ATR plans to increase production in 2023

Jinen Gada

04 Apr 2023

After three difficult years due to Covid and a complex economic and geopolitical environment, ATR is set for growth in 2023. In the context of industry-wide supply chain issues, ATR delivered 25 new and 11 pre-owned aircraft in 2022. Nonetheless, the global ATR in-service fleet is now close to pre-Covid numbers with 1,200 aircraft flying, and the current backlog stands at a solid 160 aircraft. Last year saw 150 new routes created with ATR aircraft. 

As part of its commitment to decarbonization, ATR performed the first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight in history with a commercial aircraft, and its brand-new PW127XT engine was certified and entered into service. At the same time, ATR successfully advanced the development of its aircraft family, completing the first test flight of the ATR 42-600S (Short Take-Off and Landing) and launching a feasibility study for its next-generation EVO concept. These achievements showcase the commitment to connectivity, sustainability, and innovation that ATR stands for.

ATR Chief Executive Officer, Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, said: “The goal for 2023 is to maintain our position as the leading regional aircraft manufacturer, by targeting at least 40 deliveries, with the ambition to ramp up production to 80 aircraft in the coming years. With their unbeatable economics, latest technologies, and unrivaled environmental performance, ATR aircraft are what customers need to operate their routes profitably, despite inflation and energy uncertainty. What drives us is that sustainable regional aviation has the power to improve lives globally, providing vital connections to communities and economies, which translates into Gross Domestic Product increases and employment.”

Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, the company plans to capitalize on the high replacement demand – 1,500 turboprops over the next 20 years –, to tap into underserved markets such as the United States, to increase its footprint on the freighter market, and to explore new opportunities, such as corporate, governmental and humanitarian operations.

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ICAO council approves carriage of active small lithium battery-powered electronic devices in checked baggage

Radhika Bansal

04 Apr 2023

The ICAO Council has approved a new amendment addressing international instructions on the carriage of active small lithium battery-powered electronic devices in checked baggage.  Based on the revised requirement, devices powered by small lithium batteries in checked baggage can stay turned on during the flight, provided their lithium metal battery’s lithium content is less than 0.3 grams, or if its lithium-ion battery’s output is less than 2.7 Wh.  For devices with lithium batteries that exceed the above limits, the obligation to turn them off in checked baggage remains. 

The Council Decision follows on recommendations from the Air Navigation Commission and its Dangerous Goods Panel, which had advised that restrictions were unnecessary for such small lithium batteries and cells. The main reason for the restrictive restrictions is the risk of causing a fire. Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries, which are used in most electronic devices, are sensitive to mechanical damage, vibration, and high temperatures. They can evaporate or leak, increasing the risk of ignition. In addition, electronic devices can also interfere with an aircraft’s onboard systems (navigation or communications). Some electronic devices (e.g., drones) can also pose a safety risk to the flights themselves. 

Air India guidelines say that the carriage of battery cells in hand baggage for any electrical/electronic items is permissible now & will now not be removed at the security point. Batteries spare/loose, including lithium-ion cells or batteries, for portable electronic devices must be carried in carry-on baggage only. For lithium-metal batteries, the lithium metal content must not exceed 2 g, and for lithium-ion batteries, the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100 Wh. Articles that have the primary purpose as a power source, e.g., power banks, are considered spare batteries. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries.

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AAI collected INR 3,245 crore from private partners of 6 leased out airports

Radhika Bansal

04 Apr 2023

State-owned AAI has received a total amount of INR 3,245 crore till February this year from the private partners of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru airports, according to the government.These airports were awarded for operations, management and development under Public Private Partnership (PPP) for a lease period of 50 years. The airports were won by the Adani group through a competitive bidding process."Private partners of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru airports have paid approximately INR 896 crore to AAI as Per Passenger Fee (PPF) till February 2023. AAI has also received an amount of approximately INR 2,349 crore from the private partners of these six airports in the form of upfront fee towards the capital expenditure incurred by AAI at these airports," Union Minister V K Singh told Rajya Sabha on Monday.AAI collected INR 3,245 crore from private partners of 6 leased out airportsAirports at Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru were leased out in 2020 while the remaining three were leased out in 2021. Tariffs have been revised at Mangaluru and Ahmedabad airports.ALSO READ - Centre plans a 30% hike in charges for small airports; Adani-run Lucknow Airport also seeks steep hikeIn a written reply, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation also said the fees at Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur and Guwahati airports have not changed since taking over the airports by the new operator.Singh noted that till March 16 this year, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received an annual fee of more than INR 13,000 crore as revenue share from the private partners of Mumbai airport. In a separate written reply, Singh said AAI has received revenues of around INR 5,500 crore from the private partner of Delhi airport and INR 5,174 crore from Mumbai airport during the 2017-18 to 2021-22 period.To a query, the minister said that as of date, there is no plan to lease Kolkata airport under PPP.According to the minister, the Government of India (GoI) also receives 4% of the gross revenue as concession fees from the operators of Bangalore and Hyderabad airports. "So far, GoI has received an amount of approximately INR 620 crore as concession fee from these airport operators".Meanwhile, Singh said that as per the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), 25 AAI airports have been earmarked for leasing over the 2022 to 2025 period, with expected proceeds of INR 10,782 crore. Bhubaneshwar, Varanasi, Amritsar, Trichy, Indore, Raipur, Calicut, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Patna, Madurai, Surat, Ranchi and Jodhpur are among the airports. Others are Chennai, Vijayawada, Vadodara, Bhopal, Tirupati, Hubli, Imphal, Agartala, Udaipur, Dehradun and Rajahmundry."The value of proceeds from the monetisation of airports is dependent upon many factors including transaction timing, market conditions, investor appetite, transaction terms etc," the minister said.ALSO READ - 9 airports using the PPP model will see a 50% increase in revenue this fiscal year‘Govt aware of the privacy of drone use’The government in Rajya Sabha on Monday informed that it is well aware of the question of privacy regarding the use of drones for research, development and testing purposes. Informing the Upper House in a written reply, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the use of drones for research, development and testing will not breach privacy.“Such use of drone remains restricted to concerned institutions and locations within the control,” he said, adding that the government has waived the requirements of type certificate, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for operating unmanned aircraft systems for such purposes.“This provision adequately covers all offences including breach of privacy covered under the relevant laws including the Information Technology Act, 2000 which has provisions for punishment for violation of privacy. Further, Indian Penal Code (IPC) also has provisions to penalize privacy-related offences.

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SpiceJet separates its cargo arm SpiceXpress into a new entity

Radhika Bansal

04 Apr 2023

SpiceJet has completed the separation of its cargo and logistics division 'SpiceXpress' from the airline. The low-cost carrier entered into a Business Transfer Agreement with its subsidiary namely SpiceXpress and Logistics Private Limited (SXPL) for the transfer of its cargo business undertaking as a going concern, on a slump sale basis.

The hive-off which will be effective from April 1, 2023, would strengthen SpiceJet's balance sheet, wipe out a substantial portion of the airline's negative net worth and unlock significant value for SpiceJet and its shareholders.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet aggressively push for restructuring its balance sheet; expanding its fleet

According to the airline, the consideration for the slump sale will be discharged by SpiceXpress by the issuance of securities in the combination of equity shares and compulsorily convertible debentures to SpiceJet for an aggregate amount of INR 2,555.77 crore which will also strengthen the balance sheet of SpiceJet.

SpiceXpress reported a net profit of INR 51.4 crore for the April-December period of FY23. SpiceJet's cargo operations contributed to nearly 30% of its revenues in 2021-22 as revenue of INR 19,436.10 million was generated by the cargo business.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet Q3 net profit jumps 160%; shares fly high

"The separation of our cargo and logistics arm is a stepping stone in our growth story which shall unfold in the times to come. SpiceXpress will provide greater and differentiated focus to the cargo and logistics business, and will open up the possibility of raising capital to accelerate growth. The decision to hive-off SpiceXpress is in sync with our long-term business plan and will unlock significant valuation of the logistic business. Both SpiceJet and SpiceXpress have great potential and will complement each other well."

Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet

According to the Spicejet CMD, the decision to hive off SpiceXpress is in sync with the company's long-term business plan and will unlock significant valuation of the logistic business.

“The hive-off will not only enable SpiceXpress to raise cash independently, but it will also significantly reduce SpiceJet’s negative net worth. Having restructured over USD 100 million, outstanding dues to Carlyle Aviation Partner last month, the hive-off will further strengthen and deleverage our balance sheet," he said.

During the pandemic, SpiceXpress played a critical role in ensuring that vital trade routes between India and other countries remained intact. With India’s transportation system coming to a virtual halt, SpiceXpress freighters and cargo planes took to the skies every single day to ferry record supplies of relief material, medicines and medical equipment to and from wherever were required.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet to de-merge cargo arm, convert Carlyle’s debt to 7.5% equity & raise funds via QIP

In February, Carlyle Aviation Partners agreed to convert its outstanding lease rental in SpiceJet into 5% equity. The Carlyle Group firm had the largest exposure among lessors. After the conversion, Carlyle Aviation Partners' stake will be 7.5%.

ALSO READ – SpiceJet to sell 5% stake of SpiceXpress to Carlyle Aviation Partners

On Monday, shares of the airline closed at INR 31.10, up 2.8% at the National Stock Exchange. At 12.36 PM, shares of SpiceJet traded at INR 30.95 on the National Stock Exchange, up 2.31%, from Friday's close.

"The demerger, aimed at boosting the growth of its cargo business is effective April 1, 2023, and paves the way for SpiceXpress to raise funds independently," the low-cost carrier said in an exchange filing.