Talks with Indian airlines for direct flights to Perth

Jinen Gada

24 Mar 2023

The government of Western Australia has been engaged in talks with several Indian airlines to establish direct flights between India and Perth. This move is a significant step towards improving the economic and cultural ties between the two countries and boosting the tourism industry in Western Australia.

Currently, there are no direct flights between India and Perth, and travelers must take connecting flights via other cities such as Sydney or Singapore. The introduction of direct flights would greatly reduce travel time and make it more convenient for both tourists and business travelers.

India is a rapidly growing economy, and its middle class is growing rapidly, making it an attractive market for Australian businesses. Western Australia, with its abundant natural resources and diverse tourism offerings, is an ideal destination for Indian tourists and investors.

Western Australia govt in talks with Indian airlines for direct flights to Perth.

The discussions between the Western Australian government and Indian airlines are still ongoing, but there is hope that the direct flights will become a reality in the near future.

The government is also looking at ways to encourage more Indian investment in Western Australia, particularly in the resources and agriculture sectors.

The Indian community in Western Australia has also welcomed the prospect of direct flights, as it would make it easier for them to visit their home country and for their families and friends to visit them in Australia. This would also enhance cultural exchanges and promote better understanding between the two countries.

In addition, the introduction of direct flights would provide a boost to the tourism industry in Western Australia, which has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India is a significant source of tourism for Australia, with over 330,000 Indian tourists visiting the country in 2019, before the pandemic.

The direct flights to Perth will become a reality in the near future.

The Western Australian government is working closely with Indian airlines and other stakeholders to ensure that the direct flights are feasible and sustainable.

The government is also exploring options to support the airlines in launching the new route, such as providing marketing and promotional support.

In conclusion, the talks between the Western Australian government and Indian airlines for direct flights to Perth is a positive step towards enhancing economic, cultural, and tourism ties between the two countries. If successful, the direct flights will provide greater convenience to travelers and provide a much-needed boost to the Western Australian economy.

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NEOM Airlines to take-off by the end off 2024

Jinen Gada

24 Mar 2023

A dedicated airline for Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city NEOM will take to the skies by the end of 2024, the carrier’s CEO has revealed.

Writing in a blog post, Klaus Goersch set out an ambitious vision for NEOM Airlines, promising that passengers will receive “a completely different travel experience”.

Goersch, who has previously served as chief operating officer of British Airways and Air Canada, argued the new service will be “futuristic and efficient”, adding: “I can honestly say the opportunity here is way beyond anything else out there.”

The development of the airline comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to boost its aviation sector, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this month announcing a new carrier, Riyadh Air, which will benefit from a USD 37 billion aircraft deal with US firm Boeing.

In his blog post, Goersch painted his vision for NEOM Airlines as he set out the “new future” for air travel.

“Just imagine if your bags were collected from your home or office and delivered to the hotel or residence you were going to.

Imagine if biometrics were advanced enough to recognize you via facial recognition as soon as you walked in a building, security clearing you for travel without the need for even going through a gate – let alone having to bother with a visa. And just imagine the time of your meeting changed by a few hours and you were able to change your flight to a later one, without hassle or cost.

Better still, imagine you are collecting loyalty points at the airport – where the whole place is lounge-style service – as well as while flying and when using the facilities in your destination, because everything is owned by the same company.”

Come 2026 onwards, there will be new innovative aircraft – whether it be electric, hydrogen-powered or supersonic – and next-generation interiors coming online from us. We are already in discussions with plane, interior and seat manufacturers."

Klaus Goersch.

In keeping with NEOM’s pledge to be environmentally-friendly Goersch said the airline’s ambition is for every flight to have “ some sustainable fuel onboard” originating from mixing facilities at NEOM. 

The airline will initially retrofit existing aircraft in order to get the carrier up and running, before shifting to new planes. 

The USD 500 billion NEOM megaproject is set to transform the Kingdom’s northwest Red Sea coast to a high-tech hub.

Also read - What will Riyadh Air look like?

The USD 500 billion NEOM megaproject is set to transform the Kingdom’s northwest Red Sea coast to a high-tech hub (NEOM). The airline will be focused on enabling travel for tourists, residents and commercial partners to and from NEOM,

With inpits from arabnews.

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Defence ministry signs INR 3,700 crore contract with BEL to improve IAF radar operations

Radhika Bansal

24 Mar 2023

The defence ministry on Thursday, March 23 signed two contracts worth over INR 3,700 crore with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for radars and receivers, which will enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force.

The first contract worth over INR 2,800 crore pertains to the supply of Medium Power Radars (MPR) 'Arudhra' for the IAF, and the second, at an overall cost of around INR 950 crore, relates to 129 DR-118 Radar Warning Receivers (RWR).

Both projects are under the 'Buy Indian-IDMM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured)' category. The projects are aimed at enhancing the surveillance, detection, tracking and electronic warfare capabilities of the air force.

"These essentially embody the spirit of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' and will help facilitate the realisation of the country's journey to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing," the Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a statement.

MPR (Arudhra) radar has been indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and will be manufactured by BEL. Its successful trials have already been conducted by the IAF. It is a 4D multi-function phased array radar with electronic steering in both azimuth and elevation for surveillance, detection and tracking of aerial targets.

The system will have target identification based on interrogations from co-located identification friend or foe system. The DR-118 RWR will considerably enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of the Su-30 MKI aircraft. The majority of sub-assemblies and parts will be sourced from indigenous manufacturers, the statement said.

The IAF said the project will boost and encourage active participation of Indian electronics and associated industries, including MSMEs. It is also expected to generate employment of approximately two lakh man-dayoverof three and half years, it said.

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IndiGo intends to have 350 aircraft in its fleet; to fly 100 million passengers by the FY24 end

Radhika Bansal

24 Mar 2023

No-frills airline IndiGo is expecting to fly 100 million passengers and is planning to have 350 aircraft in its fleet in the next fiscal, according to a presentation by the airline at the analysts/investors meeting on Thursday, March 23.

At the same time, the airline is looking to end the current fiscal with around 306 planes in the fleet with the passenger volume estimated at over 85 million. The number of destinations is expected to go up to 115, with around 10-15 destinations likely to be added to the network during the year, as against 104 in FY23, including 78 domestic and the balance being international.

ALSO READ - IndiGo is “back with a bang” with several incoming international flights

India’s largest domestic carrier has a market share of 55% and as many as 490 aircraft are set to join its fleet by the end of the decade, including several Airbus XLRs, which will help it reach Europe.

IndiGo intends to have 350 aircraft in its fleet; to fly 100 million passengers by the FY24 end

ALSO READ - IndiGo negotiating “several hundred aircraft” order from Airbus – French FM Bruno Le Maire

Recent reports also suggest it could place another significant order soon, possibly at the Paris Air Show, according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. IndiGo is already the largest Airbus A320neo customer, and it also has several A321XLRs on order, with which it hopes to expand its international offerings even more.

While demand continues to be strong in the March quarter of the ongoing fiscal, external variables such as volatility in forex and fuel, global supply chain disruption as well as inflationary cost pressures (are) impacting performance.

ALSO READ - IndiGo awarded as World’s Youngest Aircraft Fleet 2023 in the ‘100+ aircraft in their fleet’

On the capacity side, the airline projects it to be in the mid-teens compared to the estimated over 18% in the current fiscal. The airline, in the presentation, said it aims to boost economic growth, social cohesion and mobility in the country by developing its own model with affordable air connectivity and on-time service, among others, across the domestic and global markets.

The government is looking to increase the number of airports in the country to 220 by 2025 from 140 (as on February 28) and invest USD 11.8 billion to construct new Greenfield airports and develop existing Brownfield airports over four years, coupled with the regional connectivity scheme UDAAN, which connects small cities with big cities, the airline said in the presentation.

IndiGo, in the presentation also stated it will double in size and scale by 2030. At 10:50 am, the share price of InterGlobe Aviation Limited, which operates IndiGo, was trading at INR 1,901, down nearly 0.3%, on the NSE.

While IndiGo is ahead of peers in terms of orders, airline management said it does not have clarity on the capacity addition outlook by peers. It believes given the strong demand outlook in the aviation sector in India, competition can not be ignored.

IndiGo has code-share agreements with seven airlines and is looking to add more partners. It is looking to increase its available seat kilometre of ASK (a measure of an airline’s carrying capacity to generate revenue) to 30% in the next one to two years. The expansion will lead to frenzied hiring by the airline.

ALSO READ - Jefferies assigns an ‘underperform’ rating to IndiGo; projects a 13% stock decline

Jefferies expects IndiGo to benefit from the recent fall in crude oil price, as fuel accounts for over 40% of costs, it is of the view that intensifying competitive intensity could weigh in the medium term. Jefferies has retained an 'underperformed' rating on IndiGo.

ALSO READ - IndiGo reportedly in talks with both Boeing & Airbus for around 500 aircraft

Except for one wet-leased B777-300(ER) and thirty-nine ATR72-600s, IndiGo operates an all-Airbus narrowbody fleet comprising twenty-two A320-200s, 121 A320-200Ns, two A321-200(P2F)s, and seventy-nine A321-200NX.

ALSO READ - IndiGo receives last 15 A320neo & A321neo from Avolon

The latest Airbus order data also shows that IndiGo still has 180 undelivered A320neo and 308 undelivered A321neo outstanding, meaning any further order from IndiGo for several hundred aircraft would signal a massive commitment to fending off the Tata Sons airlines and maintaining their market dominance.

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ATR plans to increase production in 2023

Jinen Gada

04 Apr 2023

After three difficult years due to Covid and a complex economic and geopolitical environment, ATR is set for growth in 2023. In the context of industry-wide supply chain issues, ATR delivered 25 new and 11 pre-owned aircraft in 2022. Nonetheless, the global ATR in-service fleet is now close to pre-Covid numbers with 1,200 aircraft flying, and the current backlog stands at a solid 160 aircraft. Last year saw 150 new routes created with ATR aircraft. 

As part of its commitment to decarbonization, ATR performed the first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight in history with a commercial aircraft, and its brand-new PW127XT engine was certified and entered into service. At the same time, ATR successfully advanced the development of its aircraft family, completing the first test flight of the ATR 42-600S (Short Take-Off and Landing) and launching a feasibility study for its next-generation EVO concept. These achievements showcase the commitment to connectivity, sustainability, and innovation that ATR stands for.

ATR Chief Executive Officer, Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, said: “The goal for 2023 is to maintain our position as the leading regional aircraft manufacturer, by targeting at least 40 deliveries, with the ambition to ramp up production to 80 aircraft in the coming years. With their unbeatable economics, latest technologies, and unrivaled environmental performance, ATR aircraft are what customers need to operate their routes profitably, despite inflation and energy uncertainty. What drives us is that sustainable regional aviation has the power to improve lives globally, providing vital connections to communities and economies, which translates into Gross Domestic Product increases and employment.”

Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, the company plans to capitalize on the high replacement demand – 1,500 turboprops over the next 20 years –, to tap into underserved markets such as the United States, to increase its footprint on the freighter market, and to explore new opportunities, such as corporate, governmental and humanitarian operations.

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ICAO council approves carriage of active small lithium battery-powered electronic devices in checked baggage

Radhika Bansal

04 Apr 2023

The ICAO Council has approved a new amendment addressing international instructions on the carriage of active small lithium battery-powered electronic devices in checked baggage.  Based on the revised requirement, devices powered by small lithium batteries in checked baggage can stay turned on during the flight, provided their lithium metal battery’s lithium content is less than 0.3 grams, or if its lithium-ion battery’s output is less than 2.7 Wh.  For devices with lithium batteries that exceed the above limits, the obligation to turn them off in checked baggage remains. 

The Council Decision follows on recommendations from the Air Navigation Commission and its Dangerous Goods Panel, which had advised that restrictions were unnecessary for such small lithium batteries and cells. The main reason for the restrictive restrictions is the risk of causing a fire. Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries, which are used in most electronic devices, are sensitive to mechanical damage, vibration, and high temperatures. They can evaporate or leak, increasing the risk of ignition. In addition, electronic devices can also interfere with an aircraft’s onboard systems (navigation or communications). Some electronic devices (e.g., drones) can also pose a safety risk to the flights themselves. 

Air India guidelines say that the carriage of battery cells in hand baggage for any electrical/electronic items is permissible now & will now not be removed at the security point. Batteries spare/loose, including lithium-ion cells or batteries, for portable electronic devices must be carried in carry-on baggage only. For lithium-metal batteries, the lithium metal content must not exceed 2 g, and for lithium-ion batteries, the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100 Wh. Articles that have the primary purpose as a power source, e.g., power banks, are considered spare batteries. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries.