Recent emergency landings led to Scindia’s high-level meeting with senior DGCA officials

Jinen Gada

18 Jul 2022

As many as three aircraft of global airlines have made emergency landings at various airports in India in a span of 48 hours, making it a day of technical emergencies for various airlines. The emergency landings happened as a result of several technical issues.

These landings were made in Calicut, Chennai and Kolkata on Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16, said a senior official in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The official said, "We had two emergency landings of foreign operators on Saturday. Air Arabia at Cochin due to hydraulic issues and Ethiopian at Kolkata due to pressurisation issue."

Air Arabia did an emergency landing at Cochin due to hydraulic issues

Whereas at Kochi, a full emergency was declared on Friday, July 15 after an incident of hydraulic failure was reported from an inbound Air Arabia flight from Sharjah, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) said. All passengers and crew were safe.

In another incident on Saturday, July 16, an aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to Bangkok made an emergency landing at Kolkata airport due to a pressurisation issue.

In a similar incident on 15 July, a Srilankan Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Chennai airport due to a Hydraulic issue. The Colombo-Chennai flight (UL121) developed the snag as it neared the city.

Srilankan Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Chennai airport due to a Hydraulic issue.

A full emergency was declared and crash tenders were positioned by the side of the runway as per protocol. The DGCA has ordered a detailed investigation into all of these incidents.

Meanwhile, a Hyderabad-bound IndiGo airliner from Sharjah was diverted to Pakistan's Karachi early in the morning.

The Indian airspace appears to be cursed at the moment. As many as three aircraft of International carriers made emergency landings on the tarmac at different airports across the country in the last 48 hours. 

"IndiGo flight 6E-1406, operating from Sharjah to Hyderabad was diverted to Karachi. The pilot observed a technical defect. Necessary procedures were followed and as a precaution, the aircraft was diverted to Karachi."IndiGo

In the wake of a string of technical malfunction incidents involving Indian carriers, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia held a meeting on safety issues with senior officials of his ministry and regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

During the meeting, the minister took a detailed report from the officials about these incidents over the last one month and told them that there should be no compromise over passenger safety.

Scindia directed the officials to strictly adhere to the prescribed safety norms and avoid any kind of laxity towards passenger safety.

Recent emergency landings led to Scindia’s High-level meeting with senior officials

An Air India Express flight from Calicut airport to Dubai too was diverted, landing in Muscat early on Sunday, July 17 after the crew detected a burning smell from one of vents inside the cabin.

Indian aviation has recently seen several mid-air and on- ground incidents involving Indian airlines. Much of the concern has been with the budget carrier SpiceJet, which was issued a warning notice by the DGCA earlier this month over why action should not be taken over a string of lapses.

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Air India plans to expand capacity between India and Israel

Radhika Bansal

18 Jul 2022

Air India is set to increase capacity between India and Israel from August with the start of two new routes to Tel Aviv. The carrier has scheduled the launch of flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion (TLV) from both Bengaluru (BLR) and Mumbai (BOM). The airline already flies to the city from Delhi (DEL).

Data filed with OAG Schedules Analyser show that Air India intends to begin BOM-TLV on August 1 followed by flights to TLV from BLR the next day.

Each route will be served twice a week using Boeing 787-8 aircraft. However, reservations are yet to open. According to the OAG data, the schedule from BLR is in place until October 25 and from BOM until October 27.

Air India plans to expand capacity between India and Israel

Air India, which was acquired by Tata Group in January, began flying to Israel in March 2018 with a route connecting Delhi and Tel Aviv. The airline currently provides three flights per week between the destinations onboard 787-8s.

Prior to the pandemic, El Al Israel Airlines operated nonstop between Mumbai and Tel Aviv, flying twice a week with 787-8s. However, the carrier suspended the service in March 2020 and flights have yet to restart.

Speaking at Routes Asia 2022 in Da Nang, Vietnam, Air India’s general manager of commercial strategy and planning Purnima Nerurkar said Air India’s new parent intends to open several new regional hubs across the country, with the ambition of becoming “the largest hub carrier in the region.”

Air India currently provides three flights per week between the destinations onboard 787-8s.

“Air India has the strategy already in place where we have a hub at Delhi for all our long-haul and our short-haul markets,” she said. “This is expected to grow because going forward, our management’s thought and vision are to … create several hubs in India, which would facilitate growth from each of the regions.”

Air India’s planned Tel Aviv expansion comes as rating agency Icra said international passenger traffic for Indian carriers is on a growth trajectory and surged to about 2.1 million in June 2022, compared with 1.8 million in June 2019.

In the country’s home market, domestic passenger traffic grew to 10.5 million in June 2022, up from 3.1 million in June 2021 and only 12% down on June 2019 levels.

Expansion in Israel is part of Air India's more extensive international plans.

ALSO READ - Air India eyes Multiple Hubs, International Expansion

Expansion in Israel is part of Air India's more extensive international plans. The carrier wants to double the capacity to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central CIS countries and ramp up operations to Australia and markets in Southeast and Far East Asia.

Direct flights to the US also remain a high priority for the carrier. Air India has not been able to add more destinations in the US, despite strong demand for such flights.

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Udan 4.2 scheme receives more than 100 bids

Radhika Bansal

18 Jul 2022

The Government has received as many as 100 proposals from aviation companies under the Udan 4.2, a regional connectivity scheme (RCS) for seaplanes, small aircraft, fixed wings, and helicopters. Players like Pawan Hans, FlyBig, SpiceJet, Alliance Air and AirTaxi are among the top bidders. 

A top government official told the Hindu BusinessLine that the Civil Aviation Ministry is likely to soon award most of the routes under the scheme.

The Udan 4.2 is aimed at improving last mile connectivity by bringing in smaller aircraft which include up to 19-20 seaters, fixed-wing aircraft, seaplanes, and helicopters. 

ALSO READ - Alliance Air to operate HAL’s Do-228 aircraft under UDAN-RCS

Players like Pawan Hans, FlyBig, SpiceJet, Alliance Air and AirTaxi are among the top bidders. 

Approximately 370 routes are being put in under this programme of which 100 are seaplane routes, 60-odd are helicopter routes, and the balance are fixed-wing routes.

“In total, there are approximately 100 proposals. For fixed-wing alone, the ministry has received 78 proposals. For seaplanes, too, there have been a handful of proposals. For helicopters, there are 7-8 routes, all are likely to be awarded as well,” the official said on conditions of anonymity.

The person said, “for Fixed-wing routes, we will soon start the negotiations. At least 15-20 of the total routes will be awarded to airports which have been built but no operations had begun because airlines weren’t able to operate.”

This time, MehAir and SpiceJet are likely to have bid for the routes to Lakswadeep and the Andamans.

As far as the small aircraft segment is concerned, the official said there were a few rough edges in the proposals that were being sorted out. However, the ministry is ready to bear higher costs if it gives the smaller aircraft segments a push. 

For Helicopters too, there are around 7-8 routes and Pawan Hans seems to have bid for those routes. In the case of seaplane routes, about a year and a half ago, SpiceJet was awarded Ahmedabad to the Kevadia route.

But it shut down its operations due to issues with the aircraft. This time, MehAir and SpiceJet are likely to have bid for the routes to Lakswadeep and the Andamans.

“The fact that the leasing cost is extremely high which cannot be appropriated for smaller aircraft, so we looked at a third model where we take on the leasing cost as part of these aircraft as part of the subsidy. The first round of that has also occurred under Udan 4.2 and we are very hopeful to be able to provide this connectivity through seaplanes and smaller sub-20 seater aircraft.” Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Monister of Civil Aviation

Many of these routes are to tertiary airports, which do not have the infrastructure and other factors to attract major airlines. However, the lack of competition can sometimes incentivize airlines to fly to these locations.

Things can be tricky for some of the smaller airlines, which are not backed by either the government or private players. But the ministry is ready to infuse capital if it gives the smaller aircraft segments a push.

For Helicopters too, there are around 7-8 routes and Pawan Hans seems to have bid for those routes.

ALSO READ - At the halfway point, Government’s UDAN – RCS is still in the works

On October 21, 2016, the government unveiled the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) to connect small towns with aerial routes to give the quintessential common man or ‘aam admi’ the opportunity to travel by air.

Between 2019 and 2024, 100 new airports, as well as heliports and water aerodromes, will be built to support the UDAN scheme. In addition, after four rounds of bidding, 780 valid routes have been assigned to shortlisted airlines.

Udan 4.2 scheme receives more than 100 bids

The Airports Authority of India has set aside about INR 25,000 crores for five years, from 2019 to 2024, to complete the construction of 100 new airports, heliports, and water dromes.

Support from state governments comes in the form of a reduced Value-added Tax (VAT) to 1% or less for ten years to airports developed under the scheme, providing land for airports and other utilities at subsidized rates.

To boost regional flights, the scheme also calls for air caps from INR 1,420 to INR 3,500 for fixed-wing aircraft (based on distance and duration) for flights to unserved and underserved routes.

(With Inputs from Hindu BusinessLine)

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American Airlines joins the eVTOL bandwagon - places orders for 50 Vertical Aerospace eVTOL aircraft


17 Jul 2022

UK-based eVTOL manufacturer Vertical Aerospace has announced that it has secured delivery slots and pre-delivery payments from American Airlines Group Inc for 50 electric vertical takeoffs and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, lifting its shares as much as 71%.

According to Vertical Aerospace, it has pre-orders for up to 1,000 eVTOL aircraft with Avolon and American Airlines being its launch customers, along with a pre-order option from Virgin Atlantic, all valued at up to $4 billion.

Representative | Airways Magazine

We are delighted to have reached this major milestone with American Airlines on our eVTOL partnership. Together, we are making zero emissions flight a reality for passengers travelling all over the world. We look forward to continuing our work with American and seeing the first red, white and blue VX4 come off the production lineStephen Fitzpatrick, Founder & CEO of Vertical

Stephen Fitzpatrick | The Marque

American Airlines had agreed to pre-order up to 250 of Vertical's eVTOL aircraft in a $1 billion deal last year, with an option to buy 100 more. The airlines have now set aside delivery dates for the first 50 VX4 eVTOL aircraft.

The faster, quieter, greener and cheaper VX4 eVTOL aircraft


Touted to carry a pilot and four passengers, it can clock speeds over 200mph, is near silent when in flight, has zero emissions and low cost per passenger mile.

Next-generation flight controls

Reportedly, it will feature the same flight technologies as the F35- the only supersonic VTOL aircraft, making it all the easier to fly with high levels of automation and reduced crew workload.

World's lightest and safest electric powertrain

Co-developed with Rolls Royce, it features the world's lightest and safest electric powertrain.

With a low acoustic profile and certified to the same standard as commercial airliners, this will be the first commercial aircraft most people will fly on that has a zero carbon footprint-according to Vertical.

Our partnership with Vertical is a great example of progress in our engagement to reducing emissions throughout our airline and the industry. We have made great strides in simplifying our fleet with newer and more fuel-efficient , and are proud to take part in another step toward the development of advanced airSaid American’s Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr

Derek Kerr | Dallas Morning News

Europe's top regulator said last month the region could see the first flying taxis enter service as early as 2024.


COVER: Vertical Aerospace

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Alphabet's Wing unveils a string of prototype designs for larger drone deliveries


17 Jul 2022

The wing is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. that develops drone-based freight delivery technology. The company completed their first real-world deliveries in 2014. It has operations in Australia, the United States, and Finland.

Over the past six years, Wing developed its aircraft specifically designed for small parcel delivery. It has now unveiled a series of new prototype aircraft designed to handle a variety of payloads- from a pill bottle to a piece of furniture.

According to Wing CEO Adam Woodworth, the idea is to match the package size with the drone size to limit costs, energy, and materials expended.

Just as the ideal vehicle for carrying a ton of gravel would be a dump truck rather than a sedan, the ideal aircraft to carry a bottle of medication is not the same as the best one to deliver a gallon of milk, and neither is suited to deliver a refrigeratorWoodworth wrote in a blog post

The latest set of drones, all in the prototype phase, features a smaller option to transport prescription medicine weighing up to 0.6 lbs, and a larger one to carry packages no heavier than 7 lbs.

What is common though, is that all the designs have the same basic design- some propellers to lift vertically, others to propel the aircraft forward and fixed wings to increase lift and efficiency while in flight.

Representative | SlashGear

We can have tiny planes for pharmaceutical delivery, big planes for shipping fulfillment, long range aircraft for logistic flights, and dedicated hovering platforms for delivery in cities. Adam Woodworth

The company is working on a modular approach for its "library"- which would feature these different sets of models and can be tailored according to the operational requirements as and when required.

Aligned by a core set of capabilities–efficient flight, precision delivery, optimized airframes, and autonomous navigation–each of these designs is suited to a different use. These aircraft represent a more efficient approach to multimodal delivery that is safer and more sustainable tooAdam Woodworth



Length1.3 mSpeed104.4 km/hWingspan1 mRoundtrip Distance20kmWeight without package5.5 kgPackage weight1.2kgwing

No timeline on the possible entry of these drones into commercial service has been issued by the company yet.

Drone delivery although limited by regulatory constraints, is slowly catching up with Wing commencing deliveries in some suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this year-an expansion from significant operations in Australia.



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SpiceJet flight delayed after nose wheel malfunction, 9th incident in 24 days

Radhika Bansal

13 Jul 2022

SpiceJet flight from Mumbai to Dubai was delayed on Monday, July 11 after the Boeing B737 Max aircraft's nose wheel malfunctioned, Directorate General of Civil Aviation officials said.

Monday's incident is at least the ninth incident of technical malfunction in a SpiceJet aircraft in 24 days.

On July 6, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet following eight incidents of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19. The aviation regulator said the budget carrier had "failed" to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services.

SpiceJet flight delayed after nose wheel malfunction, 9th incident in 24 days

It further said, “Poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance action (as most of the incidents are related to either component failure or system-related failure) has resulted in degradation of the safety margins.” 

ALSO READ - The turbulence continues for SpiceJet with recent incidents on its Dubai and Mumbai bound flights

On Monday, July 11 the Boeing B737 Max aircraft with registration number VT-SZK operated the Mangaluru-Dubai flight, DGCA officials noted. After the aircraft landed, an engineer did a walk-around inspection and found the nose wheel strut was compressed more than usual, they said.

The airline sent another aircraft from Mumbai to Dubai to operate the return Dubai-Madurai flight

The engineer, therefore, decided to ground the aircraft. The airline sent another aircraft from Mumbai to Dubai to operate the return Dubai-Madurai flight, they stated.

Asked about the matter, a SpiceJet spokesperson said, "On July 11, 2022, SpiceJet flight SG23 operating from Dubai to Madurai was delayed due to the last minute technical issue. Alternate aircraft was arranged immediately which brought passengers back to India."

"Flight delays can happen with any airline. There has been no incident or a safety scare on this flight," the spokesperson added. 

ALSO READ - SpiceJet flight makes emergency landing after smoke detected inside cabin

On July 11 the Boeing B737 Max aircraft with registration number VT-SZK operated the Mangaluru-Dubai flight

On July 2, a SpiceJet flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at around 5,000 feet altitude. This was one of the nine incidents reported in 24 days.

ALSO READ - FIR filed against SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh; the airline calls it a “bogus complaint”

Amid cases of technical issues, SpiceJet airline's Managing Director Ajay Singh on July 11 was booked in Gurugram for allegedly duping a businessman worth crores of rupees on the pretext of allotting him company shares. The complainant -- Amit Arora -- has claimed that Singh has similarly defrauded others.

On July 12, the airline company said the complaint of alleged fraud filed by an individual against airline's Chairman Ajay Singh was "completely bogus" and a defamation suit will be filed against the complainant.