The Aviation India 2010 began on March 3rd with a bang. Along with political stars, state Chief Minister Rosiah, US Ambassador Timothy Roemer, French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont, almost everyone in the Indian commercial aviation industry was present for the inauguration. Union Minister of Civil Aviation Mr. Prafaul Patel, Air India Chairman Mr. Arvind Jadhav, Jet Airway’s Naresh Goyal, Saroj Dutta, and Sudheer Raghavan, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya, SpiceJet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal, the Director General of Civil Aviation Dr. Nasim Zaidi, Boeing India head Dinesh Keskar, Airbus India head Kiran Rao, and I am sure I have missed out many names.
Immediately after the inauguration ceremony tragedy struck the show. A four plane aerobatic formation of the Indian Navy Sagar Pawan team was demonstrating their prowess when HJT-16 Kiran Mk II tail number IN078 crashed five seconds after I took this photo. Commander S.K. Maurya and Lt Commander Rahul Nair were killed.
Video from TV9 (a local language channel) shows how IN078 trailing green smoke appears to have flown in to the jet wash of IN076 trailing blue smoke. It was all over in five seconds.
Despite the tragedy, the show went on. The second half was joy, and all that of Airbus S.A.S. India chief Kiran Rao. First his company delivered to national carrier Air India the very first A320 in the Air India livery. VT-EDD is part of the 43 aircraft order placed by the erstwhile Indian Airlines which included 20 A321, 19 A319 and four A320. By next month, delivery of the remaining aircraft, one A321 and the balance three A320s should be completed.
Powered by CFM56 engines, the new A320s are equipped with the Thales i3000 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, in two class configuration 20 business and 120 economy.