Analysis and Features

How the government could spin repatriation flights to oil India’s stagnant aviation sector

A tail parade of each of Air India's Boeing aircraft as in 2011. The 747-400, 777-300ER, 777-200LR and 737-800.

Guest post by Shivam Vahia. The Government of India (GoI) has undertaken a massive exercise dubbed “Vande Bharat Mission” to bring back Indians stuck in other countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These flights are technically “repatriation” flights and not “evacuation” because the passengers are paying for the seat, and the state isn’t bearing the end-cost. Unlike previous efforts like the …

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The legendary Boeing 757 – a template for the future?

As Boeing struggles to get through the coronavirus crisis coupled with its own 737 MAX crisis, the Boeing 757 is an aircraft that has once again emerged as a hot topic of conversation. Particularly due to speculation on whether Boeing will be forced to revive the New Midsize Airplane (NMA). Initially designed as a replacement for the tri-engine 727, it …

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Ministry gives airlines a pass to refuse passengers refunds

In a time where political leaders are appealing to citizens to do the “right things”, where some businesses highlight values of profit over purpose and where all need to come together to tide over this crisis collectively, the actions of airlines and the lack of accountability have left many perplexed. Specifically: the non-refunding of passenger monies – an unfair and …

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Cash-flow crisis of Indian airlines

View of part of the ramp at Bangalore Airport at night.

As the airline industry grapples with the largest demand shock in history, India’s skies are closed to all passenger traffic. 650 aircraft are grounded, cash-flows have dried up and pay-cuts and layoffs are the new normal. It does not help that the corona crisis came at a time where the country was also dealing with a banking crisis. Add to …

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Any bailout of airlines must also force structural reforms

With the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have experienced the largest demand shock in history. Overnight demand has evaporated and each passing day brings with it news of airlines grounding entire fleets. International markets are shut and for India’s airlines, contrary to the narrative that domestic demand will help mitigate the impact, the situation is actually worse. This …

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How airlines are responding to the Corona virus threat

As the Coronavirus impact spreads and airlines prepare to brace for impact, the airline industry is facing its gravest challenge yet. Casualties have started. FlyBe – the largest regional airline in the UK has already ceased operations after an unsuccessful buyout and attempted turnaround. Other airline failures are all but certain. Forecasts from various industry quarters including IATA estimate a …

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Repairing and retaining brand Air India will challenge any buyer

The Air India ramp at Mumbai CSMI Airport. Photo by and copyright Devesh Agarwal.

As the government of India attempts to privatise Air India, media reports suggest the second time around is seeing renewed interest. Reports also indicate the government is keen the Air India brand is retained post any sale. One can see why. The airline is still India’s national carrier and the brand has a high recall value and familiarity quotient. Despite …

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SpiceJet Q3FY20 results analysis: Has rapid expansion hurt the airline?

SpiceJet Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 VT-SUB lands at Kempegowda airport Bangalore. Photo by Vedant Agarwal. All rights reserved.

February 14th saw SpiceJet report its third-quarter results. The airline reported a profit of INR 78.2 crores but we believe the results warrant closer examination. This because of the Boeing 737MAX grounding and the fact that compensation that has been recorded but not yet received by SpiceJet significantly contributed to this result. Additionally, in looking at the operational numbers, it …

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Are Airlines Overreacting to the Coronavirus?

Earlier this week, the US government began implementing new rules for travel from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The US has already issued a level 4 advisory urging residents to avoid outbound travel to China. Additionally, flights from China will be contained to seven airports (New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Honolulu, and Los …

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Indigo Q3FY20 results analysis

IndiGo first A320neo VT-ITC touches down at New Delhi's IGI airport after a non-stop flight from Toulouse, France

Monday, January 27th was quite a newsday for Indian aviation. In what is becoming a tale of two airlines, while the national carrier came out with its Preliminary Information Memorandum looking for someone to take over 23,286 crores of debt and 8556 crores of losses (for FY19) the other airline Indigo reported profits of 496 crores with another 20,000 crores …

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The changing nature of airline alliances

Representative cabin crew of the oneworld member airlines pose in front of TAM airlines A320

The airline industry is undergoing a transformation while it deals with disruptive shifts. Whether it’s the grounding of the 737MAX affecting capacity plans worldwide, the shift to low-cost travel or declining demand due to movements such as “flight shaming” in Europe – change is happening in a manner not witnessed before. This holds true even in the world of airline …

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Low Cost Long Haul: Can Indigo succeed where so many have failed?

IndiGo Airbus A320-232(SL) VT-IFK with Sharklets.

India largest and most profitable airline, IndiGo’s CEO Ronojoy Dutta has gone on record recently about the low-cost airline “actively studying” long haul flights to London on widebody aircraft. This statement coming from an airline which for the longest time stuck to a single fleet strategy, until it added ATR aircraft for regional flights, has left some perplexed. Dutta also …

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Analysis: Are the SpiceJet Q2FY20 results being underplayed?

SpiceJet, now India’s second-largest domestic airline, reported its second-quarter results of the fiscal year 2019-2020 (Q2FY20) this Wednesday. It was a result that was met with mixed expectations and also one that seems to be underplayed. We attempt to present an analysis that may help deconstruct the figures. The focus has been on a net loss of INR 462 crores …

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10 tips to make your winter fog travel easier

Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400F 9V-SFQ in fog at Bangalore Kempegowda airport

Early morning fog is the bane of the Indian air passenger, especially at Bangalore and New Delhi airports. It disrupts schedules and leads to aggravation, quarrels, shouting, and general ill-will not just for passengers but also airlines, airports, and all their staff and stakeholders. Here are some tips that should help you avoid the disruption and hopefully keep your blood …

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IndiGo’s soaring GTF engine problems

Indigo Airbus A320neo VT-ITC. Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1127 Geared Turbo Fan engine. Copyrighted image. Re-use prohibited.

India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed both Indigo and GoAir to replace at least one of the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbo-fan (GTF) engines on the A320neo aircraft within the next fifteen days. This comes after Indigo reported a series of incidents involving in-flight engine shutdowns (occurred on the 24th, 25th and 26th …

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Should India feed its citizens or prop up Air India?

The Air India ramp at Mumbai CSMI Airport. Photo by and copyright Devesh Agarwal.

India leads the world in hungry people. In the recently released Global Hunger Index, India dropped to rank 102 out of 117 countries, placing it below its impoverished neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. About 15% of India’s population is either malnourished or undernourished. About 194 million Indians go hungry each day, and regretably a large percentage are children. The government …

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The great Indian aviation paradox – low fares fueled by unsustainable capacity

Domestic ramp at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji airport. Photo copyright Devesh Agarwal.

A robust aviation industry is essential for any nation to grow and prosper. Airlines connect businesses and people both nationwide and globally. Air transport is essential for global trade, helps bring in much needed forex from tourism, provides global access to local produce and creates jobs. The economic impact and benefits of this one industry overshadow many others. Historically, air …

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