DGCA Seeks FDTL Implementation Timeline from Airlines

Preet Palash

11 Apr 2024

DGCA seeks FDTL implementation timeline from airlines

The move comes after court is set to hear the matter on May 8th

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked Indian airlines to "indicate" a timeline to prepare and implement the new flight duty time limitation (FDTL) norms for pilots.

The new FDTL norms were put in abeyance by the DGCA after protests by airlines. They were earlier meant to be implemented by June 1st.

In a 10th April letter addressed to SpiceJet, Air India, Vistara, Air India Express, IndiGo, Akasa Air, Alliance Air, BlueDart, and Quikjet, the DGCA asked airlines to "kindly indicate the timeline required to prepare a roadmap for implementation of revised FDTL norms and the timeline for subsequent implementation of the same."

The move by the Indian aviation regulator comes after the Delhi High Court on April 1 asked the DGCA for a tentative date for implementation of the revised duty time norms for pilots. The case will be next heard on May 8.

The new rules have sought to increase weekly rest periods for flight crew to 48 hours in a week from the previous 36 hours.

The definition of 'night' in the FDTL regulations has also been tweaked. Previously, night was defined as the time between midnight to 5 am. But now, night will cover the time between midnight to 6 am, giving flight crew an extra hour of rest during the early morning.

In the March 28 letter to the regulator, the pilot’s body Federation of Indian Pilots with 5000 members had said, “The action of the DGCA not only endangers pilot safety but also undermines the safety of passengers which the implementation of the revised CAR (Civil Aviation Requirements) could prevent. Furthermore, the health and safety of the pilots cannot be prejudiced for the commercial benefit of the operators. The latest revision by the DGCA has made the revised CAR a dead letter of the law as it has effectively granted operators and discretionary power in implementing the revised CAR”.

Three pilots have died on the job in recent months.

“It is regrettable to observe that the DGCA has chosen to disregard the representations made by the FIP. Without prior consultation with stakeholders, the DGCA proceeded to issue a revised version of the CAR on March 26. This revision eliminates the mandatory requirement for operators to implement the revised CAR before June 1. Instead, operators engaged in scheduled air transport operations are now permitted to continue operations in accordance with CAR Section 7 Series J Part III Issue III dated April 24, 2019, until the approval of their respective schemes, in alignment with the new CAR,” it said adding, “We would like to state that the latest revision by the DGCA, i.e. omitting the cutoff date for implementation and amendment to the regulations pertaining to Consecutive Night Operation, is arbitrary as it has the effect of ensuring the revised CAR is 'stillborn'. Clearly, that was not your intent as conveyed to the public at large."

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Garuda Aerospace Bags Drone Order from Isro

Preet Palash

11 Apr 2024

Garuda Aerospace bags drone order from Isro

The firm is planning to list at the stock exchanges by the end of this year

Drone manufacturer, Garuda Aerospace has bagged its first order from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its Quadcopter drones, the firm said in a statement.

This collaboration between Garuda Aerospace and ISRO marks the company's entry into the space-tech category, setting the stage for future innovations in the space sector, it added.

ISRO began sampling Garuda Aerospace’s drones in 2021 for the delivery of medicines and food supplies.  Following this, Garuda Aerospace also engaged in the sanitization of building premises with the spraying of disinfectants during COVID-19. These successful trials are pivotal to Garuda Aerospace bagging this order from ISRO for Quadcopter drones.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, CEO, and Founder of Garuda Aerospace said, “Receiving an order from the esteemed Indian Space Research Organisation marks a monumental achievement for us. It showcases our dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence. We firmly believe that Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will play a pivotal role in the space sector.  Our partnership with ISRO not only validates our credibility but also solidifies our position as industry leaders.”

He further added, “Governmental support, such as the approval of 100% Foreign Direct Investment into the space sector, presents an exciting opportunity for Garuda Aerospace. This landmark decision will not only provide crucial financial support but also pave the way for us to achieve a historic milestone of becoming the first-ever Indian drone Unicorn start-up.”

Garuda Aerospace drones can be customised to withstand atmospheric pressure and gravity. They can hence be used for surveying, mapping, and also sample collection.

The firm recently launched its border patrolling drone, Trishul. Cricketer MS Dhoni-backed company is all set to go public by the end of 2024.

The Indian drone market is expected to reach $13 billion in size by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 21% between 2022 and 2030 according to an Inc42 report.

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Korean Air to Use Ramco Systems' Software for its MRO

Preet Palash

11 Apr 2024

Korean Air to use Ramco Systems' software for its MRO

Korean Air is consolidating all engine MRO capabilities in one cluster in Unbuk.

Ramco Systems will implement its flagship aviation software, Ramco Aviation Suite at Korean Air’s Engine Maintenance Center, the firm said in a statement.

This engagement comes close on the heels of the airline announcing the construction of its new engine MRO facility in Unbuk, near Incheon International Airport, claiming to be the largest engine maintenance plant in Asia, consolidating all engine MRO capabilities into a single cluster. The airline currently conducts MRO work on six engine models, and with this expansion, Korean Air is looking to add three more engine types to its aircraft family.

The implementation of Ramco’s Aviation Software will replace multiple legacy systems to streamline operations across current engine shops and planned expansion sites. With comprehensive MRO-specific functionalities, and integrated e-publications all on a unified platform, offered as an out of the box solution, Ramco Aviation will be the technological foundation for Korean Air. In addition, the airline’s engine maintenance center will also benefit from digital enablers such as Mobility via Anywhere Apps, HUBs, Dashboards and other integrations to the ecosystem offerings, powered by Ramco, it added.

Ramco’s Engine MRO solution will cater to the current and future expansion plans of the airline, thereby strengthening the airline’s aircraft engine maintenance capabilities and solidifying its presence in the MRO segment.

Chan Woo Jung, Vice President and Head of Maintenance & Engineering Division at Korean Air, said “Airlines today are grappling with the need for efficient engine maintenance. These needs prompted us to embark on our ambitious journey to build Asia's largest engine maintenance complex and expand our capabilities to service more engine types. In our search for the best Aviation MRO Software, Ramco Aviation emerged as an ideal choice. The implementation of Ramco’s Engine MRO capabilities will help us enhance our facility's efficiency and precision and set new standards in engine maintenance, positioning us as a top MRO provider.”

Sundar Subramanian, CEO, Ramco Systems, said, “We are thrilled to join forces with Korean Air and support them in their expansion journey to emerge as the leading MRO provider, globally. Our relentless focus on building a best-in-class MRO Suite, complete with specialized Engine MRO functionalities, and bundled with cutting-edge tech stacks has truly proved to be a game-changer. We look forward to empowering Korean Air to deliver unparalleled safety and service excellence to their valued customers.”

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Air India to Start Non-Stop Service Between Delhi and Ho Chi Minh

Preet Palash

11 Apr 2024

Air India to start non-stop service between Delhi and Ho Chi Minh

Vietnam is also considering visa-free travel for Indians

Air India will start non-stop service between Delhi and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in Vietnam, starting 1st June, the airline said in a statement.

Using its two-class configured Airbus A320neo aircraft, Air India will operate on the new route at convenient times five days a week - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

"The new route will further strengthen Air India’s network of destinations in Southeast Asia, offer a new flight option to an increasing number of travellers between India and Vietnam, and open new connections for Vietnamese travellers to access Air India’s global route network. The new service will also enable convenient one-stop connections to Vietnam via Delhi for travellers from the U.S., Canada, UK, and Europe," Air India said.

Currently, Air India flies non-stop between India and four points in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket (Thailand), and Yangon (Myanmar).

Vietnam has been growing in popularity with Indian tourists.

Vietnam Airlines recently upgraded its India-Vietnam route deploying Airbus A350 aircraft in May even as the government of Vietnam is considering visa-free entry for Indian passport holders according to Economic Times.

In the first six months of 2023 over 3 lakh Indians travelled to Vietnam, nearly five times higher than the 70,000 passengers recorded in the same period last year.

Vietnam is also popular with solo travellers, according to a PTI report.

Solo travellers represented about 65 percent of visa applications for the UAE, 60 percent for Egypt, 40 percent for Singapore and 45 percent for Vietnam, according to a report by online platform for visa applications Atlys.

The report is based on visa applications submitted for processing for travelling during summer this year on Atlys platform.

When it came to group tours, around 20 percent of visa applications for such trips were for the UAE, 30 percent for Egypt, 25 percent for Singapore, and 20 percent for Vietnam, it added.

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Whistleblower Allegations Rock Boeing

Abhishek Nayar

11 Apr 2024

Boeing, the aerospace giant, faces intensified scrutiny as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigates allegations from a whistleblower regarding safety and quality concerns in the production of its 787 and 777 jets. These revelations come in the wake of a series of setbacks for Boeing, including a recent mid-air panel blowout on a 737 MAX plane, which has further tarnished its reputation. As the investigation unfolds, Boeing finds itself navigating through a storm of regulatory actions, management changes, and public skepticism.

Whistleblower Allegations and FAA Investigation

Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour's claims shed light on alleged safety compromises and quality lapses within Boeing's production processes. Salehpour asserts that he faced retaliation for raising concerns about engineering problems affecting the structural integrity of the jets. His allegations include shortcuts taken during the assembly of the 787 Dreamliner, which allegedly resulted in excessive stress on critical joints and the presence of drilling debris in over 1,000 planes. Furthermore, Salehpour highlighted issues with the production of the 777 widebody jet, where he observed misalignments being addressed through forceful methods.

The FAA, tasked with ensuring aviation safety, has initiated an investigation into these allegations. Recognizing the significance of voluntary reporting without fear of reprisal, the FAA underscores its commitment to thoroughly investigate all reports. The agency has met with the whistleblower and is expected to delve deeper into the matter to ascertain the veracity of the claims.

Boeing's Response and Ongoing Challenges

In response to the allegations, Boeing has maintained confidence in the safety and quality of its aircraft, dismissing the claims as inaccurate. The company emphasizes its comprehensive efforts to ensure the long-term safety of its planes. Nevertheless, Boeing's assurances face mounting skepticism amidst the backdrop of recent safety incidents and regulatory actions.

The aviation industry, including the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), closely monitors developments surrounding the whistleblower's allegations. While Salehpour's specific concerns remain undisclosed by the union, his case underscores broader questions about Boeing's safety culture and manufacturing practices.

Congressional Scrutiny and Legal Ramifications

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal's investigation subcommittee has scheduled a hearing to examine Boeing's safety culture, featuring testimony from Salehpour. Senator Blumenthal emphasizes the importance of holding Boeing accountable and seeks assurances from the company regarding its engineering and assembly processes. Additionally, there are calls for Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to testify at a future hearing, reflecting lawmakers' concerns over recent safety failures.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own inquiry into whether Boeing violated a 2021 settlement related to the 737 MAX crashes. Prosecutors are expected to leverage findings from the FAA's investigations to assess Boeing's compliance with the terms of the settlement.


As Boeing grapples with the fallout from whistleblower allegations and regulatory investigations, the aerospace industry watches closely. The outcome of these inquiries will not only shape Boeing's future but also impact broader perceptions of aviation safety and regulatory oversight. Amidst calls for transparency and accountability, stakeholders await the findings of the FAA and the Department of Justice, hoping for a resolution that prioritizes the safety and integrity of air travel.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Boeing's Production Woes: Delays, Quality Checks, and Regulatory Scrutiny

Abhishek Nayar

11 Apr 2024

Boeing, a stalwart in the aviation industry, has recently faced significant setbacks in its production schedule, notably with its 737 MAX series. These challenges stem from a combination of decreased output rates, intensified quality checks, and heightened regulatory scrutiny following safety incidents. Let's delve deeper into the factors contributing to Boeing's production woes and its impact on the aviation market.

Production Slowdown & Quality Over Quantity

In March, Boeing's aircraft deliveries plummeted, with only 29 airplanes handed over to customers, marking a stark decline from the 64 deliveries in the corresponding period last year. The reduction in output can be attributed to various factors, including heightened quality checks and audits mandated by regulators, particularly in the aftermath of the mid-air door plug blowout incident on a 737 MAX 9 jet earlier this year.

Acknowledging the imperative of prioritizing manufacturing quality, Boeing has deliberately curtailed the production of its MAX single-aisle jets. The company's Chief Financial Officer, Brian West, affirmed this strategic decision, emphasizing the need to ensure that production rates align with stringent quality standards. As a result, Boeing's monthly output rate dipped to single digits in late March, a significant departure from the Federal Aviation Administration's cap of 38 jets per month.

Impact on Deliveries, Customer Relations and Orders

During the first quarter of 2024, Boeing delivered a total of 83 airplanes to customers, including 66 MAX jets. This figure represents a considerable decrease compared to the 130 aircraft deliveries recorded in the first quarter of the previous year. Notably, the slowdown in deliveries has implications for Boeing's competitive position in the market, especially in contrast to its European rival Airbus, which reported a 12% increase in aircraft deliveries during the same period.

Despite the production challenges, Boeing secured notable orders in March, bolstered by a significant deal with American Airlines for 85 737 MAX 10 jets. This order, along with others, contributed to Boeing's gross order total of 131 aircraft so far in 2024. However, cancellations and conversions tempered the net order tally to 126, further highlighting the complexities Boeing faces in maintaining customer relations amidst production uncertainties.

Regulatory Landscape and Market Dynamics

Boeing's production woes occur against the backdrop of heightened regulatory scrutiny and evolving market dynamics. With safety concerns and regulatory compliance taking center stage, Boeing must navigate a delicate balance between meeting production targets and upholding stringent quality standards. Moreover, the contrasting performance of Airbus underscores the competitive pressures facing Boeing within the aviation market.


Boeing's recent production challenges underscore the complexities inherent in the aviation industry, particularly in balancing quantity with quality amidst regulatory scrutiny. As the company endeavors to address manufacturing deficiencies and restore confidence among stakeholders, the trajectory of its production output will undoubtedly influence its competitive standing and market dynamics in the months ahead.

With Inputs from Reuters