A major restructuring at Air India has cut loss-making routes to 25 percent of its network in the fiscal year ending March 2013, down from 69 percent in the previous year. The airline attributes the improvement to a series of steps taken to cut costs, restructure loans, strengthen management and liquidate assets, including the spin-off of engineering and ground handling as independent profit centers.
India’s long-awaited new civil aviation policy needs to address key issues on infrastructure and high taxation, according to Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Speaking at the annual India Aviation Day in New Delhi on March 26, he urged the country’s government to produce a coordinated policy framework for aviation that all relevant departments, including the ministries for finance, economy, development, rural infrastructure and tourism, can pursue.
India’s fastest growing and most successful airline–budget carrier IndiGo–has become the first victim of an October ruling by the country’s aircraft acquisition committee governing the number and kind of aircraft imported by airlines to encourage regional connectivity to smaller towns. In November the committee, led by civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, cleared for import only five of the 16 Airbus A320-series aircraft Indigo wanted to acquire.
As India’s general aviation sector limps back to life after temporary stagnation, Middle East companies have been reaping the results of its tax-infused, straight-laced policy on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).
A busy fortnight for the Boeing 787 program climaxed with the arrival of Air India’s first Dreamliner in Delhi last Saturday, just a week after the first of the new widebodies destined to enter service in the Americas went to Chile’s LAN.
Air India plans to finally take off with its first Boeing 787 tomorrow on a flight to Delhi from Charleston, South Carolina, following an impromptu delivery ceremony today and months of bureaucratic wrangling over program delay compensation.
Africa First, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner destined for the African continent, touched down at Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia on August 15, a day after Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of the aircraft from Boeing in Everett, Washington, and four years later than planned. On August 16, the aircraft departed for Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport on its first revenue flight.
Boeing confirmed last week that the Indian government has approved terms reached between the manufacturer and Air India on compensation for delays associated with the 787 Dreamliner. “This is a key milestone for Air India,” a Boeing spokesman told AIN. “We’ll work with the customer to identify a delivery plan/schedule.”
The two pilots operating an Air India Airbus A330 between Delhi and Shanghai were grounded after an incident in which the aircraft encountered turbulence strong enough to damage the aircraft and injure some crew and passengers.
Despite reports from flight attendants of damage and injuries in the cabin, the two pilots did not divert the aircraft to a nearby airport, but continued on to the original destination.
Individuals can argue over who has lost more face as a result of Air India’s last-minute cancellation of its first Boeing 787 delivery: the U.S. airframer or the cash-strapped flag carrier and its masters in the Indian government.