The SR-71 has been the god of speed in aviation for almost 50 years, capable of exceeding Mach 3.2 (about 2,200 mph), but the Atlanta-based aviation business- "Hermeus", believes it's time for some competition.
However, the company's concept of hypersonic flight—that is, travel at speeds greater than Mach 5—is not just for covert espionage operations. This is due to Hermeus' desire to introduce hypersonic aircraft to an airport near you.
From the vault
Quarterhorse | AutoEvolution
Hermeus received a $60 million contract from the Air Force in 2021 to create three unmanned concept aircraft, including the hypersonic "Quarterhorse." Hermeus accomplished a significant feat by successfully igniting the "Chimera" hybrid turbojet-ramjet engine toward the end of last year.
The Pratt & Whitney J58 turbojet engine, which powers out at Mach 3, is the air-breathing beast powering the robust SR-71. A ramjet, which can only run at high speeds because it uses this air to pressurize air and fuel in the combustion chamber, engages in Hermeus' hypersonic design and propels the hypothetical Quarterhorse aircraft to Mach 5 and beyond. Any aircraft that wants to dethrone the Blackbird needs an engine that can flawlessly switch from turbojet to ramjet to turbojet again, and Hermeus has already accomplished that difficult feat of aviation engineering.
The Pratt and Whitney F100 | Representative | Wikipedia
We just demonstrated a mode transition, which means we went from turbojet mode to ramjet mode.This is probably the most critical challenge in unlocking hypersonic flight- Hermeus co-founder and CTO Glenn Case said in a recent video
Hermeus packed up its engine and brought it to the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Lab, a high-Mach test facility, in order to mimic the high-speed pressures of Mach 4 flight in order to test its Chimera engine. Hermeus showed there how the Chimera could change engines by directing supersonic air around the turbojet and into the ramjet. The Quarterhorse hypersonic engine joins other projects to open the era of hypersonic flight, such as the Air Force's Project Mayhem, which aims to produce a hypersonic bomber soon.
British regional airline Flybe has ceased trading for the second time in three years, cancelling all flights to and from the United Kingdom. A statement on Flybe's website said the airline, which operated scheduled services from Belfast, Birmingham and Heathrow across the UK and to Amsterdam and Geneva, had entered administration, a form of protection from creditors.
"Flybe has now ceased trading and all flights from and to the UK operated by Flybe have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled," it said. It advised people due to fly not to travel to airports. It added that it would not be able to help passengers arrange alternative flights.
Flybe's statement did not say how many staff were affected by its latest collapse. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it would provide advice and information to affected passengers.
"It is always sad to see an airline enter administration and we know that Flybe's decision to stop trading will be distressing for all its employees and customers," said Paul Smith, CAA consumer director.
The government said its "immediate priority" would be to support anyone trying to get home and Flybe staff who have lost their jobs. "This remains a challenging environment for airlines, both old and new, as they recover from the pandemic, and we understand the impact this will have on Flybe's passengers and staff," it said.
It said most destinations served by Flybe in the UK were accessible through alternative means of transportation.
British regional airline Flybe suspends all its flight operations
Hurt by Britain's COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Flybe first fell into administration in March 2020, impacting 2,400 jobs. In October 2020 it was sold to Thyme Opco Ltd, a firm controlled by Cyrus Capital, and in April 2022 it resumed flights, albeit on a smaller scale with a plan to operate up to 530 flights per week across 23 routes.
Flybe's demise contrasts with a post-pandemic pick-up in demand for air travel. Low-cost airlines Ryanair, Europe's biggest airline, and Britain's easyJet have reported record bookings for summer holidays, in a sign that consumers are still keen on trips despite a looming recession.
Flybe's city connections, such as those from Cornwall Airport Newquay to London Heathrow, were crucial connections for several travellers. Just a few weeks earlier, the regional carrier unveiled its summer itinerary for this year, emphasising the addition of two new locations and the continuation of formerly popular holiday routes. But the confirmed demise of the reaffirmed Flybe would result in another loss for the UK's regional aviation sector.
The airline traces its history back to Jersey European Airways, which was set up in 1979 following the merger of Intra Airways and Express Air Services. The firm was renamed British European in 2000 and Flybe in 2002. In November 2006, Flybe purchased BA Connect, thereby becoming the largest regional airline in Europe. On 5 March 2020, the first airline named Flybe filed for administration and ceased all operations.
The company's head office is on the second floor of Diamond House at Birmingham Airport, within the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. Flybe operated an initial fleet of 8 Q400s and expected to expand to 32 aircraft. Nordic Aviation Capital expected to lease 12 aircraft to Flybe, and Aergo Capital was to supply a further five.
The DGCA intends to increase the size of its technical team by at least 1,000 employees in order to ensure aviation safety in the air and on the ground.
Also read: Airbus set to recruit 13,000 new staff, amidst mass layoffs
An appropriately staffed regulatory agency is required to maintain the safety and effectiveness of air travel given the enormous development that India's aviation sector is expected to see. India's aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is aware of the possible workload it may encounter in the upcoming years and seeks to have a robust team to carry out its responsibilities successfully.
The DGCA plans to hire 1,000 more employees by the year 2030 to keep up with India's aircraft fleet expansion
So, by 2030, the DGCA hopes to increase its workforce by adding 1,000 new employees. The regulator is maintaining a long-term perspective in its hiring procedure as it is aware of the necessity to keep up with India's fleet size's continuous expansion.
Also read: Vikram Dev Dutt appointed as the Director General of DGCA
“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has set a target to increase its technical staff count by 1,000 employees by 2030, to 1,600-1,700, from its current strength of nearly 650 people.”
India experienced a significant number of airline-related events in 2021–2022 including an increase in mechanical problems with domestic airlines' aircraft as they increased flight operations following nearly two years of disruptions caused by COVID.
Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, 478 technical difficulties were documented, according to official data. The airline with the most glitches was Air India (184), which was followed by IndiGo (98), SpiceJet (77), Go FIRST (50), Vistara (40), and AirAsia India (14).
The number of action points in the DGCA's yearly surveillance plan for 2023 will increase to 3,827 from 3,709 in 2022. The strategy would ensure that a greater emphasis is placed on the airworthiness of aircraft, air safety, airport standards, engineering, maintenance, and flying instruction organisations, among others, to raise the bar for India's aviation ecosystem.
478 technical issues were recorded between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022
“There was a rise in occurrences of technical glitches in 2022. The regulator and civil aviation ministry both recognise that while civil aviation norms are in place, enforcement by airlines is sometimes not up to the mark. As a result, effective monitoring is required and hiring more people for the job is part of the solution.”
In order to recruit technical professionals, the DGCA created 416 jobs in August 2022 as part of its ongoing efforts to tighten regulatory standards.
“Over 4-6 months, over 400 people are expected to be recruited. The process should be completed by year-end. This has to be done as the fleet size of Indian airlines is rising, and effective monitoring of all aspects of air safety must be enforced.”
The lack of an adequate workforce will progressively be resolved over the following seven years, but the DGCA will continue to monitor airlines.
It recently unveiled new guidelines to reimburse travellers who are involuntarily downgraded from one cabin class to another.
Over the next seven years, the issue of a shortage of qualified workers will gradually be remedied, but the DGCA will keep an eye on airlines
The action follows many recent passenger complaints about airlines forcing them to travel economy class even though they had tickets for a premium cabin. If a domestic flight is downgraded, customers are entitled to a 75% refund of their ticket price, including taxes, from the airline.
For flights above 1,500 kilometres, a customer may claim 30% of the ticket price, including taxes, and for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres, 50% of the ticket price can be claimed.
In India, 100 aircraft are expected to be added each year as airlines try to increase their revenue. With millions of people taking to the skies each month, the nation is already close to pre-pandemic levels. Since the skies will only become busier in the upcoming years, the DGCA needs more personnel to improve its monitoring skills and uphold a high level of safety throughout the nation.
Source: Live Mint
Aviation regulator DGCA on Friday imposed an INR 10 lakh fine on Go First for the incident wherein 55 passengers were left behind in a passenger coach at Bangalore airport on January 9.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a show-cause notice to the airline following the incident. For these lapses, the watchdog has imposed a penalty of INR 10 lakh on the airline.
ALSO READ - Go First departs Bengaluru leaving 50 passengers behind; DGCA seeks report
"Perusal of (the) reply of Go First reveals that there was improper communication, and coordination between terminal coordinator, commercial staff and crew regarding (the) boarding of passengers in the aircraft. The airline failed to ensure adequate arrangement for ground handling, preparation of load and trim sheet, flight dispatch and passenger/cargo handling," DGCA said in a statement.
DGCA imposes INR 10 lakh fine on Go First for leaving behind passengers
The airline was ordered to take enforcement action in the form of a financial penalty after the civil aviation regulator determined that the airline had not made adequate arrangements for "ground handling, preparation of load and trim sheet, flight dispatch, and passenger/cargo handling."
After the incident, Go First, in a statement, had said that the error occurred due to an “inadvertent oversight" and all staff responsible for the incident have been put off the roster till the inquiry is on.
ALSO READ - Go First offers 1 free ticket to the passengers left behind; DGCA issues show cause notice
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to the passengers due to an inadvertent oversight in the reconciliation of flight G8 116, from Bengaluru to Delhi. Passengers were accommodated on alternate airlines to Delhi and onward to other destinations," Go First had said after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a show-cause notice to the airline citing “multiple mistakes".
The airline also offered one free ticket to each affected passenger to avail on domestic routes, valid for the next year.
Airbus has stated that it would add more than 13,000 new employees globally in 2023 as it gets ready to ramp up commercial aircraft production.
This is despite many tech businesses laying off staff as a cost-saving tactic owing to concerns about the impending recession and global economic crisis. Airbus exemplifies how ironically the aviation industry is now operating with its necessity of recruiting staff.
Airbus has said that it will hire more than 13,000 new people globally in 2023 as it prepares to ramp up commercial aircraft production
“In 2022 we welcomed more than 13,000 new employees within Team Airbus around the world, in a complex environment which tested our resilience and attractiveness as a global employer.”
–Thierry Baril, Chief Human Resources & Workplace Officer, Airbus
The company stated that the newly employed staff would play a crucial role in assisting it in increasing production as well as the European aircraft manufacturer's "ambitious decarbonization roadmap and preparing the future of aviation."
“We call on talented individuals from all over the world to join us in our journey to make sustainable aerospace a reality and to help us build a better, more diverse and inclusive workplace for all our employees.”
–Thierry Baril added
The focus will be on technical and manufacturing profiles as well as novel positions in fields like energy, cyber, and digital that will assist Airbus' long-term growth. A third of the total number of newly created roles, or 9,000, will be held by recent graduates and will be located in Europe.
The emphasis will be on manufacturing and technical positions as well as in industries like energy, cyber, and digital that will support Airbus' long-term growth
At the moment, Airbus employs over 130,000 people worldwide, including those working on its final assembly lines in China, Europe, and North America.
Workers in the tech sector who lost their jobs as a result of an industry-wide downsizing push now have the ideal chance.
According to Bloomberg, Airbus may consider hiring some employees who have been let go by large technology companies, especially if they have expertise in fields the company is striving to expand. Over 70,000 jobs were cut by major technological giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta (Facebook) in the last year, and employment losses are spreading throughout the industry.
The new hires will assist in addressing challenges in helicopters, space, and defence, and ramping up commercial aircraft.
Throughout 2022, the manufacturer struggled to meet its delivery goals; after twice modifying the goal, it finally settled on 700 aircraft deliveries. Due to a challenging supply chain situation, the European Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) was only able to deliver 661 aircraft.
In early December 2022, Airbus issued a warning to investors that it would not be able to meet that goal. The OEM did, however, emphasise that it would not significantly affect its financial outcomes.
Also read: Airbus abandons its 2022 commercial aircraft delivery goal
According to Reuters, last week, a revived Air India is expected to announce a historic order for 495 aeroplanes on January 27. As part of that order, 235 single-aisle aircraft are expected to be purchased by Airbus.
On January 27, Air India set to make a historic order announcement for 495 aircraft. 235 single-aisle aircraft are anticipated to be purchased by Airbus as part of the agreement.
The agreement, which is approximately divided with rival Boeing, comprises a total of 425 single-aisle aircraft, comprising 235 Airbus A320neo family aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, according to sources who declined to be named.
According to the sources, the purchase will also likely include up to 70 widebody long-haul aircraft, including up to 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777Xs.
Tata Sons may invest USD 1.5-1.8 billion in the proposed airline to be created after the merger of Air India and Vistara, a report in Mint said on Friday, January 27. The investments will be made from the proceeds received as dividend income from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and other group firms.
"The board (of Tata Sons) has to decide on the exact amount to be invested in Air India-Vistara, among other initiatives by Tata group. A significant portion could be set aside for investment into Air India-Vistara combined," a person aware of the matter told Mint.
The money will be used primarily to expand the fleet, raise the airline's market share by 30%, improve customer service and increase global slot facilities. The infusion may start in the first quarter of 2023-24 (FY24).
About 80% of Tata Sons' dividend income comes from TCS. The report added that the capital considered to be infused into the entity is equivalent to 50-60% of the dividend income received from TCS in FY23.
Tata Sons to invest USD 1.5-1.8 billion in Air India - Vistara merger
“Most plans regarding funding requirements for various areas of the aviation business are ready. Once the regulatory approvals for the merger come in and the allocation is budgeted formally, the work will start. A total infusion of around USD 3 billion in phases should be good enough to start with. Further funding can be done after FY24 if the current investment works as per the plan," the person cited earlier said.
In November last year, Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons announced the merger of Air India and Vistara. Singapore Airlines will hold 25.1% of the merged entity. The merger is expected to be completed by March 2024.
Air India and Vistara will need approvals from several countries, apart from India’s Director General of Civil Aviation, Competition Commission of India, and Reserve Bank of India, to complete the merger. Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines. It typically takes six months for all the requisite approvals.
In addition, the merger requires the sanction of the National Company Law Tribunal and redemption or conversion of certain outstanding liabilities owed by the Airports Authority of India to Tata Sons (and/or its affiliates) on or before the filing of the merger scheme.
Vistara said that as the company awaits regulatory approval for the merger, it will not place any new plane orders.
On January 24, Vistara said that as the company awaits regulatory approval for the merger, it will not place any new plane orders. It will receive its pending order for 17 aircraft by the end of 2024, taking its total fleet to 70 planes.
ALSO READ - Vistara CEO on fleet size, aircraft orders, delays and international expansion
"We have not looked at any orders beyond that," its CEO Vinod Kannan said, according to Reuters. "There has been an announcement about the merger and integration with Air India. Once we have approval from the relevant authorities...we will have to sit down together with Air India as a joint entity to see what we do," he said.
ALSO READ - Air India likely to seal half of an order for some 495 jets with Boeing
Air India, on the other hand, is expected to seal half of an order worth billions of dollars for 495 jets with Boeing and engine suppliers General Electric and CFM International. These will have 190 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes as well as some 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777X aircraft.
(With Inputs from Mint)