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On government's covid to-do list: Relieve, revive & rebuild India

The pandemic & accompanying economic crisis need short-term measures to combine with a long-term vision.


29 March, 2020, 08:23 PM IST



Airport heroes: staying away from families to handle rescue flights

Operational staff, cleaning staff, baggage handling, airside management, bird chaser are among the staff of Delhi airport who are staying at the airport and will remain there till the end of lockdown period on April 14. Besides, staff of the CISF, customs, Air Traffic ontroller and immigration are also present at the airport for smooth operation.

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  • "After the temporary suspension of all international operations for a week from March 22 announced by the government, IndiGo has grounded as many as 30 aircraft in its fleet. Most of these planes were deployed on overseas routes," the airline source said. Of the 258 aircraft in the fleet, IndiGo has 13 Airbus A321, 220 A320 CEOs and NEOs, and 25 regional jets.

    Unveiling the Market Forecast report in Hyderabad on Thursday during the global aviation summit — Wings India 2020 — Airbus India and South Asia managing director Anand Stanley said their prognosis was conservative compared to the Indian government’s projections.

    Already battered shares in British Airways parent IAG , easyJet and Air France-KLM plunged again as they scrapped most flights for the coming weeks, joining other major carriers that are all but halting operations in the face of the pandemic. The travel collapse threatens more bankruptcies in the wake of British carrier Flybe's failure this month.

    India requires 1,880 new passenger and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years in order to meet the strong demand, Airbus' latest Indian market forecast said on Thursday. Taking into account the 440 retirements, India's existing domiciled fleet of 510 aircraft would quadrupleto 1,950, the release added.

    Carriers fly into rough weather as the virus brings on a deluge of domestic cancellations & rescheduling requests.

    Committee chairman TG Venkatesh raised this at a meeting held on February 20. “Concerns were raised over safe operations of Airbus 320 (neo), but those concerns were addressed by the government representatives,” said an official who was part of the meeting.

    Shares in budget airline SpiceJet Ltd skidded nearly 19% on Thursday morning even as it launched a sale offering tickets for as little as $13 one way, along with free meals and seats. Rival IndiGo saw its shares drop as much as 17%, having warned of a profit hit on Wednesday evening due to a sharp decline in domestic bookings.

    The regulator had acted on the basis of a complaint from a passenger on a flight operating between Aizawl and Kolkata sector and the DGCA had asked the national carrier to ensure that the problem is fixed.

    Following a spate of PW engine snags on A320 Neos last year, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said no Neo with even a single unmodified PW engine would be allowed to fly after May 31, 2020. Airbus and PW’s in past few weeks have logged a replacement rate of one engine daily after that directive.

    The ED has stepped up its probe into whether a $2.2-bn Airbus SE jetliner sale to Indian Airlines involved bribes.

    While about 90 of the modified engines were to come as new deliveries and replacement by February-end, the remaining half is expected by May 31. IndiGo at present has 106 Neos and GoAir has 43.

    SpiceJet, which has been struggling due to grounded Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, is looking at option beyond Boeing aircraft to expand in the market. The airline currently operates a fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400s. The airline has a fleet of 82 Boeing 737, two Airbus A320, 32 Bombardier Q-400s and five B737 freighters.

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