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Air India News -- Part 16
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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

747-237 wrote:
Two airframes have joined the fleet on 28 Jan 2010
Airbus A319 VT-SCX
Airbus A321 VT-PPW



Update
Air India Airbus A320-232 (F-WWBD C/N 4201) and the first brand new A320 in Air India colours is test flying at Toulouse. First flight on January 27, 2010.

Has the regn VT-EDC.


***

With this the IA 43-aircraft deal will almost be over.

The A319s have all arrived. (Last one was A319 VT-SCX on Jan 26-27, 2010. Released for service on Jan. 28.)


A320s -- 2 in February 2010 and 2 in March 2010 = 4.

A321s -- last one arrives in April 2010. (Previous one A321 VT-PPW arrived on Jan. 26-27, 2010. Released for service on Jan. 28.)
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Aiel
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
Air India Airbus A320-232 (F-WWBD C/N 4201) and the first brand new A320 in Air India colours is test flying at Toulouse. First flight on January 27, 2010.

Has the regn VT-EDC.


A pic of VT-EDC flying as F-WWBD in Toulouse:


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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update

Air India/Indian Airlines exploring possibilities of A320F conversion with its older fleet. Possibility of upto 5 aircraft -- A320


***

Copyright Airbus


The A320/A321P2F is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) conversion solution. Airbus is fully involved in the development process and provides dedicated engineering resources from the Airbus Single Aisle programme. Design, certification, manufacture and implementation of the conversion solution is done in OEM quality, using OEM material. All workmanship during conversion is in accordance with Airbus production standards.
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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update
Air India to have cargo as a separate business unit from April 1, 2010.
Cargo flights to Europe to be revived. Expansion from there on will continue.

As a result of this change, the sale of the 2 A310-300Fs has been cancelled.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
Update
Air India to have cargo as a separate business unit from April 1, 2010.
Cargo flights to Europe to be revived. Expansion from there on will continue.

As a result of this change, the sale of the 2 A310-300Fs has been cancelled.


The link:

http://www.handyshippingguide.com/shipping-news/air-india-to-separate-freight-operations-by-april_1236

Quote:
INDIA – In October we reported on the problems of national carrier Air India which lost several hundred million dollars last year and was plagued by staff disputes including hunger strikes by unpaid workers. The whole sector suffered as Air India abandoned its plans for a low cost carrier and now the company has reacted by announcing the separation of freight and passenger carriage.

By April the airfreight arm will be run as a separate entity. Shipping cargo represented around 8% of Air India’s turnover last year but the company recently suspended its freight services to Europe and Japan as it found them unprofitable. Other carriers filled the gap but Air India believes that an aggressive cargo only campaign can regain the markets and say they will operate services again this year.

Air India has been subject of much speculation as to its future. The Government has long felt it could not allow the airline to fail and appointed the State Bank of India to review the carrier’s future in July last year. This separation of services is likely to be a direct result of the Banks Capital Markets division investigation and recommendations.

At the time of writing nobody at Air India was available for comment

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747-237
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
As a result of this change, the sale of the 2 A310-300Fs has been cancelled.


KCM, AI has pulled the tenders for sale of the A310-300Fs as well as lease of the 772LRs & 77Ws - is this indication that the latter two types are also not being offered for lease at this moment ?

On a related note, AI has a tender out for sale of spares that includes Air Frame & Engine Spares of the 747-200s & 707s !!!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

747-237 wrote:
karatecatman wrote:
As a result of this change, the sale of the 2 A310-300Fs has been cancelled.


KCM, AI has pulled the tenders for sale of the A310-300Fs as well as lease of the 772LRs & 77Ws - is this indication that the latter two types are also not being offered for lease at this moment ?


The response has been very poor. 9W 'beat'AI to it also especially with the Royal Brunei lease.

Also there is now much rethink over currently just giving up. It will now be fighting back aggressively. This is what is happening in cargo.
Much hope is resting on the Commonwealth Games.

(After recent talk of 'killing' the Maharaja as a mascot, AI has today gone and released a picture of the Maharaja (traditional pose) with Sheru (the tiger mascot of the CGames). It's the first release in its role as the official carrier.)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody knows if the 9W/Brunei 77W deal is still getting through?

and where will the new AI Cargo serve?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AI, Jet eye cargo business as foreign trade picks up
Rupesh Janve
Feb 02 2010
Mumbai

In a bid to boost their revenues, two of the country’s leading airlines – Air India to hive off cargo business by April

Air India and Jet Airways — plan to increase their cargo operations on international routes. Air India is banking on increasing the belly capacity of its passenger aircraft, while Jet plans to further boost the business by deploying part of the capacity of its around half a dozen leased out aircraft which will be returned over the next two years for the cargo business.

National carrier Air India, which will be hiving off its cargo business in to an autonomous unit by April 1, as part of the restructuring exercise, has chalked out an aggressive expansion plan.

“We are planning to increase the belly capacity of our aircraft and also operate existing freighter aircraft for more number of hours to boost revenue from the cargo business,” cargo head, Air India told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday. Jet Airways, which does not have dedicated freighter aircraft, too is working on optimising the belly space of its passenger aircraft. “We expect to get back some of the leased aircraft in the next two years and consequently raise cargo capacity,” said Jay Shelat, vice president – cargo, Jet Airways.

The Air India cargo unit will cater to the cargo market in both the domestic and international markets. Air India Cargo contributes around eight per cent to the total revenues of National Aviation Company of India, the entity created by the merger of Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines. The newly carved cargo unit will have a fleet of eight aircraft - six Boeing 737s and two A 310 Airbus aircrafts. Air India is working on converting B 737 aircraft currently used for cargo and passenger service into freight and would be replacing the two A310 freighters in next two to three years.

The country’s largest private carrier, Jet Airways, is looking at deriving 9 to 9.5 per cent of its consolidated revenue from cargo operations, domestic and international in two years time. “Cargo business growth will come on the back of an increased demand, both domestically and internationally,” said Shelat. He further added that the cargo business contributes to around 7.7 to 8 per cent of revenue of the company -- 12 per cent from international carriage and four per cent from domestic. “We expect this to go up to 9-9.5 per cent (14-15 per cent international and 5-6 per cent domestic), over the next 24-months," said Shelat.

Air India, which had stopped cargo flights to Europe and Japan last September, plans to resume those services in the first half of this calendar year. The International Air Transport Association in its financial outlook for 2010 said said: “Cargo demand is rising faster than world trade as depleted inventories are rebuilt. Once the inventory cycle completes, growth is expected to fall back in line with world trade.”

Air India sees cargo growth in routes to Germany and the United States of America. Jet Airways, on the other hand, will be adding a cargo destination on Delhi-Mumbai-Johannesburg route from April 5, this year, said Shelat.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
Jet Airways, on the other hand, will be adding a cargo destination on Delhi-Mumbai-Johannesburg route from April 5, this year, said Shelat.


So indirectly this means that 9W will launch their JNB flight on the 5th of April? And that it will be an AI style hopping flight (via BOM)?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
karatecatman wrote:
Jet Airways, on the other hand, will be adding a cargo destination on Delhi-Mumbai-Johannesburg route from April 5, this year, said Shelat.


So indirectly this means that 9W will launch their JNB flight on the 5th of April? And that it will be an AI style hopping flight (via BOM)?


A one-stop flight is not an AI style hopping flight. Especially if its a cargo flight. Cargo operations are seldom single destination flights.

If its a pax flight, then the primary flight will be BOM-JNB. DEL pax will probably connect at BOM to this flight.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DNA
GoM unlikely to take up Air India demerger
Sindhu Bhattacharya
DNA
February 3, 2010

New Delhi: The crucial meeting of the group of ministers (GoM) on aviation scheduled to be held today is unlikely to take up the demand for demerger of Air India (AI). Instead, the GoM is expected to evaluate cost-saving measures undertaken by AI in the last few months and decide on further equity support to be given to the beleaguered national carrier.

Interestingly, the GoM meeting comes when even the first tranche of Rs 800 crore as equity support to Air India is yet to reach the airline. Parliament approved this payout in December, but the money has still not reached AI. Meanwhile, the airline continues to bleed, with working capital debts reaching a staggering Rs 17,000 crore.

“We have been forced to seek more loans from banks just to keep the airline running… it continues to be on ventilator support. Even the promised Rs 800 crore has not reached us,” a senior airline official said.

Another official said AI has managed to narrow the gap between revenue and deficit by Rs 150 crore, but is still running up losses daily.

On any possibility of a demerger of AI into erstwhile Air India and Indian, officials in the Ministry of Civil Aviation point out the futility of such an exercise. “The plan is to create separate strategic business units for functions such as ground handling, MROs, cargo, etc, where each unit becomes an independent entity and services not just Nacil, but also other airlines. How can this be done if a demerger were to happen? A demerger does not make sense at all,” said an official.

The officials concede that barely 25% of the merger process is complete so far, but feels things are moving in the right direction. Deploring the decision to begin the merger process by merging manpower of the two carriers first, they say an operational merger should have been initiated first.

“We have completed the merger on executive director and director level positions and work has begun on the general manager level. But yes, crucial operational functions such as flight bookings, ticketing, etc are still done independently for the two airlines.” The GoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, includes ministers of civil aviation, home, law, commerce and tourism.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaysit wrote:
If its a pax flight, then the primary flight will be BOM-JNB. DEL pax will probably connect at BOM to this flight.


Obviously it is a pax flight. Jet has no dedicated freighter aircraft.
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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
747-237 wrote:
Two airframes have joined the fleet on 28 Jan 2010
Airbus A319 VT-SCX
Airbus A321 VT-PPW



Update
Air India Airbus A320-232 (F-WWBD C/N 4201) and the first brand new A320 in Air India colours is test flying at Toulouse. First flight on January 27, 2010.

Has the regn VT-EDC.



Update

Second A320-232 on test flight as well. Will be VT-EDD (F-WWDJ csn 4212).
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Jaysit
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
Jaysit wrote:
If its a pax flight, then the primary flight will be BOM-JNB. DEL pax will probably connect at BOM to this flight.


Obviously it is a pax flight. Jet has no dedicated freighter aircraft.


Well, it's not an AI-style, 70s milk-run flight. It would be a non-stop from BOM with pax from various points in India connecting in BOM.

An AI style hopping flight to JNB would have been BOM-DEL-AMD-NBO-JNB!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update 1
GoI now thinking of having an independent panel to manage the merger and it may be headed by Delhi Metro man E. Sreedharan.

E.S. also being considered for the COO 's post.
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AirIndia0001
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, all these folks seem to be doing is "thinking" and "thinking some more" ... by the time this "thinking" seems to materialize into some sort of action, it is already too late ... and then there is some more "re-thinking" on this entire "thinking" argh!!!! Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TIMES OF INDIA
AI cabin crew threatens to go on strike
Saurabh Sinha
TNN
4 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Fresh trouble is brewing on cabin crew front in Air India. AI Express had taken over 400 airhostesses and flight attendants on contract
in 2005. They were taken for three years and the period was extended to five years. Now the 7,500-strong Aviation Industry Employees’ Guild has threatened to take “drastic steps” like strike in AI and AI Express unless their contract is extended.

Guild general secretary George Abraham has written to AI CMD Arvind Jadhav saying that since AI Express has expanded operations and is calling for new cabin crew recruits through some agency, there’s no “justifiable reason” to remove the 435 cabin crew employees on contract. “Over 40 cabin crew staffers of the erstwhile Alliance Air were absorbed by Indian Airlines,” said an airhostess.

According to DGCA rules, no cabin crew should fly for more than 1,000 hours. AI Express chief of operations Rajeev Bajpai has told all cabin crew members that “incidents of crew exceeding flying hour limitations have to light”. Staffers have been asked to limit flying to 1,000 hours to avoid strict action. “AI Express is short of cabin crew and some of our people are grounded as they have already done the mandatory 1,000 hours. In such a situation, the airline should extend our contracts,” an airhostess said.

Guild leaders have met Jadhav in recent days to discuss this issue and ward off any industrial action by convincing the management to retain the employees. “The CMD has been sympathetic but the airline is yet to inform us of any action,” said an airhostess.


***
LIVEMINT
Air India may stay in the red till end-2017

Air India, run by National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, has already accumulated losses of Rs7,200 crore and is saddled with debt of Rs15,241 croreTarun ShuklaNew Delhi: Beleaguered flag carrier Air India will continue to accumulate losses for at least another seven years, the Union civil aviation ministry told a group of ministers (GoM) meeting on Wednesday.
“The projections are that even at the end of 2017, we will still be in losses,” an aviation ministry official who was present at the meeting told Mint on condition of anonymity. “That is not a situation the government can accept. All options are open now.” Union home minister P. Chidambaram had asked for an extrapolation of Air India’s balance sheets in a GoM meeting in November.
Air India, run by National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, has already accumulated losses of Rs7,200 crore and is saddled with debt of Rs15,241 crore. It is making payments for 111 aircraft worth Rs50,000 crore.
Wednesday’s hour-long GoM meeting was attended by Chidambaram, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, petroleum minister Murli Deora, civil aviation minister Praful Patel and Air India chief Arvind Jadhav.
“These are testing times for the aviation industry... Extraordinary measures need to be taken,” Patel said after the meeting. The minister added the airline was unlikely to meet its target of reducing costs by Rs2,000 crore by March. Air India has shown savings of just Rs753 crore in the previous six months.
Ministers also slammed the airline’s restructuring plan and refused additional equity infusion until it achieved the cost-saving target.
Air India is seeking Rs1,200 crore for the fiscal year ending March 2011, as part of a Rs2,000 crore bailout package promised by the government to raise its paltry Rs145 crore equity. The government has approved Rs800 crore for the ongoing fiscal year.
“The GoM felt there was no revival plan... They have asked us to prepare a cabinet note without sweetening it,” the ministry official mentioned earlier said.
Another official said the civil aviation ministry has been asked to prepare a cabinet note outlining the airline’s cost-cutting steps.
The ministry, in the note, is likely to seek permission for slashing the wages of more than 30,000 employees and creating three subsidiaries for cargo, ground handling, and maintenance, repair and overhaul, the official said.
“We require tough decisions howsoever unpalatable they maybe. The shareholder has to give a green signal,” a third government official who was at the GoM meeting said.

PTI contributed to this story.


***

TIMES OF INDIA
Centre likely to help AI pare interest outgo on bank loans
4 Feb 2010
Dheeraj Tiwari & Nirbhay Kumar
ET Bureau


NEW DELHI: The government may help the cashstarved Air India restructure its Rs 16,570-crore loan from the public sector banks, following a request
from the management for a government-facilitated swap of its high-cost debt with cheaper loan to help the airline cut losses.

The state-owned airline has borrowed over Rs 16,000 crore from banks to run its day-to-day operations and has another Rs 22,500 crore on its balance sheet borrowed from financial institutions to fund its fleet acquisition.

Nacil CMD Arvind Jadhav confirmed that the airline was looking for relief on its loan payments. “We have asked the government to restructure our debt and help convert short-term loan into long-term. This will reduce our cash outflow by Rs 500 crore annually,” he said.

The airline has an accumulated loss of over Rs 8,000 crore due to high fuel bill, low demand and cut-throat competition in the domestic market. The government has already approved a Rs 800-crore financial assistance to the national carrier by way of equity infusion to keep the airline flying.

“Around 16 public sector banks including State Bank Of India, Punjab National Bank, Central bank of India and Bank of Baroda have extended the loan to Nacil and are currently charging an interest rate of around 11-12%,” a government official said.

Bank of Baroda has the maximum exposure to Nacil at Rs 2,012 crore, followed by Punjab National Bank (Rs 1,930 cr), State Bank of India (Rs 1,090 cr) and Central Bank of India (Rs1,000 crore).

Banks have, however, expressed their apprehension over any such restructuring. “The only option is
that the government gives them the monetary support and Nacil repay the banks. It is not possible for us to alter interest rates or change the loan tenure,” said CMD of a leading public sector bank.

Air India has also suggested other options to the government including permission to issue tax-free bonds to finance its working capital requirements and a letter of comfort (LoC) to enhance the airline’s credibility in the market.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DNA
Panel for Air India-Indian Airlines integration soon
Sindhu Bhattacharya
DNA
February 4, 2010

New Delhi: The ministry of civil aviation is planning to constitute a new panel with adjudicatory powers to ease out problems arising in the merger of erstwhile Air India and Indian.

Though the merger process was begun three years back, only about 20-25% of it has been achieved till now. Sources confirmed on Wednesday that a panel, comprising eminent personalities from “outside”, is being constituted to “facilitate integration of the two airlines. This way, the Air India management would not have to deal with integration issues directly and some credible outsiders can help this process”.

Though no names have been discussed as yet, the panel is expected to comprise two or three widely respected personalities.
Pointing towards the complete lack of cultural integration between employees of the two carriers, sources said that such a panel would provide “neutrality” to the entire process of integrating the two airlines and provide an objective framework within which to complete the merger.

This panel is being formed just after a persistent buzz — which has been categorically denied by the ministry — of the possibility of undoing the merger to pare losses and improve the overall financial health of the national carrier.

“Undoing the merger is neither practical nor will it reduce losses. In fact, if any such thing were to be done, losses will only mount,” the sources told DNA Money.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Sitaram Yechury has already advocated that the two airlines (erstwhile Air India and Indian) operate as separate entities within a single umbrella company.

That the merger of the erstwhile international and domestic carriers has not really been a success is evident from the lack of integrated ticketing for the domestic and international legs of AI, separate codes for the two services, duplicate manpower at various middle and junior levels and even overlapping of services on certain sectors.


Buzz is that this has potential for an even bigger mess and that it will be another scam of gifting even more freebies to the new experts.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeez - AI/IC + MoCA really redefine the meaning of the term "basket case"! All these flip-flops, mergers, demergers, advisors, etc. are no use until something moves on the ground....
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
Jeez - AI/IC + MoCA really redefine the meaning of the term "basket case"! All these flip-flops, mergers, demergers, advisors, etc. are no use until something moves on the ground....


Another panel being formed now to choose the COO. But everyone thinks E. Sreedharan has the magic formula to save Air India.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:

Another panel being formed now to choose the COO. But everyone thinks E. Sreedharan has the magic formula to save Air India.


I wonder if Sreedharan has ever had the "pleasure" of working with the likes of the 80% riff-raff crowds at the AI/IC/MoCA? Will he manage to get them to do their work as well - while at the same time making sure they get their "promised dues"? Sreedharan might be an expert at planning and execution, but it ultimately requires the folks on the ground to do the execution. Unless they're willing, I doubt if ES can work wonders here. He can work wonders where there's a technical challenge or a timeline/ project planning issue, probably not when there's a morale/ productivity issue!

The only way I can see this work is if the govt gives him 100% freedom to "crack the whip" and "Dangle the carrot". But the MoCA/ babus/ mantris/ MPs etc. will miss their "beloved carrier" and the perks it offered them and may not allow any real freedom to ES.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air India wins ’Emerging Freighter Services of the Year’ award
Mumbai, Feb 4 (PTI)
National carrier Air India has been awarded the ‘‘Emerging Freighter Services of the Year‘‘-- an international award for excellence in air cargo.
The airline has developed dedicated freighter services in the country.
Goa Governor S Sindhu presented the award, including a trophy and a certificate to the airline’s Strategic Business Unit Head at a function during the ‘‘Air Cargo India 2010’’ exhibition and conference here last night.
The award was in recognition of the pioneering role that Air India has played in developing dedicated freighter services for cargo carriage in India, a statement from the airline said.
’Air Cargo 2010’ was organised by the ’Stat Trade Times’- a leading industry publication dealing with air cargo logistics, industry developments and trade practises from all over the world.

The airline provides a fully automated ’Track and Trace’ facility enabling shippers to monitor the movement of their cargo, the airlines said.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update

Air India 747s are doing
Delhi-Riyadh
Kozhikode-Riyadh (Domestic leg between Trivandrum and Calicut)
Mumbai-Riyadh

A330 to do
Delhi-Shanghai
Hyderabad-Jeddah
Kochi-Kozhikode-Jeddah
Mumbai-Jeddah

Planned 777LR nonstop on
Mumbai/Delhi-Toronto


(Needs to be reconfirmed as AI says aircraft deployment can be changed at any time.)
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
Planned 777LR nonstop on
Mumbai/Delhi-Toronto

(Needs to be reconfirmed as AI says aircraft deployment can be changed at any time.)


So what will happen to Amritsar? Or are they planning two flights to Toronto?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nothing about AI resuming HKG-ICN and their 77L service?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasepl wrote:
karatecatman wrote:
Planned 777LR nonstop on
Mumbai/Delhi-Toronto

(Needs to be reconfirmed as AI says aircraft deployment can be changed at any time.)


So what will happen to Amritsar? Or are they planning two flights to Toronto?

Quote:
nothing about AI resuming HKG-ICN and their 77L service?



This is just a plan as the lease plan for the 777LRs seems to have fallen through.

There is also some buzz about having a newer widebody/aircraft on one of the SE Asia services.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:


This is just a plan as the lease plan for the 777LRs seems to have fallen through.

There is also some buzz about having a newer widebody/aircraft on one of the SE Asia services.


Rumour mill has it going that the 77W deal of 9W with Brunei has fallen through, primarily because AI undercut 9W in price by offering its 77L, which were Bruneis initial choice , rumour also has it that the 4 unidentified 77Ls on Boeings order book in Jan are from Brunei.

Good news for AI if true sad for 9W though

Karan
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karan69 wrote:
karatecatman wrote:


This is just a plan as the lease plan for the 777LRs seems to have fallen through.

There is also some buzz about having a newer widebody/aircraft on one of the SE Asia services.


Rumour mill has it going that the 77W deal of 9W with Brunei has fallen through, primarily because AI undercut 9W in price by offering its 77L, which were Bruneis initial choice , rumour also has it that the 4 unidentified 77Ls on Boeings order book in Jan are from Brunei.

Good news for AI if true sad for 9W though

Karan


Karan-ji,

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, was interested in the 6 new Air India 777-300ERs whose delivery AI was planning to defer. Boeing had arranged this.
Then, Air India reversed things suddenly 'after some posturing by Boeing' and said it was going ahead with this schedule.

When AI offered 6 different 777s later (3 LRs and 3 ERs), Brunei was once again in the picture. Air India quoted between S1-1.5 million per aircraft
Jet was offering it at approx $2.2m, citing its 'plush F cabin' and other facilities.

Royal Brunei even cancelled leave of its staff and sent a team to Delhi, Mumbai and Bahrain to evaluate the aircraft (AI and 9W), because the 9W aircraft leased to GulfAir were supposed to go to Brunei. Brunei engineers were also sent to Boeing for training.

Brunei then decided to have a look at Varig 777s.

Buzz in AI is that all plans to lease are being pulled back.
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karatecatman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TIMES OF INDIA
AI to focus on domestic routes
Saurabh Sinha
TNN
8 February 2010


NEW DELHI: This could well be the ultimate irony of the controversial Air India-Indian Airlines merger that saw the domestic arm's identity getting
lost. Now, the IA model — with a focus firmly on domestic and nearby international routes — is being seen as the only way for keeping the debt-ridden airline afloat.

The merged entity — National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) — has discussed with Boeing the possibility of converting remaining long-haul and twin-aisle Boeing-777s into 737s that can be used on IA routes. "AI's long-haul routes will not help reviving the airline because of their losses. For survival, we have to look at IA kind of model. NACIL is joining Star Alliance and international routes can be served by alliance partners, with AI operating on some less loss-making or profitable routes,” said a source.

A Boeing official said AI had ordered 23 B-777s, as part of the purchase plan. Of which 17 B-777s have been already given and three more will be sent this year. "AI has talked about deferring deliveries or substituting the remaining three B-777s into other smaller aircraft. The airline is yet to get back with a final word," said sources.

The previous revival plans of NACIL have been rejected by the Group of Ministers (GoM) and now the management has to work out a fresh proposal at the earliest. AI needs almost Rs 3,000 crore for paying interests on loans annually. "In the last GoM, airline showed its accumulated losses could be to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore by 2013. Annual interest on working capital loan is Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 660 crore is the interest on aircraft loans. So, interest amount alone is Rs 2,660 crore annually. As of now, there's no light at the end of this tunnel," said a senior official.

The voices against AI-IA merger — referred to as ‘murder' by employees — are growing by the day within the ministry. "IA was doing reasonably well, while AI with its international routes was not. After a long delay, NACIL is on track to integrate AI and IA codes into a uniform AI code. Once that happens and NACIL is able to join Star Alliance, a robust AI domestic network will be essential to fill both its and the alliance partners' international flights," said the official.

AI-domestic (erstwhile IA) has 153 daily flights. AI operates 95 daily international flights, of which almost half are served on IA aircraft under their IC code, mainly on the Airbus A-319s and A-321 ordered for IA. AI Express accounts for 60 daily international flights.

When aircraft orders were being finalised in the early days of UPA-I, IA had ordered 43 Airbus and stuck to this number. The original plan of AI was to buy 24 aircraft. This order was upped to 68 within weeks on the basis of massive traffic growth projections. "Employees are being blamed today and their salaries will be cut. We are essentially being penalised for someone else's mistakes. There is just no accountability," said a long serving airline pilot.



Took them so long to realise this!!!!! Shocked
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air India's parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL), reportedly announced it is considering plans to transfer B777s and B737s operated by Air India on international routes to the domestic market, decreasing capacity on some loss-making international routes (The Times of India, 08-Feb-2010).

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LIVEMINT

Air India to consider Dublin for European hub this fortnight

Dublin is the only airport in Europe where passengers can clear immigration for the US
Tarun Shukla

New Delhi:

India and Ireland are likely to expand their air services pact to allow their flag carriers—Air India and Aer Lingus, respectively—to start flying to the two countries, said a civil aviation ministry official familiar with the development.
The move comes as Air India is set to consider Ireland’s Dublin airport as a potential new hub in Europe for its one-stop flights between India and the US, he said.
Air India, run by National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, has been scouting for an airport in Europe that’s cheaper to operate than its current hub in Frankfurt, Germany.
The airline’s chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav and senior civil aviation ministry officials will inspect the airport in the Irish capital this fortnight, the ministry official said.
The airports at Copenhagen, Denmark and Vienna, Austria are also likely hubs. But Dublin offers an advantage as the only European airport where passengers can clear immigration for the US, and avoid long queues at congested airports such as New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Another ministry official said it was too early to take a decision on moving to a new hub in Europe, given that Air India is fighting for a government bailout to remain afloat.
Questions sent by email to Dublin Airport Authority Plc., which manages Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports in Ireland, remained unanswered.
A London-based aviation analyst said the facility of US immigration clearance was drawing even European airlines to Dublin.
“British Airways(BA) recently started an all-business A318 service from London City Airport to New York JFK with a fuel stop in Dublin on the outbound only,” he said.
“BA has added the benefit of pre-clearing US immigration in a dedicated queue, so the stop actually doesn’t delay passengers, particularly non-US passport holders, as it can take up to an hour to clear immigration in JFK,” the analyst said. He too didn’t want to be named.
Besides Ireland’s Dublin and Shannon airports, only some Canadian and Caribbean airports offer US immigration clearance outside US territory.
The analyst, however, said Air India needs to look at its options carefully “as there is no India-Ireland traffic”.
Though airports like Frankfurt charge a higher fee, they attract more business class fliers, which can partly offset the costs for a carrier, he added.
“It would be better to stop/hub in Manchester or Birmingham (both in the UK), where there are sizeable Indian communities,” he said. “The catchment area of these cities is also much larger.”
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
LIVEMINT

Air India to consider Dublin for European hub this fortnight


Next fortnight Gothenburg? Fortnight after that Bratislava?
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasepl wrote:
karatecatman wrote:
LIVEMINT

Air India to consider Dublin for European hub this fortnight


Next fortnight Gothenburg? Fortnight after that Bratislava?


Look at all the news articles on this thread/forum regarding AI's plans. None of them have ever reached fruition. Nor will this. Let's move on......
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me111993
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
jasepl wrote:
karatecatman wrote:
LIVEMINT

Air India to consider Dublin for European hub this fortnight


Next fortnight Gothenburg? Fortnight after that Bratislava?


Look at all the news articles on this thread/forum regarding AI's plans. None of them have ever reached fruition. Nor will this. Let's move on......


What the hell's going onn?????!!!! Shocked
I really think Munich was good enough but they then went on with Frankfurt!! Even that according to me was very stupid!!!

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jasepl
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

me111993 wrote:
I really think Munich was good enough but they then went on with Frankfurt!! Even that according to me was very stupid!!!

me111993


What was stupid was getting into bed with Lufthansa in the first place.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatecatman wrote:
747-237 wrote:
Two airframes have joined the fleet on 28 Jan 2010
Airbus A319 VT-SCX
Airbus A321 VT-PPW



Update
Air India Airbus A320-232 (F-WWBD C/N 4201) and the first brand new A320 in Air India colours is test flying at Toulouse. First flight on January 27, 2010.

Has the regn VT-EDC.


***

With this the IA 43-aircraft deal will almost be over.

The A319s have all arrived. (Last one was A319 VT-SCX on Jan 26-27, 2010. Released for service on Jan. 28.)


A320s -- 2 in February 2010 and 2 in March 2010 = 4.

A321s -- last one arrives in April 2010. (Previous one A321 VT-PPW arrived on Jan. 26-27, 2010. Released for service on Jan. 28.)


..And what is the seating configuration like on the 'new' A320's???...126Y+20C is old one..Would it be 114Y+20C...since more legroom is offered on the new machines..
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LIVEMINT
Air India hires three consultants

Aviation experts say such measures can help only in the short term, the airline needs greater autonomy

P.R. Sanjai Mumbai:

Beleaguered flag carrier Air India has appointed three foreign consultancies to help redraw its flight network and save fuel costs, in a bid to cut down on expenses and earn a much needed equity infusion from the government.

The airline, run by National Aviation Co. of India Ltd (Nacil), needs to meet a cost-cutting target of Rs1,991 crore by March to get Rs2,000 crore as the first tranche of the equity infusion. But it has managed to save only Rs1,000 crore in the last six months, two senior airline officials said on condition of anonymity.


Aviation experts said the operational restructuring can only help in the short term, and even that could be thwarted by industrial action. Air India, they added, needs more autonomy to take commercial steps that the government is unwilling to allow.
Nacil, which was formed by merging Air India and Indian Airlines, had hired Ireland-based consultancy Accenture Ltd to advise on the integration process.
It has now appointed US-based aviation consultant Simat Helliesen and Eichner Inc. (SH&E), Flugwerkzeuge Aviation Software GmbH of Austria and Texas-based technology company Sabre Holding Corp.
“Simat Helliesen has been hired to prepare a profitable and best optimal route plan,” one of the officials said.
Flugwerkzeuge Aviation will help Air India pilots locate the best flight path for optimum use of jet fuel.
The company will also generate customized modules for pilots, outlining all technical details of the airports and aircraft they fly. SH&E will focus on the hubs and plan alignment with other international flights for smooth transfer of passengers across flights.
Nacil is also in talks with McKinsey and Co., Booz and Co. Inc. and NM Rothschild and Sons Ltd. One of them is likely to be hired to help in Air India’s financial restructuring, one of the officials said.
But aviation experts are not enthused. “Overstaffed Air India needs to downsize and go for route and fleet rationalization,” said Rishikesha T. Krishnan, professor of corproate strategy at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, who has been tracking the sector for a long time.
Unless it is given genuine autonomy to take bold commercial decisions, Air India will not be able to turn around on a sustainable basis, Krishnan added.
The airline, which posted a loss of Rs5,548 crore in 2008-09 and runs up a monthly cash deficit of Rs400 crore, is seeking a total of Rs5,000 crore from the government to increase its debt raising capacity. Its current equity base is Rs145 crore. It has cut costs by Rs500 crore since August through reworking its network and discontinuing loss-making routes. Another Rs500 crore has been saved through fuel efficiency measures and by revising the salaries of its top officials.
But one of the officials quoted above said Air India was yet to achieve targets such as a 50% reduction of productivity-linked incentives (PLIs), for its 31,500 employees.
“We are planning to link PLI to certain productivity targets of a department. We were trying to save at least Rs600 crore by implementing 50% cut in PLIs, but couldn’t do that following protest from employees,” he said. “Cutting cost is not an overnight job. Achieving even 10% cost reduction target is commendable for us as fuel and wages account for 55-60% of total operating cost,” he added.
The second official said the airline had phased out 11 old Airbus 320 planes in the current financial year. Another nine would be phased out in the year ending March 2011.
“By and large, we will have a brand new fleet. With Simat Helliesen’s network restructuring programme, we could increase average flying hours of our domestic planes from 10-12 hours to 13-15 hours,” he said. The official added that on international routes, Air India would replace Boeing 747-400 planes with Boeing 777s. “With new network restructuring plan, the new aircraft could save Rs1.5 lakh per hour,” he said.
But it may not be such a smooth ride, said Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. The aviation consultancy’s outlook report, released in December, said the restructuring is likely to be challenged by industrial action at various levels.
“The airline will continue to post losses. Completion of the merger between Air India and Indian (Airlines) under one code is unlikely to be achieved in 2010, although there will be one balance sheet under Nacil. Weaknesses in the organization capability will be a key challenge for Air India,” the report stated.


With this there are nine consultants in total. Three more to be appointed. Rolling Eyes


***
ECONOMIC TIMES
JPMorgan to refinance AI’s $1.1-billion bridge loan
15 Feb 2010

Manisha Singhal
ET Bureau

MUMBAI: The protective shield of state ownership and guarantees from the US Exim Bank have helped Air India, the loss-making flag carrier, refinance
a $1.1-billion bridge loan that it had taken to fund the purchase of 10 Boeing aircraft even as private Indian carriers struggle to attract investors.

Long-term debt arranged by JPMorgan Chase will fund the purchase of seven Boeing777s, the wide body aircraft deployed by Air India on long haul routes, three 737-800s for Air India Express, the low-cost service of Air India, and a spare engine. The debt, which replaces a bridge loan from Standard Chartered, was finalised on January 28 in Washington.

Piyush Agarwal, executive director-corporate banking at JPMorgan Chase, confirmed the transaction. “We are the sole underwriters of the deal; the entire exposure is on our books. It is a well-structured transaction and our risks are adequately covered as it is a large, long-tenor loan,” Mr Agarwal told ET.

An official of the National Aviation Company of India, or Nacil, the company formed by the merger of Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines, claimed that the deal would help save $30 million in interest costs per year, though he declined to provide any details.

“It is a long-term loan, for 11 years. We have negotiated good interest rates, at least 3% lower than the applicable interest rates. Air India will save as much as $30 million in interest costs alone in this transaction,” the official said.

“With this funding, we have concluded financing for 35 of our newly-ordered aircraft which has resulted in a total exposure of $2.6 billion of debt. We have also invited bids for financing another three Boeing aircraft. These bids will be closed later this month.

This shows revival of interest in Indian aviation and also that the markets are now getting positive about funding aviation,” he added. The merged airline flies under the Air India brand name. The airline had ordered 68 aircraft worth $11 billion from Boeing.

JPMorgan, the sole lender, plans to keep the loan on its book till maturity. This is unusual because in normal transactions loans are sold in the secondary market. “We have the backing of US Exim Bank; and the way this deal is structured, our returns on equity are good so we plan to keep the loan for life as of now. Though there is an option for selling it later in the secondary market,” a JPMorgan Chase source said.

Aviation finance experts, however, doubted whether JPMorgan would keep the loan on its books. “There are guarantees from US Exim Bank supported by back-to-back guarantees from the government of India as far as loans for Air India are concerned. It is most unlikely that JPMorgan will keep the entire loan for life on its books. It will surely sell it down at a later stage,” said a banker with one of the leading investment banks.

JPMorgan Chase, a leading player in aviation financing in the US, clearly sees this deal as strategic. “This deal will work well for our market visibility. We are committed to this market and ready to do big-ticket deals here,” Mr Agarwal added.

Air India declared losses of Rs 5,550 crore last fiscal year and has Rs 14,000 crore in debt as it struggled to cope with a fall in the numbers of flyers because of the global downturn, a bloated workforce and the struggle to complete the merger. The airline has been promised an Rs 800-crore equity infusion from the government and there is a budgetary provision for another Rs 1,200 crore.

The airline has appointed international advisory firm Booz Allen for suggesting cost cutting measures and also appointed NM Rothschild for restructuring debt.


***

THE HINDU
AI terminates contracts of 12 senior commanders

Ravi Sharma

BANGALORE: The National Aviation Company of India, the parent company of national carrier Air India (AI), has terminated fully valid contracts of 12 senior commanders who fly the long-haul Boeing 747-400.

The move comes in the wake of the ailing airline’s decision to drastically curtail flights of Boeing 747-400, presently the largest aircraft in the country that can carry around 425 passengers and cargo.

While the sacking of the pilots has caused consternation, even more surprising is the AI’s decision to curtail the commercial flights of the six aircraft fleet of B747-400, all of which have been leased.

The AI plans to retain three of the B747-400 for short-haul flights and VIP duty, while returning the rest to the lessor. Beginning their service with AI in 1993, B747-400 aircraft, which made history by operating the first non-stop flight between New York and Delhi, have been used by the airline for flights to America and the continent.

According to experts, the decision to ground the B747 will cause AI a loss of approximately Rs.10,000 crore a year by way of revenue flow.

A spokesperson for AI justified the move, explaining that the B747-400 were old, consumed more fuel than the newer Boeing 777 (about 20 per cent) that are being acquired by AI and part of the airline’s changing product profile. However, AI officials told The Hindu that the 747 Jumbos were still airworthy, had trained manpower, a complete inventory of spares and most importantly, still very profitable to operate.

AI had sold the B747-400 but leased them back. Curiously in 2007, at a cost of Rs.300 crore, it went in for a complete makeover of the fleet, undertaking cabin refurbishment and in-flight entertainment upgradation programme. In June 2007 during the ceremony to unveil the first refurbished B747-400, the then chairman and managing director, V. Thulasidas, had said that the six aircraft would join the new Boeing aircraft ordered by the airline “thus equipping Air India with one of the youngest fleets in the world.”



Last edited by karatecatman on Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BUSINESSLINE
AI on look out for hoarding space to woo flyers

MUMBAI: The national carrier Air India (AI) plans to book space on highways and expressways cutting across the eastern and western side of Mumbai as part of its efforts to woo customers.

“Air India requires illuminated prominent hoarding sites with clear and long visibility with no obstructions on main arterial roads on Western corridor till Inorbit Mall, Malad, and on the Eastern corridor till Thane.”


The cash-strapped airline, which posted losses to the tune of Rs over 5,500 crore last fiscal, has embarked on a turnaround plan, which includes re-branding the product besides measures to curtail costs and enhance revenues.

With an 18 per cent market share registered in January, the national carrier also plans to broaden its customer base through these measures. - PTI
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

INDIA TODAY
Air India pays for Dalit panel's 5-star spree
Dalip Singh
New Delhi
February 16, 2010


It is the best freebie anybody could have hoped for. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) splurged Rs 5.72 lakh of public money in December 2009 by staying in a Mumbai luxury hotel, availing its various five star facilities and then roaming around the financial capital in luxury cars.

In what is surely a blatant violation of ethics and a case of conflict of interest, the NCSC bills were paid for by Air India, one of the companies against which the scheduled castes commission was in Mumbai for three days to review scheduled caste employees cases. The delegation included NCSC chairman Buta Singh, vice-chairman N. M. Kamble, commission member Mahendra Bodh, Kamble's private secretary R. C. Kapoor, assistant director Kaushal Kumar and Singh's personal staff member Bhoovan Chandra. They stayed at The Trident, a luxury hotel at Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex and their expenses included room rent, food, travelling and usage of spa facilities.

On December 28, the delegation checked into some of the hotel's mid- segment rooms, which attracted a maximum tariff of Rs 22,500 per night. Kamble has a house in Mumbai. But he decided instead to live in five- star comfort with his colleagues. The accepted practice for any Central delegation is to stay at government guest houses in the city of visit.

When asked about the alleged flouting of travel rules and ethics, Singh accepted that he and other NCSC members had visited Mumbai to review cases of Air India and other public sector units. "There were cases involving other government institutions also," he said. He said staying at luxurious hotels was not unusual. "We are not under the government of India," he remarked. His colleague Kamble said, " We did not book the hotel rooms. This is all humbug." Singh added that whenever the NCSC found a facility at a circuit house vacant, " we stay there." This time, too, he said, he was booked somewhere else, "but I left that hotel. In any case, the arrangements for travel and accommodation are made by the institutions where we go to review scheduled castes- related matters."Singh denied any conflict of inter-NCSC vice-chairman ests as Air India had apparently taken permission from the NCSC to host him and his team during their Mumbai trip. But he did not clarify why his office gave permission to an organisation that was being reviewed by the NCSC to host the investigating authority.

M AIL T ODAY investigations show that two persons stayed in the room (No 1021) booked under NCSC member Mahendra Bodh's name. The receipt for this room shows " 2" under the sub- head " No of guests". Interestingly, another room (No 1017) was booked under Bodh's name. In fact, Bodh's expenses of Rs 15,200 on using the hotel's spa and fitness centre facilities were billed to the latter room.

Bodh denied using the hotel's spa. " I have not used it," he said.

" It is the institution which takes care of the official trips." NCSC vice- chairman's private secretary R. C. Kapoor took his wife for the official trip. Two rooms (Nos 948 and 955) were booked under the name of " Mr and Mrs R. C. Kapoor" at the rate of Rs 13,000 and Rs 13,250 respectively per night.

Kaushal Kumar, believed to be Singh's confidant, also had booked a room for two persons. The hotel records do not mention who stayed with him. During the NCSC delegation's Mumbai stay (December 28- 31), Air India had to shell out more than Rs 4.5 lakh on accommodation, food and for the spa.

According to government guidelines on travel allowance, the luxury hotel stay of the three junior NCSC officials is also a violation.

Government rules specify that Kapoor, Kumar and Chandra - who are at the level of under- secretary and below - can spend only Rs 1500 per day on official stay. Their travel and food bills Enjoy 5- star comfort during probe tour whether working conditions at Air India were conducive to scheduled caste employees, Singh and his men have not prepared any action- taken report. In fact, Singh, during his three- year tenure as NCSC chairman has not submitted a single annual report on the status of scheduled castes to the President, as he is supposed to as per the mandate given to him. His term comes to an end in May this year.

According to another NCSC member, Satya Bahin, the delegation that visited Mumbai has " undertaken several such secret visits". She has written a confidential letter to the secretary of the Union social justice and empowerment ministry detailing her allegations.

They "have always stayed in 5/ 7 star hotels and avoided government accommodations", she has charged. In her letter, Bahin refers to several trips Singh has made to Kolkata and Mumbai since December last to review banks and public sector units.

"Another visit was made from December 24, 2009, to January 3, 2010, to Mumbai and Shirdi" and all of them went on the tour with their respective families, she has alleged in the letter.

"At Mumbai, accommodation for all these were arranged in seven- star hotels by Air India which is a sinking organisation, and at Shirdi by the ONGC," she wrote.

Sources said Singh should have been aware that his lavish spending violates Chapter II of Rules of Procedure of the NCSC, which clearly states that "(the NCSC) members will observe the norms laid down by the state governments regarding security/ travel/ accommodation, etc. during such tours."



***

ECONOMIC TIMES
AI spends Rs 13 cr a yr on pilot training
16 Feb 2010
ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: At a time when Air India was starved for cash, the airline paid over Rs 13 crore in just a year to foreign companies for
simulator-training programme for pilots. The national carrier did not conduct any survey on the cost of buying simulators and training the pilots here in comparison to the cost incurred in training pilots in simulators abroad.

The amount spent on simulator training in 2008-09 alone was Rs 13 crore. This is besides the expenses incurred on lodging and other allowances paid to pilots who underwent training. AI revealed this in response to an RTI application by Mr S C Aggarwal. The amount paid during 2007-08 was just over Rs 1.7 crore and in 2006-07 it was around Rs 2.5 crore.

“No cost comparison study between own simulator versus outsourced training was conducted since we did not own our own simulator,” it said in response to the RTI query.

The companies which provided training on Boeing and Airbus simulators include UK’s Alteon Training, Oxford Training Academy, Emirates, Lufthansa, Jordan Airline Training and Simulation, Delta Air and Egypt Air.

Air India has not owned a B-777 simulator till now and since training on it was a mandatory requirement for training, conversion and licence renewal of pilots, it cannot be carried out unless the required training was completed. “This is an inevitable requirement which has to be met. In the absence of the simulator, the company had to outsource the training to suitably approved training establishments,” Air India said.


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