India Conducts Asia First Navigation Demonstration for Helicopters Using GAGAN Technology

Radhika Bansal

01 Jun 2023

India conducted Asia's first demonstration of performance-based navigation for helicopters for a flight from Juhu to Pune using GAGAN satellite technology. It was jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). It also utilised the Low-Level Route (LLR RNP0.3) with the assistance of the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said it is a fine example of the "Indian aviation sector blazing a trail in innovation!". "India conducts Asia's first demonstration for Performance-Based Navigation for helicopters. The flight from Juhu to Pune made use of the #GAGAN satellite technology that enhances accuracy, allowing for high-quality air traffic management. Congratulations @AAI_Official," the minister said.

The tweet added that the successful validation of this technology demonstrates the commitment made during the 4th Heli-India Summit for Project AKASH, which aims to establish safe and efficient air corridors using the advanced features of GAGAN.

What does the LLR RNP0.3 route indicate?

The LLR RNP0.3 route refers to the Low-Level Route with a Required Navigation Performance (RNP) specification of 0.3. RNP is a navigation specification that ensures aircraft can fly precisely along a predetermined flight path with a specified level of accuracy. The RNP value represents the lateral navigation accuracy in nautical miles. The LLR RNP0.3 route indicates that helicopters flying on this route must maintain a navigation accuracy of 0.3 nautical miles, allowing for precise and reliable navigation at low altitudes. The LLR RNP0.3 route is specifically designed to support helicopter operations, providing them with a designated and optimized flight path for efficient and safe travel.


GAGAN refers to GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation. It is a space-based augmentation system for providing the best possible navigational services over the Indian FIR (Flight Information Region) with the capability of expanding to neighbouring FIRs. The satellite technology helps aircraft/ helicopters with guided landing at airports that do not have instrument landing systems for low-visibility operations. All registered aircraft in India will have to comply with GAGAN — which was introduced in 2019 — by December 2025.

The technology is designed to provide the additional accuracy that is needed to give users the option to rely on GPS for all phases of flight, that are en route through approach for all qualified airports within the GAGAN service volume. 

The GPS-aided GEO augmented navigation (GAGAN) is an implementation of a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) by the Government of India. It is a system to improve the accuracy of a GNSS receiver by providing reference signals. The Airports Authority of India (AAI)'s efforts towards implementing operational SBAS can be viewed as the first step towards introducing modern communication, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management system over the Indian airspace.

The project has established fifteen Indian reference stations, three Indian navigation land uplink stations, three Indian mission control centres, and the installation of all associated software and communication links. It will be able to help pilots to navigate in the Indian airspace with an accuracy of 3 m (9.8 ft) This will help land aircraft in marginal weather and difficult approaches like Mangalore International and Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airports.

The INR 774 crore project was created in three phases through 2008 by the Airports Authority of India with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) technology and space support. The goal is to provide a navigation system for all phases of flight over the Indian airspace and in the adjoining area. It applies to safety-to-life operations and meets the performance requirements of international civil aviation regulatory bodies.

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Aviation Ministry Proposes Draft Aircraft Bill to Streamline Regulations

Radhika Bansal

01 Jun 2023

The civil aviation ministry has come out with a draft bill for putting in place a simplified approach to regulations in the aviation sector. The Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023, has been prepared after reviewing the existing Aircraft Act, 1934.

As per the preamble of the Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023, it aims to have an Act to make better provisions for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and connected matters. The bill has been issued by the ministry for public consultations for 30 days, according to a communication dated May 30.

"The existing Aircraft Act, 1934 has been reviewed and accordingly a bill providing for regulating provisions in a simplified manner, identifying existing redundancies and to provide for provisions to meet the current needs for regulation of civil aviation in a simplified language...," the ministry said.

According to the preamble, it is expedient to make better provisions for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and matters connected in addition to that or incidental thereto, and to remove the redundancies in the Aircraft Act, 1934.

India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world. It's been predicted that by 2024, India will be the third largest aviation market in the world. 

Objectives and Purpose of the Act

Regarded as the basic or fundamental law of aviation in India, the Aircraft Act, of 1934 was adopted to increase the aviation industry's safety and security. In India, it is the foremost statute to regulate civil aviation. The provisions of the regulation predominantly cover every facet of civil aviation navigation.

The purpose of the Aircraft Act, 1934 is “to make better provision for the control of the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft.”3 Further, the Act grants or vests the power of the governmental authorities to formulate rules and laws concerning civil aviation in India. Moreover, requiring considerations for effective, maintenance of aircraft, airworthiness, registration of aircraft, common situations for flying and safety, and the conduct of inquiries in case of any inconsistency.

One of the objectives of the Act is to provide secure and safe aircraft operations to be carried out by the State. Thus, this is the reason behind vesting the government with enormous powers. The Aircraft Act, 1934 also covers under it the issue of maintenance, development as well as operations of all kinds of airports including the Greenfield airports.

Moreover, to regulate air transport, air safety, and airworthiness standards as well as for the enforcement of civil air regulations, the Act has appointed the director general of civil aviation as the regulatory body to deal with these concerns of civil aviation.

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Etihad Named World’s Most Environment Friendly Airline for the Second Year in a Row

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been named Environmental Airline of the Year for the second year in a row. This award recognizes Etihad's commitment to sustainable aviation practices and ongoing efforts to mitigate the ecological impact of air travel. The Airline Ratings Awards are a forum for airlines to be recognized and ranked based on their dedication to excellence in many categories, such as innovation, safety, and route networks.

Environmental Airline of the Year Award

In an era where consciousness about the environment is crucial, the Environmental Airline of the Year award is extremely important. This award honors airlines that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to environmental sustainability by embracing initiatives that minimize carbon emissions and prioritize sustainable practices. The Airline Ratings Awards use strict assessment criteria to guarantee that the winning airline truly stands out for its environmentally conscious practices.

Etihad's Sustainability Commitment

Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, has been named Environmental Airline of the Year at the renowned Airline Ratings Awards for the second time. Etihad has been awarded this prestigious honor for the second year in a row. The Airline Ratings Awards are well-known for their thorough review of airlines, considering variables like innovation, route networks, and safety ratings. Etihad's dedication to sustainable aviation via innovation and cooperation has positioned them as an industry leader, generating good change not only in Abu Dhabi but also globally. Etihad Airways has made sustainability a central tenet of its operations. The airline is implementing a number of measures aimed at minimizing the ecological impact and maintaining aviation's long-term viability. Etihad has effectively incorporated sustainability into numerous elements of its operations, from ground handling and aircraft maintenance to cabin service and in-flight operations, by utilizing innovative technology and eco-friendly practices.

Etihad's sustainability strategy focuses on reducing emissions through in-sector measures, aligning with industry roadmaps and frameworks, collaborating with UAE industrial ecosystems, and remaining transparent and proactive regarding aviation sustainability issues. Etihad reported in its most current sustainability report, published in May 2023, that it has achieved a 26% decrease in CO2 emissions per Revenue Tonne Kilometer (RTK). This accomplishment is supported by Etihad's signature sustainability programmes, such as the Greenliner programme, which utilizes the airline's fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners as flying test beds, and the Sustainable50 A350-1000.

"We take great pride in reducing our CO2 RTK by 26 percent," stated Antonoaldo Neves, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group. This accomplishment is a credit to our team's devotion and efforts in driving our sustainability agenda, and we applaud them for their contributions. As you can see in our annual report, I am also quite happy with our overall achievements, which go beyond providing direct CO2 reductions to explore novel solutions to the larger problems confronting aviation sustainability." "Etihad Airways has demonstrated its leadership in the push for sustainable flight with its Greenliner Boeing 787 programme and last year with its Sustainability50 A350 aircraft," stated Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas of Etihad Airways personnel and management are devoted to minimizing the airline's CO2 impact in every manner, and it shows. The rallying cry is that "a million things count" in cutting emissions, so the emphasis is all-consuming. The airline's Sustainability Report 2021-2022 illustrates the potential gains in sustainable aviation that may be accomplished via a variety of activities."

Factors Contributing to Recognition

A number of reasons contribute to Etihad Airways' continuous designation as the Environmental Airline of the Year. To begin, Etihad Airways has continually demonstrated innovation in its approach to sustainable flying. The airline has made considerable advances in decreasing its carbon footprint, from deploying energy-efficient planes to researching alternate fuel sources. Furthermore, Etihad's dedication to cooperation and partnerships has been critical in driving industry-wide change and promoting sustainability in the aviation industry.

Partnerships and collaboration

Etihad Airways regularly participates in collaborations and programmes that promote sustainability, recognizing the value of cooperation in driving change. To develop and execute sustainable practices, the airline works with a variety of organizations, including research institutes, aviation regulators, and environmental agencies. Etihad and its partners collaborate to develop creative solutions to reduce the environmental impact of aviation travel by combining resources and expertise. Etihad's collaborations go beyond the airline industry. To encourage cutting-edge research on sustainable aviation technology, the airline regularly collaborates with academic institutions and research centres. Etihad contributes to the development of revolutionary solutions that benefit the whole aviation ecosystem by encouraging collaboration between academics and industry.

Impact and Outcomes

The dedication of Etihad Airways to sustainability has delivered demonstrable achievements and a beneficial influence on the environment. The airline's all-encompassing commitment to sustainability has resulted in considerable reductions in carbon emissions, reducing its environmental footprint. Etihad has been an industry change agent by embracing eco-friendly practices, investing in fuel-efficient aircraft, and researching alternative fuels. Beyond its own operations, Etihad's sustainability activities influence the whole aviation sector to adopt more environmentally responsible practices. Etihad sets an example for other airlines through its leadership and dedication, motivating others to follow suit and contribute to a greener future for air travel.

Other Accolades and Achievements

In addition to being named the Environmental Airline of the Year, Etihad Airways has been recognized by Airline Ratings in the 'Top 10 Airlines' category. This award considers elements such as passenger comfort, innovation, value, and safety throughout Economy, Business, and First Class. Etihad's continuous success in this area demonstrates the airline's dedication to providing a world-class travel experience while focusing on sustainability and passenger well-being.


Etihad Airways' repeated distinction as the Environmental Airline of the Year demonstrates the airline's consistent dedication to sustainable flying. Etihad has evolved as a global leader in environmental stewardship in the airline sector through innovative practices, collaborations, and demonstrable outcomes. Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, continues to create positive change by setting new sustainability guidelines and pushing other airlines to follow suit. Etihad Airways lays the foundations for a more sustainable future in aviation travel by prioritizing the environment without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

With Inputs from Etihad

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American Airlines to Appeal JetBlue Court Ruling

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

The "Northeast Alliance," a collaboration between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways, aims at boosting connectivity and offering customers a wider range of flying alternatives in the Northeastern United States. However, the court verdict has cast doubt on the alliance's existence, forcing American Airlines to pursue an appeal.

Understanding the Northeast Alliance

The Northeast Alliance was established between American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. to provide travelers in the north-eastern United States with a seamless travel experience. Both airlines desired to improve customer satisfaction and grasp a greater market share by coordinating flight schedules, sharing airport infrastructure, and extending their network. The partnership provided travelers with enhanced connectivity and access to a broader selection of destinations.

Antitrust Law and its Significance

Antitrust laws are intended to promote fair competition, prohibit monopolies, and safeguard the interests of customers. These rules are intended to guarantee that businesses behave ethically, maintain competitive pricing, and avoid anti-competitive practices that could adversely affect the market and consumers. Authorities attempt to establish an equitable environment for all enterprises by enforcing antitrust legislation bolstering healthy competition and innovation.

The Court's Judgement and Its Implications

The airline industry is abuzz with the statement by American Airlines Group CEO Robert Isom that the firm wants to appeal a recent U.S. court ruling ordering the disbandment of its alliance with JetBlue Airways Corp. This development follows the May 19 judgement by U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin in Boston, who found the airlines' "Northeast Alliance" to be in violation of antitrust law. The agreement is set to be disbanded within 30 days, causing alarm, and generating debate within the sector. In 2021, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit to void the previous year's partnership. It was described as a "de facto merger" of American and JetBlue operations in Boston and New York, which would remove competitive incentives and cost consumers an additional $700 million per year to travel out of the region's congested airports. "These two powerful carriers act as one entity in the northeast, allocating markets between them and replacing full-throated competition with broad cooperation," Sorokin wrote in his ruling, a rare court victory for President Joe Biden's administration and its anti-corporate-merger stance. The court's decision has far-reaching consequences for both American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. They will have to terminate their partnership and restructure their operations as a consequence. To sustain their market positions and provide competitive services to their customers, airlines will need to solve logistical issues and establish alternative tactics.

The Decision of American Airlines Group to Appeal

American Airlines Group CEO Robert Isom stated that the airline intends to appeal the court ruling. According to Isom, the decision to appeal was made after thorough consideration of the verdict and its possible repercussions for the airline. American Airlines Group intends to use the appeals process to oppose the court's decision and offer arguments in support of the Northeast Alliance's legitimacy and advantages. Several variables influence the decision to file an appeal. The Northeast Alliance, according to American Airlines Group, provides various benefits to travelers, including enhanced connectivity, additional route alternatives, and an improved customer experience. Furthermore, the corporation plans to safeguard its strategic interests and avoid future interruptions to its operations as a result of the alliance's separation. However, the appeals procedure has its own set of difficulties. Legal processes can be lengthy and complicated, necessitating significant money and time. To overturn the court's verdict, American Airlines Group will need to submit strong arguments and facts. The decision of the appeal will have a substantial influence on the future trajectory of the alliance and the companies involved.

Industry Reaction and Prospects

The court decision against the Northeast Alliance has elicited conflicting reactions from the airline sector. According to several industry experts and stakeholders, the judgement is a vital step towards ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests. They think that the alliance's collapse will promote market diversity and allow other airlines to establish a foothold in the impacted regions. Others, though, are concerned about the judgement's possible ramifications. They claim that the Northeast Alliance was created to boost travel alternatives and the overall client experience. The alliance's collapse might disrupt existing routes, have an impact on airline alliances, and potentially reduce options for travellers in the impacted area. Looking ahead, the alliance's future remains questionable. While the court order compels the Northeast Alliance to be dissolved, it does not rule out the potential for future partnerships or cooperation between American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. Both organisations may investigate other approaches to achieving their strategic objectives and providing value to their consumers.


The court decision against American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp.'s Northeast Alliance has set the groundwork for a legal struggle and eventual reconfiguration of the airline sector in the United States' north-eastern area. The decision to appeal the judgement underscores American Airlines Group's commitment to protecting the alliance's advantages and value proposition. The industry awaits the conclusion of the appeals process, which will determine the next course of action for both airlines and may have an impact on the airline industry's landscape.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Air India Launches Gurukul.AI - an AI Driven Upskilling Platform for Employees

Radhika Bansal

01 Jun 2023

Tata Group-owned Air India has launched a new learning hub for its employees. "Gurukul.AI has been created in sync with Vihaan.AI, the airline's five-year transformation programme, and will transform Air India into an organization that evolves through continuous learning," the airline said in a statement.

Gurukul.AI is designed to create personalized upskilling paths for every employee through an assessment of their job roles, current competencies, and proficiencies. The platform integrates competency frameworks mapped to various roles within the organization and ensures accessibility to relevant modules, the statement added. By leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the platform will help assess the employees’ job roles, current competencies, and proficiencies.

"The introduction of Gurukul.AI exemplifies Air India's dedication to cultivating a futuristic-learning experience, attuned to the unique needs of every single employee. In a rapidly changing world, the speed of upskilling and the availability of world-class learning content through digital innovations is imperative. Through this business-driven strategy, we are resolute in transforming Air India into an authentic learning organization," Suresh Tripathi, Chief Human Resources Officer, at Air India, said.

Air India will launch Gurukul.AI in phases, concurrently integrating emerging technologies and customizing the system to cater to different departmental requirements such as Inflight Services, Ground Services, and Engineering. The platform will also offer advanced, AI-driven solutions for pilot training management in the upcoming phases. With Gurukul.AI, Air India seeks to ensure an enhanced personalised learning experience for all its employees, transitioning to a highly skilled approach to create global capabilities.

What all is on the cards?

By emphasizing relevant skills in the current world and augmenting them with extensive organizational experience and sharper capabilities, Gurukul.AI is set to create a powerful impact that drives success and effectiveness.

  • World-class capabilities: The primary focus of Gurukul.AI is to cultivate state-of-the-art, world-class capabilities within Air India, enhancing employee productivity and skill sets to exemplify global standards. 
  • Bringing learning to the fingertips: With this learning hub, Air India has made a wealth of knowledge readily accessible to its employees. The platform is created to motivate employees to continuously enhance their skills, cultivating a culture of “Own your Growth’ through self-paced upskilling options.
  • Cutting-edge technologies for tailored needs: By leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Gurukul.AI offers a holistic system that evaluates skills and provides hyper-personalized recommendations based on an individual’s unique learning trajectory. Further, emerging technologies within the portal allow employees to view their progress via automated analytics and assist them in performance management. 
  • Diverse tools: The hub offers a comprehensive suite of over 70,000 most advanced learning tools including just-in-time learning modules, micro-learnings, accessible mobile learning resources, and engaging video-based modules, among others, ensuring employees have an array of options to suit their preferences.
  • Interactive elements to engage learners: The inclusion of features such as a leader board integrated into the platform encourages active engagement platform vis-a-vis team learning. In addition, a learning wallet along with opportunities to earn rewards provides a compelling incentive for employees to strengthen their knowledge and skills. 
  • Gamification: Through engaging game-like elements, and hyper-personalization with the system talking to the individuals, employees are motivated to progress, complete milestones, and unlock achievements, creating a sense of accomplishment.

In addition to acquiring new digital systems and engineering services, Air India has also been hard at work building an industry-leading digital workforce. The airline is modernising several departments, including customer engagement, employee empowerment, and operational enhancements, among others, where it has already implemented new technology systems or is nearing deployment completion.

The airline is making efforts to modernise customer-facing processes, such as the in-flight entertainment system, mobile apps, website, and user-friendly customer notifications system. Improvements in its employee-centric departments include modern secure digital workplace tools, employee engagement and self-service portals, mobile devices for pilotscabin crew, and airport operations crew, and learning and development tools.

With Gurukul.AI, Air India seeks to ensure an enhanced personalised learning experience for all its employees, transitioning to a highly skilled approach to create global capabilities. Air India will launch Gurukul.AI in phases, concurrently integrating emerging technologies and customizing the system to cater to different departmental requirements such as Inflight Services, Ground Services, Engineering, etc.

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Singapore Airlines to Offer Complimentary WIFI to All Cabin Classes

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is well-known for its dedication to providing great service to customers and novel experiences to its passengers. Recognizing the growing importance of in-flight connections, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has opted to revolutionize its Wi-Fi service, setting new industry standards.

The Importance of Wi-Fi for Airline Passengers

Staying connected when traveling has become a necessity rather than a luxury in today's hyperconnected society. Passengers anticipate consistent and fast Wi-Fi connectivity throughout their flight. The provision of Wi-Fi on board is critical to boosting the whole travel experience, whether for business, entertainment, or staying connected with loved ones.

SIA's New Wi-Fi Service

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced a game-changing upgrade to its in-flight services. Beginning July 1, 2023, SIA customers will have access to the most extensive and unlimited free Wi-Fi network in the airline industry. This new service will be available to all passengers in all cabin classes, including Premium Economy and Economy. SIA intends to provide a seamless connectivity experience, virtually covering the entire aircraft fleet and nearly the entire global route network with this service. Customers must submit their KrisFlyer membership credentials at the time of booking, either through the Manage Booking online option or at check-in, in order to make use of this service. Non-KrisFlyer members may sign up for a free membership online or on board their aircraft via the SIA digital content portal on their personal mobile devices to make use of the complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi.

Customers in Suites, First Class, and Business Class, as well as PPS Club members, will continue to get complimentary unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi. KrisFlyer customers flying in Premium Economy Class and Economy Class have received complimentary three- and two-hour Wi-Fi surf plans since February 2023, respectively. "In today's increasingly hyper-connected world, high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity is one of the most important requirements for our customers," said Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines. Giving passengers complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi is merely a further development in SIA's ongoing endeavor to provide an unparalleled end-to-end travel experience. Our customers will be able to stay connected, engaged, and productive even at 36,000 feet in the air thanks to this upgraded service."

Benefits of Enhanced Wi-Fi Service

The addition of unrestricted free Wi-Fi connectivity across all cabin classes provides a slew of advantages for SIA customers. For starters, it allows passengers to stay connected during their travel, allowing them to complete work, browse the internet, or communicate with family and friends. This improved connectedness boosts productivity and overall flight enjoyment. Furthermore, the improved Wi-Fi service guarantees that passengers have a consistent and seamless internet experience regardless of where they are on the aircraft. This removes any potential connectivity concerns and makes the experience more pleasurable and stress-free.

Technological Developments and Constraints

Implementing a complete Wi-Fi service throughout the entire fleet and global route network is fraught with difficulties. To meet the increasing demand for connection, SIA has invested in updating its current infrastructure. This includes the installation of modern equipment and systems capable of handling enormous volumes of data while ensuring quick and reliable connections. To address potential challenges, SIA has collaborated with renowned technology vendors to provide its passengers with a flawless Wi-Fi experience. These partnerships ensure that travelers have constant connectivity and a high-quality browsing experience throughout their journey.

Potential Impact on the Airline Industry

SIA is setting a new industry benchmark for in-flight connection by providing unrestricted free Wi-Fi access across all cabin classes. This decision is expected to put pressure on other airlines to improve their Wi-Fi capabilities and give customers a comparable degree of accessibility. SIA's dedication to customer satisfaction and innovation has established the airline as an industry leader.


Singapore Airlines (SIA) has taken an important step towards improving its passengers' travel experiences. The addition of unrestricted free Wi-Fi access across all cabin classes underlines SIA's commitment to fulfilling its customers' changing demands. This all-encompassing Wi-Fi service, which is essentially available throughout the whole aircraft fleet and global route network, establishes a new standard for the airline sector.

With Inputs from Singapore Airlines