Air India Express renews its IOSA registration

Radhika Bansal

27 Jul 2022

Tata Group's budget carrier Air India Express has renewed its registration under the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) programme following an audit carried out by IATA.

The registration has been renewed after a rigorous assessment of the operational management and control systems of the airline. Conducted by IATA auditors, this was one of the first on-site audits post-pandemic.

Air India Express renews its IOSA registration

The audit covers about 1,000 standards and recommended practices related to the safety of operations, as well as maintenance and engineering and the procedures of the airline.

IOSA is based on industry-proven quality audit principles and is designed to ensure that each audit is conducted in a standardised manner to achieve consistent results. IOSA was established in 2003 to meet airline industry needs for common globally-harmonised operating safety standards.

“We are happy to have renewed our IOSA registration, particularly as we look to an expansion of our fleet and network soon…. Air India Express meets the international benchmarks for operational safety, and follows global industry best practices."Aloke Singh, CEO, Air India Express

All IATA members are IOSA-registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership. Conversely, IATA membership is not a requirement to undergo an IOSA audit. According to IATA, there are dozens of airlines on the IOSA registry that are not IATA members.

ALSO READ - Air India Express plans to add 4 Boeing 737 to keep up with rising demand

Following the disinvestment of its parent company Air India, Air India Express, is now part of the Tata Group.

Air India Express operates short and medium-haul international routes, connecting many smaller towns of India directly to the Gulf and South-East Asia regions, with a fleet of 24 Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline is the market leader in the low-cost carrier segment in the Gulf/Middle East region.

ALSO READ - Air India Express plans massive international expansion in the next 5 years

Following the disinvestment of its parent company Air India, Air India Express, is now part of the Tata Group. It is soon going to be merged with AirAsia India which is also owned by Tata Group to have a strong regional arm.

ALSO READ - Air India gets CCI’s approval to acquire the entire stake in AirAsia India

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Satellite-based Navigation System 'GAGAN' to be active in 3-5 years: Scindia

Jinen Gada

26 Jul 2022

GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) is a step by the Indian Government toward initial Satellite-based Navigation Services in India. It is a system to improve the accuracy of a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver by providing reference signals.

GAGAN is used to provide lateral and vertical guidance when an aircraft is approaching a runway for landing. Its precision is especially useful at small airports where the instrument landing system (ILS) has not been installed.

ALSO READ - Indigo becomes the first airline in Asia to use the GAGAN navigation system to land an aircraft

Indigo uses the Gagan satellite navigation system for landing.

For the first time in the history of the Indian aviation industry, IndiGo became the first airline in the country to land aircraft using the indigenous navigation system GAGAN. India is the first country in Asia Pacific Region to achieve this.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have collaborated to develop the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) as a regional Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS).

The GAGAN’s goal is to provide a navigation system to assist aircraft in accurate landing over the Indian airspace and in the adjoining area and applicable to safety-to-life civil operations. GAGAN is inter-operable with other international SBAS systems.

GAGAN has been developed for aviation but it will provide benefits to other sectors as well like transportation, railways, surveying, maritime, highways, telecom industry, and security agencies.

GAGAN Payload is now operational. The satellites GSAT-8 and GSAT-10 satellites have the GAGAN payloads. The third payload of the system will be launched with the GSAT-15 satellite which is scheduled for launch in late of 2015.

The total approximate cost of the project is Rs 7.74 billion and is being created in three phases since 2008.

“Using the satellite technology, we will be able to pull an aircraft into the airport, as opposed to the ground radar. That will take a lot of burden off the ATC operators and ground radar. I see that happening in the next three to five years. So that’s one area where we are using satellite technology in civil aviation,” Jyotiradtiya Scindia

GAGAN covers the area from Africa to Australia and has expansion capability for seamless navigation services across the region. GAGAN provides accuracy, availability, and integrity essential for each phase of flight, en route the approach for airports within the GAGAN service volume.

This makes airline operations more efficient and effective, increasing air safety, and fuel efficiency. Further, with vertical guidance at runways, a significant cost will be saved due to the withdrawal of ground aids and the reduced workload of airline crew and air traffic controllers.

GAGAN is the first Satellite-Based Augmentation System in the world which has been certified for approach with vertical guidance operating in the equatorial ionospheric region.

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AAI undertakes the installation of night landing facility at Kolhapur airport

Radhika Bansal

26 Jul 2022

To an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha about the Night Landing facility at Airports in the country and the status of commissioning of the night landing facility at Kolhapur Airport, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) has responded in a written reply with the necessary details.

The response states that the up-gradation/modernisation of airports, including the provision of night landing facilities is a continuous process and is undertaken by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other airport operators from time to time depending on the availability of land, commercial viability, socio-economic considerations, traffic demand/willingness of airlines to operate to/from such airports etc.

AAI undertakes the installation of night landing facility at Kolhapur airport

Presently night landing facility which is purely demand and need based on the operational requirements of airlines and availability of land is not available at 25 operational airports with scheduled flight operations.

ALSO READ - No night-landing facility at 23 AAI-operated airports

AAI has undertaken the installation of a night landing facility at Kolhapur airport. A team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) inspected the airport on June 10, 2022. AAI has already initiated action for compliance with the observations made by DGCA during the inspection.

STATENAME OF THE AIRPORTAndhra PradeshCudappah, KurnoolAssamRupsiArunachal PradeshTezu, PassighatChattisgarhBilaspur, JagdalpurDaman & DiuDiuGujratKeshodHaryanaHisarHimachal PradeshDharamshala, Kulu and ShimlaJharkhandDeogharKarnatakaKalaburagiLakshadweepAgattiMaharashtraKolhapur, SindhudurgPunjabLudhianaPuducherryPuducherrySikkimPakyongTamil NaduSalemUttarakhandPantnagar, PithoragarhUttar PradeshKushinagarOperational Airports with Scheduled flight operations without night landing facility

The country has over 100 operational airports and officials said that the airports not having night landing facilities are mostly those recording lower air passenger traffic.

Airports Authority of India, which manages most of the airports in India, takes up a particular one for consideration for providing night landing facilities when airlines show interest during night operations.

Airlines have to apply with the Airports Authority of India to facilitate a night landing facility in a particular airport and then the process of offering the convenience starts.

The country has over 100 operational airports and officials said that the airports not having night landing facilities are mostly those recording lower air passenger traffic.

The upgradation of airports, including the provision of night landing facility is a continuous process, which depends upon operational requirements, commercial feasibility, etc, and varies from airport to airport in the country, said the ministry of civil aviation in a recent Parliament reply.

The main requirement for night landing is the runway approach lighting system which includes a series of light bars with strobe lights installed at the end of the runway.

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Vistara to launch electronic logbook; partners with Ultramain ELB for paperless operations

Radhika Bansal

26 Jul 2022

Full-service carrier Vistara has selected Ultramain System for providing electronic logbook software as the airline looks to go paperless in its operations.

Ultramain Systems' electronic logbook software ELB replaces paper-based processes while offering comprehensive functionality and innovative features to help make airlines' operations seamless, according to a statement.

Ultramain ELB will fully replace aircraft paper technical log, cabin log, journey log, damage log, and fuelling log, providing a validated electronic Certificate of Release to Service (e-CRS) on flights operated by Vistara, the Tata-SIA joint venture airline said in the statement.

Vistara to launch electronic logbook; partners with Ultramain ELB for paperless operations

The ELB application will be used by flight and cabin crew and engineers on iOS devices to provide integrated workflows with Vistara's maintenance and operational systems, it said.

Vistara said it is seeking necessary approvals from relevant authorities before fully integrating this solution across its operations.

"Vistara remains committed to constantly improving operational efficiency across processes through automation and we've been investing in the right technologies to achieve this goal. We are delighted to partner with Ultramain Systems which will provide the first electronic logbook to seek operational approval to operate a fully electronic technical and cabin logbook in India.Ultramain ELB will be integrated with various live processes like Aircraft Maintenance and Operational Support (AMOS), Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) and Aviation Resource Management System (ARMS) for seamless operations."Sisira Kanta Dash, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Maintenance, Vistara

Vistara will become the first Indian airline to introduce an e-tech logbook solution and go paperless in its operations, the airline said.

"Ultramain ELB will help digitise our aircraft paper logs and improve operational effectiveness," said Vinod Bhat, chief information officer at Vistara.

"The ELB's refuel/defuel functions enables real-time capture of refuelling documentation using Ultramain's e-signature capabilities. This is another important step towards the automation of line maintenance operations."Mark McCausland, President and CEO, Ultramain Systems

Once implemented, Ultramain Elb will enable accurate, real-time global operational visibility of the Vistara fleet resulting in more efficient maintenance, higher dispatch reliability, and increased aircraft utilization.

The tech company states that Ultramain ELB can operate on mobile and installed devices onboard aircraft. It operates with Tablet Interface Modules (TIM) and Aircraft Interface Devices (AID), enabling the onboard connection between tablets and aircraft data communication systems. It also works with the Logbook Data Recorder (LDR) without the need for airborne data connectivity.

The tech company states that Ultramain ELB can operate on mobile and installed devices onboard aircraft.

Ultramain Systems provides simple mobile paperless aviation maintenance software products and professional services to airlines worldwide.

The shift towards sustainability in aviation means that many airlines are now replacing traditional operational methods with more efficient digital solutions. Several changes are already underway in the industry, from passengers increasingly using mobile boarding passes to Airbus patenting the idea for digital inflight magazines.

ALSO READ - SpiceTech creates a digital library of documents for pilots to use in the cockpit

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DGCA finds no major safety violations during 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft

Radhika Bansal

26 Jul 2022

Aviation regulator DGCA conducted 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft between July 9 and July 13 but it did not find any major safety violations, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said Monday, July 25.

”However, as a safety measure, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered SpiceJet to use certain identified aircraft (10) for operations only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified,” Singh said in his written reply in Rajya Sabha.

SpiceJet planes were involved in at least eight technical malfunction incidents in the 18 days starting June 19, following which the DGCA had on July 6 issued a show-cause notice to the airline, stating that ”poor internal safety oversight” and ”inadequate maintenance actions” have resulted in degradation of safety margins.

DGCA finds no major safety violations during 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft

Just three days after issuing the notice, the regulator started conducting spot checks on SpiceJet planes, Singh stated. The spot checks were completed on July 13.

In its notice to SpiceJet on July 6, the regulator said that the airline has failed to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services under the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

”A total of 53 spot checks were carried out on 48 aircraft which did not find any major significant finding or safety violation. The DGCA’s safety oversight process involves a series of successive follow-up steps which includes communication of observations or findings to the airlines for taking corrective action, review of corrective action taken by the airlines for taking a decision, and initiating enforcement action consisting of warning, suspension, cancellation or imposition of financial penalty to the person or the airline involved."Gen V.K. Singh, Minister of State for Civil Aviation

The review (of the incidents) transpires that poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions (as most of the incidents were related to either component failure or system-related failure) have resulted in degradation of the safety margins. The regulator gave the airline three weeks to respond to the notice.

On July 5, a SpiceJet freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata as the pilots realised after the take-off that its weather radar was not working.

SpiceJet planes were involved in at least eight technical malfunction incidents in the 18 days starting June 19

ALSO READ - The turbulence continues for SpiceJet with recent incidents on its Dubai and Mumbai bound flights

On July 5 itself, the airline’s Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning fuel indicator and its Kandla-Mumbai flight did priority landing in Maharashtra’s capital city after cracks developed on its windshield mid-air.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet flight makes emergency landing after smoke detected inside cabin

On July 2, a SpiceJet flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at an altitude of around 5,000 feet. Fuselage door warnings lit up on two separate SpiceJet planes while taking off on June 24 and June 25, forcing the aircraft to abandon their journeys and return.

Just three days after issuing the notice, the regulator started conducting spot checks on SpiceJet planes

ALSO READ - 2 SpiceJet flights abort take-off following fuselage door warnings

On June 19, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft carrying 185 passengers caught fire soon after it took off from the Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. The engine malfunctioned because of a bird hit.

In another incident on June 19, a SpiceJet flight for Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurisation issues.

The DGCA had on July 19 started a 2-month-long special audit of all Indian carriers after its spot checks earlier this month found that insufficient and unqualified engineering personnel are certifying carriers' planes before their departure.

The DGCA had on July 19 started a 2-month-long special audit of all Indian carriers after its spot checks earlier this month

Singh also said that a “financial assessment of SpiceJet carried out in September 2021 had revealed that the airline was operating on ‘cash & carry’ and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid regularly leading to a shortage of spares and frequent invoking of minimum equipment lists (MELs).”

A MEL is a list of certified equipment issued by the DGCA before flying. A certified aircraft maintenance engineer (AME), however, is allowed to release an aircraft for flying if certain listed equipment is not available.

Planes of other airlines have also been involved in technical malfunction incidents during the last 45 days. The DGCA has carried out a regulatory audit of Vistara, Bluedart, IndiGo, and SpiceJet as per the published Annual Surveillance Programme (ASP) 2022, including a special safety audit of Alliance Air.

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A new technology that could be the next game-changer in mitigating bird strikes - FAA


26 Jul 2022

Wildlife and bird strikes on the ground and in the air are an ever-looming threat to airfield personnel and can occur at any point, from takeoff to landing, resulting in damage to aircraft windshields, engines, and fuselages.

Engine ingestions may result in the sudden loss of power or engine failure while windshield strikes have the potential of causing confusion and disorientation in pilots while exacerbating the loss of communications and aircraft control problems.

Representative | Scarecrow Group

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) reports show a 97.5% of wildlife strikes involve birds. Terrestrial mammals account for 2.1% of strikes, followed by bats and reptiles at 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.

The FAA wildlife strike database reports that approximately 63% of bird strikes happen during the day, 8% at the hours of dawn and dusk, and 29% at night. The landing phases of flight are when 61% of bird strikes occur, and the take-off run and climb phases are when 36% of strikes occur, with the remaining 3% occurring when the aircraft is en route.

Representative | Reader's Digest

Although these strikes can be just as dangerous, the good part is, that wildlife strikes at airports can be prevented.

How do the airports then, accomplish this?

Bangers and Screamers: Airports around the world, and particularly in the US, use pyrotechnics daily to drive the birds away. Bangers and screamers make a loud explosion, others make a whistling sound, while some emit sparks. Different birds respond to different things and some even take flight at the mere sight of the wildlife vehicle.

Representative | Falcon Environmental Services

The flash, bang kind of stuff immediately gets their attention and pushes them awaysays Michael Begier, national co-ordinator of the airport wildlife hazards programme at the US Department of Agriculture

Bird distress signals are yet another effective way of repelling species that cause these problems- according to David Randell- the director of Scarecrow, which provides systems to 20-30 British airports. Speakers mounted on a car emit the sounds of up to 20 different species, operated by a driver using a tablet-style device

Representative | Changi Airport

Eliminating vegetation removes a food source for birds and deters them from settling.  Grasshoppers, gnats and armyworms attract rodents which in turn attract raptors.

The aircraft lights could be used to increase their visibility to birds. The idea is to manipulate the characteristics of the light by varying the pulse rates and wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum and tune these changes to specific bird species. The lights would provide an earlier warning so the birds can detect and avoid the aircraft. Some of these changes to the light might be imperceptible to humans.

The Dutch air force is using a bird detecting radar that could eventually be adopted by civil aircraft

We've known since WWII that radar can see birds, when they were coming across the Channel and they figured it was birds and not German bomberssays Begier

Collisions of landing and departing aircraft and animals on the runway are increasing and are not just limited to rural airports.

Representative | Dreamstime

From 1988 to 2018, wildlife strikes killed more than 280 people and destroyed more than 260 aircraft globally. The annual cost of wildlife strikes is estimated at $150 million to $500 million in the United States and around the world.FAA

Reportedly, promising new research by the FAA, suggests UV lights mounted on helicopters and planes could possibly drive birds away from aircraft and danger.

The technology inverts the customary approach of pilots avoiding or manoeuvring around birds and rather, focuses on alerting the birds better so that they move out of the paths of oncoming airplanes and helicopters.


Birds have tetrachromatic colour sensitivity, which means they can see red, green, blue and ultraviolet colours. Dan Dellmyer, who is an engineer in the FAA’s Software and Systems Branch, experimented with replacing the landing lights found on most general aviation aircraft landing gear with a pulsing ultraviolet LED light that birds can detect.

The FAA tested the UV sensor on an Air Tractor 802 owned by Rodney Shelley - the owner of and pilot for his crop-dusting company Whirlwind Aviation in Fisher, Ark. The testing saw the plane fly for roughly 80 hours over several weeks subjected to various scenarios, such as takeoffs and landings with the UV light on and off, diving, and hard banking.

The Air Tractor 802 used for LED testing | FAA

With the lights on, I could circle the field … the ducks would take off and leave me alone. They wouldn’t stay in the field with me like they normally do. They would turn and go the opposite way immediately. It was pretty interesting.Shelley described

Rodney Shelley and his Air Tractor 802 | FAA

He also noticed that when the UV LED lights were turned off, the birds returned quickly.

According to Dellmyer,  the plane with the UV LED lights on was spotted from as far as 166 yards away, compared to 108 yards away without the lights on- giving the fowl plenty of time to roll out of harm's way. He also believes that the UV LED light “is the better technology now.” and additional benefits include a simple and inexpensive installation process and easy-to-do maintenance.

If the birds see that light, they will move away. I believe it actually does workDellmyer

This potentially game-changing technology is touted to significantly reduce the chances of birds striking general aviation aircraft.