After Posting Rs 4,600 crore operating loss in 2018-19, Air India Aims Operating Profit This Fiscal

NEW DELHI:

Air India posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year. The reasons attributed by its management are :

– higher oil prices and

– foreign exchange losses

The debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20, as per its senior officials.

Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline’s net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19.

Another senior official of Air India said the airline is projected to post an operating profit of Rs 700 to 800 crore in 2019-20, provided oil prices do not shoot up significantly and there is no steep fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.

However, the airline incurred an operating loss of Rs 175 to 200 crore in the three months ended June as closure of Pakistan airspace for Indian carriers resulted in higher costs and caused a daily loss of Rs 3 to 4 crore when the restrictions were in place, the official said.

Also Read: Air India Life Curve Sees the Lowest Trough, Will it Ever Recover?

Air India had a loss of Rs 430 crore in the four-month period when Pakistan closed its airspace after the Balakot air strikes.

Last week, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs), led by IndianOil, had stopped fuel supply to Air India at six — Ranchi, Mohali, Patna, Vizag, Pune and Cochin — airports over non-payment of dues.

The official noted that load factor and yields are improving for Air India, which currently flies to 41 international and 72 domestic destinations. Load factor is a measure of seat occupancy and yield refers to average fare paid per passenger.

The situation is anticipated to improve further as more wide-body planes would be available for operations in the coming months, the official added. Air India had grounded several of its wide-body aircraft for maintenance and most of them are in the process of being re-inducted into the fleet.

Air India is to start flying to Toronto from September 27 and to Nairobi in November.

The airline has a debt burden of more than Rs 58,000 crore and servicing the loans is a major challenge as the annual outgo is more than Rs 4,000 crore.

The official who was quoted first said the carrier is facing a financial crisis and disinvestment is the option.

Aviation consultancy CAPA South Asia CEO and Director Kapil Kaul said Air India’s financial position is likely to “significantly improve” in the current financial year.

“CAPA expects a closer to break-even in FY 20 excluding increased costs incurred due to closure of Pakistan airspace. With oil prices expected to stay below USD 60, expect a closer to break-even for Air India in FY 20,” he told PTI.

Noting that improved financial performance would be a positive for divestment, Kaul said a fully divested Air India that is well capitalised and with improved governance and management would ensure that the airline has a relevant future.

India needs a stronger Air India which is viable without taxpayers’ support, he added.

The government has decided on disinvestment of Air India as part of efforts to revive its fortunes. Air India, which has been in the red for long, was sanctioned a nearly Rs 30,000 crore bailout package for a 10-year period by the UPA regime in 2012.




Boeing 737 MAX is not expected to return to service until JANUARY 2020

Boeing’s 737 MAX is not expected to return to service until January 2020 as regulators expand safety checks after the jets were grounded in March following two deadly crashes.

Aviation experts and analysts say they expect the lengthy delay as the Federal Aviation Administration pledges to resolve all safety issues before allowing the planes back in the air, The Wall Street Journal reports.

No official timeline has been confirmed by the company but the checks on software has repeatedly delayed their progress with a growing list of issues for them to look over.

Boeing is now said to be looking at other potential problems, including emergency recovery procedures to electronic components. Some checks are said to be looking at earlier 737 models too.

Boeing’s 737 MAX is not expected to return to service until January 2020. A number of the grounded aircraft can be seen parked at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

The scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash near Addis Ababa on March 10 was horrific. The crash set off one of the widest inquiries in aviation history and cast a shadow over the Boeing 737 MAX model intended to be a standard for decades.

The specific software fix to automated system MCAS is said to have been completed and waiting for approval.

But additional concerns have now been raised from studies and tests on the jet in the interim.

And even once the fixes are completed Boeing will need both the FAA to approve them and airlines to carry out their own maintenance procedures, according to experts.

PROBLEMS ON BOARD THE BOEING 737 MAX

The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March after an Ethiopian Airlines plane plunged to the ground soon after take-off, five months after a similar Lion Air fatal crash off the coast of Indonesia.

Concerns were initially raised after a system called MCAS overpowered pilot commands, pushing down the noses of both jets that crashed.

Experts then raised concern over pilots being able to manually move a flight-control wheel in extreme circumstances amid more testing.

Then in in June further a new flaw was uncovered that is estimated it will take until at least September to fix.

American Airlines Group Inc said on Sunday it is extending for a fourth time cancellations of about 115 daily flights into early November due to the ongoing grounding of the jets.

The airline’s decision was expected after the FAA, which must reapprove the jets for flight following two fatal crashes, last month uncovered a new flaw that Boeing had estimated will take until at least September to fix.

Boeing has said it will ‘provide the FAA and the global regulators whatever information they need,’ and will not offer the 737 MAX ‘for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements’.

The 737 MAX, which had been Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft thanks to its fuel-efficient engines and longer ranger, was grounded worldwide in March after an Ethiopian Airlines plane plunged to the ground soon after take-off, five months after a similar Lion Air fatal crash off the coast of Indonesia.

Boeing hopes a software upgrade and new pilot training will add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data from triggering a system called MCAS, which was activated in both the planes before they crashed.

American, the world’s largest airline and the second largest MAX operator in the United States, most recently had planned to keep the MAX, which it used on most flights between New York’s LaGuardia airport and Miami, off its schedule through September 3.

Boeing is now looking at other potential problems including emergency recovery procedures to electronic components, with some checks looking at cover earlier 737 models

American, with 24 737 MAX aircraft and dozens more on order, is scheduling without the jets through Nov. 2.

‘American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft this year,’ the airline said in a statement on Sunday.

It has been substituting other aircraft for its busiest flights while canceling others and temporarily suspending direct flights between Oakland, California, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Among other U.S. MAX carriers, Southwest Airlines Co has removed the aircraft from its scheduling through Oct. 1, and United Airlines Holdings until Nov. 3. Southwest is the world’s largest MAX operator.




Royal Brunei Airlines back on Brisbane route – Australian Aviation

A file image of Royal Brunei Airlines Airbus A320neo V8-RBD, which features a special Visit Brunei livery. (Masakatsu Ukon/Wikimedia Commons)


Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has resumed nonstop flights to Brisbane for the first time since 2011 with the arrival of BI9 early on Thursday morning, July 11 2019.

Flight BI9, operated by Airbus A320neo V8-RBD featuring a special Visit Brunei livery, landed at about 0330 local time on Thursday, following its six and a half hour journey from RBA’s Bandar Seri Begawan hub.

The aircraft was on the ground at Brisbane Airport for about 13 hours before taking off as the reciprocal BI10 a little after 1600 local time.

RBA chief executive Karam Chand said the airline was delighted to be back in Brisbane after an eight-year absence.

Further, Chand said the new Brisbane service would strategically position the airline as a key player on the Kangaroo route between Australia and the united Kingdom.

“We are delighted to offer our Bruneian, UK and other guests from our expanding route network an additional Australia travel destination where they will find many and attractions and activities of offer in Brisbane city and its surrounds,” Chand said in a statement.

In addition to Brisbane, RBA flies nonstop to Melbourne daily with Boeing 787-8s.

Both its Australian routes were expected to support RBA’s nonstop Bandar Seri Begawan-London services.

A file image of a Boeing 787-8 in Royal Brunei Airlines livery. (Wikimedia Commons/Jahurz)

A file image of a Boeing 787-8 in Royal Brunei Airlines livery. (Wikimedia Commons/Jahurz)

The Brisbane route will will operate as an overnight flight from from Bandar Seri Begawan on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Meanwhile, the return service takes off from Brisbane in the late afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The schedule, which is similar to RBA’s Melbourne service, has been optimised for convenient connections on the London route.

CAPA – Centre for Aviation chief analyst Brendan Sobie said while the new RBA service represented less than two per cent of total capacity between Brisbane and Asia, it was strategically important as the flights would stimulate demand in the Brisbane-Brunei and Brisbane-Uk markets.

“Brunei is a tiny source market for Queensland and there is also limited outbound demand in the Brisbane-Brunei market. However, these segments will grow (from a very low base) as nonstop services are resumed,” Sobie said in a research note from February.

“Of more significance is the impact the new Brunei service will have in the Brisbane-UK market. The UK is the fourth largest source market for Queensland and London is also a very popular destination for Brisbane area residents.”

“However, making the Brisbane-Bandar Seri Begawan route work will not be easy because Brisbane-London – which Royal Brunei will need to rely on for a large proportion of its Brisbane passengers – is a very competitive and low yielding market.”

Sobie noted return fares of less than US$1,000 were available on many carriers for Brisbane-London itineraries, while RBA had some sub-US$800 fares in the market for travel during the second half of calendar 2019.

“With the offer of such low fares it will be hard for the new Brisbane-Brunei route to deliver sustained profitability – even with incentives from Brisbane Airport and Queensland,” Sobie said.

At the time the Brisbane flight was launched, RBA has targeted a start date of June 11. However, aircraft availability issues due to engine maintenance requirements on its Boeing 787 fleet forced the flight to be pushed back a month.

RBA has seven A320neos powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines. The airline has configured the next-generation narrowbody to carry 150 passengers, with 12 seats in business class and 138 seats in economy.

Airbus lists the A320neo as having a range of 3,400nm in a typical two-class configuration of 165 seats. Bandar Seri Begawan-Melbourne is 2,940nm.

RBA was the first to fly the A320neo to Australia when it used the aircraft temporarily on the Bandar Seri Begawan-Melbourne route in August 2018 while its Boeing 787-8s were unavailable due to engine inspection requirements.

To celebrate the new route, the airline planned to host an event at the Brisbane City Hall on Thursday evening.

The airline recently began flying nonstop between Bandar Seri Begawan and London Heathrow, having previously served the United Kingdom capital with a one-stop routing via Dubai.

Brisbane may also prove a source market for RBA’s new regional services with ATR 72-600s due to kick off in October. The turboprops on lease from Malaysia-based Malindo Air will be used to serve seven destinations on Borneo – six in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak and one on the Indonesian part of the island.

RBA Airbus A320neo V8-RBA at Melbourne on August 1 2018. (Brian Wilkes)

RBA Airbus A320neo V8-RBA at Melbourne on August 1 2018. (Brian Wilkes)

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

BI9 Bandar Seri Begawan-Brisbane

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

18:50

03:45+1

BI10 Brisbane-Bandar Seri Begawan

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

16:10

21:30




Embraer showcases newest E195-E2 aircraft in the SAR

Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer has brought its newest Profit Hunter jet – the E195-E2 – to Macau, showcasing the “TechLion” livery that covers the aircraft’s fuselage.

Their newest aircraft is currently on a global demonstration tour, which kicked off in Xiamen on July 8 and will be followed by several stops in China and the Asia Pacific region this month and next.

The E195-E2 is the largest of the three aircraft in the E-Jets E2 family.

The firm described the aircraft as the most efficient single-aisle jet on the market, the ideal aircraft for growing regional business and complementing existing low-cost and mainline fleets.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Guo Qing, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Embraer Commercial Aviation China, said that the aircraft can achieve competitive costs per seat with larger narrow body aircraft but with significantly lower costs per trip, which will enable carriers, especially low-cost carriers, to explore additional secondary markets.

“We are operating in a differentiated segment with a seating capacity of 75 to 150. That’s exactly what Macau needs in order to expand its aircraft network into the second and third tier [Chinese] cities,” said Guo.

“If you look at what is currently operating in the market, it’s above 150-seat capacity. [But] with the right seating capacity of the airplane, we can help Macau link and expand [its] network to smaller cities that are currently not being flown to by either AirMacau or other operators,” the executive added.

In April, the E195-E2 received type certification from three major world regulatory authorities simultaneously – ANAC (the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency), the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

The airplane will enter service with Brazil’s Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A. in the second half of 2019. Spanish airline Binter will also receive its E195-E2 later this year.

According to Guo, the firm is not targeting any specific airlines, yet it stressed that current airline operators in the region have the opportunity to expand their market with the right product to bring passengers to and from the SAR.

The representative refused to disclose the pricing details of the new aircraft.

Currently, eight airlines operate 105 Embraer commercial aircraft in Greater China and Mongolia, which lays a solid foundation for adding the E2s to the market.

Commenting on Embraer’s joint venture with Boeing, Guo remarked, “We are progressing smoothly […] and we trust the authorities.”




Post Air India Express incident in Mangalore, DGCA finds safety lapses at Calicut airport

NEW DELHI: Aviation regulator DGCA Thursday issued show cause notice to the director of the Calicut international airport after it found that some critical areas were not being maintained as per the safety standards, sources said.

On July 2, an Air India Express flight coming from Dammam had a tail strike while landing at the Calicut international airport.

Under directions from the DGCA, Air India Express earlier this month suspended the pilots involved in this incident.

A source told PTI, “The DGCA observed various lapses in safety standards during its inspection of Calicut airport on July 4 and July 5. Therefore, the show cause notice has been issued to the airport director K Srinivasa Rao. He will have to respond within 15 days.”

The PTI has reviewed the show cause notice issued to Calicut airport director on Thursday.

The notice said that “cracks are observed at runway 28 TDZ (touchdown zone) and along runway C/L marking at runway 10 TDZ”.

The touchdown zone (TDZ) is the part where the aircraft first contacts the surface while landing.

The touchdown zone is ahead of the threshold area.

The notice said that “excessive rubber deposit” was observed in the area from runway C/L marking to three metres on both the sides of touchdown zone of runway 28.

ALSO READ | DGCA issues show-cause notices to Ahmedabad, Chennai airports

Similar excessive rubber deposits were also found by the DGCA along runway C/L marking of touchdown zone of runway 10, as per the notice.

“Water stagnation of about 1.5-metre length was observed on the area between runway edge and intermediate turn pad on runway 28,” the notice said.

The DGCA also found several cracks in the aircraft stand number 5.

It also observed that a “portion of Apron surface” of about 111 metres as damaged.

Apron is that area of the airport where the aircraft are parked, refuelled and boarded with passengers.

“A steep downward slope of approximately five feet depth is observed immediately after the apron behind of aircraft number 1, which needs to be levelled and graded,” the notice said.

The DGCA also observed a shortage of reserve stock of 6,630 litres of Aqueous Film Forming Foam concentrate(AFFF) and 140 kg of “DCP complementary agent” – both are used to put out fires – at Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station of the airport.

DGCA on Tuesday had also issued show cause notices to the directors of the Chennai and Ahmedabad airports for not maintaining the safety standards.




Allie Colleen Celebrating Debut Single Release “Work In Progress”

Garth Brooks, 57, is today a happy man and a proud father!

Earlier, Garth Brooks had announced 2019 Dive Bar Tour.

Garth, the country legend, took to Instagram to share a photo of himself with his wife, Trisha Yearwood, and his youngest daughter, Allie Colleen, on the occassion of the release of Allie’s first single, “Work in Progress.”

Garth had split up with his first wife, Sandy Mahl in 2001. He shares the 22-year-old Allie and his two other daughters — August, 25, and Taylor, 27.

Garth, Allie and Trisha are all smiles in the monochrome pic, as they celebrate the milestone moment in Allie’s life heading towards a burgeoning music career. Brooks shares Colleen and her older sisters August, age 25, and Taylor, 27, with his ex-wife Sandy Mahl. To commemorate the single’s release, Brooks shared a photo online of himself, Colleen and her stepmother, Trisha Yearwood. “What a beautiful voice on your grandmother’s birthday … perfect,” says Brooks in the photo caption.

Up-and-coming singer-songwriter — and daughter of country music star Garth Brooks — Allie Colleen has finally shared her debut single, “Work in Progress.”

In a press release, Allie made the decision to share her new song on July 10 in honor of her grandmother’s birthday.

Colleen has co-written the song with Marcus Hummon, and engineer Greg Brick. Its lyrics accept that there’s always room to grow without conceding long-term goals (“I’m the best I’ve even been, but not the best I’ll ever be”). It describes a life that strives for progress, not perfection. “I go my own way, try to walk a straight line / Still trouble finds me time after time,” Colleen sings in the song’s first verse. “I flirt with disaster, and I court distress / I’m a work in progress.”

Marcus is the hit songwriter credited with Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” and Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly,”.

“When I walked in the studio that day with Marcus and Greg, Marcus already had the entire song structure minus the chorus when we all sat down,” Colleen recalls of the songwriting process. “For the first time, I wasn’t worried about how commercial the song was or what everyone else was gonna think about the song…I was just honest.”

Trisha Yearwood, Garth’s fellow country star and Colleen’s stepmother, too had a pleasant emotion to share about Colleen’s new song. “From one work in progress to another, what a beautiful song and your voice sounds amazing! I love you so much, Allie #EveryGirl,” she wrote on Instagram, incorporating the hashtag of her own newest single, “Every Girl in This Town.” Trisha supported Allie on Instagram, posting the same pic as Garth along with a sweet message.

Colleen doesn’t display her steep social connections. Her legendary dad’s name cannot be found on her Facebook biography or on her website. Garth did support her for her new single on social media. “What a beautiful voice on your grandmother’s birthday…perfect. I love you!!” he wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of himself posing with Colleen and his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

Thus, Allie Colleen, a 23-year-old Belmont University graduate and more famously hitherto known as the youngest daughter of Garth Brooks got introduced to the mainstream with her “Work in Progress”.

If the “Work in Progress” behind the song finds solo success, it’ll come in part through the talents recognized by influential radio personality Bobby Bones and others, not just from her family and their loyal social media followers.

“Allie is a pure singer songwriter,” Hummon says. “Her inspiration moves effortlessly from her heart to her mind and out into the world, through her beautiful voice.”