karnataka, over 1000 acres for an Aerospace SEZ have been identified. February 2011
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There has been a remarkable passenger growth in Bengaluru International airport making it the fastest-growing airport in the country. How have you achieved this success?
BIAL is fortunate to be operating in a city like Bengaluru, a city with a robust economy. Post-recession, industries like Information Technology, garment and R&D have recovered relatively fast reflecting the positive impact which includes travel. BIAL on the other hand concentrates on making the environment friendly for the airlines. We work closely with them to provide adequate and costeffective facilities and solutions. Adding to the increasing passenger traffic, what has been particularly encouraging for us has been the fact that these couple of years have seen the introduction of several new international airlines including Dragon Air, Tiger Airways, Air Arabia, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudi Airlines, Air China, Silk Air and Air Asia. With these introductions, BIAL has now opened doors to newer routes offering passengers with a host of airlines and cabin classes to choose from to a particular destination. We have been able to attract over 10 new airlines taking the total number of airlines to 32, and connecting the city and the sate to 49 destinations directly. Of course, this does not include the numerous connecting flights that lead to innumerable
BENGALURU HAS ACHIEVED THE RARE DISTINCTION OF BECOMING THE FASTESTGROWING AIRPORT IN THE COUNTRY. MARCEL HUNGERBUEHLER, PRESIDENT, BENGALURU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LIMITED, ASCRIBES THE SUCCESS TO THE CONSISTENCY IN MAINTAINING AND IMPROVING THE FACILITIES AT THE AIRPORT. "IT IS THE LITTLE TOUCHES THAT GO A LONG WAY IN PUTTING PASSENGERS AT EASE AND BRINGING A SMILE ON THEIR FACES," SAYS HUNGERBUEHLER AND OUTLINES THE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE IN THIS INTERVIEW WITH TIRTHANKAR GHOSH.
“BIAL's vision is clear: Become the gateway to the south of India” Cruising Heights
DO YOU HAVE BAGGAGE FOR SORTATION? www.vanderlande.com
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>>> ESPOUSING HIGHER GROWTH: BIAL has grown through leaps and bounds over the years.
BIAL’s vision is clear to become the gateway to the south of India, enabling the economic prosperity of this region. Cruising Heights
There was an upswing in the annual growth of cargo by 31 per cent. What steps made you achieve this growth? 4 Bengaluru International Airport’s two cargo warehouse operators, Air India and SATS and Menzies Aviation with Bobba Group have their state-of-the-art cargo infrastructure and provide excellent storage and processing units for both perishables and nonperishables; they are responsible for the design, construction, financing and operation of a cargo facility of international standards and much of the growth is credited to their high performance standards. Bengaluru being one of the largest exporters of cut flowers and a provider of high-quality floricultural products in the country, it becomes very essential to preserve the product quality during export. Apart from careful handling of the horticultural products being exported, both our cargo terminal operators provide cold storage to ensure that the cold-chain for horticultural products is not broken. Adding to these facilities, BIAL’s efforts to ensure government agencies such as animal and plant quarantine and drug controllers at the cargo warehouses have been institutional for the increase of cargo growth in the recent past. The cargo village at the Bengaluru International Airport is also fully functional, catering to the trade better and subsequently contributing to the growth in growth. From an industry perspective, imports have also grown tremendously due to a high demand in automobile & engineering industry. New freighters like as FedEx, Deccan 360 and Blue Dart’s new routes have also contributed to the increase in cargo output. How committed are you to the expansion of the airport? 4 BIAL felt that the existing building should be extended in such a way as to give the entire complex a new lease of life, effectively producing a new design; stronger architecture, better able to offer the stature to compliment the scale of the site. Designed by architectural firm HOK, along with several leading international architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects & engineering consultants the expanded T1 sports an enhanced and modern design elevation. Between now and 2015, the air traffic at
Bengaluru International Airport is estimated to increase from the current 10.6 million passengers annually to approximately 17-20 million passengers. In keeping with this rapidly growing passenger traffic to and from Bengaluru, the Terminal 1 (T1) expansion of the Bengaluru International Airport will have enhanced capacity and operational performance. The expansion will have double available floor space of the existing terminal and is scheduled to be completed in 18 months from the commencement of its construction. The enhanced T1 will be spread over an area of approximately 1,34,000 square metres. The architectural concept is based on the idea of a dramatic swooping and curving roof, under which the building resides. The roof is the unifying element for both the new and the existing facilities, bringing both together as one composition. It also forms a dramatic canopy to the main entrance, offering passengers and public a giant covered area, protected from the weather elements. The undulating wave form provides the terminal with greater physical presence. Later this year, the airport will also embark on the plan for the expansion of Terminal 2. How do you intend to increase Bengaluru’s connectivity in the domestic market? 4 The Bengaluru International Airport’s vision is clear to become the gateway to the south of India, enabling the economic prosperity of this region by facilitating the region’s connectivity to the world. While we have been working towards this goal since the Airport Opening Day, the focus of the airport is constantly on operational excellence. Apart from the trunk routes connecting the metro cities, there is a tremendous growth potential for regional connectivity. Bengaluru has the best network, connecting airports in South India and this only keeps growing with addition of new regional airports by the domestic airlines. While the focus across airlines is to increase frequencies on account of growing demand in the domestic sector, BIAL looks to attract domestic airlines providing better regional connectivity using regional jets. For regional connectivity airlines need quick turnaround and operational efficiency and which BIAL can provide with our award-winning IT infrastructure and concepts like AOCC which is industry first. The airport also aims to provide sufficient infrastructure facilities in terms of parking bays to accommodate regional jets that could provide February 2011
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seamless connectivity between Bengaluru and the entire South Indian region. BIAL also looks at providing marketing support through incentives and tie-ups with local tourism bodies to provide sufficient passenger base for an airline to operate regional aircrafts from the city. Many airport cities are earning a major chunk out of the non-aeronautical revenue. Is BIAL working on the same path too? 4 Revenues from any airport are divided into aeronautical and non-aeronautical and the bulk component usually comes from aeronautical revenues, of which UDF forms a significant component. At the Bengaluru International Airport, revenues from parking, advertising, retail, F&B, etc. are considered traditional forms of non-aeronautical revenue streams. These facilities will further be enhanced with the T1 expansion. However, the concepts of airport cities and aeronautical SEZs are fast catching on in India and in the coming years will form a major chunk of the airport’s non-aeronautical revenues.
At the BIAL Airport, revenues from parking, advertising, retail, F&B, etc. are considered traditional forms of nonaeronautical revenue streams. Cruising Heights
How critical is UDF (User Development Fee) to BIAL operations? For how many years can passengers expect to pay UDF? 4 The UDF is a very critical portion contributing towards the aeronautical revenue of BIAL. Indian airport infrastructure can be modernised to international standards if adequate funds are available. Such funds can either come from governments, the airlines or — in the case of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) — from passenger fees. Therefore, it has always been a fundamental element of the airport privatisation in India that the new greenfield projects will be funded through a UDF. The same is monitored by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to ensure that airports do not generate excessive profits. The UDF is levied on embarking domestic and international passengers for the provision of passenger amenities, services and facilities. The UDF is used for the development, management, maintenance and operation of the airport. What support or awareness does BIAL require from government, from industry, from citizens? 4 From a government point of view, sup-
port for better airport connectivity is the need of the hour. Efforts to better road access to the airport have to continue in the coming years. Within a few years we need to have an additional highway and for environmental and capacity reasons, a dedicated rail link to the airport. While from a citizen and passenger point of view, we welcome active involvement in the airport’s development. Soon after announcing the expansion of the existing Terminal 1, the airport operator launched a campaign named ‘Smile Bengaluru’. This is an opportunity for the city’s residents and airport stakeholders to share their thoughts and ideas on how they would like to see the expanded T1. After all, it is their needs that we serve. The launch of this campaign is testimony to our inclusive approach of involving the local community with the airport project. These ideas and suggestions will be considered to shape the future of Bengaluru’s expanding airport. With this campaign, Bengaluru International Airport is the first airport in the country to seek public opinion on what they would like at their airport. A campaign strongly promoted on the social media platforms as well as outdoor city hoardings, radio and the airport spaces itself includes a large audience. All one needs to do is to log onto www.smilebengaluru.com and post their ideas and requirements. All comments are transparent and viewable by all, in fact, readers can even vote for an idea that they liked. Ideas from our conscious stakeholders are evaluated by BIAL and feedback posted on the ideas selected. What other plans are there for BIAL’s growth? 4 While the vision of the Bengaluru International Airport to become the gateway to South India is being achieved, the focus of the airport is constantly on the operational excellence and that is reflected in the high Airport Service Quality Scores achieved within the first year of operations and consistently maintained thereafter. Our aim is to continue developing and modernizing the airport infrastructure to avoid capacity constraints, improve air space efficiency and minimise costs. As the air traveller becomes discerning, it is imperative to ensure that we do not create any inequities in his overall airport experience. February 2011
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CRUISING HEIGHTS FEBRUARY 2011
AIR CARGO & LOGISTICS
CATHAY PACIFIC CARGO
IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE
THE HONG KONG-BASED CARRIER WAS NOT ONLY SUCCESSFUL IN RIDING OUT THE RECESSION BUT HAS EMERGED STRONGER
FEDEX CONNECTS INDIA TO ASIA THE DIRECT INDIA-CHINA FLIGHTS WILL BOOST ASIA-INDIA AND INTRA-ASIA TRADE DEMAND
READY AND WILLING
BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT IS LOOKING TO CONNECT DIRECTLY WITH INDIA
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LAST IN/FIRST OUT
Asia rules ASIAN CARRIERS showed strong 2010 financial results, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). “Asia Pacific carriers have managed their way successfully through the downturn, and are on track to report significantly improved financial results for the full year 2010,” according to Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. “The outlook for 2011 also remains broadly positive, given expectations of sustained demand growth,” Herdman said. “Nevertheless, carriers need to remain vigilant, and will be carefully monitoring the progress of economic recovery in the major developed markets, as well as the threat of higher oil prices, amongst other challenges, including unwelcome increases in government taxes and charges, which undermine the important role played by aviation in
promoting positive economic growth and social development.” According to Lawrence Rosen, the chief financial officer of Deutsche Post DHL, China, India, Southeast Asia and Australia are the focal points for growth in 2011. Though high unemployment in the United States and sovereignty debt problems in Europe could bring down shipping demand in those regions, increased demand in Asia and emerging markets should make up for any such shortfall. In fact, express cargo and freight volumes on Asian routes would increase at a rate ranging from the high single-digits to the low double-digits next year, fuelled by dynamic intra-Asia trade. Rosen also maintained that the air cargo sector would “see excellent growth in intraAsia trade in the foreseeable future”.
ACE charts out operations again A QUIET revival is happening. Aryan Cargo Express (ACE) is all set to resume operations in March 2011. ACE has tied up debt funding equivalent to $30 million from a leading bank in India and it has received the first tranche of $10 million. However, resuming operations is going to be a bigger challenge than the launch of the airline as the freighters are not available easily today. ACE is searching for freighters on dry lease. In fact, the carrier is now open to changing its fleet to B767-300F since A310/300 are not available. ACE will shortly finalise its fleet type and requirement and also apply to Ministry of Civil Aviation for permission to import and induct these aircraft. ACE is the country’s only international freight airline which also has the distinction of having operated its first flight to an international destination.The carrier had achieved 100 per cent loads in a majority of flights and had started making operating profits. However, the lack of working capital forced the airline to suspend its operations. Incidentally, ACE has also tied up a further $120 million to be inducted by April 2011 to go in for a rapid and aggressive expansion.
“There is a lot of work to be done (by the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group) and by using the subject matter, we believe that we will be more successful in driving positive change and improving the dialogue and relationships between the industry, law makers and other stakeholders, consequently making the global air cargo supply chain more efficient.”
) Michael Steen Incoming Chairman of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA)
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
THE NEWLY-FORMED Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) has emphasised that supply chain security programmes introduced by its member states should be established on common principles and platforms. The powerful new group comprises The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the Global Shippers Forum (GSF). In a statement, the group said security and safety continue to be of paramount importance to all members.“The air cargo industry has a good track record in this regard, but recent events have raised the importance of security protocols, especially risk assessment,” the statement said. With air cargo a significant contributor to world trade, the group pledged to focus its efforts on enhancing supply chain security. “This will require a global push by the air cargo industry and the relevant authorities to improve risk assessment, tighten standard air cargo supply chain processes, develop viable technology for the air cargo environment, and improve compliance.” Among the advisory group’s proposals were: A comprehensive air cargo supply chain security solution should be built around a multi-layered set of actions guided by the “risk-based” concept. Consistent with ICAO Annex 17, member states should introduce supply chain security programmes established on common principles and platforms, such as those contained within regulated agent and known consignor programmes. To facilitate integrated supply chain transportation, member states should be encouraged to mutually recognise quality supply chain security programmes introduced by partner member states.
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Nick Rhodes, Director, Cargo, Cathay Pacific, tells Tirthankar Ghosh what drives Cathay Pacific cargo and the carrier’s future cargo prospects.
CHIN UP: Nick Rhodes and crew members pose in front of the freighter at the launch of the round-the-world service
“When economies do well, the cargo
business will be strong”
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Cathay Pacific Airways’ air-cargo venture with Air China is forecast to boost the carrier’s air-freight business in mainland China. In fact, Cathay is optimistic about cargo and passenger demand prompting the carrier to plan investments of $256 million in Air China’s cargo arm to add freight hubs in Shanghai and Beijing to its Hong Kong base. In addition, Cathay Pacific, which has had record profits in 2010, has decided to put into service four Boeing 747400 freighters in Air China Cargo as part of its investment plan. Freight volumes at Cathay went up 20 per cent in the first 10 months of 2010 and the surging traffic has enabled Cathay Pacific to surpass Korean Air Lines as the world’s biggest international air-cargo carrier. Hong Kong
airport is also set to end Memphis 18-year reign as the world’s busiest cargo airport. Excerpts from the conversation with Nick Rhodes: There has been a lot of talk about the Dubai cargo hub being the centre of the world… Clearly, if we take Asia as the market and I include India, then Hong Kong is right at the centre. Geographically, certainly, and economically Hong Kong is at the centre of the Asian region. Dubai is the centre of the Middle East but no one is sitting at the centre of the world. This raises the more interesting subject of cargo hubs and competing hubs and clearly Dubai is an emerging hub for cargo traffic. If we compare Hong Kong and Dubai’s cargo hubs, the first thing that strikes you is that Hong Kong is actually an airport where the cargo is.
Most of our cargo originates from Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD). The traffic down here originates from just over the border. So, we are not relying on transit cargo to come into Hong Kong, unlike Dubai. Dubai is not a manufacturing centre, everybody knows that. So, we really are in the centre for airfreight because most of the airfreight is originating in Hong Kong through the delta. It also has a huge manufacturing centre for the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) in the Shanghai area. We have three freighters a day from Shanghai through Hong Kong to Europe to South-east Asia to Australasia and, to a lesser extent to North America. How important is China for Cathay Pacific Cargo? China has always been an important export market but it is now also becoming an important import market. We are importing a whole range of cargo — not just foodstuff and perishables
and fruits from Australia as well as fruits and vegetables from other parts of the world. We are now bringing high-end consumable products into China. We are shipping a lot of luxury cars, for example, from Europe and Italy and UK into China. We ship a lot of luxury household goods from North America into China. You spoke about the PRD and YRD. Is manufacturing moving out of these areas? The two important regions in China are the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta. Shanghai and Guangzhou are the two big manufacturing areas. There is a trend in China now where a lot of the manufacturing is beginning to move inland and this is being facilitated by the Chinese government in a conscious effort where they want to have some of the manufacturing inland and not restrict it to the coastal provinces of China. The lower labour costs and the source of
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CARGO labour tend to be more inland and the two big cities that are being targeted for relocation of factories are Chengdu and Chongqing. That will happen quite quickly and certainly a number of the e-companies that are setting up in both the places. China is where the manufacturing (of the world) is (situated) primarily. Of course, India is a big manufacturing centre and so is Vietnam. So if you are setting up a new airline, you wouldn’t put it too far from Hong Kong. This is still the number one place to be for cargo airlines. It is a four-and-a-half hours flying time from half the world’s population. It’s a very good place to have a hub and as long as the infrastructure remains in place, the airport has capacity, then Hong Kong will be a competitive hub for a long time. Our biggest competitors as hubs at the moment are not the Middle-eastern hubs. It’s the hubs that target the China market and, perhaps, Incheon is one of the strongest competitors because that is located just to the north of China. Incheon’s a very strong competitor and it is no coincidence that Korean Airlines and Cathay Pacific are the world’s fourth and fifth biggest cargo carriers beside UPS, FedEx and Air France/KLM.
Cathay takes a step towards e-frieght Cathay Pacific Airways recently announced that it had implemented the rollout of 100 per cent electronic air waybills (e-AWB) in Hong Kong — an important step in the move towards creating a paperless environment in the airfreight industry. On 1 January, Cathay Pacific became the first airline operating out of Hong Kong to fully switch to e-AWB, eliminating the need for all paper documents when issuing air waybills — the shipping documents used for the transportation of airfreight. The Cathay Pacific Cargo team worked with agents and freight forwarders to ensure readiness for the introduction of the electronic process. The e-AWB initiative covers all online destinations from Hong Kong to which Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair fly. The airline plans to implement 100 per cent e-AWB from all its overseas stations by the end of 2012. The benefits of e-freight include shortening the shipping cycle, reduced costs, faster customs clearance, the elimination of problems
resulting from loss or misplaced documents, and reduced paper usage. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) selected nine countries/ territories and airlines in which to run the e-AWB pilot programme, including Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific. Electronic freight is one of the initiatives under IATA's Simplifying the Business programme, which aims to change the way the air transport industry operates and result in better service for cargo operators and lower costs for the industry. IATA targets to have 100 per cent e-AWB globally by the end of 2014. At the launch of the initiative, Nick Rhodes said that the “e-AWB programme will simplify the current process and bring improved operational efficiency and accuracy for the airfreight industry in Hong Kong, helping it to play a leading role in the industry worldwide. The programme could not have been implemented without the great support of agents and forwarders in Hong Kong.”
How is the new Cathay Pacific cargo terminal progressing? Yes, we are determined to make Hong Kong and Chek Lap Kok as a competitive hub both for passenger and cargo, so we are committed to invest in this field and we lobbied quite hard. We want to continue to develop this airport and the cargo terminal: there is capacity for three buildings on the PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: An artist’s impression of the Cathay Pacific cargo terminal at the Hong Kong airport that is under contstruction now.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
existing site and two are already developed: the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) and the Asia Airfreight Terminal Co Ltd (AAT) terminals. This was our last opportunity to develop our own cargo terminal. The bidding was open for this terminal and we were fortunate enough to win that. So it is a HK $5.5 billion project. It’s going to be about 2.6 million tonnes per year in Phase 1. How is your roundthe-world freighter service doing? Yes, round-the-world freighter was one of those innovative ideas because you have to try and balance the directional imbalance of cargo flows cargo not just to go out of Hong Kong but come back into Hong Kong. The flight operations department suggested the idea that it is much more efficient to fly west to east with the tail wind. The route is experiencing healthy load factors.
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You tie-up with Air China - won’t the move cannibalise from Cathay Pacific? The Air China venture is much bigger than just cargo. Air China is a big shareholder in Cathay Pacific and we have a sizeable shareholding in Air China and one of the joint venture initiatives was to develop an air cargo airline in China. The reason we’ve done that is because we believe that the Yangtze River Delta is quite a distinct market from the Pearl River Delta. Flying cargo from Shanghai to North America and Shanghai to Europe, it makes no sense to
HONOURS ALL AROUND: Tom Wright (GM-India, Nepal, Middle East, Africa & Pakistan) and Ashish Kapur (Regional Manager Cargo-India, Nepal, Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) along with the respective Cargo Sales Managers, presented the trophies and certificates to the top 10 achievers in Delhi.
To the top with support from agents Though 2009 was a challenging year for the aviation industry worldwide, with a drop in yields and a plunge in the cargo market, Cathay Pacific’s Indian operations remained unaffected. With its 13 flights from Delhi, 11 from Mumbai and 6 from Chennai, the airline’s cargo tonnage was in consonance with its passenger revenues.”We owe much to our agents for their continued support even through tough times and their contribution
(Top) A Pacific Cargo freighter being loaded.
bring it to Hong Kong. And if we don’t fly it and we are not involved in an airline that’s going to fly it from Shanghai to North America, somebody else will. I believe the Yangtze River Delta is growing so quickly and is a distinct market from the Pearl River Delta. But that doesn’t mean to say that Cathay Pacific is going to have no presence in China. There’s still cargo that will come from China through Hong Kong to South-East Asia and through Hong Kong to Australia and maybe to India and the Middle East. There is enough cargo in China and enough competition in China that the two airlines can compete and both operate efficiently and profitably. There’s so much cargo coming out of China and so much growth forecast in the future, that there’s certainly room for many cargo carriers and I don’t believe it’s going to eat into what Cathay is doing at home.
to our revenue growth” said Tom Wright, General Manager - India, Middle East, Africa and Pakistan. To honour cargo agents, the carrier recently hosted the annual “CX Star Performer Awards 2009” ceremonies in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru. The events took place across the months of September to December 2010, awarding deserving agents and partners individually in the four cities.
What are your expansion plans? Cargo expansion plans in general sense are ambitious but it's very hard to forecast the next ten years how much additional capacity we're going to need and you have to buy aircraft on those sorts of timeframes. I mean we are looking at what freighters to buy… We've got ten Dash 8's coming, six next year and four in 2012. With a delay in the Dash 8 programme, we don't see the first two till August and we do know we'll get two in August, two in September, two in October. So they'll all come in a rush which is not how you'd like to take capacity. We'd rather spread it out during the year but at least we will have the additional capacity for the year-end peak which is important. How important is India for Cathay? India is a major route for us in the cargo side and I
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
think we operate now, about nine freighters a week between here and Europe that touches India in both directions. We’ve got three freighters that go through India to Dubai a week and then there are six or seven dedicated Indian freighters. We are a major freighter operator to India and it’s a very prominent part of our current network and a very prominent part of our future plans. India is a very important market for us on the cargo side. We’re delighted now that we are a big player in Delhi on the passenger side and on the belly cargo as well. We carry almost as much cargo in our bellies as we do in the freighters. What makes Cathay so successful? We are a business first and an airline second. If a route doesn’t make money then we won’t necessarily operate it. We are not going to operate a route for any other reason if not to make a dollar. We are not going to provide a service to take people to Honolulu if we lose our shirt doing it. So, the freighters clearly have a high yield out of Hong Kong and a low yield in. But on balance we can cover the costs to make a profit margin. And that’s what we’re looking to do. The future totally depends on the consumer market and consumer demand. The economic downturn and the double dip (that happened) forced people to stop buying mobiles and laptops and then factories slowed down and cargo slowed down. The speed to market for new (mobile) models, clothes and shoes and IT products is so fast that people prefer to air freight these things and not put them on a ship. So, the continuous cycle that was driving air cargo I think is out of our control. Manufacturing is in this region and when the economies are doing well, the cargo business will be strong.
he future is bright for India and we aim to make it brighter,” said a confident Taarek Hinedi, Managing Director, India Operations, FedEx Express, as he announced the launch of a new flight establishing direct connections between India and the FedEx Asia Pacific hub at Baiyun International Airport, Guangzhou, southern China. The new dedicated flight providing additional air connectivity to and from India underlined FedEx’s confidence in the Indian market, said Hinedi and also reinforced the express major’s “commitment to enhance trade opportunities between India and China”. The connection promises to offer Indian businesses the benefit of significant additional outbound capacity to Asia in addition to strengthening connectivity between major cities in India and Asia. The flights will provide greater connectivity between Mumbai/Delhi and Asia, offering unprecedented access to further enable the rapidly evolving economic integration between India and Asia and satisfying the demand for shipment of items that includes electronics, pharmaceuticals, documents and clothing. In addition, the launch will further boost the
Touching China five times a week increasing trade between India and the Asia Pacific region. The APAC region is India’s largest region for trade and contributes to around 27 per cent of India’s exports and 32 per cent of India’s imports. In addition,
China is India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade expected to cross $60 billion this year compared to $42.42 billion in FY 2009-2010. In fact, China has set a target to raise trade with India to
After enhancing domestic connections, FedEx Express has launched a new direct connection between India and Asia. The move will boost Asia-India and Intra-Asia trade demand, reports Tirthankar Ghosh.
FedEx appoints Prakash Air Freight Pvt. Ltd (PAFEX) as its Global Service Participant (GSP).
FedEx acquires its Indian service provider PAFEX.
FedEx marks 10 years of direct operations in India by inaugurating India’s most sophisticated gateway hub in New Delhi.
FedEx launches increased east and westbound flights, offering unrivalled connectivity to Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
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CONNECTING INDIA AND ASIA: Samuel Thomas (left) and Taarek Hinedi (right) — both Managing Directors, India Operations, FedEx Express, hold a greeting card signed by staffers in Delhi, Mumbai and Guangzhou marking the launch of the India-China flights. The two officials are flanked by lion dancers from China while in the middle is a Kuchipudi dancer from India. The dancers performed during the symbolic launch.
$100 billion by 2015 in addition to enhancing trade ties and investments in technology and energy. According to Bloomberg, China’s imports rose 38 per cent from a year earlier to a record $130.4 billion in November and exports gained 35 per cent to $153.3 billion. The new dedicated A310
flight connects GuangzhouMumbai-New DelhiGuangzhou five times a week has brought with it a total tonnage of 160+ tons per week. As Hinedi summed it up, the flight to China “brings Asia even closer” and is part of the 31-flight bouquet FedeEx offers in and out of India. The flight, which commenced operations from Guangzhou on January 4, 2011, provides significant service enhancements for customers in India and other regions in Asia and that includes the Next-Business-Day document service from Asia to selected postal codes in Mumbai. In addition, the flight will improve delivery timings. Taarek Hinedi informed that for “FedEx International Priority Freight shipments and high-value shipments from Asia to India, transit time will improve up to two business days and for FedEx International Priority Freight shipments from India to Asia, transit time will improve by one business day”. With five additional flights per week, Indian enterprises will have access to expansive cargo space, which will allow FedEx Express to carry heavyweight shipments within Asia. Since 2005, FedEx has been operating a direct Delhi to Shanghai service. Over the years, FedEx has continued
to invest, innovate and expand its services to meet different customer needs. Most recently in India, FedEx introduced several service enhancements, including a significant expansion of its domestic express services in India and FedEx Import services for Indian importers. In addition, FedEx also launched a new flight from Bengaluru establishing direct connections between key markets in South India to Europe, Middle East and the US. “The beauty for India is that the demand for imports is higher than the demand of exports: the trade is two way not just one way,” said Samuel Thomas, Managing Director, India Operations, who was also with Taarek Hinedi. He said that “the gems and jewellery trade that has also seen a big rise while manufacturing has contributed significantly. Under manufacturing, support equipment like machine cutting tools also make up a big chunk.” Thomas also dwelt at length on the kind of infrastructure that FedEx has built up over the years.”If you look at India, we support the global network of 220 countries with 331 destinations. We support Indian customers to connect to the world. So you can well imagine and with the growth of GDP you have
FedEx introduces FedEx International Economy® Services and announces the launch of FedEx India nextbusiness-day domestic express service for the Indian market.
seen in the last few years and the projections for next couple of years you can well imagine how India is important for our global network,” he said, and went on to emphasise,”What is important for trade is important for FedEx.” Taarek Hinedi, said the company would be acquiring 11 Boeing-777 aircraft under its global fleet strengthening plan. FedEx has been operating a direct DelhiShanghai service since 2005 and its new flight from Bengaluru establishes direct connections between key markets in South India to Europe, the Middle East and the US, he said. Added Samuel Thomas, “We are very well-placed to support our Europe and American networks and now we are very happy that with the emerging connectivity that we have that we can connect the powerhouse of the world right now.” As always, the question of infrastructure in the country came up along with the comparisons with China. Said Thomas, “I wouldn’t comment on any other country but yes I can tell you about India. Infrastructure here has changed drastically and all for better. We have been here for the last few years now. We have seen the past here as well as the present and the future is only going ahead.”
East and the USA and expands its Indian domestic express service. FedEx announces the acquisition on AFL and its affiliate, Unifreight India Pvt. Ltd in India.
FedEx launches new flights from Bengaluru connecting South India to Europe, Middle
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FedEx enhances service portfolio in India with the launch of FedEx Import services.
Ready AND WAITING
ocated in the heart of England, Birmingham is the UK’s secondlargest city and is home to five times more people of Indian origin than Manchester. In fact, the West of the Midlands region accounts for 15 per cent of the total number of Indians living in England: around 200,000 people. From a cargo perspective, the Midlands offers an established, ready market for Indian perishables and highvalue heritage products. With dedicated freight handling facilities and the Birmingham Airport’s close proximity to the biggest wholesale markets in Birmingham and major supermarket distribution centres within an hour’s drive, fruit and
vegetables could be on the plate less than 24 hours after leaving Delhi or other major metros of India. With this vast potential for both passenger and cargo operations, it is incredible that Birmingham Airport, the second-largest airport outside of London, does not have a direct service to India at the beginning of 2011. However, the Airport wants to change this and is, therefore, assiduously working to introduce a direct service so that people from the region can gain easy access to do business or visit India. The West Midlands is also home to manufacturing powerhouses, such as Jaguar Land Rover, and direct air links to the region can only benefit both the Midlands
Birmingham Airport is going all out to rebrand itself: It has appointed Uday Dholakia as its brand ambassador for Asian markets and is wooing carriers to start direct flights to India. Many have shown interest and from the cargo perspective, it will be a win-win situation for the airport and the carriers. A report. and India. The recentlyappointed ‘Brand Ambassador for Asian Markets’, Uday K Dholakia, has already started paying dividends. Dholakia has two decades of experience of brand development and international marketing plus direct experience of route and cargo development and launching new routes. He has
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: Bottom (left) Emirates has increased significant passenger and cargo capacity after introducing flights from Birmingham Airport, according to Paul Kehoe, CEO, Birmingham Airport; bottom (right) aircraft parked on the apron in Birmingham Airport.
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held a number of promising discussions with a range of carriers and as he put it, “I am already hearing positive noises about Birmingham.” This further investment in route development by Birmingham Airport highlights the determination to attract an Indian service. Paul Kehoe, the Airport’s CEO explained, “There are
“There are some eight million people living within a one-hour drive of Birmingham Airport, 350,000 of which are of Indian origin.” — Paul Kehoe
some eight million people living within a one-hour drive of Birmingham Airport, 350,000 of which are of Indian origin.” He went on to add: “We know that some 70,000 people access Delhi each year and more than 30,000 to Mumbai from Birmingham, via other airport hubs, and we lose thousands more travellers from the Midlands region who choose to take long car journeys to other UK airports to gain direct flights.” Brand Ambassador Dholakia agreed: “The potential economical, social and cultural benefits to be reaped if direct flights were in place would be significant and would be a real demonstration of the natural links that exist between Birmingham, the Midlands and India.” According to Kehoe, the support of the local Indian community was important
and “we have been lobbying hard to showcase the airport’s potential and highlight the importance of re-instating air links between Birmingham and the Indian subcontinent. We were, therefore, very proud to be part of the recent trade mission to India, led by Business Secretary, Vince Cable, to strengthen and enhance partnerships between the two countries”. Dholakia, who was part of the trade mission, said that his trip to India was “to demonstrate the opportunities offered in the West Midlands, particularly Birmingham Airport, and the regional spatial opportunities for bilateral trade and investment”. Pointing out that the region’s vast Asian market is “unprecedented in the UK, and indeed Europe”, Birmingham Airport wanted “an airline to realise this
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potential, in the same way that Emirates did back in 2000 when it launched a daily Dubai service to serve the demand for the Middle East market”. In fact, the Dubai regional market grew significantly, setting a practical example of the ‘stimulation effect’ that a new service can have on a market. Emirates, said Kehoe, soon reaped the benefits of having such a vast market wanting to reach the Middle East from the Midlands, and subsequently increased its daily Airbus A330 flight to two Boeing 777-300ER flights a day. Dubai is now Birmingham’s secondbusiest route. “During 2010,” said Kehoe, “travel between Birmingham and Asia grew by 17.1 per cent, which is all the more significant given the current tough economic conditions. This growth doesn’t factor in those passengers connecting onwards through alternative airports and again highlights the need for a direct Indian service.” Stakeholders mentioned that not only could Birmingham Airport serve the need of those living within its immediate catchment area, it had great potential to become an alternative airport to London. Birmingham Airport’s location and transport links made it easily accessible to the 200,000 businesses located in the Midlands and to the 37 million people within a two-hour drive time. The airport is in a vital position as a strategic national asset, which can easily form part of the solution to the ‘Heathrow Problem’. The change of UK Government has led to substantial changes in transport policy, particularly aviation. The new Government has abandoned proposals for airport developments in the south-
CARGO east of England and has stated a desire to better utilise existing and underused assets elsewhere in the country to deliver more jobs. Significantly, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, recently discussed Birmingham Airport as being a key to meeting the growing demand for air travel. Also, the strategic advantages of Birmingham Airport, with its proximity to motorways and the rail network, were recognised by Government and it concluded that the Airport should continue to develop as the Midlands region’s principal international gateway. There is spare capacity at Birmingham, enough to take another nine million passengers immediately and it is the only UK airport with planning consent for a runway extension, which could be open by 2014. This 400-metre extension will allow the airport to provide more direct long-haul destinations currently out of reach. Once operational, it will dramatically increase the capability of the airport to offer direct flights to the west coast of America, China, Japan and South Africa and will also go a long way in bringing back the market, which has currently gone outside the region for air travel. Future forecasts show that by 2030 Birmingham could cater to around 27 million people, with the runway extension accounting for four million of this number. Last year, the airport opened a £50-million extension to Terminal One — the new ‘International Pier’, replacing the current outdated facility constructed in 1984. It is the single-biggest investment that the airport has made in over 20 years. The three-storey construction is 240 metres long and 24 metres wide and is in keeping with the bright and modern architecture seen throughout the airport. It provides air-
PARTNER IN GROWTH: Continental Airlines has been operating flights from Birmingham Airport for nearly 12 years while registering significant growth.
“Birmingham Airport’s facilities and vast Asian market, make the airport a commercially sound link for the operations of long haul carriers.” — Uday Dholakia bridged aircraft parking for seven wide-bodied aircraft and has enough space to serve 13 smaller aircraft at any given time. It is capable of accommodating ‘next generation’ environmentallyefficient, wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’, as well as the larger aircraft types already seen at Birmingham today like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 747 and 777. This year the airport
embarked on a major £13million redevelopment programme to merge its two terminals into a single facility. This investment will see improvements to passenger flows and operational efficiency, which will lead to a larger centralised passenger security search area, an enlarged meeting & greeting arrivals point, and improved shopping and catering facilities offered in both landside and airside areas. This project will be completed before the summer season. Over the next 10 years, the airport will invest some £100 million as it develops its infrastructure to handle more traffic and improve its facilities to attract new airlines and passengers and showcasing itself as the Midlands’ global gateway. To ensure that it reaches out to new markets, the airport is going through a total rebrand. Embarking on a strategy that will see closer links with the travel trade and travel management companies is considered key to building stronger relationships and highlighting that they have a major part to play in the realisation of Birmingham’s potential. This work will be vital as the market recovers and the airport increases the
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range of destinations and airlines, particularly to longhaul markets. The rebrand comes as at an ideal time for the airport. Not only will it increase general awareness, but it will be an important part of the redevelopment of the airport, particularly the one terminal development. According to Dholakia, “Birmingham Airport has invested in new terminal facilities, which are totally geared up to offer long-haul carriers. Its facilities and vast Asian market make the airport a commercially sound link for their operations.” For Paul Kehoe, the new brand represents what “Birmingham Airport stands for and the ambition and potential that we all want to fulfil. It is a change of identity, which aims to grow loyalty from people living within our catchment, while also showcasing to those outside the region what we have to offer”. Emphasising the India angle, Kehoe said, “A big part of helping us achieve this is reinstating a direct service to India, which proved so successful in the past. The airport team will continue to work hard to secure an Indian service and ensure that the huge local market can travel to the subcontinent directly from Birmingham.”
CARGO JOTTINGS Emirates SkyCargo ushers in paperless flight EMIRATES SkyCargo recently marked a milestone with its inaugural paperless flight. EK702, from Mauritius to Dubai, became the first flight on its global network to operate with a hold filled entirely with shipments which had been processed electronically. The Boeing 777-300ER, with a belly-hold capacity of 23 tonnes, transported a diverse load, including bank notes, flowers, fruits, clothing, textiles and courier items. E-freight is a collective cargo industry initiative facilitated by IATA with the goal of removing all paper air waybills, as well as every other document and certificate, by the end of 2014. Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates airline, is on track to meet the 2014 target. “We firmly believe e-freight will become the industry standard and those who embrace the changes first will be best placed to reap those benefits,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo. “It is with great pride then that we are celebrating our first efreight flight, which will act as a catalyst across our global network of 109 destinations.” Pointing out the first e-freight flight, Menen said, “This marks a significant step towards working in a completely electronic environment, which will bring enhanced operational efficiency to the supply chain, streamlining processes, increasing speed and reducing costs. By reducing paper and the carriage of paper on aircraft, e-freight will improve reliability, increase accuracy and, of course, bring environmental benefits.” Emirates launched its Mauritius service in September 2002 and cargo capacity was increased to 188 tonnes per week each way when connections to the island were extended to nine flights per week in June 2009. Michael Harmon, Emirates’ Cargo Manager Mauritius and Seychelles mentioned: “A tremendous level of cooperation and coordination was required to make this flight happen so great credit must go the numerous stakeholders, from freight forwarders to ground handlers, shippers and customs authorities.”
Calogi underlines growth and innovation
CALOGI celebrated two successful years of providing cutting-edge, cost-reducing, eco-friendly solutions to the air cargo supply chain community. During this short period, Calogi has experienced phenomenal growth — the companies subscribing to the portal currently number more than 400, forming a user base in excess of 1,195 who have together conducted more than two million successful transactions to date. The overall number of users, transactions and customers is expected to double year-on-year. The overwhelming impact of the state-of-the-art innovations and services that Calogi has introduced, has not only significantly improved the efficiencies of the air cargo industry, but has also changed the way in which the community at large conducts air cargo business. Its pioneering paperless cargo systems and ‘green’ operation can potentially eliminate the need for over 3.5 million air waybill copies that accompany export shipments every year from Dubai alone. In Calogi’s digital world, where the export forwarder no longer has to distribute paper copies of the air waybill to his trading partners, significant productivity gains
Emirates SkyCargo completes longest flight: Emirates SkyCargo set another record by operating its longest-ever non-stop flight — 17.5 hours from Sydney to New York. Emirates SkyCargo’s Boeing 777 Freighter operated the service, which arrived on December 28. Since the Boeing 777F’s introduction to the fleet in March 2009, Emirates’ Cargo’s Ram Menen said he had been impressed by its range, as well as efficiency. “The Boeing 777F boasts of the longest range capability of all twin-engine jets, is quieter and uses less fuel per tonne than other freighters, which are all increasingly important
A GREAT LEAP: Emirates SkyCargo using a Boeing 777F operated its longest- ever non-stop flight — 17.5 hours from Sydney to New York to carry a valuable consignment of horses.
as the industry demands more environmentally sound practices globally. This freighter is part of our long-term investment for Emirates SkyCargo, we are excited about its performance so far and the future possibilities it brings to our services,” added Menen. Previously the longest flight undertaken by Emirates was a 16.8-hour passenger flight between Dubai and Houston International Airport. The flight was especially significant for operations in countries such as Australia, according to Greg Johnson, Emirates’ Cargo Manager, Australia. The consignment of highly valuable horses on EK4931, potentially worth more than the aircraft itself, all arrived at Stewart International Airport safely.
are also expected. Calogi’s on-line archiving and retrieval system also removes the need for printing a paper copy of the air waybill for filing purposes. “The key to Calogi’s success is its immediate benefit to the air cargo industry; we provide solutions that are not only innovative and lead to significant cost savings for our customers, but also Patrick Murray provide a ‘greener’ way of working,” said Patrick Murray, Head of Calogi. “By enabling the air cargo supply chain to do business electronically, Calogi has united the local community, enabling each partner to exchange digital information to form the basis of a cost effective e-freight compliant solution.” To date, Calogi processes more than 70 per cent of the Dnata CTO shipments electronically. Enabling the industry to remove the paper air waybill and accompanying documents from all shipments processed via the Dnata terminals will result in cost savings to the industry. IATA estimates these costs at around $4.9 billion annually, once e-freight is implemented across the globe.
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CARGO JOTTINGS Mangalore airport looks at air cargo
MANGALORE’S connectivity advantage has played a pivotal role in the city emerging as an important economic and commercial centre in Karnataka after Bengaluru. Ever since international flights have started operating from the the city’s International Airport, the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) of Mangalore, which has played a key role in the development activities of the district for over 70 years, has been directing its efforts to use the connectivity advantage. Mohandas Prabhu, President of KCCI, pointed out that the Chamber had always been at the forefront to spur the development process in the district since its inception. “KCCI is a proactive organisation where we envision the development of the district. In this pursuit we are looking at avenues available for creating infrastructure so that real development takes place,” he told newspersons. Now, KCCI has taken the responsibility of setting up an air cargo complex in Mangalore by the end of March 31, 2011. “As a logical step towards the direction of development of the city,
FOCUSSING ON FUTURE: Air cargo business will provide a major fillip to the infrastructure development of Mangalore airport.
we need to set up an air cargo complex to facilitate imports and exports especially through the gulf region,” said Mohandas Prabhu. Goods like Mangalore jasmines, fruits and fish can be exported to different countries. In addition, there are many medical and engineering colleges in and around Mangalore that might be interested in importing medical equipment. Mohandas Prabhu added, “We want to reach out to the people and make them aware about the availability of such a facility in Mangalore.” The Chamber wants the response of Mangalore residents from the Gulf region so that it can put its demand for the establishment of an air cargo complex to the government.
ECS Group unveils big plans in India ECS Group plans to increase its global network in 2011 with five new offices in the Far East and India and further expansion in Africa. In fact, ECS network already incorporates 43 subsidiaries in 30 countries. The organisation generates 487,000 tonnes of air cargo a year for more than 100 airline customers. With its determination to relaunch daily services from Europe in mid-2010, Garuda Indonesia granted ECS — a Europe-wide GSA contract to maximise the potential of its belly-hold freight capacity. In addition to the Netherlands, other PLANNING BIG: ECS Group plans for India is a major cargo-generating markets for step in the right direction. Garuda include France, Germany and Scandinavia. As well as Dubai and Jakarta, ECS is now marketing
DHL enhances LCL connectivity from India to SA DHL recently announced the launch of a new direct Less than Container Load (LCL) service from Nhava Sheva, Mumbai in India to Durban, South Africa. Operated by Danmar Lines, DHL’s in-house carrier, the new service will facilitate trade between India and South Africa and offer customers reliable, quick and cost-effective services between the two ports. With trade between India and Africa having risen almost four-fold in the last five years, from $9.9 billion in 2004-05 to $39 billion in 2008-092, DHL Global Forwarding sees vast potential in the India-Africa trade lane. Christoph Remund, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Global Forwarding India, said, “The launch of our direct India to Durban LCL service reflects our commitment to customers who have increasing business activities in both markets. The company has allocated significant resources to facilitate growth in the India-Africa trade lane by setting up dedicated India desks in ten African countries to help businesses there, with plans to establish additional desks this year.” Africa is emerging as a key market, with freight volumes between India and Africa expected to grow significantly in the coming years. “With expertise in several key sectors, including oil and gas, telecommunications and IT, we are wellpositioned to leverage our capabilities in Africa and further increase our LCL volumes this year,” said Clas Thorell, Head of LCL Management Asia Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding.
SPREADING WINGS: DHL’s move to enhance LCL connectivity from India to SA will further boost cargo business between the two countries.
Sanjay Tejwani, Director — Ocean Freight, DHL Global Forwarding India, said, “This new service will benefit customers with direct connectivity between Africa and India, especially the small and medium enterprises, which are increasingly turning to ocean freight for greater cost efficiencies. We are optimistic about the growth potential of this business supported by the strong intermodal network across Africa.” To reinforce focus on this important sector, DHL Global
Garuda destinations across Asia and Australasia, including Bangkok, Beijing, Darwin, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Nagoya, Osaka, Perth, Riyadh, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. ECS also began representing US Airways in the UK, backed four new destinations launched by Brussels Airlines, reshaped the Africa West cargo product and further extended its relationship in Europe with China’s Hainan Airlines. To coincide with its planned expansion in 2011, ECS has launched a new brand for its four GSA businesses; Globe Air Cargo, Aero Cargo International, Nordic GSA and Gen-Air.
Concor may sell 51 per cent in logistics parks CONTAINER Corporation of India (Concor) may offload up to 51 per cent equity in its upcoming logistics parks to a partner from among customers, landowners or logistics players. “Somewhere if I feel the logistics parks would be better off as SPV or JV with a customer or a strategic partner, then I may hive it off as a separate company,” P Alli Rani, Director (Finance), Concor, recently told Reuters. “There are some people who have approached us. We could get into JV with any one of them,” Rani said, adding a deal could go through in 2011/12. For setting up three logistics parks in Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan by March 2012, Container Corp plans to invest about $66.44 million in the first phase. Its 60 inland container depots render warehousing facility for goods that Container Corp transports, but with logistics parks, the company is preparing to offer warehousing and distribution facilities to all manufacturers. “I can be a single window access for them (manufacturers),” Rani said, adding logistics parks would boost the company’s margins. Rani expects a 17-18 per cent growth in both sales and profit in 2010/11 and a 12-13 per cent growth in volume.
Forwarding has recently appointed Joseph Oguta as Head of LCL for Africa, based in Kenya. Oguta’s appointment will provide a strong thrust to enhance the company’s competitive edge in the fast-changing global business environment. Smiles to poor: DHL Express in partnership with Goonj, a leading Delhi-based NGO in resource mobilisation, introduced ‘You Donate, DHL Delivers’ drive in Delhi. The drive started from December 27, 2010 to January 15, 2011 was the first of its kind initiative to enable residents of the city to contribute all their old toys, clothes, books, sports equipment, utensils and other household items to a good cause. As part of the initiative, all one needed to do was simply call DHL in Delhi. A DHL personnel would then go to homes to collect the contributions. For every pickup, an envelope comprising a letter of appreciation from DHL, information on the NGO partner Goonj and a certificate was handed over to the participant. The donations were then delivered to the needy in the rural region and urban slums of India. The collected donations were transported by DHL and handed over to Goonj for sorting, mending and further distribution to the less privileged in the rural region and urban slums of India. Till date, the drive collected more than two tonnes of material.
HACTL hits record air cargo tonnage in 2010 HONG Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) managed a record breaking 2,899,603 tonnes of air cargo last year, a yearon-year growth of almost 25 per cent. The rapid recovery of air freight saw the terminal blow through precrisis throughput levels, handling an incredible 14.5 per cent more cargo than in 2008 and even beating the 2007 high of 2.6 million tonnes. In December, a total of 249,694 tonnes were handled, representing a 7.4 per cent year-on-year increase over 2009. Tonnage handled in the fourth STRIKING GOLD: HACTL’s air cargo quarter was 765,677, an capacity registered huge growth. increase of 9.5 per cent. Market export demand stayed strong throughout the year as a result of the robust economic recovery. Export tonnage in December showed a year-on-year growth of 4.8 per cent, with a total of 132,904 tonnes being handled. Export tonnage for the fourth quarter was 423,825 tonnes, up 8.5 per cent against the same period in 2009. Export volume to Europe and the US for the fourth quarter increased 7.0 per cent and 14.5 per cent against the same period in 2009, respectively. A total of 65,032 tonnes and 187,046 tonnes of import cargo were handled in December and in the fourth quarter, down 0.5 per cent and up one per cent respectively against the same period in 2009. Transshipment volume for December was 51,758 tonnes, up 28.3 per cent against the same month in 2009. Cumulative transshipment tonnage for the fourth quarter was 154,806 tonnes, up 25.1 per cent year-on-year. Total transshipment volume for the whole year was 568,437 tonnes, a year-on-year growth of 22 per cent.
Lufthansa’s back — stronger LUFTHANSA Cargo returned with impressive figures in the 2010 business year. Revenue cargo tonne kilometres (FTKT) rose to a record 8.9 billion FTKTs. The volume of cargo and mail transported climbed by 18.2 per cent to 1.79 million tonnes. Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Lufthansa Cargo’s Chairman and CEO said: “After the 2009 crisis year, Lufthansa Cargo has come back with outstanding results on the back of an impressive team performance. We are taking that momentum into 2011 in order to make the most of growth opportunities in the international airfreight industry.” Freight and mail tonnage increased appreciably in all traffic regions. The biggest growth came in the Americas, where tonnage soared by 24.9 per cent, followed by the Asia/Pacific with growth of 20.6 per cent. During the year, Lufthansa Cargo raised capacity by 7.6 per cent. Alongside the airline’s reactivated freighters, the increase is attributable especially to new aircraft joining the fleet operated by the AeroLogic subsidiary and the integration of the cargo capacities of Austrian Airlines. Sales climbed by 19.9 per cent to 8.9 billion revenue cargo tonne-kilometres and were accompanied by a pronounced improvement in capacity utilisation. The cargo load factor rose on the year-earlier level by 7.3 percentage points to 70.9 per cent.
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DOMESTIC AIRLINES DIAL’s promotional offers
DIAL recently refurbished its website www.newdelhiairport.in and in the process launched a host of initiatives to popularise it. DIAL promoted for the first time a simple online quiz, where in participants needed to answer questions and win gifts. The quiz was open for one and all. A fantastic array of gifts ranging from branded Ipods, Mp3 players to pen drives were offered for the winners of this quiz. The quiz went live on the website from 5 am on Thursday, December 16, 2010, and closed at 5 pm, on January 5, 2011. With the launch of Terminal 3, this website aligned itself to the services offered in the future, like lounge bookings, parking, porter service, airport merchandising etc. Offers travellers — an opportunity to win a Mercedes: DIAL recently offered all air travellers a chance to own a Mercedes car at just `300. To enter into the lucky draw, the passenger needed to shop worth `500 and above at any the retail outlet or for `300 and above at the F&B outlet. Following
Naresh Goyal receives ‘Hall of Fame’ Award JET AIRWAYS group Chairman Naresh Goyal recently conferred the prestigious “Hall of Fame” Award at the Hotel Investment Forum India 2011 in Mumbai. This also marks the first time that a non-hotelier was accorded the prestigious award, a departure from tradition by the Hotel Investment Forum India. The Hall of Fame Award was accorded to Naresh Goyal for his
CHERISHED MOMENT: The then Tourism Minister Kumari Selja presenting the Hall of Fame Award to Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways.
significant contributions towards taking hospitality to the skies Commenting on the honour, Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways, said, “I would like to thank the Hotel Investment Forum for this distinctive recognition and honour. As a part of Jet Airways, I have had the pleasure and privilege to partner the hospitality industry in India's growth story.” ‘Airline with best business class’: Jet Airways recently adjudged the 'airline with best business class service in the world' at the Business Traveller Awards 2010 in Los Angeles. Renowned for its in-flight service, a reflection of the high standards of the airline's rigorous in-flight training procedures, Jet Airways emerged victorious from amongst a field comprising several of the world's leading airlines. The airline offers its Premiere (Business Class) guests a inflight product, including unique, herringbone-configured 180
which a coupon would be offered to participate in the raffle. The more coupons a passenger availed, the more the chances he would get to buy the grand prize — Mercedes Benz C-class. The lucky raffle offer started from December 18, 2010, and closed on January 10, 2011.
Delhi Duty Free pitches for brand enhancement AFTER OFFERING its customer a shopping extravaganza for six months at Terminal 3, Delhi Duty Free at T3 called for an agency pitch for advertising and creative duties. Delhi Duty Free Services called for a multi-agency advertising pitch to identify a partner which will assist in building brand image; educating and increasing the brand awareness and promoting offers and wide range of product availability. DDFS is looking at reaching frequent international travellers from North India and other in-bound travellers as well. DDFS intends to select an agency on board by last week of January 2011. DDFS is looking for two agency set-up: one for its creative duties and other for visual merchandising. Many internationals agencies have already expressed interest to partner with DDF.
degree-flat seats, in-flight entertainment, fine wines and an overwhelming selection of Indian and international cuisine. Ushers in ‘double JPMiles’ bonanza: Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege lately introduced a special promotion for its members through which they can earn double JPMiles for every eligible shopping transaction with eleven (11) select JetPrivilege programme partners.The select programme partners werre Style Spa, Guardian Pharmacy, Arrow, Van Heusen, Ethos, Ferns N Petals, Odyssey, Pantaloons, Titan, Limelite and Green Trends. The Double JPMiles offer is valid until March 31, 2011. According to Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways, “At JetPrivilege, we continuously strive to enrich the value of our programme partnerships by introducing innovative and rewarding promotions. Through this special double JPMiles promotion we are delighted to offer our members an extremely rewarding opportunity to earn more JPMiles when they shop with their favourite brands under our programme and then redeem JPMiles for award flights on Jet Airways or our 23 airline partners.’ Introduces Quick Response (QR) mobile code technology: Jet Airways recently pronounced that it has adopted the very latest in Quick Response (QR) mobile code technology to disseminate more information about its products and services to its guests. This initiative makes Jet Airways the first airline in India to utilise barcode technology to disseminate the real-time information on its products and services to its customers. It has started using QR codes on its website jetairways.com, Facebook posts and from February, JetWings — its inflight magazine — will allow guests access to additional information about the offers and promotions displayed on various advertisements in the magazine. In the second phase, Jet Airways plans to include the quick response barcodes on its e-tickets as well. Jet Airways has collaborated with 3GVision, which will provide the airline with access to its QR code campaign management system, enabling real-time reporting, including approximate response location, time and media type.
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SNIPPETS Delhi Duty Free and Pernod Ricard announce winners of ‘Beetle in Chivas Bottle’ promotion: Delhi Duty Free Services Pvt. Ltd (DDFS) in collaboration with Pernod Ricard recently announced the winner of a Volkswagen Beetle, as part of the promotion, ‘Beetle in Chivas Bottle’. The promotion, which commenced on September 1, 2010 enabled international travellers buying two bottles of Chivas Regal to participate in a contest and fill out a simple lucky draw coupon to stand a chance to win a Volkswagen Beetle. An exciting and never-before-seen promotion at any duty-free
ROLLING IN RICHES: The winner of Volkswagen Beetle Rahul Kakkar with his new car along with the family members.
shop in India, this promotion was valid on purchase of Chivas Regal (Chivas Regal 12 Years Old, Chivas Regal 18 Years Old and Chivas Regal 25 Years Old) up till November 15, 2010. The draw that happened at the Delhi Duty Free today saw Rahul Kakkar from Gurgaon winning the Beetle.
Kingfisher ties up with British Airways KINGFISHER AIRLINES recently announced that it has signed a comprehensive frequent flyer agreement with British Airways. As a result of this agreement, which covers the entire route network of both airlines, frequent flyers of Kingfisher Airlines will be able to earn points even when they fly on British Airways flights anywhere in the world and similarly, frequent flyers of British Airways will be able to earn points when they fly on any Kingfisher Airlines flight. More importantly, frequent flyers of Kingfisher Airlines will
now be able to redeem their accumulated King Miles to undertake travel on a British Airways flight anywhere in the world. The agreement came into effect from December 17, 2010. Launches five new flights: Kingfisher Airlines recently announced the launch of five new flights on its domestic route network. The new flights introduced are: Mumbai-Jabalpur, JabalpurIndore, Indore-Mumbai, Mumbai-Belgaum and Belgaum- Mumbai. With the launch of the flights to Belgaum, guests travelling from New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai will get convenient connections to Belgaum via Mumbai while guests flying from Belgaum to Mumbai will get easy onward connections to New Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. Besides this, guests travelling from Belgaum to Mumbai will now have good connectivity with the Kingfisher Airlines flight from Mumbai to Dubai while international guests coming in from London Heathrow and Bangkok will now have a good connecting option to travel onwards from Mumbai to Belgaum. It’s first for American Express Kingfisher credit card: The American Express Kingfisher first credit card was voted the Best Loyalty Credit Card in Asia/Oceania and Middle East, at the 2010 edition of the Frequent Traveler Awards. The Frequent Traveler Award is selected based on voting by frequent travellers worldwide. Over a million people from more than 200 countries participated, casting on-line ballots, choosing their favourite programmes and campaigns for 2009. The Card continues to offer the best value proposition to its Card members by allowing them to get two or more round trip flights with Kingfisher Airlines every year, simply through their everyday spend on the Card. The Card also offers the world’s leading Membership Rewards programme with an industry best earn rate of 10 times reward points. What this means is that a customer can earn tickets faster by simply charging his/her spend on telecom services provided by Airtel, spend on Kingfisher Airlines and with over 200 retail and dinning Platinum Partners.
GoAir unveiled additional measures GOAIR RECENTLY announced a slew of measures for its customers to mitigate the impact of any flight rescheduling arising due to the fog prevailing over large parts of the country. These are: GoAir call centre and website (flight status section) provided updated information on the status of every flight; GoAir kept the customer updated through SMS as soon as possible, after any change in flight status; GoAir would provide regular situation updates at the airport and refreshments in case of delay; In the event of a cancelled flight, passengers were either rescheduled on GoAir flight, or with other airlines, or offered a refund and where necessary GoAir provided hotel accommodation.
and the only Civil Defence Division in an airport in India. It encourages employees of various airlines, authorities and Bengaluru International Airport Area Division [Civil Defence surrounding villages to pledge their involvement as volunteers. Division No 22] recently bagged the award for the second best During a short span of time since its launch in July 2010, Civil Defence Division in the state of the Bengaluru International Airport Karnataka at the Civil Defence Division has undertaken numerous Headquarters. The outstanding activities for social development, contributions by the Bengaluru community welfare and airport International Airport Division for emergency management such as first disaster management and community aid and CPR training, disaster awareness were applauded by Director management initiatives, emergency General of Police and Director of Civil mock drills, community awareness Defence Dr. Jija Madhavan Harisingh. programmes, instituting house fire BIG STEP FORWARD: DGP and Director of This civil defence unit, which has Civil Defence Dr. Jija Madhavan Harisingh, IPS parties, firefighting trainings, etc, to over 600 active volunteers, is the first presenting the rolling trophy to the BIAL Team. name some.
BIAL Civil Defence Unit awarded
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INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES AA is first class TRAVEL ENTHUSIASTS and readers of Business Traveller magazine have again chosen American Airlines (AA) as their preferred airline for First Class travel. This is the third consecutive year for American Airlines to be presented with this award, after 8000 randomly-selected subscribers participated in a survey. “This award reflects American’s ongoing commitment to enhance the travel experience for our customers, and we are honoured to be named best North American Airline for First Class service to destinations in North America and around the world. We know Business Traveller readers represent our best customers — seasoned travellers with high expectations,” said Rob Friedman, American’s Vice President - Marketing. Advantage AA: The American Airlines AAdvantage programme, the world’s first frequent flyer programme, turned 30 years old this year and customers can expect to see several special activities to celebrate the occasion. Since its inception in 1981, AAdvantage members have earned billions of AAdvantage miles for flying, lodging, dining, shopping and much more. Those same customers have redeemed their miles for millions of awards, including flights, car rentals, hotel stays and countless lifetime memories.
Emirates boosts Dubai shopping fest AS PART of the mission to support Dubai as the ultimate tourist destination, Emirates has teamed up with beach and city hotels to promote the Dubai Shopping Festival. The month-long 15th annual Dubai Shopping Festival that will run till February 20, 2011, has been attracting visitors from around the world and has been supported by Emirates since its inception. “Tourists can find every major brand in the world in Dubai, which has approximately 14 million square feet of shopping space in its malls, including the worlds’ largest shopping centre — the Dubai Mall. Our packages are designed to help make Dubai stay more affordable,” commented Russell Sheldon, Senior Vice President Network Passenger Sales Development. The attractive packages — starting at just `19,990 per
Lufthansa flies the A380 to New York LUFTHANSA IS all set to operate flights to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport with its new Airbus A380. Following delivery of its fifth A380, Lufthansa will be using the aircraft for twice-weekly flights replacing the Boeing 747 and Airbus A330 long-haul jets. The frequency from Frankfurt to New York will increase from mid-April and will see the introduction of a new service option for customers who travel between North America and India. According to official sources, Lufthansa is looking forward to offer Indian customers the experience of flying to New York on an A380 via Frankfurt. Moreover, early arrivals from India are tailor-made for convenient connections to the US. To further increase the number of Lufthansa passengers to India, Lufthansa is also planning to bring the A380 to Delhi. New York is a major destination in Lufthansa’s long-haul network, with seven daily connections from Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf. After Tokyo, Peking and Johannesburg, it is the fourth destination that Lufthansa serves with the A380. With this, a total of four A380s are scheduled for delivery to Lufthansa in the first half of 2011.
CO-BRANDING: Emirates tie-up with Dubai Shopping Festival will further boost Dubai’s tourism.
person, based on double room occupancy — include return Economy Class flights. Tourists can enjoy tax-free shopping, as well as discounts of up to 50 per cent on a variety of items during the festival. Emirates-Virgin America tie-up: Dubai-based Emirates is offering its US travellers the option to book flights with connecting services on Virgin America. From Los Angeles, passengers can now book a connecting flight on Virgin America to Boston, Dallas Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Washington DC and Toronto. Emirates’ San Francisco service now connects to Virgin American destinations including Boston, Dallas Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, Seattle, Washington DC and Toronto. The frequency of both Emirates and Virgin America flights mean a shorter stop-over time for passengers continuing on to Dubai, while the increased connections make travelling to the Middle East hub more accessible throughout the US. “Our new agreement with Virgin America will bring our American West Coast gateways within easier reach of US cities, making travel more convenient for customers travelling to or from the Middle East and beyond,” said Orhan Abbas, Vice President - India & Nepal, Emirates Airline. AC Milan returns to Dubai: The star-studded AC Milan squad returned to Dubai for a winter training camp and took on the local Al Ahli team in the inaugural Emirates Challenge Cup in January 2011. The Emirates Challenge Cup took place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
VALUE ADDITION: Lufthansa’s cabin revamp will be a delight for passengers.
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Qatar’s support to Energy Summit QATAR AIRWAYS was the official carrier of the 2011 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The fourth annual summit, took place in January 2011 under the patronage of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and was hosted by Masdar — the Abu Dhabi-based company focused on developing commercially scalable sustainable energy solutions. The four-day event attracted thousands of visitors to the UAE capital. A series of plenary sessions, panel discussions, master classes and project case studies were conducted. The airline is a key proponent of renewable energy solutions being the first and only carrier in the world to fly a commercial passenger flight with Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) renewable fuel. The use of the GTL fuel blend proved more efficient emitting lower carbon dioxide due to its reduced fuel burn, reduced soot and almost zero sulphur dioxide, improving the local air quality around busy airports. Branding through films: To raise the airline’s brand presence in India and internationally, Qatar Airways was the associate sponsor of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Attracting celebrities from world cinema and the popular Indian movie industry, the award-winning airline hosted two
Cabin revamp: To create a new travel experience and ensure greater passenger comfort, Lufthansa is investing about €170 million in its new cabins as part of a comprehensive programme to re-vamp the airline’s inflight product. The airline is installing 32,000 new seats on more than 180 aircraft in its short and medium-haul fleet. With the ergonomically-shaped seat with its slim backrest, passengers will now have more than four centimetres extra legroom. As part of the new inflight service concept, passengers travelling in Economy Class will be offered snacks such as muesli bars and chocolate, even on domestic routes. As the newly designed Recaro seats take up less room, Lufthansa will be able to offer about 2,000 additional seats, which is equivalent to the capacity of twelve Airbus A320s. The new cabin on European routes will thus not only raise levels of passenger comfort but also make a substantial contribution towards improving cost efficiency. In addition, the Lufthansa Group is pioneering the use of lighter, chrome-free and thus more environmentally-friendly leather for the seat upholstery. The interior of the backrest is perforated, which ensures high breathability and also boosts seating comfort.
AirAsia sets up Philippines’ carrier AIRASIA recently announced that it entered into a partnership agreement with Antonio O. Cojuangco Jr., Michael R Romero and Marianne B Hontiveros to establish a low cost airline in the Philippines based on the successful AirAsia business model. The company incorporated for the Joint Venture is named AirAsia Inc. AirAsia will hold 40 per cent equity in AirAsia Inc, while the remaining 60 per cent will be held in equal partnership. The carrier will enhance AirAsia’s ASEAN regional expansion. With 140 routes across 65 destinations and with over 400 flights daily, AirAsia will connect all the capital cities of ASEAN as well as provide flights to towns hosting the region’s major tourist destinations. AirAsia’s regional hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand not only connect the region but also link Australia, Asia and Europe. Tie-up with basketball team: To raise AirAsia’s brand awareness in the Philippines and increase brand equity across ASEAN, the carrier has proposed to extend its association with
EXUDING GOODWILL: Actor Sonal Chauhan being embraced by Qatar Airways’ cabin crew.
exclusive VIP lounges during the 10-day festival held in Goa. Qatar Airways had dedicated VIP lounges for directors and artistes. Both lounges were inaugurated by renowned Indian film director and script writer Madhur Bhandarkar, with guests including Manoj Srivastava, CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa and Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Secretary of the Government of Goa. Leading international directors, French actresses and jury members from Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Greece and Poland, Asia and America also walked the red carpet during the festival
BIG LEAP: AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes (3rd from left) announces the joint venture agreement to establish AirAsia Philippines.
the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) by sponsoring the 20092010 Grand Finals Champions, Philippine Patriots. The exclusive three-year deal will include the use of player images and player appearances at AirAsia events across ASEAN and also for community-driven events.
BA goes the humane way British Airways has turned yet another leaf in its achievements, but this time around it is not for its in-flight services. It is for providing a home, community and a pleasant environment for children in need. British Airways employees have been supporting the Archbishop Alan de Lastic Memorial Children’s Village by spending time with the children and teaching them in their free time. In December, 2010, the senior management team from Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa was in Delhi to give the children a time to rejoice. The group included Ashley Cowen, Area General Manager for Asia, the Pacific and Africa, Kate Ling, Head of HR for Europe Asia, the Pacific and Africa, along with her entire senior management team. The British Airways team dipped into over a hundred litres of red paint to redecorate the school walls while one of the senior managers played Santa and handed out gifts to the children in keeping with the festive season.
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TRAVEL & TOURISM Thomas Cook launches 'Summer Holiday Sale' THOMAS COOK (India) Limited is organising the annual ‘Summer Holiday Sale’. The event acts as an informative session for potential travellers looking for a good bargain on some of the best-recommended outbound and domestic holiday destinations. This year the Thomas Cook Summer Holiday Sale will be organised in 34 cities. This carnival is coming at a juncture when Thomas Cook has launched fabulous offers on group tours to US and Europe. These along with “off-the-shelf” readymade holidays have already created a huge buzz in the market. Readymade Holidays are the latest offering from TCIL and the holiday range starts from as little as 3690. Ties-up with Xpress Money: Thomas Cook (India) Limited recently declared a strategic tie-up with Xpress Money, a service offering of the UAE Exchange & Financial Services Limited. Thomas Cook India has been contracted as an agent across its network in over 72 cities for Xpress Money. This new service provision will give Indian families the opportunity to receive money via a safe mode through Xpress
A CLOSE TIE-UP : Madhavan Menon, Mangaging Director, Thomas Cook signing the deal with Sudhir Shetty, UAE Exchange.
Money, from any UAE Exchange & Financial Services Limited branch in the UAE. The two power brands Xpress Money and Thomas Cook India, in the foreign exchange space, share an immense network reach in their centre of operations respectively — UAE and India.
Yatra.com launches three exciting packages YATRA.COM, recently announced the launch of ‘European Escorted Holiday’, to make the vacations — an enthralling experience for its customers. The deal offers three exclusive packages that cover the paramount destinations in Europe and ensures a holiday like never before. The European Escorted Holiday experience included travel in award winning airlines and the pricing is all inclusive of accommodation, airfare, taxes, visa fee, meals and services of Yatra Tour Manager. The tours will also offer a choice of vegetarian, non-vegetarian and jain meal to the customers so that they can enjoy Europe while experiencing the best of service by Yatra.com. Customers on all these tours will be accompanied by a Yatra.com Tour Manager who will ensure that they have a hassle-free holiday experience. Co-Founder Sabina Chopra felicitated: Sabina Chopra, CoFounder, Yatra.com, was felicitated at the second annual Women Leaders in India Awards 2010, at a glittering award ceremony held in the national capital. The event recognises an exceptional leader who has played an important role in the specific sector and developments on various levels. Sabina Chopra was declared the winner in the Travel and Tourism category.
On winning the award, Sabina Chopra, CoFounder, Yatra.com, remarked, “I am absolutely delighted, and would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the jury for conferring this highly prestigious Award upon me. It comes as gratitude to receive an honour like this.” In her role as a co-founder of Yatra.com, Sabina Chopra Sabina Chopra manages the sales, fulfillment, and after sales support for all Yatra businesses. She also heads Yatra’s domestic hotel business, where she uses her expertise of the hospitality business in India to ensure that Yatra.com’s hotel product is the best on offer.
Marriott ushers Wine Ambassador’s programme HELPING TO heighten the wine-tasting experience for its guests, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts recently introduced its Wine Ambassador’s programme at its 46 locations worldwide. The JW Wine Ambassadors are a volunteer cadre of wine experts from all areas of the hotel where wine is available and who represent the highest level of wine expertise at the property. “By combining live tastings, written materials, on- ELOCUTION AT ITS BEST: Feiek line educational resurces and EL Saadani-Director of Food and Beverage at the Wine the timely sharing of tasting Ambassador Pragramme at JW notes, this programme allows Marriott,Mumbai. us to permeate a high level of wine-service excellence throughout our JW Marriott portfolio,” said Lou Trope, Marriott’s Vice-President for restaurants and bars.
Egypt tourism unveils calendar EGYPT TOURISM Office, Mumbai and Jashn Sarees had jointly organised the launch of Jashn Calender at Novotel Juhu Hotel. Jashn is a growing retail chain of ethnic and indo-western wear for the contemporary urban woman. With Egypt in the background, Jashn unveiled its Calender 2011 along with an exclusive fashion show on January 12 which kept the audience mesmerised and enthralled. Bollywood actress and Brand Ambassador of Egypt and Jashn Sarees, Celina Jaitley graced the event with her mystic presence. The evening was attended by the who’s who of the diplomatic and elite PRIDE AND HONOUR: Brand circles of Mumbai. Celina Ambassador of Egypt and Jaitley has been captured in eye Jashn Sarees, Celina Jaitley -ravishing saris created unveiling the calendar. especially for Jashn by its design team as part of collection Y2K11.
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A heady mix of drinks and brunch EATING OUT assumes a whole meaning for the connoisseur at The Claridges Garden, every Sunday noon. Warmth of the winter sun in the palm lined garden, live counters of gourmet classics from Europe, China and India, an interactive flaring bar where one can mix one’s own drinks and a kid’s corner. All these provide the perfect ingredients for a leisurely Sunday Brunch with friends and family. On offer are a selection of morning bakeries, fresh juices, cold cuts, cheese platters, salad bar, live counters serving grills, Sausages, Pasta, Tawa Parantha, Dim Sum, Indian curries, scrumptious desserts and more.
Travelport and Air Canada sign deal TRAVELPORT recently announced the signing of a new multi-year agreement with Air Canada, an airline industry leader in innovative distribution of ancillary services. Through the agreement, Air Canada will provide all Travelport travel agency customers, both offline and online, access to all fares, seat availability, fare families and optional services offered by Air Canada. According to J B Singh, CEO and President, ITQ, “This agreement is a boost to the relationship between Air Canada and Travelport. This will help us develop an end to end solution competent in merchandising Air Canada's content along with the summation of the GDS content, saving agents time when pricing, shopping and booking.” Graham Wareham, Senior Director (Product Distribution), Air Canada, said, “This agreement confirms Travelport as a preferred distribution system for Air Canada. Our companies will continue to work together to further develop next generation distribution and traveller authenticated shopping solutions for the travel trade and corporate travel buyers.”
Trinidad and Tobago offers investment options BEST OF LUXURY: Sunday brunch comprising of (wine and food ) on display at The Claridges.
An interactive flaring bar offers a selection of free flowing beverages like sparkling wine, Grey Goose premium Vodka, beer, wine and signature cocktails. A dedicated kid’s section has pot painting, tattoo making, hair beading for children. Tenders ‘Luxurious Stay’ offer: The Claridges, New Delhi recently announced an special offer for its luxury suite. The elegantly appointed Luxury Suite offer comes with a bottle of wine, lavish breakfast at The Senate — exclusive lounge, a complimentary spa treatment and complimentary third night stay coupled with a whole day of privileged indulgences or laid back experiences. The offer is valid until March 31, 2011. On offer are a selection of morning bakeries, fresh juices, cold cuts, cheese platters, salad bar, live counters serving grills, Sausages, Pasta, Tawa Parantha, Dim Sum, Indian curries, scrumptious desserts and more.
A TOURISM business forum to encourage Indian investment in the region was hosted by the Minister of Tourism, Dr Rupert Griffith in Mumbai. The Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Promotion mission will visit the cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru as a part of this initiative, and feature a business forum, and meetings with Indian government officials, tourism industry executives and tourism investors. Brian Lara, the Sports and Tourism Ambassador for Trinidad & Tobago, will be conducting cricket clinics for the upcoming Indian cricketers in Delhi and Bengaluru. Speaking on this occasion, Dr Rupert Griffith, Minister of Tourism said, “India is a very important market for Trinidad and Tobago. We want to build a strong relationship with India, creating tourism and business opportunities. Explaining further, he said, “We offer additional tax incentives to investors for investing in tourism in Trinidad and Tobago as per the recent Tourism Development Act, 2000 making it an attractive investment destination.”
APPOINTMENTS The Claridges appoints Markus O Schneider
Markus O Schneider
Markus O Schneider joined The Claridges, New Delhi, as General Manager. He comes with a sound knowledge of hotel operations with over 19 years of experience in the hospitality industry. In his current position, Markus would be responsible for the efficient and profitable running of hotel operations, product enhancement, revenue generation and over all hotel management.
Kishor Shetty joins as F&B Director Kishor Shetty is an industry veteran with over 18 years of experience in the hospitality sector, both in India and abroad. After handling several important positions in hotels in Dubai and UK, he recently took over as the F&B
Director of Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai. He has had successful stints at JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai and Novotel, Toronto, Canada. Prior to joining Courtyard by Marriott, he was the Food & Beverage Manager in Novotel, Toronto, Canada.
Four Seasons Hotel brings in Rizwan Shaikh Rizwan Shaikh has joined Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai, as Hotel Manager. Prior of joining Four Seasons Hotel, he has worked in Oberoi, Delhi; Trident, Bhubaneswar; Taj Exotica and Renaissance. 32-year-old Shaikh has done Degree in Hotel Management, Goa, India besides holding Management Program from Rizwan Shaikh IMIS College, Bhubaneswar. He attributes his success to strong creative streak and refusal to ever blindly accept the status quo.
CRUISING HEIGHTS February 2011
Mile High to the ground WE ALWAYS thought the Mile High Club was for celebs. But we were wrong. A true-blue Englishman — discarding his proverbial upper lip — managed to start Mile High Flight for all those who wanted the Mile High experience. His dreams, however, have been dashed to the ground — literally — courtesy the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which has refused to recertify Mile High Flight. The Mile High Flight story began in 2007 when Mike Crisp started flying his bed-laden Cessna Grand Caravan from Gloucestershire Airport (Staverton). Mile High Flights gave couples and one threesome, according to news reports, the opportunity to join the Mile High Club. Crisp’s website hardsells the concept: “Mile High Flights hit the news in February 2007 and within hours was the talk of the town throughout Europe. Since that time we have undergone a number of significant steps to become a genuine, legal company operating the most unique experience flights in the business.” The site goes on to point out that a flight in the Cessna was perfect for any romantic couple and a wonderful way to celebrate any event: birthdays, anniveraries, engagements or just to let them know... you love them. The kicker line exhorted would-be Mile Highers: “Now you too can become a member of one of the most infamous groups of travellers in the world... the ‘Real Mile High Club’.” Indeed, couples were treated to an experience to cherish for a lifetime. On arrival at the Gloucestershire Airport, couples were met by the ‘Captain’ who helped put fliers at ease. Once on aboard, the couples were treated to chilled champagne and strawberries: “to get you in the mood before the captain lets you know when it is safe to begin your initiation…The fast climbing aircraft would be a mile high within five minutes of takeoff and at that time, you will have between 25 and 35 minutes of privacy to take in the views outside and of course... those private views inside. At the end of the flight, couples were presented with a Mile High Flight ‘Certificate of Initiation’ and a photo to
Top: A double bed in the Cessna and (Below) the plane.
remember the adventure. All this for around $1000. Putting a spanner in, what Crisp has described as a “very popular business idea”, the CAA has grounded the flights “because of some prudish snobbery on the part of the CAA”. A CAA spokesman, however, countered: “We cast no moral judgments on what people do in their planes, that’s not our business.” It is all about safety although exactly what those problems are has not been reported but it is learnt that the in-flight activities on these special flights could distract pilots leading to a crash! On his part, Crisp is not giving up so easily. He has apparently invested more than $15,000 in equipping the aircraft with fire-retardant sheets, upholstery and bedding.
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FLYING DREAM GONE SOUR: With the UK Civil Aviation Authority refusal to recertify Mile High Flight, the dream of a "popular business idea" seems to have crashed. and Mike Crisp with the Certificate of Initiation.
RNI No. DELENG/2006/16897 Posting Dt. 8-9/02/2011 Reg. No. DL(E) 20/5294/2009-11
Published on Jan 31, 2011