Birds soaring through the sky, with their graceful wings and melodic chirping, are a common sight. However, there is a curious phenomenon that many people might not be aware of: pilots experience a sense of fear when encountering birds during flights.
Human beings are continuously confronted by an array of prospective hazards, and the more we innovate, the more exposed we become to our creations' imperfections. At the moment, the number of dangers we as humans face is so vast that it would be ludicrous to attempt to compile a comprehensive list. Let us narrow this down a bit more and talk about the threats of flying through the air in a giant metal-and-fibre container, or, in other words, an airplane. The threat: bird strikes! One such example is the US Airways Flight 1549 incident, referred to as the "Miracle on the Hudson," which remains one of aviation history's most extraordinary stories of courage and survival. On January 15, 2009, immediately after take-off, this aircraft from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport met an extraordinary hurdle. The unfolding events captivated the world's attention, highlighting the heroic deeds of the crew and passengers in the face of adversity.
Flight 1549, an Airbus A320, took off from LaGuardia Airport on that fateful day, carrying 150 passengers and five crew members. Just a few minutes into the flight, the aircraft encountered a flock of geese, resulting in a dual engine failure. The pilots, led by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, were faced with a critical situation and limited options for a safe landing. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger emerged as the central figure in the events that unfolded. With his exceptional flying skills and quick decision-making, he managed to safely land the Airbus A320 on the Hudson River, avoiding a potential disaster. His calm demeanor, experience, and expertise played a crucial role in the successful outcome of the flight. While Captain Sullenberger's actions were pivotal, the entire crew and passengers onboard Flight 1549 also played a significant role in the successful outcome. The crew's professionalism and coordination, combined with the passengers' discipline and cooperation, contributed to the evacuation and rescue efforts.
What Exactly Is a Bird Strike?
A bird strike occurs when an aerial animal (typically a bird or a bat) collides with an aeroplane in flight. It is sometimes referred to as a bird hit, bird ingestion, or BASH (for Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard). Bird strikes against other human-made objects on land, such as vehicles, electricity wires, and wind turbines, frequently result in the birds' demise. Orville Wright (one of the Wright brothers credited with inventing and piloting the world's first successful aeroplane) recorded the first incidence of a bird hit in 1905, which was 118 years ago from the present year of 2023. However, the impact was not entirely accidental. Orville was flying circles near an Ohio cornfield; he had allegedly been chasing flocks of birds before colliding with one. The dead bird lingered on his plane's wing until he made a sharp turn to dump it. Despite the fact that bird strikes constitute a significant hazard to flight safety, the frequency of serious accidents caused by bird strikes is fairly uncommon. The majority of bird hits do little damage to the aircraft involved, but these accidents are virtually invariably lethal to the birds involved.
Understanding the Dangers of Bird Strikes
The Impact of Bird Strikes on Aircraft
Although it is true that there is no way to totally prevent a bird hit (unless you are flying on a planet without aerial creatures, which is currently unknown), Bird strikes are most common when an aeroplane is flying low. As a result, the best times for a bird strike are during aeroplane take-offs or landings (or other relevant phases). The reason for this is obvious: most birds fly at low altitudes, where they are more likely to collide with an airborne aircraft. These events can have serious repercussions, despite advancements in aircraft design and safety procedures.
Because of their size, speed, and unpredictability, birds endanger aircraft safety. When a bird collides with an aircraft, it can damage crucial components and affect aerodynamics, potentially resulting in a loss of control. However, this does not rule out the possibility of birds flying at heights higher than "normal"; in fact, bird strikes have been documented at altitudes ranging from 6000 metres (20,000 feet) to 9000 meters (30,000 feet). The world record for a bird strike at the highest altitude is 11,300 metres (11.3 km) above the ground!
Aircraft Components at Risk
Various sections of an aeroplane can be damaged after a bird strike. Windscreens, engines, wings, and other exposed surfaces are especially vulnerable. A bird striking the windscreen can impair the pilot's sight, whilst a collision with the engines could result in engine failure or reduced thrust. Even slight dents or deformations in the wings can have a negative impact on the aircraft's performance. Consider a 5-kilogram bird colliding with an aeroplane at a relative velocity of 275 km/h. That force is similar to the energy released by a 100-kg sack thrown from a height of 15 metres.
Factors Attracting Birds to Aircraft
Airports as Bird-Friendly Environments
Airports, with their huge open spaces, grassy regions, and surrounding bodies of water, inadvertently establish an ideal dwelling for birds. These circumstances attract birds, rendering flight safety a considerable concern. Airports near coastlines or wetland regions are particularly susceptible to bird activity since they provide food and ideal nesting sites.
Patterns of Bird Migration
Bird migration is a major factor in bird strike incidences. During migratory seasons, massive flocks of birds travel vast distances, intersecting with aeroplane routes. The increased avian activity elevates the possibility of collisions. Migratory patterns can be unpredictable; consequently, pilots must maintain vigilance, particularly during peak migration seasons.
Waste Management and Food Sources
Birds are drawn to airports because there are plenty of food sources nearby, such as abandoned food waste, garbage bins, or agricultural activity. To mitigate the bird attraction to airports, effective waste management practices and strong enforcement of cleanliness rules are required. The probability of bird attacks can be considerably lowered by lowering the availability of food.
What is the Frequency of Bird Strikes?
Bird attacks are far from rare. According to official information on the FAA's 'wildlife strike' database, there were 493 occurrences documented in New York airports alone from January 1st, 2021, to January 1st, 2022. That equates to more than one each day. To put it in a different perspective, according to the FAA, there have been over 17 thousand wildlife strikes registered in 2019. While this may appear to be a lot, bird strikes do not pose a major risk in general. According to the same source, wildlife incidents have only resulted in 292 fatalities globally during a 31-year period. That works up to nine each year on average. When you consider that 4.5 billion passengers travelled globally in 2019, the odds of fatalities are infinitesimally small!
Strategies for Preventing and Mitigating Bird Strikes
Aircraft Design and Modification
Aircraft manufacturers continuously work to enhance aircraft design and develop materials that can withstand bird strikes more effectively. The use of reinforced windshields, strengthened engine components, and improved structural integrity helps minimize the potential damage caused by bird strikes. Additionally, aircraft engines are tested to ensure they can endure bird ingestion without catastrophic failure.
Bird Control Measures at Airports
Airports employ various bird control measures to reduce bird activity in the vicinity. These include habitat modification, such as wetland management and tree removal, as well as the use of noise-making devices, bird repellents, and bird-scaring techniques. By making the airport environment less appealing to birds, the risk of bird strikes can be mitigated.
Pilot Training and Awareness
Pilots undergo comprehensive training to prepare for potential bird strike scenarios. They are educated on bird behavior, the risks associated with bird strikes, and the appropriate procedures to follow in the event of a bird strike. By enhancing pilot awareness and equipping them with the necessary knowledge, pilots can effectively respond to bird strike incidents and ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
How Do Pilots Avoid Bird Strikes?
Before each flight, pilots are provided with a documentation package that includes all pertinent information regarding their route. NOTAMs, or Notices To Air Missions, are one of the items contained in that package. NOTAMs provide information like runway closures, navigation system outages, new towers, airspace restrictions, and local bird activity. When there is a lot of bird activity in the vicinity, the FAA will issue a BIRDTAM. These NOTAMs inform pilots of potential permanent and seasonal bird hazards at their departure, destination, and alternate aerodromes, allowing them to be informed of any dangers of bird strikes. Common routes, migration patterns, or nesting grounds can also be published on aeronautical charts and publications with the hazards identified by NOTAM when it is that time of year.
Briefing Prior Departure
The flight crew will undertake a Departure Briefing while at the gate, which will cover numerous topics such as taxi routing, take-off contingencies, and the Standard Instrument Departure (SID) they are expected to fly. If any bird activity is reported or noticed, both pilots will include it in their departure briefing and discuss their plan of action to avoid any birds, as well as what to do if a bird strike happens during the departure phase. The crew has the option to return to the airport, divert to a neighboring airfield, or continue the flight as scheduled, depending on the severity of the bird strike. These are the main deliberations discussed during the briefing.
Change of Runway
If birds are loitering near the active runway, the crew can request a runway change from the tower. It is prudent to request a runway change rather than presume that the birds will simply fly away, risking a bird strike. If the airport has a single runway, the crew can either request that airport officials scatter the birds or choose to postpone their departure. During known bird activity, manned airports will be proactive and activate bird dispersal methods and personnel.
Reduced Rotational Speed
If the airplane's performance that day allows it, the flight crew may choose to reduce their rotation speed. The rotation speed of the aircraft is the speed at which the pilot begins to lift the front wheel and begin to climb. They may be able to take off sooner with a slower rotation speed, avoiding any birds that may be along the runway or in their flight path. The aircraft's reduced airspeed also serves to reduce the degree of impact damage if a collision occurs.
Noise Abatement Departure Procedures
NADP is an abbreviation for Noise Abatement Departure Procedures. This approach is typically utilized when there is a noise-sensitive region near the airport, and it allows pilots to swiftly gain altitude, climb over 3000 feet AGL, and clean up the aircraft. It may also be utilized to avoid bird attacks since the time spent below 3000 feet AGL is reduced, which is where up to 95% of recorded bird strikes around an airport occur.
The Future of Bird Strike Prevention
Technological Innovations and Research
Advancements in technology are shaping the future of bird strike prevention. Researchers are exploring the use of radar systems, bird detection software, and artificial intelligence to identify and track birds in real-time. These technologies provide valuable insights and enable proactive measures to avoid bird strikes, enhancing flight safety.
Technical Advances in Bird Control
Innovative bird management strategies are being developed to lower the danger of bird strikes even more. This involves using lasers, drones, and bird-detecting radar systems to keep birds away from airports. These non-lethal and humanitarian strategies attempt to provide a safe airspace while causing as little harm to bird populations as possible.
Public Education and Awareness
Raising public awareness of bird strikes is critical for improving aircraft safety. Education initiatives aimed at both aviation professionals and the general public serve to distribute information about the hazards, precautions, and reporting processes involved with bird strikes. We may collectively contribute to a safer aviation environment by encouraging a shared responsibility for safety.
Bird Strikes in India
In 2022, there was a 52% increase in bird strike events in Indian airspace as commercial aviation picked up significantly following the epidemic. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), there were 2,174 aircraft bird strike occurrences in the nation last year, up from 1,430 in 2021. According to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which oversees over 100 airports throughout the nation, the increase in occurrences is attributed to a post-pandemic increase in the number of flights in 2022. According to aviation analytics firm Cirium, the total number of scheduled domestic and international flights in Indian airspace climbed by 32.29% in 2022 to 1.3 million.
The southwest summer monsoon season in India begins in June and lasts until September, peaking at different times in various regions. This is also the time of year when bird activity around airports skyrockets. The issue is further complicated by a lack of infrastructure. Many Indian towns have poor waste management and open drains, which frequently cause water blockages after heavy rains. During the monsoons, waste debris and more insect breeding boost bird activity around airports, leading to more incidents like these. Earlier in March, an AirAsia India flight bound for Pune was forced to make an emergency landing at Bhubaneswar Airport after being hit by a bird.
In June, a SpiceJet Boeing 737 had to make an emergency landing at Patna airport (PAT) shortly after take-off owing to a bird being ingested by one of its engines. Both passengers and cabin personnel spotted sparks coming from the left engine. The aeroplane continued to climb to the prescribed safe circling altitude before landing safely. On the same day, IndiGo Airbus A320neo aircraft 6E-6394 from Guwahati (GAU) to New Delhi (DEL) returned to its origin airport. A bird struck the aircraft's number one engine at a height of about 1,600 feet. The pilots declared “PAN PAN” and safely returned to Guwahati airport. Following a bird strike, an Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX on route to Bengaluru (BLR) was forced to return to Mumbai (BOM).
Pilots' fear of birds is not unwarranted; it stems from the real dangers that bird strikes represent to aviation safety. Collisions between birds and aeroplanes can cause serious structural damage, particularly to the engines. Aviation authorities and airlines strive to mitigate these dangers while ensuring flight safety by implementing bird control measures, technological developments, and thorough pilot training programmes. Understanding the variables that contribute to this fear makes it possible to appreciate the efforts undertaken to safeguard the skies for both pilots and passengers.
After a prolonged pause, Qantas has taken the momentous decision to recommence its flights to New York from Sydney. This move has sparked tremendous enthusiasm among travelers, as it opens up new opportunities for seamless travel between Australia and the United States. The resumption of this transpacific route underscores Qantas' commitment to providing exceptional air travel services and further strengthens its global presence. In a strategic move, Qantas has introduced a new route for its flights to New York. Instead of departing from Los Angeles, Qantas now operates its flights from Auckland. The new flight, QF3, offers a convenient connection for travelers in New Zealand, as they can seamlessly travel from Auckland to the mesmerizing city that never sleeps. Qantas now operates three of the world's top five longest flights, including Perth-London and Dallas-Melbourne, as it focuses on direct routes that are also among its most popular. The Perth-London route has the highest customer satisfaction rating on the airline's international network.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Provides an Improved Travel Experience
Qantas passengers flying to New York will enjoy the comfort and elegance of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The Dreamliner is known for its innovative features, including spacious cabins, larger windows, lower noise levels, and improved ventilation. With state-of-the-art technology and amenities, travelers can look forward to a delightful journey that combines style and convenience. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who was on the maiden flight, expressed delight at the opportunity to transport Australians to New York once more. "While the world has changed dramatically since the start of COVID, one thing that hasn't changed is the allure of New York City," Mr. Joyce added.
"The cabins on these aircraft have been designed with long-haul travel in mind, offering more room and fewer seats than most of our competitors." "Since international borders re-opened, New York has been one of the most popular destinations for our customers connecting on our partners from Qantas flights arriving in Los Angeles and Dallas, so it's not surprising that our New York flights have seen very strong demand." "The route's launch was made possible by the recent delivery of new 787 aircraft, and it brings us closer to returning our international capacity to what it was before COVID."
Increased Passenger Capacity and Frequency
Qantas has proposed a gradual increase in flight frequency on the Sydney-New York route to satisfy growing demand while providing more alternatives for travellers. The flights will initially operate three days per week, with plans to increase to four days per week beginning in October. This increased timetable provides more flexibility and convenience, appealing to a broader variety of travel choices. "The flights are great news for Australian tourism, helping to bring more visitors from the United States to explore the best of New South Wales and beyond with connections from Sydney across our extensive domestic network," Mr. Joyce continued. "With 11 daily flights across the Tasman from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, flying via Auckland makes it easier for travellers from all parts of Australia to access New York."
The reinstatement of Qantas flights to New York provides various advantages to passengers. For starters, it eliminates the need for layovers or stopovers in other places by connecting Australia with one of the world's most recognizable cities. This saves travellers time and energy, allowing them to reach their destination sooner. Secondly, the introduction of the new route from Auckland offers enhanced accessibility for travelers in New Zealand. They can now fly directly to New York without the hassle of traveling to Los Angeles first. This not only reduces travel time but also opens up more options for exploring the United States.
Exploring New York: The Big Apple Awaits
New York, often referred to as the "Big Apple," is a city that needs no introduction. It is a cultural melting pot, a centre of art, fashion, finance, and entertainment, and home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks. With Qantas resuming flights to New York, travellers can once again immerse themselves in the vibrant energy of Times Square, marvel at the architectural wonders of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and indulge in world-class shopping on Fifth Avenue. In this enchanting metropolis, the possibilities for exploration and adventure are endless.
The resumption of Qantas flights to New York marks an important milestone in air travel. It brings together two iconic destinations and offers travelers seamless connectivity, enhanced travel experiences, and a world of opportunities. Whether you are planning a business trip, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Qantas provides the perfect gateway to the allure and excitement of the Big Apple.
With Inputs from Qantas
Kapil Kaul, CEO of South Asia at CAPA, feels India’s largest low-cost airline IndiGo is in an excellent position even without Go First’s insolvency matter at hand. He expects the airline to post record profitability for the April to June 2023 period.
“IndiGo’s fundamentals are robust, very strong product, brand, cash almost about 50 more planes coming in, another record order likely…Even without the insolvency of GoAir, IndiGo would have been well placed as far as profitability is concerned and valuations are concerned,” he mentioned in a report by CNBC-TV18.
He expects IndiGo’s market share to be in the range of 55-60% this financial year. As of April 2023, the carrier’s market share stood at 57.5%. The market share, he said, depends on factors including when Go First is back, what happens to SpiceJet’s capacity and the kind of capacity Air India can bring to the domestic market.
However, Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Senior Director at CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics, expects IndiGo yields to moderate going forward. And overall, too, he sees current realisations moderating in and expects supply to ease out soon.
India’s airfares have skyrocketed against the backdrop of Go First’s cancelled flights and nearly 125 grounded aircraft (overall) due to supply chain issues. Kaul said he expects the grounded fleet to be operational in the July to September 2023 quarter. “As we go down to Q2 and Q3, we are expecting a lot of supply; roughly about 125 aircraft are grounded, so the majority of those aircraft will come back and almost 100 plus additions are likely to come this fiscal,” he was quoted by CNBC-TV18.
He explained that a combination of grounded aircraft back in the air, new capacity from the second half of the financial year and estimates of fuel at USD 80-82 per barrel and a dollar of around INR 85 are the basis for CAPA’s projections for FY24 done in February-March.
Kaul noted that the demand-supply mismatch was a serious concern and that there has never been this kind of a capacity crisis. “If we compare to pre-COVID-19, we are about 130 aircraft short. We never had such a capacity crisis in the sector that we have been tracking since 2003. So, this is quite serious and the logical outcome of that kind of capacity crisis is that the fares would go up.”
Earlier this month, Kaul said considering the projected demand for the 2024 fiscal year, the shortage could exceed 175 aircraft. Such a significant gap between supply and demand inevitably leads to fare increases, he said.
In the last decade, three airlines including Kingfisher, Jet Airways, and now Go First have been grounded. His remarks come at a time when Go First is under a moratorium and SpiceJet is also facing several headwinds.
IndiGo not aware of the co-founder’s plan to sell stake
IndiGo’s parent company InterGlobe Aviation said that the company has not been made aware by the co-founder Rakesh Gangwal and his family of their intention to sell their stake in the airline. Shares of IndiGo jumped over 1% after the company’s announcement. At the time of writing, IndiGo’s shares were trading 0.86% higher to INR 2,359.
In a filing with the stock exchanges, IndiGo said, “The company has not received any such information nor has the company been made aware by the co-founder of their intention to sell their stake.” This comes after multiple media reports stated that Rakesh Gangwal’s family is planning to sell a stake between 5% to 8% worth INR 7,000 crore in the parent company InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.
Rakesh Gangwal and his wife, Shobha Gangwal, hold 13.23% and 2.99% respectively in Indigo, exchange data as of March 31 stated. While their Chinkerpoo Family Trust has a 13.5% stake in InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.
According to the reports, the Gangwal family is planning to sell their stake in the domestic airline in block deals when the lock-in for shares opens on July 15. After the report, IndiGo’s shares crashed over 3% on Tuesday. In February, Shobha Gangwal cut her stake by over 4% in IndiGo. IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal resigned from the airline’s board last year in February and had said that he would cut his stake in the company over five years.
(With Inputs from CNBC TV18)
flynas in Talks With Airbus for Potential Aircraft Order Amid International Expansion Plans
Saudi Arabia-based low-cost carrier flynas could finalize an agreement with Airbus as soon as next week. A Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter claimed that the Saudi Arabian airline is looking to bolster its order book to compete with other airlines within the region. The order could come as soon as the Paris Air Show, which begins on June 19, 2023, the report added.
flynas currently operates 58 aircraft, including 17 Airbus A320, 32 A320neo, seven A330-300s, and two A330-900neos, according to ch-aviation.com data. Out of those, nine are wet-leased: four A320, three A330-300, and two A330-900neos. Last year, Flynas said it was planning to expand its existing jet orders to 250 aircraft.
Meanwhile, as of May 31, 2023, Airbus Orders & Deliveries data showed that the low-cost carrier had orders for 41 A320neo and 10 A321neo aircraft, with data from ch-aviation.com clarifying that the latter was the A321XLR.
flynas revealed that it expected to transport more than 100,000 pilgrims during the 1444 AH Hajj pilgrimage season, specifically taking in an Airbus A330 aircraft to prepare for the pilgrimages. In Q1 2023, the low-cost carrier transported 2.4 million passengers on 17,000 flights, growing the number of flights by 13% compared to the same period last year.
The carrier may announce an accord with the European planemaker as soon as the Paris Air Show starting early next week, said the people, asking not to be identified as discussions are confidential. The carrier said previously that it was considering establishing local units in two additional countries as part of a plan to become the Middle East’s largest discount carrier.
“We announced adding 10 new destinations and routes in Asia and Europe during the 2023 summer season, as of next June, bringing the total summer destinations to 20, as we keep expanding our ever-growing international network, notably after the company’s board of directors approved increasing our orders for new aircraft to 250 aircraft and our plan to obtain an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in two more countries, to double operations and expansion internationally,” Bander Almohanna, the chief executive officer (CEO) of flynas, said when the airline announced its Q1 2023 results on May 21, 2023.
Saudi Arabia is pumping money into the aviation industry as part of a push to make the economy less dependent on oil and become one of the world’s top tourism destinations by 2030. The plans include a new airport in Riyadh and a new airline, both to be owned by the kingdom’s powerful sovereign wealth fund.
Flynas, which began flying as Nas Air in 2007, is partly owned by Kingdom Holding Co., the investment vehicle of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. It is Saudi Arabia’s first budget airline. As of October 2014, Flynas was owned in its majority by National Airline Services Holding (63%); the balance was held by Kingdom Holding. A subsidiary of National Air Services, flynas serves an extensive domestic network as well as regional and international services to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. flynas is evolving into a hybrid operation model with business-class seating. The carrier intends to be the first airline in Saudi Arabia to list on the Saudi Stock Exchange.
(With Inputs from Bloomberg)
Boeing delivered 50 jets in May, 13 fewer than European rival Airbus, but a 43% improvement on the same month last year. Deliveries of the cash-generating Boeing 737 MAX increased to 35 jets in May, Boeing said Tuesday, June 13.
The company handed over only 17 MAXs to customers the prior month when Boeing found a bracket installation defect that forced it to fix aircraft before delivery. Boeing also delivered eight widebody 787 Dreamliners, three 767 freighters, three 777 freighters and a 737 that will be modified into a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for South Korea.
The new 787 orders included deals to sell eight -9s to unidentified customers and two -8s to Papua New Guinea’s Air Niugini. Southwest Airlines received the most Boeing jets last month – 11 737 Max – while United Airlines and Ryanair each received six examples.
The company also made accounting adjustments in May that added another 59 aircraft to its backlog. Those deals were not new, but Boeing had previously transferred them into an accounting bucket called “ASC-606”, reserved for orders Boeing suspects will not actually close due to factors including customers’ financial health. The May adjustments signify Boeing now views 59 more orders as solid.
Upcoming Paris Air Show
Boeing's monthly orders and deliveries snapshot comes a week before aerospace executives gather for the Paris Air Show, where both Boeing and Airbus are expected to cement new deals. At the same time, both airplane makers are struggling with supply chain challenges that threaten to curb deliveries - a closely watched metric for Wall Street analysts, as Boeing and Airbus, receive the bulk of payment for aircraft after handing over jets to customers.
The Paris Air Show kicks off Monday, June 19, when Boeing, Airbus and other aerospace manufacturers will meet with customers and potentially announce more new orders in the first in-person iteration of the event since before the pandemic.
Boeing has started to deliver reworked 737s, Chief Financial Officer Brian West said in late May, adding the company predicted MAX deliveries would increase from about 30 per month to about 40 per month in the second half of the year. However, Dreamliner deliveries could slow in June due to a new production glitch disclosed by the company last week. The problem, involving minuscule gaps in a fitting on the horizontal stabilizer located at the base of the 787's tail, must be fixed before Boeing can hand over planes to customers.
Orders & Cancellations
Boeing booked 69 orders in May, including 59 MAXs and 10 Dreamliners. It also reported 11 cancellations, which included four 737 MAXs for Air Niugini, six 777 freighters for Hong Kong International Aviation and one 777-300ER for an unidentified customer.
Over the first five months of the year, Boeing delivered 206 aircraft - fewer than rival Airbus, which has delivered 244 over the same period. Airbus is also slightly ahead on net orders, with 144 to Boeing's 127. Boeing closed May with 4,634 jets in its backlog – up 67 units from the end of April – comprising: 3,655 737s, 116 767s, 324 777s and 539 787s.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted permission to IndiGo to operate its flight services to Nairobi in Kenya from July 24, a DGCA official said on June 13. This would be the airline's foray into the vast African region. The regulator, before permitting air carriers to start operations to new foreign destinations, assesses their preparedness to conduct such flights. After the assessment, DGCA approved the new flight service.
IndiGo had in February this year announced its plans to launch air services to Nairobi, Jakarta and some Central Asian countries as part of its international expansion plans amid increasing competition due to a rejuvenated Air India under Tata Group.
"IndiGo operations to Nairobi with effect from July 24 has been approved today (Tuesday)," the official said. Early this month, the airline said it will connect Nairobi in Kenya and Jakarta in Indonesia, with direct flights from Mumbai in late July or early August. Delhi will get connected in August to Tbilisi, Georgia and Baku, Azerbaijan and in September to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
International Expansion in Cards
It has also said at that time that once these routes are operational, the airline will be connecting a total of 32 international destinations compared to 26 currently. IndiGo had said it will add 174 weekly international flights between June and September, including new destinations, routes, and frequencies.
The airline has also been expanding its international footprint via codeshare agreements. Last week, IndiGo said it will launch new codeshare connections via Istanbul to the US cities of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, from June 15.
At present, IndiGo operates a daily two-way service on the Delhi-Istanbul and Mumbai-Istanbul routes. It has deployed one wide-body- Boeing 777 aircraft each on these routes. Through its codeshare arrangement with Turkish Airlines, IndiGo has been adding connections to European destinations over the last few months. These codeshare connections provide access to countries including Bulgaria, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, and Hungary amongst others.
Possible New Aircraft Order
Airbus is closing towards a potentially record deal to sell 500 narrow-body A320-family jets to India's largest carrier IndiGo, Reuters reported recently citing sources. The European planemaker has emerged as the front-runner for an order eclipsing Air India's historic provisional purchase of 470 jets in February, the sources said on the sidelines of an airline industry meeting in Istanbul. IndiGo, the country's largest airline with a domestic market share of more than 57%, has a fleet of over 300 planes and operates more than 1,800 daily flights.
Such a deal would be worth some USD 50 billion at the most recently published Airbus list prices, but would typically be worth less than half this after widespread airline industry discounts for bulk deals, according to aircraft analysts. They said that Airbus and Boeing are also competing in separate talks to sell 25 A330neo or Boeing 787 wide-body jets to the same airline.
Airbus and Boeing have been racking up billions of dollars of new orders stretching beyond 2030 as airlines lock in supplies well ahead amid looming shortages. Indian carriers now have the second-largest order book, with over 6% share of the industry backlog, behind only the United States, according to a June 1 report by Barclays.
The bullish outlook by IndiGo comes as the world's third-largest aviation market is seeing a strong rebound in travel post-Covid, with domestic and international passenger numbers surging despite high fares. IndiGo aims to double its capacity by the end of the decade and expand its network, especially in international markets.