A380 steals the show in Paris
BOURGET, PARIS, June 13: World's biggest air show at Le Bourget
airport in Paris had people gasping with awe and disbelief when
they saw the biggest aircraft, Airbus A380, making its debut
flight display at the show. This year a record number of about
1,900 exhibitors from 44 countries are participating at the
biennial 46th International Paris air show at Le Bourget airport
north of Paris.
the traditional rivals, Airbus and Boeing, some of the other
aircraft making appearance include French company Dassault Aviation's
Falcon 7X, a tri-jet, long-range business jet; the Brazilian
Embraer 195, a 118-seat regional airliner; and US company Gulfstream's
business jets G450 and G550.
sector exhibits include Boeing's new tanker 767-300, the Italian
training jet Aermacchi M346, Dassault's Mirage and Rafale fighter
jets, and the Eurofighter fighter jet of the consortium of EADS,
BAE Systems and Alenia of Italy.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India is also participating
at the air show with its Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). Private
airlines of India, Air Deccan and Kingfisher, are also expected
to take the delivery of their new aircraft at the show. Air
Deccan would take delivery of an ATR and Kingfisher is to take
delivery of Airbus A320.
A 380, the giant double-decker aircraft that can hold up to
840 passengers, that flew for the first time on April 27 was
show's start at the inaugural ceremony on Monday which was led
by French President Jacques Chirac. The A380 gave a new weapon
to its European maker, Airbus' competition with US rival Boeing
which is trying to catch up in orders after staying behind for
the past five years.
the duel, Boeing made one of the show's first announcements,
saying that Irish low-cost airline Ryanair had converted options
to buy five 737-800 aircraft to firm orders, bringing to 230
the number of firm orders by Ryanair for the single-aisle passenger
Qatar Airways weighed in with a 60-plane intention to order
for the future Airbus A350 aircraft. The Doha-based airline
also said it intended to buy at least 20 Boeing 777s, and valued
the Airbus order at 10.6 billion dollars (8.70 billion euros)
and that for Boeing at 4.6 billion dollars.
president of Qatar Airways, Akbar al Baker, said the airline
had chosen the Airbus A350 in preference to Boeing's new 787
Dreamliner after deep analysis. A
final decision to make "firm" orders was "imminent",
he said, adding that negotiations were continuing.
order for the long haul, medium capacity A350 would involve
orders for both versions of the airliner, the A350-800 and the
A350-900, for delivery between the middle of 2010 and 2015.
The aircraft would be in addition to, and would eventually replace,
the airline's A330 airliners. The order for Boeing would cover
three versions of the B777, the 777-300 ER, the 777-200 F cargo
plane, and the new 777-200 LR, the world's longest-range airliner
and the latest in the Boeing fleet. These aircraft would be
delivered between 2007 and 2010.
announcement by Qatar Airways was welcome news for Airbus, which
had just 10 orders since it unveiled the A350 project in December
and recently postponed its decision to launch it, originally
intended to be announced at the show, until September. Airbus
said last week that it hoped to announce 100 orders at the air
show for the A350, the defensive response to Boeing's new energy-efficient
to enter service in 2008, the 787 has won 266 orders and commitments
from 21 airlines. Mike Bair, the vice president and general
manager of the 787 Program, told a news conference that another
27 airlines were looking at the plane and some 420 orders were
in the pipeline. He insisted the use of composite materials
for half of the 787's structure gave Boeing a great price advantage
by reducing building costs. "These composite structures
are cheaper to build than aluminum," he said.
the new orders, Boeing was now positioned to retake the lead
in passenger airplane orders it lost five years ago. Airbus
hopes to announce an order for the A380 at the show.
Canada liberalise air transport accord
DELHI, June 13: The growing prowess of the Indian economy can
be gauged from the fact that some of the leading countries of
the world have been seeking more air traffic rights with India.
Recently, New Delhi has signed such agreements with the US, the
UK, Germany, France and Qatar. And now, India and Canada agreed
to liberalise the existing bilateral air transport agreement to
35 round trip flights per week for each country. This translates
into a five-fold increase in passenger flights between the two
the new agreement allows Canadian carriers to access Delhi, Mumbai,
Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, the Indian carriers
can access Edmonton, Vancouver and two other cities in Canada,
in addition to Montreal and Toronto. The choice of the two cities
has been left to India.
present, Air India operates three flights a week between Delhi,
Amritsar and Toronto via Birmingham, while Air Canada flies a
daily service between Delhi and Toronto. Each country can designate
as many air carriers it wishes for flights between Canada and
Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, and the Chief of Air
Negotiator for Canada, Mr John Mcnab, signed the agreement earlier
this month in Ottawa. The agreement also grants 'Fifth Freedom'
rights to airlines from India between points in Canada and one
intermediate point in Asia and three in Europe including UK. The
right allows an airline to either pick up passengers en route
or fly beyond the port of call in the second country.
highlight of the agreement is the unlimited capacity for all-cargo
the new agreement, the Canada's International Trade Minister,
Mr Jim Peterson, said "this will help facilitate and encourage
our rapidly growing commercial and scientific ties with India.
The extended air services will also spur tourism and cultural
exchanges, which will benefit both countries."
Canadian Transport Minister, Mr Jean-C. Lapierre said the arrangement
would allow the airliners of both countries to better meet the
needs of the travelling public, including the business community.
It also reflected a shared commitment to improved air services.
the agreement, the airlines of both nations would be able to take
advantage of the new code-share provisions under which an airline
sells seats in its name on the flights of another airline.
per the previous agreement, the number of air carriers that could
serve the market was limited. The total capacity was restricted
to approximately seven round trip flights per week for each country
and confined Indian carriers' effective access to Montreal and
Toronto and Canadian carriers' to Delhi and Mumbai. It also did
not provide for the flexible marketing arrangements such as code
sharing that have become prevalent in recent years.
new agreement sets the stage for the growth of Canada-India air
services and is consistent with Canada's International Policy
Statement objective of creating sustainable long-term relationships
with new economic powers. The active promotion of trade and investment
by both countries has resulted in a record merchandise bilateral
trade valued at about $2.45 billion, reflecting a trade relationship
that has grown over 60 percent over the past five years.
light of the potential for rapid expansion of the Canada-India
air transport market, the Canadian and Indian negotiating delegations
agreed to meet again in 2007, or sooner if necessary, to ensure
that the air services agreement continues to be consistent with
Canada's trade objectives and meet the needs of the travelling
national flag carrier, Air India, resumed its service from India
to Toronto, the financial capital of Canada, on May 15 last after
a gap of eight years, fulfilling a long-standing demand of Indians
living in that country. The national flag carrier had received
a jolt when its Kanishka aircraft, a Boeing 747 flight from Toronto
to Mumbai via London, was blown off the Irish coast in the Atlantic
Ocean, killing 329 passengers, in 1985.
the launch of Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight, the Chairman
and Managing Director of Air India, Mr V. Thulasidas, said the
flight was the second long haul flight being included this year
from Delhi indicating the growth plans that Air-India has embarked
upon. The Delhi-Frankfurt-Los Angeles flight had been inaugurated
in March this year providing direct connectivity to the West coast
a move to strengthen trade and economic ties with Canada, the
Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, along with a seven-member
delegation, visited Canada taking advantage of the new Air India
flight. During their weeklong stay in Canada, the delegation explored
the opportunities and possibilities in the field of small-scale
industries and biotechnology through the mode of technology transfer,
partnership and marketing network.
Singh also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation
in Agricultural Biotechnology between the Province of Saskatchewan,
Canada and the State of Punjab. A "Made in Punjab" Trade
Show at International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario was also organized.
This was the first initiative of Punjab's Industry to organize
such a show anywhere outside India, informed Capt. Singh.
Deccan offers tickets at Re One
DELHI, June 7: In a revolution that could go unmatched, there
is great news for those who dream of air travel and this cannot
become better than this. Beginning Tuesday morning, one can travel
at Rupee one on Air Deccan, India's first low-cost airline.
to this correspondent, Managing Director of Air Deccan, Capt G
R Gopinath, said "we will be offering three to four seats
totally to 1,000 per month on each Airbus flights on metro routes
at Re One. The idea is to give the flying experience to each and
every Indian -- the common man." The sectors on which the
rupee one ticket would be applicable are -- Delhi-Bangalore, Bangalore-Mumbai,
Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Kolkata, Kolkata-Hyderabad-Kolkata, Kolkata-Chennai,
Chennai-Mumbai, Mumbai-Coimbatore-Mumbai, Delhi-Guwahati-Delhi,
Deccan is world's fastest growing airline. In the first year,
its turnover was Rs 350 crore and it moved over one million passengers.
"In the current financial year, our turnover will be Rs 1,000
crore and over 4.4 million passengers will travel by us,"
said the Managing Director of Air Deccan.
this with other big wigs of the sector: Indian Airlines moved
7.6 million and Jet Airways carried 7.9 million passengers. "It
took them decades to reach this figure and we intend to achieve
this in our second year of existence," said Capt Gopinath.
Deccan's present fleet strength is 18 with 13 ATRs and five Airbus
aircraft. "Beginning June 15 we will be adding one brand
new aircraft - either ATR or Airbus - every month to our fleet.
By end of the current financial year we will have a fleet size
of 29 with 18 ATRs and 11 Airbus planes."
said that he would like every Indian to travel by air at an affordable
price. "I am not in competition with any other carrier -
be it Kingfisher or SpiceJet. My target is to woo the AC second-class
train passengers and empower every Indian to fly."
figures of tremendous growth potential in the country, he said
India has only 400 flights per day for one billion population
as compared to 45,000 flights a day in the US, which has one fourth
of our population.
with its innovations like being the first company to introduce
low-budget carrier, first to introduce 100 per cent seat inventory
on Internet, first to introduce e-tickets etc, Air Deccan in a
strategic tie up with Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has
launched sale of tickets at HP petrol stations.
Deccan's Commercial Chief John Kuruvilla said "this is the
first initiative of its kind in the country wherein a passenger
will be able to book air tickets at a petrol station. This was
first launched in Bangalore in March this year with 10 HPCL stations.
It has greatly benefited those who do not have immediate access
to the internet, travel agents or the airport."
the launch, Mr Sudhakar Rao, General Manager, North Zone, HPCL,
said "we shall distribute tickets through 30 petrol stations
in Delhi. We intend to cover 300 HPCL stations in North zone in
the next three months."
Sudhakar Rao said the partnership was a win-win situation for
both the companies and was part of the PSU's efforts to provide
more value-added services to its customers. Part of the Club HP
retail brand, ticketing services are the latest addition to a
long list of customer friendly services including bookshops, chocolate
shops, eating joints and convenience stores.
partnership would enable the low-cost carrier to expand its ticketing
network to every nook and cranny of the country. Similar practice
is in vogue in the US.
Gopinath also announced special reduced fares on the Delhi-Bangalore
and Bangalore-Mumbai sectors, to be applicable till the July six.
The fares would be Rs 4600 and Rs 2600 respectively for these
a world first Eurocopter lands copter on top of Everest
DELHI, May 26: The enigma of Mount Everest continues to allure
mountaineers and super-climbers even 50 years after when Sir Edmund
Hillary and Tenzing Norgay planted the first flag atop Mount Everest
on May 29. The world is celebrating this day by marking the event
worldwide. If the man can do it, how can machine be far behind?
Keeping this cliché in mind, Eurocopter, the European helicopter
maker, has landed its Ecureuil/ Astar AS350B3 helicopter on the
top of Mount Everest in a world first. The Ecureuil helicopter
landed May 14 at 8,850 meters atop the Himalayan peak, setting
a new world record for high-altitude landings and takeoffs, according
aircraft, flown by test pilot Didier Delsalle, took off from a
Nepalese base camp of Lukla, and remained atop the peak for more
than two minutes, Eurocopter said. A second successful landing
and takeoff took place later. Eurocopter said it had submitted
the feat to the International Federation of Aviation for approval
as a world record. The company is a division of the defence and
aviation giant European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
the India front, New Delhi has liberalised its air services agreement
with Germany by increasing the total number of flights to 50 each
week in both directions, with a maximum of 20 frequencies to and
a recent meeting in New Delhi, top aviation officials of the two
countries revised the air services agreement granting three additional
points of call at Hyderabad, Goa and Kochi to designated German
carriers, without the right to travel beyond these designated
points (Fifth Freedom Right). On its part, Germany would grant
access to three additional points of call to be specified by India
without similar intermediate Fifth Freedom Right.
per the agreement, the number of flights per week could be increased
to 42 from October-November this year and further to 50 in March-April
next year. The designated carriers of each side would be permitted
to operate these flights with an aircraft with capacity not exceeding
that of a Boeing-747, official sources said.
would be permitted to operate a maximum of seven frequencies to
or through any point of call in India, but for Delhi, their designated
German airlines would be permitted mount a maximum of 20 frequencies
to or through the national capital in a phased manner.
Delhi, the number of weekly flights could be raised to 14 each
week this winter, 17 from next summer and 20 from winter of 2006-07.
The two sides also agreed to meet again in mid-2006 to hold further
discussions in mid-2006, including the use of Airbus A380, the
world's largest aircraft with 550 plus seats.
the launch of Air India Express, India's first international budget
airline, foreign carriers have begun to eye this sector. The latest
one is Oman Air which has announced new flights to India during
the peak summer from next month with the launch of two additional
routes to Delhi and Hyderabad taking its services from 30 to 40
weekly flights and extending destinations from four to six.
will be four weekly flights to Delhi from Muscat, an airline official
said. It would fly three flights a week to Hyderabad with flights
departing Muscat after midnight and arriving at the Andhra capital
early morning and then returning from there to Muscat in the morning.
He also announced that Oman Air would increase its weekly services
to Kochi from five flights to daily flights.
has also announced its third weekly flight from Bahrain to Mumbai
from June 7 with the introduction of services every Tuesday bringing
to seven the number of its departures from Bahrain. The high point
of the third flight to Mumbai is that it connects within a few
hours from Mumbai to several other domestic destinations in India,
particularly Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, an official
said pointing out that it now has two weekly flights to Cochin,
two to Calicut, four to Thiruvananthapuram and three to Mumbai.
Jet Airways has become the first airline in India to induct Airbus
A340-300 E into its fleet for servicing its long-haul routes from
Mumbai to London. The A340-300E aircraft was selected because
of its high degree of operational flexibility and economy combined
with optimal passenger comfort.
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways,
"We are delighted to present to our traveling public, this
state-of-the-art A340-300E aircraft. This technology-driven enhanced
version results in fuel-efficiency and operational flexibility.
This aircraft type also offers superior cabin comfort, equipped
with the world's best flat beds and an Inflight Entertainment
system (IFE) which promises to offer unmatched passenger delight."
President Sales, India and South Asia, Nigel Harwood, said: "Jet
Airways is renowned throughout the world for its high level of
service. Airbus is delighted that it has chosen the A340-300E
to commence long-haul operations."
Airways have also strengthened their operations team by appointing
Capt Gustav Baldauf as Vice-President, Flight Operations. Before
this assignment Capt Baldauf was the Executive Vice President,
Flight Operations with Austrian Airlines and brings with him his
valuable experience on the A340 aircraft as an Examiner.
Express commences services from Delhi, Mumbai
DELHI, May 23: Air-India Express, the international budget airline
set up by Air-India, has commenced its services from the city,
with the operation of its first flight on Mumbai-Abu Dhabi-Muscat
sector. While the flight on the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi-Muscat sector
operated on Sunday night, the services on Delhi-Muscat sector
began operation from Monday, according to an Air India spokesman.
the low-cost carrier would operate three flights per week on the
Delhi-Muscat sector and increase the frequency to six per week
from the next month, he said. Air-India had launched A-I Express
from Thiruvananthapuram on April 29, 2005. In the initial phase,
flights would be operated from five points Thiruvananthapuram,
Kozikode, Kochi, Mumbai and Delhi, he added.
is born; Posts sale of 3 m Euros
DELHI, May 23: During the Annual General and Extraordinary Meeting
of Shareholders, shareholders approved the merger of Sagem and
Snecma, as well as the new name, Safran. The Safran Group is organized
in four branches: Aerospace Propulsion, Communications, Aerospace
Equipment, Defense-Security. The group is headquartered in Paris,
Béchat is Chairman of the Executive Board, which also includes
Grégoire Olivier and Yves Imbert. Mario Colaiacovo is Chairman
of the Supervisory Board. Shareholders also approved the financial
statements of Sagem for 2004 at the meeting. On May 10, the annual
general meeting of Snecma shareholders approved the merger with
Sagem, as well as Snecma's consolidated financial statements for
2004. The Safran group has posted sales of 2,380 million euros
for the three months ended March 31, 2005, based on International
Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and 2,480 millions euros
based on French accounting standards. These are pro forma figures,
calculated by adding the sales of Snecma and Sagem.
the basis of identical accounting standards, sales rose 4.5 percent
over the first quarter of 2004. Application of the IAS 39 standard
to sales in foreign currencies had an impact of 100 million euros
on the Aerospace Propulsion and Aerospace Equipment branches.
Higher sales by the Aerospace Propulsion branch reflected a growth
in service business and increased deliveries of helicopter engines.
at the Communications branch were contrasted, with strong growth
in the broadband segment (ADSL modems, digital TV set-top boxes),
but a decrease in mobile phone sales compared with the first quarter
of 2004, when sales were especially strong. The Aerospace Equipment
branch also saw higher sales, mainly due to its wiring, wheels,
brakes and nacelle businesses. The Defense and Security branch
posted steady growth in sales of aeronautical systems and security
Kingfisher hot up fare war in Indian skies
DELHI, May 21: Much to the delight of passengers, a new fare war
has begun in the Indian skies. Though Indian Airlines and Jet
Airways had recently raised the fares due to sharp increase in
air turbine fuel (ATF), the latest entrant, SpiceJet that commences
operations from May 23, has offered air tickets at Rs 99. Air
Deccan has announced plans for ridiculously low priced tickets
at Re One.
SpiceJet Chairman Siddhanth Sharma said to celebrate the launch
of the airline, SpiceJet would offer over 30,000 "Red Hot
Special Fares" starting at Rs 99 for the first 99 days of
its operation. These fares would also be available at Rs 499 and
Rs 799. Over 9,000 seats would be available under the introductory
offer and all flights would offer between five to 10 seats daily
at low prices.
a fleet of three Boeing 737-800 aircraft and an initial investment
of $25 million, SpiceJet will operate its first flight on Monday
on the Delhi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route. On May 27, the airline will
fly to Goa and on June 13, to Pune and Bangalore. The airline
offers a single class in all its 189-seater planes, with complementary
snacks and water.
is not just the price, but what we offer at that price and our
commitment to high quality service that will differentiate and
position SpiceJet," according to the CEO Mark Winders. He
said "we see ourselves taking train traffic and putting it
in air, creating a new market for seniors, students, leisure and
said by January 2006, the airline would have 10 brand new aircraft.
"We see ourselves with a fleet of 20-30 airplanes eventually."
The company aims to issue convertible bonds in June to raise $90
million for its fleet expansion plans.
director Ajay Singh said SpiceJet, a reincarnate of ModiLuft,
was 20 per cent owned by foreign institutional investors and other
institutions such as Citibank, ABN Amro and Goldman Sachs. Royal
Holdings Services Limited, a Nevada-based company, has a major
stake in SpiceJet.
May 18, the opening day of the bookings, SpiceJet sold a record
37,348 tickets. The company claimed no other carrier in Asia had
managed to sell so many tickets on day one. It opened bookings
with tickets as low-priced as Rs 99 to Rs 799. Besides, its regular
fares range from Rs 699 to Rs 6,999. SpiceJet's website received
in excess of 5.4 million hits in the last 30 hours, the company
am astounded by the level of bookings on the first day. We had
our first sale at 6:40 am. Tickets were sold not only in the discounted
category but also in the regular fares category. The response
that we have received shows that there is a huge untapped market
for air travel in India," said Mark Winders.
with this, Air Deccan, the country's first low-cost carrier, has
so far sold a total of 82,263 Rs 500 tickets, according to its
website. A normal SpiceJet ticket costs a little over the AC III
tier train fare. These one-way fares will be available in five
to six different price buckets, with the most expensive being
approximately 55 to 60 per cent of the regular full-economy fare.
The airline is also expected to break even in the first year of
day after SpiceJet announced its debut; Kingfisher Airlines on
Wednesday intensified the airfare war by offering discounted tickets
on the Delhi-Bangalore and Mumbai-Bangalore routes. Unlike other
airlines that have several buckets of discount fares, Kingfisher
Airlines offers a single fare on these sectors. The Delhi-Bangalore
one-way ticket will cost Rs 4,999, a 60 per cent discount over
the ticket prices of Indian Airlines and Jet Airways. On the Mumbai-Bangalore
route, Kingfisher will have a flat fare of Rs 2,999. Other full-service
airlines charge nearly Rs 6,200.
Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara charge Rs 12,600 for a Delhi-Bangalore
ticket. In comparison, SpiceJet has an inaugural offer of Rs 99
on the Delhi-Pune-Bangalore route, while its highest fare is close
to Rs 8,000.
the motivation behind the launch of the special Fun Time fare,
twelve days into its launch, Alex Wilcox, President and Chief
Operating Officer, Kingfisher Airlines reiterated that "The
Kingfisher Class experience is something that is new and unique
to the Indian skies and by introducing this Fun Time fare, we
hope to offer more guests the opportunity to fly with us and get
a first-hand feel of Kingfisher Class. Kingfisher Airlines will
commence flights on the New Delhi-Bangalore sector on June 9 and
for the month of June, a special inaugural one-way fare of Rupees
4,999 will be offered."
Airlines currently operates only on the metro routes and offers
a 'triple daily' service from Mumbai to Bangalore, in both directions.
The second brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft will be pressed into
service from June 9 and the airline will offer a 'triple daily'
service on the New Delhi-Bangalore sector from the same day.
first low-cost carrier, Air Deccan, has announced that it would
offer Re One air tickets to lure the common man to travel by air.
to break even in first year: Mallya
DELHI, May 15: Whatever Industrialist Vijaya Mallya does, he does
it in style. Keeping up with his tag of "King of Good Times",
flamboyant liquour baron entered the aviation sector with a bang
by launching Kingfisher Airlines. "Whatever I have done,
its with the intention of becoming Number One: Be it whisky, rum
or beer. So shall be with my new airline," says a confident
Dr Vijaya Mallya.
carving out a niche for him in the liquor business, the head of
the diversified UB Group has taken off to make his mark in the
Indian sky. May 9, the date of the airline launch, coincided with
birthday of his son, Siddhartha, who turned 18 that day. The UB
Group became the second largest spirits company in the world in
March after it bought a majority stake in its rival Shaw Wallace.
before the launch of the airline, Dr Mallya gained several firsts
to his credit. Kingfisher Airlines was the first private Indian
carrier taking delivery of a brand-new aircraft to commence commercial
operations. It took delivery of an Airbus 320 in Toulouse, France,
in the last week of April. It was also for the first time that
any private airline had its pre-launch party at the Air India
hangar, displaying public-private partnership.
the words of Maharashtra Chief Mininister Vilasrao Deshmukh: "Kingfisher
Airlines is a classic example of public-private partnership as
India's own carrier Air India and Indian Airlines would provide
ground service to Kingfisher Airlines."
a coup of sorts, Dr Mallaya signed a landmark agreement with Indian
Airlines by which Kingfisher outsourced its ground handling, engineering
and aircraft maintenance support from the public-sector carrier.
Under the 120-crore deal, Kingfisher will also buy the surplus
flight kilometres that Indian Airline operates in non-profitable
routes in a bid to keep its overheads and costs low.
now a competitor, Dr Mallya went on all out praise for Indian
Airlines. "The public-sector airline has a wealth expertise
and facilities for Airbus A-320 aircraft which Kingfisher too
has. Indian Airlines is the world leader in handling these aircraft,
as it was the launch customer of A 320s. They also have enough
surplus capacity that can be put into profitable use. In an era
of outsourcing, it is a good win-win situation for both,"
said the average seat per kilometre (ASKM) was part of the overall
Kingfisher Airlines-Indian Airlines agreement in which the private
carrier would make payments to its public sector counterpart for
costs incurred per aircraft turnaround.
said the first such agreement was signed between two private carriers
Damania and NEPC in 1995. However, both the airlines closed down
the ASKM sharing, Kingfisher will buy the surplus flight kilometres
that Indian Airlines operates on non-profitable routes to keep
its overheads and operating costs low. "Our agreement with
Indian Airlines is for two years minimum. It gives us an immense
saving potential. Besides, the present policy allows pooling of
flying requirements by carriers," said Dr Mallya.
agreement with Indian Airlines also allows the private carrier
to use the terminals and infrastructure of the state-owned carriers
in all the airports. He said Indian Airlines is one of the finest
products of the country. And it is for this reason, it does ground
handling of 23 international airlines, including Singapore and
Emirates that are top-notch airlines of the world.
said that the carrier hopes to break-even in the first year of
operation itself. Kingfisher will start flying smaller routes
in December once its fleet of Airbus A 319s come on board. The
airline's A 319 fleet based out of Bangalore and will serve operations
to cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.
Kingfisher commenced operations with two flights from Mumbai to
Bangalore, the frequency would go up to three from May 20. From
June 6, it plans to launch triple daily flights between Bangalore
and Delhi. By July-end, Kingfisher will commence six flights a
week on the Mumbai-Delhi route. "We plan to stress on more
frequencies on each sector as that is what a customer desires,"
said "Kingfisher will have 11 planes flying by December,
each logging 11 hours a day. We will have another six next year.
By 2008, we will have 30 Airbus A320s and three Airbus A 319s
in our fleet. And more aircraft would follow in the subsequent
years. My vision is to make Kingfisher the largest private sector
carrier." The airline will offer a single class configuration
with 174 seats on all the A 320 routes.
its promise of offering premium product with low fares as compared
to existing carriers like Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Air
Sahara, Kingfisher offers fares in three buckets - Rs 3,900, Rs
4,900 and Rs 5,900 on its Mumbair-Bangalore sector. "I do
not want to offer complex fares to the passengers. The tickets
will be sold in three different slabs on first-come-first-serve
Kingfisher is being positioned as a "full service" airline,
it will have just one class for all passengers. For the first
time in the domestic aviation sector, all Kingfisher planes will
have in-flight entertainment with a personal TV screen at the
back of each seat with a 10-channel audio and five-channel video
has also hired the best possible staff that includes extremely
attractive and well-trained flight attendants. He keeps his personal
touch in hiring the staff to keep up with the slogan "Fly
the Good Times". For example, he has hired Ms Nandini Verma
of Jet Airways fame as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs,
India resumes operations to Canada
DELHI, May 15: Air India on Sunday resumed its service from India
to Toronto, the financial capital of Canada, after a gap of eight
years, fulfilling a long-standing demand of Indians living in
India's first service from New Delhi via Amritsar and Birmingham
was flagged off at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here
by Tourism Minister Renuka Chowdhury, and Civil Aviation Minister
Praful Patel, who also launched a special service -- 'Swagat Seva'
-- at the airport for providing help to foreign tourists. Air
India will operate three services a week to Toronto.
national flag carrier had received a jolt when its Kanishka aircraft,
a Boeing 747 flight from Toronto to Mumbai via London, was blown
off the Irish coast in the Atlantic ocean, killing 329 passengers,
in 1985. Learning lessons from the past, special security measures
have been taken by the Canadian authorities to protect the aircraft
at a function organized at IGI Airport to mark the commencement
of services, Mr Praful Patel complimented Air-India on expanding
its network and introducing direct flights to destinations in
the West from major Indian cities. He expressed optimism that
with the product being substantially upgraded, Air-India will
attain a high level of passenger satisfaction. Mrs Renuka Choudhury
expressed happiness at the launch of the flight as it would help
boost tourism. She said the joint relationship between the Civil
Aviation Ministry and tourism will usher in a new era for promoting
tourism and this new flight will help the tourist places in Northern
India. Mr V. Thulasidas, Chairman and Managing Director, Air-India,
while welcoming the guests said that the Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto
flight was the second long haul flight being included this year
from Delhi indicating the growth plans that Air-India has embarked
upon. The Delhi-Frankfurt-Los Angeles flight had been inaugurated
in March this year providing direct connectivity to the West coast
Chowdhury said the 'Swagat Seva', a facilitation service evolved
on the lines of 'Maharabba' in Dubai, would progressively be implemented
in Mumbai and other international airports. "There are five-million
Indian tourists going to foreign destinations and India has become
a major market for outbound tourists. This cannot be at the cost
of domestic tourism which is affected by high cost of air travel.
We have to reverse this trend", the Tourism Minister said.
proposal to instal GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) system on
all taxis at the airport is also being considered by the Civil
Aviation and Tourism Ministries, along with having gift shops
and money-changers after the immigration and customs counters
in the departure area of the international airports.
decades after the bombing of Kanishka, a British Columbia Supreme
Court had on March 16 acquitted prime accused Ajaib Singh Bagri
and Ripudaman Singh Malik, of first-degree murder and conspiracy
charges in the downing of the Air India plane. However, following
public outcry against the verdict, former Ontario Premier Bob
Rae, was appointed to advice the Canadian Government whether a
public inquiry was needed into the disaster after the acquittals.
the launch of these new flights, Air-India will provide to the
people of Punjab direct and convenient services to Birmingham,
the heartland of industrial and economic activity in the UK, and
to Toronto, the financial capital of Canada. The introduction
of these services, which is part of Air-India's sustained drive
to expand its network, will take the number of flights operated
by Air-India to the UK from 18 to 21 per week. Air-India at present
operates 10 flights to London which are extended to the USA --
seven to New York and three to Chicago, there are eight terminator
flights -- five on the Mumbai-London-sector, two on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-London
sector and one on the routing Mumbai-Delhi-London. Three more
flights will be launched on the Delhi-Dhaka-Kolkata-London sector
effective June 18, 2005, connecting East India to London. With
the introduction of these flights, the number of flights to the
UK will go up to 24 a week, thus doubling the capacity offered
by Air-India on the India-UK route in the past six months. Air-India
is poised to significantly improve its market leadership positions
on the India-Europe-USA routes. The airline has grown from 10
services (seven to New York and three to Chicago) a week in December
2002 to 28 services (seven each to New York, Newark, Chicago and
Los Angeles) a week, from March 2005. Air-India now operates 14
flights a week to Frankfurt, which has now become a hub in Europe.
had, in the past, operated flights on the Mumbai-Delhi-Amritsar-Moscow-Birmingham
route from January 1982 to October 1984.
IA, AI to purchase aircraft quickly
DELHI, May 12: Despite the bitter war of words over Air-India's
nearly $7-billion order for Boeing jets, the Government must act
fast to clear the misgivings and allow the state-owned Maharaja
to acquire much needed new aircraft at the earliest. It is time
to complement the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, who
has given freedom to the Chairmen and Managing Directors (CMDs)
of the state-owned airlines - Mr V Thulasidas of Air India and Mr
Sunil Arora of Indian Airlines - to initiate processes to purchase
Indian Airlines decision to purchase 43 Airbus aircraft is yet to
be cleared by the Union Cabinet, Air India Board has recently announced
the decision to purchase 50 Boeing planes.
quick Government decision of allowing the public sector airlines
would not only help them meet the growing competition from private
carriers, but also help them replace its ageing fleet and arrest
the depleting market share. However, the past non-Congress led Governments
had dithered in taking this bold decision. As a result the market
share of the public sector airline had been steadily falling. Last
time when the public sector Indian Airlines had purchased aircraft
was 15 years ago when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister.
some eyebrows have been raised on the Air India decision, but the
Civil Aviation Minister was quick to defend his Air India team and
countered any corruption charges. He also denied that there were
any geo-political considerations. In fact, Mr Patel said that the
deal with Boeing was purely based on techno-economic parameters.
process of acquiring planes for state carriers is based on Government's
existing system. On my request, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan
Singh, had constituted an oversight committee, which vetted the
whole selection process for purchase of 43 Airbus A320 aircraft
by Indian Airlines. The same procedure will be followed for Air-India
deal also,'' said Mr Patel.
Minister said "aircraft purchase has been institutionalised.
There are checks and balances." He, however, said there was
enough time to correct any "wrongs" as the Air-India deal
to acquire 50 Boeing aircraft was still to be approved by the government.
the example of Airbus, which won a deal to supply 43 airplanes to
Indian Airlines last year after trying for four years, Mr Patel
said deals like this do not come through overnight. But he said
he was "willing to abide by any advice anyone might have to
improve the system".
US-based Boeing's bitter European rival Airbus has demanded an inquiry
by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) into the deal alleging
foul play. The Minister said the Boeing purchase would not be derailed
by the row.
by the past practices, a deal of such magnitude has to pass through
several phases before it is given a final nod by the Government.
Presuming that there were geo political considerations into such
a huge deal in the prospects of two countries forming a strategic
alliance, an observer said the Government would have enough time
a hand to judge whether the US Government is doing enough to keep
the rising momentum in ties.
flurry of charges and countercharges even by members of Parliament,
Boeing said that its deal with Air-India "could stand any scrutiny
and was above board." Dr Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president,
Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said, "this deal can stand any
scrutiny. As a foreign company we cannot comment on any decision
India might take towards conducting a CVC into the deal entered
into by Boeing with Air-India. The matter is sovereign to India
and not our prerogative."
India has a strict evaluation procedure. And we were selected after
Air India had decided on all the factors and taken all the parameters
into consideration. The package we offered was comprehensive and
competitive, and needless to say, pricing is an important part of
the package. But the bottom line is that our product is better than
the competition," said Dr Keskar.
said that the three new planes, namely the Boeing 777-300ER, 777-200LR
and 787-8 (Dreamliner), was better than the products offered by
its rival Airbus. The new innovations it was offering included,
crown area for crew seat, state of the art computer systems in the
787s attached to the back seat of each aircraft, more seating space
and composite parts which do not corrode and can withstand great
newest airplanes for the medium, long and ultra-long haul markets
are the right choice for Air India because they are clearly positioned
to provide the national carrier with higher revenue potential. Financial
benefits by conducting objective calculations reveal that all Boeing
airplanes, 777-300ER, 777-200LR and 787-8 have operating profits
that far exceed those of competitors," he said.
Keskar said that operating Boeing aircrafts will not only help Air
India earn more revenue, as the fuselage of these planes were larger
than their Airbus rivals, but would also help it save more money,
by lowering its operational costs.
fuselage in the 777-300ER is 78 cm wider than that of the A340-600.
It can carry 333 passengers as against 305 that can be carried by
A340-600. Also it has 12 percent more cargo space. Apart from all
this 777-300ER is 20 tonnes lighter than its competitor and burns
one million gallon less fuel, thereby lowering its operational costs.
The 777-200LR and 787-8 burn two million gallons less fuel than
its Airbus rivals, the A340-500s and the A330-200s respectively.
Maintenance costs are also lower," he added.
on the projected route pattern and aircraft utilization for Air
India, the operating profit per year of 27 787-8s is 81 million
higher that that of the A330-200s, the eight 777-200LRs have an
advantage over A340-500s by 44 million US dollars, and the 15 777-300
ERs generate 60 million dollar greater annual profit than the A340-600s.
Thus that cumulative operating profit per year for Air India with
a fleet of these 50 airplanes is 185 million dollars greater than
that of an Airbus fleet," he said.
Keskar further said that the 787-8 will be coming in 2008, adding
that Boeing was proud of the fact that India which has been among
the first to have the 707s and the 747s in its fleet will also be
among the first to have the 787-8 Dreamliner.
row not to affect ties with France: Natwar
May 8: The controversy over Air-India's decision to buy aircraft
from the US-based Boeing company and not from Airbus would not affect
relations between India and France as both were "mature and
friendly countries", India's External Affairs Minister K Natwar
Singh said on Saturday.
to newsmen on the sidelines of the ceremony to hand over Nobel medallion
replicas at the Visva-Bharati University here, Singh said that French
ambassador Dominique Girard had clarified that he had been misquoted
in the media over the issue. "If that is so, then the matter
ends here," Singh said. Singh said India had already expressed
displeasure over the kind of language used by the French envoy.
is not the kind of language one should use for a friendly country.
Such language is not part of diplomatic norms. However, the French
ambassador has already said that he was misquoted and I hope the
matter ends here," he added.
whether India was "cosying up" to the US too much, Singh
said, "Indo-US relations are not at the expense of some other
country. So, why should it affect relations with any other country?"
at Re One with Air Deccan
DELHI, May 6: "Congress ka haath, Aam Admi ke saath".
That is what the Congress had promised to the common man just over
one year ago. It may sound incredible but its true that "Aam
Admi" can now fulfill his dream of flying -- that too at Rupee
One. This is courtesy, Air Deccan that has sought to position itself
as a common man's airline by choosing cartoonist R. K. Laxman's
immortal character `The Common Man' as its mascot.
unveiling the new mascot, the airline's Managing Director, Capt
G R Gopinath, announced new fares for just Rupee 1 that would be
introduced shortly. Capt Gopinath said every Airbus operated by
the airline would offer four or five seats at this rate.
said the flights offered fares, which were as low as Rs. 500, and
40 per cent of their seats were priced below Rs. 2,500. The one-rupee
reservations could be booked 90 days in advance. This excluded Rs.
221, which was collected for security payment by the Airports Authority
first low cost airline, Air Deccan, in the 18 months of its existence,
had flown more than a million passengers with a fleet of 17 aircraft
and 111 flights a day on 33 routes. Nearly one-lakh passengers had
flown paying Rs. 500. Capt Gopinath said "we started our journey
with a dream. A dream inspired by just one statement -- I want every
Indian to fly at least once in their lifetime."
Gopinath said, "The Common Man and Air Deccan share a commonality...they
are both for the people and by the people, that's where stemmed
the idea of approaching Mr. Laxman."
R.K. Laxman, the creator of the 'Common Man', who is known to be
a man of few words, said "My 'Common Man' is the voice of every
Indian and I feel every Indian must fly regardless of their economic
situation. I feel Captain Gopi's vision for his airline, of empowerment
of every Indian perfectly fits with the persona of the 'Common Man'".
Air Deccan's announcement of rock bottom fares comes days ahead
of the launch of rival budget carriers Kingfisher airlines and Spice
Jet, who will battle it out to tap the booming air passenger market
Gopinath said the suggestion to offer fares at Re one was made by
Laxman, with whom Air Deccan had signed an agreement to use the
"common man" mascot for the airline. The cartoonist hails
from Mysore district of Karnataka. He said Air Deccan would receive
one ATR or an Airbus aircraft each month of the 32 Airbus and 36
ATRs for which it had placed orders.
May 9, Air Deccan would commence daily return flights to Chandigarh
from Delhi at rates beginning from Rs. 500 plus taxes. In the North,
Air Deccan presently connects Delhi to Kanpur, Amritsar, Jaipur,
Jammu, Dehradun, Lucknow and Bhopal on the short haul routes. On
the Long haul it connects Delhi to Bangalore, Mumbai, Guwahati,
Hyderabad, Calcutta and Chennai.
the launch of flights to Chandigarh, Capt. Gopinath said "we
had announced opening of the Chandigarh sector sometime ago, but
due to unavoidable reasons we couldn't keep up our schedule and
it kept getting delayed. I had been getting repeated requests from
the media and the people of Chandigarh to start our flight and now
I am glad it is finally getting airborne." On future plans,
he said "we would be looking at connecting Ludhiana to Delhi."
Airways - a Five Star experience
DELHI, May 6: It is the industry leader of the Middle East by virtue
of being a step ahead of the rest. Fully flat First Class sleeper
beds, largest seat pitch and biggest individual TV entertainment
screens across all cabins on long-haul routes are some of the traits
of Qatar Airways that makes it a Five Star carrier.
Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world operating
a modern all-Airbus fleet of 39 aircraft, which will double in size
over the next few years following a $5.1 billion order for 34 additional
Airbus jets, says a proud Akbar Al Baker, CEO of the airline.
informed that the airline is one of the launch customers of the
twin-deck A380 'super jumbos' with four aircraft on order, scheduled
for delivery from 2009.
airline operates to 60 destinations across Europe, the Middle East,
Indian sub-continent and the Far East from its operational hub in
Doha, capital of the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. Qatar Airways
will expand the number of routes further from May 2 when Tunis and
Algiers join the network, followed by Athens on June 15.
the total 19 flights per week to India, the airline has six flights
to Mumbai, seven from Thiruvananthapuram and three each to Kochi
and Hyderabad. In addition, Qatar Airways operates cargo flights
from Doha to Delhi three times a week and Chennai twice weekly using
an A300 freighter.
Al Baker said, "India is a country with huge potential as it
is enjoying economic prosperity. It is also one of the world's top
selling holiday destinations. Our aim is to simply serve all international
airports in India and we want to have a good slice of the market."
On April 14, he informed that India and Qatar signed a bilateral
air services agreement to improve connectivity and decided to further
bolster multifaceted ties between the two countries.
accord was signed by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Qatar
Finance Minister Yousef Hussain Kamal in the presence of Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and the visiting Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin
Khalifa Al-Thani after the two leaders held discussions on a range
of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
the open skies policy from November 1, 2004 to March 31 this year,
Mr Al Baker informed that Qatar Airways had almost tripled the number
of weekly non-stop flights to 51 services a week between Doha and
India. He had welcomed the Indian government's decision because
capacity had traditionally been restricted and this move was a step
in the right direction to provide greater competition and to serve
the raveling public, potentially paving the way for an open skies
policy year round.
aviation quality monitor Skytrax has awarded Qatar Airways its highest
accolade for airline service - a Five Star ranking for premier status
- ensuring the airline becomes only the world's third airline to
achieve such privileged status. Mr Al Baker said with this award
Qatar Airways joined Cathy Pacific and Singapore Airlines as a leader
in airline quality.
also ranked Qatar Airways' cabin crew as the best in the Middle
East in 2004 for the second year running, and fifth best in the
world following a survey of more than two million passengers worldwide.
said "a five star ranking cements Qatar Airways' position as
a world leader of airline quality. The five-star ranking is the
'ultimate' approval of Qatar Airways' strong commitment to deliver
the best service in the sky. It recognises that Qatar Airways is
at the forefront of product innovation."
said "only two other airlines in the world are carrying this
prestigious status, and to be awarded second place out of the three
airlines, is an honour indeed. The star-ranking represents a quality
rating for services provided by an airline, from its lounges, transfers
to the aircraft and all aspects of the in-flight service and amenities
for all classes of travel."
Al Baker said "Qatar Airways was awarded five stars in a number
of categories such as onboard catering, cabin staff service, staff
attitude and friendliness, lounge facilities, transfers and also
on the overall amenities and services relating to First Class. "The
five star ranking and our achievement in the popular Airline of
the Year survey, demonstrates that we are being acknowledged as
one of the best airlines by the airline industry and by the travelling
public. These results certainly prove that we are on the way to
becoming the best airline in the world," said Mr Al Baker.
2004 Skytrax survey was carried out between June 2003 and March
2004, with a total of 10.8 million eligible entries from passengers
made up from more than 92 nationalities. These statistics allow
this survey to claim to be the world's largest independent passenger
survey and it is being generally recognised as the leading global
monitor of passenger opinions.
Airways is the first foreign airline and the second carrier after
Air India to open a satellite office in Thiruvalla. The airline
already has offices in three other cities in the state - Trivandrum,
Cochin and Calicut. The new office will help cater for locals in
and around Thiruvalla and expatriates from the regions that are
currently working in the GCC/ Middle East and Europe/USA.
Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways was born in Doha in 1960. He
is a graduate in Economics and Commerce. He also holds a private
pilot licence. Mr. Al Baker has worked at various levels in the
Civil Aviation Directorate, leading to his promotion as a Head of
Finance & Administration.
addition to his present position as CEO of Qatar Airways, he is
also the CEO of several divisions of the airline, including Qatar
Holidays, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Duty Free Company, Doha
International Airport, Qatar Distribution Company and Qatar Aircraft
Catering Company. Mr. Al Baker is chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority
and through his role, has been instrumental in putting Qatar on
the global tourism map.
taking the helm at Qatar Airways in 1997, Al Baker has developed
the airline from a four-aircraft operation and small route network
to a fleet size today of 39 planes flying to 60 destinations around
India's budget airline takes off
April 29: Air India's first low cost air service, Air India Express,
took off from here to Abu Dhabi on Friday morning, fulfilling a
long-pending demand of Keralites working in the Gulf countries.
R L Bhatia, flagged off the maiden flight in presence of Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy, and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, at a colourful
function at the International Airport here.
his address, Mr Praful Patel said "Air India Express is true
representation of India's ethos and reflected the soul of India.
Air India Express is a new cheaper but comfortable airlines especially
for those who work in Gulf for a living. Brothers and sisters of
Kerala brought hard earned foreign exchange to India when we needed
foreign exchange badly. Now is the time to give them something back
and this cheap, affordable service is the perfect gift."
Minister said Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto Air India Express
Budget Service and Kolkata-London Airline Express Service will be
started next month. He said that aviation can change the lives of
Indians. He said that the mindset that airlines is only for the
elite should be changed. Connectivity is important and reaching
destination in time in a cheap mode of travel should get prominence.
Union Minister agreed to Kerala Chief Minister's request for an
airport in Kannur. He said that sanction will be given for the development
works in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports.
his welcome address, the Air India Chairman and Managing Director,
Mr V Thulasidas, said "Air India Express will have fares which
are almost half of the market rates." A fully-owned subsidiary
of Air India, Air India Express plans to operate 31 flights from
three airports in Kerala-- Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi (Nedumbassery)
and Kozhikode (Karippur).
dismisses Airbus fears over AI deal
DELHI, April 28: The United States has dismissed Airbus apprehensions
over the Air India's decision to acquire 50 aircraft from American
Boeing, saying it was confident that the deal was "fair".
"All our companies keep higher standards and conduct their
dealings. You know we have a very stringent corrupt practices and
law... Boeing is one of our best companies and I have full confidence
that the deal is fair," US Charge d'Affaires Robert Blake,
told newsmen when asked about Airbus Industrie seeking a Central
Vigilance Commission enquiry into the Rs 30,000 crore deal.
Airbus, which lost the deal to Boeing, had on Wednesday sought that
the entire evaluation process of Air India be looked into by the
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) but Air India accused the European
aircraft manufacturer of carrying out a "misinformation campaign".
Airbus Vice-President Nigel Harwood, said he would write to the
Civil Aviation Ministry and Air India seeking reconsideration of
the evaluation and call for fresh tenders, an Air India spokesman
said the Indian carrier had "not deviated one bit" from
the specifications prescribed in the Request for Proposal document.