Today, 27th January 2022 is a historic day for Indian aviation. Today is the day, India’s flag carrier Air India finally returns home!
69 years after it was nationalized, Air India has been formally taken over by the Tata Group today.
Air India was founded by J.R.D. Tata in 1932, and was originally called Tata Airlines. It was later converted to a public limited company and renamed as Air India. Back in the day, Air India was one of the world’s leading airlines both in terms of service and technology. It was the first Asian airline to enter the jet age when it inducted the first Boeing 707 in 1960.
A decade later, Air India inducted the first Boeing 747-200 into its fleet and introduced the Palace in the Sky branding and livery.
It was nationalized and taken over by the Government of India in 1953. Air India focused on international routes while a new airline company, Indian Airlines was formed to take over domestic routes.
The airline had a rocky history as a government owned entity, and its service standards dipped. Poor customer service, low on-time performance, worn out aircraft interiors tarnished the reputation of the Maharaja. Multiple efforts were made to improve the airline’s standing through the years, but none could turn its fortunes around.
As part of a consolidation exercise, Air India was merged with Indian Airlines in 2007 to create a mega carrier with a large, diverse aircraft fleet and an even larger workforce. It was invited to join Star Alliance in 2007 but with the airline merger proving to be a difficult undertaking, Air India could not meet the joining requirements.
After an excruciatingly long process of integration, Air India finally joined Star Alliance in July 2014, a full seven years after it was originally invited! It was and is the only airline from India to be part of a global airline alliance.
The Government of India had been making efforts to privatize the airline for decades, but none of those were successful. The airline kept posting losses year after year and had to be bailed out using taxpayer money. At the same time, the influx of lean privately operated airlines, especially low cost carriers kept eroding Air India’s market share.
Starting 2020, the privatization efforts gathered steam, and finally in October 2021, the Tata Group (through a Special Purpose Vehicle – Talace Private Limited) won the bid to acquire Air India from the Government of India, thus completing a full circle in the airline’s history.
The future of Air India looks bright in the hands of its original owners. The Tata Group is known for its high standards in customer service especially in the hospitality and travel industries. How they manage to tame the jumbo (no pun intended 🙂 ) remains to be seen. The decline in air travel due to the pandemic as well as other issues such as handling the bloated workforce and integrating Air India with other airlines in the portfolio such as Vistara are immediate challenges that will need to be addressed.
Here’s wishing the Tatas all the best, and hope they can restore the Maharaja to its former glory!
After a long absence due to the ongoing pandemic, Emirates will re-introduce its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo to Kuala Lumpur from July 2nd 2022.
Emirates used to operate its two class 615-seater A380s to Kuala Lumpur on the EK 346/EK 347 rotation before the pandemic hit in early 2020.
The flights are currently operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.
The proposed schedule of the A380 flights between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur looks like this:
EK 346 DXB D 0310. KUL A 1425. A380
EK 343. KUL D 0240 DXB A 0530. A380
The afternoon arrival is a great opportunity for plane spotters to catch the arrival of the superjumbo at KUL. With the MH A380s not likely to return to service in the future, this would be the only A380 operation at KUL for the time being.
Of course, all this is *IF* this upgrade actually materialises, subject to Malaysian border restrictions/reopening in the next few months.
Selangor Aviation Show 2021 is the first ever airshow brought together by the Malaysian State of Selangor through Invest Selangor Bhd. and its dedicated aerospace division, S-DAICO. It is being held at the Skypark Regional Aviation Centre, Subang between November 25th and 27th, 2021. The Selangor Aviation Show 2021 is an event dedicated to business aviation, general aviation and helicopters.
Malaysia’s premier aviation event – LIMA, held in Langkawi every two years was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Selangor Aviation Show was a much needed boost at least for the business/general aviation sector in Malaysia.
The main exhibitors during this edition are Embraer, Dassault Aviation, Bell Helicopters, Piaggio Aerospace, Turkish Aerospace & Robinson Helicopters.
The star of the show is the Embraer E-195 E2. This aircraft adorned in the “Profit Hunter” colours is an eye-catcher wherever it visits, and it was the same here.
Turkish Aerospace is displaying their T625 GÖKBEY multirole helicopter
Piaggio Aerospace is displaying their cute little P-180 Avanti EVO
Also on display is the Robinson R66 Turbine aptly registered 9M-FLY
Airbus Helicopters AS350 Écureuil
Diamond Aircraft displaying their DA-42 Twin Star
Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin 2
Apart from the static aircraft display, the Selangor Aviation Show also has the exhibition area, showcasing the latest technologies, products and services in the business/general aviation and related sectors.
As mentioned earlier, the Selangor Aviation Show 2021 was a great opportunity for the general aviation sector to network and display the latest on offer after nearly two years of disruption caused by the pandemic.
DUBAI, Nov 16 2021 – India’s Akasa Air has placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Dubai Airshow 2021. The order, which was being rumored in aviation circles for the past few weeks has now finally been confirmed.
Akasa Air is a yet to be launched “Ultra Low Cost Airline” and is backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. The airline expects to start domestic operations by the summer of 2022.
The order for 72 aircraft includes two variants – The 737 MAX 8 and the high density 737- 8-200, which can seat up to 200 passengers in a single class configuration. The order is valued at around 8 billion USD at list prices, although steep discounts are often offered to customers.
This order marks a major win for Boeing in the Indian aviation market which is dominated by Airbus A320 family narrowbody aircraft. The only other airlines currently flying that operate Boeing narrowbody aircraft are SpiceJet, Air India Express and a handful of aircraft by Vistara.
Boeing put out the following tweet and press release announcing the Akasa Air order.
Akasa Air’s order will also mark the debut of the high density Boeing 737- 8-200 in the Indian market. As previously mentioned, this variant can fit up to 200 passengers in a single class configuration. The increased number of seats is made possible by reducing galley space and using slimline seats. The higher passenger number also necessitates the provision of an additional pair of emergency exits aft of the wing. Irish low cost carrier Ryanair was the launch customer of this high density variant.
The last year and a half has been extremely difficult for all of us, and particularly for the aviation industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen lockdowns being imposed all over the world, causing massive losses to airlines leading to layoffs and in some cases airlines going bankrupt.
As the world starts getting back on its feet, long haul international travel is well poised to making a comeback. Passenger air traffic has seen a steady increase in the past few months and the upcoming end of the year festive season promises to show encouraging numbers.
Singapore Airlines – one of the world’s premier long haul airlines is gearing up for resumption of long haul international passenger flights as well. The airline, which was the world’s first to fly the Airbus A380 had parked these massive birds in the Australian desert to prevent corrosion related damages in the humid tropical weather.
Singapore Airlines is now deploying its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft on a short 1 hour hop to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is to help the flight deck and cabin crew get back up to speed on operating the aircraft. In fact, the actual flying time on this route is just over 30 minutes, earning it the nickname of the world’s shortest scheduled A380 flight.
Even though the flying time is barely enough for a glass of juice or a pack of peanuts to be served, it provides valuable real-world experience to the crew on the nuances of operating this aircraft in preparation for long haul flights.
For passengers as well as aviation enthusiasts, this is a great opportunity to experience the world class Singapore Airlines long haul products on the A380. One would normally have to take a long haul flight with the airline in order to fly on these superjumbos.
Singapore Airlines is operating the A380 on the following flight numbers from 4th November to 3rd December 2021.
SQ 106 SIN D 0830 KUL A 0930 Mon, Tue, Thu
SQ 105 KUL D 1100 SIN A 1210 Mon, Tue, Thu
SQ 126 SIN D 1825 KUL A 1930 Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun
SQ 125 KUL D 2100 SIN A 2200 Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun
Although border restrictions and international travel has not completely opened up yet, if you are one of those that plan to travel between SIN and KUL, this is an option definitely worth considering!