IndiGo and Virgin Atlantic sign codeshare agreement

Radhika Bansal

01 Sep 2022

The country's largest airline IndiGo and British carrier Virgin Atlantic on Wednesday, August 31 announced a codeshare agreement. Passengers can book codeshare flights this week for travel from September 27, subject to government approval.

The agreement will allow Virgin Atlantic to sell seats to passengers connecting onto IndiGo flights. The codeshare agreement will help both airlines in expanding their access to customers flying to destinations which are serviced by either of them.

The initial codeshare destinations in India include Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Delhi and Mumbai.

The additional destinations will include Kochi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Vadodara, Indore and Visakhapatnam, a release said.

Under the codeshare partnership, customers booking a Virgin Atlantic ticket can fly on the airline's London Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai flights and connect to and from 7 additional cities in India.

“We’re thrilled to launch a new codeshare partnership with IndiGo. This summer marks our largest ever flying programme from India with three daily direct services to London and our new partnership takes our commitment to even greater heights. IndiGo is India’s largest airline and its extensive network will offer Virgin Atlantic customers even more choice when travelling between the UK and India, as well as offering seamless connections for the onward travel across our extensive US route network. It’s great news for our Flying Club too, by providing more opportunities for members to earn valuable points. This new partnership aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for visiting friends & relatives, leisure as well as business travellers looking for more choice between UK and India.”Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic

Later this year, the release said the release will expand the agreement to cover 16 destinations throughout India, as well as connections onto Virgin Atlantic's extensive US network operated via London Heathrow.

Meanwhile, IndiGo passengers will be able to connect to Virgin Atlantic's extensive United States network operated from London. Virgin Atlantic currently serves San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Austin, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, New York, Boston, and Washington D.C.

“We are pleased to announce our codeshare with Virgin Atlantic to provide enhanced connectivity to the passengers. This will not only help offer a seamless travel experience from London to as many as 16 destinations in India, but also open up international trade opportunities throughout the country via enhanced accessibility. We look forward to having Virgin Atlantic’s customers on our lean clean flying machine, as we extend our on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free travel experience.”Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo

Codesharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.

IndiGo and Virgin Atlantic sign codeshare agreement

As part of the codeshare, Virgin Atlantic will also offer free-of-cost shuttle services between different terminals at Delhi airport for its customers.

ALSO READ - Air France-KLM and IndiGo officially launch their codeshare agreement

IndiGo already has codeshare agreements with Air France-KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, American Airlines and Qantas.

ALSO READ - IndiGo officially launches codeshare agreement with American Airlines

ALSO READ - Qantas announces direct flights between Sydney-Bengaluru, finalises codeshare with IndiGo

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Expat group sues airlines for "obscenely high" airfares between India and the Middle East at Delhi HC

Radhika Bansal

01 Sep 2022

The airlines have been charging excessive, unreasonable, and prohibitive prices for travel from countries in the Gulf region to Kerala, and the rest of India claims the Court's argument.

The Delhi-based political group Kerala Pravasi Association filed a petition challenging Rule 135 of the 1937 Aircraft Rules because it is arbitrary, vague, and unconstitutional.

The Delhi High Court asked the DGCA for a statement on Monday, August 29 to hear a writ petition challenging the high cost of airline tickets on flights between the Middle East countries and India.

According to the petition, this has led to severe obstacles for Indian people who want to travel to and from these nations, primarily for jobs, businesses, and education.

Expat group sues airlines for "obscenely high" airfares between India and the Middle East at Delhi HC

The appeal also stated that such excessive and unreasonable prices restrict air travel as a form of transportation, violating the constitutional rights of Indian passengers travelling to or from Gulf countries.

Each air transport company subject to sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 134 shall establish a tariff by Rule 135 of the 1937 Aircraft Rules that take into account all pertinent factors, including the cost of operation, the features of the service, a reasonable profit, and the generally accepted tariff.

According to the petition, although Rule 135(4) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 gives DGCA the authority to give instructions to an airline if it has established an excessive tariff in violation of Rule 135(1) or has engaged in oligopolistic behaviour, the said provision is rendered ineffective due to the arbitrary and unrestrained powers granted to the airlines to establish tariff under Rule 135(1) of the Rules.

Kerala Pravasi Association, the petitioners, requests the revocation of Rule 135 or an immediate preliminary remedy concerning airline costs. The senior members of the NRI association assert that this may be the first time a writ petition contesting Rule 135(1) has been filed.

The Kerala Pravasi Association is a political organization with chapters worldwide, including in the United Arab Emirates. The organization is registered with the Indian Election Commission. Kuriakose Varghese, a managing partner at KMNP Law and a Supreme Court attorney, filed the case on behalf of the NRI group.

According to Rajendran Vellapalath, the chairman of the Kerala Pravasi Association, the flights to Kerala are among the most expensive. Depending on the sector the traveller is flying, peak season airfares between India and the UAE might increase from Dh 1,500 to Dh 3,000. The writ challenges Rule 135 (1) of the 1937 Aircraft Rules, according to Varghese.

He added that certain reasonable restrictions must be followed while determining airfare costs. He also affirmed that his organization wouldn't locate a representation for the DGCA based on the Court's decision and will take further actions from there.

According to Varghese, basing fares on the market makes it highly lucrative and arbitrary. We are pleased that the High Court did not dismiss our petition, Vellapalath said. We've been invited to communicate with the DGCA instead.

Based on their response, he added that the political organization is prepared to appeal to the Supreme Court of India. Even though similar petitions have been submitted in the past, Varghese said that courts rarely take on such complex cases. This is a situation where economics and law are intertwined.

He noted that stakeholders typically adopt a take it or leave it approach, particularly during peak travel times, it is a very grey area of operation, and there is no transparency on the subject. To no avail, this matter has also been brought up by several members of the Indian Parliament, community organizations in the UAE, travel agents, and other non-profit organizations.

In bilateral negotiations, when two countries are engaged, the civil aviation regulatory authority can decide what kind of charge needs to be assessed on passengers travelling between the sectors, Vellapalath continued.

The government may cap the price of the tickets at either a minimum or maximum. During peak Covid-19, the government set a ceiling on domestic airfare prices.

Vellapalath questioned, why can't the same be done for overseas airlines. Airlines have reportedly kept their peak-season operations capacity lower between Gulf areas and India.

The public cannot be taken advantage of, claimed Vellapalath. The government should not enable airlines to create profiles of its citizens. Let them increase it if there is a capacity crunch.

ALSO READ - International flights likely to get cheaper as India signed a pact with 116 countries

(With Inputs from The Economic Times)

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Unveiling of Australia's First Air Taxi Vertiport


31 Aug 2022

The first vertiport in Australia will be located in Melbourne and serve the developing electric air taxi market. The vertiport, which was created by Contreras Earl Architects and was intended for Caribbean Park in Melbourne's east, was unveiled by Skyportz.


 To develop a modular design for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) airport, Contreras Earl Architects, To70 Aviation, Arup, and Microflite partnered with Skyportz Chief Executive Clem Newton-Brown.

Skyportz Chief Executive Clem Newton-Brown | Source

Several aviation corporations are investing literally billions of dollars in the creation of air taxi prototypes. Along with new competitors like Kittyhawk, Archer, Joby, Lilium, Volocopter, and Electra Aero, some of the greatest names in aviation and automotive are competing, including Bell, Embraer, Boeing, Airbus, Hyundai, and Toyota.

Air-One Vertiport in England | Representative | News NCR

There is no denying the impending arrival of Advanced Aerial Mobility. Since many prototypes have already taken to the air, it is anticipated that the front-runners will have passenger-carrying aircraft that have received commercial certification very soon.

With conventional aviation, if you build a new plane, you already have places to take off and land it.With AAM, everything is being built from scratch. It’s a catch-22. If you don’t have the infrastructure, you can’t get the industry off the ground, and if you have the landing sites but no aircraft, same thing. But eVTOL development is out in frontexplained Sergio Cecutta at Arizona-based SMG Consulting

Representative | Source

The location of the airplane's landing will be the final component of the ecosystem after the aircraft are in the air. And that’s where the Skyportz network of vertiports comes in.

For this industry to succeed it needs to have policymakers pushing the envelope to support new ‘mini airports’ in locations people want to go. Electric air taxis will be a new era in aviation where clean, green and quiet small aircraft can take people to places they want to go. However, community support is going to be the key to the development of these services. The community is going to have to see the benefitsA roadmap for the implementation of advanced air mobility (AAM) in Australia was recently announced by the federal regulator Civil Aviation Safety Authority. It is projected that commercial certification for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft could occur as early as 2024.Skyportz chief executive Clem Newton-Brown said

 We are proud to have designed Australia’s first vertiport—a beautiful, sculptural, ground-breaking terminal that contributes to the evolution of architecture and to the future of our communities and cities. Using advanced technology, we developed an efficient modular design made with recyclable aluminium. The system is lightweight, prefabricated and assembled on site, so that it can be adapted and configured for a broad range of settings and scaled for mass productionContreras Earl Architects director Rafael Contreras said

After Skyportz stated it would build a transportation hub north of Brisbane and manufacture the aircraft in Queensland, flying taxis might carry athletes around the 2032 Brisbane Olympics in Queensland.


COVER: The Urban Developer

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Taiwan's China Airlines orders 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Radhika Bansal

31 Aug 2022

Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd said on Tuesday, August 30 it would buy 16 Boeing Co B787 widebody planes to replace its ageing fleet of Airbus A330s following a widely watched contest held against the backdrop of regional tensions.

The politically sensitive deal worth USD 4.6 billion at list prices was announced by the government-backed carrier weeks after a visit to Taipei by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered Beijing and stoked Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

U.S. flagship planemaker Boeing had been widely expected to win the deal as talks by the government-backed carrier to renew its fleet coincided with attention to security partnerships amid what Taipei has called its worst tensions with China for 40 years.

Taiwan's China Airlines orders 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

This will be the first time China Airlines operates the Dreamliner and the second Taiwanese carrier to do so after EVA Air, which currently operates 10 Dreamliners and awaits delivery of a further 11 planes.

Less certain, however, is how the deal may impact Boeing's relations with China, which typically accounts for about a quarter of its commercial sales, analysts said.

Boeing has been waiting for months for approval to resume 737 MAX deliveries to China despite the jet having been declared safe by Chinese authorities after a safety crisis.

ALSO READ - China gives green light to Boeing 737 Max after “corrective actions”

Boeing has been waiting for months for approval to resume 737 MAX deliveries to China

While Beijing has in the past withdrawn or postponed high-profile business deals in response to U.S. or European arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province, civil airplane deals tend not to cause such a stir.

Boeing, which is usually quick to follow up airline order announcements with its release, said hours later that it was pleased that China Airlines had selected the 787 and was working with the carrier to finalise the order.

“We are pleased that China Airlines has selected the 787 Dreamliner to modernize their world-class fleet and look forward to working with the airline to finalize the order," Boeing said in a statement.

The Dreamliner will become an integral part of China Airlines' medium and long-haul network, while the carrier also noted its spacious cargo capacity in the belly will further add to its value.

Boeing was pleased that China Airlines had selected the 787 and was working with the carrier to finalise the order.

ALSO READ - Boeing to resume 787 Dreamliner deliveries

Deliveries are set to begin in 2025 as Boeing scrambles to clear its backlog having only resumed Dreamliner deliveries earlier this month.

Industry sources have said that the U.S. planemaker sought to distance itself from Pelosi's visit, refraining from using it as an opportunity to lobby for a U.S. deal, but would be wary of acting against its own deeper economic interests in China.

China tends to balance jet purchases between trans-Atlantic industrial powers Airbus and Boeing over time but has effectively been off the market for five years, with demand hampered first by trade tensions and then by the pandemic.

China tends to balance jet purchases between trans-Atlantic industrial powers Airbus and Boeing over time

ALSO READ - Chinese airlines orders 292 Airbus A320neo aircraft

In July, Chinese state airlines announced a deal for 292 smaller narrowbody jets with Airbus, in what sources called a carefully timed announcement, months after the deal was agreed.

Boeing has long been seen as a contender to win a Chinese order for widebody jets like the 787 once trade tensions ease.

Boeing shares closed 1.9% lower on Tuesday, August 30.

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said last month that 737 MAX deliveries to China remained blocked by COVID-19 and a "geopolitical overhang," in a reference to simmering trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies.

Boeing has long been seen as a contender to win a Chinese order for widebody jets like the 787 once trade tensions ease.

The order from Taiwan, however, is the latest sign of a long-awaited pickup in widebody demand and a boost for the U.S. planemaker weeks after it resumed deliveries of its premier long-haul model following a 15-month halt over production issues. 

China Airlines said the 787s would allow it to phase out its fleet of 22 older A330s.

The carrier, one of the world's biggest freight airlines, cited the 787's cargo-carrying capacity as one of the reasons behind its selection in a contest that industry sources said pitted the 787 against the A330neo.

China Airlines, which has been profitable during much of the pandemic because of a shift to cargo services, is now gearing up for a rebound in passenger travel when Taiwan lifts quarantine rules for arrivals.

China Airlines said the 787s would allow it to phase out its fleet of 22 older A330s.

The agreement with Boeing also includes rights to convert parts of its order to the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner variant. The 787-10 is the largest variant in the Dreamliner program and the least popular in terms of sales at 182 orders, falling short of the 787-9 (890 orders) and 787-8 (416 orders).

As for China Airlines' Airbus A330-300 fleet, the carrier has 22 of the type with an average age exceeding 14 years. The vast majority of its A330 fleet is on the lease, with the first aircraft arriving back in 2004.

The Taiwanese airline has been busy renewing its fleet in recent years. This includes welcoming the Airbus A321neo to replace its Boeing 737-800s, along with the addition of the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 in the last half-decade.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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IndiGo A320 faces an "engine stall" warning due to wake turbulence caused by B777

Jinen Gada

31 Aug 2022

An Airbus plane operated by IndiGo faced an "engine stall" warning for a few seconds as it flew into wake turbulence caused by a Boeing 777 aircraft that flew from the opposite side.

The mid-air incident happened on IndiGo's Guwahati-Mumbai flight that was operated by an Airbus 320 ceo plane on Monday, August 29.

An Airbus A320 operated by IndiGo experienced an uncommon occurrence while passing over the Guwahati to Mumbai route at a height of about 36,000 feet. The captain detected an Engine 1 stall warning signal that suddenly disappeared.

The wake turbulence arose due to the large jet aircraft crossing in the opposite direction of the Indigo aircraft.

An official reported that IndiGo flight 6E-6812 briefly experienced an engine 1 stall warning signal as a result of a larger jet of a Boeing 777 aircraft travelling in the opposite direction of IndiGo’s A320 aircraft and creating “Wake Turbulence” mid-air.

Commenting on the development, an official said the warning signal appeared for a moment due to the presence of a bigger jet of Boeing 777 aircraft passing in the opposite direction. However, despite the warning, the flight landed safely at the Mumbai airport.

The heavier the aircraft is and the slower it is moving, the stronger the vortices.

Wake turbulence is a disturbance in the atmosphere that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. It includes a variety of components, the most significant of which are wingtip vortices and jetwash.

All aircraft produce wake turbulence more correctly called wingtip vortices or wake vortices. Wake vortices are formed any time an aerofoil is producing lift. Lift is generated by the creation of a pressure differential over the wing surfaces.

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Air India retains Capt R S Sandhu as Chief of Operations

Jinen Gada

31 Aug 2022

The Tatas have retained Captain R S Sandhu as chief of operations of Air India, making him among the few top management people from the Maharaja’s government-owned days to be utilised for the big transformation under the new owners.

Captain Rajwinder Singh Sandhu will continue as Tata-owned Air India's chief of operations. The airline on Tuesday, August 30 announced that Captain Sandhu will continue to lead as Chief of Operations till further notice.

According to an order issued then, Sandhu had been appointed as Director, Operations, of Air India for three years with effect from the date of his joining, or until disinvestment of Air India, or up to the date of superannuation, or until further orders, whichever was earlier. He was working as Executive Director in the same organisation.

Capt RS Sandhu retains as Chief of Operations for Air India.

His appointment for the role was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet in July 2020. This makes the 58-year-old pilot one among the few top management people from the carrier's government-owned days to be retained for as Air India undergoes a big transformation under its new owners - the Tatas.

One of the senior-most pilots who fly the 787 Dreamliner, Captain Sandhu was nearing the airline's retirement age of 58, however, he has been given an extension in the term following Air India's recent decision to raise it 65 years.

ALSO READ - Air India plans to let its pilots fly until the age of 65

The Tata-owned carrier had recently decided to give an extension for another five years to select pilots. This was also given Air India's expansion plans as it looks at widening its fleet.

This was also given Air India's expansion plans as it looks at widening its fleet.

"Considering future expansion plans for our fleet, it is imperative to meet our workforce requirement for pilots," S D Tripathi, Air India's Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), had said in a July 29 notice.

DGCA allows pilots to fly till the age of 65 years, compared to Air India's retirement age of 58 years. Allowing pilots to fly till the age of 65 is a practice followed by most airlines in the industry.

To meet our requirement, it is proposed to retain our current trained pilots at Air India post-retirement on a contractual basis for 5 years extendable to 65 years, it added.

Air India’s load factor improves to 80% under Tata group management.

To grant an extension to pilots till the age of 65, Air India has introduced a screening process. "A committee comprising of the functional representatives of HR, operations and flight safety will be constituted to examine the eligibility of pilots retiring in the next two years," according to the policy.

The committee will be responsible for reviewing the records of the pilots concerning discipline, flight safety and vigilance. Post the review, the committee will recommend shortlisted names to the CHRO for issuing post-retirement contracts.

ALSO READ - Key to TATA’s strategy to infuse fresh energy into Air India

(With inputs from The Times of India)