Archive for July, 2006

India Readies to Take Flight

July 31, 2006

Amit Prasad says he knows why India’s busy airlines have a problem with punctuality.

The co-founder of Hyderabad Aircraft Maintenance Co. said passengers assume it’s because India’s airports are shoddy. “But 60% of flights taking off 30 minutes late do so because of a lack of workshops to fix parts and other maintenance issues,” Prasad said. He describes Hamco as India’s first independent player in MRO, or maintenance, repair and overhaul.

MRO has failed to attract the buckets of capital that are poured on the front end of the industry — the explosion of low-cost carriers is making India one of the world’s fastest-growing air-travel markets.

That may be about to change. Massive fleet expansion is creating an aircraft-services industry where none existed before. Big fleet expansions by Kingfisher and Jet Airways, together with $13.2 billion worth of recent purchases by Air India and Indian Airlines, will more than double the number of India’s aircraft to 500 by 2015.

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IndiGo adds Nagpur to flight map

July 31, 2006

IndiGo will add Nagpur to its flight map from October 20 with daily flight to Mumbai and Kolkata. The airline will launch its commercial operations from here on August 20. 
 
Mumbai ticket is priced at Rs 999 and for Kolkata it is Rs 1,249. The Kolkata flight has been welcomed as the state carrier Indian and low cost airline Air Deccan, which were operating in the sector, have withdrawn their flights. 
 
Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials confirmed that IndiGo had asked for space for housing the booking counter and other facilities at Ambedkar International Airport. 

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Northrop Grumman to set up shop

July 31, 2006

The $30.72 billion American defence major Northrop Grumman Corporation is all set to open base in India in the final quarter of this financial year, a year after fellow American company Lockheed Martin opened shop in the national capital. 
 
The company, which is also in the race to bag the lucrative contract from the Indian Air Force for 126 multi-role combat aircraft with its F/A-18 fighter, is bullish about the Indian defense market with India being one of the leading importers of defense equipment in the world. 
 
“We are keen on India and see a lot of potential here. Northrop Grumman will set up an office in New Delhi before the end of the financial year, most probably in the last quarter,” said Joseph C Moynihan, vice president (Arab world, South West Asia and Africa), Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. 

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Naval lab launches radar centre for stealth ships

July 31, 2006

The Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) here has taken a step forward in its efforts to design advanced models of stealth ships, with the launching of work on instrumentation radar centre atop Dolphin hills overlooking the Bay of Bengal here on Thursday.

The centre, being developed at a cost of Rs 10 crore on a one-acre site allotted by the Navy, would be an advanced facility for measuring the radar signature of ships by NSTL. Ships can evade attacks during hostilities if they are undetectable by enemy radars.

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Bill on airport regulator ready for Cabinet perusal

July 31, 2006

The proposal for setting up an Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) will be shortly sent to the Cabinet for its approval, according to the Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad.

“The Bill for establishing the regulator is ready and will be sent to the Cabinet shortly. We hope to be able to introduce it in Parliament during the ongoing monsoon session,” Mr Prasad told newspersons on the sidelines of a conference on `Aviation and tourism in India-The march ahead.’

The proposed regulator is to look into a host of issues including determining tariffs at the major airports and ensuring that there is a level playing field for all airports.

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Composite Boeings

July 31, 2006

Are plastic planes set to rule the sky? Boeing President Alan Mulally was recently quoted as saying that all Boeing-737 planes would be made from non-metal materials or composites, particularly plastic, because they would not corrode.

He, however, made it clear that the technology needed to build such 737s would not be ready until the middle of next decade.

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Airports most expensive in India

July 31, 2006

Airports in India may not figure in the top-rung list for the services they offer, but they certainly do when it comes to being among the most expensive for airlines. Despite infrastructure constraints, airport charges in Mumbai and Delhi are the highest in Asia. For instance, landing, parking and navigation charges at these airports are around 70% more expensive than at the Changi International Airport in Singapore, one of the best airports in world in terms of quality of service.

Most big airports in the world are able to keep charges low and also offer concessions in some instances since a major portion of the airport revenues comes from non-aviation related activities such as shopping arcades and duty free shops. “In India, airports have not been able to fully capitalize on such revenue potential, resulting in higher dependence on aviation related revenues. Non-aeronautical income, including retailing, is only 30% here,” according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation’s Kapil Kaul. Compared to this, revenues from retail services in Changi and Sydney airports are 58% and 71% respectively.

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Interview – Vishwapati Trivedi, chairman and MD, Indian Airlines Ltd

July 31, 2006

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HAL Inks Deals With IAI and Elbit

July 31, 2006

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) recently announced that it had concluded a “very big order” for airframe structures from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and signed an agreement with Elbit Systems to make aircraft and helicopter simulators. While precise details were not offered, PTI reports that the deals are “expected to run into millions of dollars.”

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More flights on Dubai-Delhi route

July 31, 2006

Indian, India’s newly rebranded domestic and regional carrier, will double its current daily flights from Dubai to Delhi from in winter this year, as it gears up to receive 43 new Airbuses ordered last year.

Indian will receive its first of the 43 single-aisle aircraft in October this year followed by once-a-month delivery of the following 42 starting from early next year, a senior Indian official said yesterday.

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