EoI for the sale of Air India's ground-handling division in the coming fiscal year

Radhika Bansal

14 Feb 2022

The government will start working on selling ground-handling arm Alliance Air of erstwhile national carrier Air India and the Expression of Interest (EoI) is expected in the next fiscal, an official said.

"We already have the Cabinet approval for selling the subsidiaries of Air India. So we will come out with an EoI inviting bids for one of the ground-handling arms in the next fiscal," an official told PTI.

Currently, four Air India subsidiaries - Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL), Airline Allied Services Ltd (AASL) or Alliance Air, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd (HCI) are with Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), which is a special purpose vehicle set up in 2019 for holding non-core assets and debt of Air India.

The government will start working on selling ground-handling arm Alliance Air

The government had transferred the ownership of Air India to Tata Group in January after the latter emerged as the winning bidder for buying the loss-making carrier.

The official further said that it is also to be decided whether the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) for Air India privatisation or the Alternative Mechanism for CPSE disinvestment would be the decision-making ministerial panel for privatising these subsidiaries.

The AISAM is headed by the Home Minister and comprises the Finance Minister, Commerce and Industry Minister and Civil Aviation Minister.

The government had transferred the ownership of Air India to Tata Group in January

The Alternative Mechanism of CPSE disinvestment comprises Road Transport and Highways Minister, Finance Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister.

Separately, AIAHL also has over INR 14,700 crore worth of non-core assets like land and building of Air India which also has to be monetised. These assets were transferred to AIAHL before the airline's privatisation.

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Air India issues several guidelines to cabin crew to enhance on-time performance

Radhika Bansal

14 Feb 2022

Air India has asked its cabin crew to wear minimal jewellery to avoid delays at security checks and not to visit duty-free shops after completing the immigration process as part of the Tatas-owned airline's efforts to improve on-time performance.

Since it took over loss-making Air India on January 27, Tatas have been working on ways to improve the overall performance of the carrier.

The cabin crew must also adhere to the uniform regulations and wear minimum jewellery to avoid any delays at customs and security checks, Air India officiating executive director for Inflight Services, Vasudha Chandna said in a communication to cabin crew on Sunday, February 13.

Air India has asked its cabin crew to wear minimal jewellery to avoid delays at security checks.

Once onboard, the cabin crew should only wear the items of PPE kit which are required to be worn as per the latest circular in the shortest possible time and complete the mandatory checks before/well within the prescribed timings, it said.

Asking the cabin crew staff not to delay the mandatory preflight check clearance, which may be attributed to the cabin crew, it has advised the cabin supervisor to give clearance for boarding to the ground staff before or well within the prescribed timings.

The cabin crew has also been asked not to consume beverages or eat food before the boarding of the passengers or during that process and assist in swift boarding of the guests, Chandna said in the communication.

Once on board, the cabin crew should only wear the items of PPE kit which are required to be worn

Also, there should not be any delay in closing the aircraft door on the part of the cabin crew, the communication said. Besides, the airline has also sought the cabin crew proceeding to the cabin crew movement control office or MCO or immigration(at outstations) after completing their check-in formalities.

The cabin crew must not wait for the commander at movement control/check-in counter (at outstation) and proceed to the aircraft well within time, it stated.

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FlyBig plans to induct 2 aircraft in the near future

Radhika Bansal

14 Feb 2022

FlyBig, the regional carrier, is likely to induct two aircraft, sub-leased by GIFT City’s Vman Aerospace, by March-end.

A source told Hindu BusinessLine that Vman Aerospace leased the two ATR 72-600s aircraft from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise The registration numbers for the aircraft will be VT TMC and VT TMT said the source.

A source from the airline said with the induction of these two aircraft, the regional carrier will have three aircraft on its fleet. FlyBig also plans to wet-lease another Q400 aircraft soon. 

FlyBig plans to induct 2 aircraft in the near future

Earlier Flybig planned to induct five aircraft by the end of March 2022, and 75,000 seats to offer with over 35 departures in a day. It will operate mainly under UDAN, connecting the Northeast and Central East part of India.

It’s been over a year since the airline was started by pilot-turned entrepreneur Sanjay Mandavia, who planned to induct at least 24 aircraft and establish FlyBig as a UDAN-4 leader. It was awarded 15 routes. Mandavia had earlier shown interest in acquiring Jet Airways under the insolvency process.

“We plan to induct 24 aircraft, to have a strong base in tier-2 and 3 markets. For that to happen, we need a good market cap. We plan to invest INR 100 crore for expansion later,” said Mandavia.

Earlier Flybig planned to induct five aircraft by the end of March 2022, and 75,000 seats to offer with over 35 departures in a day.

However, due to an acute cash crunch, and with no investors on board, FlyBig is currently utilising its promotor’s funds. It currently flies seven routes and is planning to start a flight on the Shillong-Delhi route soon. 

People in the know said the company is in conversation with multiple investors and may soon find one.  The airline’s Passenger Load Factor (PLF) has been increasing on a month-on-month basis, albeit marginally.

In December and November 2021, it carried 0.10 lakh passengers compared to 0.8 lakh passengers in the month before that. However, it has a marginal market share of 0.1%, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

In December and November 2021, it carried 0.10 lakh passengers compared to 0.8 lakh passengers in the month before that.

ALSO READ - EaseMyTrip forms an exclusive partnership with Flybig

EaseMyTrip, which had announced earlier that it had entered into a partnership with Flybig to sell the latter’s tickets exclusively on its platform, will process all the bookings on Flybig made by any other online travel portal.

Flybig is a regional carrier based in India. The airline commenced operations in December 2020 with the launch of a twice-weekly Delhi-Shillong service. It is promoted by Gurugram-based Big Charter Private Limited. It is focused on connecting tier-2 cities within India.

(With Inputs from The Hindu Business Line)

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Vietnam to end Covid-19 travel restrictions on international flights

Radhika Bansal

14 Feb 2022

Vietnam will remove its COVID-19 restrictions on international passenger flights with all markets starting February 15, with no limitation on the number of flights, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Sunday, February 13.

The Southeast Asian country imposed tight border controls at the start of the pandemic to keep out COVID-19, with some initial success, but that dealt a blow to its burgeoning tourism sector which accounted for about 10% of gross domestic product.

Vietnam to end Covid-19 travel restrictions on international flights

Vietnam had already begun gradually resuming international flights with 15 markets from the beginning of this year while easing quarantine requirements, with vaccinated passengers now needing only three days of self-isolation.

"Vietnam will lift restrictions on international flights starting February 15. The frequency of flights will be restored to pre-pandemic level.Vietnam has already informed its partners about that new policy and only China has not yet agreed to resume commercial flights with Vietnam."Dinh Viet Son, Deputy Director, Civil Aviation Administration, Vietnam

The Southeast Asian country has recorded nearly 2.5 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and around 39,000 deaths. Nearly 98% of its 98 million people have received at least two vaccine doses, official data showed.

Most Asian airlines provide services to Vietnam like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, etc. Vietnamese flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airlines, VietJet Air also provide international services.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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Fighting all odds - is India on its way to becoming a superpower?


16 Feb 2022

To be labelled as a global superpower, any country for that matter needs to have established itself in the international defence market while also exporting lethal weapons to countries that are net importers of defence equipment.

Representative | The Statesman

India has always been importing advanced weapons technology and from the looks of things, all that might change now.

Malaysia all set to buy indigenous LCA Tejas fighter craft?

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is looking to buy a mix of 36 light fighter variants under its “Capability 55” plan as a perfect replacement for its BAE Systems Hawk 108 and Hawk 208 and had floated a Request of Proposal (RfP) for procurement of light fighter jets for its Air Force, late last year.

Also competing for the bid is the Italian M-346FA Fighter Attack aircraft variant, the Russian Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft, JF-17-jointly offered by China and Pakistan and Turkey’s Hurjet fighters.

Reportedly, Malaysia won't be buying the JF-17 and neither the offering by Russia and South Korea due to economical reasons. That pits the Indian LCA Tejas and Turkey's Hurjet fighter against each other, fighting for the top spot.

However, the fact that Turkey still hasn't flown the Hurjet yet as it is still a project under development while LCA Tejas meets all of the Malaysian Air Force’s requirements and is dispatch-ready, is worth noting. Additionally, it also falls within the budget of the RMAF.

Turkish Hurjet fighter craft | EurAsian Times

India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas showcased its “superior flying skills” at the Dubai Air Show 2021 in November last year. It has now enthralled spectators with its spectacular aerial prowess at the Singapore Airshow 2022, being conducted from February 15-18.

Per aircraft is pegged at a vanilla price of just Rs 309 crore. However, the export version of the aircraft is going to be different than those being produced for the Indian Air ForceHAL’s CMD R Madhavan said when talking about the price of the LCA, on the sidelines of the Aero-India in Bengaluru


The IAF will be pitching the indigenous Tejas Mark-1 aircraft alongside participants from across the world. The Tejas will be enthralling the audience with its display of low-level aerobatics, displaying its superior handling characteristics and manoeuvrabilityThe Indian Air Force said in a statement

Although Thejas is in its last stage of development, it is already serving with the Indian Air Force.

LCA Tejas-Tech and Specs

LCA Tejas mk-1A | Air Data News

The HAL Tejas is an Indian multirole, light fighter, designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with the Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

The LCA Tejas is a fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter with the ability to refuel in the air. Almost similar to a stealth fighter, it also has a glass cockpit with an advanced digital cockpit, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system and advanced composite material structures and a satellite-assisted inertial navigation system, making it a fourth-generation fighter.

It can transport air-to-ground bombs and attack systems that can be used to strike targets on land or at sea. It’s a supersonic combat jet with a 50,000-foot service ceiling. Its wingspan is 8.20 meters, its length is 13.20 meters, and its height is 4.40 meters.

The aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles.

All things considered, it is more than likely the Malaysian Air Force will zero in on the indigenously made LCA Tejas and if the deal comes through, which is well worth around $900 million, could be another step forward for India towards breaking into the global defence market as a supplier.

Earlier, India had entered into an agreement with the Philippines for the sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, on December 31 of last year- in a deal finalized between  BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd and the Philippine Secretary of Defense -Delfin Lorenzana, priced at USD 374 million.

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile | Representative | India TV News

The flagship "Make in India" programme launched under the Modi government, just gets better and better, as is quite evident.


COVER: Adda247

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Singapore Airshow 2022 | Alliance Air inks deal with TrueNoord for 2 ATR 42 aircraft


15 Feb 2022

 An event where high-level government and military delegations, as well as senior corporate executives around the world, attend to forge partnerships and seal deal(s), market-leading aircraft manufacturer ATR and Alliance Air, the only Indian public airline, have signed a deal to acquire two ATR 42-600 via lessor TrueNoord.

The opening day of the Singapore Airshow 2022 saw the inking of the deal between Alliance Air and TrueNoord for the leasing of two ATR 42-600 aircraft.

Alliance Air, the former regional subsidiary of Air India, operates a fleet of 18 ATR 72-600 turboprops and plans of supplementing its fleet with two brand new ATR 42s.

Representative | Deccan Herald

Our relationship with ATR started 20 years ago, and ever since we have been building a network that truly serves Indian communities, delivering comfortable, reliable and affordable air services. Thanks to the unique features of the ATR 42-600, Alliance Air will proudly fulfill the mission assigned by the Indian government to make the most inaccessible regions accessible.Vineet Sood, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance Air

The aircraft type falls well in alignment with the operator's operational routes.

Here's what makes it tick:

30% fuel burn advantage versus 50 seater regional jetsCan take-off from short runways- even as short as 1000mCan seat 30-50 passengers

Touted as an ideal route opener and combined with excellent economics makes it a perfect choice to serve even the least accessible regions of India. The ATR 42 will also be able to operate on the short runways of the Shimla and Kullu airports, both located at high altitudes, and exposed to high temperatures.

The fact that we will deliver this aircraft by the middle of this year is testament both to the recovery of Indian domestic market and the essential need for affordable and reliable connectivity throughout the country.Stefano Bortoli, CEO, ATR

Stefano Bortoli | ATR Aircraft

The high commonality between the ATR 72 and 42 will help ease the integration of both types in the fleet, thereby cutting extra costs to the operator. The airline will further benefit from the "ATR GMA"-  the manufacturer’s pay-by-the-hour maintenance program.

We are proud to be a strategic partner in enabling vital and essential connections to be made throughout India. With this new acquisition, we are firmly establishing the whole ATR family as a cornerstone of our portfolio of modern regional aircraft, and demonstrating our confidence in their long-term value.Carst Lindeboom, Sales Director (Asia Pacific), TrueNoord

Carst Lindeboom | TrueNoord

TrueNoord is a regional aircraft lessor with offices in Amsterdam, Dublin, London and Singapore. The lessor already has a presence in India with IndiGo being its customer. Five ATR72-600s of IndiGo have been leased from TrueNoord.



COVER: AirInsight