meet helps boost trade between India, Malaysia
LUMPUR: The 32nd annual convention of Air Cargo Agents Association
of India (ACAAI) in Kuala Lumpur was a grand success by all standards.
The ACAAI President, Mr Sam Katgara, had a beaming smile at the
end of three-day fruitful sessions. And why not? As many as 320
delegates from India had attended the convention which was addressed
by experts and 'who is who' of the cargo industry. . "Mission
accomplished," he said.
convention succeeded in bringing India and Malaysia together in
seizing further opportunities to develop the trade between the two
friendly nations. It also helped in developing bonhomie and comradeship
between the freight agents and the airlines.
Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister, Yang Mulia Tengku Dato Sari
Azlan Ibini Sultan Abu BaKar, opened the ACAAI annual convention
by lighting the tradition Indian lamp. The Indian Civil Aviation
Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr R L
Narayan, and the ACAAI President also participated in lighting the
his key note address, Yang Mulia Tengku Dato Sari Azlan Ibini Sultan
Abu BaKar said "Malaysia has strong historical links with India,
and over the years the relationship between these two friendly countries
has strengthened. India continues to be a valuable trading partner
Minister stressed on the need for consolidating the strengths and
pooling of resources by the freight forwarders in the light of horizontal
and vertical integration that is taking place in the segments of
airline industry. Therefore, he said, the airlines and freight forwarders
were in the process of understanding and appreciating the need for
Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, assured that the much-awaited
new Civil Aviation policy would see the light of the day some time
early next year. He assured better infrastructure in terms of ultra
modern airports and cargo hubs. He said the restructuring of Delhi
and Mumbai airports in collaboration with new private partner would
be completed by June next year.
Prasad assured the delegates that a new thrust is being given to
cargo in the country. He assured that many new cargo complexes would
be developed at many airports. He informed that Indian Airlines
and Air India would launch dedicated freighter services sometime
is the third convention in a row being held outside India and it
displays ACAAI's confidence in attempting to reach out and expose
to the trends and influences in the Cargo Industry, beyond India's
shores and skies. The 30th annual convention was held in Colombo,
Sri Lanka and the next one in Dubai, UAE. The theme of this year's
Kuala Lumpur convention was "Airlines & Forwarder: Leveraging
top people from the cargo and airline industry addressed the six
business sessions that helped the trade partners in leveraging their
strengths and move forward to a better and brighter tomorrow. Some
of the top names that were present included the Indian Airlines
Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Sunil Arora; the Air India Chairman
and Managing Director, Mr V Thulasidas; the Senior General Manager,
Malaysia Airlines, Mr J J Ong; the FIEO Chairman, Mr Rafeeque Ahmed;
and the Coke Vice President, Mr Adil Malia.
convention also decided that ACAAI would play an active role by
recommending the views of the industry in the formation of the civil
aviation policy as advised by the Civil Aviation Secretary. It also
called for business transparency and engaging in constructive dialogue
with the partners on issues concerning both to strengthen the relationship.
his presidential address, Mr Sam Katgara said it was well-declared
policy of our two countries to co-operate with each other under
the Southeastern umbrella. This Convention, he said would certainly
strengthen the regional co-operation and close relationship between
the Air Cargo Industry in India and Malaysia.
Katgara said in the global cargo scenario, cargo growth outstripped
passenger levels. "It is heartening to know that cargo traffic
growth improved by 12 per cent in the first five months of this
year compared to the same period in the year 2003. The global cargo
traffic is 13.6 per cent higher and has outstripped passenger traffic
levels, which are 8.8 per cent."
said "traffic growth for the first five months of 2004 is testimony
to the resilience of air transport. Not only have we recovered from
the impact of SARs and war in Iraq, all major regions of the world
are reporting traffic levels above those of 2000 - the last normal
year for the industry. Despite the shocks that have rocked the airline
industry in recent years, the underlying industry growth rate is
3.6 per cent. Efficiency gains and cost cutting remain priorities
to return the industry to health."
the tradition warm ties between the countries, the Indian High Commissioner,
Mr R L Narayan, the trade and economic ties between India and Malaysia
were growing in leaps and bounds. He hoped that Malaysian Government
would take note of the tremendous opportunities being offered by
India in building its infrastructure network.
en route to numero uno slot
By Deepak Arora
DELHI: One must congratulate the new Congress-led United Progressive
Alliance (UPA) Government for taking a quick decision of allowing
the public sector Indian Airlines to acquire new aircraft. The
move is right as Indian Airlines had wanted to purchase new aircraft
to meet the growing competition from private carriers, Jet Airways
and Air Sahara, 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.
Wednesday, the Public Investment Board (PIB), comprising Finance,
Expenditure and Civil Aviation Secretaries, approved the Indian
Airlines plan to acquire 43 new Airbus aircraft at a cost of Rs
9,475 crore. The Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, said
the price of 43 aircraft had come down from Rs 10,089 crores to
Rs 9,475 crores. The PIB reduced the projected amount approved
by the Indian Airlines Board in view of the exchange rate fluctuations
and a stronger rupee.
the PIB approval, the IA Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Sunil
Arora, said "the entire IA family is relieved and elated.
We are thankful to the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Finance
that they finally took cognizance of the long felt need of the
airline to replace and add capacity."
Mr Arora said "this would definitely mean a quantum upgrade
in terms of further improvement of the product. If the competition
has aircraft of three to five years of age, it becomes difficult
for us, despite our best efforts, to cope up with aircraft of
fact, he said, "its tribute to the entire operational staff
that they have been able to enhance the utilization of Airbus
aircraft from 2,800 to 2,900 hours per annum to 3,400 hours per
annum in the last four years. However, if they are given new equipment
they can be reasonably expected to do much better."
Arora said "in the absence of equipment, the comparison of
Indian airlines of Indian Airlines with the competitors is almost
like comparing apples with oranges. There are other factors pertaining
to product upgrade which are constantly being looked into, but
the matching equipment by itself is almost 50 per cent of the
battle won. The rest is to enhance maintenance, cleanliness of
the cabin, in-flight service, cuisine and all other aspects related
to passenger traffic."
proposal has been hanging fire since March 2002 when the Indian
Airlines Board cleared it. Unlike the private carriers, it needs
government approval before placing orders for the planes. This
will be the first fleet acquisition by the airline in 15 years.
The last purchase took place when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister.
proposal would now be put up before the Cabinet Committee on Economic
Affairs (CCEA), according to Mr D Swarup, Expenditure Secretary.
The Finance Ministry has also agreed to provide sovereign guarantees
to help Indian Airlines raise funds in the international markets
for purchasing the aircraft.
90 per cent of the deal will be funded through external commercial
borrowings and the remaining 10 per cent will be funded by way
of government equity infusion in Indian Airlines. It is expected
that the final Cabinet approval would come through by January
and the aircraft would start arriving in the later half of 2006.
All aircraft will be fitted with CFM-56 engines made jointly by
General Electric Co. and Snecma, a state-controlled French aerospace
Airlines would now commence price negotiations with Airbus for
the planes. Under the deal, Airbus has agreed to invest in India
30 per cent of the total value of the airframes (the aircraft
minus the engine). The investment would be for buying aircraft
doors from Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and software from Indian
firms. The Airbus Senior Vice-President, Mr Kiran Rao, has welcomed
air travel market is small even though the country has one of
the world's fastest-growing economies. The air travel market is
small because of high fuel cost and high taxes that inflate the
air fares. It is for this reason, India's billion-plus people
use the subsidised rail network. Only 15 million people travelled
by air in Asia's fourth-largest economy in 2003-2004, a little
more than the number who use the much cheaper rail network in
a single day.
air travel demand is expected to rise by nearly 9 per cent annually
for the next 20 years as incomes rise at a fast clip, fuelling
demand for 290 new jets valued at $22 billion, according to Boeing.
The Indian Airlines deal was crucial to both Airbus and arch-rival
American company, Boeing, caught in a fierce battle for market
share in a recovering global aviation industry. Airbus overtook
Boeing as the world's biggest commercial jet maker in 2003.
is 80-percent-owned by European Aeronautic Defence & Space
Co NV, based in France and Germany. BAE Systems Plc, a British
aerospace company, owns the rest. Indian Airlines' fleet of 65
aircraft includes 15 leased Airbus A320s and four turboprop planes.
The average age of the aircraft is around 15 years and they are
pending replacement. The new fleet of 43 Airbus planes will be
used to retire this aging lot.
Airlines to connect Ahmedabad
DELHI, Nov18: Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier of Malaysia,
will launch return direct flights from Ahmedabad to Kuala Lumpur,
on December 16. The thrice-weekly flights from Ahmedabad are on
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The five-hour-and-five-minute
flight will depart from the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International
Airport in Ahmedabad, India, at 2335 hrs (Local time) and arrive
at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Kuala Lumpur
at 0705 hrs (Malaysia Time). The return flight will depart from
KLIA, Kuala Lumpur at 1930 hrs (Malaysia Time) and arrive at 2205
hrs (Local time) at Ahmedabad.
With the return direct flight, Malaysia Airlines will have direct
connectivity from six different routes in India. Seat capacity
will increase to 8,128 seats per week from the present 5,844 seats
per week and the total number of flights to 26 per week from 23.
The airline will operate the Airbus 330- 300 series aircraft with
a total of 290 seats per flight, comprising 42 Business class
seats and 248 economy class passenger seats.
Mr Zainal Abidin Sulaiman, Area Manager, Malaysia Airlines, said
"The State of Gujarat plays a significant role in the Indian
Outbound Air Traffic. Gujaratis are a known travelling community
and we want to service them right from their doorstep, which will
save them two precious hours in traveling time."
Ms Sonia Dutt, Marketing Manager, South Asia, Malaysia Airlines,
said "The leisure and business segment in Gujarat contributes
almost 70 per cent of the air traffic. We expect the air traffic
to grow by 12 to 16 per cent per annum with the new service."
She said "Malaysia Airlines would like to tap the growing
markets especially where the Gujarati community has interest.
We expect this new route to attract the primary market to Malaysia
and beyond, especially Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and
USA." She said "the new route is part of our expansion
plan in India and demonstrates our commitment to an emerging economic
giant like India."
Malaysia Airlines presently operates daily (7 times per week)
from Chennai, 4 weekly flights from New Delhi and Mumbai, twice-weekly
flight from Bangalore and once weekly flight from Hyderabad. Globally
the airline has a fleet of nearly 100 aircrafts connecting more
than 100 destinations. The airline started its operations in India
in 1972 from the city of Chennai.
hands over 2 new copters to Pawan Hans
DELHI, Nov 9: Eurocopter, the world's number one manufacturer
of helicopters, today handed over two new Dauphin AS 365 N3 helicopters
to Pawan Hans. Mrs. Marie-Agnes Veve, Head of Dauphin, presented
a memento to Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Nagar
V Sridhar, commemorating the occasion. With these new additions,
Pawan Hans expands its fleet to 23 Dauphins, thereby, becoming
the biggest fleet of Eurocopter helicopters in India.
The two AS 365 N3's have undergone several technical
advancements, which include modular design of the mechanical assemblies
and use of composite materials leading to considerable reduction
in maintenance costs.
Speaking on the occasion, Mrs Marie-Agnes Veve,
Head of Dauphin said " One thing which is constant all across
the world is the confidence that Dauphin operators have in the
reliability of the helicopter. We cherish this trust and always
strive to provide value added services to our customers. In researching
future technologies, our approach is to target reductions in development
time, operating cost, noise and pilot workload. Our major research
goals are to increase safety, passenger comfort, enhance performance
and customize it to suit all weather conditions."
On Eurocopter's association with Pawan Hans, Mrs
Veve said, "We share a very special relationship with Pawan
Hans, which is India's leading helicopter operator as well as
the biggest customer of Eurocopter in India." On Eurocopter's
plans for India, Mrs. Veve mentioned, "The Indian aviation
industry is witnessing tremendous growth. The aviation sector
has become more receptive to new models and fresh technology.
State governments, helicopter operators and leading corporates
are now using our helicopters. We are receiving an increasing
number of inquiries from various business houses. This is very
encouraging, we will soon start with flight demonstrations here."
Pawan Hans is the largest helicopter operator in
India. It's fleet of helicopters is used for transportation of
personnel to offshore platforms, for shuttle flights between drill
barges and for transport of state officials and VIPs. It also
provides charter services for tourists.
Eurocopter launched the Dauphin Helicopters in India
in 1986.Since then, Pawan Hans has logged over 270,000 flying
hours and over 1 million safe landings with its Dauphins.
In July 2002, Pawan Hans was appointed as a "Eurocopter
Dauphin Helicopter Maintenance Centre" in India and South
Asia. This gives Pawan Hans, an unique position as the sole approved
Maintenance Centre with D level capabilities for the complete
Eurocopter Dauphin fleet in South Asia.
Eurocopter helicopters are owned and used by prominent
state Governments, reputed helicopter charter operators and prominent
business groups in India. Worldwide, US Coast Guard is one of
the biggest customers of Dauphin. The US Coast Guard owns a fleet
of 96 Dauphins and has logged more than 700,000 flight hours with
Eurocopter was formed in the early 90's by the merger
of the helicopter divisions of Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB)
from Germany and Aerospatiale from France. The group is now a
100% subsidiary owned by EADS (European Aeronautic, Defense and
Space Company), the second largest aerospace group in the world.
Eurocopter offers a wider range of civil and military products
than any other manufacturer, from the EC120 single-engine light
helicopter up to a medium weight transport helicopter in the ten-tonne
class, the Cougar MK2, thus covering about 80 percent of the global
fare discount to business class
DELHI, Nov 3: Indian Airlines has launched a scheme offering discount
on business class fare in a bid to enhance executive class travel
by business and corporate travellers and promote companion or
spouse travel. The person accompanying a full fare-paying passenger
in `J' class will be entitled to a 50 per cent discount on the
fare. They will have to travel together and the discount for the
latter will be given against a written application from the full
The scheme is available for one-way or round-trip
travel on IA's domestic and international sectors for both Indian
and foreigners residing here. It will be valid between November
5 and February 4, 2005. The scheme cannot be combined with any
other current offer and may not be available on sectors and flights
having a high frequency.
Hans gains new heights
DELHI: Under the dynamic leadership of Mr Nagar V Sridhar, Chairman
and Managing Director, Pawan Hans is gaining strength day by day
and setting new standards. The public-sector undertaking achieve
new heights this year when it paid the highest ever dividend of
Rs 17.50 crore for the financial year 2003-04. This dividend is
at the rate of 15.38 per cent of its paid up equity to its shareholders
i.e. President of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation and ONGC.
The dividend is 33.21 per cent of the net profit after tax.
paid up capital of the company is Rs 113.76 crores with the Government
holding 78.5 per cent and balance 21.5 per cent being held by
ONGC. The Company has been consistently paying dividend since
1992-93 and till date has paid Rs 128.52 crore.
Sridhar, who took over as CMD in June, 2002, has brought in professionalism
in the company through his astute administration. His astute management
skills could be gauged from the fact that under his administration
Pawan Hans paid pending annual dividends of Rs 66.70 crore for
the three financial years 1991-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02. In other
words, the company during Mr Sridhar's tenure of little over two
years has paid dividends for five financial years.
recent dividend cheque of Rs 13.73 crores (Government of India
share) was presented by Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director
to the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel. The Civil Aviation
Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad, and the Joint Secretary, Mr A.K. Upadhayay,
were present on the occasion.
Sridhar said the Company has been able to secure good long term
business with the institutional clients mainly in the oil industry
and the Government sector which has resulted in improved utilization
of helicopter fleet. "The Company was able to achieve improved
financial performance as compared to previous year on account
of long term contracts, better charter rate structure with high
revenue yield and increased utilization of helicopters through
improved serviceability of fleet," he added.
Sridhar said the company achieved a total flying task of 23,020
revenue hours for the year 2003-04 with an average monthly deployment
of over 23.7 helicopters under long term contracts as compared
to 20,173 hours and 21.2 helicopters in the previous financial
accepting the cheque, the Civil Aviation Minister expressed happiness.
Further, the Minister also said that he is proud of Pawan Hans
and its employees for making all out efforts for this achievement.
Hans is one of India's leading helicopter company is known for
its reliable helicopter operations. Since inception in 1985, the
company has operated number of helicopters by offering wide range
of services to its clients by operating a well balanced fleet
of 32 helicopters consisting of Robinson(R-44), Bell 206L4, Bell
407, Dauphin SA 365N, Dauphin AS 365N3 and Mi-172.
is the only aviation company in India being awarded ISO 9001:
2000 certification for its entire gamut of activities. Since its
inception, Pawan Hans fleet has clocked over 3,30,000 hours and
has done over 12,00,000 landings.
Hans gives top priority to safety and security of the passengers
and has set stringent inspection rules. At Pawan Hans standing
instructions of the Managing Director are do not clear the machine
for flight even if there is an iota of doubt. "We are a public
sector undertaking and we follow stringent guidelines on maintenance
and with us safety comes before economic considerations,"
said Mr Sridhar. It is a different story that Pawan Hans has been
showing profits and has declared the highest ever dividend for
the last financial year.
CMD said every helicopter goes through mandatory inspection at
25 hours; 50 hours or 30 days; and 100 hours or four months. Then
there are T1, T2 or T3 inspections carried out at 500 hours or
18 months; 1,000 hours or 36 months; and 2,500 hours or 72 months.
Then there is the G-Inspection that is carried out at every 5,000
hours or 10 years. In this the whole chopper is stripped to the
last except for the label and every part is checked and changed.
Mr Sridhar said "our helicopters are properly maintained
and overhauled as per the procedures prescribed by the manufacturers."
Hans has a team of dedicated highly motivated and skilled manpower
which includes pilots, engineers, executives and support staff.
The company makes sure that these professionals receive the best
possible training possible to upgrade their skills. A DGCA approved
Training School is being run for the technical personnel and simulators
are installed at Delhi and Mumbai to provide periodic instrument
training to the pilots.
company prides itself on being an extremely self-contained organization,
with workshops covering different requirements (instruments, electrical,
safety equipment, synthetic panel, component repair shop, Spectrometric
Oil Analysis Procedure Lab and radio including Full Test Data
checks) that are available on site at Mumbai. It carries out all
periodic inspections as well as overhaul in-house.
Hans is an approved maintenance centre to carry out servicing
of Dauphin series helicopters and is part of Eurocopter network
of Authorized Maintenance Centre (AMC) worldwide to carry out
the servicing in India and other South East Asian Countries.
Airlines - a fashion statement
in designer outfits as flight attendants, latest audio and video
in flight entertainment on every seat, attractive aircraft interiors
and competitive fares. That is how liquor czar Vijay Mallya is
going to place his Kingfisher Airlines that is set to get into
flying mode in the first quarter of 2005.
to this correspondent, Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of the UB Group
and Rajya Sabha member, said Kingfisher Airlines has signed a
deal with Airbus to acquire 12 Airbus A-320 aircraft and the company
may launch an IPO to raise funds. The
company will be investing $750 million to acquire these new state-of-the-art
aircraft from Airbus and firm deliveries of four aircraft will
commence in October 2005. For the time being, Kingfisher Airlines
is taking on lease four A-320s from GE Capital Aviation Services
for Rs 100 crore.
he said investments in new airplanes will commence which will
be financed through a variety of options that are available worldwide.
The company may launch an initial public offering (IPO) at appropriate
time to raise funds for the fleet acquisition. Kingfisher Airlines
is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of UB Holdings.
the aircraft in the Kingfisher fleet will seat 180 passengers
in a one class "Funliner" configuration. CFM engines
sourced from CFM International, a joint company of Snecma Moteurs,
France and GE, USA, will power the Airbus A 320s. On the group's
foray into aviation Dr Mallya said, "The UB group was the
first to launch a non-government commercial air service in 1990.
We now feel a compelling need to re-enter the aviation sector
which is one of the fastest growing markets in the world."
said "Kingfisher Airlines will have a 'Fly the Good Times'
approach and this will reflect in the experience we will offer
to passengers. With costs lower than economy class travel on full
service Airlines and marginally more than the 'bus services' type
low cost competition, Kingfisher offers a far better proposition.
The aircraft and service will reflect the Kingfisher lifestyle
imagery and credibility that has been built over the years."
"Funliner" aircraft interiors would be styled by India's
leading fashion designers who have been signed on. The staff uniforms
will be designed by Kingfisher fashion designers and flight attendants
would be chosen in a "Kingfisher Flying Models contest"
to be launched all over India. Kingfisher Airlines "Funliners"
will offer in-flight entertainment on demand encompassing the
very latest in-flight entertainment options available in the world.
The "Funliners" will also offer multi-channel audio
entertainment with built-in channel selectors on its slim line
in-flight events include the "Kingfisher Flying Face of the
Month Contest", in flight silent auctions for lifestyle products,
in-flight sales of branded merchandise at attractive discounts
and a host of other innovations. Kingfisher Airlines also proposes
in-flight sales of dry packaged food and beverages.
would have the lowest per seat mile cost in India by virtue of
a combination of leased and purchased aircraft. It will have maximum
capacity utilization with the lowest turnaround times. It proposes
to maintain low operating overheads by maximizing outsourcing
of ground handling with emphasis on quality of service and competitiveness.
Mallya said the airline planned to outsource many of the functions
to Indian Airlines, which operates the same family of aircraft
to minimize costs. Also proposed is the extensive use of IT to
lower costs and allow for constant dynamic models on pricing,
aircraft utilization and route planning.
intend to save on our labour costs by having under 70 employees
per plane as against around 500 in Indian Airlines and 150 in
Jet Airways," stated Dr Mallya.
would also offer an attractive loyalty rewards programme for its
passengers and would be negotiating bulk deals with corporate
said at Kingfisher we would follow the Jet Blue budget airline
model. "It will not be at the lowest end of the value chain
but will seek to keep its costs low and fares very affordable."
He said "I do not believe in putting wings on buses even
though we chose Airbus aircraft." There will not be any Rs
500 fares but 15 per cent of the seats will be priced at the level
of a second-class AC train fare.
the 14 million traveling by train daily in India, 12 to 15 per
cent travel in AC coaches. We are targeting these passengers,"
The airline has inducted airline veterans Mr Parvez Damania as
Executive Director, Mr Alex Wilcox as Chief Operating Officer
(COO), and Mr Vinay Kashyap, formerly with Indian Airlines, as
airline will fly on all trunk routes like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata,
Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Indore, Guwahati, Dibrugarh,
Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Goa. "We are
also looking at catering to international destinations if the
Government permits it. However, we would not like to restrict
ourselves to ASEAN and SAARC countries. The government should
allow a level playing field," Dr Mallya said.
Alex Wilcox, who has had a long stint in various international
airlines, including Jet Blue, informed that the fares would fall
into different price buckets in an ascending order.
Hans maintains stringent safety norms
DELHI, Oct 10: An aircraft or helicopter crash, no matter how many
casualties it results, always hits the news headlines -- be it the
front pages of newspapers or television news networks or Internet
websites. On the other hand the rail or road mishaps, though the
bigger killers, do not catch that much media attention. This is
not to belittle the aviation accidents. Any accident -- be it air,
rail or road -- that claims lives is sad.
must not forget that the most affected by any tragedy are the immediate
members of the victims family. Similarly, we should not forget
that pilots also do have families and none of them want to die.
In other words, a pilot would not like to fly a machine that is
it has been noticed many a times that soon after an air accident
the so-called aviation experts be it the politicians or the
general public or the media persons -- start ogling out comments
that normally do no good either for the public or for an operator.
Somebody has rightly said prejudging is criminal and
wrong reporting leads to disinformation.
the case of a recent helicopter crash at Barapani, about 20 km from
Shillong. The public sector, Pawan Hans, chopper was on a routine
flight from Guwahati to Shillong. All the eight passengers on board
and two crewmembers were killed. Among them were Meghalaya community
development minister Cyprian Sangma, legislators H N Marak and Ardhendu
Chowdhury and former deputy speaker Aira Marak.
is learnt that the weather was bad and visibility poor in the hills
around Barapani when the ill-fated Dauphin helicopter on September
22 met with the accident. The preliminary inquiry suggests that
bad weather was responsible for the Shillong mishap.
the media reports quoting the high profile politicians were quick
to blame Pawan Hans for flying an ageing machine and having poor
maintenance record. Those who said so were unaware of the stringent
maintenance work schedules at Pawan Hans workshops and were unknowledgeable
of as to how an age of an helicopter is calculated.
I explain this, lets understand that either the men on top ie the
owners or the people behind ie passengers are generally considered
responsible for an accident. The owner of a small fixed wing aircraft
or a helicopter is responsible if he insists on clearing the machine
in spite of some defects or prevailing bad weather conditions to
get some quick economic gains. A quick turnaround means more money.
times, VVIPs hopping from one destination to another nearby disregard
norms and authorities or private air operators yield under political
pressure. Experts say the safety norms that are in place are adequate
but their implementation should be stringent.
Pawan Hans standing instructions of the Managing Director, Mr Nagar
V Sridhar, are do not clear the machine for flight even if there
is an iota of doubt. We are a public sector undertaking and
we follow stringent guidelines on maintenance and with us safety
comes before economic considerations, said Mr Sridhar.
is a different story that Pawan Hans has been showing profits and
is expected to declare record dividend for the last financial year.
For us every life matters and therefore safety is given top
priority. We do not put our pilots to risk. They also do have families,
said Mr Sridhar expressing his concern on the lives lost in Meghalaya
crash near Barapani was the eighth involving Pawan Hans helicopter
in the country, and the second in the northeast. This eight-seater
Dauphin helicopter, four of which are in operation in northeast,
had logged 14,400 hours and was to go for G-Inspection at the completion
of 15,000 hours. Contrary to statements made by some local politicians,
a helicopter does not have a fixed life span. This chopper had received
airworthiness certificate in March this year that was valid till
helicopter goes through mandatory inspection at 25 hours, 50 hours
or 30 days, and 100 hours or four months. Then there are T1, T2
or T3 inspection carried out at 500 hours or 18 months, 1,000 hours
or 36 months and 2,500 hours or 72 months.
the G-Inspection is carried out at every 5,000 hours or 10 years.
In this the whole chopper is stripped to the last except for the
label and every part is checked and changed. In other words, a helicopter
has no fixed life span so long it goes through these checks and
the allegations, Mr Sridhar said our helicopters are properly
maintained and overhauled as per the procedures prescribed by the
manufacturers. The Shillong chopper had
its inception in 1985, Pawan Hans fleet has clocked over 3,30,000
hours and has done over 12,00,000 landings. Weather has been the
biggest troubleshooter for Pawan Hans. Out of its eight accidents,
six had been due to bad weather/ disorientation, one due to human
error and one has been purely due to mechanical snag.
of these eight mishaps, four have been on the hilly region that
include the first accident on July 14, 1988 at Sanjhi Chat, Jammu;
Kohima in February 1989; Itanagar in May 2001 and the recent one
in Shillong. Three accidents have been over the sea ie near Bombay
High in May 1997, off the Pondicherry coast in August 1988, and
Lakshdweep in October 2003. One accident was over land ie in Patna
in December 1989.
weather has been the biggest worry for airlines, especially the
helicopter operators. Unlike the big aircraft that cruise at 30,000
to 40,000 ft altitude, the helicopters normally fly at 6,000 ft
at which level it faces clouds that deplete visibility. If a helicopters
gets into CV (Cumulo Nimbus) clouds it results into death and destruction.
Nibus is cauliflower type of cloud that generates high velocity
with fast moving positive and negative charges. It gets into a very
dynamic situation and the artificial horizon instrument goes haywire
and makes it difficult for the pilot to save the situation. Even
when a big aircraft gets closure to CV cloud it faces turbulence.
Airlines goes hot on India
By Deepak Arora
DELHI:Malaysia Airlines has received approvals to commence flights
to Ahmedabad and Kolkatta. The airline plans to start three flights
to Ahmedabad from Dec 16and three flights to Kolkata from January
2 next year, according to Syed Abdillah Aziz, airline's Regional
Manager, South Asia.
present, Malaysian Airlines has four flights to Delhi, daily flight
to Chennai, two to Bangalore, four to Mumbai and one to Hyderabad.
It plans to add one more flight to Bangalore, three to Mumbai and
two to Hyderabad and place into service Boeing 747-400 to Chennai
thereby adding 100 seats from the South gateway to Kaulalumpur.
With these new additions, the airline's total flights would go up
from 18 to 30 per week from India. Only last year, the airline had
seven flights out of India, informed Syed Aziz.
additional flights indicate that Malaysia considers India as a lucrative
tourist market. The Malaysian Tourism Minister, Dr Leo Michael Toyad,
said Malaysia is targeting 400,000 Indian arrivals by the year 2007.
The total Indian arrivals to Malaysia in 2002 were 183,000 and in
2003 were 145,000.
Dr Toyad said in the first seven months of this year this figure
has already crossed more than 105,000 and the Ministry of Tourism
expects these figures to touch 200,000 by the end of this year.
his visit to India, the Minister announced a strategic plan for
Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia as a preferred tourist destination
among the Indians. The plan based on the principle of "Consolidation"
and "Value for Money" specifies three broad objectives
- active public-private participation, strengthening of the distribution
network and customized positioning of products.
Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Director, Mr Manoharan, said the
Malaysian Tourism Ministry anticipates 25 per cent growth in the
tourist receipts from India, which at present stands at US $ 71.15
million. Mr Manoharan also hopes to achieve and sustain average
growth of stay to 11 to 12 days from 9.1 days in 203. It also plans
to lay special stress doubling the business arrivals from India,
which at present stands at 23.4 per cent.
provide more seats to his country, Dr Toyad said his government
would welcome all public and private airlines to fly between the
two countries. "The government is ready to facilitate and accommodate
the needs of existing and potential airlines which would help in
augmenting the seat capacity and connectivity."
said the Ministry of Tourism would continue joint promotions with
not only the national carrier Malaysia Airlines but with other airlines
too which has a direct or indirect link between the two countries.
also have to learn from the Malaysians on how not to kill the goose
that lays the golden eggs. It's a known fact that Malaysia knows
the importance of tourism and its contribution towards development
of its economy. The country has come a long way from the doldrums
of 1997-98 when tourist arrivals was at its lowest at 5.5 million
to record high of 13.25 million in 2002 and 10.6 million in 2003.
the importance of tourism as a significant foreign exchange earner
and employment tool of the country's workforce, Malaysian Government
keeps introducing new steps to attract foreign tourists. One such
step taken early this year was launch of I-Visa (Internet Visa)
to woo tourists from China and India. A pilot project was launched
on March 15 this year in Chennai.
the I-Visa has become an instant hit, the Travel Agents Association
of India (TAAI) objected to demand of Rs 3.5 lakh bank guarantee
from travel agents by the Malaysian High Commission.
Mr Balbir Mayal, TAAI President, "demand for the bank guarantee
is unreasonable. No embassy or High Commission has ever asked for
such guarantees. Today its Malaysia, tomorrow it could the US and
others. There are over 100 embassies in India and if travel agents
start giving bank guarantees, the amount would run into Crores,
and that is not a feasible proposition."
Mayal and his TAAI team had a meeting with the Malaysian Tourism
Minister during his recent visit to New Delhi. "Dr Toyad was
very receptive to us and promised to look into the matter and discuss
the issue with the Home Ministry," said Mr Balbir Mayal.
Mayal said TAAI was ready to take responsibility and guarantee of
its agents and this was conveyed to the visiting Minister. However,
he said if any travel agent defaults the Malaysian Government should
Malaysian Minister said "the I-Visa is more for the convenience
of travelers and travel agents, who have to provide customer's proof
the I-Visa, once a customer gets an online okay from the High Commission,
he can take the slip from the travel agent and get the visa stamped
from the High Commission office. It saves travel time and long queues
at the High Commission. The Malaysian idea behind bank guarantee
is to make the travel agent more responsible.
taking into account concerns of TAAI, Dr Toyad assured this correspondent
that his Ministry was preparing a Cabinet paper and also discuss
the issue with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Home. Thus,
he showed how Malaysia cares and ready to take all concerns into
account to be an attractive tourist destination.
details of the I-Visa issued from Chennai, he said in March 4,673
visas were issued and out of that I-Visas were 1,090. In April the
total figure was 6,407 (I-Visa 3,893); in May 5,681 (I-Visa 4,000);
in June 3,544 (I-Visa 2722), July 4,661 (I-Visa 3,666) and till
August 20 the total visas issued were 2,800 that included 2,242
I-Visas. The Minister said the I-Visa has taken off well in the
two cities of China.
Deccan slashes fares; IA, Jet, Sahara hike it
DELHI, Oct 9: While the big three domestic airlines - Indian Airlines,
Jet Airways and Air Sahara - have found excuse in rising fuel prices
to hike fares by 10 per cent, their relatively "smaller"
competitor, Air Deccan, has announced a 20 per cent drop on its
long-haul sectors, terming it as a benefit of flying full capacity.
rise in airfares by bigger carriers seems to have spoilt the party
for domestic air travellers, who, in the run-up to the festive season,
were seeing attractive fares and price cuts.
Deccan managing director G R Gopinath said "our seats are booked
to 60 to 70 per cent capacity. This is a good load factor and the
continued demand has helped us achieve better operational efficiencies."
He said "Air Deccan, keeping with its philosophy of offering
lowest fares and empowering every Indian to fly, has decided to
drop fares by 20 per cent and increase its passenger loads."
the rising Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices, Capt Gopinath mentioned
"the incremental revenue from passengers will offset the cost
of increase in ATF." He added "with Air Deccan operating
out of 22 airports every increase in flights to these airports would
bring the ticket costs down further."
Gopinath said "we will continue to operate the 'Dynafares scheme'
under which tickets are priced from Rs 700 onwards. The top-end
fares, which are available to passengers booking tickets two days
prior to travel, have now been dropped. Air Deccan is offering fares
up to 55 per cent lower than other airlines." Unlike other
domestic airlines, Air Deccan is the only profit making airline
in the country.
the new discount scheme of Air Deccan, the Delhi-Mumbai fare for
tickets booked even hours before the travel date will be available
for Rs 3,400 as against Rs 4,400 earlier. The other airlines on
this sector offer tickets after 10 per cent hike at Rs 7,250. The
Delhi-Bangalore top-end fare has been cut from Rs 6,600 earlier
to Rs 5,200. Other airlines offer stands at Rs 11,400.
Bangalore-Mumbai sector, new Deccan price is Rs 2,600 while others
offer stands at Rs 5,600. On Delhi-Hyderabad, Deccan tickets would
cost Rs 4,000 as compared to Rs 9,600 of bigger carriers. Deccan
has priced Delhi-Chennai sector at Rs 4,500 as compared to Rs 11,800
of other airlines.
Friday, Indian Airlines and Jet in separate announcements had announced
to hike their fares by 10 per cent from October 14 citing the rise
in fuel prices as the reason.
to a Jet release, the upward revision has been necessitated by the
19 per cent price increase in aviation turbine fuel (ATF) since
June, 2004. The ATF component in Jet Airways' operating costs has
increased from 28 per cent to 33 per cent now, translating into
an additional expense of Rs 13 crore on ATF, compared to the June
both Indian Airlines and Jet there would also be proportional increases
in other promotional fares, apart from the economy and business
class tickets. This means that excursion fares, advance purchase
fares and the positioning flight fares would also be revised. Air
Sahara would, however, not affect any increase in its promotional
scheme, which offers a Delhi-Mumbai ticket for Rs 4,444.
prevailing high ATF prices have added substantially to the operating
costs of Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Alliance Air, necessitating
an increase in fares, an IA spokesperson said.
continued increase in ATF prices has added substantially to the
input costs of airlines and thrown their projections out of gear.
The ATF price has touched an all time high in October, 2004, which
is a matter of concern to IATA and the member airlines. The rise
in ATF prices this year has added $9 to10 billion to the industry's
fuel costs for international operations alone.