Air Asia India Takes Delivery of its First A320

Air Asia India Airbus 320

India’s newest airline, AirAsia India, has taken delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320 equipped with Sharklets, becoming the newest operator of the type. Chennai-based AirAsia India will take delivery of an additional nine aircraft for its initial fleet of 10 A320s, to serve India’s rapidly growing domestic air traffic. Powered by CFM engines, the aircraft is configured in an all economy layout with 180 seats.

The new airline is a joint venture between AirAsia Group, Tata Sons and Telstra Tradeplace.

“Indian domestic traffic is growing at an impressive rate and our well established and successful business model suits the market,” said Mittu Chandilya, AirAsia India CEO. “AirAsia and Airbus have a long-standing, special relationship. We are fully confident that with our new A320 fleet we will provide the Indian passenger the service and convenient travel options already offered by the AirAsia Group elsewhere in the region.

“In the next 20 years, more people will travel by air for the first time in India and China than anywhere else,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “India’s domestic air transport growth is leading the world and will propel India to be one of the largest civil aviation markets by 2032. The launch of AirAsia India reflects this growth potential.”

AirAsia India’s fleet will be drawn from the 475 A320 Family aircraft ordered by the AirAsia Group. To date, almost a third of the aircraft on order have already been delivered and are flying  on AirAsia Group’s operations out of Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and now Chennai. The AirAsia Group has also ordered 51 A330s and 10 A350 XWBs for its long haul affiliate AirAsia X.

The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling and most modern single aisle aircraft Family. To date, some 10,200 aircraft have been ordered and over 6,000 delivered to operators worldwide. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft.

Source:  Airbus Media Room

Missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, Presumed Crashed

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday and was presumed to have crashed.

There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. There were no signs of sabotage nor claims of a terrorist attack.image

However, in Europe, news reports and officials said at least two people on board may have been carrying stolen passports.

The Italian foreign ministry said in Rome that an Italian was listed on the flight’s manifest although no national from the country was on board.

The passenger list provided by the airline includes Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian citizen. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that Maraldi’s passport was stolen in Thailand last August. The Italian Interior Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report.

In Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said an Austrian listed among the passengers was safe and had reported his passport stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand.

Asked for a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference: “We are not ruling out any possibilities.”

By late on Saturday night, there were no confirmed signs of the plane or any wreckage, over 20 hours after it went missing. Operations will continue through the night, officials said.

Vietnam said its rescue planes had spotted two large oil slicks and a column of smoke off its coastline, but it was not clear if they were connected to the missing plane.

“We sent two maritime boats and some military boats there to clarify, each boat with about 20 people,” Pham Quy Tieu, vice minister of transportation, told Reuters by telephone on Saturday evening. “The oil spills are about 15km long. Those boats will be there in about three to four hours.”

A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the U.S.-built airliner’s deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago. And it would also mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.

Boeing said it was monitoring the situation but had no further comment.


A large number of planes and ships from several countries were scouring the area where the plane last made contact, about halfway between Malaysia and the southern tip of Vietnam.

“The search and rescue operations will continue as long as necessary,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. He said 15 air force aircraft, six navy ships and three coast guard vessels had been pressed into service by Malaysia.


Vietnam dispatched two navy boats from Phu Quoc island and sent two jets and one helicopter from Ho Chi Minh City to search for the missing airliner. It was readying a further seven planes and nine boats to join the search effort.

Other than Vietnamese and Malaysian search operations, China and the Philippines have also sent ships to the region to help. The United States, the Philippines, and Singapore also dispatched military planes.

China has also put other ships and aircraft on standby, said Transport Minister Yang Chuantang.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing that China was “extremely worried” about the fate of the plane and those on board.

Search and rescue vessels from the Malaysian maritime enforcement agency reached the area where the plane last made contact at about 4:30 p.m. local time (0830 GMT) but saw no sign of wreckage, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told Reuters.

The 11-year-old Boeing, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines, took off at 12:40 a.m. (1640 GMT Friday) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was apparently flying in good weather conditions when it went missing without a distress call.


The disappearance of the plane is a chilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours and wreckage was found only two days later.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, the airline had said people from 14 nationalities were among the 227 passengers, including at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

Flight tracking website showed the plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from the website’s tracking records a minute later while it was still climbing.

Chinese relatives of passengers angrily accused the airline of keeping them in the dark, while state media criticized the carrier’s poor response.

“There’s no one from the company here, we can’t find a single person. They’ve just shut us in this room and told us to wait,” said one middle-aged man at a hotel near Beijing airport where the relatives were taken.

“We want someone to show their face. They haven’t even given us the passenger list,” he said.

Another relative, trying to evade a throng of reporters, muttered: “They’re treating us worse than dogs.”

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines told passengers’ next of kin to come to the international airport with their passports to prepare to fly to the crash site, which has still not been identified.

About 20-30 families were being kept in a holding room at the airport, where they were being guarded by security officials and kept away from reporters.

Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

It identified the pilot of MH370 as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who joined the carrier in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of flight experience.

Source: Reuters

Photo Credits:  Reuters


PIA Pilot Lands Aircraft at London Heathrow Despite Being Refused by the Control Tower

London (Online): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot Tariq Ranjha put the lives of 70 passengers at stake on Sunday as he landed the aircraft at LondonHeathrowAirport in London despite being refused by the control tower.

According to sources, the control tower denied the request of landing the aircraft in the city due to the weather conditions. However, Ranjha kept insisting on landing the aircraft in London as the medical condition of a passenger, named Qasim Abu Bakar, was deteriorating.

He kept flying the aircraft in the skies of London despite the bad weather and also wasted fuel worth of millions. The control tower kept sending the message to the PIA pilot to divert the aircraft towards Manchester and Leeds.

However, the pilot’s request was finally accepted after an hour and was allowed to land the plane in the rough conditions.

After the landing, the aircraft was searched for 40 minutes by London Metropolitan Police and the passengers were finally allowed to leave the plane after being cleared.

Britain’s Civil Aviation has warned PIA to hold a proper investigation against the pilot of the fact that why he landed the aircraft despite the rough conditions. They added that the medical care could have been provided in Manchester and Leeds if the pilot landed the plane there.

Source:  Pakistan Today

Small is the Next Big Thing in Asia Aviation

After flying under the radar for many years, manufacturers of smaller jet and propeller-driven passenger aircraft are finding a bigger market in the Asia-Pacific with a slew of orders at the Singapore Airshow.

Canada’s Bombardier, Brazil’s Embraer, European joint venture ATR, Russia’s Sukhoi and Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft do not roll off the tongue as easily as Airbus or Boeing, but in the lucrative Asia market there is room for everyone.

Importantly, for the likes of Embraer, the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers do not make aircraft that compete in the below-130 seat segment.

Low-cost airlines like AirAsia, Lion Air, and Cebu Pacific, with orders for hundreds of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s, have driven much of the growth in the Asia Pacific airline market.

Increasingly, however, the major hub airports are getting crowded and there is growing demand for services to and between smaller second and third tier cities.

“The great opportunity in Southeast Asia is to get more people to fly, and that is about tier two and tier three cities,” said Torbjorn Karlsson, who leads aircraft sales for Bombardier in Southeast Asia.

He identified countries such as India, where only about 1 percent of country’s one-billion-plus population flies, and Indonesia and Thailand as inviting markets.

While there may still not be enough passengers to use the A320 or a 737, there is enough for smaller aircraft. And that is where the likes of Embraer and Bombardier come in. Thousands of this type of aircraft have been sold across Europe and the Americas, but relatively few have found their way to Asia. That’s now changing.

Embraer announced its first major Indian deal in Singapore, with start-up Air Costa ordering 50 jets valued at $2.94 billion on Thursday.

In a country like India, where Airbus and Boeing aircraft have saturated the market with airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet (SPJT.BO) and GoAir, Costa is trying to find a niche for itself by connecting the smaller cities with Embraer jets.

“”You don’t need larger aircraft. This is enough for us,” said Ramesh Lingamaneni, chairman of Air Costa, which began operations in October and now has four Embraer jets. “Regional air services have enormous potential in India.”

Bombardier did not get any orders for its CSeries or CRJ jet aircraft, but Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air NOK.BK said that it would order up to eight of the Canadian company’s Q400 turboprop aircraft.

ATR, which dominates the turboprop market, inked a deal to sell up to eight of its 72-600 aircraft to Thai carrier Bangkok Airways. It also agreed to sell 20 aircraft to leasing firm Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, with options for 20 more, in a deal valued at $1 billion.

Sukhoi displayed a Superjet in the livery of its customer, Indonesia’s Sky Aviation, on the static display at the show. Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft and China’s AVIC are also developing aircraft that are expected to compete in the segment, and their executives were busy trying to impress potential customers in Singapore.

“There is lots of room to penetrate more into this market,” Paulo Cesar Silva, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, told Reuters.

“You have to have the right aircraft. In the U.S., until two years ago, Delta was flying four times a day on the Boston-La Guardia route using A320s. Now, they place the E-175 11 times a day. You keep the frequency, the load factor is high, and the passenger is happy as every time you head to the airport, there is an aircraft leaving.”

There is intense rivalry within the segment too, with turboprop operators like ATR pointing out that their aircraft are more efficient over these short-haul routes.

“I think it’s partly the economics. On this short distance route the turboprop is the most efficient aircraft. Jets burn twice as much fuel, so costs are much higher. And a lot of these airports are not accessible for jets,” said ATR’s head of Global Sales, John Moore.


Source:  Reuters

Photo:  Reuters

COO Garry Filmer warns Australian aviation is on the brink of collapse

FOLLOWING from Qantas’ very public troubles and the news of Virgin’s impending $49 million loss, regional airline Rex has warned Australia’s entire aviation industry is on the brink of collapse.
Rex, or Regional Express Group, is the largest regional airline operating locally. It released a statement to the ASX which said its first half year financial results had plummeted. Rex expects its profit before tax would only be 40% of the same period last financial year.
Rex chief operating officer Garry Filmer said: “The entire aviation industry is financially haemorrhaging right now and approaching collapse.”
Mr Filmer said regional aviation was particularly hard-hit and has seen an average of one airline collapse every year for a decade. Aeropelican and Brindabella both folded in the past year.
Mr. Filmer called on the Abbott Government to do more to ensure the future of the industry, including fulfilling his pre-election promises. The Coalition promised to abolish the carbon tax which it said was punishing the aviation industry but has not been able to pass the legislation through parliament.

The Abbott Government had also committed to the reinstatement of the En Route Rebate Scheme, a targeted program to support low volume and new routes to small and remote communities.
For consumers, a less robust and competitive aviation industry could lead to higher prices. Ironically, cheap fares is partly responsible for the industry’s current predicament with prices staying relatively stable over the past 10 years while costs have gone up, leading to smaller margins for the airlines.
According to Mr Filmer, while leisure and discretionary travel had slightly declined, the bottom is falling out from business-related travel to regional areas.

“Many regional carriers have little time left before they face the same fate as Brindabella,” Mr Filmer added. “For many parts of regional Australia, this would spell the end of regular air services forever and it would be ironic if it were the Nationals that presided over this outcome.”
It’s another blow for Australia’s beleaguered aviation industry whose most recent struggles include a further 1,000 job losses at Qantas and an expected loss of $300 million for the July to December half year.

The national airline has been pleading for financial help from the federal government, arguing it does not play in a free-market environment against chief rival Virgin, who has foreign backing and renewed investment from Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.

However, Virgin is also in a volatile position, announcing earlier this month it was expecting a $49 million loss in the six months to December. The announcement followed an earlier $98.1 million loss in the 2013 financial year, which led to a $90 million cash injection from its owners.


Photo:  News Limited

Myanma Airways will Lease up to a Dozen of Boeing 737 Aircraft

Myanma Airways is set to order up to a dozen Boeing 737 jets on lease in what appears to be the largest single fleet expansion in Myanmar as the country opens up to business and tourism, aviation industry sources said.

The aircraft will be provided by the world’s largest leasing company, General Electric’s aviation leasing arm GECAS, the sources said, asking not to be identified.

The decision is expected to be announced at the Singapore Airshow, which runs from Feb 11 to 16.

The airline could not be reached for comment. Boeing declined to comment.

State-run Myanma Airways, which owns 20 percent of flag carrier Myanmar Airways International, currently flies only domestic routes. Experts say the 160-seat Boeing 737 would give the airline flexibility and range to operate internationally.

Leasing companies rent aircraft to airlines in exchange for a monthly fee. Each 737 aircraft is worth around $90 million at list prices when ordered directly from planemaker Boeing.

After years of isolation, Myanmar is seen as one of the last frontiers for aviation in Asia.

Passenger numbers are surging as new airlines spring up and foreign carriers rush in.

However there are concerns about the lack of infrstracture and the country suffers a poor safety record.

Myanma Airways grounded its three Chinese-made Xian MA60s in 2012 after two of the turboprop aircraft suffered accidents on landing within a month.

Source: Reuters

Photo:  Reuters

U.S. Pilot Shortfall Hits Earlier, Worse Than Expected

The anticipated shortfall of U.S. airline pilots is coming to fruition earlier and more dramatically than expected because of a mix of mass retirements, the FAA’s new rest rules and sharply higher training requirements for beginner pilots. Jack Nicas reports on the News Hub. Photo: AP


Fastjet Expands into Zambia

Low-cost airline Fastjet on Friday confirmed it was in discussions with the Zambian government about its intent to establish a domestic airline business in Lusaka.

The airline stated that the Zambian economy provided a considerable opportunity, with a population of more than 14-million and significant regional trade links with its neighbours.

“There are a number of small, local airlines providing unreliable and intermittent services on domestic Zambian routes and there is strong evidence of a need for a dependable airline that can offer good value, high quality and regular sevices,” Fastjet said.

Key domestic routes that could be serviced by Fastjet included between Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone.

“Ndola, on the Democratic Republic of Congo border and in the centre of the copperbelt, is a key hub which is currently poorly served,” Fastjet said.

Currently, regional international routes were all provided by non-Zambian airlines with the key route from Lusaka to Johannesburg being served with seven flights a day by South African Airways and its associates, Fastjet said, adding that it was confident that fastjet’s market-stimulating pricing model would grow traffic on these routes substantially.

The business and political environment in Zambia is very progressive and Fastjet’s discussions to date with the Zambian government, Tourist Board and other stakeholders have been positive, the airline said.

“Highlighted during the talks have been the obvious benefits of a low-cost airline to the country and Zambian people, which include the expansion of trade and tourism links and the safety and reliability improvements which Fastjet will bring to the Zambian aviation industry.”

The new airline, while being distributed and marketed as a part of the pan-African Fastjet network, would be a Zambian-registered company in which Fastjet would have a substantial stake.

The airline would have country-specific branding and would provide employment opportunities to suitably qualified Zambians. Further, it would provide training facilities as appropriate to ensure that the airline grew and developed its Zambian roots and workforce, Fastjet said, adding that it was keen to engage with potential Zambian investment partners.

“Fastjet will progress its application for an air services licence and air operator certificate as rapidly as possible but this process is likely to take up to six months. In the meantime, it will be bringing its reliable, safe and great-value flights to the Zambian people on the Lusaka – Dar es Salaam route that was announced recently and has already recorded strong interest and sales,” Fastjet concluded.


New Pilot’s Duty Periods and Rest Requirements went into effect on Saturday


New rules that were first promulgated in 2011 went into effect on Saturday that completely overhaul commercial passenger airline pilot scheduling.  The rules, which were drafted two years ago, are designed to ensure pilots, according to the rule, “do not accumulate dangerous amounts of fatigue“ before they enter the cockpit and restrict the number of hours they can work behind the controls.  Cargo airline pilots are not covered by the rule change.

The new rules limit pilot duty time to nine or as many as 14 hours, depending on several factors that can add to fatigue. Duty will be restricted depending on what time of day the flight originates. Actual flight time, including all time when the airplane is moving under its own power, will be limited to eight or nine hours. The required rest period between duty days is extended to 10 hours, and pilots must be assured they have the opportunity for at least an eight-hour period of uninterrupted sleep.

One of the most fundamental changes in the new rule is that pilots must sign a statement before each duty period attesting that they are not fatigued and are “fit” and ready to fly. If a pilot cannot sign the statement, the airline must provide a replacement pilot. The FAA believes that the new flight and duty time scheduling, and the pilot’s “fit-to-fly” statement, will share the responsibility for fatigue avoidance between the airline and pilots.

The FAA says it applied research into fatigue factors to formulate the new standards. One of the major considerations is the time of day a pilot goes on duty. For example, if the duty day starts between midnight and 4 in the morning for the pilot’s “acclimated” time, the duty limit is nine hours because studies show fatigue risks are greater at that time. But if the duty day begins at seven in the morning, the duty day can stretch out to 14 hours.

Another factor in determining fatigue risks is the number of flight segments during the duty day, and time zones crossed. The previous rule did not consider the circadian issues of late night and very early morning flights and treated all duty periods the same.

There are also new cumulative flight hour limits for weekly, monthly, and annual maximums. And a pilot must have at least 30 uninterrupted hours off during any weekly duty period.

 “We made a promise to the traveling public that we would do everything possible to make sure pilots are rested when they get in the cockpit. This new rule raises the safety bar to prevent fatigue.”

 “Every pilot has a personal responsibility to arrive at work fit for duty. This new rule gives pilots enough time to get the rest they really need to safely get passengers to their destinations,” said FAA Acting Administrator Huerta.

See Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements Rule – Here.

Capt. Ivan.

TODAY: 100 Years of Commercial Aviation

Today, Jan 1, marks the 100 anniversary of commercial aviation. IATA – The International Air Transport Association has launched a new website for the celebration.

The first commercial flight in history was done across Tampa bay, this date on 1914 by a Benoist airboat of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat, piloted by Tony Janus.

Benoist Airboat

Benoist Airboat

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, hailed the success of commercial aviation’s first 100 years.
He said: “Aviation is a miracle. It’s truly wonderful. Everybody who lives finds it somehow touches their lives.
“Without question, aviation is a force for good. There are issues we must address such as the environment where our performance must improve, but it’s a fantastic industry.”
Walsh highlighted the rise of the low-cost airlines in recent years, saying “now everybody expects to be able to fly”.
He went on: “I generally believe we are at an exciting stage in aviation where we can improve our environmental and financial performance.”


IATA – General Director and Chief Executive Tony Tyler said:

“Over the last century, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in 1914. The first light provided a shortcut across Tampa Bay. Today, the aviation industry reunites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world.”

IATA released some statistics which showed:

• On average, every day more than eight million people fly. In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion – surpassing the three billion mark for the first time.
• That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014 (equivalent to 44 per cent of the world’s population).
• About 50 million tons of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tons daily).
• Aviation supports more than 57 million jobs with the industry’s direct economic contribution being around €405 billion;
• Global airline industry turnover is expected to be around €558 billion in 2014, with an average industry profit margin of 2.6 per cent.
Key facts on aviation
• One hundred years on, planes are now taking off at the rate of 52 every minute.
• Every 60 seconds, a total of 5,700 passengers board aircraft around the world.
• About €9 million worth of cargo is delivered by air every 60 seconds.
• Every minute, the global fleet of aircraft travel more than 71,000 kilometres.
• In 2013, more than three billion passengers travelled by air, with nearly half of those who travelled as tourists taking to flights.
• Air passenger numbers are set to rise by around six per cent in 2014.
• Today, New Year’s Day, an estimated eight million people will fly.
• Travellers have the choice of around 4,000 airports and 1,500 airlines worldwide and can fly on around 40,000 city-to-city routes.
• Airlines carry 50 million tons of cargo a year and carry 35 per cent of world trade by value
• Aviation accounts for two per cent of global CO2 emissions.
• Fifty-seven million jobs are supported by the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

Capt. Ivan

  •   GDL 39