Airways: Reasonable fares with best of frills
DELHI, Jan 16: With liberalization and opening of the Indian skies
and friendly policies, more and more entrepreneurs with resources
are seeking to venture into the aviation market this year. The latest
to join the bandwagon is Indus Airways. "The airline will make
Chandigarh and Delhi as its hubs. We plan to launch operations in
April by leasing three 50-seater Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft,"
said Brig (Retd) Dr. Kapil Mohan, honorary Chairman of the airline.
start with, Brig Kapil Mohan said the Indus Airways would connect
cities such as Chandigarh, Amritsar, Delhi, Varanasi, Kolkata, Chennai,
Mumbai, Goa and Srinagar. "We plan to connect the hitherto
uncovered sectors and also connect the metros and other major cities."
expand its connectivity, the Chairman said the airline would purchase
five Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft in 2006 taking its strength to eight.
These five aircraft would arrive in February, April, May, July and
December of 2006. In three years ie by 2007, the airline would acquire
12 more aircraft to take the total fleet strength to 20. He informed
that the type and size of these aircraft has not yet been decided.
said the airline would provide "very reasonable fares with
best of frills." On the long-haul flights, he said the airline
would provide good quality food for which we have hired some specialists.
He said "it will be service with a smile."
Kapil Mohan, who is known is known as a doer, said he is talking
of the project today, as "I feel good about it. Had it not
been so I would not have talked about. We have hired professionals
to make sure that all the talks has to be airworthy."
Kapil Mohan of the Mohan Meakins heads the Board of Indus Airways.
Three Directors on the Board are Mr Krishan Gopal Beri, who is Managing
Director of M/s Beri and Beri Cold Storage and General Mills (P)
Ltd; Mr Parminder Lakhanpal, a London-based NRI; and Mr Baldev Seth,
a garment exporter. Mr Amarjit Sangha, a Toronto-based NRI, is one
of the investors in the airline that has a starting equity base
of Rs 10 crore.
Krishan Gopal Beri said the emphasis would be on quality - be it
food, service or inflight comforts. He said there would also be
emphasis on on-time performance and intelligent schedules. "In
other words, a passenger could catch a flight early morning and
return home by night after completing his task. That will also save
him on his hotel bills."
Parminder Lakhanpal said ERJ 145 a pressurized jet for regional
transport and has a good turnaround that would help us meet our
on-time targets. The ERJ 145 is also characterized by its high performance
and low operating costs. It is equipped with quiet, fuel-efficient
said the leased aircraft that airline is initially taking would
be only one to two years old. He said the passengers would get attracted
to Indus for the great comfort ERJ offers.
Baldev Seth said ERJ 145 cabin has a maximum pressure differential
of 7.8 psi, offering passengers the comfort of a smooth, relaxed
flight above bad weather. Since first delivery in December of 1996,
more than 700 of these successful Embraer jet aircraft have been
delivered to airlines around the world.
Ricardo Pesce, Diector, Business Development, Asia Pacific, Civil
Aircraft Market of Embraer Group, stated that by launch of RJ 145,
the airline will have an upper hand in comparison to airlines running
on turbo-prop ATRs in terms of time duration and facilities to passengers.
Beri said the airline had submitted the proposal to the Indian Government
on April 22 last year and the high-level committee of the Civil
Aviation Ministry approved it in December and the company was now
waiting for a final nod from the Civil Aviation Minister. He said
the airline meets all the stipulated guidelines for floating and
running a scheduled private carrier.
said the airline has hired two best aviators for its operations
in Northern and Central and Southern India. Capt A P C Kapoor, ex-Director
(operations) Air India and a senior Commander and instructor of
Boeing 747-400, would be based in Mumbai and head the operations
of Central and Southern India. Similarly, Capt M S Sandhu, ex-General
Manager, Air India and Boeing 747 instructor, would be based in
Chandigarh and head the operations of Northern India.
airlines that are planning to launch operations in 2005 include
Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airways, the Wadia family's Go Air, Royal
Airlines (former ModiLuft) and East West.
civil aviation ministry has granted its no-objection certificate
to Kingfisher, Go and Royal that would enable them to launch scheduled
flight operations this year. The launch of the several new airlines
is expected to unleash a fresh round of fare wars in the domestic
aviation market with all the players promising to introduce services
at fares that are about 25 to30 per cent cheaper than existing rates.
Air is expected to take to the skies in the next couple of months.
While Mallya plans to launch his airline venture by April next year,
Royal Air is slated to take off a month later in May. "We will
be starting our airline operations with a fleet of leased aircraft
and substantial investments will be made in the venture," said
Jehangir Wadia, director of the Wadia group, which also includes
Britannia and Bombay Dyeing. "Though we have named the venture
Go Air for now, we are conducting consumer studies to finalise the
brand for the airline."
takes over as Member AAI Board
DELHI, Jan 1: Mr P S Nair has been appointed as the Board Member
(Personnel and Administration) of the Airports Authority of India
(AAI), the mainstay of civil aviation in the country. Besides HR
development, Personnel and Industry Relations, he oversees Commercial
Activities and Land Management at the AAI's 126 civil airports in
to this correspondent, Mr Nair said his endeavor in the new position
would be to bring in desired efficiency in the organization. "Though
we have excellent technical talent we need to harness and come up
to everybody's expectations and achieve corporate excellence,"
he added. The Corporate Mission of the AAI is "Progress through
excellence and customer satisfaction with world-class airports and
air traffic services fostering economic development."
Nair stated that though the physical integration of erstwhile International
Airports Authority of India (IAAI) and National Airports Authority
of India (NAAI) took place in April 1995, but still we do not have
a common policy towards employees. He said he would ensure common
recruitment and promotion policy and common seniority of the employees
of the two organizations that were merged to create AAI.
new Member also stated that his endeavour would be increase the
non-traffic revenue from 40 per cent of total revenue at Rs 4,500
crore to 60 per cent that is a global standard.
Nair joined the erstwhile IAAI in 1977 as the first professional
manager, when the country's maiden international cargo terminal
was commissioned at Mumbai airport. Since then he has held various
key positions in the erstwhile IAAI, including a stint in the National
Dairy Development Board where he was responsible for major port
operations and nationwide distribution of dairy commodities donated
by EEC countries under "Operation Flood" programme.
1996, Mr Nair has been an Executive Director of the AAI, holding
key positions such as Airport Director, Trivendrum and Mumbai airport's
Commercial, Cargo and Key infrastructure Development. Prior to his
elevation as Member (P&A), Mr Nair was the Director of Capital's
Indira Gandhi International Airport for nearly three years.
traveled, Mr Nair has represented AAI in various high-level delegations
and working groups and has also presented several papers in national
and international levels, seminars and workshops. Mr Nair has undergone
12 weeks Public Enterprise Management training at Ilkley Management
Centre, UK under the Colombo Plan and six weeks intensive training
in Airport Handling Systems under the aegis of Frankfurt Airport
Authority at Frankfurt, Germany.
ATR inks deal with Air Deccan for 30 aircraft
Jan 6: European aviation major Avions de Transport
Regional (ATR) on Thursday bagged a multimillion-dollar
deal with Air Deccan, India's low-cost no-frills airline,
to provide 30 aircraft. Of the 30 ATR 72-500 aircraft,
15 will be brand new and the remaining 15 will be
leased aircraft that are five years old. The delivery
schedule is spread over a five-year period at the
rate of six to eight aircraft a year.
agreement for delivering the new-cum-leased aircraft
was signed here Thursday by ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato
and Air Deccan's managing director G.R. Gopinath. "The
ATR 72-500 aircraft have the lowest seat-mile costs
in their category and a high degree of commonality with
ATR 42, which leads to major cost savings and flexibility,"
addition to the 30 aircraft, ATR will deliver six second-hand
aircraft, including three 42-500 models and three 72-500
models. These aircraft will replace six of the existing
fleet of ATR aircraft operated by Air Deccan. Currently,
Air Deccan operates nine ATR-42s on its feeder routes
and three Airbus A-320s on trunk routes across India.
The airline is acquiring three more ATR 42-500 this
month and February to expand its feeder service.
sticker price for each ATR 72-500 aircraft is $17.6
million. The exact price will be negotiated in consultation
with export credit agencies like Sace Bank of Italy
and COFAS of France, who will stand guarantee for 80-85
percent of the cost," Bagnato said.
part of the deal, ATR has agreed to set up a training
facility in Bangalore with a simulator to train rookie
pilots. The first of its kind in India, the centre will
have well-advanced, integrated product support. According
to Gopinath, Air Deccan will acquire 15 ATR aircraft
on a monthly lease of 0.75-1 percent of the total cost
of the aircraft. Though
five years old, these aircraft will join the fleet after
overhauling and refurbishing by the manufacturers. ATR
is owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space
Co. NV based in France and Germany, and Italy's Alenia.
to lease 6 more ATRs
DELHI, Jan 6: The Indian Airlines board on Thursday
approved leasing of six more ATR-42 aircraft for its
subsidiary Alliance Air in a bid to enable it to serve
more short sector regional routes. The board's clearance
came as part of its approval of recommendations of the
Committee of Officers, which studied the feasibility
of extending domestic operations to regional routes.
committee recommended 50-seater operations to 18 new
destinations that include stations as diverse as Cooch
Behar, Agatti, Gwalior, Ludhiana, Kanpur, Dehra Doon,
Nasik, Simla, Surat and Jaisalmer. The hub and spoke
pattern of operations will have bases in Delhi, Mumbai,
Chennai and Kolkata. The board considered it appropriate
that Alliance Air should undertake these operations
with similar aircraft type as was currently in use -
`IN' THING: The Communication and Information Technology
Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, presenting a certificate
to Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group, to mark the extension
of the .in domain name registry services by the National
Internet Exchange of India, at a function in New Delhi
launches Guwahati-Bangkok flight
DELHI, Jan 1: Indian Airlines on Saturday launched a
twice weekly A320 flight between Guwahati and Bangkok.
The Airbus flight (IC 293) will operate out of Guwahati
every Saturdays and Thursday departing at 12.30 pm and
out Bangkok (IC 295) on Mondays and Fridays at 2.20pm,
according to an IA spokesperson.
airline has offered a special inaugural fare for two
months besides a six month excursion fare in economy
class. The economy class one way inaugural fare from
Guwahati, which is the eighth station in India to be
linked to the Thai capital, is Rs 7,645 (round trip
Rs 14,300) and business class fare of Rs 9,940 (Rs 18,590),
the airline said. The six month excursion fare is Rs
13,655. Guwahati was earlier linked to Bangkok by a
twice a week A310 flights of Air-India, which were subsequently
allows private airlines to fly overseas
DELHI, Dec 29: India will allow domestic private airlines
to fly on lucrative international routes as a part of
its drive to strengthen and expand the nascent sector,
according to Mr Praful Patel, Civil Aviation Minister.
Until last year, only India's two state-owned carriers
-- international flag carrier Air-India Ltd. and the
mostly domestic Indian Airlines Ltd. -- were allowed
to fly on money-making international routes.
cabinet today approved domestic private airlines to
fly overseas, apart from the Gulf countries," Patel
told newsmen after a cabinet meeting in New Delhi. The
move will boost the prospects of private airlines such
as Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines.
ministry statement said domestic airlines planning to
fly overseas needed to have been in the business for
five years and have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft.
But Patel said the two state-owned carriers will be
allowed to retain their monopoly to fly to the Gulf
region for the next three years to protect their businesses.
of their operational revenue and profit on international
routes accrue from these routes," a ministry statement
said. A large number of Indian professionals, most of
whom travel regularly to the country, are working in
Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the
United Arab Emirates. India's aviation sector is growing
on the back of rising domestic air travel in Asia's
fourth-largest economy. A cut in government taxes and
increased competition has resulted in lower fares that
are boosting business and tourist travel in the country.
air travel market expanded 26.5 percent in the first
half of the fiscal year to March to 18.52 million passengers.
As a result, almost all airlines have chalked out ambitious
expansion plans and some corporates have rushed to start
budget carriers as well.
Cabinet also approved the Ministry's proposals and course
of action suggested for strengthening Air India and
Indian Airlines and for establishing the improved operational
synergy between Air India and Indian Airlines. Further
the Cabinet has approved the proposal to discontinue
the practice of mandating commercial agreements on all
new services, to review the existing commercial agreements
and phase them out over the next five years.
of all eligible airlines for additional entitlements
will henceforth be taken into account in bilateral negotiations.
Efforts will be made to obtain traffic entitlements
commensurate to the requirements of all eligible airlines.
However, in case the total entitlement fall short of
requirements projected by the eligible airlines, inter-se
allocation of entitlements among eligible airlines will
be in the ratio of Available Seat Per Kilometer (ASKM)
deployed by them on domestic routes over the last five
years. Due consideration will be given to the operational
plan of Air India/Indian Airlines while allotting entitlements
to Indian Scheduled Carriers. The Ministry of Civil
Aviation will draw detailed guidelines in this regard.
With a view to encouraging greater connectivity, creating
a level playing field, reducing passenger tariffs and
ensuring viability of operations, the practice of demanding
compensation from foreign airlines by way of commercial
agreements mandated by the government will be discontinued.
All new operations by foreign carriers, both on new
destinations as well as on existing routes, will be
free from the obligations of the mandated commercial
agreements. All existing government mandated commercial
agreements will be reviewed and phased out over the
next five years. However, the airlines will be free
to enter into such cooperative marketing arrangements
as are mutually agreed upon by them.
Deccan seeks new heights
DELHI, Dec 27: In its endeavor to 'empower every Indian
to fly', Air Deccan, India's only budget carrier, has
connected Jaipur, Amritsar and Agra to the Capital city
of Delhi from Monday. From January 10 next, the airline's
Managing Director, Capt G R Gopinath, said the low fare,
no frills carrier would be connecting Delhi to Bhopal,
Jabalpur, Chandigarh, Jammu, Dehradun and Kanpur and another
flight to the pink city, Jaipur and the city of Taj, Agra.
extend his support for the growth of aviation in the country,
the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, had gone
to the Delhi airport to flag off the inaugural flight
to Dehradun. Mr Patel along with Capt Gopinath and Mr
Jean_luc Establie, Sales Director, ATR, had addressed
the newsmen to mark Air Deccan's launch to smaller cities
in Northern India.
Gopinath said the airline's endeavor is to connect the
unconnected routes. "In the past we connected unconnected
cities like Hubli, Belgaum and Vijaywada with the metros
of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Now we are
connecting cities like Dehradun, Amritsar, Kanpur and
Jabalpur to Delhi."
said "our aim is also to make air travel affordable
for the common man." He said the airline would continue
to follow dynamic fares that would function with demand
and supply on any given route. On the lines of Western
zero-frill carriers like Ryan Air and Easy Jet, Air Deccan
has introduced dynamic pricing on its fares. Here the
meter starts ticking at just Rs 500 for early buyers and
climbs up to 45 per cent of the regular airline fare at
the top end of the spectrum.
example, he said a Delhi-Bangalore ticket on a conventional
airline like Jet Airways cost Rs 11,400 per ticket, in
Air Deccan the highest price of the ticket is Rs 6,400.
"Passenger buying tickets closer to the date of the
flight, running as close an hour before take off from
the airport will pay such fares. Total number of tickets
sold at Rs 500 is Rs 64,000," he added.
Gopinath said "for India to attain 8 to 9 per cent
GDP growth and for economic prosperity of the nation,
it is very important to integrate the regional cities
in backward areas to the metros not only with TV, Internet
and highways but also with air."
said air connectivity to interiors and 'low fares' across
the country would increase mass travel, give fillip to
trade and commerce, and boost tourism as all the major
tourist destinations and wild life parks are in remote
areas and tourism being the largest employer of people
in the world and also the largest foreign exchange earner
would generate employment in rural areas.
operating a modest four flights a day in August 2003,
Air Deccan has grown today into a reliable and efficient
airline flying over 80 flights a day connecting 28 airports.
The airline is presently operating a modern fleet of nine
ATR 42 500 aircraft and three Airbus A320s. Two of the
ATRs are based in Delhi to connect seven States to and
Gopinath said three more 48-seater ATRs would be joining
the in January and February. Only a few days ago, Air
Deccan had announced plans to buy 30 A320 planes from
Airbus. Air Deccan said the deliveries of the aircraft
are to begin in 2007. Airbus chief commercial officer
John Leahy said "the deal is worth $1.8 billion at
purchase by Air Deccan, owned by Bangalore-based helicopter
charter firm Deccan Aviation Private Ltd., is part of
an ambitious plan to quadruple its fleet from 15 to 60
planes in five years. Capt Gopinath said the Airbus deal
would be financed partly from $40 million raised earlier
this month from ICICI Venture Funds and US-based Capital
International. He said Air Deccan also had options for
an additional $10 million from the two firms.
Kumar, director of finance at Air Deccan, said that 85
per cent of the funds was expected to come from a consortium
of banks comprising France's Coface, German credit insurer
Hermes and Britain's Export Credits Guarantee Department
(ECGD) which would provide guarantee support or direct
funding. The rest would be from equity financing or funds
evacuates record number of people
DELHI, Dec 29: Indian Airlines has evacuated a record
1,117 passengers from Port Blair on a single day on Wednesday.
It operated 11 flights to and from Port Blair. Seven flights
were operated from Kolkata and four from Chennai.
to a press release, Indian Airlines will operate three
flights to Port Blair tomorrow - two from Kolkata and
one from Chennai - in view of a decrease in the demand
for evacuation of passengers. Indian Airlines has, since
the day of the tragedy, operated 26 relief flights to
Directors of Indian Airlines can be contacted for transportation
of relief material on the following numbers: Northern
region (Delhi): 25672800; Eastern region (Kolkata): 22116953;
Southern region (Chennai): 22561070 and Western region
(Mumbai): 26156788. Special cells have also been set up
to disseminate flight information. The telephone numbers
of these are: Kolkata: 22116869 and 22110041; Chennai:
22560022; Delhi: 25674270 and 25672226; Mumbai: 26256986.
evacuates over 1,300 from Andamans
DELHI, Dec 29: Over 1,300 people have been successfully
evacuated from the tsunami ravaged Andaman & Nicobar
Islands by Jet Airways on its 15 Boeing 737 flights from
Port Blair to Chennai and Kolkata since Sunday. Jet Airways
also carried over 200 passengers from Chennai and Kolkata
Blair after the Islands were hit by tsunami.
Airline's flights from Chennai and Kolkata to Port Blair
have flown over 13,000 kgs of relief supplies comprising
packaged drinking water, foodstuffs, clothing and medicines
for relief efforts in the beleaguered Islands. Sensing
the shortage of drinking water the Airline purchased over
6,000 bottles of water and also 360 boxes of meals, 30
kgs each of samosas and kachoris and flown to Port Blair
from Kolkata. Jet Airways will operate one Boeing 737
flights to Port Blair from Chennai and another from Kolkata
India to ferry relief material free for Tsunami victims
Dec 28: Air-India will transport relief material, donated
by various agencies and NGOs, for the victims of the
tsunami floods, free of cost to India from various points
on its global network. Organisations wishing to donate
relief material may contact state-owned carrier's offices
in their city, an AI spokesman said here today.
airline would give priority booking in return travel
to those who may have curtailed their visit to Thailand
after being affected by the tragedy, he said. The AI
employees would also contribute one-day's salary, including
Productivity Linked Incentive, to the Prime Minister's
Relief Fund in the wake of the tragedy caused by tsunami
floods in the southern states of the country, he added.
IA flies 952 people out of Port Blair
DELHI, Dec 28: Contributing to relief operations in
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indian Airlines on Tuesday
flew nearly 1,000 people out of the tsunami-hit territory.
The airline operated five flights from Kolkata and three
from Chennai to Port Blair which evacuated 952 stranded
passengers today, an Indian Airlines spokesman said
planes also carried water from Kolkata and medicines
from Chennai to the island group where an estimated
4,000 people were killed by tsunami waves on Sunday.
As a large number of people are still stranded, the
airline planned to operate 15 relief flights to Port
Blair on Wednesday - seven from Chennai and eight from
Kolkata - which are expected to evacuate 1,785 people.
As a result, many scheduled flights of Alliance Air
will be cancelled, the spokesman said.
Monday, Indian Airlines had operated five relief flights
and evacuated 593 passengers and on Sunday it had operated
two relief flights.
operates 5 relief flights
DELHI, Dec 28: Jet Airways on Tuesday announced that it
would operate six flights to Port Blair from Chennai and
Kolkata on Wednesday to evacuate stranded tourists and
residents of the archipelago. These flights will also
ferry relief and medical supplies, mineral water and essential
food items for the stranded passengers at the Port Blair
Airways also operated five Boeing 737 flights in all from
Chennai and Kolkata on Tuesday to and from Port Blair.
Two flights each were operated on Chennai-Port Blair-Chennai
sectors and three each on Kolkata-Port Blair-Kolkata sectors.
These flights have also been carrying relief and medical
supplies from Governmental and other recognised voluntary
agencies to Port Blair from Chennai and Kolkata free of
view of the national catastrophe, Jet stated that it would
not collect any cancellation charges for tickets issued
for travel on Chennai-Port Blair-Chennai, Kolkata-Port
Blair-Kolkata and Chennai-Colombo-Chennai sectors until
December 31. This gesture is also extended to tickets
issued separately on domestic sectors in conjunction with
onward journey on these routes. Moreover, tickets purchased
for travel on the services of Jet Airways and Indian Airlines
on the Chennai-Port Blair-Chennai or Kolkata-Port Blair-Kolkata
sectors can be endorsed on Indian Airlines or vice versa.
Airways has also contributed Rs 50 lakhs to the Prime
Minister's Relief Fund for rehabilitation of the tsunami
victims of India. A cheque for the amount was handed over
to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr TKA
Nair, late Monday evening by Jet Airways' Executive Vice
President, Lt. Gen (Retd.) Inder Varma on behalf of the
Airways also made another contribution of USD 55,000 for
similar efforts in the Island Nation of Sri Lanka. The
cheque to the President's Fund for Rehabilitation was
handed over to the President of Sri Lanka, Mrs Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the President House, Colombo
by Lt Gen Varma on Tuesday. Additionally,
around 7,000 employees of Jet Airways will contribute
a day's salary for relief efforts of the tsunami victims
of the coastal areas of India.
evacuates tourists from Andaman
DELHI, Dec 27: Indian Airlines on Monday launched an evacuation
operation to airlift more than 2000 stranded tourists
in the Andaman and Nicobar islands which had been devastated
by a powerful earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal waves.
The IA dispatched five aircraft since early Monday morning
to bring back 593 stranded passengers from Port Blair,
an IA spokesman said.
Sunday, Indian Airlines had operated two flights and brought
back about 293 tourists. On Tuesday, the airline would
send nine flights from Kolkatta and Chennai to bring back
over 1,000 stranded tourists.
of these flights went almost empty with only a small number
of residents of Andaman and Nicobar, who were in the mainland
and wanted to return following reports of the catastrophe,
said the spokesman. Some relief materials were also despatched
by these flights.
IA management under the supervision of a high powered
team had taken the decision to arrange for special flights
to evacuate the stranded tourists in the islands, the
Jet Airways also announced that it will fly medical and
relief supplies from Governmental or other recognized
voluntary agencies free of charge for rescue and rehabilitation
work, from Chennai to Port Blair with immediate effect.
Jet Airways operates one Boeing 737 flight daily between
Chennai and Port Blair. On Monday Jet Airways operated
two Boeing 737 flights between Chennai and Port Blair.
Airways also operated its special seasonal flight Kolkata-Port
Blair-Kolkata as scheduled on Sunday and also on Monday.
"This flight will continue to be operated daily till
tomorrow. Medical and Relief supplies can also be sent
in the Kolkata-Port Blair sector," Jet spokesperson
India poised to regain top slot
DELHI, Dec 19: The Air India Chairman and Managing Director,
Mr V Thulasidas, is a man with a mission. His priority
is to ensure that Maharaja regains its past glory in the
least possible time. To ensure this he has set his targets
and is keeping an eagle eye over them. One of his top
priorities in restoring the health of the airline is to
ensure that Air India gets new aircraft, a decision that
has been pending for over a decade. Mr Thulasidas, who
completes his one year as CMD on December 21, has reasons
to be happy. During his short tenure, the national flag
carrier has taken decisions on pending issues of the past
several years. The airline is set to launch a low-cost
carrier, Air India Express, in April next year. It is
also set to launch a cargo carrier next year. And
to top it all the Air India Board has approved acquisition
plan for 50 aircraft. Its subsidiary, Air India Charters
Limited, has decided to acquired 18 Boeing 7367-800W aircraft
for use by Air India Express.
an interview with this correspondent, Mr Thulasidas said
that this fleet acquisition plan, which covers a period
up to 2012-2013, provides for an increase in fleet size
from the present 34 to 74 - a net addition of 40 aircraft.
Air-India proposes to increase seat capacity by 12 per
cent annually over this period.
a passionate interview with this correspondent in Kuala
Lumpur, he said "our country is one of the largest
and strongest and I don't see why we cannot do well in
the world. Today I have been given the responsibility
to get Air India on the top. And I don't see why we cannot
achieve this target."
plain words he has made this very clear to the Air India
staff too. Perform or perish. Either you all go up or
you all will go down. The choice is yours. But he adds
in the same breath that there was no reason why Air India
cannot achieve its past glory of becoming one of the top
airlines of the world. He said "the unions are supporting
the management. We also are receiving excellent support
from the Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel,
and the Government."
Thulasidas said "Indian travel market is booming.
Five millions are traveling abroad. Three millions foreign
tourists are coming to India. That makes it a total of
8 million air traffic. At present all foreign airlines
are taking away traffic. But if national airlines get
a good part of this traffic it is good for the national
Chairman and Managing Director said "we are not against
foreign airlines. Let them also come. But let there be
competition and let us all make our national carrier strong
to face the competition." Today, Mr Thulasidas said
"Air India is poised at a very decisive moment. It
needs to grow in size to meet the competition from the
large international airlines. It has to be profitable.
The service has to be top class and productivity has to
CMD said "This is a mission. It is not just my mission.
There are people who are proud to see an Air India aircraft
in their own country. People plead to us to give them
a chance to fly Air India."
said "right now the airline is increasing its fleet
strength through the lease route. We hope to get approvals
from the Government for 50 aircraft for Air India and
18 aircraft for Air India Express next year." With
this, he said, Air India would have more flights and more
network. "We are also in the process of upgrading
our existing aircraft with internet and telephone facilities
and better seats."
December 7, the Board of Air-India Charters Limited, a
subsidiary of Air-India, at its meeting held in Delhi,
had approved the project report for acquisition of 18
Boeing 737-800W aircraft for use by Air India Express.
These aircraft on induction will replace the ones being
taken on lease by AICL for Air-India Express for commencing
operations effective April 2005. While a firm price for
the entire order is yet to be fixed, the deal will be
worth close to $1 billion at the current list price of
$60 million per aircraft.
project report revised on the basis of low cost and low
fares was later submitted to the Ministry of Civil Aviation
for securing Government's approval. It may be recalled
that Air-India Board had last year approved the purchase
of these aircraft for its own use but consequent upon
the creation of Air-India Express, which will serve destinations
in the Gulf and South East Asia, the project report was
November 24, The Air-India Board approved the floating
of tenders for inviting offers for acquisition of 50 aircraft
- of which two-third will be on firm basis and one-third
on option. Air-India proposes to acquire three types of
aircraft for its fleet, viz. Medium Capacity Ultra Long
Range aircraft (A340-500/B777-200LR); Medium Capacity
Long Range - 350 seater in three-class configuration (A340-600/B777-300ER);
and Medium Capacity Long Range -- 250 seater in two class
configuration (A330-200/B7E7-8). The airline has now invited
offers from Aircraft and Engine manufacturers and subsequently
undertakes a techno-economic review of the offers received.
Thulasidas informed that Air India is now connected with
Los Angeles five times a week. Air India that commenced
flight to LA in June this year added two more frequencies
effective December 2. With five flights now available
to passengers per week, travel between Mumbai and Los
Angeles will become more convenient as Air-India is the
only airline to offer direct connectivity between the
two cities, without change of aircraft en route.
flights, operated via Frankfurt, also provide seamless
hub and spoke connections from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad
and Kolkata to Los Angeles and convenient connections
on Indian Airlines on the return leg. All the five flights
to Los Angeles will be operated with Boeing 747-400 aircraft,
the First and Executive Class cabins of which have newly
installed flat beds and slumberettes respectively. These
cabins have also been recently retrofitted to provide
personal video entertainment and a choice of popular movies.
United States has been a major growing market for Air-India.
To cater to the increased demand, Air-India has been gradually
increasing its presence in Europe and the USA. With the
introduction of the two new flights to Los Angeles, Air-India's
flights to the USA will be increased to 25 per week --
seven to New York via London, seven to Newark via Paris,
six to Chicago -- three each via London and Frankfurt,
and five to Los Angeles via Frankfurt.
April 2005 the national carrier is, in fact, proposing
to operate a daily service to Los Angeles and also to
Chicago. Air-India will thus have daily services to each
of its four online stations in the USA -- New York, Newark,
Chicago and Los Angeles by the summer 2005 schedule.
China shares open higher at debut in Hong Kong stock exchange
KONG, Dec 16: Shares of China's biggest airline Air China
Ltd. opened 6 percent higher at their debut on the Hong
Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, in line with market
expectations. Air China, the third Chinese carrier to
list in Hong Kong, opened at 3.15 Hong Kong dollars, compared
with its initial public offering price of HK$ 2.98. Analysts
had expected the airline's shares to open 5 percent to
10 percent above its IPO price.
Beijing-based carrier was listed in London later on Wednesday,
making it the first Chinese company to have a dual listing
in Britain and Hong Kong in recent years. Air China Chairman
Li Jailing, said the airline chose London over New York
because it has a greater exposure to European destinations.
"The dual listing of Air China in Hong Kong and London
is a great milestone for the company,'' Li said.
Xulun, President of Air China, said: ``The listing enables
us to expand our fleet, strengthen our position as one
of China's largest commercial airlines.'' Air China raised
HK$8.36 billions (US$1.07 billions; euro 812 millions)
by selling 2.806 billion shares, or a 30 percent stake.
airline, which has a fleet of 136 aircraft, said the funds
raised from the offering will be used to buy 10 Airbus
and four Boeing jets and to repay debts.
China said it expects a strong rebound in its full-year
earnings, with net profit rising to 2.29 billion yuan
(US$276.57 millions; euro 208.56 millions) _ from 159.60
million yuan in 2003 when the airline was hit hard by
the SARS outbreak. Last month, Hong Kong's flag carrier
Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding
with Air China to buy 9.9 percent of the Chinese airline's
deal, which includes coordinated schedules and joint marketing
efforts, will give Cathay a bigger presence in the booming
mainland market from which the Hong Kong carrier has so
far been largely excluded. Two
other mainland Chinese carriers have already listed in
Hong Kong -- China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern
Air launches India operations
DELHI, Dec 10: Cosmic Air, a leading private carrier of
Nepal, has launched its India operations, offering two
flights daily between Delhi and Kathmandu. The airline,
with a wide network within Nepal, is offering promotional
fare of "Buy One, Get One Free" on the Delhi-Kathmandu
sector. Capt. R. D. Pradhan, Executive Chairman of SOI
group, of which Cosmic Air is a subsidiary, said the airline
aimed at developing Indian market for tourism and business
said that affordable fares and value for money would be
the hallmark of services of Cosmic Air. The airline plans
to fly to other cities in India such as Mumbai, Bangalore,
Lucknow, Varanasi and Bodh Gaya by early next year. It
is offering promotional fare of Rs. 2,700 plus taxes on
the Delhi-Kathmandu sector till December 31 but tickets
would be valid for a year.
Airlines posts Rs. 44 crore net profit
DELHI, Dec 3: After
a gap of four years, Indian Airlines has made a turnaround,
posting a net post-tax profit of Rs 44.17 crore in 2003-04
as against the net loss of Rs 196.6 crore the previous
year. The IA Board, which met in Mumbai on Friday, approved
the annual accounts of the public sector carrier, which
also made an operating profit of Rs 125.10 crore compared
with an operating loss of Rs 134.72 crore in 2002-03,
according to Mr Sunil Arora, Chairman and Managing Director
of Indian Airlines.
Arora said Indian Airlines increased its operating revenue
by over 13 per cent, which rose from Rs 4101.5 crore in
2002-03 to Rs 4649.8 crore last fiscal. Noting that the
last time Indian Airlines made profit was way back in
1998-99, he said the company earned profit despite major
hikes in prices of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which
led to an increase in the operating expenses by 6.81 per
cent to Rs. 4,524.7 crores.
CMD attributed the turnaround to several cost-cutting
measures, better utilisation of aircraft, carrying more
passengers, improving overall load and seat factors. He
said the airline saved Rs. 73 crores in 2001-02, Rs. 102
crores and Rs. 190 crores in the next two years on several
Arora said the company showed improvement in its financial
performance despite hike in average domestic ATF price
to Rs. 21,000 per kilolitre during 2003-04 as against
Rs. 19,900 in the previous year. ATF price is a major
cost component of the carrier, about 30 per cent of the
operating cost in India as against global norm of 15 to
18 per cent.
said advance purchase (APEX) fares and other discounted
schemes also accounted for 25 to 30 per cent of the seats.
"For all practical purposes APEX fares are here to
stay,'' he added. The public sector carrier recently got
the nod from the Public Investment Board for acquiring
43 aircraft from Airbus and it needs the Government's
approval to begin the price negotiations for the Rs. 10,000-crore
deal that would give it added capacity as well as renew
its aging fleet.