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)

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Air India Express plans to lease 2 B737 aircraft from Vistara to prepare for winter schedule

Radhika Bansal

27 Oct 2022

Budget airline Air India Express is looking to lease two Boeing B737 aircraft from full-service carrier Vistara to offer more flights during the winter schedule, according to a source. Both Air India Express and Vistara are part of the Tata group, which also has Air India and AirAsia India under its wings.

The source close to the development said the two narrow-body planes are expected to be inducted into the Air India Express fleet on a short-term lease in November and December, respectively.

The move is part of consolidating as well as tapping the synergies in the group's airline business. Also, the leasing of the planes will help Air India Express to operate more flights during the winter schedule, which starts on October 30, the source said.

When contacted, a Vistara spokesperson said, "we cannot comment on speculations". Air India Express spokesperson was not available for comments.

Air India Express plans to lease 2 B737 aircraft from Vistara to prepare for winter schedule

ALSO READ – Air India Express plans to add 4 Boeing 737 to keep up with rising demand

Air India Express has not inducted any new planes in its fleet for a long time. Though the airline had plans to augment the fleet substantially as part of its long-term business roadmap, it got grounded because of the disinvestment.

"Now post-privatisation, there are plans to consolidate and bring synergy in operations. Therefore, the airline has decided to lease planes from within the group carriers rather than going to external players," the source said.

Tata group took over Air India and Air India Express in January this year after emerging as the winning bidder in the disinvestment process that concluded last year.

ALSO READ – Air India Express plans massive international expansion in the next 5 years

Vistara, which is jointly owned by the Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has five Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet of 53 planes.

Air India Express, which flies to 14 international destinations from 21 cities in the country, currently has 24 Boeing 737 planes in operation. One of its planes was involved in a fatal crash at Kozhikode airport in Kerala in 2020.

Vistara, which is jointly owned by the Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has five Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet of 53 planes. These five planes are part of the nine B737 aircraft inducted by Vistara on a short-term lease. These planes were earlier operated by Jet Airways, which shuttered operations in April 2019. Four such planes have already been phased out by Vistara.

ALSO READ - Vistara plans to rope in pilots on deputation from AirAsia India for its expanding A320 fleet

As part of the consolidation exercise, Vistara is also inducting A320 fleet pilots on deputation from AirAsia India for its new A320 neo planes, which are being delivered to the airline from its aircraft order of July 2018.

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Plan to bring Electric Air Mobility to Saudi Arabia announced by Lilium and SAUDIA


27 Oct 2022

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the proposed development and operation by SAUDIA of an eVTOL network throughout Saudi Arabia was announced at the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) by Lilium, the manufacturer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing ("eVTOL") jet. By agreeing to the proposed deal, SAUDIA will become the first airline in the MENA region to buy 100 Lilium Jets combined with yearly support services.

Representative | The Peninsula Qatar

With the procurement of 100 Lilium Jets, SAUDIA plans to introduce a cutting-edge service that will include brand-new electric point-to-point connections as well as seamless feeder links to SAUDIA's hubs for business class passengers.

The Lilium Jet will enable eco-friendly and efficient travel because it produces no pollutants during operation. The flexible cabin architecture of Lilium Jet is anticipated to enable a variety of roomy interior configurations that are ideally suited to the needs of the premium market, and Lilium believes that this will assist drive the early adoption of eVTOL aircraft that is necessary to scale.

We are thrilled to work with innovative partners for whom sustainability is a priority. This partnership with SAUDIA, our first in the Middle East, is an exciting development for Lilium. We look forward to working with SAUDIA to deploy an eVTOL network across Saudi ArabiaAlexander Asseily, Vice Chairman of Lilium said

Additionally, SAUDIA expects assisting Lilium with the certification of the Lilium Jet as well as any other essential regulatory clearances in Saudi Arabia. SAUDIA, the official flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, currently offers world-renowned service and hospitality to a network of more than 100 domestic and foreign destinations. Lilium and SAUDIA intend to revolutionize the domestic air transport industry in the Kingdom by combining SAUDIA's unmatched market expertise with Lilium's distinctive eVTOL aircraft.

Lilium eVTOL jet | Representative | Lilium

SAUDIA, building on its commitment to be an industry leading airline committed to sustainability, consider our eVTOL network project with Lilium to be an undertaking of great significance for the Kingdom’s aviation industry and will contribute effectively to spurring sustainable tourism in Saudi using zero-emission aviation. SAUDIA intends to meet a growing demand for regional air mobility and offer our valued Guests a superior on-board experience. The potential for such an airborne transit network is limitlessCaptain Ibrahim S. Koshy, Chief Executive Officer of SAUDIA said

The parties must complete a feasibility study, agree on commercial terms, sign into binding agreements with respect to those agreements, and satisfy a number of other requirements before the proposed arrangement between SAUDIA and Lilium may proceed.



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India to chair ICAO Air Transport panel after 28 years

Jinen Gada

26 Oct 2022

Dr Shefali Juneja on Monday was named the chairperson of the Air Transport Committee (ATC) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, becoming the first Indian in 28 years to do so.

Ministry officials said that India will be chairing the important committee after 28 years and has had the opportunity of chairing the ATC only twice so far.


“This committee handles a big component of ICAO work relating to air transport as nine technical panels report to it. It is therefore a tremendous opportunity to steer issues in the policy arena and deal with new emerging challenges to carve out a better future for international air transport.”Dr. Juneja.

According to Article 54 d) of the Chicago Convention, the Council appoints and defines the duties of an ATC, which is chosen from among the representatives of the members of the Council.

The ATC is the advisory body of the Council on air transport matters as specified in the Convention and on any other issues affecting air transport referred to it by the Council or on its behalf by the President.

After 28 years, India to chair key air transport panel.

In September last year, Juneja was elected as the chairperson of the ICAO’S Aviation Security Committee (ASC) and made an Indian taking charge of the position after a gap of 12 years. Juneja has been serving as India’s representative in the council of the ICAO since 2019.

Juneja, a 1992 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre), served as the joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) before joining the ICAO.

With inputs from hindustantimes.

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flynas to launch flights from Mumbai To Riyadh And Dammam

Jinen Gada

26 Oct 2022

flynas, the Saudi carrier and leading low-cost airline in the Middle East, announced the inauguration of operating direct flights from Riyadh and Dammam to Mumbai, making the largest city in India to be the 5th destination for flynas in the country.

Mumbai will now join Delhi, Lucknow, Calicut, and Hyderabad on the growing destinations list of flynas as the company continues growing in India, the second most populous country in the world.

Daily direct flynas flights connecting Riyadh with Mumbai started departing from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh back and forth as of October 20.

flynas Offers Direct Services From Mumbai To Riyadh And Dammam.

"Most of flynas’ aircraft are the brand new Airbus A320neo which have the most efficient and environmentally friendly engines and the largest seat pitch of all low-cost carriers between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India; this expansion is part of our long-term plan to become the No 1 airline between the Kingdom and India and to serve more direct routes.More growth to be expected, with more destinations in India and more routes.We will also offer connectivity within the Kingdom, where our passengers can continue their flights on our planes to Jeddah or Medina."Stefan Magiera, flynas Chief Commercial Officer.

Meanwhile, flynas flights from King Fahad International airport in Dammam will start on December 2022.

Growing in the Indian market comes in line with flynas’ expansion strategy and its plan launched at the beginning of the year under the slogan “We Connect the World to the Kingdom” after the growth achieved by the company in all its operations during the first half of 2022.

With inputs from airlinersgs.com