IndiGo collaborates with VisitBritain to boost travel between India and UK

Radhika Bansal

29 Mar 2023

Low-cost airline IndiGo has joined hands with VisitBritain to promote travel to the United Kingdom through its codeshare partnership with Turkish Airlines. It will offer connectivity to London, Manchester, and Birmingham via Istanbul.

IndiGo's collaboration with VisitBritain is expected to boost travel and tourism between India and UK and promote mutual economic growth and development. This partnership will also provide customers with an affordable travel option.

"Though the United Kingdom is a year-round destination, during the summer and late spring, there is an even larger influx of visitors. Through these connections, IndiGo aims to provide customers with even more options, particularly during the peak tourist season in India. We are committed to making flying a pleasant experience for our customers and will uphold our promise of courteous, hassle-free, on-time, and affordable travel across an unparalleled network."

Vinay Malhotra, Head of Global Sales, IndiGo

Ms. Louise Bryce, Director of Partnerships, at VisitBritain said, “India is one of our most important inbound visitor markets and we know there is pent-up demand for travel. We want to deliver a world-class welcome for visitors and making it easier to get to Britain, including through regional gateways, is crucial to our competitive tourism offer and to encourage visitors to explore more of Britain.”

IndiGo collaborates with VisitBritain to boost travel between India and UK

ALSO READ - IndiGo launches 32 new connecting flights between India and Europe

This is not the first time that IndiGo has tied up with Turkish Airlines for codesharing partnership. Last year, it announced its 32 new connecting flights to Europe through its codeshare partnership with Turkish Airlines. The new routes include several major destinations like Milan, Manchester, Birmingham, Rome, Venice, Portugal and Switzerland.

Also read: Qantas announces direct flights between Sydney-Bengaluru, finalises codeshare with IndiGo

Last August, Qantas announced its codeshare agreement with IndiGo where passengers flying to Bengaluru and Delhi could make seamless connections to major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Goa.

ALSO READ - With IndiGo codeshares, Qantas expands its India destinations

Codeshare agreement helps two airlines in expanding their access to customers flying to destinations serviced by either of them. Such partnerships allow an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.

VisitBritain is the name used by the British Tourist Authority, the tourist board of Great Britain incorporated under the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

VisitBritain was created in April 2003 to market Britain to the rest of the world and to promote and develop the visitor economy of England. It was formed out of a merger between the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council and is a non-departmental public body responsible to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In April 2009, VisitEngland became more of a stand-alone body from VisitBritain, more on a par with the devolved entities, VisitScotland and VisitWales.

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Air India Express and AirAsia India integrates reservations system

Radhika Bansal

29 Mar 2023

Air India has integrated the reservations system and customer interface of its two low-cost subsidiary airlines - Air India Express and AirAsia India, making a major move in the Tata-owned flag carrier's plan to consolidate its airline entities. "On 27 March, the two low-cost airlines moved to a single, unified reservations system and website, and adopted common social media and customer support channels," Air India said in a statement. The process largely involved Air India Express migrating to the systems used by AirAsia India. Passengers will now be able to make and manage bookings, and check-in to AirAsia India and Air India Express domestic and international flights, on an all-new integrated website This comes five months after AirAsia India was fully acquired and made a subsidiary of Air India, and three months after both AirAsia India and Air India Express were placed under a single CEO, Air India said. Going ahead, the airlines will continue integrating other internal systems and, eventually, their air operating permits and regulatory posts. Hailing the integration of the core reservations and passenger-facing systems a significant milestone in the Air India Group’s transformation journey, Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD at Air India said the new Air India Express, operating both domestically and internationally using systems optimised for low-cost airlines, gives the Group a much stronger LCC platform. The integration of Air India Express and Air India will bring revenue, cost, and operational benefits through broader adoption of each airlines’ best practices, systems, and routes, and confer greater economies of scale, the company said. Tata Sons has initiated consolidation of its airline entities Vistara, AirAsia India and Air India Express under Air India, a move that will make Air India the second largest airline in the country in terms of fleet and market share. Last month, Tata Sons owned Vistara and Air India started their integration process as the two airlines look to expeditiously complete the merger process. Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Tata Group had last year announced a merger between Air India and Vistara, with SIA holding 25.1% of the merged entity. Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.

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Air India expected to announce an 8-10% salary hike for its employees

Radhika Bansal

29 Mar 2023

Air India is expected to announce salary hikes for its employees. The planned hikes will benefit employees across the board, including pilots and cabin crew, a Livemint report said. Increments are likely to be in the range of 8-10 per cent. The development has come when industry competition is on the rise.

This is the first performance review of employees since the Tata Group took control of Air India. The step is likely to bring parity between expatriate and Indian pilots, the report said, quoting an industry expert.

Furthermore, the report quoted the expert as saying, "The first round of hikes may be over the next couple of months. Pilots will be the first to get hikes. Salary corrections will also take place for the cabin crew and other officers."

As airlines in the industry are planning expansion to meet the rising demand, there has been a greater demand for pilots and cabin crew. The report added that the shortage of pilots in the industry is the key reason behind the decision to hike salaries. Primarily, the airlines do not want talent to join another company.

In its report, aviation consultancy firm CAPA said that Indian airlines are expected to order 1500-1700 planes over the next two years. Presently, Indian airlines operate more than 700 commercial aircraft, and an additional 1,000 plus planes are in the pipeline, the report said.

Considering all these factors, airlines are wary of competition and want to secure their talent. The lucrative offers provided by the middle-eastern operators are another challenge that Indian airlines are keeping in mind, the report said.

(With Inputs from Mint)

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MOCA urges OEMS inadvanced air mobility space to set up manufacturing capabilities in India

Jinen Gada

29 Mar 2023

The MOCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) in India has recently called upon OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) in the advanced air mobility space to establish their manufacturing capabilities in the country. This move comes as a part of the government's efforts to boost the aviation sector in India and make it more self-reliant.

Advanced air mobility refers to the next generation of aviation technologies, including electric and hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which are expected to revolutionize the transportation industry in the coming years.

Several companies, including Airbus, Boeing, and Bell, have already begun developing such aircraft, which are expected to be used for various purposes, including urban air mobility, medical transportation, and cargo delivery.

MOCA urges OEMS inadvanced air mobility space to set up manufacturing capabilities in India.

India is a country with a large population and rapidly growing economy, making it an attractive market for advanced air mobility companies. The government's push towards self-reliance and the development of a robust manufacturing ecosystem in the country has further strengthened its position as an attractive destination for OEMs in this space.

In recent years, the Indian government has taken several steps to boost the aviation sector in the country. These include the launch of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN), which aims to enhance air connectivity to remote and underserved regions of the country, the establishment of the National Civil Aviation Policy, and the liberalization of foreign investment policies in the sector.

The MOCA's call for OEMs to set up manufacturing capabilities in India is a significant step towards making the country a hub for advanced air mobility technologies. It is expected to create new jobs, boost local manufacturing, and provide a much-needed impetus to the aviation sector in the country.

The establishment of manufacturing capabilities in India by OEMs in the advanced air mobility space is expected to provide a significant boost to the country's manufacturing ecosystem.

The Indian government has also launched several initiatives to support the development of advanced air mobility technologies in the country. These include the establishment of a drone task force to promote the use of drones for commercial purposes, the launch of a National Airspace Management Policy to regulate the use of drones in the country's airspace, and the development of a regulatory framework for urban air mobility.

It is expected to create new jobs and contribute to the development of a skilled workforce in the country. It will also help the country move towards self-reliance in the aviation sector and reduce its dependence on imports of advanced air mobility technologies.

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Air India CEO hails biggest turnround in airline's history

Jinen Gada

29 Mar 2023

The chief executive of Air India said the carrier is embarking on the biggest turnround effort in airline history as he outlined ambitions to turn India into the next major aviation hub following a huge order for new planes.

Campbell Wilson said he hoped to return the recently privatised airline to the “upper echelons” of global aviation as part of an overhaul by new owner Tata Sons. Wilson has begun to rebuild an airline that has been bleeding USD 2.4mn a day, is upgrading a fleet of antiquated planes, and runs on some of the oldest information technology in the industry.

“It’s certainly the biggest aviation turnround, I think, that I am ever aware of?.?.?. I don’t think there is anything that has ever been attempted like this before.”

Campbell Wilson.

Air India boss hails biggest turnround effort in airline's history.

Tata, the industrial group that acquired the formerly state-owned national carrier after a USD 2.4bn bid in 2021, last year began a five-year turnround programme codenamed Vihaan.AI — derived from the Sanskrit for “dawn of a new era” — aimed at transforming the brand following nearly 70 years in state hands.

Last month the airline announced its global ambitions with an order for 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing, one of the largest ever such purchases.

The airline is recruiting staff and pilots and rolling out services in hope of capitalising on India’s growing economy and population — from this year the world’s largest — and diaspora, many of whom fly to India via the Gulf.

Wilson said he planned to triple passenger numbers and to eventually challenge Gulf airport hubs including Dubai and Qatar for layover traffic. Tata is also seeking regulatory permission to merge Vistara, its airline joint venture with Singapore Airlines, into Air India.

As part of the planned merger, Singapore Airlines is investing about $250mn in Air India, giving it a 25.1 per cent stake.

Air India is also integrating its Air Asia Express and Air Asia India into a single carrier. Wilson was unable to say when the carrier would turn a profit, but pointed to “so much low-hanging fruit” for cost cuts and revenue growth, including modernising basic functions such as scheduling, fuel and insurance contracts and its frequent flyer programme.

He said the airline was the last in the world to switch away from an old reservation system, and until the takeover had last hired anyone to work in IT in 2007.

Air India’s new owners have started to invest heavily in IT — in a business where many processes were formerly manual — and installing new seats and in-flight systems in its shopworn existing fleet.

With inputs from financialtimes.

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Airbus delivers the first A321neo built in China to Juneyao Air

Radhika Bansal

28 Mar 2023

Airbus has delivered the first A321neo aircraft assembled at its Final Assembly Line Asia (FAL Tianjin) to China's Juneyao Air in Tianjin, China.

The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney GTFengines and features 207 comfortable seats, eight in Business and 199 in Economy class. Its delivery flight is to use a 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend in support of the green aviation strategy in China.

“Since we announced the commissioning of the first A321 aircraft at FAL Tianjin last November, the relevant final assembly activities and tests went on smoothly, showcasing the maturity of FAL Tianjin to quickly adapt to new products,” said George Xu, Airbus Executive Vice President and Airbus China CEO.

“The successful delivery of the first A321 aircraft enables Airbus to honour the popularity of the aircraft for the China market and beyond – and the consistent trust and support from our customers. Airbus continues to expand and enhance its comprehensive cooperation with China's aviation industry, underlining its long-term commitment to China to ensure customer proximity while supporting the global commercial aircraft production ramp-up.”

Airbus has four A320 family final assembly facilities around the world: Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, United States. With the conversion of the Tianjin facility last year, and with the newest facility about to complete its transformation in Toulouse, the global industrial system will be fully A321-capable, creating flexibility and agility to meet Airbus' ramp up objectives and the rising market success of the A321 model.

Inaugurated in 2008, the FAL in Tianjin was the first Airbus commercial aircraft assembly line outside Europe. In the same year, the first aircraft sections arrived on site. Since its first A320 delivery in 2009, Airbus' FAL in Tianjin has delivered more than 600 aircraft over its 14 years in operation.

The A321neo is the longest-fuselage member of Airbus' best-selling, single-aisle A320 family, comfortably seating as many as 244 passengers, with a longest range reaching 4,700nm/8,700km. By the end of January 2023, the A320neo family had received over 8,600 firm orders from more than 130 customers worldwide.