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Helicopter Crash At Airport In Chhattisgarh's Raipur, 2 Pilots Dead

RAIPUR, May 12: Two pilots were killed after a helicopter crashed at an airport in Chhattisgarh's Raipur on Thursday evening. Captain Gopal Krishna Panda and Captain AP Shrivastava were killed in the accident, police said.

The helicopter caught fire when the pilots were trying to land the helicopter. Both the pilots on board died in the accident. There were no passengers on board.

The incident took place during a flying practice at the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur under Mana police station limits at around 9:10 pm, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prashant Agrawal.

A detailed technical investigation on behalf of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Chhattisgarh Government will be undertaken to ascertain the exact cause.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister expressed grief over the tragedy and paid his tributes to the pilots. "Just got sad news about the state helicopter crashing at the airport in Raipur. In this tragic accident, both our pilots Captain Panda and Captain Srivastava died. May God give strength to his family members and peace to the departed soul in this time of grief," Baghel said in a tweet.

Tata Sons names Campbell WIlson as new Air India CEO

MUMBAI, May 12: Tata Sons named Campbell WIlson as chief executive officer and managing director of Air India on May 12 – an appointment that had been eagerly anticipated since the previous designate for the top job stepped back before even taking the reins.

İlker Aycı had said he did not want the job, citing negative press coverage. Ayci had been in the dock for his association with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has taken a stand against India’s interests in the past few years.

Wilson will confront a host of challenges, but he brings along experience that is valuable and could help solve a complex puzzle the Tata group inherited -- the challenge of operating two airlines (Air India and Air India Express), looking at the merger of AirAsia India and integrating it with the group and fitting Vistara into the mix.

Working with Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group since 1996 with exposure to markets in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Wilson has experience in sales, marketing, revenue and network planning. Rarely do airline groups groom and rotate people in such a manner that they get holistic exposure as the SIA Group does.

Wilson was the founder-CEO of Scoot - the low-cost arm of SIA group, which was formed in November 2011 and started operations in June 2012. The airline started collaborating with TigerAir -- another entity that received investment from SIA.

The last couple of years have seen the SIA Group evolve in multiple ways. This includes cross-selling inventory of its Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) and Full-Service Carrier (FSC) arms. This included earning miles, through check-in and everything needed for a single-priced ticket. While AirIndia Express has been in existence for 17 years, Air India has not been able to implement this - thus not being able to make the most of the vast and unique network.

Integration of manpower, systems and reporting structure are the major challenges -- which Wilson has seen and dealt with first hand in his various roles. He relinquished the position of CEO at Scoot Air in May 2016, only to return to the SIA Group as SVP for marketing and sales with Singapore Airlines – a post he held until March 2020.

As COVID-19 struck, he took over reins of Scoot for the second time and has been its CEO until his appointment with Air India.

In its early days, Scoot operated a mix of B787s and B777-200. This was followed by some standardisation based on route and fleet evaluation. But as the merger with TigerAir went through, the airline again ended up with a mix of narrow-body and wide- body planes.

Wilson held senior positions in the SIA group when the group decided to move from four airlines to two, merging Silk Air with Singapore Airlines and TigerAir with Scoot, making for a low-cost arm and a full-service arm. Air India group is facing a similar problem with exactly the same number of airlines - four!

This experience will come in handy as Air India looks at fleet renewal - which will involve a decision on wide- body aircraft as well as renewal of fleet on the narrow-body side. Like SIA Group, Air India too comes with a medley of aircraft types including a mix of Airbus and Boeing planes.

Vistara was the second airline which the Tata group started, in partnership with Singapore Airlines. The Tata group has a 51% share in the airline.

Every CEO since inception has been a former Singapore Airlines associate on deputation to the airline. Sooner or later, the question of two full-service carriers -- often eating into each other's market -- would start troubling the Tata group, if it already isn't. Wilson’s close association with SIA Group could help work towards an integration of the airline into the Air India fold or work at ways to operate separately without eating into each other’s market.

As Jet Airways Plans Take-Off, Security Clearance Comes From Centre

NEW DELHI, May 8: Union home ministry has granted security clearance to Jet Airways that is planning to relaunch commercial flight operations in the next few months, according to an official document.

The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is currently the promoters of Jet Airways. The airline in its old avatar was owned by Naresh Goyal and had operated its last flight on April 17, 2019.

Last Thursday, the airline conducted its test flight to and from the Hyderabad airport in a step towards obtaining the air operator certificate.

A letter sent by the civil aviation ministry to the airline on May 6 informed it about the grant of the security clearance by the Union home ministry. The letter stated it is "directed to refer to your application… to convey security clearance for change in shareholding pattern of the company/firm, for scheduled operator permit, on the basis of security clearance received from the Ministry of Home Affairs".

Last Thursday's test flight was conducted to prove to aviation regulator DGCA that the aircraft and its components are operating normally.

After the test flight on Thursday, the airline has to conduct proving flights after which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will grant the air operator certificate.

Proving flights are similar to commercial flight with DGCA officials and airline officials as passengers and cabin crew members on board.

DGCA bars 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 Max planes

NEW DELHI, April 13: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has barred 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 Max aircraft until they undergo the required training, citing issues with their simulator training.

“...we have barred these pilots from flying Max and they have to retrain successfully for flying MAX. We will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse,” said DGCA director Arun Kumar, without specifying what the issues were.

A spokesperson for the airline said DGCA, the civil aviation regulator, “had [an] observation on the training profile” followed by 90 Pilots. “...therefore, as per the advice of DGCA, SpiceJet has restricted 90 pilots from operating MAX aircraft until these pilots undergo retraining to the satisfaction of DGCA.” The spokesperson added these pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft.

SpiceJet, which has 650 pilots trained for Boeing 737 MAX operations, is the only Indian airline to operate them. It has 11 such aircraft in its fleet. Billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa Air, which plans to begin operations this summer, has ordered 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The spokesperson said the restriction will not impact 60 daily flight operations by MAX aircraft. “...144 pilots are required to operate these 11 aircraft. Of the 650 trained pilots on the MAX, 560 continue to remain available, which is much more than the current requirement,” the spokesperson said.

Boeing 737 MAX resumed operations in December 2020 two years after they were grounded after the 2018 Lion Air and 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crashes, which left 346 people dead. A faulty flight handling system meant to keep the plane from stalling as it ascends was blamed for the crashes. The automated system was found to have pushed the nose of the plane downwards.

Aviation authorities in the US later directed Boeing to revamp the planes and implement new training protocols for the pilots. The ban on Boeing 737 MAX was lifted in India in 2021.

 

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