DGCA allows IndiGo to wet lease Turkish Airlines planes

Jinen Gada

28 Oct 2022

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has authorised IndiGo's request to wet-lease a wide-body Boeing aircraft from Turkish Airlines for a period of up to six months.

But the local carrier's request to lease the aircraft for a period of up to two years was rejected by the Aviation regulator.

IndiGo, the largest customer of Airbus narrowbody aircraft globally, seems to be charting a new path for itself with wide-body aircraft coming to its rescue. Since its fleet now solely consists of narrow-body aircraft, IndiGo chose to lease wide-body aircraft to expand its international flight schedule in order to satisfy growing demand.

Also read - DGCA turns down IndiGo request to wet lease Turkish planes

DGCA allows IndiGo to wet lease Turkish Airlines' Boeing planes for six months.

The DGCA turned down the request of the country's largest airline to wet lease the aircraft for a longer period, citing that the move could become diversion of traffic rights in collusion with a strong foreign carrier that will mainly feed the latter's hub abroad with more passengers from India.

Aviation regulator DGCA has allowed IndiGo to wet lease wide-body Boeing planes from Turkish Airlines for up to six months and has rejected the domestic carrier's request for leasing the aircraft for up to two years.

Also read - Is wet leasing aircraft a good choice for Indian airlines?

This move of leasing wide body planes was taken because of the slowdown of deliveries of new aircraft and supply problems of Pratt & Whitney and CFM engines causing a large number of IndiGo and Go First Airbus A320 aircraft to be grounded.

Under wet lease arrangement, planes are leased among with operating crew and engineers.

Also read - IndiGo to debut with widebody aircraft for international expansion

IndiGo, which currently has only narrow-body planes in its fleet, decided to lease wide-body aircraft to operate more flights on international routes to meet rising demand.

IndiGo has a fleet of more than 275 planes and flies to 26 international destinations. It is also the country's largest domestic airline with a market share of 57.7 per cent in September.

The government is also looking at mega aviation hubs in India and is also encouraging domestic airlines to have wide-body planes in their fleets.

Also read - Government wants airlines to induct wide-body aircraft to reduce travel time

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Delhi airport, world's 10th busiest airport

Jinen Gada

28 Oct 2022

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the 10th busiest airport in the world in terms of seat capacity and frequency of domestic and international flights as of October 2022, reported Official Airline Guide (OAG).

Following the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the aviation industry experienced a significant decline in passenger and flight traffic. The industry gradually got back to business in 2022.

In its research, aviation analytics company OAG said the Delhi airport improved from its 14th position in October 2019, before the pandemic struck. The busiest airport in the world as of October 2022 is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport having serviced 47,47,367 seats.

Aviation analytics firm OAG said Delhi airport has improved its position from 14th place in October 2019, which was the pre-pandemic time.

Dubai International is second with 41,27,704 seats, followed by Tokyo International Airport with 38,77,164 seats and Dallas Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with 37,53,858 seats.

In fifth place is the Denver airport with 37,09,394 seats, followed by London Heathrow Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport at the 7th spot and Los Angeles International Airport at the 9th position, the OAG report.

"When compared to October 2019, 6 of the Top 10 this month were also among the world’s Top 10 busiest airports then; airports which have seen their rankings rise, bringing them into the Top 10 now, are Dallas/Fort Worth (from 12th to 4th), Denver (from 20th to 5th), Istanbul (from 13th to 8th), and Delhi (from 14th to 10th)."OAG said in the report.

The Indian aviation sector is recovering after being significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that also saw scheduled international flight services remaining suspended for more than two years starting from March 2020.

DEL-DXB, one of the busiest route according to OAG.

In another report, OAG said Mumbai to Dubai and Delhi to Dubai were among the top 10 busiest international routes.

The busiest airline routes are those with the largest volume of scheduled seats during the period from October 2021 to September 2022.

“India is also seeing an increase in route capacity with two routes in the top 10, operating from Mumbai to Dubai (BOM-DXB) and Delhi to Dubai (DEL-DXB),” it said.

Also, the route between Mumbai and New York is among the largest unserved routes, which OAG defines as the routes with the largest volume of people travelling indirectly between two points.

(With inputs from HINDUSTANTIMES)

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DGCA turns down IndiGo request to wet lease Turkish planes

Jinen Gada

27 Oct 2022

A slowdown in the delivery of new aircraft is forcing Indian airlines to wet lease planes to increase capacity for the upcoming winter schedule. India’s largest airline, IndiGo, has finalised a deal to wet lease up to three Boeing 777 aircraft in order to deploy higher capacity on international routes.

IndiGo, the largest customer of Airbus narrowbody aircraft globally, seems to be charting a new path for itself with wide-body aircraft coming to its rescue.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has turned down IndiGo’s request to wet lease (hire planes with operating crew and engineers) wide body aircraft (Boeing 777) from Turkish Airlines for two years — one year extendable by the same period.

DGCA turns down IndiGo request to wet lease Turkish twin aisles for 2 years; allows for 6 months only.

The regulator is learnt to have “perceived” this request as a “diversion of traffic rights in collusion with a strong foreign carrier” that will mainly feed the latter’s hub abroad by bringing in hundreds of passengers from India on wide body aircraft, say people in the know.

A majority of these passengers will then take the foreign airline’s connecting flights from the hub to rest of the world and ditto on the way back to India. IndiGo has only single aisles in its fleet.

As a thumb rule, India allows wet or damp lease of aircraft for short periods of time to overcome sudden capacity constraints being face by desi airlines to ensure airfares don’t go through the roof for passengers.

IndiGo has been allowed to dry lease wide body aircraft by the DGCA for three months. The government has also allowed wet leasing for three months, with the option of extending it by another three months .

Bilaterals between India and Turkey allow only two flights daily between the two countries to be operated by airlines of either sides.

"Wet leasing aircraft essentially means an Indian airline is only issuing tickets for aircraft being operated by the carrier from which the planes have been taken. The entire operating crew and engineers are of the foreign airline.The Indian DGCA does not have adequate safety oversight on aircraft being operated under such an arrangement and therefore wet leasing is allowed to Indian carriers for short periods to tide over a capacity crisis.At the moment supply chain issues are leading to delays in getting not just engines, but also components. So we have allowed wet leasing for three months extendable by another three months."Said people in the know.

IndiGo has only single aisles in its fleet.

"In any case, Indian operator does not gain any meaningful experience by operating a wet leased aircraft and so it is not in larger public interest as it does not generate jobs for Indians. Lack of safety oversight on such operations is a matter of serious concern. Operations which hurt genuine wide body (Indian) carriers can’t be allowed,” they added.

Only two Tata Group airlines — Air India and Vistara — operate wide body aircraft. AI is dry leasing (hiring only aircraft that will be operated by AI crew) eight ex-Delta Boeing 777s for mounting additional US nonstops.

(With inputs from TIMES OF INDIA.)

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Delayed 787 Delivery makes vistara to cancel several flights

Jinen Gada

27 Oct 2022

Vistara has cancelled at least 14 flights connecting New Delhi with Frankfurt and Paris due to a delay in delivery of B787 aircraft, which it has leased from Irish lessor AerCap.

The B787 (also known as Dreamliner) aircraft was expected to be delivered by this time in October, but as it is still under refurbishment and maintenance processes, it will most likely be delivered some time in November, aviation industry executives said.

Vistara Cancels Several Flights To Europe Due To Delayed 787 Delivery.

Vistara had on August 6 stated that it has leased a Dreamliner and therefore, it will operate six flights every week on the New Delhi-Frankfurt route from October 30, instead of the three weekly services currently.

Moreover, the full-service carrier had said that it will operate five flights every week on the New Delhi-Paris route from October 30, instead of its two weekly flights currently. Accordingly, it opened bookings on these additional flights.

Since the leased plane has not been delivered yet, the airline has cancelled at least eight flights on the New Delhi-Frankfurt-New Delhi route and six flights on the New Delhi-Paris-New Delhi route between October 30 and November 6, the executives said.

Vistara had bought six Dreamliners from Boeing in 2018 but has received only two from the American plane-maker.

“We confirm that there has been a slight, unavoidable delay in the delivery of our third (leased) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, thereby impacting select bookings, of a few days, made for Vistara flights to/from Paris and Frankfurt.”We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers. We are in touch with them to offer various options that suit them best. Simultaneously, we are also working closely with relevant stakeholders to bring the aircraft into operations as soon as possible.”Vistara spokesperson.

Vistara had bought six Dreamliners from Boeing in 2018 but has received only two from the American plane maker. The second Dreamliner was delivered in August 2020. Since then, it has been waiting for Boeing to deliver the remaining four Dreamliners to boost its international flight operations.

Therefore, earlier this year, it had to take a Dreamliner on lease for the first time. The executives said the leased Dreamliner is currently in Abu Dhabi.

The leased Dreamliner is currently in Abu Dhabi.

Dreamliner is a wide-bodied aircraft with a bigger fuel tank that allows it to easily operate on long-haul international routes.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation regulator, had in late 2020 told Boeing to make rectifications in Dreamliner’s production line before restarting the deliveries. Approximately three months back, the FAA allowed the American plane maker to restart the deliveries of Dreamliners. However, Boeing is yet to restart the deliveries of Dreamliners to Vistara.

(With inputs from BUSINESS STANDARD)

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HAL gets enquiries for helicopters from various countries

Jinen Gada

27 Oct 2022

Several countries have shown interest in the indigenously-designed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and enquired about it during the DefExpo 2022 event, said C.B. Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

On the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1A, he said they are on track to begin deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by February 2024.

"There are lot of enquiries for helicopters. Once we get a breakthrough order, there is lot of potential for further exports."Mr. Ananthakrishnan

As per schedule, three LCA-Mk1A should be delivered in the first year and 16 aircraft per year after that in five years.

In addition to the LCA, Argentina is also interested in the LCH, while Philippines and Egypt have expressed interest in the ALH. “Argentina has been interested in the LCA and we have submitted a proposal,” he stated.

India has been giving helicopters, mostly ALH, to friendly countries in the Indian Ocean Region. The helicopter production capacity of HAL currently is 30 per year at Bengaluru and 30 at the new plant at Tumkur which can be scaled up to 60 per year when required, Mr. Ananthakrishnan explained. So we can ramp up the production rate to 90 helicopters per year, he noted.

Speaking about the deliveries of LCA-Mk1A, he said that 83 have been contracted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the trials are on track and the first delivery would be done by February 2024 while the bigger and more capable LCA-Mk2 is expected to take first flight by 2026-27.

Early September, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) give sanction for the development of the LCA-Mk2, a bigger and more capable fighter than the present one. “We will be able to deliver the first prototype in 2025-26 and have the first flight in 2026-27,” Mr. Ananthakrishnan added.

On track to begin deliveries of LCA-Mk1A to IAF by February 2024.

The CCS sanction includes a total development cost of INR 9,000 crore including the INR 2,500 crore that has already been spent. IAF has given commitment to procure six squadrons of LCA-MK2.

The LCA-Mk2 will be a heavier and much more capable aircraft than the current LCA variants and the LCA-Mk1A, 83 of which have been contracted under a INR 48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Mk2 is 1350mm longer featuring canards and can carry a payload of 6500kgs compared to 3500kgs the LCA-Mk1 can carry.

The Mk2 will be powered by the General Electric GE-414 engine which produces 98kN thrust compared to 84kN thrust of the GE-404 engine powering the LCA Mk1 and MK1A.

(With inputs from THEHINDU)

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Bird strikes on aircraft increased by 49.3% in the first 6 months of 2022

Radhika Bansal

27 Oct 2022

The DGCA, India's aviation regulator, reported that from January to July of this year, there were 49.3% more bird strikes than there were during the same period in 2021. Such incidents also decreased as operations were scaled back over the past two years.

At Indian airports, bird and animal strikes are not all that uncommon, but this year's numbers are significantly higher than last year's. The increase in air traffic is the main cause, but inadequate infrastructure and poor waste management in some cities also have a significant impact.

ALSO READ – Significant increase in bird and animal strike incidents in 2021 at Indian airports

But bird and animal strikes have increased as a result of airlines expanding their flight schedules during the post-pandemic recovery phase. According to DGCA data cited in a Business Standard report, there were 974 bird strikes in the nation between January and July of 2022.

Bird strikes on aircraft increased by 49.3% in the first 6 months of 2022

ALSO READ – Bird strikes – a serious threat in aviation

The number of incidents involving collisions with other animals increased significantly as well, going from seven in the same period last year to 23 between January and July.

The southwest summer monsoon season in India begins in June and lasts until September. It peaks at various times depending on the region. Additionally, during this time, the amount of bird activity near airports significantly increases.

ALSO READ – Bird Strikes | How common are they and what is done to prevent them?

A large portion of the issue has to do with inadequate infrastructure. Poor waste management and open drains frequently cause water logging during heavy rains in many Indian cities. More of these occurrences are brought on by waste material buildup and increased insect reproduction during the monsoon season.

Additionally, during the monsoon season, the amount of bird activity near airports significantly increases.

ALSO READ - DGCA issues new guidelines for airport operators to prevent bird strikes

The DGCA is reportedly taking steps to reduce bird strikes in the nation using a multifaceted strategy. The chief secretaries of the state governments, according to officials, have been asked to abide by the guidelines regarding bird and animal activity near the airport.

As slaughterhouses attract birds and other animals, one of the rules forbids the disposal of animal remains within a 10-kilometre radius of an airport.

Additionally, the DGCA has requested that patrols be conducted infrequently "so that the wildlife do not 'learn' or develop a tolerance for the timing of patrols." Additionally, airport staff must conduct routine patrols and surveillance to gather information on bird movements. Using this information, potential patterns and high-risk areas where more frequent patrolling is required will be found.

A bird struck the IndiGo's aircraft's first engine at a height of roughly 1,600 feet.

ALSO READ – DGCA initiates probe in turbulence at SpiceJet and IndiGo flights

A SpiceJet B737 was forced to make an emergency landing at Patna Airport in June after a bird was swallowed by one of its engines. Passengers and cabin crew both noticed sparks coming from the left engine. The aircraft continued its ascent to the designated safe circling altitude and made a successful landing.

ALSO READ - IndiGo aircraft suffers engine damage after hit by a bird; returns safely to Guwahati

An IndiGo Airbus A320neo that was operating flight 6E-6394 from Guwahati (GAU) to New Delhi (DEL) did the same on the same day, landing at the original airport. A bird struck the aircraft's first engine at a height of roughly 1,600 feet. The pilots safely made it back to Guwahati airport after declaring PAN PAN.

ALSO READ - Bengaluru-bound Akasa Air flight suffers bird strike

A recent bird strike forced an Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX headed to Bengaluru (BLR) to turn around and head back to Mumbai (BOM).

(With Inputs from Business Standard)