Friday, February 22, 2019

Russia offers MiG-35 and SU 35, ‘HAL preferred partner for Make in India’

Aero India 2019: Russia offers MiG-35 and SU 35, ‘HAL preferred partner for Make in India’
By: Huma Siddiqui | Published: February 21, 2019 8:02 PM
Safety concerns too came up after the recent crashes of the Mirage-2000 aircraft. Responding to a specific question about Russia keen on choosing HAL as preferred partner, HAL chairman R Madhavan said, “Once the aircraft is selected, and then we can talk to media about it.”
Aero India 2019, russia, MIg 35, SU35, HAL, Dassault Aviation, Rafale deal, SAAB, make in india, Ministry of defence, Boeing Company
The IAF has sent out the request for information (RfI) for a -billion order to procure 114 fighter aircraft. (AP Photo)
Aero India 2019, Air Force Station Yelahanka: If India down selects MiG-35 and SU 35 fighter machines, Russia has decided to work with state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., as its Strategic Partner (SP) under Make in India Initiative. Both these Russian aircraft from the MiG and Sukhoi series are competing for Indian Air Force huge contract for 114 machines.

Talking to a select group of journalists on the sidelines of Aero-India 2019, Anatoly G Punchuk, the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, said: “Our relationship with HAL has been for several decades. We are in talks with them for the programme of MiG-35, which is state of art fighter jet. ”

“It will help India to economise on infrastructure, which is very important. As there is infrastructure present here. And, we have also offered the SU-35. We are not sure which one IAF wants. Both are different aircraft,” he added.
According to him both Russian entities are keen on working with HAL in producing them in India. Unfortunately, the state owned company has been in news recently as due to the controversy surrounding the Dassault Aviation’s Rafale deal for not being chosen as the Offset partner.

Safety concerns too came up after the recent crashes of the Mirage-2000 aircraft. Responding to a specific question about Russia keen on choosing HAL as preferred partner, HAL chairman R Madhavan said, “Once the aircraft is selected, and then we can talk to media about it.”

The IAF has sent out the request for information (RfI) for a $15-billion order to procure 114 fighter aircraft. The RFI, which has a ‘Make in India’ clause as well as requirement for both single- and twin-engine fighter machines, has been sent to six global vendors including Boeing Company (F-18 Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F-16)(now being offered as F-21) of the US, SAAB (Gripen) of Sweden, Dassault Aviation (Rafale) of France, the European Consortium (Typhoon) and Mikoyan (MiG-35) of Russia.
21/02/19  Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express

Advanced MiG-35 priced lower than other foreign models: Russia

Bengaluru: Russia's advanced MiG-35 light-class fighter jet, participating in the Indian Air Force tender for the purchase of 110 aircraft of this kind, would cost India 20 per cent less than similar foreign models, the Russian MiG Aircraft Corporation said here Thursday.
"In terms of economical operations, it is well known that the Russian aircraft are at least 20 per cent cheaper than similar models produced by other plane-manufacturers," JSC Russian Aircraft Corporation 'MiG' Director General Ilya Tarasenko told PTI at the 12th edition of Aero India Show.
He further said his company does not have any competitor in this sphere as Mig 35 is the most up-to-date aircraft in the world.
"Technically too, the Russian company is far ahead of its competitors," he said.
Tarasenko said the aircraft can also be upgraded while operational and would be done based on the demand requirement of the customer for the entire life-cycle of the aircraft. "This aircraft has at least a 40-year life-cycle," he said.
Tarasenko further said the Mig-35 project would be fully localised based on tender requirements.
22/02/19 PTI/Economic Times

Russian Helicopters works towards local production of Ka-226T helicopter in India

Bangalore: Russian Helicopters has signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with five Indian private companies in a bid to localise production of the Kamov Ka-226T helicopter, it announced at Aero India 2019.

Director General of Russian Helicopters Holding Company Andrey Boginsky signed MOUs with representatives of Elcom Innovations Private Ltd., Integrated Helicopter Services Private Ltd., Valdel Advanced Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Dynamatic Technologies Ltd., and Bharath Forge Ltd. The MOUs cover assemblies such as fuselage, blades, radio equipment, and landing gear.

“We have launched a new stage of [the] Ka-226T project: identifying the chain of manufacturers among the Indian companies. I am positive that the agreements reached today will result in a long-term, mutually beneficial co-operation at a later stage when the production of Ka-226T is transferred to the customer’s territory,” Boginsky said on 20 February.
21/02/19 Caron Natasha Tauro/Jane's Defence Weekly

Boeing holds talks with HAL, Mahindra Defence on F/A-18 Super Hornet 'Make in India' plan

Bengaluru: Aerospace company Boeing on Thursday held discussions with its partners, Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the proposed F/A-18 Super Hornet 'Make in India' plan.

The partners are developing comprehensive plans to set-up a new 'factory of the future' to manufacture Super Hornet locally, Boeing said after the discussions at the Aero India air show at the Yelahanka air base here.

The programme is expected to work with several Indian suppliers to grow a thriving defense aerospace base which could accelerate other programmes, a company statement said.

The facility will create a world-class, highly trained aerospace workforce, it said.

The public-private partnership is intended to bring Boeing, HAL and MDS' global scale and supply chain, its best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes, as well as experience in designing and optimising aerospace production facilities to expand India's aerospace ecosystem and help realise the 'Make in India' vision.

Boeing's Super Hornet is a proven platform that offers the fighter of the future for India networked, survivable and reliable, the statement said.

Introduced in 2007, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is the world's preeminent carrier capable aircraft and best suited for India's naval fighter requirements designed from day one for carrier operations, according to Boeing.
22/02/19 PTI/First Post

Indian aerospace industry still taking baby steps

Bengaluru: As India tries to establish a toehold in the military aerospace sector, efforts of the domestic private industry are like the ‘first steps’ on the learning curve, the real work of making engines or other critical technologies is still some years away.
At all military events like the ongoing Aero India here, multiple joint ventures between Indian companies and foreign partners are announced. A close look reveals these largely relate to forging, casting and making structures that are part of the global supply chain of the companies.

The exception is the tie-up Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had with French Safran in 2005 to make helicopter engines for the Dhruv series of copters.

At the Aero India here, the Russian MiG team announced “we having been making in India since 1963” (or the time since the first MiG 21 arrived). The reality is licence production of MiGs did not help India in making engines or new and better planes.

Many business opportunities and jobs are opening up, but not in cutting-edge technology sector. Dynamatic Technologies CEO Udayant Malhoutra, speaking at a seminar here, was candid: “In India, the advantage is the (lesser) labour cost and the engineering talent pool.”

The Tata-Boeing Aerospace manufactures fuselage (body structure) for the AH-64 Apache copters. Other supply chain partners provide assemblies for aero-structures, wire harness, composites, forgings, avionics mission systems and ground support equipment for Boeing’s commercial and military aircraft out of India.

Boeing India acting president Sunil Velagapuddi says, “We are outsourcing jobs worth a billion US dollars and plan to double it in a decade. Our new plant outside Bengaluru is largest investment outside the US.”
21/02/19 Ajay Banerjee/Tribune

India interested in Ukrainian An-132 aircraft

Ukraine and India discussed the promotion of the newest Ukrainian An-132 aircraft to the Indian market, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has reported.
"First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleh Hladkovsky took part in the opening of the international specialized exhibition Aero India 2019. He held a meeting with Union Minister of State for Defense Subhash Bhamre, during which they discussed issues of expanding cooperation between the countries, in particular, the possibility of promoting the newest Ukrainian An-132 aircraft to the Indian market to replace the An-32 park of the Indian Air Force. The An-132D is presented in India for the first time, in particular, the aircraft is carrying out demonstration flights within the framework of the exhibition," the NSDC’s press service reported.

The parties also considered the possibility of supplying spare parts and ammunition for the Soviet-era military equipment to India, the joint participation of Ukrainian enterprises in repairing and modernization of such armored vehicles.

Moreover, Hladkovsky held talks with Defense Production Secretary Ajay Kumar, during which the issue of involving representatives of the private sector of India's defense industry in the joint Ukrainian-Indian production of military and dual-use goods was discussed.
22/02/19 Ukrinform

Saab signs Indian partnership accords

Bangkok: Saab has signed agreements with three Indian companies to support its bid to supply its Gripen fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Swedish group announced on 21 February at the Aero India 2019 show in Bangalore that the separate memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements were signed with Dynamatic Technologies, CIM Tools, and Sansera Engineering.

Saab said its MOUs with CIM Tools and Sansera, which expand existing arrangements on commercial aerostructures, facilitate collaboration on the Gripen aircraft and other Saab defence-related products.
22/02/19 Jon Grevatt/Jane's Defence Weekly

Supersonic Sindhu: Badminton star may fly Tejas at Aero India

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, the undisputed ‘Badminton Queen’ of India, might be just flying into aviation history on February 23, Saturday at the 12th edition of Plane Carnival in Bengaluru.

Military sources confirmed to Onmanorama that Sindhu will be co-piloting a Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on the penultimate day of Aero India, which is being observed as Women’s Day.

If the World No 6 badminton sensation makes it to the show, amidst her hectic schedule, she will probably be among the youngest to have taken a sortie on the desi flying machine, which was granted the Final Operational Clearance at the show.

The 23-year-old Hyderabad shuttler will also become the first ever woman to have flown (co-piloted) the desi delight, Tejas. While officially there is no word yet from the organisers on this, it is almost certain that her flight on Tejas is one of the ‘top-listed’ events at the Aero India on Saturday.

If the plans to fly Sindhu go as per the script, then she is sure to be onboard either on PV-5 or PV-6, the trainer versions (tandem seating) of Tejas. Interestingly, Sindhu’s initials are also ‘PV.’

When Onmanorama contacted Sindhu’s family, they said they were thrilled to be part of the prestigious event.

“Yes. We have been invited for the show in Bengaluru. We are waiting for the nal programme,” P.V. Ramana, Sindhu’s father said. Ramana is former Indian volleyball player and an Arjuna Award winner.

For Sindhu, it will be a different experience sitting in the cockpit of Tejas and experiencing the g-force normally being felt by the fighter pilots.

“It’s a great honour for me to fly in a Tejas. It will be a proud moment and I am looking forward,” Sindhu said.
22/02/19 Anantha Krishnan M/The Week

HAL showcases Naval Utility Helicopter

Bangalore:The technology demonstrator of the folded NUH developed by HAL was shown at Aero India 2019. Source: IHS Markit/Akshara Parakala
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) showcased the technology demonstrator of the Dhruv Mk III Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) with folding tail boom and main rotor blades, designated Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH).
The helicopter, primarily designed to meet the requirements of the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy for enhanced shipborne operations, was shown at the Aero India exhibition on 20 February. The helicopter will perform a range of mainly maritime missions, including search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (medevac), anti-piracy and anti-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, surveillance, and targeting.
21/02/19 Akshara Parakala/Jane's Defence Weekly

Biju Babu’s Dakota dazzles at Aero India 2019

Bhubaneswar: Former Chief Minister’s Dakota aircraft dazzled at the 12th edition of Aero India, Asia’s biggest air show, at Yelahanka air force station on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

The five-day long biennial air event began with vintage Dakota aircraft, followed by formations of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv and Light Utility Helicopter, DO-228, Hawk and HTT40 aircraft.
The metal birds tore the skies of India’s IT city with stunts after paying the tribute to the Surya Kiran aircraft pilot killed in a mishap during rehearsal on Tuesday.

Amidst political row, the military aircraft Rafale stole the show.

Similarly, IAF’s Sarang team enthralled the audience with a daredevil performance at Aero India show yesterday.
Besides, the thrilling manoeuvres by MIG 21, Saras PT1, Embraer along with Sukhoi, Boeing P8I, LCA Tejas, HTT40, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, LUH, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Airbus 330 and B-52 Stratofortress bomber showed country’s strength.

The LCA also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had named it as Tejas, with breathtaking manoeuvres.

Around 47 aircraft will participate in the Aero India show this year. The airshow will conclude on Feb 24.

Dakota, which was part of the IAF, had remained abandoned for years. It was closely associated with Odisha and its late Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. The aircraft was flown by Patnaik to rescue Indonesian freedom fighters.
21/02/19 Odisha Sun Times

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission releases ATL Drone Module at Aero India

New Delhi: NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Drona Aviation, an IIT Bombay start-up, launched the ‘ATL Drone module: Get, Set, Go’ for Atal Tinkering Labs at the ongoing Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru. The ATL Drone Module was launched by Dr. G Satish Reddy, Chairman, DRDO and Sanjay Jaju, Joint Secretary,  Department of Defence Production,, along with. Apurva Godbole, CEO, Drona Aviation and representatives of AIM. The idea of flying has always been a fascinating concept for all young as well as old. “With the ATL Drone Module, young students of India will learn how to create their own drones and use them for solving community problems in India”, said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. “In the age of the Fourth industrial revolution, drones are one of the most promising technologies integrating the concepts of physics, maths, chemistry, engineering and sensor technologies creating a tremendous range of innovative solutions that can be developed using them”, said Mr R Ramanan, Mission Director, AIM.Drona Aviation is India’s first developer drone company, with a focus on drone innovation. The ATL Drone Module aims at building this open source community of tinkerers who will learn and buid on drone ideas to showcase their many possible application.  “Created with iterations and feedback from hundreds of students and teachers over the last three years, we hope that this module can be the spark and twig to start the fire of drone revolution in our country”, said Mr Godbole. Through the ATL Drone module, sky indeed is the limit for their creativity and innovation. Students will be able to connect this module to their academic subjects, especially physics and mathematics, and enhance their spatial problem-solving skills.
21/02/19 5 Dariya News

HAL revives intermediate jet trainer programme to help rookie IAF pilots

Bengaluru: An intermediate trainer jet progamme — to help rookie Indian Air Force pilots transition smoothly from basic trainers to advanced jet trainers — which was shelved six years ago after multiple failures is being revived again, and a new improved IJT will fly as early as April 2019, a senior official from the PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said.
“The IJT project has been revived. The spin problem, which had grounded the aircraft, has been addressed. There will be a flight in April of an IJT,’’ Arup Chatterjee, HAL’s Director (Engineering and R&D), said on Thursday on the sidelines of Aero India 2019.
The IJT, also known as Hindustan Jet Trainer 36, is an aircraft indigenously designed and developed by HAL to replace its own Kiran jet trainers —- which were made from 1964 to 1989 and are now being retired from IAF service on account of their vintage.
“The IJT incorporates the simplicity necessary for ease of conversion from Basic Piston Trainer and the sophistication required for quick conversion to the complexities of an Advanced Jet Trainer,’’ HAL said while embarking on building the aircraft more than 15 years ago.
The development of the IJT has, however, been marked by stops and starts. The aircraft stalled in 2007 at the Aero India when it was being unveiled before the public. Subsequently, the project made progress with the successful integration of a Russian engine AL-55I and the IAF placing an initial order for 73 aircraft which could go to 200 after the aircraft completes over 280 flights.
An estimated Rs 6,180 crore worth of orders for the IJT were placed by the IAF when the aircraft reached the stage of limited series production of the first 12 aircraft for the IAF in 2009.
22/02/19 Johnson TA/Indian Express

Apache copter delivery in July: Boeing

Bengaluru: India will receive the first batch of Apache attack helicopters and one C-17 transport aircraft in July-August this year, Boeing officials said on Thursday. The company also pitched an upgraded version of its F-18 fighter for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy’s fighter tenders.

“We are on course to delivering the first of the 22 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in July this year,” David Koopersmith, vice-president and general manager of vertical lift, Boeing Defence Space and Security, said at a press conference at Aero India.

The IAF will also get one more C-17 strategic transport aircraft in August, another Boeing official said.

In 2011, India had purchased 10 C-17s from the U.S. in a deal worth $4.1 billion which had a follow on clause for six more aircraft.
21/02/19 The Hindu

Scores celebrate their ‘serious hobby’

Bengaluru: Flying model planes had been a decades-old hobby for them, but on Thursday model jets and planes got space alongside their bigger counterparts.

Raghavendra B.S. has been flying planes since 1999, and his propeller-driven plane touched speeds of 120 km an hour in the warm, windy skies during Aero India. “...I am happy we got a chance to showcase our skills at Aero India... What people do not understand is that these model planes aren’t toys. If handled by untrained people, they can be a threat to those on the ground and, on these kind of speeds, fatally injure people,” he said.

His skills are much sought after, with the Indian Institute of Science often calling him to test their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Adarsh, who enthralled the meagre audience gathered for the Drone Olympics with his mini-jet engine Xcaliber plane, started developing model planes in 1998. By 2009, it had become a full-time profession, with his expertise even being used by the DRDO to test UAVs. The plane, which cost him ₹11 lakh, can reach a top speed of 350 kmph.
22/02/19 The Hindu

When big fighters in miniature form took centre stage at Aero India

Bengaluru: A barrel roll while zipping over the tarmac, a steep vertical climb followed by a rapid descent, and a formation where machines come dangerously close to each other... Images that are often associated with supersonic fighter jets in air shows of Aero India came alive in their miniature form on Thursday.

For the first time, the air show had a display by model aeroplanes and a competition for drones — the Drone Olympics — which saw 17 teams vying for cash prizes totalling ₹36 lakh. In the run-up to Aero India, 57 drones tested their mettle and 17 made it to the finals, held on Thursday. While the number was lower than what Ministry of Defence officials had expected, they believed it was a “good enough start” to what would hopefully propel the private Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry in the country.

The drones were tested in various categories — surveillance, which involved fixed vertical takeoff and landing and was judged on flight times and ability to detect human-sized targets; weight drop challenge in which light-weight drones dropped 2-kg package — perhaps medicines or essential supplies — to targets 2 km away; and flying formation.

UAS-DTU, a team of undergraduate students from Delhi Technological University, won the top honours in flying formations, which included a delicate dance of numerous shapes and forms between multiple drones in the air. Pranjal Shiva, team leader, said that while the hardware was sourced, the algorithm which dictated the movement of drones and autonomous flying was developed by the students. “We worked really hard for the competition, spending ₹2 lakh to ₹3 lakh to come for the competition as well as ₹2 lakh to ₹5 lakh on the drones. But what gave us the edge was that we were a tightly knit team of 22 students passionate about such competitions,” he said.
22/02/19 Mohit M Rao/The Hindu

Drones steal the show, perform aerobatic maneuvers at Aero India 2019

Bengaluru: On a sunny Thursday morning, the display area at the Yelahanka Air Force station in Bengaluru, the venue of the biennial Aero India show saw the usual fighter jets and the aerobics planes taking a break to give way to hundreds of drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles were participating at a unique Drone Olympics competition demonstrating their capabilities in various missions including surveillance, intrusion detection as well as providing relief items during rescue operations.

These UAVs could fly at high speeds, perform aerobatic maneuvers like loops, rolls, spins, and hammerheads effortlessly and communicate with each other intelligently. This is for the first time that such a competition was conducted at Aero India.

According to the organisers, more than 120 applications were received out of which 57 suitable applicants were invited to participate in the competition. The 17 shortlisted teams mainly comprising hi-tech start-ups, research institutes, students and individuals demonstrated their skills and innovation in the final event in five different categories.

Team ‘Dhaksha’ of Centre for Aerospace Research, MIT Campus, Anna University in Chennai dominated the competition and won the first place in the ‘surveillance hybrid design’ category. In the real world, ‘Dhaksha’ has already performed several missions for surveillance using their indigenously designed and developed UAVs for disaster management during the 2015 Chennai floods. Some other rescue operations in which it participated included Moulivakkam building collapse, Chennai oil spill, Kurangani hills forest fire, and crowd management activities in Marina Beach during new year.
21/02/19 Peerzada Abrar/Business Standard

Navy shows off Super Hornets, Poseidon aircraft during Aero India 2019

U.S. military aircraft — including Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets and a P-8A Poseidon — traveled to Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru, India, to take part in the 12th edition of Aero India 2019 underway through Sunday.

Hosted by the Defense Ministry of India, the Indian air force and many other organizations, Aero India is one of the largest air shows in Asia. Held every two years since 1996, it functions as India’s premiere aerospace exhibition, trade and air show.

The Navy sees Aero India as an opportunity to strengthen its military ties with India, a regional partner. This year, the trade show also provides a platform to show off the P-8A, the most up-to-date version of the Navy’s anti-submarine workhorse.

Boeing in April 2017 agreed to supply the U.S., United Kingdom and Australian navies with 17 of the modernized aircraft, a contract worth $2.2 billion. The Indian air force since 2009 has flown an older variant, the P-8I, according to Boeing’s website.

“Aero India offers an excellent opportunity to showcase the P-8A Poseidon to our regional partners throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Shultz, the Patrol Squadron 47 detachment officer-in-charge in a Navy statement released Tuesday.
Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Squadron 27, the Royal Maces, joined the P-8A and 17 other U.S. military aircraft to perform aerial demonstrations and be put on display, according to a Navy statement.

22/02/19 Christin Lopez/Star and Stripes

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lessors doubt Jet Airways rescue plan, pull out more planes: Sources

Singapore/Bengaluru: International lessors have grounded more Jet Airways planes prior to potentially moving them out of India, as scepticism builds whether a state-led bailout of the carrier can clear their dues on time, sources familiar with the matter said.
The troubles at India's Jet, which is saddled with a billion dollars in debt, have rekindled memories of Kingfisher Airlines' collapse in 2012 that forced lessors to write off millions of dollars. Jet has defaulted on loans and has not paid pilots, leasing firms and suppliers for months.
"There's some talk that the money is going to come but lessors have heard this for too long," one leasing source said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"We are not convinced with the restructuring plan. This is panning out just like Kingfisher. Banks took control but they never wanted to take a majority stake and run the airline."
Nine of Jet's planes have been grounded by lessors, versus the four it reported last month, with AerCap Holdings NV and BOC Aviation Ltd among those who have pulled out planes, sources told Reuters.
Cross-checks of the Jet fleet by Reuters on FlightRadar24 also show that nine of its planes have stopped flying over the last four weeks. That excludes two more that are at Singapore's Seletar Airport for, according to sources, maintenance work.
21/02/19 Reuters/Economic Times

Debt-laden Jet Airways edges closer to safety

India's Jet Airways Ltd, after several attempts at finding help to save the carrier from a crippling pile of debt, last week approved a rescue deal which will make its lenders its largest shareholders and fix a near 85 billion rupee funding gap.

Jet, which had debt exceeding 80 billion rupees ($1.12 billion) as of September-end, has been steadily losing market share to its rival and low-cost carrier IndiGo, which is owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.

The airline has also seen its share price suffer as it navigated through several negotiations with its lenders and shareholders.

Jet will take the resolution plan to its shareholders later in the day where it will seek their approval to convert debt into 114 million shares.

DGCA to probe Jet Airways' aircraft that flew in ‘no-fly-zone’: Report

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the watchdog of aviation space in India, has initiated a probe into an instance where an aircraft entered VIP, no-fly-zone in Delhi, violating security rules.

According to a report in The Times of India, a Jet Airways flight (9W-9734) flew over VIP 89 zone on February 7 when Delhi witnessed strong thunder and hail storms, disrupting airline operations.

A senior official told the daily that the flight took off from runway 27 and flew over the security sensitive area, which includes Parliament house, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Prime Minister’s residence, soon after being airborne.

“Despite instructions to avoid NFZ, it deviated towards left… It flew out of the zone after warning,” the official said.

The defence ministry has often objected to aircrafts being allowed to fly over NFZ or VIP 89 which covers sensitive places in Lutyens’ Delhi. Sources have told the daily that the defence establishment only prefers VVIP and military planes to use runway 27 which is used to take off from or land towards AIIMS/ Vasant Vihar area.

As per civil aviation rules, scheduled commercial flights, military and state aircrafts and small aircrafts with VIPs and national security guards (NSGs) on board are allowed to use the runway. A small deviation from path by the aircraft could lead to breach of NFZ.

“Indira Gandhi International Airport is India’s busiest airport and as it is operating with two NFZs — VIP 89 one one side and then Hindon airspace little beyond — it is a serious handicap in terms of space for aircraft to line up for landing or to fly away after taking off,” the source told the daily.

Shutting a runway on a busy airport due to security reasons could affect “capacity handling” ability of the airport as completion of fourth runway could take three-four years.

Aviation industry is challenging, says Naresh Goyal

Mumbai: The airline industry is difficult at the best of times, but the recent headwinds have proven to be more challenging for the aviation industry, according to Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways.

In the February issue of ‘JetWings’, the inflight magazine of Jet Airways, Goyal has written that despite the challenging times he is confident of the future. “We go on to operate an optimal number of flights on our network and our load factors continue to be among the highest in the industry. We are confident that the future will continue to see us being an integral part of and contribution to the fastest growing civil aviation market in the world.”

This comes even as airline has called for an extraordinary general meeting on February 21 to seek approval to allow lenders to convert debt into equity. Under the proposal, the lenders will also get to appoint one or more persons as nominee directors or observers on the board of the company. Jet is also seeking approval to raise further loans within the overall existing borrowing limit of ₹ 25,000 crore, and provide the lenders with the right to convert such loans into shares of the company.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aivation (DGCA’s) January report, Jet Airways Passenger load factor declined from 87.0 per cent in December 2018 to 86.01 per cent in January 2019 and stood at the fifth position after Spicejet, Indigo, Air Asia and Go Air.

The debt-laden airline has been facing a lot of issues for the past two quarters. In the Quarter 3, the struggling airline reported a standalone net loss of ₹ 587.77 crore for the third quarter ended December 31 with an increment of revenue of Rs 62.78 crore and the company’s expenses shot up by ₹ 743.57 crore.

The airline owes money to its pilots, lessors, banks and vendors. Business Line had recently reported that the pilots were asked to do office work which they had refused.

The full service carrier had as a part of its cost-cutting and restructuring plan had also changed its distribution strategy. Its problems have been exacerbated by higher oil prices and intense pricing competition in the domestic market.
20/02/19 Form Gandhi/Business Line

Air pocket: Airline traffic growth in January slowest in four years

Air passenger traffic in January grew at its slowest in 52 months even as the market share of Jet Airways slipped to below that of Air India.

Domestic passenger traffic in January grew in single digits at 9.1% year-on-year. Industry watchers attributed the slowdown to higher fares and weaker demand, surprisingly in a traditionally strong month.

The market share for cash-strapped Jet continued to decline – it was recorded at 11.9%, below national carrier Air India’s 12.2% – for January. This happened last in October 2014 when Jet’s market share had stood at 16.4% against 19.5% of Air India.

The passenger growth in January was the slowest since August 2014 when the passenger traffic volumes had increased by 8.3% y-o-y. Domestic air traffic had grown by 19.6% y-o-y during January 2018.

Over 12.5 million passengers travelled by air during last month, compared with 11.46 million in January 2018, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in the data released on Friday.

According to experts, average domestic fares were up 9% y-o-y in January which was reflected in the lower passenger load factors (PLF). All scheduled carriers, with the exception of AirAsia India, reported a 3-3.5% y-o-y decline in plane occupancy. AirAsia India, a Tata Sons and Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad joint venture, flew with aircraft 84.6% full in January against 80% a year ago. “Rise in fares is being reflected in lower PLF for all carriers,” Balu Ramachandran, head (air & distribution) of Cleartrip, said.

IndiGo, the largest domestic carrier, said the ticket pricing environment improved in the December quarter, especially in the 0-15 booking window.
21/02/19 Financial Express

After SpiceJet Flight Is Delayed At Delhi Airport, Passengers Create Row

New Delhi: Passengers created a row at the Delhi airport in the early hours of Wednesday as a SpiceJet flight to Hyderabad, which was set to depart from Terminal 1, got delayed due to runway closure and unsuccessful attempts at changing terminals.
"The incoming aircraft, which was to operate the Delhi-Hyderabad flight, landed at Delhi airport's Terminal 2 as scheduled. After landing at Terminal 2, the aircraft could not be taxied to Terminal 1 due to runway closure for scheduled maintenance, leading to a delay," a SpiceJet spokesperson told PTI.

"SpiceJet officials took special permission to ferry the passengers and the baggage to Terminal 2. However, some passengers did not cooperate with our team and also did not allow other passengers to board the coaches and insisted on boarding the aircraft from Terminal 1," he added.

According to the spokesperson, this delayed the flight further and the SpiceJet team once again requested the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to allow the aircraft to be taxied to the bay at Terminal 1.

"After receiving the requisite permissions, the aircraft was taxied to Terminal 1 at 2:45 am and the flight departed at 3:10 am," he said.

The scheduled time of the aircraft's departure was 9.10 pm on February 19, but it was rescheduled to 12.40 am of February 20, the spokesperson informed.

"All passengers were duly informed on their registered mobile numbers by calls and messages about the rescheduling at 10.07 am of 19th February itself, so that they could plan their travel to the airport accordingly," he said.
21/02/19 PTI/NDTV

SpiceJet Announces 12 New Domestic Flights, Offers Tickets From Rs. 2,499

SpiceJet has announced 12 new domestic flights later this year. The airline said in a statement on Tuesday that it will commence the 12 direct flights starting March 31, 2019. SpiceJet also said it will launch the new flights on the Bhopal-Surat, Gorakhpur-Mumbai and Jaipur-Dharamshala routes, and will also start daily flights connecting Bhopal and Delhi. SpiceJet is offering flight tickets from an all-inclusive Rs. 2,499 on the Bhopal-Mumbai sector and Rs. 3,299 on the Bhopal-Delhi sector. Tickets for flights on the Bhopal-Surat and Gorakhpur-Mumbai routes are priced from Rs. 3,457 and Rs. 4,399 respectively, according to the statement.
SpiceJet's new flights come amid high competition in the country's civil aviation sector where airlines are coming up with new routes and discount offers time and again to attract passengers.
Earlier this month, SpiceJet had announced the launch of a daily non-stop flight service between Hyderabad and Saudi Arabia's Jeddah from March 25. The private carrier had also started a direct flight on the Kolkata-Lilabari route, under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
IndiGo had announced Istanbul as its 16th international destination in January. The airline will operate daily non-stop flights between Delhi and Istanbul from March 20, 2019.
20/02/19 NDTV

Airbus A320 neo again flies into India; deliveries back on track, says company

European aircraft maker Airbus deliveries of its A320neo aircraft are back on track in India with fewer problems being seen with the narrowbody jet’s Pratt & Whitney engines, a senior company executive said on Wednesday. “Pratt has informed Airbus that engine issues have come down by a factor of four in the last 12 months,” said Airbus’ India head Anand Stanley, on the sidelines of the Aero India airshow in Bengaluru. Last month, India’s aviation safety watchdog forced airlines to make extra checks on their Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, as part of new safety protocols after temporary grounding orders affected the planes last year.

IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier by market share, and its low-cost rival GoAir, both fly the A320neos. The aircraft, which entered service in early 2016, boasts significant fuel efficiency benefits, but it has been plagued by teething issues with its engines that have forced Interglobe Aviation-owned IndiGo and Wadia Group-owned GoAir to regularly ground a number of the planes. This caused a backlog in deliveries of the planes by Airbus. IndiGo has over 60 A320neos in its fleet and is one of Airbus’ biggest global customer with over 400 more A320neo and A321neo jets on order.
GoAir has about 30 A320neos in its fleet and over 100 more of the jets ordered. Stanley said that the reliability rate on A320neo engines is now 99.6 percent and that it has retrofitted engines of about 95 percent of the A320neos in service. It expects to finish work on the remainder in the next two months.
20/02/19 Reuters/Financial Express

GoAir records best ON Time Performance

GoAir, the world’s fastest growing airline, has recorded the best On-Time Performance (OTP) of 75.9% for the month of January 2019, as per DGCA statistics. This is 5th successive month that GoAir has recorded best OTP and it is the result of GoAir’s continued focus on enhancing customer experience.

Despite January month posing weather challenges across sectors, GoAir attained the best OTP amongst scheduled domestic airlines as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Government of India data. DGCA records OTP for all the airlines at four metro airports viz. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Besides, data pertaining to the number of complaints per 10,000 passengers for the month of Jan 2019 shows that GoAir has had least complaints. GoAir had only 0.3 complaints per 10,000 passengers. The average for the industry is 0.73 complaints per 10,000 passengers. For the month of December 2018, GoAir’s passenger complaints were 0.2 per 10,000 passengers, again the lowest among key players.

GoAir Spokesperson said, “We thank our customers who have made this possible. It is a matter of great pride and a testimony of our passenger first policy. There is a great deal of emphasis on Operational Excellence across GoAir and the results of these efforts are heartening to see.”
21/02/19 NewsBarons

Vistara to operate two daily flights on Delhi-Raipur route from March 31

Full-service carrier Vistara announced on Wednesday it will operate two daily flights between Delhi and Raipur from March 31. The departing time of the Delhi-Raipur flights would be 6.40 am and 6 pm, the airline said in a statement.

From Raipur to Delhi the departing time would be 8.55 am and 8.35 pm.

"Bookings are now open on all direct and indirect channels at an introductory all-inclusive one way fare in Economy Class starting Rs 2698," the airline said.

The Chhattisgarh capital would be Vistara's 23rd destination in the country.
"Vistara aims to serve the burgeoning industries and businesses based in Chhattisgarh by providing better connectivity and more travel options including the choice of three classes of travel, to customers travelling to and from Raipur," the airline said.
20/02/19 PTI/

Indigo completes Taxibot trials on Airbus A320s

Indigo airlines on Tuesday morning became the first Indian Airbus operator to successfully complete trials for Taxibot operations on Airbus A320 aircraft, and India became the only country where performance evaluation trials for Taxibots have been successfully completed on Airbus A320 aircraft.
The trials were conducted shortly past midnight and early hours of Tuesday at the Indira Gandhi International airport. “All possible operational scenarios were successfully enacted in a live environment with Taxibot attached to an A320 aircraft during the four-hour-long performance evaluation window at IGI Airport, showcasing the handling and operational capabilities of the semi robotic machine,” Sanjay Bahadur, Head Corporate Communication & Compliance, KSU Aviation Private Ltd told Mumbai Mirror. KSU has brought the Taxibots to India and Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) has been carrying out the first trials before commencing Taxibot operations at the airport.
Officials from Airbus and Indigo’s operations and engineering teams, DGCA officials from Flight Standards Directorate, Taxibot designers from Israel Aerospace Industries, TLD, the manufacturers of the Taxibots,DIAL officials and Taxibot India team were present during the successful trial.20/02/19 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

More and more people are taking to the air

The country has seen an explosive growth in domestic air passenger traffic over the past few years: from 6.73 crore in calendar 2014, the number of passengers more than doubled to 13.89 crore in calendar 2018. With an average annual growth rate of nearly 20 per cent over the past few years, India is among the fastest growing major aviation markets in the world.

Low-cost carriers, primarily IndiGo Airlines, have been driving this solid growth. IndiGo has rapidly grown its market share and cemented its position as the country’s largest airline: from 31.8 per cent in 2014, its domestic market share grew to 41.5 per cent in 2018. Though other major airlines such as Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir too have benefited from the tailwind, they have all ceded market share to IndiGo.

The huge market potential has also attracted many new players to the domestic skies over the past five years — Air Asia India and Vistara (the Tata Group has stakes in both), Air Costa, Air Pegasus, Truejet, Air Carnival, Zoom Air, Air Deccan and Air Odisha. The most recent entrants are Star Air and Air Heritage (January this year).
But the Indian aviation market, despite strong passenger growth, is brutal when it comes to competition, costs, ticket pricing and the operating environment.

High costs, especially that of aviation turbine fuel, and low ticket fares due to intense competition (a fallout of the huge capacity additions) have taken a toll on the financials of most airlines including the listed ones over the past couple of years.

Debt-laden Jet Airways is now waging a do-or-die battle for survival. Also, many of the smaller airlines such as Air Costa, Air Pegasus and Air Carnival have had to shut shop. Besides, Air Odisha, Air Deccan and Zoom Air have not been operating flights for some time now.
Among the new entrants, Air Asia India, Vistara and Truejet have held their own, steadily growing passenger traffic and market shares over the past few years, even if on a low base. How the paradox of strong passenger growth and weak financial performance plays out in the Indian aviation sector needs to be seen. More shakeouts cannot be ruled out. Also, the slowdown in domestic passenger traffic growth in January 2019 to about 9 per cent year on year, the weakest in many years, needs watching.

21/02/19 Anand Kalyanaraman/Business Line

KSIDC is upbeat about winning bid

Thiruvananthapuram: With chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserting that state government is firm on obtaining rights to manage the Trivandrum International Airport, it is probable that the state will exercise the ‘right of first refusal’ to win the bid if needed.
Right of first refusal is a contractual right, but not obligation, to enter into a business transaction with a person or company before anyone else can.

The chief minister made it clear that the state government will push forward against all odds for acquiring authority over the airport, while inaugurating the LDF convention against privatization of airport held on Tuesday.

“We were left with no choice but to participate in the bid as the central government had ignored our requests and proceeded with the bidding. The state government informed the authorities that while we are okay to hand over the land to airport authority, we would not do the same to any third party. The state government has publically expressed willingness to take over the airport and we have previous experience of handing airports via CIAL,” he said.

Apart from Kerala state industrial development corporation (KSIDC), which is the parent company of the newly formed Trivandrum International Airport Limited, GMR and Adani Group are the two other bidders for Trivandrum airport.

According to sources, the state government is confident in winning the bid and in case, another bidder quotes for a higher amount, KSIDC can exercise the option for right to first refusal so that they can submit a revised bid by quoting higher amount.

21/02/19 Times of India

Suresh Prabhu wanted compulsory in-flight announcements in local language, ministry said 'not feasible'

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had asked his ministry officials to make it compulsory for airlines to use local languages for in-flight announcements besides Hindi and English but was told that this measure was "practically not feasible".
On December 26, his private secretary Rohit Yadav wrote a note to the civil aviation ministry, stating that the minister has "directed that announcement on public address systems at all airports in India and also by the scheduled airlines should be in local language followed by Hindi and English".
Yadav added in his note that a "direction in this regard may be issued to all the airports and scheduled airlines immediately. Compliance in this regard may be submitted to this office by 1600 hours today i.e. 26.12.2018."
However, the ministry officials pointed out to the minister that such a measure is "practically not feasible for airlines" as an aircraft goes through several states and "the cabin crew may not know that language", according to the documents accessed by PTI.
However, the ministry officials pointed out to the minister that such a measure is "practically not feasible for airlines" as an aircraft goes through several states and "the cabin crew may not know that language", according to the documents accessed by PTI.
Consequently, the government, on December 26, directed all airports to make public announcements in local language first, followed by Hindi and English.
On December 27, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an "advisory" stating that airlines may consider using local language for in-flight announcements "to extent feasible".
In an official note, the then civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey wrote, "It is practically not feasible for airlines to make announcement in local language within the aircraft, because the aircraft touches several states and the cabin crew may not know that language."
"Hence, DGCA may issue an advisory for compliance as far as possible, but not make it mandatory," wrote Choubey, who retired on January 31.
21/02/19 PTI/Economic Times

Jet Airways announces 50% discount on domestic and international flights

Jet Airways is offering discounts up to 50 percent on domestic and international flights under its 'Love-A-Fare' sale. The discount will be applicable on base fare in Premiere and Economy on select flights in their Indian and international network on both one-way and return tickets.

Customers will have to buy tickets between February 21 and February 25. International travel must start on or after February 21. Tickets for Premiere seats on domestic flights need to be bought at least eight days before departure for the travel on or after March 1. Economy seats must be bought 15 days prior to the departure for travel on or after March 8.

However, other charges like infant discount, refund charges, weekend surcharge and travel restrictions will be applicable.

IndiGo had also announced a sale on February 11 for domestic and international flights scheduled between February 26 and September 28, with cashback offers on select cards and banks.
Similarly, the two-day sale on full-service carrier Vistara began on February 12 and allowed passengers discounted prices for domestic travel between February 27 and September 18.

Vistara, Japan Airlines ink codeshare agreement

Mumbai: Tata-SIA joint venture full service carrier Vistara Friday announced a codesharing pact with Japan Airlines (JAL), a move which will allow Vistara customers seamless connectivity to Japan and vice versa.

The pact between the two carriers is effective February, according to a Vistara release.

Codesharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.

JAL is the second code share partner for Vistara after British Airways.

As part of the agreement, Japan Airlines will add its 'JL' designator code to approximately 32 Vistara flights operating across Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune.

JAL and Vistara already have an interline/through check-in partnership and the two airlines had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September, 2017 to pursue commercial opportunities together, the release said.

An interline arrangement refers to a pact to issue and accept tickets for flights that are operated by the partner airline.

The code share flights will offer convenient connections to and from a daily flight that Japan Airlines already operates to Delhi directly from Tokyo Narita, it said.
22/02/19 PTI/Times of India

India needs 2,300 civil aircraft by 2040: Prabhu

Bengaluru: As India races to be the front-runner in the civil aviation sector, the country would need 2,300 new planes over the next 20 years, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday. "We are drawing an action plan to build an ecosystem for making civil aircraft in the country, as we need 2,300 new planes to fly thousands of more passengers and ship tonnes of cargo," Prabhu said at the inaugural event of the 12th edition of the five-day biennial Aero India air show here.
As the aviation sector is booming at about 20 per cent month-on-month, the country needs more airports.
"Aviation sector is not just growing, but booming by almost 20 per cent month-on-month. We have 103 operational airports and will add 100 more in the coming years to connect even remote parts of the country," the Minister said.
The growing civil aviation ecosystem has the potential to attract an investment of $65 billion, he added.
"People from small villages are also becoming air travellers. We want to ensure every nook and corner of the country has air connectivity," he said.
20/02/19 IANS/Sify

Airbus back on track with A320neo deliveries to India

European aircraft maker Airbus deliveries of its A320neo aircraft are back on track in India with fewer problems being seen with the narrowbody jet's Pratt & Whitney engines, a senior company executive said.

"Pratt has informed Airbus that engine issues have come down by a factor of four in the last 12 months," said Airbus' India head Anand Stanley, on the sidelines of the Aero India airshow in Bengaluru.

Last month, India's aviation safety watchdog forced airlines to make extra checks on their Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, as part of new safety protocols after temporary grounding orders affected the planes last year.

Also last month, Airbus said it fell behind the planned delivery curve of about 800 commercial aircraft for last year as engine issues afflicted the top-selling A320neo , with a factory in Hamburg also struggling to keep up with demand for the long-range A321 variant, Bloomberg reported. The group finally cut its forecast amid slow turbine production for the A330neo wide-body at Rolls-Royce Holdings.

IndiGo, India's biggest carrier by market share, and its low-cost rival GoAir, both fly the A320neos.

The aircraft, which entered service in early 2016, boasts significant fuel efficiency benefits, but it has been plagued by teething issues with its engines that have forced Interglobe Aviation-owned IndiGo and Wadia Group-owned GoAir to regularly ground a number of the planes.
21/02/19 National

​Bengaluru airport sees local IT industry as key to hub ambitions

Bengaluru's Kempegowda International airport has highlighted the role of the local IT industry in giving it "the right traffic potential and ideal geographical location" to become a major hub.

Chief executive Hari Marar says the airport "finds itself in a sweet spot as airlines are eager to expand their operations from Bengaluru because they can easily cover all key markets located within a four to six hour flying range". He notes: "Bengaluru – the Silicon Valley of India with the largest IT companies and a growing start-up ecosystem – has enormous business opportunities which requires Bengaluru to offer robust air connectivity to the world."

Coupled with the impending launch of a second runway and second terminal, by October 2019 and March 2021 respectively, various other infrastructure development projects will support the airport's push to be a global hub.

These include various road expansion projects within the periphery of the airport, the construction of a multimodal transport hub to serve as a transport interchange integrated with the terminals, and new parking bays.

Marar says the existing terminal at Bengaluru airport handled 32.3 million passengers per annum in 2018, and he expects the figure to surpass 33 million this year. The addition of T2 will add cater to a further 45 million, bringing its long-term capacity to 75-90 million.

When the second runway comes online, the two runway system will more than double the existing aircraft handling capacity to around 90 air traffic movements per hour, from the current 40.

Marar says he has seen Bengaluru airport evolve its strategy from initially being a gateway into South India, and then a gateway into India.
21/02/19 Flight Dashboard

New apron to boost early morning flights

Jaipur: Here is good news for air travellers who want cheaper early morning flights to New Delhi and other important destinations. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning a new apron that would provide night parking facility to 32 aircraft at a time, enabling them to fly early morning the next day.

The facility for 32 aircraft will decongest the crowded Delhi airport. The foundation stone for the apron will be laid on Friday, and the facility is likely to be completed by June this year.

According to Airports Authority of India (AAI), Jaipur, the minister of states for aviation Jayant Sinha will lay the foundation stone for the apron.

“This will provide night parking facility to at least 32 aircraft at a time and will enable early departure of flights to various destinations. As the Delhi airport is already congested, we will earn extra revenue. It will also open more avenues for air travellers,” said Jaideep Singh Balhara, director, AAI, Jaipur, speaking to TOI.
21/02/19 Ashish Mehta/Times of India

Error of judgement by IndiGo’s crew resulted in wing tip clash with Kuwait Airways: probe report

The probe report into an incident of a Mumbai-Jaipur IndiGo aircraft's winglet coming in contact with that of a Kuwait Airways aircraft at Mumbai airport while taxing has revealed that human factor played a role in causing the incident calling it an error of judgement on the part of the crew of IndiGo.

The probe report has cited that crew of IndiGo assumed that they were clear of the other aircraft (Kuwait Airways) further continuing taxing without realising that left winglet had contacted the aircraft of Kuwait Airways.

The report of the inquiry committee set to probe the incident has further stated that that medical study reveals that it is not possible to accurately judge absolute distance or separation when the line of sight distance is more than 10 metres.
The incident took place in November 2016 early when the Kuwait Airway's Airbus A330 was taxing towards the parking bay and the IndiGo aircraft was taxing out for departure to Jaipur. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Mumbai had instructed the IndiGo pilot to follow the Kuwait Airways aircrafts' arrival, and the Kuwait Airways pilot was advised to move ahead to make way for the former.

The probe report further reads, "When following a taxiway route, pilots are expected to keep a good lookout and are responsible for taking all possible measures to avoid collisions with other aircraft and vehicles. Due to an error of judgment on the part of the crew of aircraft 1 (IndiGo), while crossing taxiway N keeping aircraft 2 (Kuwait Airways) on the left on W4 resulting in the LH wing tip (sharklet) coming in physical contact with the wing of aircraft 2."

The report has said that initially, the flight crew of IndiGo were not aware of the contact, but once apprised by the cabin crew decided to return back to the bay for rectification. 
21/02/19 Mehul R Thakkar/DNA

Slow scanning, insufficient staff delay baggage delivery at international terminal

Chennai:  Passengers arriving on international flights at night face an inordinate delay in getting their luggage at the terminal due to a shortage in airlines and ground handling staff and the time taken by customs personnel manning the scanning machines in the baggage area.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) said it is taking steps to ensure that these delays are curbed as they affect passengers’ perception of the airport. Baggage handling was one of the problem areas that featured in the airport service quality survey held recently.

Passengers often wait for an hour or two at the carousel for bags at the international terminal. And many take to Twitter to vent their ire. Recently, the bags of passengers of two flights were sent on one baggage conveyor belt.

Workers engaged by the airline or a ground handling company transport bags from the aircraft using trolleys to the baggage make up area, where bags are segregated and distributed to the assigned conveyor belt. The bags are scanned before they make their way to the moving conveyor. A senior AAI official said congestion, for which airlines are responsible, is one of the reasons baggage arrives late at the conveyor.

Since the airport receives wide-body international flights back-to-back, congestion is a common sight. An increase in red eye flights at the domestic terminal also adds to air-side congestion. “Bringing bags from aircraft parked in four remote bays also takes time,” he said.

21/02/19 Times of India

Shooter Prithviraj cleared to fly from Chennai to Doha

Chennai: India’s trap shooter Prithviraj Tondaiman, who was stopped from boarding the flight to Doha from Chennai carrying a gun by Indigo airline staff on Thursday morning (12.30 a.m.), citing “security” reasons, was cleared by the staff  today (around 10.30 p.m.). The 32-year-old will take part in the Qatar Open to be held in Doha from February 22 to 24.

Prithiviraj thanked the media for its support. “If not for the media taking up the issue, things wouldn’t have moved so fast,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday morning at around 11 p.m., Prithiviraj was stopped from boarding the Indigo flight by a staff saying “we don’t allow weapons” despite the shooter possessing all the required documents.

Read: Pakistan requests ISSF to drop two Olympic quotas from New Delhi World Cup

The shooter then had to call up the Sports Ministry to help him. Apparently, the Indigo General Manager received a call from the Ministry and by the time the staff understood the gravity of the situation, the time was around 12 a.m. (the flight departure time was at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday) and obviously it was too late. And Prithviraj had to return home very disappointed and tired.

Speaking to Sportstar, Prithviraj said it was entirely due to “ignorance of the staff.”

In fact, the rest of the Indian contingent had left Doha from New Delhi on Wednesday by the same Indigo flight, showing the same documents that Prithviraj did.
21/02/19 K Keerthivasan/Sportstar

Adani Group in race to buy 23.5% in Mumbai Airport

Mumbai/New Delhi: The Adani Group has made a formal offer to buy out the 23.5% held by two South African firms in Mumbai airport, setting the stage for a battle with the GVK Group which has also shown interest in increasing its stake.
The Adani Group has sought to buy the stakes of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and Bidvest, the joint venture partners of GVK in the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), at a valuation of Rs 9,500 crore, people aware of the situation said.
With an offer on the table, the South Africans — believed to be keen on exiting the venture — have invoked the right of first refusal (RoFR) clause, forcing the cash-strapped Hyderabad-headquartered infrastructure conglomerate to scurry for funds to ward off what is now being perceived as a smart corporate move by the Adanis to take a large chunk of the country’s second-busiest airport. As per the agreement, the invocation can happen only once. GVK has time till February-end to comply or face a protracted corporate or legal battle.
Bidvest’s holdings have been valued at Rs 1,248.75 crore, or Rs 77 per share, according to documents seen by ET. At this rate, MIAL is valued at about Rs 9,500 crore, lower than the promoter group’s expectation. Bidvest has written to GVK and ACSA, with a copy marked to AAI, asking the two partners to match the offer within a month, according to the letter dated January 26, 2019. ET was first to report the developments on February 1.
People close to GVK said that it has received stake sale proposal from both the partners in the consortium and the RoFR clause gives GVK group a chance to match the offer.
“The GVK group will match the offer and buy the 23.5% stake in the company. We will not let the stake in the company go to anyone else,” said one of them, who did not want to be identified.
21/02/19 Arjit Baman/Economic Times

GMR Hyderabad Airport City being transformed as an aerotropolis

The GMR-led Hyderabad Airport City is being transformed as an aerotropolis, with a vibrant business-cum-leisure hub and thematic parks.
The diversified infrastructure company, GMR, has been developing Hyderabad Airport City in the precincts of the Hyderabad International Airport. Hyderabad Airport City would offer an integrated ecosystem with theme-based, anchor-led development zones, which include key ports and establishments, including a Business Port, a Health Port, Education Port, Fun Port, Retail Park, Logistics Park and Aerospace Park, as a multi-product SEZ.

By developing the airport as an aerotropolis, it is expected to play a catalytic role in the growth of Telangana’s economy.

Aman Kapoor, CEO, GMR Airport Land Development, said, “GMR Hyderabad Airport City aims to become an urban conglomeration in South India and its proximity to the airport would open new vistas for international investment.”

French major Safran has located its facility in GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, to manufacture aircraft engines parts, for the LEAP turbofan engine from CFM International.
G.B.S. Raju, Business Chairman, Airports, GMR Group, said, “Safran’s presence adds great value to the niche aerospace cluster, which GMR is developing at Hyderabad Airport City.”
21/02/19 V Rishi Kumar/Business Line

‘Parallel taxi track, parking bays at Dabolim by March’

Dabolim: Dilip Buildcon limited (DBL) has completed nearly 60% of the Rs 125-crore-project which includes construction of a 3.7km-long parallel taxi track and three parking bays for aircraft, said Goa International Airport director Bhupesh Negi.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) intends to allow aircraft to use the taxi track and the three parking bays by March 31.

“Work on the additional parking bays and the parallel taxi track is in full swing and we have completed nearly 90% of the main portion of the taxi track which we intend to open for daytime use by March-end,” Negi said. “Aircraft will be able to use the taxi track instead of backtracking on the runway, and this will reduce the delays.”

Negi explained that the taxi-track could be used only during the day time as the taxiway lights that guide pilots will be installed once the entire taxiway is complete. Currently half the taxiway, which links the parking bays, apron and runway, has been completed.

“We expect the full project to be completed before the start of the next charter tourist season,” he said.

AAI took up the work to build the parallel taxiway in order to be able to operate more flights from the airport which is part of the Indian Navy air base, INS Hansa. AAI received the environmental clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forests in January 2018.

21/02/19 Newton Sequeira/Times of India

New Calicut airport terminal to be opened Friday

Passenger amenities at the Calicut international airport will get a facelift with the opening of the new international arrival block, passenger boarding bridges, and advance visual docking guidance system on Friday.

Meeting the expectations of passengers, the new terminal will replace the cramped and outdated facilities. The ₹120-crore project was envisaged on the basis of the norms and standards of the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) for determining the capacity of airport terminals, airport director K. Srinivasa Rao said.

Governor P. Sathasivam will inaugurate the complex, while Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, who will be the chief guest, will address the function through videoconferencing.

The new complex, according to Mr. Rao, has been constructed in the available area between the existing international terminal building and the fire station, and it has a total space of 17,000 sq m. The first floor houses the immigration area and the ground floor, the arrival baggage claim area and customs facilities.

The capacity of the terminal has been augmented from 916 to 1,527 passengers during peak hours. The airport has recorded an average growth rate of 14.70% in international passenger traffic since 2009-10, the official said.
21/02/19 The Hindu

Vice Prez lays foundation stone for Renigunta airport runway expansion

Tirupati:  Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone for the extension of Renigunta airport runway here on Wednesday.

Addressing a gathering at the airport, he said once the runway expansion work gets completed international flights can land here.

Besides the one in Renigunta, runways in Rajamundry, Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam airports in Andhra Pradesh were also being expanded to enable landing of big aircraft, the vice president said.

He also complimented Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and his predecessor Ashok Gajapathi Raju for their contributions in the development of airports in Andhra Pradesh.

Prabu, through video conference, spoke about several airport expansion works being carried out in the state.

Expressing happiness over the 'Team-India' slogan given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said the parties in powers at the Centre and states must keep their political differences aside to work a team for the all-round development of the country.
20/02/19 Outlook

6 years on, ground work on Dholera airport yet to start

Six years after it was instituted for developing an international airport at Dholera, about 100 km from Ahmedabad, the Dholera International Airport Company Ltd (DIACL) is yet to begin work on the ground. This was stated in the company’s sixth annual report, which was tabled in the Assembly during the ongoing Budget Session.
The state government had proposed to develop an international airport close to Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) for serving the logistic requirement of the special investment region, besides handling the extra traffic of existing Ahmedabad airport in future. To be developed in an area of 1,426 hectares, the airport is proposed to have two runways, capable of handling wide-bodied long-haul aircraft such as A380.
However, the report stated that the “actual work” on the airport — which is also meant to serve the demand of the Sanand-Viramgam region which is fast developing as an international automobile hub —- is yet to begin.

“The project is under preliminary study phase. Except feasibility study, no actual work has been started related to development of the project,” the report stated, adding that “creation of ground infrastructure and necessary civil work” would be taken up as part of the project’s “future course of action”.
21/02/19 Avinash Nair/Indian Express

GMR, TERNA JV signs concession agreement for new Crete airport

GMR Airports Limited, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited along with Greek partner TERNA Group has signed the Concession Agreement for Design, Construction, Financing, Operation, and Maintenance & Exploitation of New International Airport of Heraklion at Crete, Greece. The Concession Period for the project is 35 years including Phase 1 Construction of 5 years.

Greece is one of the leading International tourist destinations, attracting nearly 27mn tourists per annum. Crete is largest and most visited island in Greece. Heraklion airport, located in Crete, is the 2nd largest airport in Greece and has registered traffic growth at a CAGR of 10% p.a. over the past 3 years.

The current airport is facing a severe capacity constraint and will be replaced by the new airport at Kastelli. The scope of the project involves Design, Construction, Financing, Operation, and Maintenance & Exploitation of the New Heraklion Crete New International Airport.

The consortium intends to invest over 500 million Euro for development of the new airport. The entire project will be funded through a mix of equity, accruals from the existing airport, and financial grant being provided by the Government of Greece; therefore, debt is not required in this project.
21/02/19 IndiaInfoOnline

Bandh call for renaming Madurai airport triggers chaos

Madurai: The bandh call issued by the All India Forward Bloc and various Thevar outfits, demanding that the Madurai International Airport be named after freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Thevar, led to disruption of traffic at the busy Goripalayam junction here, as protesters took to the streets.

A group of agitators blocked the Vaigai Express at Madurai railway junction and delayed its departure for 10 minutes in the morning. Miscreants pelted stones and damaged glasses of two city buses.

Though the city police had put up barricades early in the morning to prevent protesters from proceeding towards the Thevar statue junction, hundreds of protesters managed to gather at the junction.

AIFB leader P.V. Kathiravan and Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam leader G.M. Sridhar Vandayar stayed put on the top rung of the staircase leading to the life-sized statue of Thevar throughout the day even as few hundred protesters gathered at the junction.
Despite the repeated requests of the police to disperse in the interest of patients being rushed to the nearby Government Rajaji hospital in ambulances and to restore traffic on the junction, the agitators refused to budge.

Vehicular traffic was diverted from many parts of the city to bypass Goripalayam junction since 10 a.m. and normal flow was restored only after 5.15 p.m.

A police source said that over 5,000 shops, including those in the Central Vegetable Market and the Fruits Market, stayed shut. Wine shops in the city were closed since Tuesday evening.
21/02/19 The Hindu

Bihar MLA Arrested With 10 Bullets At Delhi Airport

New Delhi: An MLA from Bihar has been apprehended at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying ten bullets in his baggage, officials said Thursday.
Chandrashekhar was intercepted by a CISF personnel during baggage checking on Wednesday at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) while he was about to take a flight to Patna, they said.

The MLA from Madhepura could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Ten live bullets of 3.15 bore were recovered from the passenger, the officials said.

He was not allowed to take the flight and was handed over to the police as he could not produce any documents for carrying the ammunition, they said, adding that he was later booked under sections of the Arms Act.

"The investigation in the case is on and the person has not been arrested till now," a senior police official said.
21/02/19 PTI/NDTV

Jet Airways rescue failure could lead to a Kingfisher-like situation for banks

Banks will get into trouble if the rescue eventually fails, like it did in the case of a 2011 debt-to-equity swap at the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. So they will probably want to share the risk with a new investor. The name of India’s state-owned National Infrastructure Investment Fund, or NIIF, is doing the rounds.
Indian Airline Rescue,Jet airways sale, air india bailout, air india sale, jet airways, indigo, vistara, Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal, Founder Naresh Goyal, Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi, indian aviation crisis, Kingfisher Airlines, Etihad, Boeing
For Jet Airways India Ltd., it’s always only about one rupee.

As I wrote last month, the troubled full-service carrier needed to garner an additional 1 rupee (1.4 cents) per available seat kilometer to make up for its cost disadvantage against no-frills rivals. Cutthroat price competition denied it that opportunity, and now banks are picking up a majority stake – at a price of 1 rupee for 114 million shares.

The gamble, which seeks to avoid putting India’s oldest private airline into court-administered bankruptcy, will be put to a shareholder vote on Feb. 21.

Beyond that, the details of the rescue plan are fuzzy.

How much of the airline’s 76.54 billion rupee ($1.08 billion) borrowings will get converted into equity? Between 25 billion and 30 billion rupees, estimates an aviation analyst, while an article in the Business Standard pegs the reduction at 10 billion rupees. On the other hand, Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal said on a conference call that the deal with banks would cut the debt burden by (you guessed it) “1 rupee.”

How will new funds enter the business? Founder Naresh Goyal and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways PJSC are expected to bring in equity. But Etihad, which is expected to lead the round, doesn’t want to trigger India’s takeover code, which will then force it to buy shares from minority investors. The solution, according to Livemint, may be a 40 billion rupee rights issue to which lenders (as new equity owners), as well as Etihad and Goyal will subscribe.

Banks will get into trouble if the rescue eventually fails, like it did in the case of a 2011 debt-to-equity swap at the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. So they will probably want to share the risk with a new investor. The name of India’s state-owned National Infrastructure Investment Fund, or NIIF, is doing the rounds.
The final picture is still muddy, but the consensus seems to favor 50 percent-plus ownership by banks and the NIIF; a 22 percent to 25 percent stake with Goyal, who currently controls 51 percent; 12 percent with Etihad, diluting the Middle East carrier by half; and the remaining shares with the public.
To this 40 billion rupee equity infusion, add the 17 billion rupee aircraft debt, which can be repaid by selling Jet’s 16 planes and leasing them back. (A Boeing Co. executive reckons that Jet can get up to $300 million, or 21 billion rupees, from the aircraft.)
21/02/19 Bloomberg

Prime Minister's no-show makes Aero India 2019 lukewarm

Rebranded fighter jets, lukewarm participation and a no-show by the Prime Minister made the Aero India 2019 a low key affair. For some Indian companies it was an occasion to showcase their growing production capabilities.
The show took off in a pall of gloom over the loss of a pilot during the practise session of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) and the opening ceremony marked its respect with a missing man formation— a flypast in which one aircraft is left out.
The Rafale fighter jet was the centre of attraction — its flying capacity and the Make in India plans as part of the offsets for the 36-jet deal was part of display. The first cockpit structure made at the Reliance-Dassault facility was also showcased.
Tata Aerospace and Defence company showcased the aerostructures it has been making here, including the cabin of the S-92 chopper and the fuselage and wings of the Pilatus PC-12 civilian aircraft. Compared to 2017, participation at the show seems to have fallen. There has been much confusion over the number of companies taking part this year, with the defence ministry claiming the presence of 403 exhibitors as against 214 last time.However, the official release in 2017 by the defence ministry had claimed participation of 549 companies.
21/02/19 Manu Pubby/Economic Times

Aero India: Boeing 'trolls' Lockheed's IAF-specific F-21 fighter

Competition to sell over 100 aircraft to the Indian Air Force continues to remain intense, despite massive delays in procurement, and companies are often ready to use any means to promote their wares. And also pull down rival offerings!

On Wednesday, US manufacturer Lockheed Martin stole the headlines at the Aero India air show by unveiling the F-21 fighter as its customised offering for the Indian Air Force. The F-21 offering provoked both excitement and debate, with some aviation experts calling it a 'rebranded' version of the venerable F-16, with more emphasis on its industrial cooperation package than design advances.
Not surprisingly, US giant Boeing on Thursday took a dig at the F-21. In a tweet, Boeing India promoted its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter, also on offer to the Indian Air Force. Boeing tweeted, “Combat Proven, Future Ready, and still called the F/A-18 Super Hornet.”

Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which have been rivals on the US and global fighter markets for decades, have been eyeing the Indian aircraft requirements for years.

Both the Super Hornet and F-16 were offered for the Indian Air Force contract to buy 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), launched in the previous decade. While neither fighter was short-listed, the contract itself was junked by the Narendra Modi government in 2015. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are vying to supply 114 fighters to the Indian Air Force in a new contest, announced in 2018.

During the 2011 Aero India show, Boeing had unveiled a Super Hornet featuring advanced options for the Indian Air Force. These included conformal fuel tanks mounted atop the aircraft's wings, an infra-red sensor to detect aerial targets and a large-area cockpit display screen, which replaces multiple such screens. Boeing has continued to promote many of these enhancements, with the US Navy planning to buy the large-area cockpit display system and conformal fuel tanks for its fleet of Super Hornets. However, the F/A-18 designation has remained.

Interestingly, the F-21 offered to the Indian Air Force has a large-area cockpit display and also conformal fuel tanks, which the F-16 has had since the 1990s.
21/02/19 The Week

Name game! Is US giant Lockheed Martin offering India upgraded F-16 as F-21?

Air Force Station, Yehlanka – International aerospace giants were surprised when Lockheed Martin unveiled their F-21 at the Aero India show. The company in its statement has emphasised its commitment to India by unveiling the F-21 multi-role fighter for India, which is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft is expected to provide unmatched Make in India opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future.

However, sources confirmed to the Financial Express Online that this is merely an upgraded version of the F-16, with cosmetic changes. There is not much different between the Block 60 and Block 70 that the US based aerospace has been pushing in the Indian market.

The company has been in an overdrive to sell F-16 Block 70/72 and to produce in India. However, till date no agreement is signed and is not expected to be signed any time soon as the elections are round the corner in India and it will be a few months more after the new government is in place to take decisions regarding choosing aircraft to meet the shortage of fighters in the IAF.
As has been reported earlier, the US Company had offered Block 70 of F-16 to India and had offered to shift the production line to India depending on the orders of the Indian Air Force.

Sharing his views, Air Marshal M Matheswaran (retd), Chairman and President, The Peninsula Foundation, said that, “What they have announced is the upgraded F-16. Every aircraft goes through multiple upgrades. And each country has different requirements based on which changes are made. The Block 60 for instance underwent some changes based on the request of the government of UAE. Those changes made the aircraft bulkier.”

According to Matheswaran, “Seeing the resistance in India against the F-16s the company has made cosmetic changes, tailored to marketing in India as F-21. These are made to address the psychological block that India has as the F-16 is flying with the Pakistan Air Force.”

The company in its statement has said that F-21 addresses the IAF’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company.
21/02/19 Huma Siddiqui/Fianncial Express

Nirmala Sitharaman plays up defence exports

Bengaluru: The 12th edition of biennial airshow Aero India got underway on a sombre note on Wednesday with the IAF flying a special “missing man’’ formation in memory of Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi, 37, who died when a Hawk 132 aircraft crashed during a rehearsal for the event on Tuesday.
An IAF Jaguar, Tejas LCA and a Sukhoi 30 Mki flew the special formation as a tribute to the former Sukhoi 30 pilot.

In her inaugural address, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the aerospace sector in the country is gradually moving towards being an exporter and not merely an importer.

“India is gradually emerging as a player with tremendous potential of defence exports. Some of the important achievements in this area are Dornier Aircraft Do-228 exported to Mauritius; ALH Dhruv exported to Nepal, Maldives and Mauritius; Cheetal helicopter exported to Afghanistan; Radar Warning Receiver exported to Russia; Thermal Image Fire Control System exported to Israel; and Airvan 8 to Botswana,’’ she said.
“The process of granting ‘No Objection Certificate’ for export of defence stores has been simplified. Simplification of procedures has resulted in the issue of export permissions for Rs 7,138 crore in 2018-19 (till December 2018) as against Rs 4,682 crore for the entire 2017-18. I am happy to inform that our defence exports are doubling every year in the last few years,’’ she said.

“Defence Public Sector Undertakings have been encouraged to increase their export portfolio to 25 per cent of their turnover by 2022-23,’’ Sitharaman added.
21/02/19 Indian Express

Rafale, Tejas dazzle at Aero India air show in Bengaluru

The 12th edition of the biennial Aero India 2019 air show took off on Wednesday with a dazzling flying display of military and civilian aircraft at the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Yelahanka base here. The multi-role medium combat aircraft Rafale of the French Dassault Aviation was a clear winner, with daring feats at the aerial display visitors' area. In the midst of showcasing Rafale's air power, its French Air Force pilot Captain Nativel paid tribute from the air to IAF pilot Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who died here on Tuesday after two Surya Kiran Hawk aerobatic aircraft collided in the air and crashed. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Jaguar and Sukhoi-30 fighter also flew in a 'Missing Man' formation as a tribute to Gandhi.
20/02/19 Economic Times

What is USP of the Lockheed Martin F-21 for IAF?

In December 1981, Pakistan signed an agreement to buy 40 F-16 fighters from the US as India's western neighbour became the launchpad of resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Nearly 40 years later, Lockheed Martin, the current manufacturer of the F-16, has, effectively, rebranded the fighter as the 'F-21' and offered it to the Indian Air Force at a time Washington is aggressively courting New Delhi.

The unveiling of the F-21, which coincided with the opening of Aero India on Wednesday, has provoked questions on whether the new name was just mere marketing strategy or a radical upgrade. Lockheed Martin is competing with six other manufacturers to win an IAF contract to supply 114 fighters. Tata Advanced Systems would produce the F-21 in India.

CGI images of the F-21 show it with multiple ejector racks, enabling carriage of up to three air-to-air missiles on a single weapons pylon, a capability not seen on in-service F-16s. The aircraft is also seen equipped with a retractable refuelling probe, which would allow it to receive fuel in mid air from the Indian Air Force's Russian-built tanker aircraft, unlike existing F-16s.

However, there appears to be little to no modification of the F-21's engines and airframe or emphasis on stealth features. Such modification would have added to costs and caused delays in development, negating the main advantage that the F-16 has offered for decades—affordability. But the absence of such upgrades would handicap the F-21 in dealing with advanced air defences and fifth-generation aircraft being developed by China.

Lockheed Martin's webpage on the F-21 describes it as “For India, From India”. Leaving aside a slick video featuring liberal use of graphics, the Lockheed Martin page on the F-21 notes the fighter will “address Indian Air Force’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem.”

It also devotes space to the “unprecedented Make in India” opportunities the F-21, if purchased, would bring to India, noting that companies of all sizes—including MSMEs—could benefit. Lockheed Martin also notes that in addition to creating thousands of jobs in India, an F-21 contract would support thousands of jobs in the US.
20/02/19 The Week

Army Chief Flies In Made-In-India Tejas Fighter Jet For The First Time

New Delhi: The LCA Tejas got a special passenger today at the Aero India air show being held on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Sitting behind the pilot in a two-seater trainer variant of the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas was Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who was taken for a spin in the nimble fighter jet in the skies above Yelahanka Air Force Station.
This was the first time General Rawat flew in the home-made fighter jet, known for its agility, being the smallest and lightest multirole supersonic fighter jet in its class.
"I think it's a wonderful aircraft. I would like to thank Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa for making this happen. We did some normal manoeuvres and the experience was great," General Rawat told reporters after the 30-minute jet ride. "The LCA's targeting systems are very good."
PS Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, will also fly in the LCA Tejas later today, news agency ANI reported.
Although a lightweight aircraft with a short range, the LCA Tejas can carry the same array of modern weapons that bigger warplanes carry, from precision guided and standoff weaponry to long-range 'beyond visual range' missiles that can take down enemy planes from a safe distance.

Among the crowd of defence investors, government officials and military officers, thousands of civilians are also queuing up at the Aero India venue to watch spectacular flypast by powerful jets and aerial aerobatic shows. The five-day event ends on February 25.

The logo for Aero India 2019 - a triangle in the colours of the national flag - is inspired by the LCA Tejas, the organisers said on their official website.

The exhibition and air show, organised every two years, has already carved a niche for itself globally as a premier aerospace exhibition, with 11 successful editions since 1996, the year India signed a deal with a Russian plane-maker to buy the heavy multirole fighter jet Sukhoi-30MKI.
21/02/19 Vishnu Som/NDTV

LCA Tejas gets clearance for induction into IAF, US pitches for Make in India

India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has received final operational clearance from military aviation regulator Cemilac for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a weaponised fighter jet, said an official here on Wednesday.

The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) Chief Executive P. Jayapal handed over the "release-to-service" documents to the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa at the Aero India air show here.

"It is a major milestone for LCA to get the final operational clearance. The aircraft could fly in many sorties and demonstrated the precision with which it can deliver weapons," Dhanoa told the media.

The aircraft performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF's Vayu Shakti air display at Pokhran in Rajasthan on February 16, the IAF chief said.

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan said HAL has responded to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by the IAF for 83 LCA Mk-1 with weaponisation.

"The grant of final operational clearance to the aircraft is a landmark moment for aeronautic scientists, industry and businesses," state-run Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy told the media.

Eyeing an Indian order, US aerospace major Lockheed Martin on Wednesday showcased its F-21 multirole fighter that it says is configured for the IAF.

"Our F-21 addresses the IAF's requirements and integrates India into the world's fighter aircraft ecosystem," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told IANS on the margins of the Aero India expo at the Yelahanka air base.
20/02/19 News Minute

"No Scandal, Rafale Jets Will Join IAF In 6 Months," Says French Envoy

Bengaluru: As three Rafale fighter jets were displayed at the mega Aero India show in Bengaluru today amid a huge political controversy, the French envoy to India rejected allegations of corruption in the multi-billion dollar fighter jet deal with India. The ambassador said the "very good" aircraft is expected to join the Indian Air Force within six months.
"I do not see any scandal. What I see is a very good aircraft which has been purchased by Government of India. The aircraft will probably come here (Bengaluru) first and will join the Indian Air Force within six months," French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler told news agency ANI on the sidelines of Aero India in Bengaluru.

The Congress alleges that the government went for an overpriced deal for Rafale jets to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani, whose Reliance Defence is one of the offset partners for Rafale maker Dassault. Both Dassault and Anil Ambani have denied the Congress allegations.

India had signed a deal for France in 2016 for for 36 Rafale fighter jets.

At the air show, the Rafale aircraft was a clear winner, with daring feats at the aerial display visitors' area.

Three Rafale aircraft touched down at the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru last week for the biennial five-day air show. While two of these French-made fighters were used for flying exercises, the third one is just being used for static display.

However, these three Rafale jets are not the ones that have been made for India by French aerospace major Dassault. "Rafale for India will not be ready by February. We expect Dassault to fly some other Rafale at the Aero India show here...," Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal RK Singh Bhadauria had said in October last year.
20/02/19 Shylaja Varma/ANI/NDTV

Rostec displays military strength at Aero India

At the ongoing Aero India 2019, Rostec State Corporation is showcasing over 200 pieces of advanced civil and military equipment at the military air base Yelahanka in Bangalore.

India is Rostec’s strategic region of presence. Contracts signed last year between Russia and India, stipulate unprecedented volumes of Russian military equipment supplies and the launch of manufacturing operations at Indian enterprises.

Rosoboronexport’s 2018 portfolio of Indian orders has grown to $10 billion. “Russia and India have built up extensive expertise in bilateral industrial cooperation, and now they are delivering joint projects for the ‘Make in India’ programme, with the key focus on the military sector. Russia is a country that has been supporting ‘Make in India’ from the word go. We are bringing to Aero India 2019, more than 200 pieces of equipment for civil and military use. It may well be that some of them will eventually be manufactured in India,” said Victor Kladov, Rostec’s Director for International Cooperation.

Rostec continues work on a major programme to develop and promote civil-use products under its Strategy 2025, looking to enhance operational efficiency, raise the share of civil-use products in its revenues to 50 per cent and penetrate the rapidly growing global markets, including India.
21/02/19 Pioneer

HAL hopes to get order for squadron of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets

Bengaluru: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday said that it hopes to get an order for a squadron of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets which are assembled in the state-owned facility.

"We have put up a proposal and we hope to get a new squadron of Sukhois (Sukhoi-30 fighter jets) in the future," Chairman and Managing Director (MD) R Madhavan said here at a press conference. He was responding when asked by a reporter whether HAL had any order in the pipeline.

His statement came amid media reports that the central government is planning to increase the overhauling capacity of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets to 25 per year from the existing 12 aircraft. One squadron comprises 20 fighter jets.

The Bengaluru-based HAL has been assembling and overhauling Su-30 fighter aircraft at its Ozar unit in Maharashtra's Nasik district since 2004. According to reports, HAL has manufactured 260 Su-30 aircraft to date and is expected to manufacture two additional aircraft from the facility by the end of this year.

According to sources, the IAF is planning to procure eight new Sukhoi Su-30MKI from HAL. The total cost of the order is estimated to be more than Rs 30 billion ($421.03m).
21/02/19 ANI/New Indian Express

Not Interested in Rafale Offsets, Says HAL CMD

Amidst the political controversy over the procurement of 36 fighter multi-role fighter aircraft from France, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan, on Thursday, 21 February, said the PSU is not interested in the Rafale offsets.

While addressing media at Aero India 2019 Madhavan said: “As of now, it (Rafale deal) is a direct purchase, because of that we are not interested. If it was the manufacturing, we are interested in it. We are not interested in the offsets in the direct purchases. Also, it is the government’s decision (to allocate offsets).”
Commenting on the recent controversy over HAL borrowing close to Rs 962 crore to pay salaries due to payment default by the armed forces, CB Ananthakrishnan, director (Finance) of HAL said the financial situation of the PSU is stable.

“Our targets are being met, our profitability is increasing. The only issue was the cash flow, because of some receivable delays and budget allocation delays, even they are being sorted out… the cash flow from the armed forces has begun,” he said.
Answering specific questions on HAL’s quality being questioned and the general denting of its image, CMD Madhavan said: “Our quality is at a par with anybody else... There was some bad press after the Mirage crash, but we decided not to say anything until the CoI (court of inquiry) is complete. The Rafale thing has been going on for a while now, and that has not affected our morale.”
A day after the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was declared combat ready, R Madhavan said HAL is looking at exporting the fighter aircraft and there are a few countries that have shown interest. While he didn’t share specific details about the export proposal, he added that some countries in North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region have shown interest in India’s homemade fighter plane.

“We are looking at countries in Asia-Pacific and North Africa. We are taking our product on other air shows. Only after they evaluate and they have finalised their specification, we can comment on that,” Madhavan said.
21/02/19 Quint