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.
IndiGo is inducting trainee pilots after a gap of two years and is hiring across functions as it ramps up operations.
IndiGo, which is the country's largest airline, is operating around 1,500 flights daily. While it has added several new domestic routes, it plans to commence service to Muscat and Kuala Lumpur in May and Istanbul in June.
"Our current hiring efforts are broad-based and cover several functional roles. We have also commenced operations to various new domestic destinations post the pandemic. At these locations, we are hiring for airport operations, customer service and security functions. We have also commenced hiring for our cargo business as it continues to grow. Further, we are hiring for roles across corporate functions such as digital, IT, finance, HR and sales."IndiGo
The airline's average aircraft utilisation is around 11 hours a day compared to 13.5 hours in 2019. But with the increase in flights, aircraft utilisation will increase and this would increase the requirement of pilots. In February, IndiGo inducted 25 trainee pilots for its Airbus A320 aircraft.
IndiGo is on the hiring spree as it ramps operations
While the airline hired pilots for its ATR aircraft fleet (largely to replace the expatriate commanders) during the pandemic, there was no recruitment on the Airbus fleet. Induction of junior first officers too was put on hold as the airline curtailed operations.
The junior officers that are being absorbed now are selected from a cadet pilot programme that the airline runs in partnership with flying training organisations in India and overseas.
"We have started inducting trainee pilots. We intend to continue inducting them for several months," said an airline source. The airline has also started command upgrade training for first officers and each month it is training 20-30 first officers for the post of commanders.
IndiGo hired pilots for its ATR aircraft fleet (largely to replace the expatriate commanders) during the pandemic
Also, for the first time, IndiGo has introduced a culture training programme for its junior first officers. This is to improve interdepartmental connections and build a culture of trust and respect among the staff.
As a part of the drill, junior pilots are being asked to spend time at check-in counters or visit the engineering department to know their work processes, it is learnt.
However, in a statement, it said "At IndiGo, we have established a strong culture of managing our talent in support of expansion, growth and succession planning. Our training centre ‘iFly’ in Gurgaon has been preparing crew members and other employees with the most extensive and evolving training program spread across 99 days. IndiGo is known for the longest training programme across the globe."
IndiGo has introduced a culture training programme for its junior first officers
ALSO READ - IndiGo emerged as the world’s sixth-largest carrier by passenger volume for March
Recently, IndiGo has emerged as the world’s sixth-largest carrier by passenger volume for March, according to the UK-based Official Airline Guide (OAG).
The airline carried more than 2.02 million passengers in the month, the most by any Asian carrier, according to statistics collected till March 28.
(With Inputs from Business Standard)
Indigo becomes the first airline in Asia to use GAGAN navigation system to land an aircraft
28 Apr 2022
28 Apr 2022
According to a statement issued by the airline today, Indigo has conducted a Localiser Performance with Vertical Guidance Approach - thereby becoming the first airline in Asia to do so. Reportedly, the LPV approach was conducted at Kishangarh Airport (Ajmer) with a GAGAN navigation system, on its ATR 72-600 aircraft.
Illustrative | Source
Apparently, the test flight is touted to be a part of the approval process with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which includes training of pilots, validation of approach and simulator sessions, amongst others.
This is a huge leap for Indian Civil Aviation and a firm step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat , as India becomes the third country in the world to have their own SBAS system after the USA and Japan. GAGAN will be a gamechanger for civil aviation, leading to modernization of the airspace, reducing flight delays, bringing in fuel savings and improving flight safety. We would like to congratulate and thank MoCA, DGCA, ISRO and AAI for making IndiGo a part of this historical pilot that will change the flight path of Indian aviation.Ronojoy Dutta, Wholetime Director and CEO, IndiGo said
Ronojoy Dutta | Mint
GPS-aided GEO augmented Navigation (GAGAN)
The GPS-aided GEO augmented navigation (GAGAN) is an implementation of a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) by the Government of India, to improve the accuracy of a GNSS receiver by providing reference signals.
The project has established fifteen Indian reference stations, three Indian navigation land uplink stations, three Indian mission control centres, and the installation of all associated software and communication links and will help pilots to navigate in the Indian airspace with an accuracy of 3 m (9.8 ft).
This would be particularly helpful in performing landing approaches in marginal weather and difficult approaches like Mangalore International and Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airports.
The system uses eight reference stations located in Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Jammu and Port Blair with a master control centre at Bangalore.
GAGAN is compatible with other SBAS systems such as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the MTSAT Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS) and will provide seamless air navigation service across regional boundaries.
Reportedly, various Indian manufactured missiles including the BrahMos will also use GAGAN for guidance.
BrahMos | Representative The Economic Times
DGCA had issued a mandate for all aircraft being registered in India after July 1, 2021, to be fitted with GAGAN equipment.
GAGAN is poised to revolutionize India’s civil aviation sector, by modernizing the airspace, reducing flight delays, saving fuel, and improve flight safety.
Representative | HavKar
Its precision is of prime importance at small airports, especially where there is an absence of the Instrument Landing System (ILS).
COVER: The Financial Express
DGCA aces the safety audit by FAA by achieving about 90% of the total compliances
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has aced the audit by the US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) by achieving about 90% of the total compliances, sources said. Sources in DGCA say that the FAA Audit went off extremely well.
“In a record of sorts, India did not get any adverse observations. On the contrary, in several cases- about 90%, they got appreciation. FAA noted the regulatory and manual reforms carried out by DGCA and endorsed them. In a few cases, they noted that it was working in progress and was likely to be completed in days ahead,” said a senior DGCA source, who did not want to be identified.
DGCA aces the safety audit by FAA by achieving about 90% of the total compliances
“Overall all positive and no negative words or views were expressed in their assessment. This was the best, India has ever performed in an FAA audit to date,” the source added.
The DGCA official said, “The FAA noted the regulatory and manual reforms carried out by DGCA and endorsed. In a few cases, they noted that it was a work in progress and was likely to be completed in days ahead. Overall, everything was positive and no negative views were expressed in their assessment.
Successful completion of the FAA audit would mean Indian carriers would not face any issues in launching flights to the US. This also ensures that other aviation regulators do not raise any concern over India’s regulatory standing, thus, making it easier for Indian carriers to expand globally.
The FAA noted the regulatory and manual reforms carried out by DGCA and endorsed
ALSO READ - US Aviation watchdog set to audit DGCA again
The FAA team conducted an audit for seven days. This audit follows a five-member team audit by the FAA in October 2021 that had looked into safety guidelines, including the licensing of personnel and airworthiness, during their audit.
This is not the first time FAA had audited India’s DGCA. The US agency had downgraded India to Category II in safety oversight capability in January 2014 over two key concerns: lack of training of officials and the absence of full-time flight operations inspectors on the DGCA's rolls.
A category II status meant Indian airlines will have to go through stringent scrutiny for being able to operate flights to the US.
The US agency had downgraded India to Category II in safety oversight capability in January 2014 over two key concerns
The FAA routinely performs such audits, the last of which was in October 2021 following a delay due to the COVID pandemic. This month’s audit was a follow-up on last year’s when a five-member FAA team checked the safety guidelines, including the licensing of personnel and airworthiness.
The UN aviation body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is also expected to conduct an audit of India’s air safety readiness in 2022 and will focus on aerodromes, air navigation services, certification, aircraft airworthiness, and flight operations, airlines, among others.
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has deregistered Air India’s four Boeing 747 jumbo jets that were not in operation since February 2020, sources said on Wednesday, April 27.
It is not clear what will be done with these four planes now. Planes as old as these 747s consume a huge amount of fuel and require extensive maintenance.
Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8, 2021. The salt-to-software conglomerate is expected to put in fresh order with either Boeing or Airbus for new wide-bodied aircraft for Air India.
DGCA deregisters Air India's 4 Boeing 747 jumbo jets
Till about two years ago, the aforementioned 747s were being used to operate international flights for top dignitaries such as the president, prime minister and vice president.
When they were not in service of dignitaries, the four jumbo jets were being used for international commercial passenger flights.
At around same time, 2 refurbished B777s were inducted as dedicated VVIP aircraft. Having the most sophisticated security and communication systems, these state-of-the-art jets can fly direct to almost anywhere in the world.
Planes as old as these 747s consume a huge amount of fuel and require extensive maintenance.
However, owing to the current air traffic situation due to the pandemic and the skyrocketing prices of the rise in jet fuel prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it has become tough for the airlines to maintain the planes financially. For carriers, the more viable options are Boeing 777/787 and Airbus A330/350.
Renowned for its onboard hospitality back then, Air India was quick to cash in on the novelty of the 747 by designing unique menus inspired by the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) and converting the upper deck into luxurious "Maharaja" lounges famously branded as "Your Palace in the Sky."
The plane was deployed on the most ambitious routes and efficiently served the Indian diaspora for many decades by flying to key destinations in the west, such as the UK, US, and Canada.
With the 747s, Air India under its founder JRD Tata had set new levels of inflight luxury and introduced a new "Palace in the Sky" livery.
Emperor Ashoka - the first B747 became a part of the Air India fleet in 1971. With the 747s, Air India under its founder JRD Tata had set new levels of inflight luxury and introduced a new "Palace in the Sky" livery.
Having these 4 jumbo jets part of its fleet, Air India could retain its title as the only commercial Indian airline ever to operate 4-engine, double-decker aircraft.
While fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya had ordered the 4-engine Airbus A340s for Kingfisher, they never got inducted into the fleet. The airline closed operations in 2012.
New budget airline Akasa Air plans to set up a training centre for its pilots and crew as it gears up to start flights later this year, its co-founder Vinay Dube said. The 14,000 sq ft centre will come up in Gurgaon, Haryana, Dube said in an interview with The Economic Times.
ALSO READ - Flight operations of Akasa Air pushed to July
Apart from the launch delay by a few weeks, things are moving fast, according to Dube. The airline has hired staff members primarily from other airlines as Akasa needs trained personnel to get off the ground.
Akasa Air intends to set up a training centre for its pilots and crew
The airline, majority-owned by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has already signed up 154 pilots, 115 cabin attendants and 14 engineers to join the airline. Dube, who is also the airline's CEO, said 26 of these pilots are already on the payroll.
ALSO READ - Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa Air signs deal for 72 Boeing 737 Max planes
Akasa, co-founded by former IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh, has ordered 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft and plans to launch its first flight in July. Dube said the airline is yet to be summoned by the regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, for a proving flight--a precursor to its air operator's licence.
Akasa has ordered 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft and plans to launch its first flight in July
Akasa, which is registered as SNV Aviation, received its initial regulatory approval, the no-objection certificate, on October 11 and has applied for the air operator's permit (AOP).
Dube said it would be wrong to assume that the decision to get 18 aircraft in the first year was driven by the desire to start international operations at the earliest.
Indian carriers must have at least 20 aircraft to start international flights, a criterion that Akasa Air will fulfil in its second year. Dube said the airline hopes to start international operations in the second quarter of 2023.