IndiGo plans to wet lease 10 Airbus A320 aircraft from a European carrier to tide over its engine woes and add flights in the busy winter season. IndiGo, which is the country’s largest airline by market share and fleet size, has a fleet of around 320 aircraft. This comprises a mix of Airbus and ATR planes. It also operates two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft wet-leased from Turkish Airlines. It operates over 1,800 daily flights, but its growth has been hamstrung by the grounding of around 40 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320 Neo aircraft.
IndiGo has placed the request with the aviation regular Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). IndiGo's request is under process. Necessary approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are being obtained and the planes will be inducted from the next month onwards. “With the continuous rise in travel demand, we keep evaluating all possible measures to cater to our customers’ needs,“ IndiGo said in a statement.
Under a wet lease arrangement, a lessor provides pilots, crew and engineering support to a lessee. The DGCA norms dictate conditions under which airlines can wet lease planes. Wet leases are permitted in emergencies to fill passenger capacity shortages caused by aircraft grounding. Wet leasing differs from a dry lease in that it also involves the lessor providing the crew to operate the aircraft. A dry lease involves a commercial airline taking aircraft from the leasing company for a set period but operating it with its own crew. Simple Flying has previously explained in detail the differences between a wet and a dry lease.
To be sure, IndiGo already has two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on a wet lease from Turkish Airlines and uses them on the Istanbul route. The two airlines also have an extensive code-share agreement and connect passengers on each others’ networks. IndiGo has, in the past, wet-leased Airbus A320 aircraft too. In 2017, it had wet-leased planes from Small Planet Airlines from Lithuania citing aircraft delivery delays. Rival carrier SpiceJet, too, took planes from Correndon Airlines from Turkey on a wet lease this year.
IndiGo's Previous Aircraft Orders
This comes shortly after IndiGo entered a leasing agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Airbus A320neo aircraft that are also expected to join its fleet in 2023. This was followed by the carrier adding 10 more A320s to its 2019 order of 300 planes with Airbus. IndiGo in 2019 had placed a record order of over 300 Airbus A320 NEO family aircraft worth around USD 33 billion at notional catalogue prices with France's Airbus. Notably, the delay in delivery of the A320 NEO family aircraft has been due to issues with Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines.
In June this year, IndiGo signed a massive order of 500 aircraft with Airbus at the Paris Air Show. The order book comprises a mix of A320NEO, A321NEO and A321XLR aircraft. The airline now has almost 1000 aircraft on order which are to be delivered by 2035. The order was touted as not only IndiGo's largest order but also the largest-ever single aircraft purchase by any airline with Airbus.
IndiGo operates over 300 aircraft and has previous orders totalling 480 aircraft which are yet to be delivered by the end of this decade. With the additional firm order of 500 aircraft for 2030-2035, IndiGo’s order book has almost 1,000 aircraft yet to be delivered well into the next decade. With the A320 NEO aircraft, IndiGo aims to push its fuel efficiency and sustainability goals. The airline company has also said that the A320 NEO aircraft will aid in lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability.
According to reports, IndiGo is also in talks with OEMs to add 20 widebody aircraft to its fleet. IndiGo currently flies to eight domestic and 32 international destinations with over 1,900 daily flights. The airline has several aircraft grounded due to Pratt and Whitney engine issues.
The Sri Lankan government is actively exploring options for the privatisation of SriLankan Airlines and is engaging in talks with various private entities and airlines. Among the potential investors are well-known names such as Emirates, Tata Sons, and the Adani Group. Veeraperumal Ravindran, the carrier's regional manager for India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, revealed this information during an interview with The New Indian Express, aimed at increasing the airline's presence in the Indian state of Kerala.
SriLankan Airlines plans to enhance its services between Colombo and Thiruvananthapuram during the upcoming winter schedules, increasing from six times to seven times weekly. Additionally, it intends to maintain its 10 times weekly frequencies to Kochi International and explore new flight routes to Kozhikode due to available aircraft. According to the report, Ravindran noted a significant increase in traffic from India to Sri Lanka in the past seven months, signalling a positive trend for the airline, as Sri Lanka's situation gradually returns to normalcy. However, Ravindran provided no further details about the ongoing privatisation discussions.
The Potential Investors
Tata Sons, the parent company of Air India, Air India Express, Vistara, and AirAsia India, has long been considered a potential investor in Sri Lanka's state-owned carrier. In contrast, the involvement of the Adani Group is a recent development. Group chairman Gautam Adani held discussions with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the president's two-day visit to India in July, focusing on multiple projects within Sri Lanka. While the meeting encompassed various initiatives, there was no mention of the airline at the time.
Emirates' history with SriLankan Airlines dates back to 1998 when it acquired a 43.63% stake in the carrier, along with a ten-year management concession. However, a falling out between Emirates-installed executives and the Sri Lankan government led to Emirates choosing not to renew its contract in 2008. The airline subsequently divested its shares to Colombo in 2010, and efforts to find a strategic investor since then have been unsuccessful.
Sri Lanka's commitment to privatise loss-making SriLankan Airlines, as pledged by then-Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in May 2022, aimed to shift the burden of restructuring the airline, including addressing its high legacy debt servicing costs, to private investors instead of relying on state finances, as stated by the report. The initial focus will be on restructuring the carrier's balance sheet with the subsequent sale of the airline. In early July, Sri Lanka's civil aviation minister, Nimal Siripala, emphasised the completion of the airline's restructuring within six months.
Trouble for the Airline
SriLankan Airlines has been facing financial troubles for several years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the airline's difficulties, resulting in reduced operations and increased losses. Therefore, the privatization of the national carrier is seen as a viable option to restore its financial health and ensure long-term sustainability. The takeover of SriLankan Airlines by Tata Group, Adani Group, or Emirates would bring both advantages and challenges. It would inject much-needed capital into the airline, enabling fleet expansion and infrastructure upgrades. Additionally, the new owners could leverage their global networks to enhance SriLankan Airlines' connectivity and increase passenger traffic.
However, there are concerns about the potential loss of local control and influence over the airline's operations if it falls into foreign hands. These concerns must be carefully addressed to ensure that the airline's operations continue to benefit Sri Lanka's economy and tourism industry.
SriLankan had forecasted an aircraft shortage factoring in scheduled lease expirations, but the actual shortage was worsened by several unforeseen events. This includes the prolonged time being taken to complete annual 'C' checks on two SriLankan Airlines aircraft due to the unavailability of components locally and the ongoing short supply of engines for Airbus A320neo aircraft in the global marketplace, the latter of which has caused 350 aircraft to be grounded worldwide. The airline also had to delay the procurement process for new leases, due last year, given the country's economic situation. The two aircraft undergoing 'C' checks will finally return to operations next week. The month of July bought more positive changes in the way of a short-term lease extension for an aircraft that was supposed to be returned, four replacement engines for Airbus A320 neo aircraft on the ground and the arrival of a newly leased Airbus A330, all of which would bump the SriLankanAirlines' fleet to about 20 aircraft.
About the Carrier
The airline’s hub is located at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, providing convenient connections to its global route network of 112 destinations in 58 countries. SriLankan Airlines has a global workforce of approximately 6,000 employees based in Sri Lanka and abroad. The airline has training programmes in all aviation-related fields to cater to its own expansion and the constant need to replace its staff as they are in high demand in the aviation sector. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the airline employed 320 pilots for its fleet of 27 aircraft. Currently, there are 257 pilots, which is sufficient to meet the operational needs of the reduced fleet and maintain compliance with global standards for crew flying hours.
Sri Lanka’s national carrier flies to about 35 destinations across different regions including 10 cities in India, most of the major Gulf cities, London, Paris and Frankfurt. It serves Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, China, Japan, Sydney Melbourne, Australia and Maldives in the East. The national airline has been also asked to increase its fleet to its pre-Covid-19 level of 27, from its current number of 23. It is currently looking at leasing five A320s and a similar number of A330s.
SriLankan Airlines presently flies to the Indian airports of Bangalore International, Chennai, Delhi International, Hyderabad International, Kochi International, Madurai, Mumbai International, Thiruvananthapuram, and Tiruchirapally from its Colombo hub. Based on seat availability data, SriLankan Airlines currently commands a 63.21% market share on the country pair.
(With Inputs from The New Indian Express)
In an interview with Reuters, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary expressed his satisfaction with the strong reservation numbers for September and the upcoming months of October. His optimism is driven by the belief that a resurgence in Asian travel will play a pivotal role in maintaining high ticket prices in Europe next summer.
During his visit to Brussels, O'Leary also voiced concerns about the volatile price of oil but refrained from making any concrete predictions regarding its impact on Ryanair's profit outlook for the year. As Europe's largest airline in terms of passenger counts, Ryanair's performance remains closely watched in the aviation industry.
The Resilience of European Air Travel
A Strong Start to September
As the travel industry continues to grapple with the effects of the global pandemic, Ryanair's robust performance in reservations during September is a ray of hope. This promising trend indicates that travelers are regaining confidence in air travel, even in the face of lingering uncertainties.
Ongoing Recovery Efforts
The aviation sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic, with airlines facing unprecedented challenges. However, companies like Ryanair have been adapting and implementing strategies to facilitate recovery. This includes introducing flexible booking options and stringent safety measures to ensure passenger comfort and safety.
The Asian Factor
One key factor in Ryanair's optimism is the anticipated resurgence of Asian travel. As countries in Asia gradually reopen their borders and international travel resumes, European airlines like Ryanair expect a surge in demand for flights. This expected influx of travelers from Asia could help maintain high ticket prices in Europe, benefiting both the airline and passengers alike. O'Leary anticipates that Asian tourism to Europe will rebound to around 60% of pre-COVID levels by next summer.
Concerns about Oil Prices
An Ongoing Challenge
The price of oil has always been a critical factor for airlines, as it significantly affects operational costs. With the energy market prone to volatility, airlines must continuously monitor and adapt to changes in oil prices to ensure profitability.
Despite expressing concern about oil prices, Michael O'Leary refrained from making any predictions about how they might impact Ryanair's profit outlook for the year. This cautious approach is in line with the unpredictable nature of the energy market, which can fluctuate due to various geopolitical and economic factors. O'Leary stated that Ryanair had hedged 85% of its fuel needs until the end of its fiscal year (FY) in March 2024 to deal with oil price risk.
"We're now about 40% hedged for the first half of fiscal year 25." So, the April to September 2024 timeframe is now around 40% hedged at $74 per barrel. "We are still hedged at well below current spot prices," he added.
"We will remain concerned...." Air transport in Asia is rapidly improving. This should also assist with traffic in Europe during the summer of 2024. But it will very certainly increase demand for jet oil," he warned.
The Significance of Ryanair
Europe's Leading Airline
Ryanair's status as Europe's largest airline by passenger counts underscores its influence on the continent's air travel industry. The company's performance and strategies set the tone for the entire European aviation sector.
A Strong Focus on Innovation
Throughout its history, Ryanair has been known for its innovative approach to air travel. Whether it's pioneering the low-cost carrier model or embracing digital technologies, the airline consistently seeks ways to enhance the passenger experience and maintain its competitive edge.
"We're very pleased with the strength of bookings into September and October," said O'Leary. "We're on track to get to about 183 (million)-184 million passengers... so we're continuing to run about 20-23% ahead of our pre-COVID numbers."
"In August, we had a 96% load factor and carried 18.9 million passengers." We would have reached 19 million if it wasn't for the UK ATC failure." O'Leary remarked, alluding to an air traffic control meltdown in late August. A load factor of 96% indicates that 4% of seats were not occupied throughout the month.
In conclusion, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary's optimism about the strength of reservations for September and beyond is a positive sign for the European aviation industry. While challenges persist, the anticipated resurgence of Asian travel and Ryanair's ongoing efforts to adapt and innovate should help maintain high ticket prices next summer. However, the unpredictable nature of oil prices adds an element of uncertainty to the airline's profit outlook for the year.
With Inputs from Reuters
In the world of aviation, the Airbus A380 has always been a symbol of luxury, comfort, and innovation. Singapore Airlines, a renowned carrier in the industry, has a fleet of various aircraft for its extensive network of flights, including destinations in India such as New Delhi and Mumbai.
However, for a brief period, the iconic A380 was temporarily replaced by the Boeing 777 on flights to Mumbai. But as of this month, there's exciting news for aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike - the double-decker giant, the Airbus A380, is set to make a triumphant return to the Singapore-Mumbai-Singapore route.
The Airbus A380: A Marvel of Modern Aviation
Before we delve into the details of Singapore Airlines' aircraft shuffle, let's take a moment to appreciate the marvel that is the Airbus A380. This colossal plane is the largest passenger aircraft globally, with its unmistakable double-decker design, spacious cabins, and state-of-the-art amenities. It's a favorite among travelers seeking unparalleled luxury and comfort during their long-haul journeys.
Singapore Airlines: A Leader in Aviation Excellence
Singapore Airlines has long been synonymous with excellence in the aviation industry. With a reputation for top-notch service, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to passenger satisfaction, it's no wonder that the airline boasts a loyal customer base worldwide.
An Unusual Pattern
This year, Singapore Airlines' (SIA) Airbus A380 service to Mumbai has followed a peculiar trend. To begin, the airline operates two daily flights to Mumbai, one with an Airbus A350 and the other with an A380 (currently flight SQ424 from Singapore to Mumbai), with an extra A350 service every Friday and Saturday.
According to Cirium data, the airline operated a daily A380 service between the two destinations from January to May. But that began to change in June, when a Boeing 777-300ER performed nearly half of those excursions.
For operational reasons known only to Singapore Airlines, the 777 had completely replaced the A380 by July, and this trend continued in August. Fans of the A380, on the other hand, didn't have to wait long as the airline reintroduced the superjumbo to Mumbai on September 1st after a two-month hiatus. According to data, the A380 will continue to service Mumbai for at least another year.
The Boeing 777 Interlude
Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines made a temporary change in its aircraft lineup for flights to Mumbai. The Boeing 777, another impressive aircraft in its own right, took the reins for a few months. While the Boeing 777 offers a comfortable and efficient travel experience, passengers who had grown fond of the A380 were eager to see its return.
The Much-Anticipated Comeback
Aviation enthusiasts and travelers on the Singapore-Mumbai route can rejoice as Singapore Airlines announces the return of the Airbus A380. Starting this month, passengers will once again have the opportunity to experience the grandeur of this superjumbo on their journeys to and from Mumbai.
Why the Airbus A380?
Unmatched Comfort: The Airbus A380 is renowned for its spacious cabins and comfortable seating arrangements, providing passengers with ample room to stretch out and relax during their long-haul flights.
Luxurious Amenities: From elegant in-flight dining to cutting-edge entertainment systems, the A380 offers a range of luxurious amenities to make your journey truly memorable.
Enhanced Privacy: The A380's layout allows for enhanced privacy, making it an excellent choice for both business travelers and those seeking a peaceful travel experience.
Eco-Friendly Initiatives: Singapore Airlines has implemented eco-friendly measures onboard the A380, making it a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious travelers.
What Passengers Can Expect
As the Airbus A380 returns to the Singapore-Mumbai-Singapore route, passengers can look forward to:
- Spacious and comfortable cabins with ample legroom.
- A wide selection of delectable in-flight dining options.
- Cutting-edge entertainment systems to keep passengers entertained throughout their journey.
- The option to choose from various travel classes to suit their preferences and budget.
The return of the Airbus A380 to Singapore Airlines' Mumbai route is undoubtedly a cause for celebration. The blend of luxury, comfort, and efficiency that the A380 brings is sure to enhance the travel experience for passengers on this route. So, whether you're a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first long-haul journey, prepare for an unforgettable experience aboard the iconic Airbus A380.
In today's fast-paced world, where travel is not just a luxury but a necessity, airlines are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance the passenger experience. One such recent development in the aviation industry is the collaboration between Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited and Air India. This strategic partnership promises to offer travelers a seamless journey, connecting them to a multitude of captivating destinations across Southeast Asia.
The Genesis of the Collaboration
A New Horizon in Air Travel
The collaboration between Bangkok Airways and Air India marks a significant milestone in the aviation industry. It brings together two esteemed carriers, each with its own unique strengths and extensive route networks. This partnership aims to capitalize on these strengths to provide passengers with more options and a smoother travel experience.
Air India, with its vast network of international flights, connects travelers to destinations worldwide. Bangkok Airways, on the other hand, specializes in offering convenient access to picturesque locations in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. This collaboration opens up new horizons for both carriers and their passengers.
Inter Airline Through Check-In (IATCI)
One of the standout features of this collaboration is the implementation of Inter Airline Through Check-In (IATCI). This innovative service allows passengers to obtain their boarding passes at the very first point of departure, even if their journey involves multiple airlines. Gone are the days of waiting in long queues for check-in; now, passengers can seamlessly obtain their boarding passes, making the travel experience much more efficient and hassle-free.
Hassle-Free Baggage Handling
In addition to the convenience of IATCI, Bangkok Airways and Air India have come together to offer another remarkable benefit to passengers. With this collaboration, travelers can have their baggage checked-in through to their final destination. No more worrying about lugging heavy bags from one airport to another. This service simplifies the entire process, ensuring that your luggage reaches your destination effortlessly.
Unlocking New Possibilities
Special Prorate Agreement
Beyond the convenience of IATCI and hassle-free baggage handling, Bangkok Airways and Air India have entered into a Special Prorate Agreement. This agreement paves the way for both carriers to offer 'through fares' on routes that span their extensive networks. Passengers can now book single tickets for journeys that involve connecting flights with these two airlines, simplifying the booking process and potentially saving money.
A Seamless Journey
Imagine booking a flight from a bustling city like New Delhi to the serene shores of Phuket. With this collaboration, it becomes a reality. Air India's connectivity combined with Bangkok Airways' expertise in the region creates a seamless journey for travelers. Whether you're exploring the vibrant streets of Bangkok, the historic temples of Luang Prabang, or the stunning Angkor Wat in Cambodia, this collaboration ensures that your journey is smooth from start to finish.
"Air India is a leading global airline with a significant presence in India and around the world," remarked Mr. Chulin Kocharoen, Vice President – Network and Product Development of Bangkok Airways PLC. We are thrilled to announce an interline partnership with Air India to expand our respective route networks and provide unprecedented and convenient access to new gateways for business and leisure passengers. Furthermore, Air India passengers traveling on Bangkok Airways flights will benefit from the boutique airline's unrivalled facilities such as lounge access at available airports, in-flight meals, and much more."
"One of our strategic priorities at Air India is to offer our guests the choice of flying to more places through our own as well as an augmented global network," commented Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial & Transformation Office. We are delighted to collaborate with Bangkok Airways as part of our efforts to provide our customers with increased connectivity throughout Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations."
The interline collaboration between Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited and Air India ushers in a new era of convenience and accessibility in air travel. Passengers can now explore the rich tapestry of Southeast Asia with ease, knowing that their journey will be marked by seamless check-in processes, hassle-free baggage handling, and cost-effective 'through fares.' As these two esteemed carriers join forces, the sky's the limit for travelers seeking unforgettable adventures in this captivating region.
With Inputs from Bangkok Airways
In the world of aviation, safety and skill are vital. Pilots are the backbone of this industry, and their training plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of passengers and crew. For a 30-day period, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has reinstated the Air India (AI) authorized training organization (ATO) license. This ruling allows the airline to resume utilizing its simulators to renew pilot licenses and certifications.
The Suspension That Grounded Air India
Previously, the DGCA had suspended Air India's ATO license, thereby placing both of its simulators, both the Boeing simulator in Mumbai and the Airbus simulator in Hyderabad, out of commission.
This suspension was enacted after shortcomings were discovered during a surprise inspection. As a result of the DGCA's measures, the certification and license renewal processes for Air India pilots were suspended. Several flaws with the simulators were discovered during the surprise examination by the regulatory organization.
According to the DGCA, these included an expired quality manual for the simulators, the lack of a designated quality control officer responsible for simulator oversight, and the lack of established standard operating procedures (SOPs) for performing preventive maintenance checks on the simulators.
The Impact on Pilot Training
The suspension had a significant impact on pilot training within Air India. Pilots were unable to renew their licenses and certifications due to the unavailability of simulators. This raised concerns about the competency and readiness of the airline's pilots.
The Road to Reinstatement
Following the remediation of the issues, the DGCA has given conditional clearance for a 30-day term. An internal audit will be conducted within this time period, and the audit findings will be communicated with the DGCA, according to a regulatory body official.
Addressing Safety Concerns
One of the primary reasons for the suspension was safety concerns. It was essential to ensure that Air India's simulators met the stringent safety standards required for pilot training. The airline undertook a comprehensive review of its simulator maintenance and safety protocols.
Training Program Enhancement
Air India also took this opportunity to enhance its pilot training programs. The goal was not only to meet the minimum requirements for license renewal but to exceed them. This involved updating training modules, incorporating the latest aviation technologies, and providing additional training hours for pilots.
Benefits of Reinstatement
The reinstatement of Air India's ATO license brings forth several benefits for the airline and the aviation industry as a whole.
Pilot Competency: With access to simulators, Air India can ensure that its pilots are well-prepared and competent. This is crucial for the safety of passengers and the airline's reputation.
License Renewal Efficiency: Pilots can now renew their licenses more efficiently. The availability of simulators streamlines the certification process, reducing downtime for pilots.
Industry Reputation: Air India's commitment to safety and excellence in pilot training enhances its reputation in the aviation industry. This can attract more aspiring pilots to train with the airline.
Safety Standards: The reinstatement underscores Air India's dedication to meeting and exceeding safety standards. It sets a precedent for other airlines to prioritize safety in pilot training.
The reinstatement of Air India's ATO license is a positive development for the airline and the aviation industry. It reaffirms the importance of safety and competence in pilot training. With access to simulators, Air India can now ensure that its pilots are well-prepared to handle any situation, contributing to the overall safety and reliability of air travel.
With Inputs from Aviation A2Z