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Indian and global commercial aviation news briefing: September 28th

by Devesh Agarwal

India top news

SpiceJet passenger loads on Q400 flights exceeding expectations within a week of commencing service
Sources inside the airline have told Bangalore Aviation that the passenger load factors on their Q400 operations have smashed the airline’s expectations within the first week of travel itself.

On almost all routes, the passenger load factors are exceeding the break-even load factors by a “significant margin”. On some routes the budget carrier is averaging over 97.5% load factors.

Of special significance are the performance of certain “virgin routes” like Hyderabad Madurai, Vishakapatanam Tirupati, Bangalore Vishakapatanam, and the soon to commence Hyderabad Mangalore flights. It is rumoured that the Hyderabad Vijayawada route has already achieved break-even, thus validating the airline’s strategy of expanding to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

The source also confirmed the airline bouyed by the response, is accelerating its Q400 delivery schedule, with the sixth aircraft, VT-SUF Kesar, due to join the fleet by October 20th.

Looking at this positive response and based on other intelligence, Bangalore Aviation opines that SpiceJet will confirm the 15 aircraft currently on option, and probably announce an additional order beyond these 30 aircraft, within the next fiscal year.

Mumbai airport to construct new taxiway. Runway 14/32 to be shut till Jan. 20, 2012
As per a release,

As a part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the overall airside efficiency at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) today announced that it will construct a new taxiway between taxiway E1 and E3 for the secondary runway 14/32. As a result, aircraft will be able to vacate the runway, thereby reducing runway occupancy time. To facilitate this infrastructure work, runway 14/32 will be closed for flight operations from October 10, 2011 – January 20, 2012. If required, the restoration time for the same will be 48 hours. Flight operations will not be impacted as the primary runway 09/27 will continue to remain open for operations. This work including the construction and closure is being undertaken post discussion with DGCA, ATC and airlines.


Bangalore Aviation
spoke to a member of the airside operations team. The new taxiway is being constructed partly keeping efficiency and partly keeping safety in mind. The existing taxiway E1 creates some interference problems with the localiser beam under certain conditions, thus delaying landings on runway 14. The shape of the new taxiway will be improved, and better fillets will be added, to eliminate the interference and also allow for wide body aircraft to exit the runway faster.

In other India aviation news

Kingfisher Airlines likely to face tough financial questions at its Annual General Meeting. (Read The Mint newspaper report also read the statement issued by Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman, Kingfisher Airlines.)

Mumbai airport’s ATC sets new time limits for aircraft to vacate runways to improve flight capacity. As per the report “Pilots landing in Mumbai now have to vacate the runway within 49 seconds of touchdown, while those taking off cannot occupy the airstrip for more than 40 seconds.” Read more.

Airbus employees embark on third biodiversity project to India.

Air India improves its On Time Performance and load factors.

Three persons were held for theft of Nokia cell phones at Chennai airport, being transported by DHL
.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry supports allowing foreign airlines to invest in the domestic aviation sector.

Jet Airways downgrades lounge priveleges for its JetPrivilege Gold and Platinum tier members. (From the airline website “With effect from October 1, 2011, guests will not be able to accompany Platinum and Gold members to the lounge at domestic and international airports.”) Read more or download the document here.

World top news

First Boeing 787 Dreamliner JA801A makes its delivery flight.
After a wet delivery ceremony on Monday, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner JA801A left Paine Field, Everett, Washington, USA yesterday morning at 07:16 local time (19:46 IST 14:16 GMT) and after a 9h47m flight arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport at 09:03 local time (05:33 IST, 01:03 GMT) earlier this morning. The flight as flight ANA9397 was staffed exclusively by All Nippon Airways crew, who handled their newest baby with kid gloves. You can see the detailed flight track here on FlightAware.

You can see a video of the take-off here at Boeing’s site.

Videos of the arrival at Haneda earlier this morning are available here and here. The water cannon salute is visible on this mobile phone video.

In other global aviation news

bmi is cutting domestic flights.

Aer Lingus has said its performance during July and August was better than the same time last year.

Emirates Airline, Dubai’s flagship carrier, is likely to place even more orders for new planes at the Dubai Airshow in November.

American Airlines plans to raise more than $725 million in debt by using airplanes as collateral.

Boeing and Russia’s UTair Aviation have signed an order for 40 Boeing 737-800 and 737-900ER aircraft. The order is comprised of seven 737-900ERs and 33 737-800s. The agreement was previously announced at the 2011 Paris Air Show. The order is valued at $3.8 billion at list prices.


Avianca, part of the airline group AviancaTaca Holdings, has signed a firm order with Airbus SAS for four Airbus A330-200 Freighter aircraft. The new aircraft will be operated by Avianca’s cargo subsidiary Tampa. Avianca will announce its engine choice at a later date. Read more.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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