SpiceJet to sell 5% stake of SpiceXpress to Carlyle Aviation Partners

Radhika Bansal

23 Feb 2023

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet is likely to enter an agreement with Carlyle Aviation Partners to convert the outstanding lease rental into an equity stake. The proposed deal would reduce the airline's debt by USD 100 million.

The leasing firm owned by global private equity giant Carlyle Group has the largest exposure among other lessors - of around 14 Boeing 737 aircraft. Aircraft lessor Carlyle Aviation Partners is the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm of Carlyle’s USD 143 billion Global Credit platform.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet aims to pay off aircraft lessors’ outstanding debts by converting them into investors

Carlyle Aviation Partners, owned by private equity major Carlyle Group, will take a 5% stake in SpiceJet along with convertible debentures in its cargo arm SpiceXpress that can be converted into equity at a future date, the report added. This is part of the plan to turn lessors into investors.

SpiceJet to sell 5% stake of SpiceXpress to Carlyle Aviation Partners

Carlyle Aviation would convert USD 100 million dues into equity in the airline and also compulsorily convertible debentures in SpiceXpress. SpiceJet has also been in talks with other creditors for the conversion of dues into equity.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet offers a Debt-to-Equity Conversion Plan to Lessors

The Board of Directors of SpiceJet will hold a meeting on February 24 and consider issuing equity shares on a preferential basis consequent to the conversion of outstanding liabilities into equity shares of the company, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet plans to raise funds & convert outstanding liabilities into equity shares

The Board will also discuss and consider options for raising fresh capital through the issue of eligible securities to qualified institutional buyers, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

The SpiceJet board will also take up options for raising fresh capital through the issue of eligible securities to qualified institutional buyers. The LCC has so far got INR 350 crore from the government’s emergency credit line guarantee scheme (ECLGS) and is eligible to get up to INR 1,500 more from that, say sources.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet and Go First to get funds under modified ECLGS

“There has been no need to apply for more funds under ECLGS as the October-December 2022 quarter was very good for the entire travel industry, including SpiceJet,” said airline sources. The LCC will announce its Q3 result on Friday. SpiceJet had last August said it is in talks with multiple players for stake sale to raise funds.

“The company continues to be in discussions with various investors to secure sustainable financing and will make appropriate disclosures by applicable regulations,” a SpiceJet spokesperson had said. Promoter Ajay Singh has about a 60% stake in the budget carrier. SpiceJet has wet-leased seven single aisles this winter after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) lifted the 50% cap, imposed last July, on the airline’s flight operations from October 2022.

ALSO READ - Worst nightmare of SpiceJet – From financial losses widening to the CFO resigning to non-payment of salaries

The airline has been grappling with various headwinds, including legal woes. The Ajay Singh-led low-cost airline has been looking at various avenues to raise funds to stay afloat amid mounting losses. In the quarter that ended September 2022, it reported a net loss of INR 833.2 crore against INR 570.5 crore in the same period last year and against a loss of INR 789 crore in the June quarter.

ALSO READ - Spicejet looking for a “knight in shining armour” to help with financial distress

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DGCA suggests actions to improve mental health of flight crew and air traffic controllers

Radhika Bansal

23 Feb 2023

To ensure the mental well-being of flight crew and air traffic controllers, the civil aviation watchdog DGCA has proposed various measures, including mental health assessment during the medical evaluations and peer support programme.

A circular will be issued to airlines and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to put in place the necessary provisions to implement the recommendations, a senior DGCA official said on Wednesday, February 22. Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) come under AAI.

Amid concerns about the mental health of flight crew and ATCOs, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) set up an expert panel. The panel identified three major domains where measures can be taken. They are "mental health assessment during the medical assessments, Peer Support Programme (PSP), and pre-employment psychological assessment," the DGCA said in a release.

The expert panel comprised experienced DGCA officers, air safety, clinical aerospace medicine and mental health experts (psychologists). The aim was to "provide best practices and guidance for operators and stakeholders in the field of mental health promotion," the release said.

According to the DGCA official, the circular will come into effect from May 31.

The panel has also recommended some quick and effective methods to assess mental health that can easily be performed by the DGCA-empanelled medical examiners during the medical examination.

”These testing instruments consist of small questionnaires and interview techniques only. Hence, they will not substantially impact the current medical examination process for the license holders as well as the medical examiners. A separate, standalone, and customized training by a trained clinical psychologist for the flight crew/ATCOs to recognize and manage the adverse effects of mental health conditions has (also) been recommended,” the release said.

The DGCA has asked scheduled and non-scheduled operators, the AAI and the Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) to introduce a PSP for their employees.

”This proactive and non-punitive program will assist and support flight crew/ATCOs in recognising, coping with and overcoming any problem, which might negatively affect their ability to exercise the privileges of their licence safely… The peers involved in the programme shall be supported by a mental health professional,” the release said.

According to the release, it is recommended that mental health promotion be embedded within the Safety Management System (SMS) of the AOP holder/AAI (for ATCOs), subject to the maintenance of confidentiality.

Another recommendation is that each organisation may have its own customised ’psychological assessment’ process using validated and reliable tools to match their organisational requirements and the available resources.

The pre-employment psychological assessment should be able to identify the safety-critical dimensions related to their function and role within the operator and should include at least the assessment criteria for the domain knowledge, skills and abilities through cognitive tests.

”The psychological assessment tools should be validated and performed or overseen by a clinical psychologist with acquired knowledge in aviation relevant to the operating environment. It should be undertaken at least within the past 24 months before commencing line flying or ATCO duties unless the operator can demonstrate that the psychological assessment undertaken more than 24 months ago is still adequate for the risk mitigation,” the release said.

Further, the DGCA said whenever there are concerns regarding the mental state of a flight crew or ATCO, a detailed clinical mental health assessment needs to be undertaken at one of the Indian Air Force Boarding Centres.

ALSO READ - Air traffic controllers to strictly work in shifts to avoid fatigue at work

”Such cases shall be referred by the organisation to DGCA Medical Directorate for permission for special medical examination,” it added.

Based on international best practices, some of the air operator permit holders in India undertake a ‘psychological assessment’ of all pilots before their flying duties.

“To help pilots and ATCOs to perform their best in the particular environment of the respective organisations and to have better quality and cost-effective recruitment decisions, it is recommended that each organisation should have their own customized ‘Psychological Assessment’ process using validated and reliable tools to match its organizational requirements and the available resources,” the statement added.

ALSO READ - DGCA sets new norms for duty timings of air traffic controllers

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Flight operations begin in Bengal’s Cooch Behar airport with IndiaOne Air

Radhika Bansal

23 Feb 2023

Flight operations under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) began from Cooch Behar Airport on Tuesday, February 21 with an IndiaOne Air flight taking off from there, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said in Kolkata.

Flagged off by Union Minister of State for Home Nisith Pramanik, the flight to Kolkata departed at 3:05 PM from Cooch Behar.


Earlier in the day, the flight landed at Cooch Behar Airport at 1:55 PM from NSCBI Airport in Kolkata. Passengers along with the flight crew were welcomed there with flowers.

The new flight operations at Cooch Behar Airport will give a further boost to economic activity in the region by connecting it to different parts of the country, the AAI said in a statement. The plane will fly between Bhubaneswar and Cooch Behar via Jamshedpur and Kolkata.

Flight operations begin in Bengal’s Cooch Behar airport with IndiaOne Air flight

Earlier, the CEO of IndiaOne Air, Arun Kumar Singh, had said that the airline initially has plans to operate around five flights a week and operate daily flights in two months.

The airline currently operates flights between Bhubaneswar and Jeypore, Jeypore and Vizag, Bhubaneswar and Jamshedpur, and between Jamshedpur and Kolkata.


The Cooch Behar airport is located on 174 acres of land. The length of the runway is 1069 metres, while the width is 30 metres. The terminal building can handle 100 passengers at one time - 50 arrival and 50 departure. The airport will also cater to tourists to and from Bhutan.

Situated on 174 acres, the Cooch Behar airport has a single runway of 1069mX30m, less than three times the length of Kolkata airport's runway. It is a licensed airport with a parking area for one ATR twin-engine turboprop aircraft, meant to fly short distances. The airport has a terminal of 2100 sqm and can handle 0.1 million passengers annually. The Cooch Behar airport happens to be one of the oldest airports that had stopped operations since 1995. In 2004, AAI representatives visited the airport and attempts were made to revive operations.

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Air India to get fleet insurance from top insurance companies

Radhika Bansal

22 Feb 2023

Top insurance companies, such as Tata AIG General Insurance, are competing to provide insurance coverage to the Tata Group-owned Air India fleets for the next financial year (2023-24). This includes insurance coverage for new planes that would be delivered in the next financial year.

During the upcoming fiscal year, Air India has a variety of alternatives for insurance coverage for its aircraft. According to Business Standard, several multinational corporations with offices in Europe met with airline representatives in London to go over the specifics of the insurance agreements.

Over 500 aircraft have been ordered in bulk by the airline from both Boeing and Airbus. In addition to the many more that will arrive on short-term leases, delivery of some of those aircraft will start this year.

The New India Assurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, United India Insurance, and National Insurance Company are among the companies vying for the business alongside Tata AIG General Insurance.

Air India to get fleet insurance from top insurance companies

This year, Air India was in a better position to negotiate the terms of its aircraft insurance due to its present membership in the Tata Group and affiliation with Singapore Airlines. The airline will probably investigate all of its possibilities to obtain the finest offer.

Airlines pay millions of dollars in premiums for fleet insurance. Over USD 3 billion was spent last year to maintain 117 Air India planes and 24 Air India Express aircraft. Around USD 32 million of this was allocated just for the Air India fleet.

ALSO READ - Air India takes INR 60,800 crore cover for fleet insurance

The crisis between Russia and Ukraine is one of many international variables that have increased the cost of aeroplane insurance. The new management in India and London engaged in extensive negotiations before deciding on the insurance premium for Air India for the previous year.

Although the premium was a little higher than the INR 31 million it paid the year before, Air India ultimately received a decent deal on a cover of USD 8 billion for its aircraft. The premium amount for the upcoming fiscal year has not yet been determined.

Last year, New India Assurance took the largest share with 40%, followed by Tata AIG with 30% of the coverage. To maintain their books risk-free, Indian insurance companies only keep 5% of the premium and transfer the remaining 95% to international insurers.

ALSO READ - From A350s to B777Xs, Air India finalizes the Historic 470 Aircraft deal with Airbus & Boeing

Recently, Air India made significant contracts with Boeing and Airbus for 470 planes, including 210 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, 40 A350s, 190 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, 20 787s, and 10 777X aircraft.

(With Inputs from Business Standard)

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SpiceJet plans to raise funds & convert outstanding liabilities into equity shares

Radhika Bansal

22 Feb 2023

SpiceJet said its board will meet on Friday to consider options to raise funds as well as to convert certain outstanding liabilities into equity shares of the company. The no-frills airline, which has been grappling with multiple headwinds, including legal woes, is looking to raise fresh capital through the issuance of eligible securities to qualified institutional buyers.

“This is to inform you that the Board of Directors of the Company in its meeting scheduled to be held on February 24, 2023 (Friday), will discuss and consider, inter-alia, issuance of equity shares on a preferential basis consequent upon conversion of outstanding liabilities into equity shares of the Company, subject to applicable regulatory approvals," the domestic airline informed in an exchange filing today.

Both plans will be taken up by the board of directors during its meeting scheduled for February 24. Specific details about the proposals could not be immediately ascertained.

SpiceJet plans to raise funds & convert outstanding liabilities into equity shares

At the board meeting on Friday, SpiceJet will also consider issuing shares on a preferential basis after converting outstanding liabilities into equity shares. The airline's total equity and liabilities stood at INR 88.11 billion (USD 1.06 billion) as of September 30, while cash and cash equivalents were INR 66.08 million.

In December last year, SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh told shareholders that the company is engaged with investment bankers to raise USD 200 million to achieve its plans. He had also said the increase in the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) to INR 1,500 crore will go a long way in providing much-needed stability to the sector.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet and Go First to get funds under modified ECLGS

“The infusion of additional funds will help SpiceJet normalise its obligations, unground its fleet and induct new planes into our fleet… we have also completed a series of settlements with most of our major partners including manufacturers and lessors setting the stage for our seamless growth and expansion,” he had said.

On Tuesday, shares of the airline declined nearly 2% to INR 37.60 apiece in the afternoon trade on the BSE.

SpiceJet is yet to announce its earnings for the third quarter ended December 2022 (Q3 FY23). Though, it reported a consolidated net loss of INR 833 crore for the quarter that ended September 2022 (Q2) as compared to a loss of INR 570.5 crore in the year-ago quarter. The consolidated revenue from operations rose by 45% to INR 1954 crore from INR 1345 crore in the year-ago period.

The Gurugram-based airline last reported a profit in the quarter ending December 2021. Competition-wise, SpiceJet is conceding market share to new entrants Akasa Air and Tata Group airlines. SpiceJet’s market share slipped to 7.3% in January from 7.7% in December.

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Singapore Airlines reports the highest-ever quarterly operating profit of $755 million

Radhika Bansal

22 Feb 2023

Tata group's Air India partner Singapore Airlines posted the highest-ever quarterly operating profit of USD 755 million in the quarter ending December 2022.

Strong momentum in forward passenger sales is said to be the main reason behind this result. The airline carried 18.8 million passengers, up ninefold year-on-year (YoY) leading to a record 87.4% passenger load factor.

Forward sales remain strong across all markets with demand for air freight expected to face headwinds. In Q4, demand is expected to be robustly supported by the recovery in East Asia as travel restrictions ease across China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

For the third quarter of FY2022/23, the SIA Group's total revenue increased by 8.0% to SGD 4,846 million (USD 3.62 billion) compared to SGD 4,488 million (USD 3.35 billion) in the second quarter of FY2022/23. And the total expenditure decreased by 7.4% to SGD 4,091 million (USD 3.05 billion) from SGD 3,810 million (USD 2.84 billion) in the preceding quarter.

ALSO READ - Singapore Airlines had a successful Q2 as a result of increased travel demand

Meanwhile, the merger process of Vistara into Air India remains on track. The Merged entity is four to five times larger in scale compared to Vistara which is expected to bolster Singapore Airlines' presence in India along with strengthening its multi-hub strategy.

ALSO READ - Air India and Vistara begin their integration process

For Singapore Airlines, deeper collaboration with like-minded airlines is an integral part of the group’s partnership strategy.

Recently, ET reported that Tata-owned Air India has begun a merger process with Vistara. Air India and Vistara announced a merger last year with the deadline ending in March 2024. The merger is likely to be a smooth affair because Air India has inducted many former Vistara employees.

ALSO READ - From A350s to B777Xs, Air India finalizes the Historic 470 Aircraft deal with Airbus & Boeing

Air India hit headlines recently by signing a deal with Boeing and Airbus to buy 470 aircraft worth USD 70 billion that marked the largest order in aviation history. This is also Air India's first order since 2005.