DGCA amends rules; airlines can no longer deny boarding to any person with disability

Radhika Bansal

04 Jun 2022

If an airline feels a specially-abled passenger's health is likely to deteriorate during a flight, it must consult a doctor at the airport and take an "appropriate call" on whether boarding should be denied to the flyer or not, the draft rules issued by the DGCA said on Friday, June 3.

The proposal to issue new rules has come just six days after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said it has imposed a fine of INR 5 lakh on IndiGo airline for denying boarding to a specially-abled child at Ranchi airport on May 7.

ALSO READ - IndiGo penalised INR 5 lakh for refusing to board a specially-abled child

IndiGo had on May 9 said the boy was denied permission to board the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight as he was visibly in panic.

IndiGo had on May 9 said the boy was denied permission to board the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight as he was visibly in panic. After the boy was prohibited from boarding, his parents also decided not to enter the plane.

ALSO READ - DGCA finds Indigo at fault after not allowing specially-abled child onboard

The regulator had on May 28 said that to avoid such situations in the future, it would revisit its regulations, making it mandatory for airlines to take the airport doctor's written opinion on the health of a passenger before deciding to deny boarding.

"Airline shall not refuse carriage of any person based on disability. However, in case, an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a doctor who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not. After obtaining the medical opinion, the airline shall take the appropriate call."DGCA

The current clause on a standalone basis says that airlines can refuse carriage to any person on basis of disability if it opined that “transportation of such persons would or might be inimical to the safety of flight”. In such a case, airlines are bound to specify in writing the basis of such refusal.

The regulator has asked the public to send in their comments about the draft rules by July 2, after which it will issue the final rules.

DGCA amends rules; airlines can no longer deny boarding to any person with a disability

IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had on May 9 expressed regret over the incident and offered to buy an electric wheelchair for the specially-abled child. Dutta had said the airline staff took the best possible decision under difficult circumstances.

Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had on May 9 said on Twitter that no human being should have to go through this and he was investigating the Ranchi incident.

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Noida International Airport to be built by Tata Projects

Radhika Bansal

03 Jun 2022

Infrastructure major Tata Projects has won the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the greenfield Noida International Airport in Jewar.

The Yamuna International Airport Pvt Ltd (YIAPL) - the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to develop the Noida airport, selected Tata Projects from three shortlisted teams with experience in the design, procurement, and construction of large infra projects.

The Government of Uttar Pradesh had signed the concession agreement with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL)- which has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)- on October 7, 2020, to begin the development of the Noida International Airport (NIA) at Jewar.

Tata Projects has won the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the greenfield Noida International Airport in Jewar.

ALSO READ - SBI loan to kick off Noida International Airport dream

The project is being developed as a public-private partnership between Zurich Airport and Uttar Pradesh government. Zurich Airport is investing INR 5,700 crore for phase I and has tied up around INR 3,725 crore in debt from the State Bank of India for the project.

ALSO READ - Tata Projects shortlisted to build various airside and landside facilities at Noida Airport

With the contract for the Noida airport, Tata Projects beat L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji for its only second airport project after Allahabad which is built in a record time of 11 months. The first phase of Noida Airport is expected to be ready in about two years.

Noida International Airport to be built by Tata Projects

Tata Projects will construct the terminal, runway, airside infrastructure, roads, utilities, landside facilities and other ancillary buildings at Noida International Airport.

The passenger terminal will comprise parameters such as short and efficient passenger flows, digital services, and minimal environmental impact. Noida airport will be a digital airport in India, enabling contactless travel and personalized services for families, senior citizens, and business travellers.

"Tata Projects will work closely with YIAPL to deliver India’s most advanced and environment-friendly airport on time. We shall deploy the latest technologies in its construction while meeting the highest standards of quality, safety, and sustainability. We are proud to be entrusted the EPC works for the greenfield Noida International Airport at Jewar."Vinayak Pai, CEO and MD Designate, Tata Projects Ltd

Noida airport's design pivots on sustainable development and it will be the country's first net-zero emissions airport.

The airport will be designed and developed keeping in mind the requirements of green infrastructures such as IGBC certified buildings, rainwater harvesting, zero liquid discharge sewage treatment plant, and waste management facility amongst others.

"With the award of this EPC contract, our project enters the next phase, which will witness a rapid increase in the pace of construction activities on site. Together with Tata Projects, we’re working to deliver a passenger terminal, runway, and other airport infrastructure with a capacity of 12 million passengers annually, by 2024."Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Yamuna International Airport Pvt Ltd. (YIAPL)

Meanwhile, other notable works of Tata Projects include the New Parliament Building, Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, multiple stretches of Dedicated Freight Corridors, and Metro Rail Lines across cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Chennai.

Currently, much of India’s private airport expansion is being undertaken by Larsen & Toubro’s arm L&T Construction, which has built Delhi’s Terminal-3, Mumbai’s Terminal-2, and the Kannur International Airport, in addition to doing airport expansion works in various cities like New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad. The company has also received the contract to build the Greenfield airport at Navi Mumbai.

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Alliance Air launches flights between Dibrugarh and Tezu

Radhika Bansal

03 Jun 2022

Marking the start of commercial operations, a Dornier 228 aircraft operated by Alliance Air landed at Tezu airport in the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday, June 2.

The 17-seater aircraft, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics took around 20 minutes to reach Tezu from Dibrugarh in Assam. The cost of the ticket is INR 1,600.

"We extend our deep gratitude to the government for bringing Tezu on the aviation map of the country, which will benefit the people immensely during medical emergencies, besides promoting tourism," said Ojimso Tayeng, who along with his wife, were the only passengers on the maiden flight.


Captain TS Negi and Flying Officer Nishit Tare said that air connectivity is getting a new boost in the Northeast and the economy of the state would witness significant growth.

"Tezu and adjoining districts have tremendous tourism potentials, which will receive a major boost with air connectivity," Captain TS Negi said. The flight service would be available three days a week -- Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

ALSO READ - Alliance Air’s made-in-India Dornier 228 makes its first commercial flight

On April 12 this year, Alliance Air's first flight landed at Pasighat in East Siang district where Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia and Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju were received by Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

Alliance Air said it took delivery of the first made-in-India Dornier 228 plane on April 7 to facilitate connectivity within the north-eastern states.

ALSO READ – Alliance Air receives the first made-in-India civilian aircraft – Dornier 228

Alliance Air said it took delivery of the first made-in-India Dornier 228 plane on April 7 to facilitate connectivity within the north-eastern states.

HAL describes Dornier 228 as “a highly versatile multi-purpose light transport aircraft.” It also notes that the aircraft has been developed to meet requirements like utility and commuter transport, third level services and air-taxi operations, coast guard duties and maritime surveillance.

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Virgin Atlantic launches second daily flight from Delhi to London Heathrow

Radhika Bansal

03 Jun 2022

Virgin Atlantic has launched its second daily service from Delhi to London Heathrow that will also offer customers seamless connectivity to a few destinations in the US, such as New York, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the airline said on Thursday, June 2.

The airline, in a statement, said it will be offering 1,00,000 additional seats this year with the launch of its second daily Delhi to London Heathrow service.

Virgin Atlantic launches second daily flight from Delhi to London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has deployed its 258-seater Boeing B787-9, comprising 31 upper-class seats, 35 premium and the remaining 192 economy delight, classic and light seats, the British carrier said.

"This year is our largest ever flying programme from India and reflects the strong demand for our flights. We will be offering 1,00,000 additional seats this year with the launch of our second daily Delhi to London Heathrow service, and we have strong bookings for the coming months.”Liezl Gericke, Head of Middle East, Africa, and South Asia at Virgin Atlantic.

The additional daily connection from Delhi to London Heathrow offers more choice than ever, benefiting both business and leisure travellers, the airline said.

Virgin Atlantic is one of Britain’s major international airlines, headquartered in Crawley, United Kingdom.

Virgin Atlantic has deployed its 258-seater Boeing B787-9 on this route.

Virgin Atlantic operates a network of international services to North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia from its hub at London Heathrow. It is owned by the Virgin Group (51%) and Delta Air Lines (49%).

Apart from Virgin Atlantic, Tata group-owned Air India and Vistara and British Airways offer nonstop service between New Delhi to London Heathrow. Both Air India and Vistara deploy their B787 whereas British Airways deploys B777 on this route.

Images - Wikimedia Commons

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Keeping up with the need for speed, here's what we know about the "Darkstar" featured in Top Gun: Maverick


03 Jun 2022

Anybody who has seen the trailer, or the movie by now, will recall Tom Cruise's Capt. Pete Mitchell taking an experimental hypersonic plane dubbed “The Darkstar”, on an unauthorized test run, whizzing past a lonely guard post on the desert floor.

Lockheed Martin

When the footage first surfaced online, it got all the avgeeks racking their brains with many guessing it to be the legendary SR-71 Blackbird which was once dubbed as “the fastest plane ever", to others commenting it could be the hypersonic SR-72-the Blackbird’s rumoured descendant, also dubbed as the "Son of Blackbird".

SR-71 Blackbird | Wikipedia

Reportedly, and as mentioned on the Lockheed Martin website, when the Top Gun: Maverick team was looking to push the envelope and stand true to Maverick’s Need for Speed, Skunk Works with their expertise in developing the fastest known aircraft combined with a passion and energy for defining the future of aerospace, was their first call.

Apparently, the Skunks worked with the film production team to understand their needs and then worked on the design to unveil the concept of "Darkstar" to the world in the film. 

The story behind how Top Gun: Maverick’s Darkstar was brought to life

Representative | Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin had previously said Skunk Works was directly involved in the creation of "Darkstar"- a fictitious design. According to Skunk Works, the Darkstar isn’t necessarily real, but the capabilities depicted are not necessarily “mere fiction” either.

The official website of Lockheed Martin features three brief video interviews with individuals who helped bring the Darkstar to the big screen.


Lockheed Martin

Most of the stuff I work on, I can't talk about. The first thing you draw may not be the right answer. The 10th thing you've drawn may not be the right answer. And so you have to be willing to start overSays Jim who is the conceptual designer


Lockheed Martin

Lucio, a laboratory mechanic converts conceptual drawings into reality while Jason, a radio frequency engineer, oversees the procurement, assembly, and production of parts on the shop floor. Their collaboration was instrumental in developing a functional piece of art for the film- a realistic aircraft model with a working cockpit.


Lockheed Martin

As a mechanical engineer, Becky was responsible for building the Darkstar vehicle, including a forebody model with a functional cockpit. Throughout filming, she kept the model structurally sound and worthy of its pilot. 

It is interesting to note that the design of Darkstar bears an uncanny resemblance to the unmanned hypersonic SR-72. The cockpit layout zero with forwarding visibility is also something featured in the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology Aircraft (QueSST).

Lockheed Martin

With the Skunk Works expertise in developing the fastest known aircraft combined with a passion and energy for defining the future of aerospace, Darkstar’s capabilities could be more than mere fiction. They could be reality. Darkstar may not be real, but its capabilities arethe Darkstar webpage says

Darkstar | Representative | The Drive


COVER: Lockheed Martin

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Lilium's "Phoenix 2" eVTOL aircraft achieves main wing transition in air - a first in aviation


03 Jun 2022

Lilium, the eVTOL aircraft developer based in Germany, has announced that its technology demonstrator Phoenix 2 is the first-ever full-size electric jet aircraft to transition from hover to wing-borne flight-in what can be termed a landmark achievement for the company and electric aviation as a whole.


From a flight physics perspective, completing transition means the airflow going over the flaps attaches and becomes smooth, allowing the lift to be generated by the wing (as in conventional fixed-wing aircraft), rather than by the engines, which happens to be the case during the hovering phase.

Apparently, Phoenix 2 has achieved this milestone across the entire main wing while, most importantly, remaining stable and behaving as predicted by Lilium’s proprietary Flight Dynamics Model.

Representative | eVTOL news

Main wing transition is a huge step forward on our path to launch and it validates our Flight Dynamics Model.Full credit goes to the outstanding Lilium team who worked so hard to get us here, and who remain laser-focused on the rest of the Flight Test CampaignMatthias Meiner, Phoenix Chief Engineer and Lilium Co-Founder of Lilium said


"Transition" as explained by Matthias Meiner | Lilium

eVTOL aircraft need to generate lift in many different ways to operate efficiently across a diverse range and significant distances.

The aircraft features a Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (DEVT), that uses small ducted fans to gain or maintain altitude in vertical lift and hover configuration. Hence, when in forward flight mode, it would function as a conventional aircraft, saving power and relying on its carefully engineered wings to generate lift instead. Additionally, the DEVT enhances performance by keeping drag at a minimum.

Front view 3D render of the compact engine integration of Lilium’s ducted electric vectored thrust (DEVT) concept | Lilium

The transition between hover mode and forward flight is a key function of the overall operation and this is exactly what Lilium has demonstrated using its Phoenix 2 demonstrator.

According to Lilium, this makes the aircraft, the first-ever full-sized electric jet to transition from hover to wing-borne flight. Furthermore, the company will focus on transitioning the forward canards, as a part of its continued test programs in the upcoming months.

An improved acoustic profile featuring a footprint that is approximately 10-15x smaller compared to an open rotor eVTOL competitor aircraft gives it a lower noise level prediction at a distance of 100m.

Footprint comparison of a competitive open rotor concept vs. the Lilium Jet | Lilium

Lilium’s engineers collaborated with Zenlabs for over two years and concluded that its pouch cell lithium-ion batteries using high-silicon anode and high-nickel cathode offered the best solution for achieving performance, certification and scale production.