IndiGo could have a business class on the Airbus A321 XLR (extra long range) that begin joining its fleet from mid-2024 and will be used for nonstops with a duration of up to 7-8 hours to Europe and the Far East.
The European planemaker said in May that the launch of the A321XLR aircraft will be delayed from 2023 to 2024. So IndiGo’s XLR planes are due to come at the end of 2024.
The budget airline has always had a single class cabin, all economy. It has also shunned ovens on aircraft to keep aircraft light and save fuel while selling cold meals to passengers.
IndiGo plans to have a business class on Airbus A321 XLR
But for the long flights that the XLR would used for, the airline is drawing up a different business model. An IndiGo official said the airline is “considering a two-class configuration (business and economy) for the XLR. However, nothing has been decided yet.”
The XLR is also most likely to have ovens on board that will enable passengers to buy real hot meals.
The XLR product being designed by IndiGo is for the first budget medium-haul nonstops between India and destinations like Paris, Frankfurt, Prague, Moscow, Tokyo and Seoul — a soul preserve of full-service carriers’ (FSC) direct flights.
When it comes to Europe, IndiGo has a lot of choices with its destinations. These most popular would be London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona, and many more.
Aircraft cabin of Jet Blue's Airbus A321LR
“If IndiGo gets it right and can offer a significant price difference (all-inclusive factoring in meals, baggage, seat selection and onboard WiFi) compared to FSCs, it could give the latter a run for their money.
It will be interesting to see how Air India, whose revamp is being planned by the Tatas, counter this move of IndiGo.
Fortunately, the Indian market is so huge that IndiGo and Air India won’t need to compete with each other but complement each other,” said an aviation industry insider.
ALSO READ - The Indigo fleet in 2021, 2022 and beyond: Outstanding order explained
IndiGo currently has a fleet of 275 aircraft and all of them are narrow-body planes such as A320neos and A321neos with just economy class seats.
Ronojoy Dutta reveals the plan in the recent interview
In a recent interview, IndiGo's outgoing CEO Ronojoy Dutta said that adding wide-body aircraft to IndiGo’s fleet is “just a matter of time” once Indian airports develop themselves into hubs, where the management of time slots for arrivals and departures of flights is much better and the time taken to transfer a passenger from an arriving flight at one terminal to a connecting flight on another terminal is extremely less.
A wide-body plane has a bigger fuel tank that allows it to operate long-haul international flights. In India, only Air India and Vistara operate wide-body planes.
Asked about the budget carrier’s plans to increase legroom on planes that operate in international sectors, Dutta said, “We are looking at the configuration of these planes and the obvious question is do we have two-class planes or not. So, we haven’t decided that.”
Proposed look pf the IndiGo's A321XLR revealed by Airbus
Once the airline decides on that, only then it can decide how much legroom it will have in the economy class, he said.
However, he clarified, “in the back (economy class), the pitch is not going to go up too much… Maybe on some (economy class) seats it’ll go up to 33 (inches) or so”.
“But the real issue is are we going to go with a business class or not, and we haven’t decided that. But it’s increasingly looking likely that we will,” he added. Currently, the pitch of economy class seats in IndiGo’s planes is 30 inches.
Airbus is completing the construction and installation of A321XLR test equipment at the final assembly line (FAL) in Hamburg, in preparation for the model’s first flight.
IndiGo had placed an order for 300 A320neo family planes, which include A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR, with Airbus in October 2019.
ALSO READ - Upcoming Airbus A321XLR to have a shorter flight time due to potential fire concerns
ALSO READ – A321 XLR to start test flights soon | Completes final structural assembly
Airbus is completing the construction and installation of A321XLR test equipment at the final assembly line (FAL) in Hamburg, in preparation for the model’s first flight. According to the manufacturer, the first unit of the type (MSN11000) will be delivered to the test team in a very short time.
In parallel to this, the European giant is conducting ground tests to be ready for the start of the flight test and certification programs.
The A321XLR was launched at the Paris Airshow in 2019, and by the end of February 2022, Airbus had amassed 515 orders from 25 customers for the type.
Launched in 2019, the upcoming A321XLR from European aerospace manufacturer Airbus is a real gamechanger for the aviation industry.
With a range of 4,700 NM and 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft, it will expand the possibilities of the narrowbody for airlines and bring in a new era for passengers.
Seldom has there been so much anticipation ahead of the introduction of a new variant of a previously existing model. And indeed, there are many exciting things worth knowing about this new aircraft. Here are some of the most significant to get you started.
Many airlines have also switched existing A320neo family orders to the new A321XLR model.
The A321XLR was launched at the Paris Airshow in 2019, and by the end of February 2022, Airbus had amassed 515 orders from 25 customers for the type.
It is worth noting that these were not all new aircraft orders. Many airlines have also switched existing A320neo family orders to the new A321XLR model.
One of the latest carriers to confirm order was Air Canada, adding six to an additional 20 it is acquiring through lessors for a future fleet of 26 A321XLRs.
All-Airbus low-cost giant IndiGo will, for the moment, be the largest operator of this aircraft.
As confirmed in a recent earnings call, India's all-Airbus low-cost giant IndiGo will, for the moment, be the largest operator of this aircraft.
Placed as part of a 300 plane order in 2019, the airline originally planned for around 37 of the type. However, recent figures have revealed a much larger fleet, totalling 69 in all, is destined for the Indian airline.
Both American Airlines and United Airlines have orders for 50 A321XLR aircraft. For American Airlines, 30 of these orders were conversions from existing A321neo orders, and 20 were new orders.
Air India prepares to add more than 200 aircraft; the most significant order in a long time
21 Jun 2022
21 Jun 2022
Air India Ltd. is considering ordering as many as 300 narrowbody jets, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could be one of the largest orders in commercial aviation history as the formerly state-run airline looks to overhaul its fleet under new ownership.
The carrier may order Airbus SE’s A320neo family jets or Boeing Co.’s 737 Max models, or a mix of both, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.
A deal for 300 737 Max-10 jets could be worth USD 40.5 billion at sticker prices, although discounts are common in such large purchases.
Air India prepares to add more than 200 aircraft; the most significant order in a long time
Winning a narrowbody order in India would be a coup for Boeing, as rival Airbus dominates the skies in the country, the world’s fastest-growing aviation market before the Covid pandemic.
IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., is the world’s largest customer for the European manufacturer’s best-selling narrowbodies, ordering more than 700, and others including Vistara, Go Airlines India Ltd. and AirAsia India Ltd. fly planes from the same family.
Production and delivery of 300 planes would likely take years or even more than a decade. Airbus builds about 50 narrowbody jets in a month, with plans to increase that to 65 by the middle of 2023, and 75 by 2025.
Air India has not bought a single aircraft since 2006 when it placed orders for purchasing 111 aircraft
Representatives for Air India and Boeing declined to comment. An Airbus representative said the company is always in contact with existing and potential customers, but any discussions are confidential.
ALSO READ - Air India to add A350 aircraft to its fleet; first aircraft likely by 2023
Air India’s owner Tata Group is also close to ordering Airbus A350 long-range jets that are capable of flying as far as the US West Coast from New Delhi.
Once known for its premium services and advertisements featuring Bollywood stars, the airline still has lucrative landing slots at most major airports, but it faces competition from foreign airlines with nonstop services to India, as well as carriers that fly via hubs in the Middle East.
Air India has 79 narrow-bodied planes in its fleet too.
Air India has not bought a single aircraft since 2006 when it placed orders for purchasing 111 aircraft — 68 from the US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 43 from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
Tata bought the airline earlier this year in the most high-profile privatization under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is expected to consolidate its aviation businesses, including four airline brands.
An order for new planes, especially with favourable terms on long-term maintenance, would help it cut costs and compete better with rivals that offer very cheap fares.
ALSO READ - Air India eyes Multiple Hubs, International Expansion
According to Air India's website, the airline has a total of 49 wide-bodied aircraft
On the sidelines of the 78th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association, aviation industry sources said Air India is considering buying 200 new planes. The share of narrow-bodied aircraft to that of wide-bodied planes will be 70:30.
Airbus’ top executives are among the hundreds of airline and aerospace company bosses who are in Doha, attending the two-day annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to Air India's website, the airline has a total of 49 wide-bodied aircraft - 18 Boeing B777, 4 Boeing B747 and 27 Boeing B787 - in its fleet. The carrier has 79 narrow-bodied planes in its fleet too.
Gurugram-based startup TechEagle on Tuesday, May 31 said its drone has successfully delivered a mail-in to Gujarat under a pilot project in collaboration with India Post, which could pave the way for postal deliveries by drones in the future.
The first such drone flight delivered the parcel in the Kutch region of Gujarat in less than half an hour, travelling a distance of 46 km, with a five-times faster speed than surface transportation, the deep-tech drone technology startup said in a release.
TechEagle collaborates with India Post to deliver mail using drones
The postal department said that if the experiment is commercially successful, postal parcel delivery services will be faster.
TechEagle had launched the country's fastest hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) 100-km range drone 'VertiplaneX3,' with a payload capacity of 3-kg and a top speed of 120 km per hour, last month. It can take off and land vertically like a helicopter from a small area of 5mX5m.
TechEagle had launched the country's fastest hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) 100-km range drone 'VertiplaneX3'
VertiplaneX3 was showcased by the firm during the recently-concluded Drone Mahotsav in New Delhi. The pilot project was aimed at testing the operational and technical feasibility of drone deliveries in the region along with commercial scalability, TechEagle said.
With the success of this pilot project, it will now be possible to make postal deliveries by drone in the future, it stated.
"On May 27, TechEagle's Vertiplane X3 delivered India Post's mail from Habay village in Bhuj taluka to Ner village in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district in Gujarat.It was quite remarkable for the drone delivery revolution in the country as it was the longest Drone delivery in a single flight and that too in a harsh weather environment with a wind speed of more than 30 km/hour."Vikram Singh Meena, Founder & CEO, TechEagle
Emphasising that the technology needs to create real value for society by providing better access to services, Anshu Abhishek, co-founder-COO at TechEagle said, "The TechEagle is proud to partner with India Post, which is the most widely-distributed postal department in the world, to deliver parcels to remote and rural areas".
"This project was aimed at enabling faster deliveries across the country be it in urban cities or any rural village. The learnings from the project would help stakeholders to scale up and commercialise the drone delivery of mail across the country."Anshu Abhishek, Co-Founder & COO, TechEagle
After green energy, the Ambani and Adani Groups are now in the race to become number one in yet another field - civilian-use drones.
While they both have a major presence on the defence side drones, officials of these groups participating in the Drone Festival in Delhi last week spoke about expanding on the civil side now.
"We will be expanding in all spheres like original equipment manufacturer (OEM), services and analytics using cloud-based platforms. We aim to be the biggest OEM in India. As of now, we have one manufacturing hub in Bengaluru and will soon have maintenance hubs across India."Nihar Vartak, Co-Founder and Director, Asteria Aerospace, Subsidiary of Reliance Industries Jio Platforms
Asteria Aerospace signed an MoU with India's biggest unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) pilot training company - Drone Destination - during the event to meet its requirement of licensed drone operators.
Recently, Adani Defence Systems and Technologies (ADSTL) announced it will acquire a 50% stake in Bengaluru-based commercial drone player General Aeronautics to provide "end-to-end solutions to the domestic agriculture sector".
"We are promoting startups in the sector. We will soon start manufacturing a logistics drone capable of carrying a payload of up to 120 kg and then come up with drones for other payloads. The group is looking at agriculture drones and wants to be the market leader.When we entered the defence UAV side in 2018, we brought the biggest Hermes 900 multi-role, medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone (that is made by Israeli partner Elbit Systems). Now as we enter the civil side, we will grow taking both the organic and inorganic route."Ashok Wadhawan, Head of Land Systems, Adani Defence and Aerospace
And last month, Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems India, a JV of Adani Group and an Israeli company, was one of the 14 beneficiaries of the government's product-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing drones and drone components.
Reliance Group's Asteria Aerospace is a "full-stack drone technology company providing actionable intelligence from aerial data" that develops customised drone solutions using its in-house hardware design, software development, and manufacturing capabilities.
Ambani and Adani are in the race to become number one in civilian-use drones
Apart from defence, it is working with companies in agriculture, oil & gas, energy, telecom, mining, and construction sectors.
"We are working on mega projects. Currently, we are mapping a 50,000 sq km area in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and will complete the work in 4-5 months," Asteria's Vartak said.
(With Inputs from The Times of India)
The aircraft carrier is a powerful metric to gauge the naval superiority of a country and hence remains the flagship of the most powerful navies of the world. The U.S. Navy tops the list having deployed the most advanced aircraft carriers to date. Coming in close, the UK has two powerful Queen Elizabeth-class carriers that have been serving in the Royal Navy since 2017.
Aircraft Carrier Fleet Strength by Country (2022) | globalfirepower
Question is, what makes an aircraft carrier so important and lethal on the seas?
Aircraft carriers play a major role in winning decisive naval battles and also carry and launch military fighters, aircraft, and helicopters from their deck. Therefore it follows that aircraft operating from these war machines are suitably capable, effective and compliant with the technical operations of the carrier.
The Dassault Rafale, the F-35B Lightning II, and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are the best of their class. but which amongst them, comes out at the top?
The French Rafale Marine (M) Fighter Jet
Manufactured by Dassault Rafale, it is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft that can operate from either an aircraft carrier or a land base. The Rafale M features a greatly reinforced undercarriage to cope with the additional stresses of naval landings, an arrestor hook and a "jump strut" nosewheel, which only extends during short takeoffs, including catapult launches.
Ski Jump launch | Representative | The Drive
It also features a built-in ladder, carrier-based microwave landing system and the new fin-tip Telemir system for syncing the inertial navigation system to external equipment.
Although not a full-aspect stealth aircraft, the Rafale is designed for a reduced radar cross-section (RCS) and infrared signature.
For compatibility with armaments of varying types and origins, Rafale's onboard store management system is compliant with MIL-STD-1760, an electrical interface between an aircraft and its carriage stores, thereby simplifying the incorporation of many of their existing weapons and equipment.
According to Dassault, Rafale's onboard mission systems enable ground attack and air-to-air combat operations to be carried out within a single sortie, with many functions capable of simultaneous execution in conjunction with another, increasing survivability and versatility.
Furthermore, the Rafale M version features only 13 hardpoints when compared to the 14 on a typical Rafale, five of which are suitable for heavy armament or equipment.
Its combination of agility, deadly weapons and perfect systems make it one of the top contenders for the top spot.
The Boeing F/A-18 E/A Super Hornet
The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.
Survivability is an important feature of the Super Hornet design. It does not rely on stealth, instead, its design incorporates a combination of signature reduction, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, use of standoff weapons, and innovative tactics that collectively enhance the safety of the fighter and crew affordably.
Although being a very reliable and inexpensive option, it's inferior at high altitudes when compared to other competitors of its class.
While the F/A-18E/F is not a stealth fighter like the F-22, it features a frontal radar cross-section (RCS) an order of magnitude smaller than prior generation fighters.
F22 Raptor | Representative | The Aviation Geek Club
Two Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters are undergoing trials at the shore-based test facility at INS Hansa in Goa to showcase their compatibility and suitability to operate from Indian aircraft carriers
Alain Garcia, vice president of Boeing's India Business Development, made a strong sales pitch for F/A-18 Super Hornet, saying the aircraft has been specifically designed for carrier operations. Garcia said that the fighter jet can operate from the Indian Navy warships and will meet or exceed the STOBAR (Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery) performance requirements of the Indian Navy.
Alain Garcia | Asian Military Review
Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet (SPECS)
The Block III Super Hornet comes with advanced networking and open architecture design that allows it to work jointly with the Indian Navy's P-8I and other US-origin assets, according to a Boeing executiveAccording to Boeing, the two versions of the Super Hornet can conduct day/night strikes with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defences, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.
The first few photos of the fighters, undergoing testing since 23 May, have come up on Twitter:
The Super Hornet has become the most classic carrier-based aircraft of the modern times for the US Navy after having proved itself in both- fighter and attack roles.
The F-35B Fighter
The Lockheed Martin F-35B is the version of the F-35 Lightning II meant to perform on aircraft carriers. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions.
F 35 Lightning II | Metalphoto of Cincinnatti
It is the second fifth-generation fighter to enter US service and the first operational supersonic STOVL stealth fighter.
Featuring advanced avionics and sensor fusion that enable a high level of situational awareness and long-range lethality, it has kinematics competitive with fourth-generation fighters such as the F-16 and F/A-18, although it still lacks the raw performance of the larger twin-engine F-22.
All variants have a top speed of Mach 1.6, attainable with a full internal payload.
Lockheed Martin is developing a weapon rack called Sidekick that would enable the internal outboard station to carry two AIM-120s, thus increasing the internal air-to-air payload to six missiles.
The F-35 is expected to be continually upgraded over its lifetime.
Other worthy mentions are the Chinese Shenyang J-15 and the Russian Mikoyan MiG-29K. While the former is yet to prove its mettle as a fighter, the latter would have surely ranked higher, if not for the issues faced by the Indian Navy.
Shenyang J-15 | Twitter
Qatar Airways is ready to see its legal dispute with Airbus over flaws with the protective skin of A350 wide-body jets through to trial, the Gulf carrier said on Tuesday, May 31.
Qatar Airways is suing the European planemaker in a UK court for USD 1 billion in damages after grounding about two dozen of its A350s experiencing the flaws, which it says raise safety concerns - something Airbus and European regulators deny.
ALSO READ - Qatar Airways takes Airbus to London High Court over A350 skin damage
Until now, Qatar Airways has appeared broadly isolated in the dispute as other airlines continue to fly the jets, though the Gulf carrier has won some public encouragement from global airlines association IATA and rival Gulf carrier Emirates.
Qatar Airways prepared to take the Airbus legal dispute to trial
A British judge last week rejected Qatar Airways' requests for a series of injunctions, clearing a path towards a full trial on the A350 surface problems and a related dispute over the planemaker's decision to revoke a contract for smaller jets.
ALSO READ - UK court denies compensation to Qatar Airways for cancelled A321neos order by Airbus
On Tuesday, May 31 the airline noted that a longer written version of the judge's decision reflected some arguments that it intends to make in the main trial, as it took the unusual step of reproducing lengthy extracts from the judgment.
Summarising evidence in preliminary hearings, Judge David Waksman noted that the problem that originally appeared in one plane in late 2020 could potentially affect all A350s because of the choice of materials, for which there was no simple fix.
Qatar Airways says it cannot know for sure whether it is a safety problem until Airbus provides a fuller explanation.
Airbus has acknowledged that such issues tend to affect carbon composite aircraft but maintains it is not a safety issue. Qatar Airways says it cannot know for sure whether it is a safety problem until Airbus provides a fuller explanation.
"Qatar Airways is ready to see this matter through to trial to ensure that its rights are protected and that Airbus is required to address an unprecedented and extremely unique and concerning defect impacting the A350 aircraft type, across the industry and multiple carriers," it said in a statement.
Airbus dismissed what it termed a misreading of last week's ruling, which had seen Qatar's procedural requests rejected while forcing the airline to pay most allowable Airbus costs.
Qatar Airways said it was “extremely concerned” about the precedent being set by Airbus in cancelling the A321 contract.
"Airbus is surprised by Qatar's complete mischaracterisation of the UK High Court ruling which rejected all of Qatar's requests for injunctions," the planemaker said in a statement. "Airbus continues to favour engagement and an amicable solution to resolve the dispute," it added.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told reporters in Doha last week, "I just hope that this dispute could be resolved outside the courts of law".
ALSO READ - Airbus responds to Qatar Airways’s A350 dispute by cancelling A321 Order
“Qatar Airways remains within its contractual rights to reject delivery of further A350 aircraft whilst the aircraft type suffers from a design defect which has now been acknowledged by the court, and for Airbus to abuse its strength in the market to terminate a separate and unrelated contract for another aircraft type is extremely damaging for our industry."Qatar Airways
The carrier also said it was “extremely concerned” about the precedent being set by Airbus in cancelling the A321 contract.
ALSO READ - UK court orders Airbus to halt the cancellation of Qatar Airways’ A321neo
Barring a settlement, which the judge last week described as unlikely for the time being, the two sides are heading for a rare London court clash starting in June 2023.
(With Inputs from Reuters)