Sunday, August 07, 2011

Boeing 737-800, 9Y-PBM, Caribbean Airlines flight 523. Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Georgetown, Guyana.

NTSB Identification: DCA11RA092
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 1 Serious,161 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On July 30, 2011, at 1:25 am local time (0525 UTC), a Boeing 737-800, Trinidad & Tobago registration 9Y-PBM, operated by Caribbean Airlines as flight 523, overran the runway upon landing at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Georgetown, Guyana. Of the 156 passengers and six crew on board, there was reportedly one serious and multiple minor injuries. Weather was reported as raining at the time of the accident. Preliminary details from local authorities indicate that the airplane fractured in two pieces as a result of the overrun. The flight was a scheduled passenger flight from Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

The accident is being investigated by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of manufacture. All inquiries should be directed to the Guyana CAA at:

Civil Aviation Authority
Fairlie House Lot 96
Duke St

Approximately 300 houses belonging to squatters, especially on the northern section of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) are pending removal in the wake of the Caribbean Airlines Limited aircraft flight BW523 crash Saturday last.

This was announced by CJIA Chief Executive Officer, Ramesh Ghir at a press conference at the airport yesterday.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon had also recently noted that the most preliminary observation about interventions at the airport suggests that aggressive action is needed to remove the squatters who are directly in the path of the extended runway.

One of the engines being dismantled yesterday.

However, Ghir said that a meeting is being planned this coming week to definitively address the squatting situation at the country’s only international airport.

He said, previously, meetings were held with the squatters and they were told of the safety and security risks they face while squatting around the perimeter of the airport.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the cause of the crash and Ghir noted that the engines of the US$38M aircraft are being removed along with other parts of the plane.

These parts will eventually be handed over to Caribbean Airlines.

Beyond the acknowledgement that the plane overran the runway, there is not much that the government is saying, as the local Civil Aviation Authority is working with regional and international experts to determine what went wrong.
Initial Report and Response

According to the airport’s Chief Executive Officer, the established procedures were used after the aircraft ran off the runway.

Since 2004 there were seven simulated emergency exercises which were carried out at the CJIA to cater for such eventualities.

In disclosing the report of activities and responses by CJIAC and related agencies immediately following the accident, Ghir said that on 30th July 2011, the flight originated from JFK International Airport, and in-transited in Port of Spain, onwards to the CJIA.

Onboard were 154 passengers, including one infant and six crew members.

The aircraft overshot the runway and crashed after it landed causing severe damage, and injury to some of the passengers.

Ghir said that at 01:33 hours, the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) informed the Airport Duty Officer (ADO) that the BW523 had landed and gone over the end of Runway 06.

“On receipt of the call from the Control Tower, the ADO activated the emergency plan by calling the Chief Executive Officer at 1:34 hrs; Deputy Manager Airport Operations at 1:34 (No Answer); Senior Aerodrome Officer at 1:35; Deputy Manager Airport Operations at 1:36hrs; GDF Ops at 1:37 (No Answer); Timehri Police at 1:37 (Already Informed); Port Health at 1:38 (Already Informed); GPHC at 1:39 (No Answer);Immigration at 1:40 hrs; Customs at 1:40 hrs; CAL at 1:41(Already Informed),” Ghir explained.

Underscoring that concurrently, the Air Traffic Controller placed calls to Aerodrome Fire Service; Rescue Coordination Centre and the Aircraft Operator, Ghir said that these calls were made in accordance with the established procedures in the Airport Emergency Plan.

He said that after being advised of the accident by Air Traffic Control, Aerodrome Fire Service responded to the crash site within three minutes with three fire tenders at the end of Runway 06, providing lighting to the accident scene and to respond to any possible fire.

Upon observing the passengers exiting the aircraft via the wings and emergency chute, some fire officers made their way down the 20ft slope and rendered assistance to the passengers.

“The Aerodrome Fire Service Station Officer explained that the left engine was smoking and they sprayed foam on it to prevent a fire. Also assisting passengers at this time were Red Caps and Airport Ramp Attendants who had previously been trained in emergency response exercises. The aircraft was cleared of all passengers by 01:38 hours except for the Captain and First Officer who later deplaned with assistance from the Aerodrome Fire Service,” Ghir said.

Ghir noted that himself along with Minister Robeson Benn arrived at the crash site at 02:15 hrs and was briefed by the Senior Aerodrome Officer. At this time there were no passengers at the crash site except for the Flight Crew. In addition, at 02:25 President Jagdeo arrived at the Terminal Building and met with passengers.
Medical Services and Care Rendered

Underscoring that an established Care Area at 02:15 in the Arrival Immigration Area (Port Health Office) was available, Ghir said approximately 31 persons were attended to at this facility with most of the passengers suffering from shock and minor injuries. There were about four passengers who suffered serious injuries to their limbs. They were subsequently transported to and admitted in hospital.
In addition, four doctors along with three ambulances arrived at the airport at approximately 03:00 hrs and immediately assisted the remaining passengers.

He said senior government officials present at the scene included the Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best and his senior officers, Commissioner of Police Henry Greene and his senior officers, Chairman and other senior officers of CJIA, Director General and Senior Officers of GCAA and representatives of the Civil Defense Commission.

However, following a meeting, a decision was taken to conduct a detailed inspection and assessment at first light to determine when the airport will be reopened and what restrictions will apply, given that the tail of the aircraft was creating an obstruction along the flight path.

He said that during the closure of Runway 06/24, Runway 11/29 was used to process light Aircraft such as the Dash-8 and smaller. Landing and take-offs were done using this runway. Runway 06/24 was re-opened at 11:30 hours on Saturday 30th after notice was given that the operational length of the runway was being reduced to 7,000 feet.

Commenting on taxi drivers taking money from persons who were being rescued from the crash, Ghir said an internal investigation is to be carried on breaches of any regulation at the airport and sanctions will be implemented accordingly. However, at present one taxi driver has been suspended indefinitely.


Airline fined $12,000 for late landing.

A Qantas-owned airline has been fined $12,000 for breaching a flight landing curfew at Wellington International Airport.

Jetconnect was sentenced today in Wellington District Court after pleading guilty to breaching curfew restrictions set out in Wellington City Council's district plan.

The breach happened on September 18. The international flight had been delayed in Sydney and the plane eventually landed in Wellington 17 minutes past a 30-minute grace-period for disrupted flights, at 1.47am.

Night-flying curfews to prevent aircraft noise affecting nearby residents prohibit international flights landing between 1am and 6am, with disrupted flights allowed 30 minutes' leeway.

Jetconnect argued the breach was because of factors beyond its control. Adverse weather and turbulence made the plane arrive late in Sydney and necessitated an inspection by engineers before it was eventually replaced. The Wellington-bound aircraft was further delayed on the Sydney runway when another aircraft suffered bird strike.

Judge Jan Kelly said there were no aggravating factors in Jetconnect's offending and it had tried to make alternative arrangements at Auckland and Christchurch airports when the pilots realised the flight was unlikely to meet the curfew deadline.

"There was a genuine reason for the breach. The flight was disrupted for safety reasons and attempts were made to divert."

But although it could have landed at Christchurch Airport, the pilots decided a "Qantas personnel shortage" meant passengers could not be processed there, so chose to land at Wellington, she said.

In this respect the pilots chose to breach Wellington Airport curfew restrictions to avoid significant financial and logistical difficulties that would otherwise have affected the airline. It therefore "did not take all necessary steps to avoid a breach".

Thought the council that acknowledged the breach was not premeditated or deliberate, it wanted the airline penalised so the case would act as a deterrent to other carriers. Council officials argued the fine should not be so low that it would be "regarded as being a fee for offending".

Judge Kelly convicted Jetconnect and fined the airline $12,000 plus court costs, taking into account its early guilty plea, lack of prior convictions and full cooperation. The money is to be paid to the council.

Man killed in plane engine testing accident

An engineer was killed when he was sucked into a Hercules plane engine at Woodbourne Airport near Blenheim this morning.

Three fire engines and several police cars converged on the corner of the airfield where an engine turbine testing area is set up.

Tasman Police acting district commander Inspector Steve Caldwell said police were assisting an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) investigation after the man, 51, from Blenheim, was killed at a remote corner of the airfield about 8.15am.

Caldwell said how the man died was ''all assumption at this stage'', however, three sources have said he was sucked into a plane engine.

Caldwell said emergency services performed CPR on the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity would not be released until next of kin had been informed.

A source said OSH were on site and the C-130 Hercules engine had been taken into the RNZAF hangar to be dismantled and to allow the man's remains to be recovered.

He said the man had been working on a contract to maintain the C-130.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe was travelling to Blenheim to support the man's family, friends and colleagues following the accident, the airline said.

A former employee said the engine wasn't fitted to an aircraft when the man was killed.

He said SAFE Air tested Hercules engines on a frame in a remote corner of the airport once they had been serviced.

The man had reportedly entered the testing enclosure while the engine was running.

SAFE Air confirmed that an engineer died during what it called a "routine maintenance operation" at its Blenheim base.

It was working with police and the Department of Labour on the investigation.

Blenheim Airport manager Dean Heiford said the accident happened at an engine testing area operated by Safe Air.


LOOP TV: Evektor EV55 Outback - Oshkosh 2011

by Loop Television on Aug 2, 2011
Evektor Boss talks to LoopTV about the companies new aircraft project the EV55.

Rockwell Collins Proline Fusion - Oshkosh 2011

by LOOP Television on Aug 4, 2011
Rockwell Collins demo the very latest, touch screen, Proline Fusion avionics system to Looptv at Oshkosh.

Maule M-7-235 Super Rocket (float plane), Owner/operator:Thomas J. Richards (rgd. owner), N747GL: Accident occurred August 07, 2011 in Warrenton, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA443 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 07, 2011 in Warrenton, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2012
Aircraft: MAULE M-7-235, registration: N747GL
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was observed by several witnesses entering the airport traffic pattern. Two witnesses observed the airplane bank to the left while turning from the base leg to final approach, stall, and enter an uncontrolled descent. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction. A certified flight instructor, who had flown recently with the accident pilot, reported that, on several occasions, the accident pilot performed turns in the traffic pattern at excessive bank angles. In addition, during the most recent flight with the pilot, the pilot did not properly recover the airplane after hearing the stall warning horn and had to be instructed on how to recover from the impending stall. Based on the witness reports of the airplane’s steep bank angle and sudden decrease in pitch attitude, it is likely the pilot inadvertently stalled the airplane during the base-to-final turn in the traffic pattern.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's inadequate airspeed and excessive bank angle while maneuvering for landing, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


On August 7, 2011, about 1350 eastern daylight time, a Maule M-7-235, N747GL, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during approach to Warrenton Air Park (7VG0), Warrenton, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane came to rest upright and a post-impact fire ensued, consuming the airplane except for a portion of the left wing and the two amphibious floats. The airplane was registered to an individual and the personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument rules flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Potomac Airfield (VKX), Friendly, Maryland, at 1315.

The owner of the airplane stated that the accident pilot called him about 1315 and informed him that he was going to fly the float plane to 7VG0. The owner further stated that he observed the airplane enter the downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 4 at 7VG0, and while turning from the base leg to the final leg of the approach, the airplane banked to the left. The airplane appeared to continue to bank to about 75 degrees, at which point the nose pitched down to an almost vertical attitude. The airplane descended and impacted the ground in an open field prior to the runway threshold and "exploded."

Another witness reported that she observed the airplane flying over the north end of the runway and turn onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. When she looked up again, the airplane was in a bank and then entered a dive. She observed the airplane impact the ground and "explode."


The pilot, age 42, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on August 10, 2010. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed approximately 1,300 total hours of flight experience, which included 1,066 total hours in airplane single-engine; however, an accurate flight time total in the make and model of aircraft could not be determined.


The four-seat, high-wing, amphibious airplane, was manufactured in 1994 and was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate on March 4, 1994. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-540-J1A5D, 235-horsepower engine and a three-bladed McCauley propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection could not be determined since the owner was not able to locate the maintenance logbooks after the accident.


The airport was privately-owned and at the time of the accident did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with two runways, designated 04/22 and 15/33. The turf runways were reported in good condition. Runway 04/22 was 2,215 feet long by 70 feet wide runway and runway 15/33 was 2,000 feet long by 70 feet wide. Runway 04/22 had the following note associated with its use: "Narrows to 70 ft usbl at bridge over stream mowed to 240 feet wide." Runway 15/33 had several notes associated with its use and they are as follows: "Width mowed & mkd by orange cones; turf are aprxly 250 feet wide” and “landing only rwy 33; no takeoffs rwy 33 no takeoffs/landing rwy 15." The airport was 442 feet above mean sea level.


The 1355 recorded weather observation at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport (HWY) Warrenton, Virginia, located about 10 miles southeast of the accident location, included wind from 220 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,700 feet above ground level, temperature 35 degrees C, dew point 27 degrees C; altimeter 29.71 inches of mercury. The numbers correlated to an approximate pressure altitude of 652 feet and a density altitude of 3,035 feet.


The airplane impacted the ground with the left wingtip approximately 780 feet from the threshold for runway 4 and came to rest about 730 feet from the runway threshold. The airplane was examined at the site and all major components were accounted for on scene. A detailed field examination of the airframe and powerplant revealed no preimpact anomalies of the airplane.

The initial impact point was approximately 30 feet aft of the trailing edge of the rudder. The initial impact crater consisted of blue and white composite pieces and a wingtip light holder that was absent a lens or bulb.

The left wing was detached from the airframe and exhibited impact and crush damage to the outboard two-thirds of the wing; the inboard 4 feet exhibited thermal damage. The wing’s crush damage was in the aft direction and very slightly in the positive direction. The counter weight remained attached. The pitot tube remained attached as well as the stall sensor switch, which was checked for continuity utilizing an ammeter and was confirmed to be operational. The wing flap was thermally damaged and the mechanical flap tube was cut by local authorities; an accurate flap position could not be determined. The aileron was impact damaged; however, continuity was confirmed from the aileron bellcrank to the cable sever point that was created by the local authorities. Continuity was also confirmed from the sever point to the cockpit control column base attach point. The wing struts remained attached during the accident sequence; however, they were cut by local authorities during the recovery of the occupants. The fuel cap for the inboard 20 gallon fuel tank remained attached and in the secured position. Removal of the fuel cap revealed an odor similar to aviation fuel and a small amount of fluid that was blue in color was observed within the tank. Although the tank was breached, the fluid amount appeared to be approximately 1 gallon. The gascolator, located in the left wing, remained attached to the wing spar; it was removed and fluid consistent in smell and color to 100 low lead aviation fuel was present. The fuel screen was removed and appeared normal in condition and had no evidence of any foreign objects or debris. The outboard 15 gallon fuel tank was impacted-separated and was located next to the fuselage. The fuel tank exhibited extensive thermal and crush damage and was devoid of fluid.

The right wing had extensive thermal damage. The outboard fuel tank was present and had extensive amounts of thermal and crush damage, and the inboard fuel tank could not be identified due to the thermal damage to the wing. The counterweight exhibited thermal damage but remained attached. Aileron control cable continuity was confirmed from the aileron bellcrank to a torsional-overload fracture and from the fracture point to the base of the control column. The flaps exhibited extensive thermal damage and an accurate pre-impact flap position could not be determined.

The empennage and fuselage exhibited extensive thermal damage. The outboard 15 inches of the left side of the elevator were bent forward and in the negative direction and the entire rudder and elevator were destroyed by thermal damage. The rudder trim tab remained attached and appeared to be set slightly nose right. The elevator trim tab remained attached and indicated a slight nose down attitude. Control continuity was confirmed from the associated control surface to a cable cut performed by the local authorities and from that cut to the area immediately adjacent to the rudder pedals and the base of the control column.

The left amphibious float exhibited thermal and impact damage. The forward cross tube remained attached and had dirt and grass embedded into the fractured end of the tube. The aft cross tube was impact-separated. The left float was located to the right side of the right float and was facing in the opposite direction compared to the rest of the airplane. The forward 6 feet had impact and crush damage. Some of the damage was consistent with the float coming in contact with the right float and causing the left float to pivot around the right float during the accident sequence. The floats forward strut remained attached to the float but was impact-separated from the fuselage. The aft strut was impact-separated and found in close proximity to the float. The aft landing gear remained attached and in the down position; however, the forward landing gear was impact separated and located adjacent to the separated propeller blade, which was located 4 feet aft of the rudder. The water rudder remained attached and in the extended position; however, the cables to the rudder from cockpit were separated, allowing the rudder to be in the extended position. Examination of the float did not reveal any water or fluid inside and the float was absent of any signs of hydraulic deformation.

The right amphibious float indicated the landing gear was extended; however, the aft gear was thermally damaged, and the forward gear was bent in the aft direction but remained attached. The forward 6 feet of the float was bent toward the right and exhibited crush and impact damage marks. Some of the impact marks aligned with similar damage to the left amphibious float, indicating contact with each other. The float remained attached to the fuselage structure at the aft attachment point by the aft tube and the forward tube was cut by local authorities; however, the cross tubes were impact-separated. There was thermal damage to the aft one-half of the float. The water rudder remained attached and in the extended position; however, the cables to the rudder from the cockpit were separated allowing the rudder to be in the extended position. Examination of the float did not reveal any water or fluid inside and the float was absent of any signs of hydraulic deformation.

The engine exhibited extensive thermal damage. Cylinder No. 2 valve cover and cylinder body were thermally damaged. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and appeared dark in color with normal wear. The bottom spark plug to cylinder No. 6 was found attached to, and hanging from, the plug wire. Other than extensive thermal damage, there were no other noted failures of the plug or cylinder plug hole. The engine oil pan was thermally damaged and absent, exposing the crankshaft and counterweights. The valve covers were removed and cylinder No. 1 had oil present. The engine was rotated approximately 60 degrees utilizing the propeller flange and continuity was confirmed through the rear accessory drive. The crankshaft was observed rotating through the absent oil pan and some of the lifters were observed moving. The oil dipstick remained attached, thermally damaged, and void of oil. The propeller governor was removed and rotated smoothly and had oil present. The alternator remained attached and the starter was separated due to thermal damage. The throttle quadrant was thermally damaged and an accurate position of the throttle and mixture control could not be determined.

The propeller assembly consisted of three propeller blades. Two propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub; they were thermally damaged, exhibited S-bending, and tip curling. The other propeller blade was located 4 feet aft of the rudder and was buried approximately 2 inches into the topsoil; it was relatively flat with slight S-bending, tip curling and exhibited chord-wise scrape marks.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 8, 2011, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, in Manassas, Virginia. The autopsy findings included "blunt force trauma," and the report listed specific injuries. The cause of death was reported as two of the listed injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no ethanol or drugs were detected in the urine.


The Maule M-7-235 Flight Manual, Section 2, "Limitations," indicated that the stall speed was between 45 and 53 knots, depending on the flap setting. Section 3.3, "Normal Flight Operations," stated in part, "Loss of altitude prior to recovery from a stall may be as much as 300 feet."

According to the FAA Publication FAA-H-8083-3A, Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 8, "Approaches and Landings," stated in part, "…it is recommended that the angle of bank not exceed a medium bank because the steeper the angle of bank, the higher the airspeed at which the airplane stalls…"

A certificated flight instructor performed some of the recent recorded training with the accident pilot in a different make and model than the accident aircraft. He indicated that, on two training flights, the accident pilot performed turns in the airport traffic pattern at 45 degrees of bank. On the most recent flight with the accident pilot, he did not properly recover the airplane after hearing the stall warning horn that sounded on short final, and had to be coached on how to recover from the impending stall.

A global positioning system (GPS) unit was downloaded at the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory and included data from the accident flight as well as 14 flights/power cycles within the 2 days of the accident. A review of the data for the last minute of recorded flight indicated that the airplane entered the left downwind at 758 feet and at 47 knots ground speed. On the downwind to base turn the airplane was at 692 feet and 44 knots ground speed. The last recorded data point was at 1349:37 and recorded 528 feet and 57 knots ground speed.

Elizabeth Pignatello is remembered by many as a dedicated lawyer, mom, volunteer, and friend.

Shannon Beebe

Elizabeth Fawn Slack Pignatello, 39, of Mount Vernon, died Sunday, August 7, 2011 in a private airplane crash. Born in Washington, D.C., on October 29, 1971, Elizabeth grew up in Rockford, Michigan, the daughter of Enid L. Robinson and Robert J. Slack, stepdaughter of Collin Robinson, and sister of the late Erik B. Slack.

Elizabeth lived her life to the fullest by Henry Ford’s motto: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Her can-do attitude led to a successful career as an attorney and a fulfilled life as a mother, daughter, sister and friend.

A decorated lieutenant colonel and an accomplished patent lawyer. They were two exceptional people whose lives were cut short.

Shannon Beebe and his girlfriend Elizabeth Pignatello were killed Sunday afternoon when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed at the Warrenton Air Park, bursting into flames.

Beebe, a graduate of the prestigious military academy at West Point, parlayed his sterling military career into becoming one of the most recognized authorities on Africa within the Department of Defense.

WARRENTON, Va. — Virginia State Police say a small plane crash killed the pilot and passenger in Fauquier County.

Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the plane went down outside of Warrenton just before 2 p.m. Sunday on private property.

She says the single-engine fixed-wing plane burst into flames. She says a medical examiner is working to identify the victims but police don't think they'll have their names until Monday.

Delayed flights end in 'criminal' fuel wastage. (India)

MUMBAI: Delays during peak traffic hours at Mumbai airport do not just inconvenience passengers. They also cost airlines a bomb. A rough estimate by aviation engineers and pilots shows that at least 105 tonnes of fuel is burnt every day by almost 70 flights while hovering over the airport during two hours of air traffic congestion.

This means that fuel worth approximately Rs 76.78 lakh is wasted daily in between 9.30pm and 11.30pm before these flights get landing clearance. The figure, said airport and airline officials, is of minimum fuel burnt by an Airbus-A320 or a Boeing 777. Bigger aircraft lose almost double the fuel.

TOI spoke to senior commanders and engineers who said that one flight on an average burns 1.5 tonne of fuel to hold over for 30 minutes. At Mumbai airport, almost 70 flights land between 9.30pm and 11.30 pm. In the first 15-20 minutes, the delay is around 20 minutes. By 10pm, it goes up to 30 minutes. At 10.30pm, as more flights come in, the holding time escalates to over 40-50 minutes.

"Going by the figures, we can safely assume that the average delay is at least 30 minutes, if not more. In such a situation, a regular aircraft like A-319, 320 or a Boeing 777, will burn 1.5 tonne of fuel. Hence, 70 flights will consume 105 tonnes or 131.25 kilolitre. This is only when we assume that all aircraft are of the aforesaid type," said a senior aviation engineer from Air India (AI). "However, the quantity of fuel wasted will be more as bigger aircraft, too, land in Mumbai during that time. A Boeing 747-400 is a four-engine aircraft; it will consume around 3 tonnes in 30 minutes. The total worth of fuel wasted can be Rs 1 crore daily," he added.

A senior commander said that with 105 tonnes of fuel, one can operate around 12 flights on an A-320 and six flights on a Jumbo between Mumbai and Delhi. "This is a time when the price of ATF has increased air travel cost. This criminal wastage is also incurring losses for airlines. Hence, such a huge wastage of fuel is criminal.

At present, the cost of ATF in Mumbai is Rs 58,620 per kilolitre. Any wastage adds to the cost of operations," the senior commander from a private airline said.

Is there a solution to the problem? Mumbai airport officials said the delays are due to airlines not maintaining schedules. "Fifty flights are supposed to arrive at the airport between the two hours of peak time. Almost 30 flights, some of which are included in the 50 and some over and above them, arrive 20-30 minutes before time. The air traffic control (ATC) ends up handling 70 flights in these two hours, many of which are before schedule

This clogs up the skies and also delays flights which have arrived on time," said an airport official. "The number of flights handled by ATC officials in these two hours is way more than the sanctioned limit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)," he added.

Kapil Kaul, CEO, south Asia, Centre Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) feels that there is no solution to the problem at Mumbai. "Mumbai airport has a structural problem. There is sub-optimal utilization of the ATC, which is under-staffed and ill-equipped. Also, wastage of fuel is not only a matter of money, but also of environment. The carbon emissions go up with more fuel burn.

This is an aspect currently ignored. These delays also affect the service ratings of the airport. The standards may be improved but the issue would still remain unless the ATC utilization is better," Kaul said.


Engineer dead after being 'sucked into plane engine'. Woodbourne Airport, New Zealand.

A man has died after reportedly being sucked into a plane engine at Woodbourne Airport near Blenheim.

Safe Air has confirmed one of its engineers was killed during a routine maintenance check this morning.

A statement said the company was co-operating with investigations launched by police and the Department of Labour.

Police southern communications team leader Mike Murphy said emergency services were called to the airport at 8:10am.

St John's Ambulance spokesman Ian Henderson said staff found a man dead when they arrived at the airport.

Woodbourne Airport manager Dean Heiford said the incident happened in a section of the airport used by Air New Zealand group.

Mr Heiford said he'd heard the man had been sucked into a plane engine.

A further statement would be issued by Safe Air later this morning.

Based in Blenheim, Safe Air is an aviation maintenance, repair, overhaul design and manufacturing business who do work for both the military and commercial airlines.

Experimental aircraft crash sends one to local hospital. McCracken County, Kentucky.

Witnesses say the single engine experimental aircraft took off just about a half mile from the crash site. We're told the engine stalled and died soon after take off. The pilot of the plane walked away unharmed, but one passenger was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. people living near the crash site say, it could have been much worse.

Nick Clark said, "When his wing tip hit the mailbox that's what made the noise and we came outside. It's better to hit the ditch or land in a soft field than to hit the power lines, cause if you hit the power lines your definitely going to be in big trouble."


Karabakh Airport Construction ‘Nearing Completion’

STEPANEKERT (RFE/RL)—The longer-than-anticipated reconstruction of Nagorno-Karabakh’s sole airport is proceeding rapidly and will be over by the end of September, a senior Karabakh official said on Friday.

It remained unclear, however, just when the first commercial flights to and from Karabakh in two decades will start.

Karabakh officials said early this year that a regular flight service between Stepanakert and Yerevan will be launched in May. However, those plans were put on hold last spring amid an outcry from Azerbaijan.

Baku condemned the planned flights as illegal and threatened to shoot down aircraft entering Karabakh without its permission. But it softened its rhetoric in April following international criticism and warnings issued by the Armenian and Karabakh governments.

Karabakh leaders have insisted since then that the airport’s reopening was delayed for technical, rather than political reasons. In a recent interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakian said the airport reconstruction, initially estimated at $3 million, simply proved more costly and time-consuming than was previously thought.

Sahakian declined to give any dates for Karabakh’s renewed air communication with Armenia.

Dmitry Atbashian, the head of the local civil aviation authority, also could not say on Friday when the first passenger jet will land at the airport located 8 kilometers east of Stepanakert. He said instead that construction workers are currently putting the finishing touches on its runway and installing air traffic navigation and meteorological equipment.

“The work is progressing at a very good pace,” Atbashian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “The quality is very is good and I am content with everything.”

“It should be complete in September. Maybe in mid-September, maybe in late September,” he said.

Aicraft flights to and from the airport were discontinued in 1991 amid intensifying armed clashes in Karabakh that degenerated into a full-scale Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Transport communication between the disputed territory and the outside world has since been carried out by land, via Armenia.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation sets up dept to record safety lapses.

Airlines and airport staff can now fearlessly report incidents related to flights safety to the aviation safety regulator. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week set up a department that will record reports on safety hazards without revealing the identity of the person reporting it.

A DGCA circular issued last week said that people are reluctant to report even small errors fearing backlash from their respective employers.

As a result, the regulator has now set up a confidentiality reporting system at its headquarters in Delhi.

People aware of safety lapses can directly approach AK Sharan, joint director general and BS Rai, deputy director general (air safety), who have been deputed by the DGCA.

“The name of person reporting the case would not be entered in the computer,” said a senior DGCA official on condition of anonymity.

Small plane crashes in Fauquier County, northern Virginia.

WARRENTON, Virgina — Virginia State Police say a small plane has crashed in Fauquier County.

Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the plane went down outside of Warrenton just before 2 p.m. Sunday. She said the crash occurred on private property.

Geller said additional details on the crash are not available, and state police investigators are on the scene.

Griffiss plans ‘not going as well as we expected’. Griffiss International Airport (KRME), Rome, New York.

Mark DiOrio / Observer-Dispatch
Adam Brement, a line service professional with Million Air, moves in to place wheel wedges under the landing gear of a jet at Griffiss International Airport, August 04, 2011, in Rome, NY.

ROME — Three years ago, Million Air aviation company officials made their pitch to the Oneida County Board of Legislators for the contract to run the Griffiss International Airport’s fixed-base operations.

Within a few years, business would improve at the airport dramatically at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, and the county soon would be making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off the deal, Chris Freeman, managing member of Million Air’s parent company, Freeman Holdings, told the legislators.

That revenue, however, hasn’t materialized, despite the county investing more than $900,000 for new fuel tanks for the expected aircraft traffic.

“It’s not going as well as we expected,” Freeman said.

A key part of the Million Air business plan had been to get fueling contracts for military aircraft. But aside from a couple of short-term engagements, the military planes haven’t come.

County officials said the deal with Million Air has been beneficial to their bottom line, even if revenues haven’t been as hoped. That’s because Million Air has taken on some airport-related costs, including employees and their benefits, they said.

“We are far better off with a private FBO,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said.

A fixed-base operator provides services to planes that use the airport, much like a full-service gas station does for a motor vehicle.

The airport is a key piece of Oneida County’s economic development plan. Millions in federal, state and local dollars have been invested to repair and improve the facility, but the county continues to lose money on the endeavor.

The airport ran a deficit of around $843,000 in 2010, airport officials said.

In 2007, the county’s airport was moved from Oriskany to the former Air Force base, which was shuttered in the 1990s when the federal government was looking to cut costs through a Base Realignment and Closure round.

Since then, the county has been seeking aviation-related businesses to locate at Griffiss and is trying to find other ways to capitalize on the massive runway.

By the numbers

In its 2008 presentation, Million Air officials said Oneida County would make $190,900 off the deal in 2009, and $205,100 in 2010.

Three years have elapsed, and the numbers are far lower than projected.

In 2010, the county’s net gain from the airport’s fixed-base operations was $32,992, Airport Commissioner Vernon Gray said.

Fuel fees to the county were expected to reach $86,000 in 2010, but came in around $62,000, records show. Under the contract, the county must give of its hangar rents to Million Air because the company manages them, and that’s why the county’s final net is lower, Gray said.

Freeman said Rome is the least successful of all the fixed-base operations he runs.

“I know we sustained a loss there last year,” he said. “I know it’s certainly not a profit center.”

Million Air operates in about 30 airports in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, according to the company website.

County Legislator Frank Tallarino, D-Rome, has been a critic of the deal from the start. He said it would have made better sense for the county to keep control of the fixed-base operations, and that the plan to get military planes was shaky from the start.

“Everything he said has not materialized,” Tallarino said of Freeman.
Military business?

Under Million Air’s plan, the runway was to be aggressively marketed for military training flights and also for planes transporting soldiers overseas.

The large quantities of fuel such planes use would be a major boost to Griffiss’ business, officials said.

In 2008, Million Air officials said they planned to capture overflow military business from Bangor International Airport in Bangor Maine.

So far, however, Bangor has managed to retain its clients.

Freeman said he and area officials had been trying to get a U.S. Customs and Border Protection office set up at Griffiss, but that’s been more complicated than expected.

Because the transport planes are bringing military personnel to and from other countries, a U.S. Customs Office would be required to get that business, officials said.

Still, Freeman said he remains committed to Griffiss.

“We hope to turn it around to be a profit center,” he said.


Fuel sales at Griffiss International Airport are on the rise but still aren’t approaching predicted levels. Oneida County receives eight cents for every gallon sold.

Year       Gallons   County’s share
2009     564,088    $45,127
2010   781,143 $62,491
2011  485,432   $38,834*

* Gallons sold so far this year


New Zealand: Wellington Airport: 787s key for direct link to Asia

Wellington Airport's majority owner Infratil Ltd says new aircraft, rather than a longer runway, will allow direct services between the city and Asia.

Infratil said in a shareholder update that the Wellington City Council had reiterated its desire to have the city directly connected to Asia with air services.

The reiteration was accompanied by calls for the airport to extend its runway to allow larger jets to take-off fully loaded.

"The primary impediment to such services is, however, not the runway length but the size of the Wellington market," Infratil said.

"The boon for the Wellington market is expected to be the Boeing 787, which is still on track to commence services later in 2011. This aircraft will be able to operate off Wellington's runway and with a capacity of about 200 passengers it suits the scale of Wellington-Asia daily traffic," it said.

In 1980 it took approximately 280 litres of fuel per passenger to fly between Wellington and Melbourne. It now takes about 130 and new aircraft would halve that within a decade.

The airport is paying $40 million to its shareholders in August as a special dividend.

Infratil acquired its 66 per cent interest in Wellington Airport when the Crown sold its shareholding in 1998. The Wellington City Council owns the other 34 per cent.

Kathmandu: Lack of Nepal Airlines Corporation aircraft hits tourism sector hard

KATHMANDU: Lack of aircraft for the national carrier has made Nepal an expensive destination for the tourists.

“Though fooding and lodging and other tour packages in the country are considered comparatively cheaper to other destinations, it is the airfare that has made Nepal an expensive destination,” said a member of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 working committee, Dhurba Narayan Shrestha.

“Airfare to Nepal is 50 per cent expensive than the airfare to India,” he said, adding that visitors from European countries are forced to pay extra airfare of $1,000 to visit Nepal from other foreign airlines whereas, if only we had enough national carriers with direct flights to Europe the airfare would have been around $700 - $800.

In ten years interval, the number of tourist arriving Nepal from Japan and Germany has decreased largely, Shrestha cited the example. “Earlier total Japanese and German tourist arriving Nepal used to be around 45,000 that has been now limited to half due to lack of direct flight. Then, Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) — present Nepal Airlines Corporation — used to operate flights to both Europe and Japan.

According to Immigration Office TIA’s arrival data, in July the tourist arrivals increased by 20 per cent but the arrivals from Japan registered a negative growth of 7.9 per cent compared to last July. Similarly arrivals from Germany, Netherlands, Spain also recorded negative growth of 45.3 per cent, 24.1 per cent, and 21.1 per cent respectively.

Currently some two dozen international airlines fly to Nepal but the ailing national flag carrier flies to only limited destinations due to lack of aircraft and regular political bickering that has hit the airlines financials hard.

The key reason behind the drop in the visitor arrivals from the key tourist destinations like Japan and Germany is due to lack of direct air connectivity and flights of the national carrier and expensive airfare of foreign airlines, he said.

The foreign airlines flying to Nepal are expensive compared to Nepal Air lines, he said, adding that foreign airlines are charging airfare of Rs 13,000 to Rs 15,000 on Kathmandu-New Delhi-Kathmandu route, whereas the Nepal Airlines Corporation charges only around Rs 9,000.

“Due to expensive airfare and lack of direct connectivity, European visitors shy away from visiting Nepal. From long-haul markets, Europe registered overall negative growth of 5.6 per cent in July, according to the data. “The expensive airfare has made the quality tourist and their spending decrease,” Shrestha added.

Though, the average tourist stay has increased but their spending has decreased.

“As we are unable to afford economy airfare to the long haul destinations, we should revisit our strategy and develop market at the short haul destinations like India, China, Malaysia, and Singapore,” Shrestha suggested.

According to Nepal Tourism Board’s (NTB) data, the arrivals from Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand registered a positive growth of 18.9 per cent, 36 per cent, 23.9 per cent, and 107.1 per cent in July.

Similarly arrivals from India and China recorded encouraging growth.

Orient Thai Airlines picks Boeing: Russian jet maker unable to meet terms.

Orient Thai Airlines is revamping its fleet with the introduction of Boeing 737 Classic jets to replace the vintage McDonnell Douglas 80-series aircraft.

The Thai carrier opted for the US-made Boeings after its plan to acquire 12 Sukhoi Superjet narrow-body jets from Moscow-based Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) did not materialise.

Orient Thai founder Udom Tantiprasongchai said SCAC's inability to meet promised delivery dates was due to delays in certification of airworthiness of its new aircraft.

The earliest SCAC could deliver its aircraft was 2015-16, three to four years behind the airline's requirement.

Orient Thai had a non-binding memorandum of understanding with SCAC for two years to purchase 12 jets with an option for another 12.

The jets cost US$25 million apiece, and talks involved SCAC establishing a Sukhoi aircraft maintenance centre and pilot training facility in Thailand.

The airline has taken delivery of three used B737-300s and is working to acquire nine B737-400s, a more versatile and stretched version.

By the first quarter of next year, the airline should be operating six B737 Classic jets while completing its acquisition of 12 B737s toward the end of 2012, said Mr Udom.

It used its MD aircraft to fly mostly domestic routes under the no-frills brand One-Two-Go, which adopted its parent's name of Orient Thai over a year ago.

Orient Thai has four working MD 80 and 90 series jets plus a spare.

The airline is using the B737-300s on one of its two international routes, Chiang Rai-Macau, and a B747 jumbo on its Bangkok-Hong Kong route.

Mr Udom said the airline also wanted to use B737-300s for international charter flights, a lucrative business segment for Orient Thai.

The airline serves seven domestic cities from Don Mueang in Bangkok: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Udon Thani.

Its B737-300s have winglets, a new aerodynamic feature said to achieve 5% fuel savings.

Report on July 30 Aircraft Overran Runway: Caribbean Airlines flight 523 Boeing 737-800, 9Y-PBM. by CJIA Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir. Georgetown, Guyana.

(This report was released at a press conference on August 6)

Report on Activities and Responses by CJIAC and related  agencies immediately following the CAL Flight BW523 Accident


At 0132 hours on 30th July 2011 Caribbean Airlines flight, BW523, Registration  9Y-PBM (Boeing 737-800), was involved in an accident at the Cheddi Jagan  International Airport.

This flight originated from JFK International Airport, and transited in Port of  Spain, onwards to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Onboard were 154 passengers plus one infant and 6 crew members.

The aircraft overshot the runway and crashed after it landed causing severe  damage to the aircraft and injury to some of the passengers.

Initial Report and Response

The Air Traffic Controller (ATC), at 0133 hours informed the Airport Duty Officer (ADO) that the BW523 had landed and gone over the end of Runway 06.

On receipt of the call from the Control Tower, the ADO activated the emergency  plan by calling:

Chief Executive Officer @0134

Deputy Manager Airport Operations @0134 No Answer

Senior Aerodrome Officer @0135

Deputy Manager Airport Operations @0136

GDF Ops @0137 No Answer

Timehri Police @0137 Already Informed

Port Health @0138 Already Informed

GPHC @0139 No Answer

Immigration @0140

Customs @0140

CAL @0141 Already Informed

Calls were also made to off duty airport operations and maintenance staff.

Concurrently, the Air Traffic Controller placed calls to Aerodrome Fire Service;

Rescue Coordination Centre and the Aircraft Operator.

These calls were made in accordance with the established procedures in the Airport Emergency Plan.

Ramp attendants along with other airport personnel who were on the International Apron awaiting the arrival of the flight observed the aircraft overshoot the runway and immediately ran in the direction of the crash site via the taxiway.

Crash Site

After being advised of the accident by ATC, Aerodrome Fire Service responded to the crash site within three minutes with three fire tenders at the end of Runway 06.

They were positioned to provide lighting to the accident scene and respond to any fire. Upon observing the passengers exiting the aircraft via the wings and emergency chute some fire officers made their way down the 20ft slope and rendered assistance to the passengers. The Aerodrome Fire Service Station Officer explained that the left engine was smoking and they sprayed foam on it to prevent a fire.

Also assisting passengers at this time were Red Caps and Airport Ramp Attendants who had previously been trained in emergency response exercises.

The aircraft was cleared of all passengers by 0138 hours except for the Captain and First Officer who later deplaned with assistance from the Aerodrome Fire Service.

By 0140 the Senior Aerodrome Officer along with members of the Guyana Police Force had already started to form the inner cordon around the aircraft. Shortly thereafter the Guyana Defense Force established the outer security cordon. The primary and secondary sweeps of the aircraft were completed by 0145.

In the meantime several vehicles from the Airport and nearby community began arriving at the crash site and were used to transport passengers to the terminal.

CEO, Ramesh Ghir, along with Minister Robeson Benn arrived at the crash site at  0215 and was briefed by the Senior Aerodrome Officer. At this time there were no passengers at the crash site except for the Flight Crew.

At 0220 the Senior Aerodrome Officer departed the crash site for the Terminal Building and advised the Manager of Air Traffic Services to close the runway.

At 0225 His Excellency President Jagdeo arrived at the Terminal Building and met with passengers.

Medical Services and Care Rendered

The Port Health Officer was on the International Apron at the time of the accident and proceeded to the crash site via Runway 06. He subsequently established Care Area at 0215 in the Arrival Immigration Area (Port Health Office). Approximately thirty one (31) persons were attended to at this facility with most of the passengers suffering from shock and minor injuries. There were about four (4) passengers who suffered serious injuries to their limbs. They were subsequently transported to and admitted in Hospital.

Four (4) doctors along with three (3) ambulances arrived at the airport at approximately 0300 and immediately assisted the injured passengers.

Activation of Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

The Emergency Operating Center (EOC) was established at 0300. All of the critical  members were present in the EOC including:

Minister of Transport and Hydraulics

Chief of Staff and his senior officers

Commissioner of Police and his senior officers

Chairman of CJIAC

CEO and Senior Officers of CJIAC

Director General and Senior Officers of GCAA

Civil Defense Commission

Representatives from CASSOS

Following the meeting, a decision was taken to conduct a detailed inspection and assessment at first light to determine when the aerodrome will be reopened and what restrictions will apply given that the tail of the aircraft was creating an obstruction along the flight path.

During the closure of Runway 06/24, Runway 11/29 was used to process light Aircraft such as the Dash-8 and smaller. Landing and take-offs were done using this runway.

Runway 06/24 was re-opened at 1130 hours on Saturday 30 after notice was given that the operational length of the runway was being reduced to 7,000 ft.


Airplane created using a 3D printer in world first: Scientists build aircraft with 100mph max speed.

This plane is the first in the world to be created using the groundbreaking new technology of '3D printing'.

The aircraft was built using only a computer - but it can get up to a speed of 100mph and has a two-metre wingspan.

It was produced using a special nylon laser printer that builds up an item layer-by-layer.

The parts were made separately and attached using a 'snap fit' technique so the aircraft could be put together without tools in minutes.

No fasteners at all were used in the manufacture of the plane.

The breakthrough by the team of engineers from the University of Southampton's Computational Engineering and Design Research group could revolutionise aircraft manufacture.

Unmanned and electrically powered, the plane can cruise in near silence and is also equipped with a miniature autopilot system.

Read more and photos:

Bangalore: Domestic airlines enter choppy weather. High fuel prices, excess seat capacity, and slower demand growth are the major headwinds for the civil aviation industry.

Full service carrier Jet Airways’ April-June 2011 performance is a classic example of what is happening in the Indian aviation industry. India’s biggest private airline reported a robust increase in yield in the quarter ending June but suffered a net loss of Rs 123 crore compared with a net profit of Rs 3.52 crore a year earlier. Similar was the fate of the other private sector biggie Kingfisher Airlines, not to speak of the state-run Air India.

As per information given by civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi to Parliament on August 2, 2011, national carrier Air India incurred a loss of over Rs 5,500 crore during the 2009-10 fiscal followed by Kingfisher and Jet at Rs 1,239.30 crore and Rs 467.60 crore, respectively. Besides, another private airline operator Go Air incurred a loss of Rs 65.50 crore in the period.

Thankfully for the industry, not all airlines have gone the full-carrier’s way. Low-cost carrier IndiGo,which has made giant strides, returned with a huge profit of Rs 484.70 crore in the same fiscal, followed by its rivals SpiceJet at Rs 67 crore and JetLite Rs 46.20 crore.

Why such behaviour by the industry? Higher yields, one may say, should result in better revenue. But not necessarily in the case of aviation industry. Also, this sort of performance has come in the April-June quarter, considered the second best by the industry after October-December quarter dominated by the holiday-festival season.

The bad news for the industry has come just when it was deemed to be having a better run. The 2010-11 fiscal had been fairly good for the sector. While Jet just managed to earn a tiny net profit, Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher made operating profit managing to narrow down its net losses. Its revenues increased by 23 per cent - the airline clocked annual revenues of Rs 6496 crore. For Jet, net sales during the period stood at Rs 3,320 crore, up 20 per cent for the fiscal. Now consider this: Kingfisher’s operating profit was possible because of increased passenger traffic and better capacity utilisation. Passenger load factor for the industry as a whole rose 6 percentage points to 78 per cent while Kingfisher Airlines reported a nine percentage point-increase in its load factor to 81 per cent. As for Jet, it showed improvement in yield, aircraft utilisation and interest burden. For domestic operations, the yield increased by 10 per cent to 5.50.

Facing headwinds

So where lies the problem? While there is an indication of their improvement in business performance - improvement in some crucial financial parameters such as yield, aircraft utilisation and interest burden - it is not showing in their balance sheet. Higher yield is not leading to higher revenues. The reasons are two fold: one continued increase in input costs and second, the increase in seat capacity offered. This, besides intense competition from low-cost carriers and seasonality of business.

Fuel costs – accounting for 30-40 per cent of an airline’s costs, is the single biggest factor in the losses. In the last quarter, the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) spiraled by 33 per cent. The old bugbear of the industry topped $100 a barrel mark resulting in losses for airlines.

This took a toll on the bottomlines. The airlines are wary of increasing the fares to match the fuel price hike for fear of negative impact on load factor. Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Andrew Herdman recently said the rebound in global aviation industry was strong in 2010 but cautioned over prospects this year as aviation fuel prices are ruling high.

Vijay Mallya says the government should step in and address the issues considering how important the aviation sector is. “Kingfisher is doing well, there is good seat factor. But increasing ATF prices is taking a toll on us. There Centre should intervene and help us out. It is not enough if you say state governments have to reduce taxes on ATF”.
After initially trying to take advantage of the Air India strike by increasing their fares, the rival private airlines reduced fares to match the discounts offered by the state-run carrier.

Creating overcapacity

Another key reason for losses is the increase in domestic capacity which has exceeded increase in demand. Most airlines increased their number of routes flown or the frequencies.

See how the airlines grabbed the regional pie: Jet increased its regional connectivity from March while SpiceJet, controlled by media baron Kalanithi Maran of Sun TV Network, started connecting Tier II cities in June. Jet connected the Tier II cities of central India like Raipur, Indore, Bhopal, and Nagpur with the south Indian cities. SpiceJet has linked or will connect Vijayawada, Tirupati, Mysore, Mangalore, Madurai, Nagpur and Indore.

Kingfisher launched 11 new flights around the same time with majority of routes connecting Tier II cities with metro destinations.

These include Ranchi, Madurai, Udaipur, Bhopal, Leh, Aurangabad, Dibrugarh, Rajkot, Tirupati and Silchar. Baroda, Jamnagar, Bhuj, Indore, Nagpur, Lakshwadeep, Madurai, Trichy are the other routes it has connected or are on its map. The airlines were able to connect regional routes because of increase in their capacity. Almost every airline is adding aircraft to its fleet every passing week. It is not just addition to the existing fleet but also placing new orders which is attracting attention in these times of airlines going into red.
On a fierce shopping spree, IndiGo created record of sorts with orders for 180 aircraft and it was billed as one of the largest in commercial aviation history (last month’s order by American Airlines for 460 narrow body planes is the biggest so far). Not to be left behind, Jeh Wadia-led GoAir placed an order for 72 A320 neo aircraft, SpiceJet has placed an order for 30 Boeing 737-800 and 30 Bombardier aircraft. Jet has placed order for 10 A330s while AI plans to take 10 A330s and 16 A320s on a dry lease (to rent an aircraft without the crew). This is not all. Aircraft major Boeing has forecast a $150 billion market for 1320 new passenger airplanes in India over the next 20 years, according to Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar.

Former Indian Airlines director Robin Pathak is critical of the capacity addition. He remarked, “There is a clear mismatch between demand and supply. Excess capacity has been added without rational thinking and caring for demand. This is what is happening to the sector. Regulatory authorities are not looking at it. Result is the present state of affairs.”

The combined result of increase in capacity and routes is the jump in passenger traffic. “Passenger traffic has grown at 18 per cent year-on-year and the year 2010 closed at 90 million passengers,” says civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi.

The strident growth has, according to one estimate, taken India’s aviation market to the size of France. The last fiscal’s growth is second in the world, next only to Brazil.

According to another estimate, domestic passenger traffic has grown at an average annual rate of 16.5 per cent during the last six years.But then, the increasing passenger traffic is not really bringing a smile on the faces of those who man the sector. That will happen only when yields match revenues of all airlines. 


Four killed in Pacific island protest over cost of local air travel. French minister for overseas territories holds urgent talks in Paris after demonstrations outside Maré airport turn violent.

The French government has tried to calm tensions on the south Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia after four people died and 23 were injured in clashes during a protest at the high cost of local air travel.

Two armed groups clashed on Saturday night outside the airport on Maré, a small island of 6,000 people, one of several that make up France's exotic "overseas collectivity".

For more than 10 days, several local airports on the islands had been blockaded as protesters complained that the price of local flights had become extortionate. The protest was part of a wider anger at the growing divide between rich and poor.

The local airline, Air Caledonie, warned that it was facing bankruptcy because of the demonstrations and that the tourist industry would be badly damaged.

A "passengers' collective" had barricaded Maré airport and blocked entry to a local village. On Saturday night, 300 people from the Ghuama district, whose chief, Nidoish Naisseline, is the airline's chairman, tried to break up the protest.

Violence ensued between the two groups of about 300 people each. Stones were thrown, then shots were fired and four young men were killed. The Agence France-Presse correspondent described people armed with hunting rifles and machetes, on roads lined with burnt-out cars.

France's high commissioner, Albert Dupuy, called it "a nightmare day".

The French Socialist party warned that with endemic unemployment for indigenous locals and a big divide between the rich and poor, New Caledonia was about to tip into an "explosion" of social unrest.

The French minister for overseas territories, Marie-Luce Penchard, rushed back from holiday to hold urgent talks in Paris, announcing mediation by religious groups. She said the dispute was not just about air tickets, but also about land ownership on the island. Gendarmes were flown to Maré by helicopter to clear the airport barricades.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is expected to go ahead with his planned visit to New Caledonia in three weeks. His presidency has seen unrest in France's overseas outposts. In 2009, after a six-week general strike over high prices and social inequality rocked Guadeloupe – the Caribbean island and French "overseas department" – Sarkozy promised a vast programme of aid measures but many feel they have yet to benefit.

New Caledonia is an overseas "collectivity" rather than a fully-fledged part of France. A rise in pro-independence feeling among indigenous locals and resistance by some of the locally-born people of European descent has led to political tension. Earlier this year, there were four months of political instability and vacuum as the archipelago struggled to form a government. In the 1980s, violent unrest led France to send in paratroopers. A referendum on independence is expected to be held between 2014 and 2019.