A Dubai-based lessor of SpiceJet Ltd has asked India's aviation regulator to deregister three of the budget airline's planes as SpiceJet struggles with high costs and maintenance challenges.
The United Arab Emirates aeronautics firm AWAS did not specify why it was seeking to deregister the three Boeing 737s in the notification, published by India's aviation regulator.
The aircraft - VT-SYW, VT-SYX and VT-SYY were former Jet Airways aircraft which SpiceJet had taken in 2019 after Jet's closure. The aircraft in question are between 11 and 13 years old.
The aircraft - VT-SYW, VT-SYX and VT-SYY were former Jet Airways aircraft which SpiceJet had taken in 2019 after Jet's closure.
VT-SYW was delivered to Jet Airways in 2010 as VT-JBQ and has flown 43,024 hours across more than 19,000 flight cycles. According to FlightRadar24.com, it is scheduled to fly from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi on July 30.
VT-SYY joined Jet as VT-JBS in 2010 and has flown 41,764 hours in 11.82 years. It was in flight at the time of writing, flying from Delhi to Goa. VT-SYX was originally VT-JBR under Jet and has accumulated 44,136 hours.
SpiceJet told Reuters it was returning older aircraft in a phased manner, including these three aircraft, as a part of a modernization plan.
Dubai-based SpiceJet lessor asks DGCA to de-register 3 planes
"These returns have been planned and will not have any impact on our operations," a company spokesman said by email. SpiceJet returned 12 old Boeing aircraft to lessors last year, the statement said. AWAS did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
After the lessor files a request under IDERA, the DGCA checks if the aircraft has any pending dues from tax authorities and airports, and if none are found, the de-registration is allowed.
The government has been trying to improve the ease of doing business for lessors to attract them to India. As part of that faster deregistration process by the regulator has been one of the demands from lessors, many of whom are backed by top global banks.
SpiceJet returned 12 old Boeing aircraft to lessors last year
India's director general of civil aviation ordered SpiceJet to halve its departures for eight weeks after technical problems raised safety concerns.
Lessors typically apply for deregistration when lease agreements are terminated for reasons including nonpayment of lease rentals.
AWAS filed its request under Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorisations provisions, which are typically filed after payment negotiations between a lessor and airline fail.
ALSO READ - SpiceJet and De Havilland reach an agreement over Q400 aircraft
Previously, SpiceJet has been in disputes with aircraft company De Havilland for Bombardier Q400 planes
Previously, SpiceJet has been in disputes with aircraft company De Havilland for Bombardier Q400 planes and lessor Avolon for Boeing planes.
Shares of SpiceJet skyrocketed 11% to INR 42.5 per share on BSE in Monday's intra-day trade after the airline operator assured 'absolutely normal' flight operations.
In the past month, SpiceJet has remained flat, while the frontline indices Nifty50 and the S&P BSE Sensex have gained around 8.5% each. On Monday, August 1, the private airline operator asserted that all flights departed on time as per schedule, without any cancellations.
ALSO READ - Shares of SpiceJet fell 9.3% after DGCA halves capacity; hits 52-week low
Shares of SpiceJet skyrocketed 11% to INR 42.5 per share on BSE in Monday's intra-day trade after the airline operator assured 'absolutely normal' flight operations.
Over the weekend, the aircraft occupancy or passenger load factor remained steady in the range of 81 to 82%. This comes after the airline regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) curtailed flight operations to only 50% for eight weeks.
ALSO READ - DGCA orders SpiceJet to operate only 50% of approved flights
Meanwhile, the airline launched 26 new domestic flights in July. Under the UDAN scheme, they introduced direct flights like Nashik from Delhi, Hyderabad to Jammu, Mumbai to Guwahati, Varanasi to Ahmedabad and Kolkata to Jabalpur. The airline operator deployed Boeing 737 and Q400 aircraft along these routes.
So far in the calendar year, shares of SpiceJet have tanked nearly 44% - the most amongst its peers. Meanwhile, shares of Interglobe Aviation slipped 7%, whereas, Jet Airways gained 15.7%, during the same period.
Two pilots of leading Indian airlines failed dope tests this week, becoming the first aviation personnel to do so since India started testing flight crew and air traffic controllers for psychoactive substances on a random basis starting January 31, 2022.
As this is the first time they have failed the test, the two are being sent for de-addiction or rehabilitation. After undergoing the programme successfully, they can return to work with a negative dope test and a fitness certificate from their airline doctor.
The two pilots were the first couple of aviation personnel to have failed the drug test since it was inducted six months ago.
It was only recently when the DGCA began mandatory testing flight crew and air traffic controllers for psychoactive substances on a random basis starting on January 31 this year. The drugs to be tested include amphetamine and amphetamine-type stimulants, opiates and metabolites, cannabis, cocaine, barbiturates, and benzodiazepine.
ALSO READ - DGCA orders pre-flight alcohol tests for 50% of pilots and cabin crew daily
"The two pilots failed the dope test in the last 4-5 days. As per protocol, their urine samples underwent a confirmatory test after the initial test was positive. The samples were sent abroad for the confirmatory test. Due to sensitivity and privacy issues and the stigma attached, the identity of the pilots and the two prominent Indian airlines they work for is not being disclosed."Said people aware of the development.
Personnel who test positive would have to be reported to the DGCA within 24 hours of detection, and a confirmation test would have to be done for double confirmation.
After that, the DGCA will immediately suspend the positive cases until a confirmatory report is received. As for the two pilots who failed their drug tests, they were immediately suspended from flight duty, as confirmed by the DGCA.
All constructive instances should be reported to the DGCA within 24 hours of detection.
Those who fail the test for the first time have to successfully undergo de-addiction/rehabilitation and are then allowed to return to duty. Those who fail for the second time will have their license suspended for three years. And failing the third time would mean cancellation of the license.
While breath analyser (BA) tests are conducted for several years to ensure aviation personnel are sober when they report for work, the DGCA had for the first time made dope tests mandatory for pilots, cabin crew and air traffic controllers (ATCOs) earlier this year. At least 10% of the personnel in an organisation have to undergo dope tests annually.
ALSO READ - A dozen airport and airlines maintenance staff reported working drunk in India
ALSO READ - 9 pilots and 32 cabin crew fail the pre-flight breath analyser test in the last 4 months
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Ops - the way forward for successful commercial drone operations
31 Jul 2022
31 Jul 2022
Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations are touted to be the next big advancement that would ensure an effective and successful unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry, especially commercial UAS operations.
Most commercial UAS operations today are conducted under 14 CFR Part 107, highlighting limitations on minimizing air and ground risks. A maximum altitude of 400 ft AGL, visual line of sight of the aircraft and operations only during the day are some of the limitations outlined and a recent rule allowing limited operations over people.
Representative | Unmanned Systems Technology
The ability to fly drones Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) represents the next ample opportunity for commercial drone operators. Most commercial drone applications are poised to benefit immensely from BVLOS while some applications would remain impossible to execute without BVLOS.
It is also to be noted that BVLOS operations are prohibited at the moment unless special permissions are obtained from the concerned regulations.
Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) etc are some of the commonly used terms within the drone industry. So, what exactly do they mean?
VLOS (Visual Line of Sight)
Visual Line of Sight (‘VLOS’) operations are a type of UAS operation in which the remote pilot maintains continuous, unaided visual contact with the unmanned aircraft.
The person operating the drone UAV needs to maintain a visual line of sight with the aircraft at all times, be able to see the surrounding airspace in which the aircraft is operating and operate the aircraft below the cloud base or fog, or smoke etc. In other words, the aircraft must always be visible to the pilot.
The Regulations in the UK and Europe create an offence to operate an Unmanned Aircraft outside of permitted rules and procedures- a breach of which could carry significant penalties.
EVLOS (Extended Visual Line of Sight)
Mode of operation where a pilot is always present on a location with one or more external observers keeping the UAV in their line of sight.
Representative | Airborne Drones
These observers communicate critical flight information through radio to assist the pilot in maintaining a safe distance from other air users, both manned and unmanned, as well as structures, terrain and other hazards.
BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight)
In BVLOS, the UAV is allowed to operate away from the visual range, based on instrumentation such as onboard cameras and detect-and-avoid technologies.
In this mode of operation, the aircraft no longer has the protection of the pilot or observer to avoid terrain, obstacles or other aircraft (called ‘See and Avoid’ or ‘Detect and Avoid’ (DAA)).
BVLOS Ops require meticulous planning by the operator with a definite framework process in place with most Aviation Authorities.
In May 2020, the SOARIZON by Thales team collaborated with drone deliveries provider Skyports, to perform a ground-breaking, first of kind, BVLOS medical drone delivery trial.
This trial has proven tangible, real-world, value to the NHS, during its most challenging time in living memory. We have proven that by working collaboratively with the Government and Regulator that BVLOS drone services can be conducted in a safe and secure method and applied to time-critical use-cases across a number of sectors. We are looking forward to continuing to develop the service and capability to define future serviceKarim Cosslett, Head of Growth, SOARIZON by THALES
BVLOS is also crucial to operating at a higher aircraft-to-pilot ratio, which is an essential economic component of the future feasibility of the industry.
Existing rules basically don’t fit the requirements for full implementation of commercial UAS capabilities. The current regulations still limit UAS use casessaid Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, Inc., a safety avionics technology company pioneering detect-and-avoid systems and aviation policy services
The FAA was scheduled to hold a public meeting on UAS BVLOS on June 22 through its YouTube channel and Facebook page to provide the public with an opportunity to submit written comments or request a timeslot to provide oral comments.
Currently, BVLOS operations are trapped in a regulatory Catch-22. Data must show BVLOS operations can be conducted safely in order to operate, but the only way to obtain that data at scale is to allow BVLOS operations to occurJON HANLON, Director of UAS Maintenance and Airworthiness, Zipline
The way forward should be to leverage the value of what already exists – 100 years of commercial aviation experience while finding pragmatic approaches to enable UAS operators to begin BVLOS quickly-he added further.
The Indian Scenario
The Ministry of Civil Aviation replaced the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021 last year and although the rules were liberalised, they didn't open up to BVLOS or “beyond visual line of sight” drone operations.
Before BVLOS operations begin formally, a UTM policy will have to be in place- UTM, an acronym for "Unmanned Traffic Management"- basically an air traffic management system for drones, except that it is an automated tool so that they can communicate while in flight.
Representative | Airosspace
The operating drones must be connected to the internet at all times to ensure that UTMs work accurately. The connection to the internet can happen in three different ways - on a 4G network or an unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency band.
Some notable BVLOS trials
In May of 2021, the Government of Telangana received a conditional exemption for conducting experimental BVLOS drone flights for the delivery of vaccinesThe National Health Mission, Mumbai, received a conditional exemption for conducting experimental BVLOS drone flights to deliver essential healthcare items in tribal areas of Jawhar in the Palghar district of MaharashtraLed by Throttle Aerospace Systems in collaboration with the Bengaluru-based e-commerce platform Udaan and under the supervision of the DGCA, a BVLOS trial for drone delivery of medicines was successfully completed in Bengaluru ( 20 August 2021)
BVLOS trials will help create a framework for future drone deliveries and other major applications using dronesThe Ministry of Civil Aviation
On successful completion of the BVLOS project with regards to safety, security, and viability, the restrictive clauses on these Ops may be lifted.
COVER: Aviation Today
Say hello to V.?O - Volkswagen Group China's first electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) passenger drone prototype
30 Jul 2022
30 Jul 2022
Volkswagen Group China has unveiled its first electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) passenger drone prototype, as part of its strategy to explore and break new ground in fully electric and sustainable individual mobility concepts.
The prototype is the culmination of intensive research, conceptual work, and development of the Vertical Mobility project launched in 2020 by Volkswagen Group China. The initial prototype, nicknamed the "Flying Tiger"- due to its distinctive black and gold livery painted to commemorate its launch in the Year of the Tiger, would be the company's first validation model.
The V.MO eVTOL
Based on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technology for emission-free mobility, the concept features a luxury x-wing configuration of 11.2m in length and a span width of 10.6m.
The prototype has eight rotors for vertical lift and two propellers for horizontal flight The Group will conduct several flight tests later this year to optimize the concept and an improved prototype will undergo further advanced test flights by late summer 2023.
The final version of the fully electric and automated eVTOL could eventually carry four passengers plus luggage over a distance of up to 200km.
Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech savvy Chinese customers. This is a pioneering project which our young team of Chinese experts started from scratch – they are working with new design concepts and materials while developing new safety standards, disrupting and innovating every step of the way. The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel, and a perfect example of our ‘From China, For China’ mission. Our long-term aim is to industrialize this concept and, like a ‘Flying Tiger’, break new ground in this emerging and fast-evolving new mobility marketDr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said
Stephan Wöllenstein | Source
Volkswagen Group China is rapidly expanding local R&D and software expertise to respond faster to what customers want and significantly accelerate the pace of innovation.
In the first phase of its commercial use, V.MO is likely to be pitched as a premium product for high-net-worth tech-savvy Chinese customers-for example for VIP air shuttle services. eVTOL air vehicles will be able to transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport and with greater flexibility. As the Vertical Mobility project develops, Volkswagen Group China will work with the relevant Chinese authorities to achieve certification.
COVER: Volkswagen Newsroom
Boeing Co. received preliminary US regulatory clearance to restart deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, paving the way for the end of a drought that drained cash and dented the planemaker’s reputation for quality.
The Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing’s plans to inspect and repair tiny manufacturing flaws in the Dreamliner’s carbon-composite frame. The jet manufacturer had largely halted deliveries since late 2020 as its engineers found improperly filled gaps in about 20 locations.
The jet manufacturer had largely halted deliveries since late 2020.
The FAA agreement is a milestone for the company, but it won’t immediately resume sales. Boeing must still make required fixes and get FAA inspectors to approve each aircraft, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information hasn’t been publicly announced. While the timing of delivery resumptions remains unclear, the company is aiming to begin in the week of August 8.
A total of 120 of the jets, which retail for as much as USD 338 million, had been constructed but were parked and waiting for the FAA’s approval to resume sales to customers such as American Airlines Group Inc., according to Boeing.
"We will continue to work transparently with the FAA and our customers towards resuming 787 deliveries."Boeing said in an e-mailed statement.
The chief problem for the 787 had been how the plane’s carbon-fibre fuselage sections were joined, which didn’t meet Boeing’s design specifications but wasn’t deemed to be a safety hazard.
The resumption of shipments will mark a financial turnaround for Boeing.
The locations where parts of the plane are joined must meet precise standards down to a small fraction of an inch. There are questions about the inspection process used to check that work.
The company said it has been working with the FAA on the problem and identified a way to fix the 787s that haven't yet been delivered to customers. Boeing said 787 planes already in service do not need to be grounded.
The FAA agreed, saying it is aware of a manufacturing quality issue, and it "poses no immediate threat to flight safety."
ALSO READ - Boeing won’t launch a brand new jetliner in another 2 years
ALSO READ - FAA to evaluate new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, says Boeing can’t self-certify
ALSO READ - Boeing incurs a third annual loss in a row as 787 Dreamliner deliveries delay
Akasa Air seems to have piqued the interest of many customers who are willing to give the airline a try for their upcoming travel plans. A quick scan of its official website reveals that only one of two flights (with a 14:05 departure time) between Mumbai and Ahmedabad on August 7th is available for booking. The inaugural flight, which departs at 10:05 in the morning, is completely booked.
The airline seems to have no trouble selling tickets for its initial flights.
Akasa’s first flight being sold out is not entirely surprising, given its marketing campaign of providing a different product, an uptick in travel, and a general curiosity among the flying public to try a different airline.
We won’t be surprised if the first few flights are also taken by general aviation enthusiasts and aviation vloggers, given the hype Akasa has generated over the last few months.
It looks like the airline is establishing its presence in primarily big cities as of now and will start deploying planes to tier-2 and 3 towns once it settles down on these key routes.
If Akasa can sustain enough buzz, it could achieve decent load factors for its first few days of flying.
It is also waiting for more planes to join its fleet as the two Boeing 737 MAX planes currently can only take on so much. But all that should change once it starts receiving 2 planes a month in the coming weeks.
India’s startup airline is off to a good start, generating enough interest from potential customers for good first-week bookings. The airline will take the plunge on August 7th, entering into the highly competitive Indian aviation sector, competing with established players such as IndiGo.
"We kick-start operations with flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, with the brand-new Boeing 737 Max aircraft.We will adopt a phased approach to support our network expansion plans, progressively connecting more cities, as we add two aircraft to our fleet each month, in our first year."Praveen Iyer, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, Akasa Air
ALSO READ - Akasa Air gets Air Operator Certificate from DGCA
The carrier received its air operator certificate (AOC) from aviation regulator DGCA on July 7. With the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) giving green light to Max planes in August 2021, Akasa Air signed a deal with Boeing on November 26 last year to purchase 72 Max aircraft.
ALSO READ - Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa Air signs deal for 72 Boeing 737 Max planes