Akasa Air had a 53% occupancy rate in its first month of operations

Jinen Gada

19 Sep 2022

India’s state-of-the-art Airline Akasa Air could fill 53% of its seats in August 2022. The airline started flying on 7th August with flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The airline currently has four Boeing 737 Max aircraft with 189 seats.

In August 2022, the Domestic Air Traffic grew slightly by 3% to one crore passengers in contradiction to 97 lakh domestic passengers who boarded planes in July 2022.

ALSO READ - Akasa Air operates its maiden flight from Chennai

In the last week, it added Chennai as the fifth destination to its network besides Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kochi. Sooner, it will also add Delhi to its network from next October. IndiGo, India’s largest airline, holds the largest number of passengers having a market share of 58%.

Akasa Air had a 53% occupancy rate in its first month of operations

ALSO READ - Akasa Air set to launch flights from the national capital

The DGCA data showed that Akasa Air carried 24,000 passengers on its flights in August, which gave it a 0.2 per cent market share. IndiGo is the market leader as it flew 5.83 million passengers domestically, recording a market share of 57.7 per cent.

ALSO READ - Akasa Air leads in pay hikes for pilots; raises salaries by 60%

As of August 2022, the Tata Group airlines, including Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia India, hold a 24% market share. Airlines flew with an average seat occupancy of 75 % despite August being a monsoon-heavy month impacting travel.

SpiceJet and Vistara hold the highest occupancy of around 84% of seats. Experts assume that Akasa’s load factor will increase as the airline gets surplus time to build forward load with more bookings.

The airline currently has four Boeing 737 Max aircraft with a configuration of 189 seats.

The occupancy of seats will also improve as the airline flies more on metro routes. Kapil Kaul, the CEO of South Asia of Aviation Consultancy Firm (CAPA), explained that the load factor for the industry would soon improve as the removal of cap impact on airfare will be visible.

ALSO READ - DGCA to end the airfare caps on domestic flights

From 31st August, the Government has removed the cap on airfares, and airlines have become free to charge, according to the current market rate. The Competition has reduced airfares on some routes by dropping around 20% to 25% as airlines have started selling discounted seats for specific flights, even for close-in travel.

ALSO READ - Removal of airfare caps ignites a price war among the airlines to attract fliers

Cover Image - Aerowanderer

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In what can be termed a first, women pilots to fly Chinook supply sorties


18 Sep 2022

At a time when India and China are locked in a protracted border dispute, the Indian Air Force has for the first time assigned two women combat pilots to its frontline Chinook helicopter units that are crucially supporting the army's deployments close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), including transporting light howitzers, in the northern and eastern sectors, officials familiar with the development said on Friday.

Before being transferred to CH-47F Chinook units headquartered in Chandigarh and Mohanbari in Assam, respectively, Squadron Leaders Parul Bhardwaj and Swati Rathore were flying the Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopters, according to one of the officers quoted above who requested anonymity.

According to a second official, piloting a Chinook is completely different from piloting a Mi-17 or any other helicopter in the IAF arsenal.

IAF Mi-17 | Representative | Hindustan Times

It’s the only tandem rotor aircraft that the air force operates and can carry out a variety of roles. The chopper has a completely unique feel, its controls are different, and flying it provides excellent exposure to helicopter pilots, men or women, operating on the front linehe said

Both Bhardwaj and Rathore had completed accomplishments on the Mi-17V5 transport helicopters they had previously flown, according to a third officer, before beginning their new postings with the "Featherweights" Chinook unit in Chandigarh and the "Mighty Talons" in Mohanbari.

Bhardwaj led the first all-female Mi-17V5 flight in 2019, while Rathore, flying a Mi-17V5 in a four-helicopter formation, made history as the first woman helicopter pilot to participate in the 2021 Republic Day flypast over Rajpath (now Kartavya Path).

As part of a broad infrastructure drive to improve military capabilities in the sensitive sector, helipads with the ability to fly Chinooks are being built in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh for faster deployment of personnel and weapons.

M777 ultra-light howitzer | India Today

The M777 ultra-light howitzer, which was bought from the US to fight the Chinese military build-up, has emerged as the centrepiece of the army's weapon deployment along the LAC, the officials said. The gun's tactical mobility gives the army numerous possibilities for a firepower boost in isolated places.

One of the most crucial missions being carried out by the two Chinook units is transporting the M777 ultra-light howitzers as an under-slung load to forwarding sites close to LAC, according to army officers with knowledge of the situation.

Representative | News18

In November 2016, India paid US $750 million for 145 howitzers. 25 howitzers from the M777 maker BAE Systems were shipped fully assembled, and the remaining guns were manufactured locally in cooperation with Mahindra Defense as part of the Modi administration's Make in India project.

Bhardwaj and Rathore have been assigned to Chinook units at a time when more doors have opened for women in the armed forces: the army has allowed them to fly helicopters, the navy is allowing them to serve on warships with their male counterparts, and they will soon begin inducting them into the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre. They are also now qualified for permanent commission in all three services. Additionally, this year saw the first-ever enrollment of female candidates at the National Defense Academy. When the IAF chose to induct women into the fighter stream in 2015, it marked one of the turning points for women in the military.

When the Chinook was required to fly from Chandigarh to Jorhat as part of an operational training job, it broke the record for the longest non-stop chopper sortie in India in April. In seven and a half hours, it covered 1,910 kilometres.

The newest helicopter in the fleet of the air force is the multi-mission Chinook, which was purchased from the US and costs about 650 crores each. 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters were introduced into India's fleet in 2019–20.


COVER: India Today

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Mohali resident wins court case over the dirty seat on a Jet Airways flight

Jinen Gada

17 Sep 2022

A Mohali resident who dragged Jet Airways to consumer court four years ago over a dirty seat on a flight has been awarded a ?15,000 compensation.

Observing that it is incumbent upon Jet Airways to keep the flight clean and tidy for the use of passengers, who pay for a comfortable, safe and hygienic travel experience, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mohali, has also directed the airline to fully refund the ?1,245 airfare, along with 7% interest from the date of flight.

Ankur Suri had booked a ticket on Jet Airways flight 9W642 to travel from Chandigarh to Mumbai on June 21, 2018.

Onboarding a Jet Airways flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai, the Mohali resident had found his seat littered with food and garbage.

On arriving at his seat in the aircraft, he found the seat had rice and other food particles scattered all over, and the table tray also had oil stains. The floor was littered with used tissues and cutlery, and garbage was lining the rug along the cabin’s wall. Besides, the window glass had hair stuck on it.

In his complaint, Suri contended that he brought the matter to the knowledge of the cabin crew and also filed a written complaint with the cabin supervisor, but they claimed cleaning/sanitising the cabin was not their responsibility and that they will escalate this complaint to the department concerned.

As a result, he was forced to sit in a dirty seat throughout the 2.5-hour journey. Later, he also brought his grievance to the notice of Jet Airways Customer Care via email but got no relief.

As no one appeared before the commission from Jet Airways, it proceeded against ex parte.

Subsequently, he took up the matter with Jet Airways’ Appellate Authority, seeking a full refund, but he was only offered partial compensation in the form of 5,000 Jet Privilege Points, whereas he had incurred a cost of ?1,245 and 9,500 Jet Privilege Points for booking the ticket. His subsequent requests for a full refund were denied.

Pronouncing the order in Suri’s favour, commission president Sanjiv Dutt Sharma ordered a full refund of ?1,245 with interest at the rate of 7% per annum from the date of flight, along with ?15,000 as compensation for mental agony, harassment and litigation costs.

(With Inputs from Hindustan Times)

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AN-32 of IAF to fly on blended biodiesel for 200 hours

Jinen Gada

17 Sep 2022

In a significant move, the fleet of AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10 per cent bio-jet fuel.

This move comes as a part of efforts to reduce carbon footprint, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to fly an AN-32 transport aircraft modified to operate on 10% blended biodiesel for 200 hours in the next six months, said Air Vice Marshal (AVM) S.K. Jain, Assistant Chief of Air Force.

The IAF AN-32 took flight on biodiesel blended with aviation turbine fuel (ATF) for the first time in December 2018.

IAF officials said the biofuel, to be used by the AN-32 fleet, would be produced from tree-borne oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas.

Biodiesel is a domestically produced, clean-burning, renewable substitute for petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel as a vehicle fuel increases energy security, improves air quality and the environment, and provides safety benefits.

"So far an AN-32 has flown 65 hours with a 10% blend of biofuel and the performance has been very satisfactory.The target is to fly 200 flight hours, which should happen within the next six months"AVM Jain said at a seminar.

An aviation biofuel or bio-jet-fuel or bio-aviation fuel (BAF) is a biofuel used to power aircraft and is said to be a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The International Air Transport Association (IATA) considers it a key element in reducing the carbon footprint within the environmental impact of aviation.

On the way forward, AVM Jain added that there was scope for increasing the blend ratio to 50-50% and also stressed the need for mass production of biodiesel.

Aviation biofuel could help decarbonize medium- and long-haul air travel generating most emissions, and could extend the life of older aircraft types by lowering their carbon footprint.

The global aviation industry, both civil and military, is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases which cause global warming. It is imperative that the industry finds ways to reduce its carbon footprint for global efforts to achieve 'net zero emissions' to be successful.

ALSO READ - HAL signs contract with Honeywell for 88 engines for HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft

A second aircraft, a Dornier, is currently undergoing ground tests after which it will undertake its first flight. The Dornier had been cleared by the original engine manufacturer of the engine, Honeywell, for use of 50% biofuel.

The plan is eventually to expand the usage of aviation turbine fuel blended with biodiesel to all fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft through evaluation and certification. Such usage has the dual benefit of reducing carbon footprint as well as reducing the usage of fossil fuels, which will also result in savings for the IAF.

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Boeing looking for new buyers for Chinese rejected B737 MAXs

Jinen Gada

17 Sep 2022

Boeing officials said on Thursday that they will find new buyers for Boeing 737 Max jets that were built for Chinese airlines but can't be delivered because China's aviation regulator has not cleared the plane to fly after two deadly crashes.

Boeing hopes the move will reduce its inventory of undelivered Max jets, which built up while the planes were grounded around the world.

However, the decision risks adding to the tension between the aircraft manufacturer and China, which was once Boeing's biggest market for the Max.

Boeing had 290 undelivered 737s in inventory as of June 30, with about half of them earmarked for China, company officials said.

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft had run into regulatory trouble in different countries after a string of accidents, resulting in the aircraft being banned. Seventeen regulators in various countries had lifted the ban since then, and China was the only country still yet to budge.

Boeing's hopes were raised last December when China's aviation regulator took a major step toward letting airlines resume using the Max. In February, Chinese airlines ran flight tests.

But the Civil Aviation Administration of China has not taken the final steps to allow Max flights and deliveries to resume, which Boeing officials blame on COVID-19 lockdowns. China is the last major market where the Max is still awaiting approval to fly.

Boeing expects the commercial aviation services market in China is worth USD 1.8 trillion.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved changes Boeing made to the plane in late 2020, and regulators in Europe, Canada and Brazil have followed suit.

China is an important market for Boeing, and it estimates that Chinese airlines will likely require 8,700 new airplanes by 2040 that could be worth USD 1.47 trillion. By Boeing’s projections, Chinese demand for widebody airplanes could make up 20% of its global deliveries by 2040.

ALSO READ - Chinese airlines orders 292 Airbus A320neo aircraft

The importance of the Chinese market to Boeing was underscored in July when China's three largest airlines ordered nearly 300 planes from its European rival Airbus.

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Two aerospace companies, Two different strategies

Jinen Gada

17 Sep 2022

The Boeing and Airbus Companies are the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial and military jetliners. The companies date back to 1916 and 1969 respectively. Boeing being in operation for a long time had experienced a long period of monopoly in the manufacture of large commercial jetliners.

The companies in their attempts to outdo each other used different strategies of flight with Boeing adopting a point-to-point strategy while Airbus adopted a hub-to-hub strategy.

The Boeing Company was founded by William Boeing in 1916 in Seattle, Washington. It is an American Multinational aerospace dealing with the manufacture of commercial jetliners as well as military aircraft. The company has a market for its products and support services in 150 countries all over the world.

The end goal of both companies is to build the best and safest flying transportation possible.

On the other hand, Airbus founded on May 29, 1969, by Jean Chamant and Karl Schiller deals with the manufacture of military airlifters and commercial jetliners. The company has its headquarters in Toulouse France and other places in Germany, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. The company has sixteen sites in four European countries.

Boeing airline’s vision is “people working together as a global enterprise for aerospace leadership” while that of Airbus is the production of aerospace that are eco-efficient and environmentally friendly. The difference in the visions makes the two companies have disparities in their operation.

In the analysis of the strategies used by the two companies, Boeing point-to-point flight refers to means of flight where travellers do not change their planes during their travels. In addition, the point-to-point flight may refer to a nonstop flight from the place of origin to the destination.

Boeing Company also uses its innovation in design, manufacturing, operations and fleet support.

The connection of secondary towns by Boeing means that the passengers would take flights from their point of origin to their point of destination non-stop or else without a change of planes.

Whereas, the hub-to-hub strategy used by Airbus Company involves the change of planes or routes to take the passengers to their destination. The strategy is usually applicable in airports that do not have direct route connectivity. The passengers may change the plane or even the route to their destination.

The two strategies are very different as the point-to-point strategy creates a direct connection between the place of origin and the destination while the hub-to-hub uses airline hubs in connecting the place of origin, and the passenger intended destination.

Airbus's vision is the production of aerospace that are eco-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Point-to-point flight strategy allows connections to multiple destinations. This ensures that passengers travelling from one destination to the other use less time as they do not have to use a hub to connect to their destination. The strategy saves time as compared to the hub-to-hub strategy. The strategy is also cost-effective as it reduces the cost of flight expenses due to reduced distances.

The direct connection between the cities shortens the distance travelled. This makes the costs incurred in fuelling and other flight expenses reduce and that consequently reduces the flight charges. The other advantage of the strategy is that it is reliable and efficient to the passengers as it assures them of reaching their destination without a change of planes or travel companies.

The strategy also offers the passengers comfort during their travel. The shortening of the travel distances reduces the time spent on the flight which consequently reduces tiredness, which makes the passengers comfortable during their travel.

The release of the Boeing 787 which had a capacity of about 210 to 290 passengers increased competition.

The point-to-point strategy also helps in reducing congestion in the airports that act as airline hubs through the provision of opportunities by the strategy to bypass the hubs.

This further makes the airline hubs run effectively. Point-to-point services also give the passengers convenient schedule choices as they do not depend on the times allocated for the plane connection as in the hub-to-hub strategy.

On the other hand, the method has a drawback in that it is less efficient, especially between routes with few passengers. This causes most airlines to find it difficult in their application. Further, this causes the strategy to be only applicable to small and medium-sized airplanes.

Hub-to-hub strategy has its pros where the method is efficient for routes with few passengers. The airlines can connect and interchange the passengers, which makes the airlines use this strategy to have enough passengers for their trips. The method is thus applicable to large airplanes. This ensures that airlines reduce the cost of flight expenses thus becoming more economical.

However, the strategy has cons in that it is time-consuming. The use of hubs makes the distance travelled by the planes longer as they have to stop at different destinations. In addition, the change of planes and routes also consumes a lot of time thus making the strategy inefficient. The strategy is tiresome due to long-hour travels that make it unreliable.

The strategy is also expensive as the costs incurred by the plane such as fuels cost are huge and affect the flight charges. The strategy is also unreliable as the use of airline hubs may cause delays in case of an emergency or climatic changes at the hub point. This makes the passengers change their arrival times or even days depending on the impact of the effects.

The new model A350 had a capacity of 270-350 passengers that was mainly meant to compete with the Boeing 787.

The use of these two models led to stiff competition in the air market with Boeing concentrating on both minor and major airports while Airbus only concentrated on major airports.

The difference in airports and route concentration made Boeing a competitive advantage over its competitor as its plane model could be accommodated in many airports. The two companies also produced fuel-efficient airplanes which made both companies more competitive.

Currently, Airbus holds half of the aerospace market due to its improvement in products that are both environmental and economically friendly to the users. Similarly, in its operation in the airline industry, the company has adopted a two-way strategy to ensure they take the full competitive advantage.

The company applies both the point-to-point and hub-to-hub strategies that were made possible due to the introduction of the Airbus A380 and A350. The company uses A380 for hub-to-hub strategy and Airbus A350 for point-to-point strategy. This has helped the company to dominate the market which led to its tremendous market growth.

The Airbus A380 a double-deck airliner with a capacity of over 500 passengers brought competition to the air market, as it could carry many passengers at once.

On the other hand, Boeing holds one-third of the total aerospace market. The company’s use of one strategy has given Airbus Company the advantage to penetrate most of the markets.

Competition between the two companies helps in the advancement of the aerospace and airline industry. The companies should focus on challenging each other in the manufacturing as well as in the airline industry but ensure that they do not expose each other to risks.

The two companies being the main competitors should not view each other as a threat but should work together through innovative programs and technology advancement research that would help them to experience more growth in their field.

This will consequently ensure that the customers have quality products as well as ensure that the company's competition is healthy. The companies should also focus on making their training programs more extensive for the airline industry to help in the improvement of services and efficiency.