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.
The 2012 Embraer Legacy 650 will make its debut next week at the third International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation (India Aviation) next week at Hyderabad Begumpet Airport. The updated business jet features refinements to its interior, an upgraded cabin management system and increased efficiency. The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer will also have a Phenom 100 and 300 on static display at the Indian show.
In an industry that is “all turnover with no leftover,” in the words of IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler, there is an increasing frustration being felt by carriers wanting to fly to India, but with the Indian government failing to indicate an interest in opening up routes.
IndiGo, India’s largest budget carrier with a fleet of 48 Airbus A320 airliners, has awarded SriLankan Engineering its largest contract for maintenance of 26 C-checks through 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year IndiGo has outsourced to SriLankan and it is the largest overseas outsourcing of maintenance, repair and overhaul work by an Indian carrier. The contact has been awarded at a time when onerous taxes appear to be making Indian MRO providers uncompetitive.
A growing appetite among Indian carriers to serve regional routes makes the country a potentially big market for 250 regional jets with a capacity of up to 120 seats, according to Brazilian airframer Embraer. Twin-turboprop manufacturer ATR estimates in the next five years India will requirearound 100 aircraft,and 200 in the longer term.
Even though the year ended with doom and gloom, the Indian air transport sector couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2012 with its largest budget carrier, IndiGo, signing a memorandum of understanding for the biggest commercial aviation deal in history valued at approximately $15.6 billion. The deal, which was subsequently firmed up, called for 180 of Airbus’ A320 family narrowbodies. This topped an earlier order by the carrier for 100 aircraft and seemed a clear indication that the Indian market is back on track after suffering severe losses during 2008- 2009.
Air Works, India’s only third-party maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider in commercial aviation, is making large investments to enter the general aviation market for heavy maintenance and, at the same time, is putting down roots in Europe, with the imminent opening of a new aircraft paint facility at Bratislava Airport in Slovakia. The 60-year-old company already claims to hold a 30- to 40-percent share of the general aviation MRO sector in India.
India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is scrutinizing eight Indian companies that it believes are basing their foreign-registered corporate aircraft overseas to evade customs duty and taxes. The agency is said to be looking at the status of a Boeing 727 owned by the UB Group, Punj Lloyd’s Gulfstream, Essar’s Boeing 737 and Bharat Hotel’s Embraer Legacy 600. Several other Indian companies’ business jets are also understood to be on the agency’s radar. India does not levy a customs duty on foreign-registered aircraft if they fly out within 15 days of arrival into the country.
A controversy is raging over the safety practices of India’s airlines following the partial “leak” of a financial audit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The report indicated that poor safety practices may be endemic in the Indian air transport sector.
India’s Kingfisher Airlines is attributing the grounding of 15 aircraft and de-leasing of another two to “rationalization” of its network to counter deep financial losses. “The airline industry in India is going through a tough period due to high costs and lower yields,” said Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal. “We are no exception. We are taking steps to improve our financial performance and are rationalizing network, dropping unprofitable flights and expediting fleet reconfiguration.”