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EXCLUSIVE - AIR CARNIVAL INAUGURAL FLIGHT CJB-MAA

 
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sriramhariiyer
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Joined: 22 Jul 2009
Posts: 51
Location: Coimbatore/Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:06 pm    Post subject: EXCLUSIVE - AIR CARNIVAL INAUGURAL FLIGHT CJB-MAA Reply with quote

Brief History about the airline



Air Carnival is a regional airline based in Coimbatore, South India. The airline is promoted by the Coimbatore Marine College (CMC) group of institutions - one of the prominent Marine and Aeronautical Engineering College in Coimbatore. Their main intent was to capture a significant portion of current air travel business with Coimbatore as a hub from the targeted cities viz. Chennai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Madurai, Trichy, Hubli, Calicut, Cochin, Tuticorin and Mangalore. The airline company "Air Carnival Private Limited" received their initial NOC from the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 24 June 2014.

Flip to April 2016 .....
The airline is ready to welcome their first aircraft into Indian skies. Here's the aircraft information:

Aircraft: ex- Kingfisher Airlines ATR 72-500,
MSN: 767,
ex-Registration: VT-KAN,
Lessor name: Elix Aviation Capital,
Lessor registration: M-IBAI

The aircraft started its long ferry from Toulouse, France on April 12, 2016, made its way to Chennai on the following route - LFBF (L'aéroport Toulouse Francazal)-PFO (Paphos International Airport)-DXB (Dubai Airport)-MAA (Chennai International Airport), and reached Chennai on April 16.



Flip again to July 2016
After all the paperwork and procedures with DGCA, the airline did its route proving flight on MAA-IXM sector during the first week of July. The aircraft was later ferried to Coimbatore (CJB/VOCB) - its HOME! Dates were confirmed for the first flight and it was July 18, 2016. The initial routes proposed were 2x daily on CJB-MAA-CJB, and MAA-IXM-MAA. The airline originally had plans to include Bengaluru (BLR/VOBL), but later decided to only have MAA and IXM routes initially. Finally, they stuck to a 1x routing on these sectors instead of the proposed 2x routes. This meant the aircraft would do CJB-MAA-IXM-MAA-CJB sector only. The schedule (as of the date of writing this blog) stands as -

2S 101 CJB MAA 0655 0810
2S 111 MAA IXM 0840 0955
2S 112 IXM MAA 1020 1135
2S 102 MAA CJB 1205 1320

The airline launched a special inaugural offer of Re. 1/- (plus taxes) for the first flight out of Coimbatore to Chennai on July 18, 2016. This meant the total ticket cost of INR 748/- ($11).

Again, the planning experience! But a very quick one this time Smile
I love writing about my planning experience of every flight. This time I will not bore my reader friends with too much of planning information. The inaugural offer from Air Carnival got me very interested and I wanted to be on the inaugural flight for 3 reasons -

    1) Inaugural flight of an airline from my hometown,
    2) My favorite aircraft type - ATR (turboprop),
    3) Network and build my relationship with the airline

So, the next question rises up! What am I going to do after reaching Chennai? July 18 being a Monday, I cannot afford to take the full day off from work. I decided to take the forenoon session off, which meant that I need to be in office by 1 PM. So I start looking for flight options on MAA-CJB sector. Again Air Carnival pops up on top of the search results, offering me a one-way fare of INR 1900/- on the MAA-CJB sector. Even better, their return fare was about INR 2600/- (CJB-MAA-CJB). But the concerning factor was the arrival time at CJB (1320 hours).

Search continued, and then came the SURPRISE! There was a 1005 IndiGo departure from MAA (6E 285) and the ticket price was at about INR 2000/-. This meant that I would land back at CJB around 1100 hours. The even better part was - this was the only flight that was operated by the <a>Airbus A320NEO</a> to Coimbatore. The equipment change happened just few days before the day I was planning my Chennai trip. Got me very excited and without a second thought, I booked my tickets on the Air Carnival Inaugural and return on the IndiGo Airbus A320NEO aircraft (6E 285).

Ticket booking experience (speaking of Air Carnival alone here!)

I booked my Air Carnival tickets on the airline website. On the first look, the website looks very plain and simple and not as rich as other airlines. But it serves the purpose quite well. I was able to book my ticket in less than 5 minutes, which was reasonably good. The payment process was smooth and I received an email with the PDF attachment of the ticket. Not really any hiccups during the whole process.

The web check-in experience was also seamless. The seat map showed the seats that were already occupied and the ones available. I picked row 17A, agreed to the terms and conditions of what &amp; what not to carry on board the aircraft (pretty much the same as other airlines), and checked in! That's it. Again took me about 5 minutes to complete the process. Received my boarding pass on my email.



Something I noted! The boarding pass that I received on email had the Sequence No (the count of persons who have checked in) as <strong>8ZTD</strong>. This is usually a numeric field with numbers starting from 1. This was a different case. But on the boarding pass that I actually received from the check-in counter on the day of the flight, it said the sequence number was 0026. Similarly, the PNR what I got after the online booking (the one I used to web check-in &amp; that was on the boarding pass that I received on email) and what was printed on the boarding pass that I received from the check-in counter, they were completely different! Not sure why these differences. :-O I will check on this and add an update once I have the information.



My experience rating - 7/10 (the website can be definitely improved with more information, social media links, and so on).

Day of the Journey
It was an early start for me on July 18. I decided to leave my 2-wheeler at the airport so that I can have it handy to reach office later in the day. Started off at 5 AM from home and reached the airport at 0525 hours (~20 minutes for the 25 km stretch!). At the airport, I headed straight to the Air Carnival Ticketing office to catch a glimpse of their new setup. The ticketing office was well decorated for the inaugural.



0535 - I headed to the terminal, got my tickets verified by the CISF agent and proceeded towards the Air Carnival check in counters. The counters are located farthest to the right after you clear your baggage screening. The check in area was brightly decorated with balloons and was already bustling with activity. Passengers were already checking in for the flight, which was a welcome sight. Took some pictures of the check-in area as the staff were preparing for the inaugural function.





All passengers were handed a nice memento and a lovely bouquet by the gorgeous looking flight attendants who were clad in their pink and black attire. Yes, that's the cabin crew uniform!



0545 - I began my check-in process, and to my surprise, the check-in staff was a well known person who switched jobs from "another airline". Had a quick chat as she handed over my boarding pass. Collected my baggage tags (got a few extra as a memorabilia) and prepared myself for the inaugural ceremony. Here's a look at the baggage tag!



0605 - The inaugural ceremony commenced with the Chairman of Air Carnival Private Limited Mr. S I Nathan &amp; his wife lighting the traditional Kuthuvilakku (this is a tradition in India where a lamp will be lit by the dignitaries. This is considered auspicious for any start of a function/ceremony/proceedings). The rest of the dignitaries continued the tradition. The next event was to handover the boarding passes to the first passenger (in this case, it was a family!). The passengers collected the boarding passes from the dignitaries, and that pretty much wrapped up the proceedings of the inaugural function. It was already close to 0630 now, just 25 minutes to the STD.





Boarding

0640 - I made my way through the security check and it was a breeze. Already the flight was boarding and most passengers were on their way to the shuttle service. The shuttle operations are  provided by Air India Airport Services (even in MAA). A short ride, and I get to see the aircraft for the first time. Lovely color scheme, pink colored ATR awaiting its first revenue flight with Air Carnival. The aircraft has definitely seen the good &amp; worst times with her previous owner, but here she was looking fresh to start a new chapter in her life.



Aircraft & Flight Details

Flight Number - 2S101
Callsign - AIRCARNIVAL
Registration - VT-CMA
Construction/MSN Number - 767
Aircraft Type - ATR 72-500
Number of Seats - 72 (19 rows x 4 per row)
Engines - 2 x PWC PW127F
Air frame age - 8.7 Years
Loads - 72/72
STD - 0655
ATD - 0735
STA - 0810
ATA - 0856
Flying Time - 01h10m
Cruising Altitude - FL170

As always, I was the last in the queue to board the aircraft, and the queue was quite long enough. I took this opportunity to quickly grab some pictures of the aircraft. The dramatic skies at Coimbatore added a beautiful sight to the picture.







0705 - Finally reached the end of the queue and it was time to step in to the aircraft. Boarding passes checked (and the little portion torn off), I make my way into the aircraft.

First look of the aircraft interiors

The cabin looked fresh and the upholstery were now reflecting the colors of Air Carnival, while it was in pure Red color when with Kingfisher Airlines. Passengers were settling down. I made my way to seat 17A and found that it was occupied by someone who wanted to accompany his friend. I accepted his request and moved to 19E (the last row on the ATR). This meant that I could easily get up and walk down the aisle to click some pictures while cruising. There are NO IFEs on board the aircraft as reported by certain media.



It was 15 minutes past 0700 hours, and there was no signs of doors closing. Then realised that one of the overhead compartment door was not locking properly. The cabin crew had called for the AME guys to have a look. After some testing with the door, a look at the hinges, it looked like it wasnt repairable in a short period of time. Therefore, time to get some duct tape and tape the overhead compartment bin securely. That's it! Final count checks and the ground staff gave the clearance to the cabin crew to close doors.

0727 - Doors closed. 0732 - The sound of the APUs diminished and slowly the two PWC PW127F engines sprung into action. The lights and AC turned back on, and ... 0735, we started our taxi from Bay 9 towards Runway 23.

We started the takeoff roll from Runway 23 and rotated almost right in front of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) at 0740. There was a huge cheer and claps all around in the aircraft as we slowly climbed away from the ground. We made the left bank to set course to Chennai. I requested my co-passenger Hari Kishore (an IT Software Engineer) to film a video of the departure. We then transferred the video immediately using ShareIt. Call it techies on the job Very Happy. Thank you Hari!



0745 - The seat belt signs were turned off and the cabin crew immediately sprung into action to commence the breakfast service. The breakfast on board was complimentary, and tasted real yummy. The meal tray was packed courtesy Hotel Anandhas (restaurant group in Coimbatore), and consisted of Sweet Kesari, Pongal, Medhu Vada, Sambar, and Chutney. For my non-Indian readers, this is a typical traditional South Indian breakfast menu that you will get across all hotels in South India, especially Tamil Nadu.




We leveled off at FL170 at 0805 hours and the breakfast service was still on. I quickly completed my breakfast so that I could click some pictures of the cabin and the cabin crew. Enjoy these pictures.




Post breakfast, we were also given a small box of mouth refresher (famously called as Beeda/Pan in India). The cruise was very smooth and at 0827, the engine power was slowly being reduced to commence descend into Chennai. Made our way over Salem, Kanchipuram, and were vectored for a Runway 25 approach. This meant that we had to overfly the airport, head towards the Bay of Bengal, and then make the turn for landing. The descend was gradual due traffic, and at 0848, made the final turn to intercept the localizer of Runway 25. Flaps were extended by 15 degrees. 0849 - Descend commenced on the glide slope and the landing gears were lowered. Flaps further extended to 30 (full flaps on the ATR), we gently glide down on our way towards the runway.



0852 - Touchdown on Runway 25 at Chennai International Airport. The roll out was smooth as we had almost the entire runway to slow down (we had to take the taxiway F and then G to our parking stand). Runway vacated at 0854, the aircraft docked at the parking stand at 0855. That completed the inaugural flight on the first sector successfully.



I was requested by the Director of Operations, Air Carnival (who was on board the aircraft) to disembark first from the aircraft and click some pictures of the passengers disembarking from the aircraft. I made my way out of the aircraft at 0900 hours, bidding goodbye to the experience. We were greeted by the Chennai ground staff with some Sweets. This was a nice touch. Enjoy the pictures.






All said and done, it was time for me for take leave as I only had 55 minutes for my next flight (1005 departure). I quickly hopped on to the shuttle service bus (again offered by Air India Airport Services) and made my way to the terminal.



Therefore, I had a wonderful experience on the Inaugural flight of Air Carnival. I was pretty impressed and I hope they keep up the same passion and hospitality in the months to come.

My experience rating

Food - 9/10 (Excellent)
Cabin crew appearance - 8/10 (Good)
Cabin crew friendliness - 9/10 (Excellent)
Service on board - 9/10 (Excellent)
Aircraft Interiors - 6/10 (given the initial hiccups at CJB)

Overall Experience - 8/10 (Very Good)

RETURN LEG - CHENNAI to COIMBATORE

As I mentioned earlier, I only had about 55 minutes for my next flight departure. I hopped on to the shuttle, and enroute to the arrivals hall, clicked some pictures of the international ramp. There was a British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner that was docked at the gate. The aircraft had gone tech, and was grounded at MAA.



Reached the arrivals hall at 0915, and quickly made the dash to the elevator that would take me to the departures level. Once in the departures area, made a quick dash to the IndiGo counter at 0925. As expected, all the IndiGo counters were packed choc-a-bloc with passengers checking in for their flights. I told one of the agent that I had already web checked in and had my flight in the next 50 minutes. But still the agent asked me to join the long queue to check in. I was like WTF! I do not want to be denied boarding because of this! Then to my luck, another agent started calling "<em>Any passengers to Coimbatore?</em>". I immediately jumped out of the line and headed straight to the counter. Check-in was quick, and I received my boarding pass in less than 2 minutes.

0940 - Headed straight for security, and told the security officer that my flight had already started boarding. He immediately let me through the gate. Security done, and time to head towards Gate 10. Gate 10 is located on the left farthest end of the new domestic terminal and actually connects to the old international terminal block. Again had to make a long walk. By the time I reached Gate 10, it was close to 0950.

Boarding

Boarding was almost complete by the time I reached the gate. Showed my boarding pass, scanned it and checked the loads on the flight. The agent mentioned "150 sir". Then as I walked through the aerobridge, I got the first look of the giant NEO engines and my aircraft. This airframe was the first one received by IndiGo amongst the NEO series.




Aircraft & Flight Details

Flight Number - 6E285
Airline - IndiGo
Registration - VT-ITC
Construction/MSN Number - 6799
Aircraft Type - Airbus A320-271n(WL)
Number of Seats - 180
Engines - 2 x PW PW1127G
Air frame age - 6 months
Loads - 150/180
STD - 1005
ATD - 1007
STA - 1100
ATA - 1058
Flying Time - 43 minutes
Cruising Altitude - FL300



We pushed back couple of minutes behind the STD. The major difference between the IndiGo aircraft with the PW1127G engine on the A320NEO and the ordinary IAEV2500 engines is that NEO engine takes quite a long to start and get to idle power. If you observe keenly, you can hear 3 different acoustic levels of engine start up sound. It takes anywhere between 3 - 5 minutes for the engines to be running on idle power. This is the requirement from the engine manufacturer until a fix is made available to overcome this issue. Its then after the lights and AC turn on, and finally the aircraft can start the taxi.

Taxi commenced at 1010 and made our way to runway 25. There was only one aircraft ahead of us for departure, so by the time we reached the runway, it was all clear to perform an immediate takeoff. Entered the runway at 1015 and started the take off roll. The PW1127G engines definitely sound different on take off roll. You will not hear the usual rumble sound that's on a IAEV2500 engine. That's a key observation I could made. The rotation was very smooth and we were airborne at 1016.




Post departure, banked left and set course for Coimbatore. The climb to FL300 was gradual and the seat belt signs were turned off at about 1015. The crew made the announcement that since this is a short sector, passengers who have pre-booked their meals would be attended to first, and then the meal cart would be taken across the aisles for the rest of the passengers to buy something if they wished. I picked up a couple of cookies and a Diet Coke.




Rest of the flight was uneventful. At 1035, slow descend commenced towards Coimbatore. The Captain came on the PA system and gave us a quick update of the flight, and the weather information at Coimbatore. After descending, we intercepted the localiser for Runway 23 at 1050. Then made the descend on the glide slope and touched down on Runway 23 at 1055. The reversers and spoilers sprung into action and we comfortably vacated via the taxiway A, and docked at Gate 1 at 1057. I had a quick chat with the pilots and bid them goodbye, and was at the terminal by 1115.






My experience rating

Cabin crew appearance - 7/10 (Good)
Cabin crew friendliness - 5/10 (Very grumpy looking FAs, not a smile on their face)
Service on board - 7/10 (Could have been better if the FAs were friendly and had a smile on their face)
Aircraft Interiors - 10/10 (given that its a brand new aircraft)

Overall Experience - 7/10 (An OK flight, nothing so special)

With this came to an end an absolute fun day of flying. I hope you enjoyed reading my Trip Report. Any feedback/comments, feel free to drop a comment.

That wasn't the end of it. I was also all prepared to get a picture of the Air Carnival flight arriving back at Coimbatore later in the day after completing its first day of operations. Call it being at the right place, at the right time Smile


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himmat01
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really enjoyed going through this report. Must admire your dedication towards your job. If I had been in your position, I would have taken the entire day off.
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Aseem
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very well written and presented!

VT-ASJ
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This would be a first. Certainly.
No, this is not the first TR on this forum, of an inaugural.
The first is with respect to the number of reads, which crossed 1300 well before 24 hours of posting. In fact, the number kept on jumping, as I stared at the website, longingly, to be able to get some time off from work, to read this TR at leisure, hopefully with some food in my hand, to enjoy the meal, as well as the TR, better. It had crossed four figures by the time the sun had set. Sriram: this is a reader's delight, and backed by some trademark `Sriram Hariharan Photography' (which all of us have got accustomed to love!) and excellent videos, made for a delightful late-night dinner for me, and I kept the excitement alive in the morning, by re-reading the whole TR, and re-visiting the videos as well. And of course, penning my accolades down.
Now, that is a real avgeek. Tracing the entire delivery flight, the history, all important dates, and of course, the history of the particular frame. This is something which also excites most of us readers, here.
Personally, I like long planning sections, with the optimisation (time, price): but yes, this will also do fine Smile
The glitches on the PNR and the seq number aside, the process look quite fine (no frills, but does the job). I like the e-boarding pass with the curved edges on the side, and not the simple A4 sheet-style e-boarding passes which have almost become the norm, now.
The check-in and inaugural function: short, sweet, and nice!
Since I have been through Peelamedu airport quite a few times now, I can now visualise most of what happened, and where.
The check-in lady shifting jobs from another airline...hmm...SpiceJet, I guess.
A gorgeous panorama and selfie (I like the alignment of your watermark, your face, and the aircraft's registration Smile ) Great front and back plane pictures. The interior of the plane looks sweet.
The take-off video: I love the P&WC engines' sound, especially the high-pitched drone at take-off. Very nice views of the Ooty mountains, amidst wispy clouds. And the clapping after take-off was a sweet gesture. It is nice to see the enthusiasm among both the airline staff, as well as the passengers, on an inaugural.
A lovely hot breakfast on a short flight: what a lovely bonus! This picture at better resolution looks inviting, especially the pongal. Anandhas is nice Smile The mouth-freshener is a sweet idea.
The sea-side approach into Chennai has to be one of the most beautiful approaches in India. So you went from the city of 2 NEPC F-27s, to the city of 4. It is indeed sad to see these beautiful birds left to rot.
The official helping the elderly lady to get down, and staff offering sweets to all passengers is a very warm gesture.

I have always looked forward to a detailed NEO trip report.
All your experiences (`join the queue' in spite of a tight connection) are things I can relate to, having gone through all this.
The detailed description of the sounds...lovely!
At the end, I will certainly echo Himmat-ji's sentiments: I would have also taken the whole day off, hats off to your commitment!

Thank you Sri Sir, once again...for a delightful report to go with last night's dinner, and today's breakfast!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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star*gold
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good trip report!
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ranjanmehta
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report, enjoyed reading about Air Carnival!

It's unfortunate that they could not follow their tagline "On time Everytime" on their inaugural flight due to ceremonies and minor issues. I hope this airline lives longer than the previous owner of this ATR.

VT-CMA sounds like 'VT-Seema' Smile What's the CEO's wife's name? :p
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the 5 chaps standing behind the check in counter Smile
On time every time .... that's what catchlines/slogans have become ehhh. And their first flight was late hehehehehe how sad.
IMO the uniforms are quite weird but the food looks yum 😋😋
Great TR!
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