India lost 9 percent of its airline seat capacity as a result of Kingfisher suspending operations since October 1, 2012, when its 66-aircraft fleet was grounded, according to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing’s senior sales vice president for Asia Pacific and India.
Policy-making paralysis over much-needed reforms and liquidity concerns raised by the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines has deterred investors, vendors, lessors and suppliers from doing business in India’s air transport sector, according to delegates attending last month’s Asia-Pacific Airlines Association Assembly of Presidents in Kuala Lumpur. Association calculations show that average profits among Indian airlines amount to just $1 per passenger.
The Indian government has finally given in to demands to ease restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country’s struggling airlines. The unexpected September 14 announcement clears the way for foreign carriers to take up to a 49-percent stake in Indian operators, with the exception of government-owned Air India. However, industry and financial analysts indicated to AIN that they view the policy U-turn cautiously, warning that it won’t necessarily mean salvation for cash-strapped carriers.
With leasing companies taking positions on Boeing’s new 737 Max, the Asia-Pacific region holds the key to large narrowbody orders, according to Boeing’s senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and India, Dinesh Keskar. “We have three potential customers in India and more in Asia [that can take the Max] on lease or direct buy: Jet Airways, SpiceJet and even Air India Express,” he told AIN. “[The Max] can go 500 additional miles, which will be a big boon for the Asian market.”
Dassault Falcon has named Indian charter operator Taj Air as a Dassault Falcon authorized line service station at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The facility, which is already operational, will provide scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and inspections for all Falcon 2000 models. Initially the facility will serve Indian-registered Falcons; EASA approval is expected early next year. The 35,000-sq-ft facility also offers 24-hour AOG assistance.
Robert Bryant has joined UK-based International Bureau of Aviation as manager of technical projects. He joins the firm from SpiceJet in India, where he was vice president. He has also held senior positions at Air Astana and Al Salam Aircraft and has worked with carriers such as British Airways and Saudia. An IBA spokesman said the consulting firm has seen demand for expert-witness testimony in the field of aircraft maintenance increase 400 percent over the last two years. IBA advises commercial and business aviation clients, aircraft engine manufacturers and operators.
Former All Nippon Airways executive Jason Bitter succeeded Mark Shelton as CEO of Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines last month. Shelton abruptly resigned from the post “for personal reasons,” according to Skywest Group executive chairman Jeff Chatfield.
Bitter has held a number of high-level executive positions during his 15 years in the airline industry, including COO of SpiceJet, CEO of Skyeurope and chief executive of Air Arabia Maroc. Most recently, he helped launch ANA’s new low-fare subsidiary, Peach Aviation.
In a reversal from an earlier policy, which gave state-owned Air India preference over bilateral aviation agreements for international routes, the Indian government will now open access to private airlines.
For years Bombardier Commercial Aircraft claimed a modest level of sales success in Asia, selling more than 300 airplanes over the years to nearly 40 operators. But its performance there had proved uneven, and the company traditionally has depended on strongholds in North America and Europe for the majority of its revenues.
India-based low-cost carrier SpiceJet has selected SR Technics to provide engine repair and overhaul services on the CFM56-7Bs that power its Boeing 737-800/900ERs. Under the 10-year agreement (effective immediately), the services will be rendered at the Mubadala company’s workshops in Zurich, Switzerland.