Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, has launched daily flight services between Thiruvananthapuram and Singapore, up from its previous thrice-weekly flight service. The increase in frequency will allow Scoot to better support travel demand on the route.
Similarly, the daily services of the airline which has a network of 42 destinations in 16 countries and territories, including Australia and Southeast Asia, will also benefit tourists to and from Kerala and the southern part of Tamil Nadu.
Scoot commences daily flights between Thiruvananthapuram and Singapore
The daily flight service will be operated by Scoot’s A321 neo aircraft, which endeavours a larger passenger capacity of 236 seats, 50 more than the A320neo, and more fuel-efficient engines, offering customers a comfortable in-flight experience.
The A321neo aircraft offers a comfortable inflight experience with features such as premium black leather seats, amply-sized overhead compartment bins, ambient lighting technologies that reduce jetlag, improved air quality, and reduced noise emissions.
The number of passengers and air traffic movement at Thiruvananthapuram international airport has increased significantly during the summer schedule.
The daily flight service will be operated by Scoot’s A321 neo aircraft, which endeavours a larger passenger capacity of 236 seats
Scoot Pte. Ltd (formerly Scoot Tigerair Pte. Ltd.), trading as Scoot, is a low-cost long-haul subsidiary airline of Singapore Airlines (SIA). Established by Singapore Airlines in 2011, Scoot commenced operations in June 2012 in Sydney and Gold Coast.
SIA utilised Scoot to leverage the rising challenge from LCCs in key markets. Scoot initially launched operations with four Boeing 777-200s in a two-class configuration and later switched its fleet to over 15 787-8/9 aircraft, all sourced through parent SIA.
Government sells its stake in Pawan Hans to Star9 Mobility for INR 211.14 crore
The government has approved selling its 51% stake in helicopter services provider Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) along with a transfer of management control for INR 211.14 crore to Star9 Mobility Private Ltd, the Finance Ministry said on Friday, April 29.
PHL is a 51:49 joint venture of the government and ONGC providing helicopter and aero mobility services. ONGC had earlier decided to offer its entire shareholding to the successful bidder identified in the GoI strategic disinvestment transaction, on the same price and terms as the government.
The government sells its stake in Pawan Hans to Star9 Mobility for INR 211.14 crore
"The Alternative Mechanism, empowered by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, … has approved the highest bid of M/s Star9 Mobility Private Ltd for sale of entire GoI's shareholding (51% of shareholding) of Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) and transfer of management control," an official statement said.
The Reserve Price for the sale of 51% shareholding of PHL was fixed at INR 199.92 crore, based on the valuation carried out by the transaction adviser and asset valuer. The government had received three bids for the Pawan Hans sale.
"M/s Star9 Mobility Private Ltd, a consortium of M/s Big Charter Private Limited, M/s Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and M/s Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC; emerged as the highest bidder quoting INR 211.14 crore, which was above the Reserve Price. The other two bids were for INR 181.05 crore and INR 153.15 crore. Following due deliberations, the financial bid of M/s Star9 Mobility Private Limited has been accepted by the Government."Ministry of Finance
Star 9 Mobility has an authorized share capital of INR 1,00,000 and a paid-up capital of INR 1,00,000. It is involved in auxiliary transport activities and activities of travel agencies, among others. Ramen Raymandal, Sumit Sawhney and Vipul Rashmikant Dave are the company directors.
Captain Sanjay Mandavia’s Big Charter Pvt Ltd, which operates regional airline flybig, owns a 26% stake in Star9 Mobility. Delhi-based charter operator Maharaja Aviation Pvt Ltd owns 25% of it, giving substantial ownership and effective control to Indian entities.
Cayman Islands-based Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, which is managed by UAE’s Almas Capital, has a 49% stake in the consortia that have won PHHL. The consortium is learnt to have big plans for PHHL.
PHL is a 51:49 joint venture of the government and ONGC providing helicopter and aero mobility services.
The Alternative Mechanism comprises Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
ALSO READ - Government gets financial bids in the fourth attempt for Pawan Hans stake
In the fourth iteration, the government invited EoIs on December 8, 2020. Seven EoIs were received and four interested bidders were shortlisted as qualified bidders. After detailed due diligence, the qualified bidders were invited to submit financial bids, following which three financial bids were received.
The CCEA approved the strategic disinvestment of the entire GoI stake in PHL in October 2016. The transaction had been attempted thrice in the past. In the fourth iteration with the request for Expressions of Interest (EoI) invited on December 8, 2020, seven EoIs were received and four interested bidders were shortlisted as qualified bidders. After detailed due diligence, three financial bids were received.
The company has a fleet of 42 helicopters with 41 of them owned by the company.
The helicopter firm has incurred losses in FY19, FY20 and FY21. The company has a fleet of 42 helicopters with 41 of them owned by the company.
The owned helicopters have an average age of over 20 years and three-fourths of them are presently not being manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer.
With this privatisation, it is expected that the strategic buyer will revitalise the company by replacing the ageing fleet through the infusion of fresh capital and improve the performance of the company, according to the government statement.
French investigators release an update on the Air France B777 approach incident
French investigators have released details showing how Air France pilots were making opposing movements to control their Boeing 777 aircraft during a serious incident while landing in Paris.
The Air France 777-300ER, registered F-GSQJ, was carrying out flight AF011 from New York-JFK (JFK) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on April 5, 2022, when the pilots broke off the approach.
The pilots reported to the air traffic control that the plane was unresponsive to controls. In ATC audio published online, the crew can be heard struggling and calling “Stop, stop,” while warnings sound in the flight deck.
French investigators release an update on the Air France B777 approach incident
The Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) released an update on the investigation on April 27, 2022. The update explains that the aircraft was functioning normally and that, so far, the control inputs made by the pilots match with what the plane did. However, the data shows both pilots making opposing movements of the controls during the go-around procedure.
“No anomaly was observed on the aeroplane,” the update states. “At this stage, the analysis of the parameters does not show inconsistencies, in particular between the movements of the controls and the movements of the aeroplane.”
While the BEA does not explain a potential miscommunication, the information provided to La Tribune hypothesized that the incident could be a result of high stress, exhaustion, and poor weather conditions leading to confusion over the distribution of tasks.
Boeing 777 is equipped with control columns that move in sympathy with each other to aid coordination.
The Boeing 777 is equipped with control columns that move in sympathy with each other to aid coordination. Experts say only one pilot is usually expected to be actively flying at a time.
If opposing forces on the two columns pass a certain limit, the link between them is deactivated or "desynchronised" to prevent accidents in the case of one side getting jammed.
About 20% of accidents take place on approach or landing, more than any other flight phase, according to Airbus data.
What happened with Air France B777?
The incident started at 07:50:20 UTC when the aircraft, with 15 crew and 177 passengers on board, was on approach to runway 26L at CDG. The first officer was the pilot flying and at an altitude of 1,670 ft, he disconnected the autopilot to perform the approach manually.
Air France Pilots lose control of their Boeing 777 during the final approach
Less than a minute later, the first officer “expressed his astonishment” regarding the plane’s bank angle. The aircraft was turning left with a small bank angle, matching the inputs made by the pilot. The Captain also seemed surprised at the deviation from the flight path.
At 07:51:12, when the aircraft was at an altitude of 1,115 ft, the crew decided to perform a go-around. At that point, investigators noted, the 777 was banked 7° to the left, with the yoke also turned to the left. However, the approach was still within the criteria for a “stable approach” at that point, meaning the pilots could have continued the approach.
During the go-around, the confusion seemingly increased, with the pilots battling each other on the controls of the Boeing. In multi-crew aircraft, one pilot’s role is to fly the aircraft and make the relevant control inputs (pilot flying), while the other monitors the flight path, and aircraft and handles communications (pilot monitoring).
During the go-around on the Air France flight, the captain was making nose-down inputs, while the first officer was pulling back on the controls. In addition, within one second of the go-around, the control wheel moved more to the left and the aircraft banked more to the left.
It took until 07:52:06, for the captain to become the only person making control inputs. The update did not make mention whether the captain called that he was taking control of the aircraft. It is standard practice to call “I have control” to indicate who is in control and flying an aircraft.
The repeated control inputs also led to the “push-to-talk” and autopilot disconnect switches being pressed inadvertently, investigators said.
During the go-around on the Air France flight, the captain was making nose-down inputs, while the first officer was pulling back on the controls.
“The sustained input on the controls led to the PTT button and the AP disconnect switch being involuntarily pressed, the latter action causing several activations of the associated warning,” the BEA said.
After completing the go-around, the crew analyzed the situation and then performed a landing on runway 27R without further incident.
Investigators will continue their analysis, with a focus on the forces on the controls and how these forces corresponded to the movement of the controls.
IndiGo pilots investigated for using obscene language on emergency radio frequency
At least seven IndiGo pilots were allegedly found using offensive language over salary issues on a frequency used for emergency communications, sources said on Thursday, April 28.
On April 9, these pilots were allegedly found venting their ire over low salaries by using offensive language on 121.5 MHz frequency, which is used for emergency communications only for the aircraft in distress.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched a probe into the matter. IndiGo is yet to state the development, the sources said.
IndiGo pilots were investigated for using obscene language on emergency radio frequency
Frequency 121.5 MHz, used for emergency communications, has to be compulsorily monitored by the air traffic controllers who are in the vicinity of the aircraft. For air-to-air communication among the pilots of different aircraft, 123.45 MHz frequency is used, which is not monitored by the air traffic controllers.
A few days after the incident, the IndiGo flight operations department sent a memo to pilots reminding them to maintain discipline during radio transmission.
”Radio transmission is one of the measurable parameters of professionalism and discipline in an airline and IndiGo prided itself on being near-exemplary in this aspect. Unfortunately in the recent past there have been acts of misuse of radio transmission which have been identified and are being suitably dealt with."Rakesh Srivastava, Chief Pilot, Quality Assurance and Operations Safety, IndiGo
Misuse of the 121.5 frequency is dealt with seriously in developed aviation markets like the US where the first violation can cost the perpetrator as much as USD 19,246, with ongoing violations fines running to as much as USD 144,000.
IndiGo is India’s largest passenger airline with a market share of 55.5% as of January 2022.
Rules of US aviation regulator FAA state that in such cases, the violator’s radio equipment can also be confiscated, and possible criminal charges filed.
ALSO READ - IndiGo pilots suspended for planning a strike to protest pay cuts
Days before the incident, IndiGo had suspended a few pilots who were planning to hold a strike on April 5 against the pay cuts effected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the peak of the pandemic, the airline had cut the salaries of its pilots by as much as 30%.
IndiGo has a total destination count of 97 with 73 domestic destinations and 24 International.
ALSO READ - IndiGo partially restores pilot salaries by 8% from April 1
On April 1, IndiGo announced its decision to increase the salaries of the pilots by 8%, saying another 6.5% hike will be implemented in November in case there are no disruptions.
IndiGo is India’s largest passenger airline with a market share of 55.5% as of January 2022. Since its inception in August 2006, the airline now has a total fleet of 276 aircraft. IndiGo has a total destination count of 97 with 73 domestic destinations and 24 International.
Aviation Minister urged for the justice
Meanwhile, on Thursday, 28 April, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, urging him to deliver justice for the pilots "who have been forced to resign following their suspension from Indigo airlines."
"The human resources department of Indigo airlines has reacted in a manner which is highly arbitrary and has suspended the pilots initially. In a mafioso manner they have then proceeded to force the pilots to tender their resignation. The pilots had no option but to comply thereby furthering the feeling that there is no fair representation for the pilots."Airline Pilots Association (ALPA)
The association noted in its letter that the pilots were suspended for discussing the formation of a trade union for adequate reception of their concerns.
The association also apprised the minister of "the exploitation of pilots in general that is taking place in various airlines in India post the pandemic."
The letter sent by Airline Pilots Association (ALPA)
"Fatigue risk management is another sore point that the airline industry needs to urgently implement to mitigate the risk present in flying in a large country daily," the ALPA letter added.
The ALPA alleged that the human resources department of IndiGo is colluding with its counterparts in other airlines to prevent these pilots from seeking employment elsewhere. The ALPA is not a union of IndiGo pilots. It consists of former pilots of various Indian carriers.
In its letter, the ALPA requested Scindia to intervene urgently to save the pilots who went above and beyond the call of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
India's indigenous combat drone well on track to user-evaluation trials later this year
29 Apr 2022
29 Apr 2022
Having made its first flight in November 2016, HAL is now gearing up to produce five TAPAS MALE UAV drone for user validation trials, which would tentatively start in October 2022.
Apparently, eight prototypes of the TAPAS UAV have been built so far and the platform has completed 143 test flights- something which has been confirmed by sources in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).
We are currently in the process of design validation. The final design configuration will be frozen in June or Julyan ADE source said
Reportedly, out of the five UAVs which will be prepared by the HAL for evaluation by the military, ADE will integrate the first two aircraft while the remaining three UAVs will be integrated by HAL.
This is to help HAL acquire expertise in the platformthe ADE source said
It further mentioned that HAL will also be the beneficiary of a transfer of technology for the future production of the platform.
All five aircraft are expected to be delivered by HAL in April 2023.
Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance (TAPAS)
Formerly referred to as "RUSTOM II", the Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance, is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed in India by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) on the lines of General Atomics MQ-1 Predator.
General Atomics MQ-1 Predator | Simple Wikipedia
Rustom-2, the next-generation version of its predecessor Rustom-1, is equipped with enhanced aerodynamic configuration, digital flight control, navigation system, communication intelligence medium and long-range electro-optic payloads and synthetic aperture radar that will enable it to see through the clouds.
Indian Military Review
Powered by twin NPO-Saturn 36MT turboprop engines, it is also capable of carrying different combinations of payloads depending on the mission objectives including electronic intelligence systems and situational awareness systems.
Tech and specs
Capacity350 kg payloadLength31 ft 2 inPropellers3-bladed constant-speed propellerMaximum speed 224 km/h Range 1,000 kmEndurance 24 hoursService ceiling10,668Empty weight1,800 kgWikipedia
Featuring automatic takeoff and landing makes it comparable to some of the best in the world.
The drone can loiter autonomously at high altitudes performing real-time, high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with its SAR and EO sensors. When a target is identified, it will either illuminate the target with a laser designator for other strike aircraft or descend to a lower altitude and attack the target with its air-to-surface missiles.
Aircraft of comparable configuration and performance (same era)
IAI Heron (Israel)
COVER: Full Afterburner
Leasing company Elix has sent a notice to TruJet to ground three aircraft. The Ireland-based lessor has applied to the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the deregistration of the ATRs leased to the debt-strapped regional airline.
According to documents, Elix applied for the Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorisation (IDERA) deregistration on April 5 for three ATR 72-212A registered numbers VT-TMU, VT-TMP and VT-TMK. As per protocol, the DGCA sent a notification to all the necessary parties involved on April 11.
TruJet receives a notice from aircraft lessor Elix to ground its 3 ATRs
When contacted, Umesh V, Managing Director, Turbo Aviation Private Limited, said, “They (Elix) applied for three, however, only one aircraft is getting deregistered but that also we are trying to get it resolved. We are paying Elix USD 1.2 million.”
He further added that TruJet is in talks with an investor for INR 200-crore funding. “We have received INR 30 crore so far from an investor out of the INR 200 crore. We are expecting another INR 50 crore in the next few days,” he said.
However, a source at Elix told this newspaper he is certain that the DGCA will complete the deregistration process because “the overdue has run now over USD 10 million and dates back to before Covid. The lessors are done with Trujet - any rhetoric from TJ of recovery from here is rhetoric.”
TruJet is in talks with an investor for INR 200-crore funding
TruJet has been facing an acute cash crunch for over 18 months now. In April 2021, the airline had announced a potential investment from NRI businessman Laxmi Prasad, who had earlier evinced interest in bidding for Air India and Jet Airways. However, there was no progress on that front, too.
The airline has lost most of its top management including the CFO KG Viswanath, CCO Sudheer Raghavan, and CEO Rtd Col LSN Murthy. At least 100 employees, including pilots, cabin crew, and ground staff have quit the company.
Recently, the DGCA approved a summer schedule for airlines in 2022 which was effective from March 27, 2022, to October 29, 2022. This data did not include TruJet’s schedule.
TruJet has been facing an acute cash crunch for over 18 months now.
ALSO READ - TruJet grounds all of its aircraft
In February, All aircraft of TruJet have been grounded even as the company is struggling to stay afloat due to financial issues. At least five out of seven aircraft have been taken back by the lessors while two others are in the process of being deregistered.
However, in a press release, the airline said it will restart its operations with one aircraft. This too lasted for only a handful of days.
According to the latest air traffic data from the DGCA, TruJet did not operate a single flight in March. Even in February it only had 0.02 lakh passengers.
TruJet did not operate a single flight in March
The figures released by the Parliament reveal that TruJet recorded an operating loss of INR 143 crore in FY21, INR 10.1 crore in FY20, and INR 17.56 crore in FY19.
TruJet began operations in 2015 with a flight from Hyderabad to Tirupati in South India using a fleet of ATR 72s. Over the next couple of years, the carrier expanded its network to various destinations across South and Central India, connecting several small cities under the Indian government's UDAN scheme.