Showing posts with label Civil Aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil Aviation. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2013


If you are a frequent flyer, then is a great and effective way (if not the best way) for you to keep a track of the flight schedules, i.e. the Scheduled Time of Arrival/Departure and Expected Time of Arrival/Departure. keeps making a real time tracking of every flight, and keeps informing people about any change (delay, etc.) in a flight's Scheduled or Expected Time of Arrival/Departure. The updating takes place at an interval of virtually a couple of minutes. 

All you have to do is to just log on to and type the flight name, like 6E 206, AI 701, etc. Or you can just type the flight name in Google (by accessing the Internet through any device including your mobile handset), and the information will appear at the very top. 

The best thing of is that you do not have to call up the office of the concerned airlines again and again, and at the same time you will get an information that may be more accurate than the one provided by the airlines people.

Last but not the least, I have not been paid by anybody to advertise As a Protocol Officer I often have to keep track of airlines schedules. I have personally found to be very helpful in this regard, and wanted to share it with you people as I felt many of you would benefit from this information.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pilots With Forged Certificates/Documents Should Be Charged With Attempt To Culpable Homicide

Recently a lady pilot of IndiGo was found to have forged her marksheets of DGCA Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) test, thereby getting a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and eventually a job with a top commercial airline. In fact, there have been two more such cases that have come to light, wherein a person has got pilot’s job by furnishing forged certificates/documents.

And these three incidents are not isolated incidents. It is not very rare for us to come across news of such frauds, wherein incompetent people are found to have gathered CPL though unfair and illegal means.

I personally feel that such people should be charged with attempt to culpable homicide. They themselves know it pretty well that when they fly a commercial airline, they very much put the lives of the passengers in danger (apart from their own lives). And I do not feel that it is too much to demand that such elements are charged with attempt to culpable homicide. Such a strong charge is also likely to play an effective deterrent for the shameless people who indulge in such crimes.

I appeal to the concerned authorities (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, etc.) to have a serious thought on this issue.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AI Domestic Loses Spot To IndiGo – Another Indication Of Indian Domestic Passengers’ Preference For LCC?

An Indian civil aviation sector watcher may not find it very striking to know that Air India Domestic has lost its 3rd position in terms of domestic market share (the 1st and 2nd positions are held by Jet Airways and Kingfisher respectively).

But it is certainly at least a bit interesting to note that AI Domestic has lost its 3rd position to IndiGo, an LCC (low-cost carrier), and India’s youngest LCC for that matter.

IndiGo had been breathing on AI Domestic’s neck for quite some time, and finally overtook the latter in November 2010.

For some of us it may appear to be just an insipid piece of market data. However, as an ordinary watcher of the Indian civil aviation sector I feel that it is yet another implication that Indian domestic passengers are developing more preference for LCCs. We must not forget that both Jet Airways and Kingfisher have LCCs (JetLite, Jet Konnect, Kingfisher Red). And there are ample reasons to believe that their LCC services have contributed a lot in helping these airlines to occupy the top two market positions.

I feel Air India should introduce a domestic service of its international LCC, AI Express, at the earliest.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Possible Extension Of Deadline For Phasing Out Expat Pilots In India

The Indian government is likely to extend the 31st July 2011 deadline for phasing out expatriate pilots. If that happens, then it will be a great relief for the Indian carriers, who have been very vocal about their dependence on pilots from foreign countries.

The Indian carriers and cargo airlines have said that they will collectively require 2,665 expat pilots till 2015. And they have also made it very clear that in case their demand is not met, then they will be forced to ground a huge number of their collective aircrafts. Needless to say that if that happens, then it will have a very adverse impact on the Indian aviation scenario.

However, while the Indian carriers have lobbied for a 5 years extension for the deadline, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has made a recommendation to the Indian government for an extension of 2 years. And it is a 2 years extension that the government is currently considering, though a final decision in this regard is still pending.

Presence of a huge number of expat pilots is certainly not a comfortable scenario for wannabe Indian pilots with licenses from Indian training institutes, as it severely shrinks their employment opportunities. Under that circumstance, they will certainly not be able to welcome a decision to extend the deadline for phasing out expat pilots.

However, the Indian government certainly cannot afford to have a situation where all the Indian carriers will be forced to ground a huge number of their total aircrafts overnight, eventually resulting in a temporary but serious disorder for the Indian civil aviation market.

Then there is also the question of security. Many Indian airlines fly such aircrafts that can be flown only by expat pilots. And the Indian pilots cannot overnight be given the responsibility of flying those aircrafts until and unless they have picked up the necessary expertise. It is a question of passenger security.

So now the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry has to espouse a balanced approach. On one hand it has to offer the necessary extension as sought by the Indian carriers. But at the same time the government must ensure that the Indian carriers start taking steps so that soon they are able to employ Indian pilots. For example, the carriers may start training Indian pilots on how to fly those aircrafts that reportedly can be flown only by expat pilots.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

AI Grounds Pilots For Hard Landing – A Highly Unjustified Decision

The Air India authority has grounded two of its pilots for the hard landing of an Airbus A319. The two pilots were in charge of the Mumbai-Rajkot flight of 29th May, 2010, which made a landing of 1.9G (i.e. a hard landing) on the Rajkot runway. This resulted in some passengers complaining of discomfort and inconvenience. And following this, the Air India management decided to ground those pilots pending investigation.

Incidentally, this decision to ground the pilots over hard landing came just three days before Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked airlines not to judge the quality of a landing on the basis of whether it was a hard landing or a soft one.

Personally I feel that the decision to ground those two pilots is completely unjustified. It has already been proved that the Indian airlines’ over obsession with soft landing entails strong threat to passenger safety. It is this attitude of airlines that forces pilots to go for soft landing even when they know that it is risky. In fact, as everybody knows it by now, that one possible reason behind the Mangalore air crash was the pilot’s desperation to avoid hard landing even though it seemed to be the only way out.

In any case, DGCA has now recognized the fact that the quality of landing has nothing to do with whether it is a hard landing or a soft one. Therefore, the Air India management should withdraw its decision and reinstate the pilots with immediate effect.

And one suggestion for the air passengers – Please stay away from complaining when your flight makes a hard landing. Yes, it causes inconveniences. But you must realize that if the pilot has made a hard landing, then there must have been some reason behind it.

Hard landing may entail inconvenience. But soft landing entails lack of safety. And you will certainly prefer an inconvenient landing rather than a risky one, right?

Please remember that it is your complaint on the occasion of a hard landing that is compelling the airlines to force their pilots to go for soft landing even when it is risky. So, please behave a bit responsibly.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Solar Powered AC For Leh Airport – An Appreciable Step

It was really heartening to know that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to install solar powered AC in the Leh airport in Ladakh. AAI is going to install solar panels on the roof of the new terminal of the airport, which is one of the world’s highest airfields courtesy its location at an altitude of 10,682-feet above sea level. The commendable project, which is to cost Rs. 5 crores, is likely to be completed within 2 years.

There is simply no doubt that the initiative is really an appreciable one. It is high time that everybody – ranging from organizational entities (both government and private) to individuals – focused more on renewable energy. Over dependence on conventional energy is not only causing a gradual erosion of the same, but is also causing inconveniences for us on occasions when the sources of conventional energy become temporarily inadequate. For example, the Leh airport authority has so far depended on hydro electricity for running the airport AC. But quite understandably that source becomes inadequate during winter, when the waters in that region dry up. This problem can be effectively addressed after the installation of the solar powered AC takes place.

Let’s wish AAI all the best for its Leh airport project.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Indian Civil Aviation Authority – A Reincarnation Of The “Bourbon Monarchy”?

Whether you are a History buff or not, you must have read about the Bourbon dynasty of France, right? Well, in case you cannot recall, then it was the dynasty that was dethroned after the French Revolution, managed to regain its lost throne after the fall of Napoleon, and again lost it later after another emergence of popular dissatisfaction.

It was once famously said about the Bourbon dynasty that “they have learned nothing, and have forgotten nothing”. The remark was made in reference to the Bourbon dynasty’s unresponsiveness to public mood, even after once paying the price for the same by losing their throne. When they came back to throne after Napoleon’s fall, it was expected that they had learnt from their past mistakes of showing defiance to popular feelings, and would now be more cautions in dealing with the common citizenry. But the Bourbon kings soon proved this expectation to be wrong. Their administration was found to be carrying the same characteristics of their pre-Revolution rule, reflecting the same lack of responsiveness to and respect for the public emotions and feelings. They proved that they had learned nothing from their past experience. No wonder, they did not take much time to lose their throne again, this time for ever.

While the analogy may sound to be a bit too far fetched, I nevertheless find a close resemblance between the Bourbon Dynasty and the Indian civil aviation authority.

After the tragic Mangalore air crash people had expected that the Indian civil aviation mandarins would try to identify and address the operational and technical gaps, and would display a better performance at least for few days. Oh God, how wrong we were! Barely few days have passed after the tragedy, and the Indian civil aviation authority has already started showing its callousness towards public safety.

Just yesterday three Indian planes (1 Kingfisher, 1 Jetlite and 1 Jet Airways) had a close shave, as they had been diverted from the Delhi airport (to Jaipur) thanks to the shutdown of the Delhi airport. And why was the Delhi airport shut down in the first place? Because the airport was to cater to two VIP movements - President Pratibha Patil’s flight to China and Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdimunhamedov’s flight to Agra.

So what happened after the three above mentioned planes were diverted to Jaipur? The Jetlite flight landed on the Jaipur airport when it barely had the fuel to remain airborne for 3 minutes. The Kingfisher flight landed when it was left with the fuel to fly just for 10 minutes, while the Jet Airways flight was left with around 13 minutes of flying capacity at the time of landing. Just imagine what a disaster any of these flights would have faced if there were just a few minutes of delay in landing on the Jaipur airport.

And yes, apart from these three, eight other flights were diverted from the Delhi airport, while 20 other flights were forced to circle the Delhi airport for one hour. All for VIP safety.

Yes, I understand that there is an issue of protocol and basic security when it involves a VIP movement. There may have been some strong reason for temporarily shutting down the Delhi airport for “non VIP” planes. But what was the problem in informing the concerned flights beforehand, so that they could modify their route accordingly? Is there no element of co-ordination and management in the Indian civil aviation mechanism?

It is still understandable when a mishap takes place due to technical snag. But there is absolutely no mercy for operational snag, which is the result of nothing else but pure callousness.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Does The Mangalore Air Crash Suggest That We Should Bid Farewell To “Special Airports”?

Among many factors that are being highlighted as the ones to have triggered the tragic Mangalore air crash is the point that the Bajpe airport of Mangalore is a “special airport”.

What are “special airports”? Well, “special airports” are usually the ones which are located in hilly and mountainous regions, and also the ones which lie close to water bodies (such as rivers and seas). Landing and take-off activities on such airports are much tougher in comparison to that on other airports, with just a fraction of mistake on the part of the pilot likely to cause serious mishaps. No wonder that only experienced pilots are permitted to take off from or land on “special airports”.

The Bajpe airport was in the list of the “special airports” of India, thanks to its location on a hillock, and its runway being built on a flat stretch of land. Both ends of the runway slope downwards, with its safety area being just of 90 meters against the 300-metre norm.

The other “special airports” of India include the airports in Leh, Kozhikode (or Calicut), Port Blair, Srinagar and Agatti (Lakshadweep).

After the heartbreaking Mangalore mishap the Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA should take a fresh and analytical look at the existing operational mechanisms that the Indian civil aviation sector adheres to. And one of the issues that they should very seriously look at is whether they should at all retain the use of “special airports”.

Three more issues I will request them to look at.

a.)They should decide whether they will retain the existing bar on “hard landing”. Notably, some experts have pointed out that the existing bar on hard landing might have forced the pilot to try landing in a different way, which eventually resulted in the accident. And significantly “hard landing” is a safe option.

b.)They should also ensure that pilots (and also other crews) get adequate break and rest before flying. This will understandably reduce the possibility of accidents due to pilot fatigue.

c.)Every airline must have a single, toll-free number which can be contacted by relatives and friends on the event of an accident. Every time a plane or rail accident takes place, I find TV channels flashing such “emergency contact nos”, which keep moving away before one notes them down. More importantly, is it possible for a person to sit calmly and watch the TV if he comes to know that the plane or train his relative was traveling has met with an accident? He will be excited, dumbstruck, perplexed, etc. Under such circumstances, it will be very helpful for him or his friends and other relatives to have the ready knowledge of a number where they can contact to make queries about their loved one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Now Book Jet Airways Ticket Through SBI Card

Indian private carrier Jet Airways has tied up with SBI Card, wherein the carrier’s customers can book their tickets through Jet Airways portals by using the SBI card option. It may be mentioned here that SBI Card is a joint venture by State Bank of India (SBI) and GE Capital.

This arrangement will enable SBI Credit Cardholders to choose an option to convert their ticket purchases – through the Jet Airways website – into a zero-percent EMI of 6 months tenure.

The offer is meant to make family air travel more cost-effective and economical.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mumbai’s Bavicca Bharathi To Be India’s Youngest Airlines Commander At 21

Bavicca Bharathi of Marol (a part of the bigger suburb of Mumbai’s Andheri East area) became India’s youngest pilot after acquiring a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) in 2007. That time she was just 18. This notable achievement was even recorded by Limca Book of Records in its 2008 edition.

Now, after acquiring her Advanced Training Pilot’s Licence (ATPL) on 3rd May 2010 (incidentally her 21st birthday), she is very much on the verge of becoming India’s youngest airlines commander. Currently a co-pilot with Kingfisher Airlines, Bavicca had to successfully fly 1,500 hours to get the coveted ATPL.

By the way, Bavicca’s mother Judith (43) also holds a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL). Any guess when she got her CPL? Well, it was in 2007, along with her daughter. Wow! And yes, Judith is also an employee of Kingfisher Airlines, i.e. the same organization where her daughter is working. What a great mother-daughter duo Kingfisher Airlines has got.

Congrats Bavicca! Wish you all the best in your career. Who knows, one day I might fly in a plane commanded by you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DGCA Orders Grounding Of Paramount Airways

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of Paramount Airways, the Coimbatore-based regional carrier.

So what is Paramount’s fault? Well, as per civil aviation guidelines, it is mandatory for a scheduled operator (national) to maintain a minimum strength of five aircrafts.

And unfortunately, Paramount (which earlier had five aircrafts) was of late operating with just one aircraft.

Quite naturally DGCA had no option except to order the cancellation of Paramount’s license.

The airlines has now moved the Delhi High Court against DGCA’s order. Let’s see what happens now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The “Volcano” Chaos For Air Travel – A Possible Lesson For ICAO?

The recent chaos in the global air travel, caused by an Icelandic volcanic eruption, probably established this point that there must be a guideline and/or plan of action to counter such incidents that may occur in the future.

Needless to say that this guideline or plan of action will be global in nature, with the airlines of every country being ready to adhere to it. And it is to be monitored by a global aviation body. And when we think of such a global aviation body, we have only one choice – International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN body concerned with the global aviation issues.

I feel ICAO should take this incident as a research study, and formulate one such plan of action that can be effectively used in case any such incident occurs in the future, disrupting the global aviation. Yes, that plan of action will not be able to rectify the situation. But it can at least alleviate the impact of the situation, thereby alleviating the harassments of the concerned air travelers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kingfisher Launches 2 New International Routes

A good news for the Indian civil aviation sector is that the private air carriers are constantly trying to upgrade themselves, in terms of infrastructure and service capacity.

Just recently Kingfisher Airlines launched 2 new international routes – Mumbai-Bangkok and Delhi-Bangkok.

The airlines will be operating in these routes through Airbus A320 aircrafts.

The Mumbai-Bangkok flight will offer connectivity with cities, such as Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Indore.

The Delhi-Bangkok flight will offer connectivity with cities, such as Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Patna. It will also have Hong Kong in its route network.

IndiGo Planning Hefty IPO

IndiGo – the Indian Low Cost Carrier (or budget carrier) with largest market share – is planning a hefty IPO of around Rs 2000 crores. Some reputable bankers including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse have been appointed for the purpose.

The company seeks to raise some funds for expansion, which is actually a heartening news for domestic air travelers. A budget carrier is mainly meant for the middle class section of the society, and air travelers from that section of the society will eagerly await an expansion of one of their favourite airlines. Because the expansion means more service deliverability for that company, which ultimately means more gains for the middle class air travelers of India.
As of now IndiGo has 25 aircrafts. Let’s see how far they can go.

Good luck Mr. Aditya Ghosh. Please go ahead! Wish you all the best!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Swiss Airline Renews Code Sharing Agreement With Air India

There has been a positive development for the troubled Indian carrier Air India, with Swiss International Airlines renewing a code sharing agreement with the latter.

By virtue of this agreement, to be effective from 18th April 2010, Air India will be able to do business in some areas where it does not have any fleet presence, by using the fleets and crew of Swiss International Airlines.

Needless to say that it will be a good booster for Air India’s business prospects. Firstly, it is always great if an airline’s service capacity gets bigger in comparison to its infrastructure. Secondly, through this agreement Air India is getting an opportunity associate itself with a prominent brand like Swiss International Airlines.

Hopefully Air India will be able to make full utilization of the business prospects (as well as brand enhancement prospects) to be offered by this agreement.

Besides, Air India management may also think of using the example of this agreement with Swiss International Airlines to enthuse other major global airlines to sign similar agreements with them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jet Airways Retains No. 1 Position, Consecutively For The 6th Month

Jet Airways, along with its low-cost subsidiary JetLite, has retained its No. 1 position in the Indian civil aviation arena, consecutively for the 6th month. The airlines achieved this honour by capturing 26.1 percent of domestic market share in March 2010.

The 2nd and 3rd positions have been occupied by Kingfisher Airlines and Air India, respectively.

Congrats Jet!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Will US Aviation Firms Set Up Bases In India?

It is really worth watching whether US aviation firms decide to set up bases in India.

During his US tour the Indian Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Praful Patel appealed to the US aviation firms to establish manufacturing bases on the Indian soil, and also to invest in the Indian aviation infrastructure, such as airports.

In fact, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have told Mr. Patel that US aviation firms are impressed with the growth curve of the Indian civil aviation sector, and will love to contribute to the same.

Now let’s see whether the US firms will choose to witness the Indian aviation sector’s performance from a distance, or whether they will love to be a part of the notable growth that this thriving Indian sector is achieving.

Indian Government Mulling A National Commission For Aeronautics

The Indian Government is reportedly mulling a National Aeronautics Commission, which will act as the umbrella organization for all research and development activities. A proposal to this effect has been submitted to the Government by Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI).

This key information was shared with the media by the Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, Mr Vijay Mallya, who is also the President of AeSI.

Mr. Mallya claimed that having an umbrella organization for all research and development activities would enhance the growth potential of the aeronautical sector.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

BA-Iberia Merger Forms Europe’s 3rd Largest Airlines

British Airways (BA) has signed a merger deal with Spain’s Iberia to form Europe’s third biggest airlines. The merger will come into life under a new holding company called International Airlines Group, boasting of 408 aircrafts and flying to 200 destinations.

Till the last development, there has been no communication on fleet reduction and staff cuts. However, such developments have always taken place after all similar airlines mergers in the past.

SpiceJet and IndiGo To Fly Abroad

For quite some time Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have been the only two private airlines to fly abroad. But now they have to share the honour with two more players - SpiceJet and IndiGo.

The two airlines have already got the go-ahead from the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry. Now they are awaiting the completion of the necessary procedural formalities, to be conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Both the players have fulfilled one criterion, i.e. having a minimum fleet size of 20 aircrafts. And both of them will soon achieve the other criterion, i.e. having a track record of conducting domestic operations for 5 years, uninterruptedly.

Notably, neither of the two players is eyeing far away destinations, like Europe and US. Rather both of them have their focus on South Asian region.

Good luck, guys. Wish you people all the best.