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7JetSet7 Code: AIN
Status: Operational
Region: ORIENT
Country: INDIA
Employees 28000
Web: airindia.com
Email: airindpr@vsnl.com
Telephone: +91 (22) 2279 6666
Fax: +91 (22) 2204 8521

Click below for data links:
AIN-2004-05 NEWS
AIN-2004-07 NEWS
AIN-2008-10 NEWS-
AIN-2011-08-BAD WEEK
AIN-2012-03 - 787
AIN-2012-09 - 787
AIN-2013-06 - 787-8
AIN-2013-06 - 787-8-B
AIN-2015-06 - Delhi to Colombo.jpg
AIN-2015-12 - Ahmedabad via BOM to LHR.jpg
AIN-2017-07 - Youngest Female 777 Captain.jpg
AIN-2017-07-DEL to Washington Dulles-A.jpg
AIN-2017-08 - Delhi to Stockholm.jpg
AIN-2018-08 Closing Operations.jpg
AIN-FC and Cabin Attendants 2018-10.jpg
AIN-Flight Crew - DEL to CPH-2017-09.jpg
AIN-LOGO - 2013-08








JANUARY 1995: +2 ORDERS ($365 MILLION) 747-400'S. 1ST FOUR = $777.8 MILLION.



JULY 1995: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1994 = +$70 MILLION.


AUGUST 1995: TO SELL OLDEST 6 747-200'S, WITH NEWER 747-200/-300'S,



APRIL 1996: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1995 = -$70 MILLION (+$11.7 MILLION). (1993 WAS +$58.81 MILLION, 1992 WAS +$97.43 MILLION): 2.7 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).


MAY 1996: 2 A310-324'S (439 & 449) LEASED.







NOVEMBER 1996: 6TH 747-400 DELIVERY.



747-200'S (JT9D-7Q) FOR SALE (POSSIBLY (STT) FOR 2).





6 747'S (19960, 20549, 21182, 21446, 21829, & 21936) FOR SALE.















MARCH 1998: UPGRADED (http://www.airindia.com).


APRIL 1998: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1997 = > -$85 MILLION. 18,591 EMPLOYEES.


EMPLOYEES (K): 15 TWA 25; 16 IND 23; 17 IBE 22; 18 SAS 22; 19 ACN 22; 20 PIA 21; 21 AIN 19; 22 VAR 18; 23 JAL 17; 24 KAL 17; 25 ANS 17; 26 SWS 17.












MARCH 1999: FISCAL YEAR 1998 = -$50 MILLION (-$48.7 MILLION): 7.68 BILLION (RPM) TRAFFIC (+7.1%), 1.01 BILLION (FTM) FREIGHT TRAFFIC (+1.1%).





37 BEJ 9.07; 38 JAS 8.78; 39 THY 8.10; 40 EAD 8.07; 41 AIN 7.68; 42 ELA 7.55; 43 GIA 7.09; 44 PIA 6.82; 45 AMX 6.66; 46 FIN 6.66.






JANUARY 2000: 3 747'S, TOWER AIR (TOW) WET-LEASED FOR HADJ 2000, 2/00 TO 4/00.












JUNE 2000: 747-200 (21182) SOLD TO (MON) AVIATION, FLORIDA.


FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1999 = -$18 MILLION (-$41.4 MILLION): 3.19 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+.9%); 18,157 EMPLOYEES.









APRIL 2001: 17,400 EMPLOYEES.

2000 FISCAL YEAR (FY) = -$25.8 MILLION. PROJECTS 2001 (FY) = -$9.25 MILLION.

2ND A310-300 (PW4152) (548), SINGAPORE (SIA) LEASED (NOW 10 A310-304'S).


1 A310-304 (481, VT-EVH "KOSI") DELIVERY.

JULY 2001: 1 A310-304 (447, VT-EVG "TUNGABHADRA"), (GEF) LEASED.








JANUARY 2002: 1 A310-300 (519), EX-KENYA (KEN) (ILF) 3 YEAR LEASED, 18C, 187Y.

1 UAL 116.60; 2 AAL 106.15; 3 DAL 97.60; 4 NWA 73.11; 5 BAB 64.24; 6 AFA 59.54; 7 CAL 58.76; 8 DLH 56.76; 9 JAL 50.77; 10 USA 45.93; 11 SWA 44.50; 12 SIA 42.76; 13 QAN 42.14; 14 ACN 41.49; 15 KLM 35.76; 16 ANA 33.16; 17 CAT 27.81; 18 TII 27.43; 19 IBE 25.64; 20 KAL 23.73; 21 ALI 22.45; 22 MAS 22.29; 23 AMW 19.06; 24 VAA 17.65; 25 VAR 16.02; 26 CHI 16.00; 27 EAD 14.37; 28 SAS 14.26; 29 ANZ 13.54; 30 SAA 12.70; 31 SVA 12.56; 32 BEJ 12.39; 33 ASA 12.23; 34 JAS 10.06; 35 THY 9.35; 36 AMX 8.51; 37 PAL 8.36; 38 GIA 8.15; 39 CMA 7.99; 40 ELA 7.79; 41 GUL 7.65; 42 PIA 7.24; 43 AIN 7.10; 44 TAP 6.43; 45 EGP 5.53; 46 OLY 5.24; 47 AUL 5.06; 48 FIN 4.93; 49 IND 4.52; 50 CQT 4.51.


July 2002: Plans to lease 2 747-400's, and 6 A310's, by the end of 2002. Plans to add 3 A310's, for total 16, of which 8 are owned.

October 2002: In December 2002, to Newark (3/week). Resumes Bombay to Nairobi to Dar es Salaam (2/week).

18,680 employees.

November 2002: 1 747-400 (24199, VT-EVJ), Korean (KAL) 3 year leased.

December 2002: Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 = +INR 15.44 Crores/+$3.16 million (-INR 44.4 Crores).

1 A310-303 (598, VT-EVW), (AFIS) leased. 2 A310-324's (589, VT-EVY; 634, VT-EVU), Singapore Airlines (SIA) leased.

January 2003: Plans a separate subsidiary for its ground handling services.

April 2003: 16,612 employees.

July 2003: Air-India (AIN) won its case that it can force female cabin attendants (CA) to retire as hostesses at age 50 (males can continue flying til 58).

(AIN)'s board apparently has OK'd 12/6 orders 737-800's. It is still evaluating the 777 against the A340. 2 orders (December 2003) A310-300 (PW4152) (665; 680), Singapore (SIA) leased.

August 2003: Sunil Arora, Managing Director, succeeds Jatindra N Gogoi, and continues to act as Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Airlines (IND).

In December 2003, Bangkok - Shanghai (A310, 2/week).

September 2003: 2002 = 13.25 billion (RPK) traffic (+13.8%); +5.9% (ASK) capacity; 70.8% LF load factor (+5); 3.5 million passengers (PAX) (+7.5%); 367 million (FTK) freight traffic (+3.8%); 16,612 employees (-1.6%).

48 (LTU) 16.10; 49 (JAA) 15.90; 50 (HAP) 14.40;51 (JMA) 13.97; 52 (PAL) 13.52; 53 (AMX) 13.31; 54 (AIN) 13.25; 55 (FIN) 12.79; 56 (BER) 12.73; 57 (ELA) 12.54; 58 (TPR) 12.08; 59 (MON) 11.86.

October 2003: Mumbai - Shanghai.

2 747-400's leased and 2 A310-300's, leased.

November 2003: Air-India (AIN) board recommends approval of 18 737-800's and 10 A340-300's, estimated to be worth 100 billion rupees/$2.21 billion. The 737's will be used on routes to the Gulf, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The A340-300's will be deployed on routes to Europe, the USA, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

December 2003: V Thulasidas, Chairman & Managing Director, 55, replaces Roy Paul. Thulasidas was Chief Secretary, for the government of Tripura, and also worked for the Indian federal government as joint secretary (air) in the Ministry of Defense.

747-4B5 (24621), Korean (KAL) leased. 2 A310-324's (665; 680), ex-Singapore (SIA), ALAFCO (Kuwait) 3 year leased.

January 2004: Last 9 months = +INR 120 million/+$26.5 million.

February 2003: In March 2004, (Bombay) - Ahmedabad - London (LHR) (2/week). Kochi - Salalah.

A310-324 (680, VT-AIB), Singapore Airlines (SIA) leased.

March 2004: Plans service to Los Angeles in June 2004.

Operated its 1st flight with an all-woman flight crew (FC), Mumbai - Singapore (A310), commanded by Captain Rashmi Miranda (who became the airline's 1st female commander (FC) in November 2003), with Captain Kshmata Bajpai, co-pilot (FC), with Flight Dispatch coordinated by a woman dispatcher, Vasanti Kolnad, while the safety audit on board was conducted by another female, Harpreet Singh.

April 2004: In June 2004, Mumbai, Delhi - Frankfurt - Los Angeles (3/week, increase to 5/week in winter).

June 2004: Air-India (AIN) will lease 14 737-800's, 189Y, in three phases, to launch a low-cost carrier to be called Air-India Express (AXB), starting operations in April 2005 to tap the Middle East and Southeast Asia markets operating from New Delhi and Mumbai. Initially, will offer 127 flights/week from Chennai, Delhi, Kerala, and Mumbai to the Gulf and South East Asia destinations.

To Los Angeles.

A310-324 (654, VT-AIH), Boeing (TBC) leased.

July 2004: 747-412 (24226, VT-AIE) & A310-324 (668, VT-AIG), Boeing (TBC) leased.

August 2004: Signed an extensive cooperation agreement with Lufthansa (DLH) which includes code sharing and reciprocal frequent-flier mileage accrual, including cooperation in sales & marketing, and Information Technology (IT). Will code share on (DLH) connecting flights from Frankfurt to Berlin, Munich, and to Stuttgart, as well as to Amsterdam, Geneva, Lyon, Zurich, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington.

October 2004: 2 747-412's (24066, VT-AIF; 24226, VT-AIE), ex-Singapore Airlines (SIA), Guggenheim Aviation Partners leased to be converted to freighter by Boeing (TBC). 3 orders (December 2004) 777-200ER's (28714, VT-AIK), ex-United Airlines (UAL), 5 year leased.

December 2004: In March 2005, Kolkata (Calcutta) - London (nonstop). In May 2005, Air-India Express (AXB), Chennai to Kuala Lumpur (direct); & Delhi - Kuala Lumpur.

Has issued global tenders for the lease of 3 747-400's for 1-3 years & 3 747-400M's for 3 years with delivery from April 2005.

777-222ER (28714, VT-AIK), (UAL) leased.

February 2005: Selects SafTGlo floorprox system for several of its 747-400's.

1 order 737-8BK (33023, VT-AXC), CIT (TCI) leased for Air India Express (AXB) operations. 1 737-86Q (30296, VT-AXA), Boullioun (BOU), 181Y, medium-term lease to (AXB) to operate 6 to 7 daily flights to & from Kerala, the Gulf region, and Southeast Asia.

April 2005: 15,189 employees (including 424 Flight Crew (FC), 1,832 Cabin Attendants (CA), & 3,250 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).

$6.8 billion 20/7 orders 787-8's, 5/3 orders 777-200LR's (GE90-110B), & 10/5 orders 777-300ER (GE90-115B). The 777 (GE) engine order is valued at >$700 million. As new airplanes are delivered, will phase out 2 747-300's, 5 leased 747-400's and 19 A310-300's. 3 A310-324's (684, VT-AIN; 693, VT-AIO; 697, VT-AIP), Singapore Airlines (SIA) leased.

May 2005: Delhi to Amritsar; Birmingham, UK; & Toronto (777-200, 284 passengers).

777-222ER (26935, VT-AIL "Kalyani"), delivery.

July 2005: Delhi - Hong Kong (daily). Delhi - Shanghai (2/week).

August 2005: 15,535 employees (+2.3%).

Singapore and India inked an agreement that allows airlines of both countries to expand services between Singapore and Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Fifth freedom rights also were granted.

September 2005: UK and India officially signed a bilateral air services treaty replacing the one dating to 1951. The bilateral formalizes new traffic rights that will allow UK airlines to operate 56 services per week between London Heathrow and Delhi or Mumbai, 14 weekly services from the UK to Bangalore and to Chennai and seven weekly services to each or any other destination in India by the end of next year. Indian airlines can operate a similar number of services on routes between Heathrow and Delhi or Mumbai and may provide unlimited service to other UK destinations. In addition, the agreement provides for unlimited cargo services.

Air India Express (AXB) is taking over more Air-India (AIN) routes. (AXB) will operate Delhi - Bahrain from April, 2006 and Thiruvananthapuram - Dubai from October.

747-412 (24975, VT-), Guggenheim Partners leased until 10/06, then to go to Martinair (MTH) for conversion to freighter.

October 2005: Air India (AIN) will inaugurate nonstop service from Pune to Dubai on December 12th. The airline will operate 3 flights a week on Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays. (AXB) announced it will operate 12 flights a week into Doha when it launches service there in April. (AXB) will operate 3 to Mumbai, 2 to Delhi and 7 to 3 Kerala Airports. Flights will be operated with a 737-800. (AXB) will inaugurate service from Calicut to Sharjah at the end of the month and operate 4 flights a week using a 737-800.

India and New Zealand announced a bilateral air services agreement to replace the countries' 1997 accord. Terms were negotiated last week in Queenstown. Designated airlines will operate up to seven flights per week with full third, fourth and fifth freedom rights at points in Australia and Singapore. Code sharing will be introduced but there will be no direct flights.

Air-India (AIN)'s previously announced plan to order 27 787s, 15 777-300ERs and eight 777-200LRs was approved by an Indian government acquisitions review panel. Now the order must be approved by the cabinet.

747-412 (24975, VT-AIQ), delivery.

November 2005: Indian state-run oil companies reduced the price of aviation turbine fuel by -1.85% effective Nov 1 due to the drop in international oil prices, Newindpress reported. For domestic airlines the price per kiloliter has been cut approximately -2% to INR35,761/$792.31 in Delhi and INR36,715 in Mumbai. For international carriers the price has gone down -4% to $609 per kiloliter in Delhi and $601 in Mumbai.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said the government will invite private investment in state-owned Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) but does not intend to privatize more than a 20% ownership. India's state-owned carriers have been starved for investment for many years, subjected to bureaucratic meddling, and face increasing competition from a wave of new entrants. "The two airlines need more financial muscle and more equity. We cannot just do with the equity injected by the government if they have to face heightened competition," Patel said in a speech before the annual Economic Editors Conference in New Delhi. According to media reports, he also said the government hopes to award the contracts for modernization of Delhi and Mumbai airports by year end and he expects the country's aviation industry to grow by +20% - +25% per year for at least the next five years and to attract $50 billion in investment through the next decade.

India is to spend up to $10 billion within four years on upgrading and building new airports at 41 cities, according to Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, who also confirmed that both (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) will issue Initial Public Offering (IPO)s early next year. He dashed the international aspirations of the nation's start-ups, saying they need to have five years of domestic operations to "show consistency."

(AIN) will inaugurate service from Pune to Dubai on December 12th. (AIN) will operate 3 flights a week on Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays. The flight will originate and terminate in Mumbai and will be operated with an A310.

(AIN)'s $8.84 billion Boeing (TBC) order now will head to an oversight committee formed by the Indian government, which will meet November 8, the "Press Trust of India" reported. (AIN)'s firm order covers five 777-200LRs, 10 777-300ERs and 20 787s, with options on eight 777s and seven 787s. Air India Express (AXB) has an order for 18 737-800s.

December 2005: Air-India (AIN) launched thrice-weekly Pune - Dubai service aboard A310s. Air-India (AIN) Express will take over Doha service currently operated by Air India (AIN) in April. Air India (AIN) now operates 6 flights a week and that number will double to 12 with (AXB) operating 7 flights a week from Kochi, 3 a week from Mumbai and 2 a week from Delhi, all with 737-800s.

Air-India (AIN) announced plans to rationalize its fleet. For passenger routes, the airline will operate 3 types: 747-400, 777 and 787. The 747-200s are leaving the fleet, 2 747-300 Combis will switch to operate Gulf and African routes by 2006 - 2007, while 2 A310s will be converted to cargo airplanes in Sep 2007, 8 A310s will be retired from the fleet around 2008 - 2009. The airline is also adding 737-800s for its (AXB) subsidiary.

January 2006: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved Air-India (AIN)'s order for 68 777s and 787s, completing the longest-running wide body evaluation in history, which began when McDonnell Douglas was touting the MD-11 more than >10 years ago. (AIN) converted some of its options to firm orders, including three 777-200LRs, five 777-300ERs and seven 787s. The delivery schedule has been brought forward, with deliveries to occur between November 2006 and year end 2011.

Boeing (TBC) and (AIN) finally put pen to paper on the carrier's 68-airplane order in Mumbai, bringing to a close more than eight months of bureaucratic wrangling and controversy and ending a sales campaign that dates back more than a decade. (TBC) President & CEO, Alan Mulally and (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, V Thulasidas formally confirmed the order for 23 777s - - eight 777-200LRs and 15 777-300ERs - - 27 787-8s and 18 737-800s to be operated by Air India Express (AXB). The order is worth more than >$11 billion at list prices, but specific financial arrangements were not disclosed. Deliveries will begin in November.

As part of the agreement, (TBC) said it will invest in regional Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and pilot (FC) training facilities in India. (TBC) said details will be finalized in the coming months, but media reports cited Mulally and Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel as saying (TBC) will put $100 million into an (MRO) base, likely in Nagpur in central India, and $75 million into the training facility. Patel said the company also will source $1.9 million worth of products and services from India, according to "Reuters."

Thulasidas said (AIN)'s expansion will include "new, ultra-long-range non-stop routes" such as Delhi - New York and Mumbai - San Francisco and that it will "emerge as one of the leading global carriers."

(AIN) currently operates a fleet of 11 747-400s, two 747-400 Combis, two 747-200s, two 747-300 Combis, three 777-200ERs and 21 A310-300s. The new 777s will replace the 747-200s and the 787-8s will replace the A310s.

1 777-222ER (26917, VT-AIR), ex-United Airlines (UAL), Avitas leased.

February 2006: India and Italy signed an expanded air services agreement in New Delhi adding frequencies, destinations and fifth freedom rights on specified city-pairs.

Air India Express (AXB) is planning to launch new routes from Chennai to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by the end of March. Each of the routes would be served with 6 weekly flights using 737-800s and will be possible after the airline takes delivery of 4 new airplanes. (AXB) will develop Tiruchi as a major hub of operations in the southern region, including flights to Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Singapore. (AXB) will delay the start of a dozen weekly flights to Doha from a planned start in April to November due to a lack of airplanes.

Air-India (AIN) chose (GE) engines valued at more than $2.2 billion at list prices to power its new 777 and 787 fleets. The agreement was signed at Asian Aerospace. (AIN) has ordered eight 777-200LRs and 15 777-300ERs, all powered by the (GE90-115B). In addition, it chose the (GEnx) to power 27 787-8s. Delivery of the 777s is scheduled to begin in 2007 with 787 deliveries following in 2008.

(AIN) has leased a 777-200 from ALAFCO (AVF) (Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Company) for 5 years taking the total number of 777s in its fleet to 5.

March 2006: Australia and India entered into a more liberal air services agreement that will open the door for airlines from both countries to establish commercial partnerships and develop services. The new accord, announced on the eve of Australian Prime Minister, John Howard's visit to India, provides for multiple designation of carriers, code sharing and service on more routes.

Qantas (QAN), with three flights per week to Mumbai, is the only airline that currently operates direct service between the countries. It also plans to expand access to the fast-growing market by establishing links to Delhi. A number of Indian operators, including Air-India (AIN) and Jet Airways (JPL), are believed to be considering introducing Australian service.

The Union Cabinet in India approved the revised pact. Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunshi told reporters that under the new agreement, both countries will have "the right to designate as many airlines as they wish." The opening up of air services between the countries is expected to stimulate trade and tourism and encourage greater investment.

(AIN) and Indian (IND) are on course to merge within the year, Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told Indian media. The state-owned carriers will combine into an airline operating 125 - 130 airplanes by the end of the state fiscal year in April 2007. "It is an absolutely logical proposal to consolidate and optimize the use of the assets of the two public sector airlines," Patel was quoted as saying. At the same time, the government reportedly intends to sell off 20% - 25% of each carrier to fund fleet renewal.

Prospect of a merger between state-run Indian (IND) and (AIN) gained momentum with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing off on development of a strategy for the combination, according to the "Indian Express." The newspaper reported that Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel briefed Singh and outlined scenarios including merger.

(AIN) will increase the frequency of flights from New Delhi to Birmingham from 3 to 6 flights a week on May 1st. At that point, (AIN) will depart New Delhi every day except Tuesdays and operate with a 777-200 and continue to Toronto.

737-8Q8 (30696, VT-AXD), (ILF) leased.

April 2006: (EADS) (EDS) EFW in Dresden signed a contract with Air-India (AIN) covering conversion of two A310-300s into freighters.

New Zealand and India reached a new air services agreement allowing daily flights between Mumbai and Auckland with code sharing onward to other cities in each country. Services can be nonstop or via Australia or Singapore.

The Indian government is looking to fast-track the proposed merger of (AIN) and Indian (IND). According to Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, the merger would be concluded in the 2006 - 2007 year, with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to follow.

737-8Q8 (29368, VT-AXE), (ILF) leased.

May 2006: Indian domestic airports recorded a near +10% increase in cargo traffic in the 12 months to March 31 over the previous corresponding period. The biggest increases were recorded at Tiruchi (up +114.8%), Patna (up +37.2%), Bangalore (up +23.6%), Delhi (up +11.2%) and Chennai (up +10.8%). International freight traffic also grew strongly, rising +11.7% to 920,150 tonnes. The biggest gains were recorded at Tiruchi (+130%), Coimbatore (+102%), Bangalore (+27.3%) and Hyderabad (+21.7%).

Air-India (AIN) announced it is on the lookout to wet-lease 3 airplanes, 747-400s or 777-200ERs for a period of 2 years.

2 737-8Q8's (29369, VT-AXF; 30701, VT-AXG), (ILF) leased for Air India Express (AXB) operations.

June 2006: Air-India (AIN) said it received expressions of interest from seven parties/consortia in serving as its consultant in preparing a "road map" for its merger with Indian Airlines (IND). Its board will invite the bidders to make presentations June 26 - 27.

Iceland and India reached an air services agreement that will allow both countries to designate as many airlines as they wish and either country to limit, suspend or revoke service by a carrier designated by the other country under certain conditions, the Indian government announced last week. Designated airlines will be allowed to fly from any point in their own country to any two points in the other via any two intermediate points and to any two points beyond. The agreement will be signed formally upon approval by both governments.

July 2006: Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) said Air India Express (AXB), a subsidiary of Air-India (AIN), ordered 18 Blended Winglet shipsets to be installed on its recently ordered 737-800s, beginning in October. In addition, it has taken delivery of four new Blended Winglet-equipped 737-800s on lease from ILFC (ILF).

(AIN) as India's national flag carrier, flies a network of passenger and cargo services worldwide.

Employees = 15,535 (including 451 Flight Crew (FC); 2,212 Cabin Attendants (CA); & 3,493 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).

(IATA) Code: AI - 098. (ICAO) Code: AIC - AIRINDIA.

Parent organization/shareholders: Government owned (100%).

Owns: Air Mauritius (MAU) (2.56%).

Alliances: Aeroflot Russian Airlines (ARO); Air France (AFA); Air Mauritius (MAU); Asiana Airlines (AAR); Austrian Airlines (AUL); Emirates Airlines (EAD); Kuwait Airways (KUW); Lufthansa (DLH); Malaysia Airlines (MAS); Singapore Airlines (SIA); Thai Airways (TII); & (THY) Turkish Airlines.

Main Base: Mumbai (Bombay) International Airport (BOM).

Hub: Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL).

Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Ahmedabad; Amritsar; Bangalore; Chennai; Delhi; Goa; Hyderabad; Kochi; Kolkata (Calcutta); Kozhikode; Lucknow; Mumbai; Pune; & Thiruvanthapuram.

International, Scheduled Destinations: Bahrain; Bangkok; Birmingham; Chicago; Dammam; Dar Es Salaam; Dhaka; Doha; Dubai; Frankfurt; Hong Kong; Istanbul; Jakarta; Jeddah; Kuala Lumpur; Kuwait; London; Los Angeles; Mauritius; Moscow; Munich; Muscat; Nairobi; New York; Newark; Osaka; Paris; Riyadh; San Francisco; Seoul; Shanghai; Singapore; Tokyo; Toronto; Vienna; & Zurich.

(AIN) announced it is planning to wet-lease 9 wide-body jets. These airplanes would replace jets that are approaching the end of a dry-lease contract.

August 2006: The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market share in India is expected to reach 70% by 2010, as full-service airlines lose 1.5 points every month. "We do not expect this rate to slow in the short term, given the profile of current fleet orders. (LCC)s could therefore control over 35% of the domestic market by the end of 2006 and pass 50% some time in [the second half of 2007]," CAPA CEO, Indian Subcontinent and Middle East, Kapil Kaul said, adding that 60 million passengers are expected to fly on Indian carriers in 2010.

Boeing (TBC) named Nagpur in central India as the location of a new Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility intended to address growing demand for maintenance services in India. (TBC)'s commitment to invest up to $100 million in the facility was part of Air-India (AIN)'s order for 68 airplanes, which was finalized in January.

"We believe that Nagpur will be an excellent location for the (TBC) (MRO) facility because of the tremendous investment being made in the area by both government and private companies," (TBC) VP Sales, Dinesh Keskar said.

INCDT: An Air-India (AIN) A310-300 bound for Mumbai as flight AI200 blew all main gear tires during an aborted takeoff following an engine failure at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday (August 28). The airplane blocked the runway for many hours following the incident.

September 2006: The Indian government is moving ahead rapidly with the merger of Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND). Indian media is reporting that consultant "Accenture India," which has the brief to compile a feasibility report, is required to submit preliminary recommendations for the merger by October 15. According to insiders at (IND), the tie-up should be complete by March 2008. The new company then would be the subject of an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Air India Express (AZB) will inaugurate service from Amritsar to Dubai as well as from Mangalore to Dubai in October and operate 3 flights a week on Mondays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, on each of the routes using a 737-800.

(AIN) is planning to lease 12 airplanes as follows:

4 wet-lease A330-A340s, 747-777-MD11s, for NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, 5 wet-lease A310-A330s, 757, & 767s for Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai. 3 dry-lease 747 & 777s for mixed routes.

November 2006: Air-India Express (AXB) inaugurated nonstop service from Chennai to Singapore. The airline now operates 5 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays, using a 737-800.

Air-India (AIN) started construction on a INR500 million/$11.1 million maintenance base at Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The 15 acres of land was transferred to the carrier by the Kerala government free of charge. Construction is scheduled to be completed in mid-2008. The base will service primarily 737-800s operated by (AXB).

(AIN) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to dry lease 3 747-400s from Montrose Global Capital. The airplanes will join the airline's fleet in February and March of 2007.

(AIN) is also planning to take a 767-300ER on wet lease from Flyglobespan (FGC) this month. The airplane is scheduled to operate on the Mumbai - Delhi - Bangkok and Mumbai - Delhi - Kuala Lumpur routes.

(AIN) also extended the dry lease of 2 A310-300s through Februay 2007 and April 2007.

737-8HJ (36323, VT-AXH), delivery - see photo for (AXB). 767-3YOER (26205, CS-TLQ), EuroAtlantic (MAE) wet-leased.

December 2006: 737-8HJ (36324, VT-AXI), delivery for Air India Express (AXB).

January 2007: The Indian government said that the Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel met with employee groups from Air-India (AIN)and Indian Airlines (IND) to "explain in detail the benefits, that would accrue to the airlines post-merger, and the collective wisdom behind the entire process." Patel said the merger between the two state-owned carriers would "involve no retrenchment, no cuts or losses in pay scale, perks or allowances" and that "service conditions would further improve."

He said the new airline will operate a fleet of approximately 112 airplanes, and by the end of the third year of operation, will realize INR4.1 billion/$92.9 million in revenue synergies - - primarily driven by network integration - - and INR4.1 billion in cost and capital synergies. The integration is expected to cost INR2 billion. Patel counted "easy entry into one of the three global alliances," increased gate and landing slots at infrastructure-constrained airports and the potential to launch affiliated ground handling and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) companies among the benefits of the impending merger.

The competition for an alliance foothold in India may have started in earnest recently with reports that Air France (AFA) extended an invitation to (IND) to join SkyTeam (STM).

According to "The Hindu Business Line," (AFA) President & COO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon met with (IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Vishwapati Trivedi and tendered the invitation. (IND) said its pending merger with (AIN), and its ongoing (IOSA) audit would prevent an immediate decision, "The Hindu" said.

If accurate, the report appears to put the Star Alliance (SAL) in an interesting position. (SAL) CEO, Jaan Albrecht said at last month's meeting in Istanbul that (SAL) expected to announce the addition of a carrier in either India or Russia this year, and rumors have circulated that the alliance was courting (AIN). "The Times" of India reported in November that (AIN) would announce an agreement with (SAL) by the end of December, but that did not occur. Jet Airways (JPL), which is profitable and has committed to a considerable international expansion, also may be an alliance candidate.

February 2007: Indian government ministers approved the merger of Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND). The next stage is final approval at a cabinet meeting next month, and Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told media he expects approvals to be completed by the end of March. According to sources, the name and head office of the new airline are yet to be decided, but what has been approved is a structure around six business units. These are expected to be Passenger, Cargo, Ground Handling, Low-cost Air Services, Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and Allied Businesses, including Information Technology (IT), Inflight Entertainment, and Catering. According to the "Economic Times," low-cost subsidiaries Air India Express (AXB) and Alliance Air (ALX) also will be merged.

The Indian government is getting tough on English standards following a series of recent near mishaps, sending home at least 20 foreign pilots (FC) (mainly from Asia and central Europe) because of their poor command of the language. Indian Director General of Civil Aviation, Kanu Gohain told reporters that "the pilots (FC) posed a safety risk."

Thales (THL) was awarded a contract to install its TopSeries inflight entertainment (IFE) system on 23 (AIN) 777s.

767-318ER (29388, G-CDPT), FlyGlobeSpan (FGC) wet-leased for Hadj - see photo.

March 2007: The Indian government, chaired by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, gave final approval for the merger of Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND). The two state-owned carriers will become a single entity, when all legal formalities are completed, a process that is expected to take no longer than 16 weeks. Full operational integration is expected to take about two years. The combined airline will operate a fleet of about 120 airplanes and employ some 30,000 workers.

April 2007: The decks are now clear for the merger of Air-India (AIN) and Indian (IND), the country's two state-owned carriers, which will combine under the newly formed National Aviation Company of India Ltd. No decision has been made on the brand, logo or headquarters location for the new airline. "Accenture" is advising the government on the merger, which is expected to be complete by June. The 16 unions representing close to 33,000 employees of both airlines have come around to accepting a process that the government said will revive the carriers' flagging fortunes. The new airline will be listed in the bourses about a year after the merger. Like many flag carriers, both (AIN) and (IND) face an existential crises in an era when service quality and passenger focus are more important than livery. From its monopoly position in the 1990s, (IND) steadily has ceded market share and now lags behind Jet Airways (JPL) and three-year-old, Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Air Deccan (DCC). For (AIN), the situation is even more grim. Holding only 16% of the outbound international market, its domain is being whittled away by the onslaught of international airlines, who have greater access to India and private carriers who have started flying abroad. The merger is being mooted on a decentralized model, meaning the new company will float subsidiaries for various operational functions. These will include a full-service airline, a low-cost airline (Air-India (AIN) currently operates Air India Express (AXB), a low-cost international airline, a Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) unit, a ground handling company and a cargo carrier. Both airlines have launched significant expansions and will take delivery of more than 100 airplanes over the next five years. (AIN) ordered 68 combined 777s, 787s and 737-800s in 2006. (IND) has begun induction of the first of 43 A320 family airplanes ordered from Airbus (EDS). The merged airline will have a fleet of 125 new-generation airplanes by 2010 and is expected to emerge among the top 30 carriers globally. Turnover is expected to top $3.3 billion. Though (AIN) is the larger of the two with a turnover of INR95 billion/$2.18 billion in 2005 to 2006, its equity capital of INR1.53 billion is less than (IND)'s INR4.32 billion. (AIN)'s net worth was INR5.5 billion at the end of 2006, while (IND) had a negative net worth owing to earlier losses. However, a revaluation of assets is in progress and expected to wipe off this erosion. In addition, both carriers have huge real estate holdings, that have not been valued for decades.

May 2007: "Air India" (AIN)/(IND) will be the name of the new state-owned airline, resulting from the merger of the old Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND), Minister of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel announced, adding that the new company will have its registered office in New Delhi, its corporate office in Mumbai, and headquarters for domestic operations and most strategic business units in Delhi. "As (AIN)/(IND) is a globally and nationally recognized brand name, as well as the designated airline in international bilaterals . . . it has been decided that the merged entity would continue with the same name," the ministry said. The logo and livery for the airline will adopt elements from both constituent carriers. Combining the deep red of (AIN) and the orange of (IND), the new (AIN)/(IND) will operate white airplanes with red and orange highlights on the fuselage, a red belly and an orange "Konark Chakra," wheel graphic on a red vertical stabilizer, and red nacelles. Patel said the merged company will start operating in July with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) planned for next year, according to press reports.

SR Technics (SWS) reached agreement with (AIN) to maintain the (CFM56-7B) engines and (GTCP131-9B) Auxiliary Power Units (APU)s installed on Air India Express (AXB) 737-800s. (SWS) valued the three-year agreements at up to $22 million.

EADS (EDS) EFW finalized the conversion of two Air-India (AIN) A310-300s into freighters.

June 2007: Air India (AIN) is in a "wait-and-see" position regarding its interest in taking a stake in Serbian flag carrier Jat Airways (JAT), which also has caught the eye of Aeroflot (ARO). "We were talking with the [Serbian] government, but we haven't taken any clear decision" on whether to invest in Jat (JAT), (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, V Thulasidas said.

Belgrade does not appear to be targeted as a European hub for the carrier. "We already have hubs in Europe, and Frankfurt will be developed as our hub in the future," he said, adding that (AIN) is more concerned with its merger with Indian Airlines (IND), than investing in foreign carriers or making an alliance decision, although it is exploring adding services to countries such as Switzerland and Italy. Integration is expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months. "After the merger, we will become one of the biggest airlines in Asia," Thulasidas said.

July 2007: Galileo said Saudi Arabian Airlines (SVA), Air India (AIN), and Air Yemenia (YEM) implemented e-ticketing via the Global Distribution System (GDS).

(AIN) launched its first freighter dedicated to European service. The converted A310F will be one of two operating four-times-weekly flights from Mumbai to Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle, via Bangalore and Chennai. The A310s were converted by (EADS) (EDS) at a cost of $7.95 million each, (AIN) said. Chairman & Managing Director, V Thulasidas said, "Post the merger, cargo is going to be one of the most important strategic business units for Air-India (AIN). Our vision is to see a full-fledged (AIN) cargo airline." (AIN) currently holds a 9% to 11% share of exports and a 5% to 7% market share in imports. "Owing to the upsurge in the import-export demand coined with the "Open Sky" policy and globalization factors, (AIN) has decided to ramp-up cargo operations," it said.

(AIN) also unveiled the first of six 747-400s with a refurbished cabin and upgraded InFlight Entertainment (IFE). The cost of revamping each airplane is estimated at $12.3 million.

2 777-237LRs (36300, VT-ALA "Andhra Pradash;" 36302, VT-ALC), and A321-211 (3146, VT-PPB), deliveries. 2 A310-324 (654; 669), returned to Boeing (TBC), to FedEx (FED).

August 2007: (SITA) welcomed Air-India (AIN) as a new user of its air/ground communications services for both voice and data link. Air-India (AIN) will use (SITA)'s Aircom Server.

777-237LR (36301, VT-ALB "Arunachal Pradesh"), delivery.

September 2007: Air-India (AIN) is looking at possible tie-up with Serbia's national airline Jat Airways (JAT) for expanding european operations.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel informed the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) that the merged Air India (AIN)/(IND)'s board voted to join the Star Alliance (SAL), according to the "United News of India" news service and "The Economic Times." With alliances becoming increasingly interested in the growing Indian market, the combination of (AIN) and (IND) appeared to be the big prize. Patel told parliament that the board intended to begin discussions with (AIN)/(IND) management on initiating the joining process, according to the reports. No other details were revealed, and neither the airline nor the alliance (SAL) issued a statement.

Patel introduced a bill that would establish the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority in India, which would be separate from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and would "determine the tariff structure for aeronautical services," including development fees and passenger fees. It also would "monitor the performance standards relating to quality, continuity and reliability of service," the government said in a statement. A three-member appellate tribunal would be established to "adjudicate disputes between two or more service providers or between a service provider and a group of consumers." The statement tabled with the bill argued that private sector participation in the development and ownership of Indian airports, established in 1997, has led to several public-private partnerships and significant investment that require a "level playing field amongst different categories of airports in [the] future." (AAI)'s role as both operator and regulator "results in a conflict of interest," the statement said. "It is felt that an independent economic regulator . . . may be established so as to create a level playing field and foster healthy competition amongst all major airports."

CRJ-700 (10217), ex-Alliance (ALX), ex-(OE-LSF).

October 2007: Air India (AIN) expects revenue of $4 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, as it moves forward with the merger between the old (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND), Dow Jones reported from New Delhi. The two carriers reported pro forma revenue of $3.5 billion in the 12 months ending last March, (AIN) Executive Director Finance, S Venkat told the newswire.

(AIN) Chairman, V Thulasidas said that (AIN) remains in negotiations with the Star Alliance (SAL), but has not reached a final decision to join, "The Economic Times" reported. "We can announce our alliance only after a formal agreement is reached," he told the paper.

(AIN) parent, the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) signed a $1.23 billion financing package with the Export-Import Bank of the USA to support the acquisition of 17 Boeing (TBC) airplanes and four spare engines, the bank announced. Ex-Im Bank signed an $862.6 million guarantee of an ABN AMRO long-term loan backing (AIN)'s purchase of 777-200LRs, 777-300ERs and (GE90)s. It also signed a $363.5 million guarantee of an ABN AMRO loan for the acquisition of 737-800s and (CFM56) spares for use by Air India Express (AXB).

Airbus (EDS) CEO, Tom Enders and CCO, John Leahy told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi that (EDS) is in talks with (AIN) regarding a potential A380 order. "We are in discussions with (AIN) now, and we think they would need about 10 to 12 A380 airplanes as soon as we can deliver them," Leahy said, according to multiple media reports. He said delivery could take place by 2011 if an order is placed soon. Enders added that it was "not an accident" that he traveled to India with Leahy. "India is one of the most important growing markets for us," he said. (AIN) said no decision has been made about a possible order.

2 777-337ERs (36308, VT-ALJ "Bihar;" 36309, VT-ALK "Chattisgarh"), deliveries.

November 2007: The Air India (AIN) board signed off on a loss of -INR4.48 billion/-$112.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, a result reversed from a +INR149.4 million profit in the prior year, according to widespread press reports from India. Revenue climbed +2.8% year-over-year to INR95.9 billion, and the carrier struggled to fend off low-fare competition, as its fuel bill rose a reported +INR3.86 billion, or nearly +13%, and it was forced to pay INR4.25 billion in wage arrears. Dow Jones reported that Indian Airlines (IND), which has merged with Air-India (AIN) under the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) banner, reported a fiscal-year loss of -INR2.75 billion, following three straight years of profit, including a +INR495 million surplus in 2005 to 2006.

SR Technics (SWS) concluded a seven-year Integrated Component Solutions agreement with (AIN) covering component services for A330-200 airplanes with a potential worth of approximately CHF19 million/$16.9 million. Under the accord, (SWS) will provide full component support including exchange, component maintenance, logistics and access to a consignment stock based at Mumbai.

December 2007: The Indian government will sell off up to 15% of Air India (AIN) in the second half of next year, Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said, according to widespread press reports from New Delhi. Patel said the merged (AIN)/(IND) "certainly needs an infusion of equity to fund current acquisition needs and future growth . . . Its equity structure is very, very small." The company currently has an equity base of INR1.45 billion/$36.8 million, according to reports. Employees may be offered 4% to 5% of the floated shares, Patel said, adding that the government has no plans to either raise the 49% limit on foreign investment, or revise a policy that bars foreign airlines from investing in Indian carriers.

The Star Alliance (SAL) will decide before year end which Indian carrier it intends to invite into the partnership, CEO, Jaan Albrecht said in Shanghai, on the eve of the official joining ceremony of Shanghai Airlines (SHA) and Air China (BEJ). (SAL) will hold a Chief Executive (CEO) Board meeting in Beijing, and India is one of the items on the agenda. While the Indian press is reporting that (AIN)'s membership is all but inevitable, Albrecht said, "We have been talking to two carriers in India for awhile. We will discuss [the matter] and most likely decide with which carrier we will commence membership talks." He did not confirm the (AIN) rumors. Jet Airways (JPL) CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer previously confirmed that it is "too early" to join an alliance. (SAL) has identified India, Russia and Latin America as "white spots" under its expansion strategy. Latin America was covered in its network until Varig (VAR)'s demise.

Later, In line with its strategy to fill in the so-called "white spots" in a network that now spans 897 destinations in 160 countries, the (SAL) Board of Chief Executives (CEO) voted to accept the application of (AIN) to become a member. "India has long been on the radar of the (SAL). After all, it is one of the world's fastest-growing economies and aviation markets. Having now come to an agreement with (AIN) makes us the first airline alliance to secure a member in India," United Airlines (UAL) Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton, who chaired the meeting, said in Beijing. Lufthansa (DLH) will be (AIN)'s mentor; it also was mentor to (BEJ), which joined the alliance along with Shanghai Airlines (SHA).

For (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, Vasudevan Thulasidas, joining (SAL) is "kind of natural," as (AIN) has been cooperating with numerous (SAL) members for several years. He confirmed that (AIN) stopped talking with other alliances months ago, and opted for (SAL), because it "is the largest alliance and it will bring us the best value for the growing network we have and the worldwide connectivity we wish to have." He noted that the invitation "rounds up a first phase of plans for the buildup" of (AIN), which encompasses the merger with (IND) and its large Boeing (TBC) order. Thulasidas said he expects (AIN) to complete the joining process in 12 to 15 months, and expects Information Technology (IT) integration to be the most difficult of the 57 requirements to fulfill. (AIN) is in the process of renewing its systems. "We are analyzing offers for the moment. The merger with (IND) raised the need to change and upgrade several (IT) systems, including (DCS)," he said. "We included the connectivity with (SAL) members' (IT) and integration of programs such as frequent-flier programs in our request for proposals." In the coming months, (AIN) hopes to conclude or expand codeshare agreements with several (SAL) carriers.

777-237LR (36303, VT-ALD "Gujarat"), and 777-367ER (36310, VT-ALL "Goa"), deliveries.

January 2008: Air India (AIN)/(IND), Jupiter Aviation and Airbus (EDS) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to establish a three-way Joint Venture (JV) Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility in India to perform work on all types of (EDS) airplanes operated by (AIN)/(IND) and other Indian airlines. (AIN)/(IND) told "The Economic Times" that it will develop a business plan for the (MRO) over the next two months to be submitted to its board for approval. The deal was reached during French President, Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India. Other details, including the (MRO)'s site and the stakes of the Joint Venture (JV) partners, were not revealed and reportedly will be thrashed out by the end of the current quarter.

(AIN) will launch daily Delhi - New York (JFK) service on February 8, aboard a 777-237LR. It took delivery of its fourth airplane of the type on January 2. It is equipped with eight seats in first class (F), 35 in business (C), and 195 in economy (Y). (AIN) already serves (JFK) from Mumbai. It will take a sixth 777-237LR next month and the remaining three it has on order in mid-2009.

India and Saudi Arabia signed an air services agreement that will more than double the number of available seats per week between the countries to 20,000 from 8,500. Saudi carriers now can fly to Bangalore, Lucknow, and Calicut, in addition to the five Indian cities already permitted. Indian airlines will have access to Madina, their fourth destination in Saudi Arabia. Cargo flights will have no restrictions.

The Indian government relaxed certain industrial foreign investment rules and now will allow foreign investors to hold 100% of Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and training organizations, dedicated to civil aviation activities. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in commercial airlines will continue to be capped at 49%, with nonresident Indians allowed to hold 100%, as long as no foreign airlines are participating. (FDI) in ground handling enterprises will be capped at 74%.

(AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, Vasudevan Thulasidas said that " (TBC) is willing to give us the compensation" it is seeking for delayed 787 Dreamliner deliveries, the first concrete indication that (TBC) will have to make penalty payments. Thulasidas told reporters that he has been in talks with (TBC) regarding the amount of compensation but did not disclose a figure. (AIN) has 27 787 Dreamliners on firm order, the first of which originally was supposed to be delivered in September. While (TBC) has not revealed a new delivery schedule, (AIN) said it now is hopeful it will receive its first 787 in June 2009. "We were planning to transfer some large-capacity routes to the 787s in September 2008," Thulasidas told reporters. "Then there was a postponement and now a further delay of another two-to-three months will result in the problem getting compounded."

February 2008: PAS Technologies reached a two-year deal with Air-India (AIN) to provide repair services on selected (PW4056) engine components.

March 2008: Air-India (AIN) parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) named Raghu Menon as Chairman & Managing Director, effective immediately, when he will replace Vasudevan Thulasidas, whose term is concluding. Menon has been serving as Special Secretary & Financial Advisor in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad near Hyderabad commenced commercial operations. The facility, developed by the GMR Infrastructure-Hyderabad International Airport consortium, is India's first airport built under a private-public partnership model. Capacity is 12 million passengers annually, and it is the nation's first airport capable of handling an A380.

777-237LR (36304, VT-ALE, "Haryana"), delivery.

April 2008: (CSA) Czech Airlines will continue to lease an A310-300 to Air India (AIN) under the terms of a recently signed extended agreement. The airplane has been operating out of Mumbai since March 2007.

The Indian government announced the signing of aviation services agreements with Mexico and Chile.

May 2008: India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to further liberalise their air services agreement covering passenger flights to and from Dubai, in a long-delayed move that will open the market significantly. Under the new agreement, ­airlines from each side will be ­allowed to carry up to 54,200 ­passengers per week in each ­direction by the 2009/2010 winter season, representing an increase of +23,000 on the previous deal. The new agreement had been under discussion for some time and should help to ease complaints of significant under-capacity in the market. Capacity has not kept up with demand due partly to fast growth in Dubai's population of Indian migrant workers. The new bilateral comes as India has been allowing more international services by privately owned carriers and as Dubai is setting up a new low-cost carrier that will almost certainly seek to operate to India. India's Jet Airways (JPL), which began serving Abu Dhabi in late April, will also likely benefit. It does not yet have Dubai rights, but has been applying for them and now expects it will be able to launch services to Dubai from several Indian cities.

Air India (AIN)'s low-cost unit Air India Express (AXB) has also unveiled plans to launch flights to Dubai from Ahmedabad, Goa, Hyderabad, and Pune. (AXB) already connects Dubai with 12 other Indian cities and these services are considered among its most lucrative. (AXB) also serves Abu Dhabi from five Indian cities and Sharjah from three. Demand for services from all of the (UAE)'s major cities has been growing rapidly. Abu Dhabi-based, Etihad (EHD) now serves six cities in India, and is keen to serve several more, while Sharjah-based Air Arabia (ABZ) is also keen to expand its Indian network, which already consists of 11 cities. Air Arabia (ABZ) says its passenger numbers on its India routes grew +43% in the first quarter with an average load factor of 94% LF.

August 2008: After a busy round of consolidation, India’s airline industry seems to be stabilizing around three airline groupings with international ambitions: Jet Airways (JPL), Kingfisher (KFH), and Air India (AIN), and three Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s: Indigo (IGO), SpiceJet (ROJ), and GoAir (GOZ). Regional carrier Paramount (PAT) also seems to have big ambitions.

The Indian government has pulled back on plans to float 15% of Air India (AIN), Civil Aviation Secretary, Ashok Chawla said in New Delhi. "The ministry is not actively looking at it," he told reporters. Instead, parent National Aviation Company of India will seek INR10 to INR15 billion/$228.3 to $342.5 million in funds from the government, including loans.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport, developer and operator of the new Rajiv Gandhi International, said it received clearance from the Ministry of Aviation to levy a INR375/$8.66 user development fee on outbound domestic passengers.

The Indian government announced official approval for significant modernization and expansion projects at Kolkata (CCU) and Chennai airports that will bring the facilities to "international standard" and cost a combined $900 million. The 30-month project at (CCU) will cost an estimated INR19.43 billion/$452.4 million and expand annual handling capacity by 20 million passengers. The second runway will be extended to 3,293 m and made suitable for "large commercial airplanes," navigation facilities will be upgraded, airplane parking and additional taxiways will be added, and road and rail connections to the airport will be improved. The work first was proposed in April 2007. (CCU) handled 7.5 million passengers in the 2007 to 2008 fiscal year and is expected to process 24.7 million in 2015 through 2016.

At Chennai, INR18.1 billion will be spent on a similar 26-month project designed to increase capacity by +14 million passengers per year. In the recently completed fiscal year it processed 10.7 million passengers. The second runway will be extended and a new taxiway constructed, among other improvements, including a new domestic terminal building capable of handling 10 million passengers per year.

Air India (AIN) parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) signed a $214.1 million pre-delivery finance loan agreement for five 777-300ERs and three 777-200LRs scheduled for delivery in 2009 through 2010. The Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank are lead arrangers and ING Bank and Natixis Transport Finance are co-arrangers.

A310-304F (407, VT-EJH) re-delivered to Air India (AIN) Cargo after conversion to freighter and A321-231 (3619, VT-PPK), delivery.

September 2008: (IATA) (ITA) Director General & CEO, Giovanni Bisignani said that India's airlines could collectively lose as much as -$1.5 billion in 2008, and called on the nation to take "urgent action . . . to help Indian carriers weather the perfect storm of high costs and falling demand." Speaking in New Delhi to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Bisignani noted that commercial air traffic growth in India has slowed dramatically this year, rising +7.5% in the first six months of 2008 compared to growth of +33% for full-year 2007. He said the country needs to lower the cost for airlines to operate, improve its aviation infrastructure, and adopt global standards. "India is among the most expensive places on the planet to buy aviation turbine fuel," he said. "In August, it was +58% more expensive to buy fuel in Mumbai for domestic flights than in Singapore for international [flights]. Excise duties, throughput fees charged by airport operators, and state taxes of up to 30% for domestic flights, result in a cost structure that cannot support a competitive industry." He added that taxes on overflight charges, premium class tickets and airport charges are "embarrassments" that must be eliminated. Bisignani further called for "infrastructure investments," particularly in Mumbai, which he said "needs an airport that can adequately serve the financial capital of the world's second most populous nation. That means thinking much, much bigger."
Finally, he said that "global standards . . . should be at the heart of India's aviation policy," explaining that "nonstandard data transmission requirements [imposed by the Indian government] for Advance Passenger Information is an added cost burden . . . [and] a serious flaw." He added, "Aviation is a fast-changing industry that is fueling much of the Indian economic success story. But . . . India's decision-making is too slow. [The government needs to make] quick decisions based on global standards and build a solid platform for future expansion."

October 2008: Air India (AIN) discontinues Kolkata to London Heathrow (LHR).

Volatility in the Indian market continued as (AIN) said it is working on a plan to offer unpaid 3 to 4-year leave to up to 15,000 employees. (AIN) told the "Press Trust of India (PTI)" that the "scheme is purely voluntary," and Chairman & Managing Director, Raghu Menon said those who accept the furlough (if approved by the carrier's board) will be allowed to return at the same seniority and pay level. (AIN) employs around 23,000. Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told the (PTI) that there will be no permanent cuts, although the current market downturn "will affect the growth plans [and] future employment opportunities."

In the meantime, the government will infuse INR15 billion/$300.4 million of new equity into (AIN) and extend a INR20 billion soft loan "if needed," in addition to talking to private firms and investors on (AIN)'s behalf, Patel told the "Hindustan Times." "The time is not right" for an Initial Public Offering (IPO), he said.


The European Union (EU) and India signed a horizontal aviation agreement, that brings the 26 bilateral agreements India has with individual (EU) members into conformity with Community law. With nearly 5.7 million passenger traveling between the (EU) and India last year, India ranked 11th in passenger traffic between the (EU) and non-(EU) countries. Over the past three years, (EU)-India passenger traffic has increased +75%.

Airbus (EDS) and (AIN) parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) signed a joint venture agreement to establish a Maintenance repair & Overhaul (MRO) center at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport. Work on (AIN) Airbus (EDS) airplanes will start early next year with ATR and third-party work expected eventually. (AIN) currently operates 43 A320s, 11 A319s, 10 A321s, eight A310s and two A330s. The total project cost is estimated at $40 million over five years and the facility will handle more than >100 single-aisle and 10 wide body airplanes per year by 2013.

November 2008: The Indian parliament passed legislation establishing the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). The (AERA) is designed to encourage investment, regulate charges and foster competition among Indian airports. But (IATA) (ITA) said more is needed, with Director General & CEO, Giovanni Bisignani claiming that "many" of (ICAO)'s principles of "transparency, nondiscrimination and user-consultation . . . are being ignored back in Delhi." He said India's air navigation service provider over-collects by +20% and that a 33% price differential for international landings "has no cost justification." He called on the Indian government to address current taxes on premium tickets, air navigation charges, landing and parking fees, and overflight charges, claiming they are "crippling the industry." The government did offer airlines some relief on fuel debt last month.

December 2008: Air India (AIN) plans to ask for INR25 billion/$502.8 million from the government to help finance expansion and its continued integration with Indian Airlines (IND), Chairman & Managing Director, Raghu Menon told the "Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)." "We have a very small equity base of INR1.45 billion, but our airplane acquisition plan alone is worth INR450 billion," he said. "We will go to the civil aviation ministry very soon with a proposal." (AIn) will ask for INR10.5 billion in equity and the remaining INR10 billion in debt and plans to complete its merger with (IND) by the end of 2009 or the first quarter of 2010 at the latest, Menon told "(IANS)."

Regarding the significant impacts of the industry downturn in India, he said demand for Air India (AIN) has fallen -12% to -15%. The Ministry of Civil Aviation said the country's airlines transported 3 million passengers in November, down -4.2% from the prior month. Jet Airways (JPL) led the way with 570,000, followed by (AIN) at 539,000. (AIN) had a load factor of 57.5% LF.

January 2009: GA Telesis announced the acquisition of a (CF6-80C2B1)-powered 747-337 (24160) from Air India (AIN). The airplane will be disassembled and remarketed.

A321-211 (3752, VT-PPL), delivery.

February 2009: Air India (AIN)'s low-cost subsidiary, Air India Express (AXB) added its 21st airplane, a 737-800. It will use the plane on a weekly, Srinagar - Dubai flight starting February 14. Air-India Express now operates 176 weekly flights to 16 Indian and 14 international destinations.

March 2009: The Indian economy, not terribly dependent on trade, grew +5% last quarter.

Indian airlines carried 3.3 million passengers on scheduled flights last month, about level with January. Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) led with 904,000 (27.1% market share, 74.3% LF load factor), followed by Jet Airways (JPL) at 597,000 (17.9%, 68.7% LF) and Air India (AIN) at 574,000 (17.2%, 66.3% LF).

SR Technics (SWS) and Air India (AIN) announced that their existing maintenance contract covering Air India Express (AXB)'s (CFM56-7B) engines will expand to include (CFM56-5B)s on (IND)'s fleet of 27 A320 family airplanes (planned to increase to 43 by 2010). The extended contract will expire in May 2010 and contains an extension clause for an additional two years. Services will be performed at SR Technics (SWS)'s engine services center in Zurich.

(AIN) said it plans to maintain its policy of introducing 2 to 3 new airplanes to its fleet per month during the fiscal year beginning April 1, claiming that the global slump in demand "will be short-lived" and that traffic to and from India will rise, "considering [the] improved business environment and the enormous potential" of India as a tourist destination. (AIN) added 45 airplanes in the past 18 months and now operates more than >150. Thirty are scheduled to arrive during the upcoming fiscal year, including three 777-200LRs during the June through August period. It also said it will make Frankfurt (FRA) its operational hub for transatlantic flights from the March 29 start of its summer schedule. (FRA) is a major Star Alliance (SAL) hub. (AIN) passengers from both Delhi and Mumbai will be combined at (FRA) for 777-300ER service to Chicago O'Hare or Newark. Nonstop Delhi - San Francisco service is scheduled to start in August.

May 2009: Air India (AIN) started construction of a Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and Engineering center at Hyderabad Shamshabad. The facility will include a 9,000-sq-m hangar, component overhaul shops and offices and will cost approximately INR800 million/$16.8 million, (AIN) said. (AIN) is targeting completion in 18 months.

(AIN) parent, National Aviation Company of India named Karnataka state government Infrastructure Development Department Principal Secretary, Arvind Jadhav as its Chairman & Managing Director replacing Raghu Menon. Ministry of Civil Aviation Joint Secretary & Financial Adviser, Bharat Bhushan had held the post on an interim basis.

June 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) said Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav has "requested" all executives at the General Manager level and above to "voluntarily forego" their salaries and incentive payments in July. (AIN)/(IND) said it would defer employee checks by two weeks until July 15.

(AIN)/(IND) announced the formation of a four-member committee that will examine its labor agreements and identify -INR5 billion/-$102 million in annual savings. (AIN)/(IND) said employee costs currently exceed >INR30 billion per year. "Besides reduction in wage cost[s], (AIN)/(IND) is also looking at improving productivity of employees, elimination of restrictive work practices and reducing wasteful expenditure," it said. The committee will issue its report by July 15. "(AIN)/(IND) has approached the government of India, as the owners of our airline, for infusion of funds both by way of equity and soft loans. We are hopeful that the government of India will extend a helping hand soon," it said, adding that it is in a "fight for survival."

Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told reporters that an Air India (AIN)/(IND) Initial Public Offering (IPO) will be "considered" once the "stock markets do better," but that the government will "keep control." He said (AIN)/(IND) "is not going to lose its public sector character. It is not going to be privatized or dis-invested completely. It would bring in much needed equity infusion." The government reversed course on plans to offer 15% of (AIN)/(IND) last summer. According to press reports from India, (AIN)/(IND) is seeking INR12.31 billion/$258.2 million in new equity from the government and a loan worth an additional INR27.5 billion.

Meantime, nearly 300 contract airport workers went on indefinite strike against (AIN)/(IND) but the airline said there was no impact on its schedule.

Later, (AIN)/(IND) which lost an estimated -$800 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, will delay around $70 million in salary payments to its 31,500 employees for two weeks until July 15, several officials confirmed in news reports from India. Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said the government is considering a bailout "very actively" and that the carrier's health is the state's "responsibility," according to the "Press Trust" of India.

(AIN)/(IND) "will have to do a lot of restructuring . . . organizationally, financially and manpower-wise," Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told reporters following the airline's formal presentation requesting government aid. "There is a lot of excess flab on the entire body of (AIN)/(IND) and it does not only mean manpower but also it means various cost-cutting measures that have to be looked at comprehensively," he said, according to "Agence France Presse." "We will be strengthening (AIN)/(IND)'s board with directors of repute from various fields and we are also going to look at the restructuring of the top management of the airline."

The "Wall Street Journal" reported that (AIN)/(IND) must submit a cost savings plan to the government within one month and that the company is expected to turn a profit in two years, while "The Economic Times" said Cabinet Secretary, K M Chandrasekhar will lead a panel that will review (AIN)/(IND)'s performance monthly, with financial assistance contingent on performance.

Later, (AIN)/(IND) announced formation of a "turnaround committee" comprising management and union representatives who will "make presentations identifying areas where savings can be effected." The Indian government told the airline that aid will be tied to performance improvements. (AIN)/(IND) announced a voluntary leave (for up to two years) without pay option, according to "The Economic Times," although a union leader told the "Press Trust of India" that employees will not negotiate wage cuts.

Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said he expects a full restructuring plan within one month and that "this is one last chance (AIN)/(IND) has got," "The Times of India" reported. Patel suggested that (AIN)/(IND) might transition to a low-cost carrier (LCC) model. "If someone has a capacity that can't be supported by a full-service model, what choice does he have," he asked. "The management will be restructured within a month. Eminent people will be brought on the airline's board, including functional directors. Induction of new airplanes into the fleet will not be slowed down as (AIN)/(IND) will phase out its old airplanes."

(AIN) will launch daily, Ahmedabad - Frankfurt service aboard a 747-400.

777-237ER (36305, VT-ALF), delivery.

July 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) will pay about half of its employees their June wages on July 3 rather than July 15, Aviation Industry Employees' Guild General Secretary, George Abraham told "Mint." (AIN)/(IND) had planned to defer payment owing to a cash shortage but relented after negotiations and a strike threat. A meeting regarding payments to remaining employees was scheduled for July 4.

(AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) is expected to report a loss of approximately -INR50 billion/-$1.02 billion for its fiscal year ended March 31, some 25% more than the figure targeted last month, Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel informed the national parliament's upper house. He wrote that (NACIL)'s deficit is "largely due to high operating expenses, which have been compounded due to the present economic recession resulting in a drop in passengers," in addition to high fuel prices and debt servicing, the "Press Trust of India (PTI)" reported.

(NACIL) reportedly owes INR5.99 billion to Airports Authority of India and another INR5.42 billion to oil companies. Patel said (AIN)/(IND)'s management will be reorganized, with a new COO to be added along with seven new independent directors, according to the (PTI). "You will see in the next 30 days a major change in the top management in (AIN)/(IND). You are going to see a major change in the board. Some heads are going to roll. We are going to bring high-quality people with a proven track record in business," Patel said.

He also reiterated his support for (AIN)/(IND)'s entry into the low-cost market. "That's where the growth is and is something that Jet Airways (JPL) and Kingfisher (KFH) have already done. It's up to (AIN)/(IND) whether to use Air India Express (AXB) for that purpose or something else," he said, according to "Asian News International."

Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said the government is strongly considering providing a INR25 billion/$512 million capital injection to Air India (AIN)/(IND). "We want to infuse equity," he told "Bloomberg News." "Air India (AIN)/(IND)'s equity base is very low." (AIN)/(IND) parent National Aviation Company of India reportedly owes INR5.99 billion to Airports Authority of India and another INR5.42 billion to oil companies. Patel previously has said (AIN)/(IND)'s management will be reorganized, with a new COO to be added along with seven new independent directors. He said that (AIN)/(IND) eventually would go public, at which point it would pay back the "soft loans" it will receive from the government. He added that the carrier will seek deferments on loans from banks, return some leased airplanes and defer or cancel airplanes on order, according to "Bloomberg."

He assured that (AIN) would not cut workers, though some employees may be reassigned. Additionally, the government is reviewing whether to allow foreign airlines to buy significant stakes in Indian carriers as a way to bring new capital into the country's ailing air transport market.

777-237ER (36306, VT-ALG), and 777-337ER (36313, VT-ALO), deliveries.

August 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company of India (NACIL) said in a Draft Restructuring Plan that over the next nine months it plans to "enhance [its] focus on [developing a] Low Cost Carrier (LCC) for high-density domestic/international routes" along with an "aggressive route restructuring" and intends to create subsidiaries for its Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO), ground handling and cargo operations. Within 18 - 36 months (NACIL) said it expects "profitable growth" and hopes to spin off "non-core businesses" and prepare for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The company is seeking government aid.

(AIN)/(IND) employees represented largely by the Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) and the Aviation Industry Employees Guild continued with a hunger strike in protest of planned wage cuts. An (AIN)/(IND) spokesperson told "The Economic Times," "We have a well formulated contingency plan and have deployed additional manpower to ensure smooth operations." Some 20,000 employees, or about two-thirds the carrier's workforce, reportedly are involved. (ACEU) General Secretary, J B Kadian said (AIN)/(IND) management "is delaying and ignoring us. It is also reducing our salaries to half." The "International Business Times" reported that (AIN)/(IND) plans to cut productivity bonuses by up to -50%. Those payments comprise one-third to one-half of many employees' take-home pay and cost (AIN)/(IND) approximately $300 million in 2008, the paper said. Talks between management and union representatives reportedly broke down.

(AIN) is discussing the cancellation of six 777 orders with Boeing (TBC), (AIN) confirmed to several news organizations. It finalized an order for 23 777s, 27 787s and 18 737-800s in early 2006. "Considering that (AIN) has a long-standing relationship with (TBC), we are confident the dialogue will able to move forward to face the current crisis afflicting the global aviation industry," an (AIN) spokesperson told "Agence France Presse." (AIN)/(IND) is a undergoing restructuring as a condition for government aid.

September 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) said it presented its turnaround plan to the government's Committee of Secretaries and that, "while appreciating the various measures taken by (AIN)/(IND), the committee felt that in some areas more aggressive cost reduction measures were required to be adopted and the company also needs to examine its strategic position with respect to its shareholders' objectives." (AIN)/(IND) said the committee directed the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, to present a loan or bailout proposal to the cabinet. Indian media cited several sources indicating that the government will provide some INR50 billion/$1.01 billion in aid over the next three years as long as (AIN)/(IND) continues to cut costs.

(AIN)/(IND) announced a cut in productivity-linked incentive payments due to more than >7,000 employees, retroactive to August. The cuts will range from -25% to -50% depending on the amount. Those earning more than >INR200,000/$4,140 per month will see their bonuses reduced by half.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)'s flight schedules could be disrupted after nearly 400 management pilots (FC) proceeded with a threatened wildcat strike to protest cuts in their flying allowances, according to India's "Economic Times." The pilots (FC) are not allowed to form a union, which is why they resorted to wildcat action. A spokesperson for (AIN)/(IND) said the airline "had not heard anything from the pilots (FC) [about the strike]. They have gone to the media rather than coming to us. (AIN)/(IND) management will do all to maintain normal flight operations to prevent any inconvenience to the passengers." At the same time, the airline's 800 pilots (FC) who belong to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association have been invited by management for talks to sort out pay-related matters. They claim that (AIn)/(ind) has cut flying allowances, reducing salaries by up to -70%.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) signed a reciprocal loyalty program agreement taking effect ahead of (AIN)/(IND)'s entry into the Star Alliance (SAL).

INCDT: 747-437 (PW4056) (987-27078, /93 VT-ESM "Konark") had an engine fire on take-off in India on September 4th, which resulted in possible structural damage to the wing.

777-337ER (36316, VT-ALR), delivery.

October 2009: Air India (AIN)’s winter schedule includes 777 deployments to many of its most important longhaul routes, including New York (JFK), Newark, Chicago, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Toronto, and Tokyo. (AIN) has now taken delivery of 64 of 111 new-generation airplanes (AIN) and its merger partner Indian (IND) ordered during the boom years. Of these 64, nine are 777-300ERs and eight are 777-200LRs. The deployments are good news for customers, who get amenities including flat-bed seats in first (F) and business (C) classes, as well as state of the art Thales (THL) in-flight entertainment systems.

(AIN) is adding a new destination too. (AIN) will soon (in December) become the first Indian carrier to serve Washington when it begins Dulles service as an extension to its Delhi - New York (JFK) flight. This flight uses the ultra-long range 777-200LRs.

(AIN)/(IND) pilots (FC) ended their four-day wildcat strike after the government overruled management's plan for massive wage cuts. Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel reportedly told (AIN)/(IND) that the pay cuts would have to be withdrawn and "productivity-linked incentives" should be paid to 7,000 of its highest-paid workers on October 7, the "Economic Times" reported. The pilot (FC) dispute revolved around the airline's decision to ax those incentive payments, which account for 50% of the pay of pilots (FC) and other management, to cut costs. The impromptu strike, which also was meant to express pilots' (FC) dissatisfaction with not being allowed to unionize, forced (AIN)/(IND) to cancel 25% of its flights.

But the airline's problems are not resolved even with the work action over, Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation told the "Economic Times." "The current cost structure of Air India (AIN)/(IND) is untenable," he said. "I am not very sure what happens now. It will be very unfortunate if the management actually withdraws its cost-cutting." (AIN)/(IND) appealed for a bailout from the government, but in response, Singh's government ordered it to produce a credible turnaround plan first.

November 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) said it flew 770,000 domestic passengers in October, up nearly +17% year-over-year, and that its October load factor of 72.8% LF was +5.3 points higher than September's. It warned, however, that revenue is "still not of the order which can help generate surplus."

(AIN)/(IND) lost -INR55.48 billion/-$1.19 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, more than double the -INR22.26 billion deficit suffered in the prior year. Revenue dropped -11.6% to INR134.79 billion, owing to "global recession, fall in load factors and passenger yields," (AIN)/(IND) said. Passenger numbers declined -21.6% to 10.4 million, and load factor dropped -4.3 points to 59.5% LF. (AIN)/(IND) is seeking some INR50 billion in cash and loans from the government.

Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee was scheduled to lead a meeting of ministers today to discuss the government's role. "Cost-cutting measures and a pickup in demand in domestic and international traffic are likely to result in improvement in the operating performance for the year 2009 to 2010," (AIN)/(IND) said.

Indian airlines carried 4 million passengers in October, up +26.7% from the year-ago month. Passenger traffic through the year's first 10 months rose +3.3% year-over-year to 36 million. Market share was divided as follows: Jet Airways (JPL) and JetLite (SAQ) 27.7%, Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) 20.7%, Air India (AIN)/(IND) 18.6%, IndiGo (IGO) 13.6%, and SpiceJet (ROJ) 12.4%.

The Indian government will offer financial aid to Air India (AIN)/(IND) if the airline is able to realize -INR20 billion/-$429.8 million in cost cuts and revenue increases by March, Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told reporters. "We are talking of an equity infusion. We are broadly looking at an equity infusion linked to monthly performance parameters. We are only looking at it until March," Patel said, according to reports. "This is not the total equity infusion which is being looked at for (AIN)/(IND). We are also going to see how it performs on a monthly basis to be able to finally take a call at the end of March as to what will be the final support which the government will provide." (AIN)/(IND) has offered 10 long-haul airplane up for lease. It has invited bids to lease out three 777-200LRs, three 747-400s (wet-lease (ACMI) only) and three A310-300F freighters, according to the "Press Trust of India." (AIN)/(IND) said it lost -INR55.48 billion in its fiscal year ended March 31.

(AIN)/(IND) pilots (FC) represented by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) warned they are ready to strike on November 24, issuing a statement saying, "We intend to tell the public and the political leadership what is wrong with Air India (AIN)/(IND) . . . if issues including that of pending arrears are not addressed by (AIN)/(IND) management by November 10," the "Press Trust of India" reported.

Later, (AIN)/(IND) pilots (FC) reiterated their threat to strike on November 24 unless all demands are met. The pilots (FC) want their flying allowances - - which they say have not been paid for two months - - restored, and object to the fact that "foreign pilots (FC) who are employed by the company, are being paid approximately +30% more" than Indian nationals and are being paid promptly, (ICPA) Secretary S Sabu told "The Economic Times."

Later, the Indian government has "assured support" and promised a INR4 billion/$86.5 million equity infusion to (AIN)/(IND) by January, parent, National Aviation Company of India said. "Further installments would be tied up to the milestones of savings effected on account of cost-cutting exercise[s] adopted by the national carrier at various levels," the (NACIL) said, adding that it plans to "aggressively rationalize its fleet size and network . . . in the coming months." (AIN)/(IND) announced a -INR55.48 billion loss in its fiscal year ended March 31 and faces a November 24 strike deadline set by pilots (FC) upset about the withdrawal of allowance and incentive payments. The (NACIL) said it is "trying to address" those issues "in view of the improved passenger carriage in recent months" and hopes to make its October incentive payments "shortly." An "improved booking position" for December also prompted the company to announce a plan to "clear the arrears to various vendors."

(AIN)’s problems included (and in some cases still include) a
depreciating rupee, extreme swings in oil prices, heavy borrowing, endless competition, intransigent unions and bumpy merger integration.
It hopes to join the Star Alliance (SAL) and deploy Air India Express (AXB) on domestic routes, but even these initiatives are tangled in bureaucratic complexity. Exasperated government officials are now phasing in a roughly $400 million bailout, with some of the money conditioned on hitting cost and revenue targets. Fortunately, fleet and network changes already in place will help, according to executives, make the current fiscal year’s results exceed those of last year.

(AIN)/(IND) and Aerostar Asset Management of Sharjah announced the launch of an engine Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) partnership called "The A Team," which will use (AIN)/(IND)'s Mumbai facility and Aerostar's marketing connections in the Middle East to secure third-party work on (CF6-50/80), (PW4000), (GE90), and (CFM56-7) engines, as well as (CFM56-5)s in the "near future."

December 2009: Air India (AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav expects (AIN)/(IND) will become a Star (SAL) Alliance member sometime between June and October 2010, although a (SAL) alliance executive said that questions remain concerning (AIN)/(IND)'s readiness. "Making fleet updates, a merger and preparing (AIN)/(IND) for the alliance all at the same time is a difficult task. We will see if (AIN)/(IND) is able to make it," the (SAL) alliance source said.

Indeed, the integration of the old Air India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND), which began in July 2007, still is going on. "But a lot of work has been done," said Jadhav, who took up his position at (AIN)/(IND) last spring. "We are in the process of phasing out 46 airplanes, including our A310s and 747 Classics. Through 2011 our fleet should be trimmed from 156 to 125 airplanes." (AIN)/(IND) is undergoing an intensive restructuring and is hoping for a INR4 billion/$85.2 million equity infusion from the government next month.

Jadhav also said he is skeptical about the future of (AIN)/(IND)'s order for 27 787-8s. Boeing has promised its first flight by the end of the month. "We are waiting for data from the 787's maiden flight on its performance. This is crucial for us [in making a decision about whether to stick with the order]. By now, we should already have the first 787 in our fleet." Asked about an interim solution or whether (AIN)/(IND) will consider the A350, he said, "We are looking at it," but added that no decision is imminent. He did not offer details on when (AIN)/(IND) expects their first 787.

One of Jadhav's main strategies to revive (AIN)/(IND) is creating more independent spinoff subsidiaries in areas such as Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO), cargo and ground handling. He claimed it would make the airline more efficient and said that an independent (MRO) facility will be able to handle up to 300 airplanes per year, including for third-party customers.

Another factor that would enable (AIN)/(IND) to be more alliance friendly is addition of the third terminal at Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL)in Delhi. To this point, the infrastructure at Indian airports has made it difficult to establish the sort of hub operations that facilities like Dubai, Singapore and Munich offer. "In October or November 2010, the new (DEL) airport facility should be ready," he said. "The problem had always been that the two main airports [Mumbai and (DEL)] had never been integrated so (AIN)/(IND) could support hub traffic." He cited Jet Airways (JPL)'s decision to operate a hub in Brussels and (AIN)/(IND)'s operation in Frankfurt as examples of how Indian carriers have adapted.

Jadhav said he hoped that joining the (SAL) alliance, the new terminal at (DEL), and next October's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi will change (AIN)/(IND)'s fortunes. "Then, you will see a new (AIN)/(IND)," he said.

India is making a considerable effort to join commercial aviation's environmental effort, Civil Aviation Director General, Nasim Zaidi said at the USA-India Aviation Partnership Summit in Washington, with authorities committed to establishing a national inventory of carbon dioxide emissions for the sector (with a base year of 2005) along with programs compelling both airlines and airports to be more efficient and green. "As a developing economy we have a concern of maintaining a balance between the sustainability of a growing economy and the adverse impact this growth can have on climate change," Zaidi said, adding that the Indian government has committed to a nationwide -20% to -25% cut in emissions by 2025. "The objective is to provide enough space to the airlines to grow without adversely affecting the environment."

An Aviation Environment Unit reporting to the (DGCA) will identify problem areas, provide technical guidance and suggest solutions covering both environmental issues and noise to industry stakeholders, he said. Carriers, meantime, have been asked to create similar units within their own companies. "Our fuel efficiency is not in line with the global average" of 0.4 liters per (RTK), he admitted. India currently is operating at 0.54 liters per (RTK), with Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) above 0.6 and Jet Airways (JPL) around 0.5, Zaidi said. "We have work to do in this area." India's (RTK) production ranks 12th in the world, considering the European Union (EU) as a single state.

Airlines have been instructed to adhere to proper maintenance procedures, minimize Auxilliary Power Unit (APU) usage, use Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and continuous descent and consider one-engine taxiing, among other initiatives. (PBN) has been implemented at Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad and is in progress at Chenai. On the ground, airlines and airports are being asked to monitor waste and look into using solar panels for lighting, constructing plants to recycle waste water or to generate electricity from waste and using compressed natural gas for ground vehicles.
Zaidi also said that India has "expressed our willingness" to join the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) plans to operate 105 airplanes by March 2011 compared to the 146 currently in the fleet, Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told Parliament, according to "The Wall Street Journal." He added that 133 of (AIN)/(IND)'s 192 routes were loss-making during the April TO October period, and that the loss on unprofitable routes was -INR15.23 billion/-$325.1 million.

January 2010: Air India (AIN)/(IND) announced a loss of -INR14.74 billion/-$316.8 million in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2009, a +9.7% improvement from the -INR16.32 billion deficit reported in the year-ago period.

It cited a +24.8% increase in passenger numbers to 3.2 million and a +14.4-point surge in load factor to 69.7% LF, as drivers of the improvement. Revenue rose +3% to INR38.52 billion, a "modest" performance resulting from "low yields on both the domestic and international routes due to market conditions," and operating loss narrowed -25% to -INR8.64 billion from -INR11.52 billion in the three months ended December 31, 2008.

Also, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation released a statement saying it "has no move afoot for the [Air India-Indian Airlines (AIN)/(IND)] demerger. The merger was a carefully thought out process and a collective decision of all agencies of the government of India." Members of parliament had criticized the merger, blaming the move for the carrier's heavy losses. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture even recommended that the old airlines operate separately and independently under the National Aviation Company of India umbrella.

According to "The Hindu," ministers are scheduled to meet February 3 to discuss injecting an additional +INR12 billion into (AIN)/(IND). It already has received INR8 billion.

February 2010: The Indian government announced final approval of an INR8 billion/$173.7 million equity infusion into Air India (AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company of India, with the release of the funds "calibrated to the achievement of milestones laid down by the [cabinet]" including a -28% fleet reduction.

The government said the equity "would not only ease the cash flow situation of the company but would also preclude borrowings from the markets at a high cost." (AIN)/(IND) lost -INR14.74 billion in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31 and "is currently facing severe financial losses . . . compounded by its costly legacy assets, weakening revenue stream and high cost structure." It said (AIN)/(IND)'s operating loss through the fiscal first half was -INR2.03 billion. The government said (AIN)/(IND) has agreed to a INR19.11 billion cost reduction program for the year ending March 31.

In addition, it will reduce its fleet from 146 airplanes to 105 by March 2011. Twenty-two already have been pegged for departure through lease, sale or their return to a lessor, which will result in annual savings of -INR2 billion in maintenance and inventory costs, -INR4 billion in fuel costs and "efficiency gains" and -INR3 billion in employment expenses. Additional manpower reductions will save -INR1.13 billion.

Another INR5.63 billion will be saved this year through route rationalization, a reduction of overlap between (IND) and Air India Express (AXB) and of positioning flights and replacement of six 747s. The government said (AIN)/(IND)'s network "will focus on profitable hub operations, leveraging partners for efficiency like [Delhi's new Terminal 3] and the Star (SAL) Alliance." The INR8 billion in funding will occur in two installments of INR4 billion each.

The Export-Import Bank of the USA and Air India (AIN) parent, National Aviation Company of India (NACIL) reached a $1.1 billion financing deal to support (AIN)'s acquisition of 777-200LRs, 777-300ERs, and 737-800s. The Ex-Im approved a $1.2 billion package in 2007 and $548.8 million in financing in 2008 to support (NACIL)'s Boeing (TBC) orders.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) plans to spin off Air India Cargo into a separate entity under the National Aviation Company of India umbrella on April 1, Director Cargo, Anita Khurana said. Air India Cargo accounts for some 8% of (AIN)/(IND)'s total revenue and operates six 737Fs and two A310Fs, according to the "Press Trust" of India. Khurana said (AIN)/(IND) will resume cargo flights to Europe and Japan at some point in the first half of 2010.

(SITA) deployed the world's first Common Use Self-Service kiosks with an Arabic interface at Sharjah International, the parties announced. Passengers flying Air Arabia (ABZ), Nas Air (NAZ), Sama (SMA), Air India (AIN)/(IND) and Jet Airways (JPL) are using the kiosks. (SITA) also is providing Web check-in for Air Arabia (ABZ) under a five-year deal.

March 2010: Air India (AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company of India (NACIL) is expected to lose approximately -INR54 billion/-$1.18 billion in its fiscal year ending March 31, similar to the -INR55.48 billion deficit suffered in 2008 to 2009, with losses "likely to continue for [a] few more years," Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told parliament. (AIN)/(IND)'s restructuring plan, a condition of its government bailout, "envisages benefits" of INR19.11 billion in 2009 to 2010, although (NACIL) has implemented just INR7.53 billion. The company's outstanding fuel bill has reached INR17.41 billion, a debt that the government insists should be resolved "expeditiously." Patel said, "Additional measures to enhance revenues are part of the turnaround plan. These will include measures to enhance yields and improve load factors that have remain[ed] depressed in the recent years. Additional measures to cut costs including wage rationalization and other expenses are also part of the turnaround process."

GE Aviation (GEC) and Air India (AIN) announced an agreement under which (AIN) will provide Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services on the (GEnx-1B) with technical support and training from the (GEC). (AIN) has 27 (GEnx-1B)-powered 787s on order with delivery expected to begin next year. "(AIN) envisages a state-of-the-art facility catering to (GE90) and (GEnx) engines, including a new engine test facility," Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav said.

Boeing (TBC) agreed to pay Air India (AIN)/(IND) $145 million in compensation for the delay in its 787s, the Indian government announced. (AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company. of India had requested $710 million. It has 27 787-8s on order and has seen first delivery pushed back from the originally scheduled May 2008 to April 2011.

3 A310-324s (684; 693; 697) to Deccan 360 (DEC).

April 2010: Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel told reporters on the sidelines of a New Delhi business conference that "the worst is over" for struggling Air India (AIN)/(IND), which has seen average monthly losses of -INR4 billion/-$90 million begin to come down by -INR1 billion a month.

According to "Agence France Presse," Patel said (AIN)/(IND) "is continuing on a path to recovery." (*AIN)/(IND) declared a -INR14.74 billion/-$316.8 million loss in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2009. "Things are looking much more controlled than they were two months ago," Patel said, noting that (AIN)/(IND) recently added four directors to its board. Earlier this month it appointed its first COO, Gustav Baldauf.

The Indian government in February approved a +INR8 billion/+$173.7 million equity infusion into Air India (AIN)/(IND) parent, National Aviation Company of India (NACIL). (NACIL) said it expected to lose approximately -INR54 billion/-$1.18 billion in its fiscal year ended March 31, with losses "likely to continue for [a] few more years."

It lost -INR55.48 billion in 2008 to 2009.

777-337ER (36318, VT-ALT, "Nagaland"), delivery.

777-337ER (36317, VT-ALS, "Mizoram"), delivery.

May 2010: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has delayed its plans to join the Star Alliance (SAL), previously anticipated in the June to October period. "We are targeting internally to be a member in December, officially maybe in the first quarter of 2011," Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav said on the sidelines of the Star Alliance (SAL) joining ceremony for TAM (TPR) in Sao Paolo. (AIN)/(IND) is still working on bringing its Information Technology (IT) systems to alliance requirements. A source close to the (SAL) alliance said that by the end of March 2011, the airline could get its membership.

Management also is busy integrating (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) - - an ongoing process since the Indian government announced the merger of the state-owned carriers in July 2007 - - and is reviewing its fleet mix. It is trying to lease out several of its 777s as part of a plan to reduce its network by -15%. "We currently operate 57 domestic airplanes, 27 narrow bodies for international operations and 26 wide body long-haul airplanes," Jadhav said. He believes the worst is over for (AIN)/(IND) and said it achieved a positive operating result in the last four months. He expressed optimism about its outlook, citing strong growth rates for aviation in China and India, which should create business opportunities for (AIN)/(IND). He also is counting on the opening of new airport facilities in New Delhi, set for July 14. "There will be an in integrated terminal, which brings more alliance facilities," he added.

June 2010: New Air India (AIN) COO, Gustav Baldauf said that (AIN)/(IND) should return to profitability in 2 to 3 years.

The merger between (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) will be completed this year, he said, adding that (AIN)/(IND) will become a full member of the Star Alliance (SAL) in 2011. (AIN) units such as maintenance, catering and ground operations will be spun off as separate entities but will remain under the "Air India Group" umbrella, he said, explaining that "the system [will be] similar to Lufthansa (DLH)."

Sources close to (AIN) have suggested that the airline is overstaffed. It currently has 10,000 employees; the maintenance department alone has 8,000 (MT) to service a fleet of around 140 airplanes. But Baldauf insisted that most of the employees will be necessary to implement the airline's future strategy.

He did not gloss over weak points. For example, he said (AIN)'s European hub at Frankfurt (FRA) is inefficient. Five of its 777-300ERs land at the airport around the same time and not enough gate positions are available. "For the quality we get, (FRA) is too expensive," he said, warning that (AIN) is not ruling out looking for alternative hubs in Europe.

Another trouble spot is an unwieldy fleet currently comprising 10 airplane types. Bladauf said (AIN) should operate no more than five types. It will add an 11th type next year when it takes delivery of its first 787. It has 27 787s on order but no longer is sure it needs so many. "We have to determine if the airplane will fulfill our needs," he said, pointing out that since there is "no data available" on 787 operations, (AIN) will have to wait until after it takes delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner to begin evaluating it. If it determines the airplane is not a good fit, it will consider reducing the number it has on order, he said.

Regarding its network, the Indian flag carrier is evaluating whether it should serve more capitals, particularly in the Middle East. "We have to look at all possibilities," he said. "India is the home market. But if we look at the strong Indian population in the Arabian Peninsula, we may also come to see it as [another] home market."

777-337ER (36319, VT-ALU "Orissa"), delivery.

August 2010: Star Alliance (SAL) members are carving out their space in the new Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Austrian Airlines (AUL), Continental Airlines (CAL), Lufthansa (DLH) and SWISS International Air Lines (CSR) are sharing a ticket desk usable from inside and outside the terminal for easier passenger access. The joint space is made possible by Air India (AIN)/(IND), which is expected to join the Star (SAL) Alliance by the end of March next year. (AIN) is developing Terminal 3 into an integrated hub and will permit Star Alliance (SAL) members to use its lounge, set to open by mid-September, as a part of the co-location program.

The Star (SAL) Alliance has become the first airline alliance to group its members by establishing a series of joint passenger amenities and related infrastructure in T3. “Our presence at T3 through Star Alliance (SAL)’s ‘Move under one Roof’ [initiative] . . . has ensured that from the onset, many facilities are shared with future member, (AIN)/(IND), thereby laying the groundwork for offering a seamless alliance product from the moment they officially join,” says Lee Hock Lye, Star Alliance VP Products & Services.
From Delhi’s airport, nine Star (SAL) members offer more than >70 flights to 10 Star Alliance hubs in nine countries. From these hubs — Bangkok, Beijing, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Munich, Newark, Seoul, Singapore, Vienna, and Zurich — passengers can connect to more than >1,100 destinations served by the Star (SAL) network.

September 2010: Air India (AIN) plans to shut down its European hub in Frankfurt (FRA) by October 31. COO, Gustav Baldauf said (AIN)'s hub at (FRA), which was established last year, is inefficient. Five of (AIN)'s 777-300ERs land at the airport around the same time and there are not enough available gate positions. "For the quality we get, (FRA) is too expensive," he said.

Flights from (FRA) to Newark, Chicago O'Hare, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai will be stopped, leaving one single daily flight from (FRA) to Delhi. No alternative European Union (EU) hub has been identified. Munich Airport (MUC) CEO, Michael Kerkloh has ruled out that (AIN) will switch to (MUC).

Air India (AIN) has cut its services to key Gulf destinations, home to a huge Indian expatriate population, due to pilot (FC) shortage, (UAE) daily, "Gulf News" reported. “Flights to some of the sectors have been curtailed, and not cancelled.

November 2010: Air India (AIN) started nonstop flights from India to Canada with Toronto - Delhi flights with 777-300ERs. Jet Airways (JPL) serves the market via Brussels.

December 2010: India's Ministry of Civil Aviation reported that India's airlines carried +18.9% more domestic scheduled passengers in the first 11 months of 2010 compared to the corresponding period in 2009. As of November 30, Jet Airways (JPL) mainline had the highest share of the fragmented Indian domestic market at 19.2%, followed by Kingfisher (KFH) at 19.1%, IndiGo (IGO) at 17.3%, Air India (AIN)/(IND)/(AXB) at 17.1%, Spicejet (ROJ) at 13.2%, (JPL) affiliate JetLite (SAQ) at 7%, and Go Air (GOZ) at 6.9%, the ministry stated.

February 2011: Air India (AIN)/(IND) COO, Gustav Baldauf confirmed it is expecting the first of 27 787s it ordered to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011. The first airplane was originally scheduled to be delivered in September 2008.

March 2011: Air India (AIN)/(IND) COO, Gustav Baldauf resigned following controversial comments made about the Indian government's role in (AIN)/(IND), according to multiple news reports from India. The Austrian native, who became the first to hold the COO title in the airline's history when he joined last April, told "The Indian Express" in an interview that the Indian government "should not be involved in day-to-day [(AIN)/(IND)] operations" and was "too prominent" in (AIN)/(IND) decision-making. According to the reports, airline management deemed the comments out of bounds for an (AIN)/(IND) executive.

The departure of the COO is not the only sign of tumult at the struggling carrier — - (AIN)/(IND) also faces a potential strike by former Indian Airlines (IND) pilots (FC) beginning March 9. In a letter to employees sent March 3, (AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav did not reference the COO's departure but expressed concern over the looming strike by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association.

"It is time for all of us to strive and work towards a growth path which would take the company out of its present difficulties and strengthen the hands of the [Minister of Civil Aviation] to resolve various issues amicably," he said. He also cited the airline's progress in its restructuring and integration of (AIN) and (IND), including "making operational profits since November 2010."

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has completed the double migration of Air India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) to (SITA)'s Horizon Passenger Services System (PSS). "(SITA) successfully took the two separate airlines' Information Technology (IT) platforms and completed this complex migration to the new (PSS) in a record 293 days. This included the successful transfer of more than half a million Passenger Name Records with 99.99% accuracy," (SITA) said. The migration is a key step toward merging the two airlines and is a requirement for Air India (AIN)/(IND)'s entry into the Star (SAL) Alliance set for mid-year.

(AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav said: "I am pleased that Air India (AIN)/(IND) and (SITA) teams have worked closely together to achieve this crucial milestone in record time. The migration to (SITA)’s (PSS) and a single code will result in an even more cost-effective, customer-focused and competitive world class airline. This migration will also bring significant cost savings, efficiencies and improvements in passenger services and yields."

(SITA) CEO, Francesco Violante called the "complex double migration" to the (SITA) Horizon platform "a huge achievement and I am delighted with our swift delivery. (SITA) and Air India (AIN)/(IND) worked hard together to complete the migration with minimal disruption to passengers."

May 2011: Air India (AIN)/(IND) said that nearly 90% of its domestic flights have been disrupted as the pilot (FC) strike wears on, forcing (AIN)/(IND) to “substantially curtail” its domestic flights through May 6. (AIN)/(IND) said it would press into service its wide body airplanes to “minimize the impact on the disruption of flights.”

However, (AIN)/(IND) said its regional operations and long-haul routes to/from the USA, UK, Europe, South East Asia (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong), China and the Gulf are operating as scheduled.

A portion of (AIN)/(IND) pilots (FC), represented by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association went on strike April 27 claiming Air India, which merged with Indian Airlines in 2007, has not addressed their complaints about a lack of pay and work condition parity with pre-merger Air India pilots (FC) and foreign pilots hired by Air India.

(AIN)/(IND) launched daily, Delhi - Gwalior - Mumbai A319 service.

Star Alliance (SAL) CEO, Jaan Albrecht said that Air India (AIN) has until July 31 to fulfill the requirements to join the airline grouping or (AIN)'s invitation will be withdrawn. "The process for (AIN) to fulfill its requirements has now taken nearly four years," he noted. "We will not extend this deadline anymore. One day there must be a final point." Nevertheless, he added, "We expect that (AIN) will make it."

Former (AIN) COO, Gustav Baldauf, who resigned earlier this year said (AIN) will have difficulty meeting the deadline. "I strongly believe that (AIN) will not fulfill all the necessary requirements to be able to join the Star Alliance (SAL) by the end of July. (AIN) is simply not ready for the (SAL)."

(AIN) may be in a better position to meet the (SAL) Alliance's requirements following the resumption of normal operations after a disruptive 10-day strike by a portion of its pilots (FC) came to an end. The work action by about 800 former Indian Airlines (IND) pilots (FC) led to more than >1,000 flight cancellations.

(AIN) was originally slated to join the (SAL) Alliance in 2010, but has had trouble meeting the alliance's membership standards regarding Information Technology (IT) systems and other areas. (AIN) has struggled financially in recent years and is attempting to gain the backing of Indian bankers for a comprehensive restructuring plan.
Albrecht said that "the Indian government is very well informed that (AIN) has to fulfill the requirements" to become a (SAL) Alliance member.

When asked what happens if (AIN) fails to meet the standards for joining the (SAL) Alliance, Albrecht said, "There is no plan B. But in the contract between the (SAL) Alliance and (AIN) it is mentioned that [the airline] will not be in an exclusive position" in India. Similar to the USA and China, India is a market in which the (SAL) Alliance believes more than one member is necessary "and Jet Airways (JPL) has always been a factor. Even when (AIN) becomes a member, we will keep our door open [for a second Indian partner]." A network overlap between two Indian carriers within one alliance would be possible, he added. "But we also believe traffic streams within India will concentrate, there will be a split of the market and the need to feed hubs will be necessary," he explained.

Albrecht said the (SAL) Alliance has shown a great deal of patience with (AIN). "It is a complex process," he commented. "By the end of July, we will have a clear vision of where the (SAL) Alliance and (AIN) stand."

June 2011: Domestic Indian traffic data published by their regulatory authority the (DGCA) for January - May showed a +18% increase with market share of: Jet Airways (JPL) 26%; Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) 20%; IndiGo Airlines (IGO) 20%; SpiceJet (ROJ) 14%; Air India (AIN)/(IND) 13%; and GoAir (GOZ) 7%.

July 2011: Air India (AIN)/(IND) will operate thrice-weekly, Delhi - Varanasi - Gaya - Delhi service and four-times-weekly, Delhi - Gaya - Varanasi - Delhi service between October 1 to October 29.

August 2011: The Star Alliance (SAL) suspended the induction of Air India (AIN)/(IND) into the global airline grouping after (AIN)/(IND) failed to meet the minimum joining conditions agreed upon in December 2007.

The (SAL) Alliance said, "Following a recent review of the status of (AIN)/(IND)'s application at a meeting held between the Indian Ministry for Civil Aviation, (SAL) Alliance CEO, Jaan Albrecht and [(AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director], Arvind Jadhav, the decision to suspend has received subsequent confirmation by the Star (SAL) Alliance Chief Executive board."

Albrecht stated, "With the collective decision to put the integration efforts on hold, we aim to contribute to (AIN)/(IND)'s flexibility to concentrate on its ongoing strategic reorientation. In this process, our member carriers will continue to provide assistance to (AIN)/(IND) wherever required."

The world's largest airline alliance (SAL) said that (AIN)/(IND)'s "existing bilateral relationships with Star (SAL) Alliance member airlines are not affected by this decision, which also leaves room to discuss a potential alliance membership at a future stage, if deemed appropriate by both parties."

(AIN) has been struggling for some time with the integration of Indian Airlines (IND) and is contending with mounting debts. In April, it presented a turnaround plan to a consortium of Indian bankers aimed at making the struggling carrier operationally profitable by 2015. (AIN)'s board has approved the plan, which targets INR40 billion/$898 million in annual cost cuts and INR50 billion in annual revenue enhancement.

According to (AIN), the plan includes an equity infusion, converting short-term loans to long-term loans, reducing interest rates, spinning off its Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and ground handling subsidiaries, and resolving lingering Indian Airlines (IND) integration/merger issues.

August 2011: Air India (AIN)/(IND) estimates a loss of -Rs69.94 billion/-$154 million for the current year.

Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav has been replaced with career civil servant, Rohit Nandan, who was most recently Joint Secretary in India's Civil Aviation Ministry.

September 2011: The Indian Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel has fired back at a Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) report claiming Air India (AIN)/(IND) is in a financial mess largely because of its buying and leasing of new airplanes, according to India’s "NDTV.com." In the report, the (CAG) singled out decisions made by Patel in his previous two terms and the airline’s management for the problems.

But Patel has responded in an interview with the "Times" of India, saying the (CAG)'s observations are with the benefit of hindsight.
"(AIN)/(IND) was functioning with planes that were 20 years old. We were in a catch-22 situation. If we wanted to do well, we needed new airplanes, but were also aware that the company's financial situation would not have permitted it. The old projections were made in very different circumstances,” said Patel.

The TV website also claimed that Civil Aviation Minister, Vayalar Ravi admitted the airline doesn’t have funds to pay for the 27 787s it ordered in 2006, with deliveries expected to begin late this year. The report also blamed government policies for the hasty ordering of “a fleet that (AIN)/(IND) did not need,” an assertion Patel rejected. "The process for (AIN)/(IND) estimating its airplane requirement began in August 2004 and ended with the order being placed in December 2005. If that is fast, I don't know how to define slow,” he said.

Patel also pointed out contradictions in the (CAG) report. “At one level it has criticized past governments for delayed acquisition before 2004 and then says that we hurried into it. The final call was taken in 10 days as Boeing (TBC)'s price offer was only till December 31, 2005" Patel said. "In any case, (AIN)/(IND) has several inherent problems like a high wage structure and operational issues, and airplane purchase was only small issues in the larger picture."

In April, (AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Arvind Jadhav met with a consortium of Indian bankers to present a turnaround plan aimed at making the struggling carrier "operationally profitable by 2015." Since then, (AIN)/(IND) has been hit with pilot (FC) strikes, which disrupted nearly 90% of its domestic flights. Last month, the Star Alliance (SAL) suspended the induction of (AIN)/(IND) into the global airline grouping after it failed to meet the minimum membership conditions agreed upon in December 2007.

November 2011: The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) filed suit against the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) to halt a pending deal for $3.4 billion in loan guarantees for airplane financing to Air India (AIN/(IND)), saying that it fails to meet statutory requirements, including consideration of the impact on the USA airline industry and airline jobs.

According to the (ATA), “the Ex-Im Bank recently approved $1.3 billion in USA taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for (AIN)/(IND), and is considering an additional +$2.1 billion in loan guarantees, to support the purchase of 30 airplanes, including 27 787 Dreamliners for delivery between 2011 - 2015.”

The (ATA) said it asked the court to find the (AIN)/(IND) loan-guarantee commitments unlawful, to prevent the loan guarantees from being issued, and to order injunctive relief requiring the Ex-Im Bank to comply with its statutory obligations. In a statement, the (ATA) asserted that the “practices of Ex-Im Bank put USA carriers at a commercial disadvantage to foreign carriers. Specifically, the USA loan guarantees enable foreign carriers to obtain financing for airplanes at considerably lower rates, in some cases up to -50% lower than what USA airlines must pay on the commercial market.”

Investors, apparently, weren’t convinced by embattled billionaire Vijay Mallya’s assurances that he was closing in on a number of deals that would save his debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines (KFH): the company’s stock was trading down -15% recently.

But India’s second-largest carrier by market share isn’t the only airline whose finances are being questioned. With the media searchlight trained on (KFH), attention has drifted away from what many analysts and industry members believe is a root cause of the crisis roiling India’s aviation sector: debt-ridden, loss-making, price-undercutting, state-run carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND).

Mallya insisted he was about to conclude some life-saving deals. If investors believed him, they should have piled back into Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) when markets opened. Instead, they have continued to stay away.

Sharan Lillaney, aviation analyst at Angel Broking, said investors were reacting to reports that the civil aviation minister had categorically ruled out a bailout for (KFH) – even though Mallya himself insists he is not looking for one. “The civil aviation minister has said they will not provide any bailout – I think that is why the stock is reacting,” Lillaney said. “[Mallya] clearly mentioned that he didn’t need a bailout, but clearly the markets thought differently.”

But industry leaders say there is another reason for all the turmoil. M Shivkumar, Head of Finance at Jet Airways (JPL), India’s biggest carrier, laid the blame squarely at the door of Air India (AIN)/(IND). “Air India (AIN)/(IND) is discounting fares and that’s absolutely a problem,” he told "Bloomberg." “Ideally, fares should go up when oil-import costs go up. That’s not happening and that’s why airlines are in this situation.”

Every Indian carrier (with the exception of IndiGo (IGO)) is running up huge losses even though the number of passengers flying in the first nine months of 2011 rose by +19% from the same period a year earlier. High fuel prices and sales tax and Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s price undercutting are the principal causes.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has been unprofitable since 2007. But it has received Rs32 billionn/$625 million in government bailouts and is asking for another Rs65 billion before the end of the fiscal year that ends in March 2012.

Kingfisher (KFH), which is $1.4 billion in debt, reported a net loss in the quarter ending in September 2011 of -Rs4.69 billionn, twice the size of its -Rs2.31bn loss a year earlier (even though revenues climbed +11% to Rs15.3 billion).

Jet Airways (JPL) posted a net loss of -Rs7.13 billion for the same quarter; last year, it had a profit of +Rs124 million. Spicejet (ROJ), meanwhile, reported a loss of -Rs2.4 billion compared to a +Rs101.1 million profit last year.

Even IndiGo (IGO) (which is unlisted and does not publish results but is universally held to be profitable) may be losing money on its flights. Analysts say it makes most of its money by selling its airplanes and leasing them back. IndiGo (IGO) placed one of the largest commercial jet orders in history in January when it signed a $15.6 billion, 180-plane deal with Airbus (EDS).

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has no need to sell its planes. Despite its reported $8.57 billion of debt: “A government panel agreed to provide sovereign guarantee to Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s debt obligations totaling [$3.8 billion] towards airplane loan repayments till 2020”, according to the "Indian Express" newspaper.

Such bailouts will continue, analysts told "beyondbrics," because the flag carrier employs some 50,000 - 60,000 Indians.

Lillaney said there have been some signs the government is telling Air India (AIN)/(IND) (notorious for its labour unrest, flight delays and surly customer service) to change its business model. “People don’t trust the airline; they don’t like to travel on Air India (AIN)/(IND),” he said.

Indian airlines aren’t the only ones complaining about the "Maharajah," as Air India (AIN)/(IND) is known. As the "Financial Times" reported, the Air Transport Association (ATA) representing USA airlines is suing the USA Export-Import Bank over $3.4 billion in loan guarantees the bank is providing (AIN)/(IND) to purchase 30 planes from Boeing (TBC), a move the airlines feel unfairly disadvantages USA carriers.

December 2011: In October (AIN)/(IND) had +5% in passenger revenues with a -3% decrease in (ASK) capacity. In April through October, passenger revenues were +4%, but fuel costs were +18%, with wages, depreciation and interest costs all upwards.

The Air Line Pilots Association. (ALPA) has been granted court permission to become party to a lawsuit brought by Airlines for America (A4A) (formerly the Air Transport Association (ATA)) against the USA Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). The suit seeks to halt a pending deal for $3.4 billion in Ex-Im bank loan guarantees that will enable Air India (AIN)/(IND) to finance 30 airplanes including 27 787s.

(ALPA) asserted that the deal could “seriously harm the USA airline industry and risk USA airline jobs.” The union said the Ex-Im Bank’s loan subsidy program harms USA airlines and their workers by allowing foreign airlines such as (AIN) to acquire airplanes for substantially less than USA airlines would have to pay.

(ALPA) is contesting the Ex-Im Bank’s recently proposed financing guarantees for a purchase of Boeing (TBC) airplanes by (AIN). (A4A) has estimated that, with Ex-Im Bank financing, (AIN) would pay approximately $5 million a year less to finance a 777 than a USA airline would pay without the financing guarantees, giving USA airlines a competitive disadvantage on routes where bank-subsidized foreign carriers operate, according to (ALPA).

“At a time when every USA airline industry job counts, it is inexcusable that the USA Export-Import Bank would use USA taxpayer dollars to guarantee financing that could give a foreign airline a significant competitive advantage and risk USA jobs,” (ALPA) President, Lee Moak said.

The court has set an expedited briefing schedule, with a hearing set for December 21 on the injunction request.

(AIN)/(IND) has received the OK to lease out two of its 747-400s and some of its 777-200LRs after the 787-8s start to deliver. It plans to finance the 27 787s it has on order through sale-leaseback agreements.

January 2012: British Midland International (BMA) has introduced yet another code share agreement, this time around with Air India (AIN) covering UK - India routes operated by Air India (AIN) as well as domestic connections in both countries.

Momentum appears to be building toward removing barriers to foreign airlines investing in Indian airlines, potentially opening up a new source of capital for the country's struggling air transport industry.

Currently, non-Indian airlines cannot invest in Indian airlines, though non-airline foreign investors are allowed to own a 49% stake. A recent government-appointed panel recommended that foreign airlines be allowed to buy as much as 49% of Indian carriers, and high-ranking government officials appear open to the proposal.

New Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh told "The Hindu Business Line" that he and the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum will review the panel's recommendation and make a decision shortly on whether to back legislation opening up foreign direct investment by airline companies.

"Airlines today basically require working capital," he said. "They need money. If the foreign companies can invest in these airlines, it is fine."

March 2012: Cash-strapped carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND) will refurbish up to 49 airplanes to reduce the number of business class (C) seats in order to capture a larger number of economy (Y) passengers. (AIN)/(IND) is proposing that the number of business class (C) seats on its A320s and A321s to be cut from 20 to 12. These seats will instead be replaced by 12 to 18 economy seats, depending on approvals from manufacturer Airbus (EDS). "This is mainly due to the shift to low-cost, budget travel by the majority and where business class (C) seats have been restricted only to directors and above and government officials."

To cut debt, (AIN)/(IND) will also be converting its short-term loans to long-term ones, reducing interest rates, issuing non-convertible debentures guaranteed by the government and refinancing some of its high-cost debts. (AIN)/(IND) is also looking at importing jet fuel to lower its operating costs, and is in talks with interested parties to sort out the logistics of such imports. "Once the economics is established, (AIN)/(IND) will then apply for the necessary regulatory approvals for the import of air turbine fuel."

The Indian government had given approval for domestic carriers to directly import jet fuel in a move aimed at lowering the airlines' operating costs. Jet fuel prices in India are up to +40% higher than those in the international market because of high base price and even higher taxes, both at the national and state level.

To overcome its airline industry's serious financial difficulties, India needs a more coherent aviation policy that creates conditions under which carriers can be more successful, according to (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler.

Speaking in Hyderabad at the India Aviation 2012 conference, Tyler mapped out India's civil aviation potential. "Let's do some simple math," he said. "If India’s 1.17 billion people traveled at the same frequency as do Americans, a market of 2.1 billion travelers would be created. But even if they only traveled one-third as much, India would have an air travel market of about 700 million - - rivaling that of the USA.

"There is no doubt that India is a market with big potential and that aviation could be a much more significant contributor to the Indian economy. But there are no guarantees that this will occur without well-coordinated policy measures."

He pointed to the "major hurdles" facing Indian carriers. "Air India (AIN)/(IND) (the national carrier) is being sustained on life support of state aid," Tyler said. "The difficulties at Kingfisher (KFH) are well known. And the sector as a whole is not generating the sustainable profits that one would expect from such a large high-growth market."

The Indian government could improve the country's airlines' prospects through several initiatives, he told the conference. For starters, taxes on airlines are too high, he asserted. "All [airplane] fuel [in India] is subject to an 8.24% excise duty," Tyler said. "Then domestic flights face state fuel taxes of up to 30%. The result is destroying the competitiveness of Indian airlines."

Second, he said, airport infrastructure needs to be modernized where necessary. "Where we see value and a clear return on investment, airlines are willing partners in developing infrastructure capabilities," he added. Third, airport charges should be lowered, he said.

Finally, Tyler pushed for India to end its restriction on investment in Indian carriers by foreign airlines. But he warned that "allowing foreign airlines to invest in Indian aviation is not a panacea [because under the current regulatory environment] the odds are stacked against any investor making a positive return on investment in the Indian aviation sector."

(AIN) seems to have given up plans to possibly sell its 787 delivery positions according to statements made by the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry and is expected to take delivery of all 27 787-8s on order.

April 2012: The Indian government said it will invest INR300 billion/$5.76 billion through 2020 to restructure struggling Air India (AIN)/(IND), including an immediate +INR67.5 billion/+$1.3 billion injection.

(AIN)/(IND) will also spin off its Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and Engineering units into separate subsidiaries, Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh told reporters following a meeting of the Indian cabinet, according to multiple news reports from India.

While (AIN)/(IND) is getting a much-needed financial boost, the Indian cabinet put off a decision on allowing direct investment in Indian carriers by foreign airlines. Though approval still appears likely, the delay is a blow to privately held Kingfisher Airlines (KFH), which is counting on foreign airline capital to help turn around its stressed financial situation.

Singh has said (AIN)/(IND) will also be eligible for foreign airline investment, but the government will maintain majority ownership and control.

Meanwhile, the cash infusion into (AIN)/(IND) will enable the carrier to take delivery of all 27 787s it has on order, though Singh said the airline will likely seek sale-and-leaseback deals on some of the 787 Dreamliners.

Singh conceded to reporters that strapped (AIN)/(IND) “hasn’t been able to pay salaries for a long time” and is also behind on payments to airports.

May 2012: Air India (AIN) is expecting to start taking delivery of its first of 27 787-8s later this month. It reportedly plans to first use the 787-8 on domestic flights from Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) to Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International (HYD) and Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) and to then operate it on international services to Dubai International (DXB) and Singapore Changi International (SIN) airports next.

(AIN)'s long-haul flights on international routes continued to be crippled as the pilot (FC) strike enters the 15th day, overshadowing (AIN)’s 787 delivery later this month.

Pilots (FC) from the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) have hardened their position and so has the government. The Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh invited (AIN)/(IND)’s other 13 unions to a meeting but refused to talk to the striking pilots group. More than >100 pilots (FC) have already been sacked.

The pilots (FC)’s sickout is a result of the government of India’s decision to merge India’s two public sector airlines—Indian (IND), which ran domestic and regional routes, and (AIN), which operated medium- and long-haul international flights. Though the airlines were merged by government diktat four years ago, they remain deeply divided. Both had completely different pay scales, promotion policies and work cultures.

(AIN) was started by the Tata group in the 1932 and later nationalized by the government. (IND) was formed by merging half a dozen small domestic carriers that operated in the 1950s. Despite the merger, employees in almost all sections continue to work as if they belong to two separate carriers.

In what may seem like a bizarre situation to outsiders, pilots (FC) from the (AIN) part of the airline are objecting to the management’s decision to send their brethren from (IND) for flight training on the 787.

Pilots (FC) from (IPG) said if pilots (FC) from the other group are allowed to fly the 787s, they will lose out on growth opportunities. The loss-making airline is shrinking its fleet and is likely to lease out more airplanes as it struggles to stay afloat. The strike has cost the airline about -$40 million so far.

The government has appointed a committee, led by retired judge, D M Dharmadhikari, to evaluate the salary structures of employees and suggest a new parity structure. Discussions continue with the unions to bring in a new common structure so employees will have similar conditions of employment.

The Indian government is threatening to reject Air India (AIN)’s 787s unless Boeing (TBC) provides compensation for a four-year delay in deliveries. “We will not be in a position to take delivery of the 787, as the compensation package for the delay in the delivery of the [787s] has not been decided as of now,” Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh said May 29.

Singh added that while (AIN) has “worked out” a compensation package and is “seeking legal opinion on several steps on how to take it forward,” (AIN) and (TBC) had yet to “decide on a compensation mechanism.”

The first 787 is scheduled for delivery in June, and a further seven are planned for the fiscal year starting April 2013.

According to officials, (AIN) and India’s government expect about $1 billion in compensation from (TBC) for the delays in delivering the 787s, which (AIN) initially expected to receive starting in 2008.

This threat comes as (AIN) continues to be roiled by a strike action involving more than >300 pilots (FC) of the Indian Pilots Guild. The pilots (FC) are protesting (AIN)’s plans to assign pilots (FC) inherited from the 2007 merger with Indian Airlines (IND) to the 787 fleet in preference to legacy Air India (AIN) pilots (FC), who historically crewed Air India (AIN)’s long-haul fleet.

See video - - "(AIN) - Visit the Taj Mahal" - -

June 2012: Adria Airways (ADR) has confirmed it has resumed talks with Air India (AIN), ljubljana Joze Pucnik (LJU) airport authorities and the Slovenian government about establishing Ljubljana as a transit point for Air India (AIN) flights to the United States. (AIN) currently operates daily services from Ahmedabad Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (AMD) via Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) to Newark Liberty International (EWR), from Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International (HYD) via Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) to Chicago O'Hare International (ORD), and from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) via Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) to New York John F Kennedy International (JFK).

Air India (AIN)/(IND) and Boeing (TBC) seem to have agreed on compensation for 787-8 delivery delays and is expected to take delivery of its first three of 27 787-8s later this month now.

Airlines in India have agreed to lower fares -5% to -20% after a reprimand by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which called the average airfare “phenomenal.” The (DGCA) action was in response to a steady rise in air fares on domestic routes since the end of 2011.

According to (DGCA) Chief, E K Bharat Bhushan, who met with airline (CEO)s in Delhi, the (DGCA) has been under pressure to intervene on behalf of passengers. “The increase in average airfare offered by the airlines is phenomenal, though aviation turbine fuel prices have gone up only by +16% in the last one year,” the (DGCA) said.

Airlines have been advised to upload their revised tariff on their websites as soon as possible. The fare reductions will be on the highest fare categories, which are tickets typically sold very close to the date of departure. Most carriers typically sell more than half their inventory in advance.

Indian carriers have been able to command higher fares mainly because seat capacity in the market has come down after the struggling Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) substantially reduced its international flights. (KFH)’s fleet is down to 14 airplanes from 88 at its peak.

The Indian government requires airlines to periodically submit fare charts to the (DGCA), which the airlines are free to discount. Most have been charging a premium because demand has exceeded supply recently.

The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation released the Dharmadhikari committee report, outlining measures to integrate Air India’s (AIN) fractured workforce following its merger with state-run Indian Airlines (IND) nearly five years ago. The unresolved integration issues between employees of the two airlines have led to union unrest.

The report maps out new hierarchies for pilots (FC), engineers (MT), cabin crew (CA) and other key departments in the merged entity. It recommends offering voluntary retirement to 7,000 employees to improve airplane-to-employee ratio and calls for an end to the unlimited free flights currently being granted to employees and their families.

The report also suggests delaying incentive payouts until the airline turns (EBITDA) positive.

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA)’s India Outlook for 2012 - 2013, (AIN) is projected to lose close to $1.3 billion this year. The losses may be higher because a section of its pilots (FC) have been on strike for close to 50 days, resulting in curtailed operations.

(AIN) should do away with Productivity Linked Incentives (PLI), in favor of better defined profit-related pay, where performance is tied to yields, on-time performance and passenger load factors. Incentives could also be given through the granting of two-year extensions after retirement and foreign postings to deserving employees, according to the report.

Scrapping (PLI) is unlikely to be accepted easily by the employees. Yet the government appears to be moving on the report, as it formed a four-member committee in Delhi to push through the recommendations.

A large section of the workforce, including many unions, in 2011 had agreed to go with retired Justice D M Dharmadhikari’s recommendations to give the airline a chance to survive.

Later, A section of the Air India (AIN) pilots (FC), who have been on strike for the past 52 days, said the medical condition of one of them who has been on a hunger strike for the past four days is rapidly deteriorating.

The hundred-odd pilots (FC) belonging to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) are protesting against the management decision to let their colleagues from the former Indian Airlines (IND) bypass them for training on the Boeing 787.

(AIN) management and the Ministry of Civil Aviation have been unsympathetic to the pilots (FC)’s demands, and (AIN) has continued operations with a curtailed schedule. Their stance has hardened in the last few weeks with plans to hire pilots (FC) from abroad.

The striking pilots (FC) warned that such a move could have disastrous consequences, such as in January 1993 when an (IND) Tupolev Tu-154 crashed in Delhi. Pilots (FC) blamed the crash on (IND)’s decision to hire an Uzbek flight crew (FC) that had insufficient knowledge of Indian regulations relating to weather minimas required for landing.

Unmoved by the hunger strike, the Indian Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh remarked that not eating might be good for the health of the pilots (FC). The (IPG) statement said, “It is deeply distressing to see such insensitive remarks being made by a veteran politician as Mr Singh.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Labor Commissioner held a round of meetings with pilots (FC) and (AIN) management in an effort to resolve the ongoing crisis. However, management representative, Vineeta Bhandari refused to meet the pilots (FC). The (IPG) said pilots (FC) were willing to walk the extra mile and meet with the management anytime.

Last week, the Ministry of Civil Aviation released the Dharmadhikari committee report, outlining measures to integrate (AIN)’s fractured workforce following its merger with (IND) nearly five years ago, part of an effort to resolve integration issues that have led to union unrest.

August 2012: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has again indefinitely postponed the delivery of its first three 787-8s following a ground incident at Charleston International airport (CHS), USA, where one of its 787s lost debris of one of its engines during a pre-flight test. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the USA is currently investigating the cause of the engine malfunction and (AIN)/(IND) has announced that it would wait for the results of the investigation before starting to take delivery of the 787-8s.

INCDT: A fan shaft fracture was the cause of a contained engine failure on a 787 during a pre-delivery taxi test, the USA (NTSB) has determined.

The incident happened July 28 at Charleston Airport, South Carolina. The (GE) Aviation (GEC) (GEnx) engine was removed and taken to a (GEC) facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it was disassembled for an investigation led by (NTSB) Investigator-in-charge, David Henson.

The (NTSB) said, “As a result of the investigative work to date, the (NTSB) has determined that a fan mid-shaft on the failed (GEnx) engine fractured at the forward end of the shaft, rear of the threads where the retaining nut is installed. The fan mid-shaft is undergoing several detailed examinations including dimensional and metallurgical inspections.”

Having determined what caused the contained failure, the investigation is now focused on what led to the fracture. The (GEnx) is a dual shaft engine, meaning that one shaft connects the compressor spool at one end to the high pressure turbine spool at the other end. The fan shaft connects the fan and booster in the front of the engine to the low pressure turbine in the back.

Investigators will continue the detailed examination of the engine and metallurgical analysis of its components and have also begun reviewing the engine manufacturing and assembly records, the (NTSB) said.

According to (GEC), this type of fracture is not unknown, but is extremely rare. In 10 years, there have been only six instances across all operating engines and 600 million flight hours.

The (FAA), Boeing (TBC) and (GEC) experts are all assisting the investigation. So far, there seems to be no safety implications for the installed fleet.

Air India (AIN) is planning to start talks with the Oneworld (ONW) and Skyteam (STM) alliances over the next couple of months according to Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh giving up ambitions to join Star (SAL) Alliance after the two parties had already agreed last year that Air India (AIN) had still not met the minimum joining conditions.

September 2012: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has selected Spanish-based technology multinational Indra to commission a new air traffic control (ATC) center in Kolkata.

The new center will be one of the four largest in India, and will control a significant proportion of flights to/from Southeast Asia. It will be equipped with Indra’s automated air traffic management (ATM) systems and will feature approximately 80 air traffic control (ATC) positions.

In addition, Indra will supply four approach and tower simulators for the country’s main centers: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. Each will feature approximately 40 controller positions.

In addition to controller training, the simulators will provide a platform for the (AAI) to conduct analyses and obtain statistics on the type of traffic using its airspace. The (AAI) will also be able to simulate complex (ATM) scenarios and train its personnel to handle unusual situations and emergencies.

In 2010, Indra won a major contract to deploy nine Mode-S radar stations and implement its (ATM) systems in the towers of 38 airports in India.

Air India (AIN/(IND) has taken delivery of its first 787-800 Dreamliner. (AIN)/(IND) is only the fifth airline to take delivery of a 787, following launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines (JAL), Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) and most recently, (LAN) Airlines.

(AIN)/(IND)’s 787 first delivery was delayed by over four months because of negotiations over the issue of compensation for schedule delays. Two more (AIN)/(IND) 787s are parked at Boeing’s South Carolina facility, from where the first airplane was delivered after being assembled in Everett, Washington, USA. The 787 is scheduled to fly to New Delhi.

(AIN)/(IND) finalized initial schedules to temporarily operate its 787-8s on domestic flights from Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) to Chennai Meenambakkam (MAA) and Bangalore Kempegowda International (BLR) on a daily basis between September 19 and October 27. (AIN)/(IND) will afterwards use the 787s for some of its international routes from the (IATA) winter timetable season start on October 28.

(AIN)/(IND) has 27 787 Dreamliners on order, each with 18C business and 238Y economy seats.

October 2012: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has put five of its eight 777-200LRs up for sale as part of an official tender. Back in May of this year, there already were news reports that (AIN) had tried to dry lease the airplanes to Air Canada (ACN). It no longer needs the ultra long-haul airplanes and only plans to retain three 777-200LRs for its route from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) to Newark Liberty International (EWR) with 787-8s replacing the airplane type on other routes.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is accepting online pilot (FC) applications.

See FAPA.aero: Pilot Career Conferences & Job Fairs

...For Future & Active Pilots (FC).

December 2012: Air India (AIN) resumed services on the route from Delhi (DEL) to Dhaka (DAC) in neighboring Bangladesh, which it previously served until December 2007, on 3 December. Daily services will now be operated using the A320 in competition with Jet Airways (JPL)’s also daily flights.

(AIN) inaugurated services on its first route to Saudi Arabia on 5 December, as it launched flights from Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) in the Indian state of Kerala, to Riyadh (RUH). Twice-weekly services will be operated with one of (AIN)’s 747-400s.

January 2013: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has taken delivery of its sixth 787. (AIN)/(IND) has 27 of the planes on order, each with 18C business and 238Y economy seats.

Delivery of the airplanes, manufactured at Boeing (TBC)’s South Carolina facility, was delayed because it was the same type that had encountered an engine failure during pre-flight taxi checks in July, (AIN)/(IND) sources said in Mumbai. (AIN)/(IND) has been testing the airplanes following the incident.

(AIN)/(IND) has reported a marked improved operational performance in the past six months, though it is not yet profitable. Its market share on domestic routes has gradually increased and it is now the third largest carrier in India, with a 20.7% market share in November. Low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo (IGO), with a 27.3% share, and the Jet Airways (JPL) group, with 25.2%, lead the market.

(AIN) has begun replacing its 777s with the more fuel-efficient new planes on its international routes out of Delhi and Mumbai over the past two months. The airplanes are slowly being brought into international service after being used on domestic routes initially.

India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh said that Air India (AIN)/(IND) would seek “some kind of compensation” for the grounding of its six Boeing 787 airplanes. Speaking to journalists in Delhi, Singh said the matter will be taken up later. The priority is to find clarity on the problems that have led to the grounding of the 787s around the world, he said.

The Minister said there is no re-thinking on taking deliveries of the remaining planes on order. (AIN)/(IND) has 27 of the airplanes on order, six of which have been delivered.

Air India (AIN) has begun using the 787 on its international routes out of Delhi and Mumbai, replacing the larger 777.

Meanwhile, Air India (AIN)/(IND) officials expect to receive an interim report from Boeing (TBC) and the USA (FAA) in a day or two on their probe into the 787 Dreamliner’s problems. This may give an idea of how long the 787 will stay grounded, they said.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has invited bids for the sale and leaseback of all its newly acquired 787 airplanes from prospective lessors by the first week of February. All the six 787 airplanes (AIN)/(IND) bought have been grounded since January 17 on a airworthiness directive (AD) from the USA (FAA) following two separate battery failures in 787s operated by Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) and All Nippon Airways (ANA).

In a Request for Proposal (RFP), dated January 23, (AIN)/(IND) has invited quotations from lessors on or before February 5. According to the (RFP), (AIN)/(IND) “would sell the airplane to the lessor and immediately lease them back under an operating lease for a period of 12 years, with an option to extend.”

(AIN)/(IND) has received six 787s and is expected to take delivery of one more this month. However, delivery of the seventh airplane is expected to be deferred because of the prevailing technical problem.

Despite this, (AIN)/(IND) has invited bids for the sale and leaseback of all seven airplanes. As (AIN)/(IND) will be entering into a long-term operating lease, (AIN)/(IND) will not contribute to any maintenance reserve but will maintain the airplane during the period of the lease, the (RFP) says.

(AIN)/(IND) plans to enter an on-point maintenance agreement with (GEC) for the installed engines. (AIN)/(IND) had ordered 27 787s as part of a total of 111 airplanes ordered by Air India (AIN) and then Indian Airlines (IND) from Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS). Air India (AIN) ordered 68 airplanes from Boeing (TBC) in December 2005, and Indian Airlines (IND) ordered 43 units from Airbus (EDS) in February 2006. Air India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) merged in 2007 to form Air India Ltd (AIN)/(IND).

February 2013: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has split its ground handling and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) subsidiaries. The two companies (Air India Air Transport Services and Air India Engineering Services) now operate as separate profit centers.

Air India Air Transport Services carries out ground handling at domestic Indian airports, both for Air India (AIN)/(IND) as well as for third-party customers. Air India Engineering Services similarly undertakes (MRO) services.

The proposal to split off the two units from the airline was first discussed about 10 years ago. It was finally passed as part of a turnaround plan, approved by the Indian government.

Employees working in the ground handling and maintenance units are now assigned to the independent companies, but service conditions and salaries remain unchanged. Air India (AIN)/(IND) sources said the unions have directed employees not to sign any papers accepting the new dispensation yet. The ground handling company has already begun work at three domestic airports.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) will provide for the initial capital expenditure of the two companies until they stabilize operations. (AIN)/(IND), which has often been under fire for a very high employee-to-airplane ratio, said splitting the subsidiaries will reduce its workforce. It operates a fleet of 133 airplanes and employs about 28,000 people. Roughly 20,000 staff will move to the two new companies.

Jet Airways (JPL) is in the final phase of sealing a deal to sell a 24% stake to Abu Dhabi-based, Etihad Airways (EHD). (JPL) Founder & Chairman, Naresh Goyal and (EHD) (CEO), James Hogan have been meeting with ministers responsible for Finance, Commerce and Aviation in Delhi to apprise them of details of the agreement.

The stake sale will help (JPL) retire some of its debt, which was $2.3 billion at the end of September. (EHD) is expected to pay (JPL) about $300 million for the stake, according to sources close to the deal.

(JPL) is a strong and established brand with 25% of the domestic market share. It will give (EHD) access to a huge Indian market, which despite recent challenges is projected to be among the fastest growing in the world in the next decade. In the past two years, (EHD) has been strategically picking up stakes in airlines around the world including Air Berlin (BER), Air Seychelles (ASY) and Virgin Australia (VOZ).

Two Middle Eastern carriers, Kuwait Airways (KUW) and Gulf Air (GUL), had a 40% stake in Jet Airways (JPL) in the mid-1990s. However, a change in Indian government regulations forced them to divest their stake to Goyal, who had emerged as one of the strongest lobbyists against allowing foreign airlines to invest in India. Ironically, his is the first carrier to benefit from the change in policy.

Analysts in Mumbai said (JPL) could use maintenance services in Abu Dhabi and import aviation fuel directly from the emirate to circumvent the huge sales tax on local purchases. For (JPL), the deal provides access to a global network and ability to funding support that it could use to order more narrow body airplanes.

The strengthening of Jet Airways (JPL)’s Middle Eastern links could impact Indian flag carrier, Air India (AIN)/(IND) in a significant way. The airline, through its low-cost carrier (LCC) arm, Air India Express (AXB), connects almost all the major cities in the region. Viability of these short-haul international operations is likely to be hit with the new alliances. The government’s current position is that it will not allow Air India (AIN)/(IND) to be opened up to a strategic partner. However, other private airlines including SpiceJet (ROJ) and Go Air (GOZ) are negotiating with international airlines for possible stake sales.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has already flown at least five of its six 787-8s from Chennai Meenambakkam (MAA) and Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) on various dates between the worldwide grounding of the 787-8s. It had also received permission from the Indian (DGAC) for three ferry flights from Delhi to Mumbai on February 2 before the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has again allowed Boeing (TBC) to operate test flights with the airplane. (AIN)/(IND) has confirmed to Indian media outlets that the flights have taken place and said the reason for the flights would be to get the airplanes to the national carrier's maintenance base. No other carriers have so far operated any ferry or test flights with their 787-8s following the grounding. Boeing has flown one airplane (34925) from Fort Worth Meacham International (FTW) to Everett Snohomish County (PAE) on February 7.

March 2013: “We are looking to add new flights to a number of new markets. These include destinations in Australia, Italy, the USA and a second stop in the UK,” revealed Deepak Brara, Air India (AIN)’s Commercial Director. There are currently no direct flights between India and Australia, as a result (and bilateral agreements aside) Air India (AIN) will have the pick of which route pair it wants to operate on. Realistically, any new route in India is most likely to start in either Delhi or Mumbai, with Sydney and Melbourne at the top of the route shopping list in Australia, given that both cities are at least two to three times the size of Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane in terms of population.

To help narrow those route choices down, Brara indicated that the airline will continue to develop New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport as it primary international hub, so it is perhaps safe to assume that this will be the Indian focal point for this next phase of intercontinental services. “We have a huge home market, so we can develop without having to worry about serving transfer traffic. It would also seem to suggest that (AIN) is unlikely to use its plush new terminal facilities in Delhi to chase kangaroo route traffic routing from Europe to Australia.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, has a total population of around 5.6 million, with 2.1% reporting India as country of birth. This would suggest that there are approximately 120,000 people born in India living in the city – making it the prime target for (AIN).

April 2013: The Bombay High Court dismissed writ petitions filed by Air India (AIN)/(IND) Engineers and Technicians (MT) against (AIN)/(IND)’s decision to split off its Engineering division into a separate company.

The formation of the new Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) division was approved by the government, but is being opposed by the airline unions, who fear that transferring the 7,000-odd employees into the new company is really the first step towards eventual retrenchment.

The company, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) was incorporated earlier this year as an Air India (AIN)/(IND) subsidiary. The airline hopes to increase focus on third-party Maintenance work. The proposal to split off the Engineering and Ground-Handling divisions into separate companies was first discussed a decade ago, but took a long time to implement. It was finally cleared as part of a turnaround plan for the airline, approved by the Indian government. (AIESL) hopes to turn (EBIDTA) positive in 2014 - 2015.

In a statement to the court, the Air India (AIN)/(IND) management listed the advantages of splitting off the Engineering division. The move would correct the airplane to employee ratio, which is currently skewed. It is part of the government-sponsored turnaround plan that hopes to bring the airline back to profitability. The turnaround plan is a combination of cash-infusion, to recapitalize the airline, combined with performance guarantees that include reducing the workforce and higher productivity.

The two unions representing the Technical staff are likely to appeal to the Indian Supreme court for a review of the High court decision. Senior airline sources say the courts are unlikely to stop the (MRO) from starting operations.

May 2013: Air India (AIN)/(IND), which is soon set to expand its long-haul offering, commenced operations on the 500 km domestic route from Dehradun (DED) to Lucknow (LKO), both located in the north of the country. Beginning on 2 May, (AIN)/(IND) offers four weekly departures between the two cities, which have never before been linked by air. Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, who spoke during the event, said: “Convenient for people of the Uttarakhand state residing in Lucknow, the new link will also boost tourism and is very important for development efforts.” Flights are operated using CRJ700 regional jets.

Air India (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan has indicated Air India (AIN) is considering starting new routes this year to Milan, Washington DC, Melbourne, Australia and Birmingham, UK.
He confirmed this by saying "“We are introducing Rome and Milan, Moscow, Birmingham (UK) within the next three - five months, then we are introducing (flights to) Australia.” Both Melbourne and Sydney are cited as being (AIN)’s Australian route targets. While clearly he is hedging his bets by suggesting Rome and Milan, as well as Sydney and Melbourne, the two latter points in each country are expected to be the first to be launched.

Mentioning Moscow and Birmingham (UK) in the same sentence is not too strange, as Air India (AIN) once flew Birmingham - Moscow - Amritsar with its 707s in the early 1980s. However, the last time (AIN) served Birmingham was between May 2005 and October 2008, so hopefully this time it will be third time lucky for the UK Midlands airport. An October or November launch for Birmingham would seem the most likely start date, to capitalize on the peak traffic volumes between December and March.

Returning to Moscow, a destination which had not previously been mooted by (AIN), will see Air India (AIN) up against Aeroflot (ARO)’s daily A330 operation from its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub, according to schedules for 1 - 7 May. On that basis, and in order to avoid direct head-to-head competition, (AIN) may elect to offer a Moscow Domodedovo connection instead, although a link to Moscow Vnokovo, which is closer to downtown Moscow than its competitor, would be a significant scalp for the city’s resurgent third airport, thanks largely to Transaero Airlines (TRO) recent growth there.

Out of (AIN)’s two most likely choices for the Indian end of the route (Delhi and/or Mumbai), Air India (AIN) has chosen the capital, Delhi. “We will use Delhi as a hub, and as and when Mumbai will have capacity (which I am told will be soon), it will be a natural second hub for us,” said (AIN)’s boss. Notably, his comment seems to suggest a dual-hub strategy for the airline going forward.

While these route decisions seem to have been made by (AIN), it is still to be clarified where it plans to add in the USA, however, Nandan states (in reference to the USA market): “We may look at expansion provided there is a market for it. We will look at newer destinations.”

India is likely to oppose the reported European Union (EU) threat to impose fines on Air India (AIN) and Jet Airways (JPL) for not accepting (EU)’s emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) and not reporting their emissions over European skies. Only these two Indian carriers, which fly to Europe, are likely to be slapped a total fine of around Euros 30,000, while eight Chinese carriers could face fines totalling Euros 2.4 million euros, they said.

Refusing to be cowed down to the (EU) threat, the officials said the two Indian carriers operate a total of about 5 - 6 flights a day, while their European counterparts together operated 30 - 40 daily flights to India. On top of this, several European carriers overfly India for which they require permission. The officials said India had the option of taking counter-measures which could “prove costly for European carriers.” Indian airlines also have major airplane orders from European firms like Airbus (EDS) and its parent company, (EADS), which constitute Europe’s most important exports. India had last year joined Russia, China, the USA and about 18 other major countries in opposing (EU-ETS).

India and China had also asked their airlines not to participate in a permit system that entitled them and other producers of greenhouse gases like a steel factory, to emit greenhouse gases by paying for the right to emit them. Officials said India and several other nations, which are major aviation nations, have been opposing the (EU-ETS) as it was “ultra vires and went counter to the provisions of the (UN body) International Civil Aviation Organization.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is preparing to take delivery of its seventh 787 this month. The airplane is scheduled to arrive at (AIN)/(IND)’s primary hub in New Delhi on May 29. The Indian flag carrier is going ahead with plans to take eight more of the 787 Dreamliners by the end of the year.

The 787s that were grounded for almost four months are slowly getting back into (AIN)/(IND)’s schedules. (AIN) 787 operations have begun on routes from Delhi to Bangalore, Kolkota, and London. India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh, said that (AIN)/(IND) will start talking to Boeing (TBC) about compensation for losses resulting from the grounding.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) lost about -$952 million in 2012 - 2013. (AIN)/(IND) is keen to replace many of its older wide body airplanes with the more fuel efficient 787s. Initial deliveries of the 787s were delayed by about three years.

Boeing (TBC) is scheduled to deliver +20 more of 787s by 2017. (AIN)/(IND) Managing Director, Rohit Nandan said the airline has drawn up plans to start new flights to Birmingham, Rome, Milan, Melbourne, Sydney, and Moscow using the new airplanes.

787-8 (36284, VT-ANM), delivery.

July 2013: Air India (AIN) plans to launch a four times weekly, Amritsar - New Delhi - Birmingham service on August 1. (AIN) will deploy 787-8s on the route. Schedules show that Air India (AIN) will be the sole operator on the New Delhi - Birmingham route.

After nearly a five-year break in services by the Indian national carrier, Birmingham Airport will again welcome (AIN) back to the UK Midlands for the third time, having previously operated in the 1980s, as well as between 2005 and 2008. This time, the airline’s flagship 787 airplane will be deployed (in the past (AIN) used 707s, and more recently 777-200s). Significant for the city and its large Indian community, the service return was celebrated with a well-attended bash in downtown Birmingham.

August 2013: Air India (AIN) launched its route from Amritsar (ATQ) via Delhi Airport (DEL) to Birmingham Airport (BHX) on August 1st. The new 6,800 km service is to be flown using one of (AIN)’s 787-8s and will be scheduled using a four times weekly frequency.

The Indian government is examining India’s air traffic rights with Austria and Switzerland, four years after their national carriers (Austrian Airlines (AUL) and Swiss International Air Lines (CSR)) were acquired by Lufthansa (DLH), according to several Indian media reports. The purpose of the review, according to reports, is to persuade (DLH) into inducting Air India (AIN) into a global airline.

Air India (AIN) has been banned by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport Civil Aviation Bureau from operating its 787-8s to either Tokyo Narita or Osaka Kansai after (AIN) failed to furnish it with documentation pertaining to various modifications made to its fleet of seven 787 Dreamliners. According to the "Business Traveller" journal, Japan took the drastic measure after repeated requests to Air India (AIN)'s management for the requisite listings were greeted with an uncooperative attitude. As such, Tokyo has now resolved to communicate with the (AIN) via the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

(AIN)/(IND) is seeking to lease 19 A320 short-haul airplanes as the money-losing carrier seeks to cut costs. It plans to take delivery of up to seven airplanes in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the remainder in two phases by fiscal year 2015/16.

The leasing is to “reduce costs and optimize revenue”, an Air India (AIN)/(IND) spokesman said, without elaborating. The new planes could help replace some of its ageing airplanes and save on fuel costs.

Air India (AIN)/(IND), which counts itself as one of the launch customers of the A320 airplane, acquired 31 planes between 1989 and 1993. It added 43 A320 family airplanes between 2006 and 2010.

The state-run carrier currently operates a fleet of 106 planes, with 80 of those owned by it. The fleet also includes airplanes made by Boeing (TBC), Europe’s (ATR) and Bombardier (BMB) of Canada.

According to FAPA.aero, Air India (AIN)/(IND) is accepting online pilot (FC) applications.

See video "AIR INDIA 787 DREAMLINER" - -

September 2013: Air India (AIN) began its assault on the India to Australia market (and potentially the lucrative ‘kangaroo route’ from Europe too), when it began the only direct flights between the two countries, starting Delhi (DEL) to Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) on August 29. The 787-operated service touched down at Sydney first, before continuing on to Melbourne, and then returning from the Victoria state capital to Delhi. (AIN) will fly this routing from the Indian capital four times weekly. In addition, (AIN) will fly Delhi - Melbourne - Sydney - Delhi thrice-weekly (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays).

(AIN) with its resumed service to Australia, became the first airline to operate 787 passenger service to Australia. Sydney Airport (CEO), Kerrie Mather welcomed the service to Australia, calling India, Australia’s largest unserved market. Air India (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan said he believes the flight would not only stimulate travel between India and Australia, but also the Indian communities in New Zealand and Fiji. Currently, all travel from Australia to India involves a stopover and change of airplane in Asia.

October 2013: Opposition parties and trade unions have criticized India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh for saying the government could consider privatizing Air India.

Singh had said October 6 it would not be possible to keep funding Air India (AIN)/(IND) beyond the current $5.8 billion government bailout through 2020 to restructure the carrier.

Denouncing Singh’s statement favoring privatization, the Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), a group representing trade unions, said Air India (AIN)/(IND) belongs to the nation and is not the property of the council of Ministers. A (CITU) statement said, “The Minister must note that the precarious financial situation of (AIN)/(IND)Air India today is the creation of reckless and irresponsible experiment of the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines by the Ministry and also the irresponsible decision to purchase airplanes without preparing for making use of them immediately after their arrival.”

Making a case for privatizing the loss-making (AIN)/(IND), Singh said, “Once upon a time, the government used to run hotels. Slowly it got out of that business and even the public felt it should not be doing that job. [Air India] has to be self-sufficient and employees must realize they have to perform or the airline is at stake. State funding cannot be endless.”

India is slowly freeing up civil aviation and foreign airlines are now allowed to invest in domestic airlines.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s performance parameters improved significantly in 2013. The airline, which has the largest share of the International market, is gradually opening new routes. A Delhi - Birmingham direct connection started in August, followed by a triangular Delhi - Sydney - Melbourne service from August 29. Flights to Rome and Milan are expected to be started soon.

Yet, (AIN)/(IND) is still far from breaking even. Net loss was close to $1 billion in 2012 - 2013 and it continues to carry huge debt on its books.

Etihad Airways (EHD) will buy five Boeing 777-200LRs from Air India (AIN) to support the accelerating growth of its route network. The new airplanes, which will be delivered from the start of 2014 and should come into service from April after a cabin refit, will initially be used on the newly announced Abu Dhabi - Los Angeles route, which starts June 1, 2014.

“The Boeing 777-200LR is a fantastic addition, giving us extra reach immediately and complementing our long-term fleet strategy,” (EHD) President & (CEO), James Hogan said. “Our continued strong organic growth, boosted by the impact of our equity partners, has opened up new opportunities for additional destinations.

“We are looking forward to starting direct services to Los Angeles, as well as increasing our flying to South America. This is the airplane to do that.”

(EHD) said the attraction of the 777-200LR is its reach (a range of 9,390 nm/17,370 km, allowing it to connect to almost any city in the world from (EHD)’s Abu Dhabi hub. Fewer than 60 airplanes were manufactured by Boeing (TBC) and they are the longest-range passenger airplanes in operation.

(EHD) and (AIN) signed a letter of intent (LOI) in Mumbai earlier paving the way for the deal. The 777-200LRs, which have an average age of six years, will be re-fitted in a three-class cabin configuration consistent with similar airplanes in (EHD)’s fleet.

(EHD) flies to New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Toronto in North America, and to São Paulo in Brazil. It has stated its ambition to add new services to both continents.

The purchase comes as (EHD) finalizes details on a new fleet order, which will meet its organic growth and expansion requirements to 2025 in line with its rolling network plan. “This tactical addition to our fleet adds even further flexibility,” Hogan said. “We’ve been able to respond quickly to a positive opportunity to add to the fleet, allowing us to bring forward our launch plans for a number of new routes.”

(AIN)/(IND) is planning to beef up domestic capacity by leasing more A320s with sharklets and (CFM56) engines. (AIN)/(IND) has invited bids to lease 19 A320s over the next three years. An earlier tender in August received no response, mainly because several international lessors have had a tough time re-possessing airplanes from the bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines (KFH).

In the new tender, Air India (AIN)/(IND) has doubled the tenure of the lease, offering to take the airplanes for up to 12 years. (AIN)/(IND), which earlier operated as Indian Airlines (IND), was among the launch customers for the A320 in 1989. It is a large operator of the airplane family with a fleet of 18 A320s, 24 A319s and 20 A321s.

The induction of more efficient airplanes is part of the restructuring exercise to reduce costs and increase profitability. About two-thirds of India’s domestic air traffic is now served by low-cost carriers (LCCs). Air India (AIN)/(IND) operates as a hybrid carrier, with a two-class offering on most routes. The tender is for 180Y-seat airplanes in all-economy (Y) configuration.

(AIN)/(IND) has been able to improve its load factors and revenue since the beginning of 2013, but remains burdened with huge debt. Analysts say the lease will gear up for competition from AirAsia India (AAI), a new (LCC) scheduled to launch next year.

Despite the gradual opening up of Indian skies, any talk of privatizing the airline is met with much resistance from the unions.

See video of Air India advert - -

November 2013: Air India (AIN) offers 4X-weekly, Delhi - Birmingham, UK 787 service.

An Air India (AIN) 787 Dreamliner windshield cracked while landing in Australia on November 3rd, the latest in a string of mishaps the 787 has suffered in recent times. The Delhi - Melbourne - Sydney - Delhi flight, carrying 74 passengers, developed a crack late Sunday, November 3, while landing in Melbourne. “The cockpit windscreen developed a crack while landing. It was a small incident. The windscreen has already been replaced,” said a spokesman, adding that there was no risk to the safety of passengers.

While all passengers were transferred to another flight to Delhi, (AIN) flew in a new windshield from India to replace the cracked one.

The (AIN) 787 touched down in Australia after a 16-year gap, marking the resumption of direct flights to Australia.

However, the (AIN) 787 fleet has been suffering a few technical glitches of late, including an incident where the fuselage panel of a jet fell off last month, while landing in the southern city of Bangalore.

The 787 has encountered several serious difficulties since entering operation two years ago, especially with its batteries, causing the entire fleet to be grounded for about four months earlier this year.

But (AIN) dismissed any claims of technical glitches on the Melbourne-bound flight. “It was no airplane glitch. This may have happened due to rapid change in temperatures or some other particles on the windscreen while landing.”

December 2013: Air India (AIN) and Avianca Brazil (ONE) are each set to join the Star (SAL) Alliance, despite the Indian airline’s previous attempt to join the grouping being halted in 2011.

The Star (SAL) Alliance said Air India (AIN) had been given the green light to restart its alliance process at the group’s annual board meeting. The (SAL) alliance has long viewed India as a ‘white spot’ in its global strategy. The Star (SAL) Alliance’s move comes weeks after Etihad (EHD) upped its stake in India’s Jet Airways (JPL).

"The Star (SAL) Alliance has long held the opinion that India is such an important aviation market that it should be fully represented in the alliance," said Mark Schwab, (SAL) Alliance (CEO). "However, the level of change in the domestic market in recent years did not make it easy for (AIN) to become an alliance member." Schwab added that the Indian market was now showing “signs of stabilization”.

“Today we see an Air India (AIN) which has successfully completed its merger with Indian Airlines (IND) and is building up a new fleet that forms the basis for a much improved level of service. This is why we believe the time is now right to recommence the integration process," he added.

Air India (AIN) and Adria Airways (ADR) have signed a code sharing agreement for services in India and Slovenia.

Captain S SURI (58) appointed Head Flight Operations.

India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh said (AIN)’s 787 Dreamliner fleet will receive a software update, which will ground each airplane for 10 days. Speaking in parliament, Singh said the 787s had experienced 136 “minor” technical problems since their delivery began in September 2012. Technical teams from (AIN) and Boeing (TBC) have fixed the problems on the carrier’s fleet of 10 787s.

A team from (TBC) is in India for the software upgrades, the Minister said, who was answering questions about 787 performance on the floor of India’s Lok Sabha (House of the People). Singh said he expects reliability to improve after the software upgrade.

(AIN)’s problems with the 787 have been hitting the headlines throughout 2013. The last incident was in October when a panel fell off from the fuselage of a 787 as the airplane landed at Bangalore airport. The incident is being investigated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, but a preliminary report indicates the panel was improperly fastened.

The government has been reviewing the Indian flag carrier’s performance regularly. Last year, the government signed off on a turnaround plan, which included $6.5 billion equity infusion phased in over the next eight years. Earlier in December, the Minister told a committee of MPs in Goa that “equity infusion by the government into (AIN) has neither been timely nor adequate. To meet its working capital requirements with the support of government guarantee, (AIN) had to seek short-term working capital loans from the banks. This would result in additional interest burden to the company,” he said.

(AIN) has been able to improve its overall performance and has been meeting most milestones laid out in its turnaround plan, he added.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is looking to raise USD 840 million through a sell/lease back scheme involving seven of its 787-8s. India's national carrier is looking to use the funds to pay off bridge loans taken out against these airplanes. "We have put seven Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner planes for sale and leaseback to mop up funds," (AIN)/(IND) sources told the "Economic Times." "We expect to raise funds to the tune of USD 770 - 840 million as the airline is likely to get around USD 110 - 120 million per plane," they said. According to tender documents, the airplanes listed as part of the deal are: (36273, 36274, 36275, 36279, 36280, 36285 and 36286). With eleven 787 Dreamliners already delivered, Air India (AIN)/(IND) has a further sixteen 787-8s on order from Boeing.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) currently operates 105 airplanes to 23 countries, 93 destinations, on 221 routes and 407 daily flights.

1 787-8 (36280, VT-ANE) delivery.

January 2014: At the end of this month, USA officials downgraded India's aviation safety rating due to that country’s lack of compliance with international safety standards as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The (FAA) said India has been assigned a Category 2 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. India received the downgraded rating based on a recent reassessment of the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Although the (FAA) did not provide details on the downgrading, the lower rating means India's (CAA) now lacks the ability to meet (ICAO) standards in areas such as providing adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks on airplanes.

During a news briefing, India Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh called the downgrading "disappointing" and "surprising," stating that he believes "95% of all the issues raised have been solved."

"USA and Indian aviation officials have developed an important working relationship as our countries work to meet the challenges of ensuring international aviation safety. The (FAA) is available to work with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to help India regain its Category 1 rating," said (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta.

With the downgraded rating, Indian carriers will not be able to increase their frequency of flights to the USA and will face extra inspection for current ones. State-run Air India (AIN) has 21 weekly flights to the USA, while Jet Airways (JPL) has seven.

The (FAA) originally identified issues with India's civil aviation oversight during its (IASA) assessment in September. Since then, the India Cabinet has hired 75 additional full-time Inspectors, but will need to take further action to address the (FAA)'s concerns.

February 2014: Air India (AIN)/(IND) incurred a loss of -Rs 39.89 billion/-$666 million for 2013 - 2014 on revenues of Rs 202.59 billion. This was an improvement over 2012 - 2013, when the airline lost -Rs 54.90 billion after earning revenues of Rs 242.48 billion, according to an announcement made by Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh in Parliament. (AIN)/(IND) is unlisted and does not share its performance numbers every quarter.

(AIN)/(IND)’s losses have been coming down steadily over the past three years, but debt remains a matter of concern. Outstanding debt stood at Rs 260 billion and working capital loans were about Rs 211 billion, the Minister said.

As a result of high interest costs, Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s total earnings in 2013 - 2014 were Rs 202.59 billion, while expenses were Rs 242.48 billion. (AIN)/(IND) has received equity support of Rs 122 billion from the Indian government. This is part of a capital infusion of Rs 302.31 billion that was committed to the airline, provided it met performance benchmarks. (AIN)/(IND) carried 14.05 million passengers in 2012 - 2013, the Minister said.

Elaborating on various steps taken by (AIN)/(IND) to shore up its profitability, he said the induction of new airplanes on domestic and international routes has led to a fall in operational and maintenance costs. The Air India group (which comprises the main airline, low cost carrier (LCC) Air India Express (AIB) and regional carrier Alliance Air (ALX)) has a fleet of 128 airplanes, of which 37 are on lease. The rest are owned by the airline.

The USA (FAA) downgraded India to a Category 2 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, based on a recent reassessment of the country's civil aviation authority (CAA). The decision, which took effect on February 1, puts India on the same level as Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, among others.

As a result, national flag carrier, Air India (AIN)/(IND) cannot now launch new services to the USA airports and they will be subject to increased safety checks. The (FAA) statement said it had determined "that India at this time is not in compliance with the international standards for aviation safety oversight." It stated that Indian air carriers had failed to fix previously raised safety concerns and had not appointed an adequate number of Flight Operations inspectors.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is slated to join the Star (SAL) Alliance later this year.

March 2014: Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s preparation for integration with the Star (SAL) Alliance network is on track. The Indian flag carrier is set to become the 29th member of the (SAL) alliance in a few months.

Considering India’s growing airline traffic and the huge potential, the (SAL) alliance could induct another airline partner from India in the future, according to Star (SAL) Alliance, VP Corporate Communications, Christian Klick.

There is no clarity on who the partner could be. Low-cost carriers (LCC)s control almost three-fourths of the domestic airline traffic. Air India (AIN)/(IND) and Jet Airways (JPL) are the only network carriers. Abu Dhabi national carrier, Etihad Airways (EHD) has picked up a 24% stake in (JPL) and the airline is unlikely to join any alliance.

Speaking at a media briefing in Mumbai, Klick said the Star (SAL) Alliance board has yet to make a call on whether to include (LCC)s in the grouping. “The (LCC) situation is changing very rapidly all over the world. Several Star (SAL) Alliance members like (ANA) are launching their own low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiaries, Klick said.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) was originally accepted as a future member of the (SAL) Alliance in 2007, but the airline was going through a merger process and financial issues. Its entry was suspended in 2011, and revived last year after a government-backed turnaround program began showing results. Air India (AIN)/(IND) sources said the Information Technology (IT) integration will be followed by signing contracts with other Star (SAL) Alliance members for sharing the frequent flier program.

April 2014: India’s flag carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND), which is set to expand its Airbus A320 fleet, has issued a tender for bids for up to 14 used A320 airplanes. A separate tender, inviting bids for 14 new A320 airplanes, will be issued soon. The plan is to select a total of 14 airplanes, a combination of old and new, from both tenders.

The used airplanes must be powered by (CFM) International (CFM56-5B4/3) engines, and can be up to six years old, with or without sharklets. They will be taken on dry lease for a maximum of six years, the tender document said.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s domestic arm, formerly known as Indian Airlines (IND), was an A320 launch customer with its order for 31 airplanes introduced from 1989 to 1993. The airplanes were fitted with (IAE) (V2500-A1) engines. The most recent order was for 43 airplanes, entering service between 2006 and 2010, of which four had (CFM56-5B) engines.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s management is trying to turn around the loss-making airline through fleet management measures, which include selling old airplanes and adding new capacity. However, attempts to lease additional capacity have not been very successful in the past six months.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) lost about -$830 million in 2012 - 2013, but has improved its operating performance over the past year. Losses are expected to be significantly lower in 2013 - 2014. Analysts say many factors have benefited the airline (including better integrating the domestic and international network, improving focus on customer service and on-time performance, deploying new airplanes such as the Boeing 787 for international flights, and moderating capacity on both domestic and overseas routes).

(AIN)/(IND) is on track to join the Star (SAL) Alliance in July following three years of delays. The Indian flag carrier was originally accepted as a future member of the (SAL) Alliance in 2007, but the airline was going through a merger process and financial issues. Its entry was suspended in 2011 and revived last year after a government-backed turnaround program began showing results.

According to (SAL) Alliance (CEO), Mark Schwab, these issues have now all been addressed. “We conducted a safety review of Air India (AIN)/(IND) and are very pleased with the results. We are very happy with the progress made by (AIN)/(IND),” he said.

(AIN)/(IND) Managing Director, Rohit Nandan said that 45 of the 64 full entry requirements have been satisfied and the rest will be signed off by the end of May. The majority are relatively easy-to-address Information Technology (IT) procedures, (AIN)/(IND) said.

The final sign off will come at a full (SAL) alliance membership vote, which will be held in London on June 23. Schwab said an exact date for the airline to become a full member is “yet to be decided,” but confirmed it would be in July.

Schwab noted the airline today is “a very different Air India” from the airline that originally applied for membership. “They have been through a difficult merger process, and now have a strong management team that has led to substantial improvements,” he said. Schwab said (AIN)/(IND) only had a “few commercial agreements that need to be signed” with other members on code share agreements.

The move will make Star (SAL) the first alliance on the Indian mainland to date, filling a gap Star (SAL) has in its coverage of the subcontinent. Star (SAL) Alliance’s membership is currently weighted toward Europe and North America. (AIN)/(IND)’s membership should help the (SAL) alliance fend off some intense competition coming from both east and west in the form of the Gulf carriers and rising low-cost carriers (LCC)s from Southeast Asia such as Scoot (SCT) and AirAsia X (ASX).

May 2014: Hong Kong Airlines (CRY) and Air India (AIN)/(IND) have signed a code share agreement that the carriers said is just the start of cooperation between them. Under the agreement, which will take effect from June 10, (CRY) will place its HX code on Air India (AIN)/(IND) Boeing 787 flights between Hong Kong and three destinations: Delhi, Osaka Kansai, and Seoul Incheon.

Hong Kong Airlines (CRY) Commercial Director, Li Dianchun said, “The code share agreement broadens our reach to India, Japan and Korea, making it a significant landmark in Hong Kong Airlines (CRY)’s network development. And we look forward to further cooperation with Air India (ain)/(ind) in the future.” Air India (AIN)/(IND) Commercial Director, Pankaj Srivastava added, “The present code share with [Hong Kong Airlines (CRY)] is only the beginning of the partnership between the two airlines; we look forward to an expansion of the code share to also involve the transfer of [Air India (AIN)/(IND)] passengers on [Hong Kong Airlines (CRY)’s] network.”

Air India (AIN) is looking to begin new services to Moscow, Rome, and Milan in the coming months with its new Boeing 787s, pending government approvals. The Moscow service will begin using Boeing 747s, but will soon be shifted to 787s as more of the type come online. (AIN) has 13 787 Dreamliners with another due this month. There are 27 in total on order for (AIN). Milan and Rome will be operated in the June - July period. (AIN) also plans to re-open its Nairobi route.

India’s civil aviation regulator has asked Indian airlines to track all airplanes in real time. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the decision was prompted by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 that vanished from radar March 8 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and with 239 people on board.

The regulator has ordered Indian carriers to track airplanes in real time using on onboard Aircraft Communications Addressing & Reporting System (ACARS) or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Airlines have yet to respond to the regulator’s directive. Most airlines and private airplanes already have the systems on their airplanes.

The (DGCA) also said airlines should devise a procedure to track airplanes flying over areas not covered by (ACARS) or (ADS-B). It ordered flight crews (FC) report airplane coordinates, speed and altitude every 15 minutes while flying over such areas, a "Reuters" report said.

“While commercial air transport airplanes spend a considerable amount of time operating over remote areas, there is currently no international requirement for real time tracking of the airplanes,” the (DGCA) said.

June 2014: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has returned to the Italian market after over a decade away with the introduction on June 6th of flights from Delhi (DEL) to both Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Rome Fiumicino (FCO). Flights will operate daily on a ‘triangle’ basis allowing both non-stop and one-stop services, depending on the day of week. The two routes, which are both around 6,000 km in length, will be served by (AIN)’s new 787 Dreamliners - - SEE ATTACHED - - "AIN-2014-06-DELHI TO MILAN AND ROME-A/B."

The Star (SAL) Alliance has unanimously approved Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s entry into the network, set for July 11. The government-owned airline will be the first Indian carrier to join a global alliance. The entry was approved at a (CEO) meeting in London on June 23rd. “The integration teams at Air India (AIN)/(IND), the Star (SAL) Alliance and its member carriers will now complete the last necessary work in order to ensure that (AIN)/(IND) can offer all (SAL) Alliance customer benefits from July 11.”

The airline was originally accepted as a future (SAL) Alliance member in 2007, but its entry was suspended in 2011 after it failed to meet minimum joining conditions. The process was revived last year, when (AIN)/(IND)’s government-backed turnaround plan started showing results.

Star (SAL) Alliance (COO), Jeffrey Goh said, “We restarted the re-integration with Air India (AIN)/(IND) in December last year and just half a year later, we are ready to confirm the official joining date. We look forward to welcoming (AIN)/(IND) passengers to our global network and offering them our (SAL) alliance benefits. At the same time, we are pleased to be providing our existing customers improved access to a region which includes the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market.”

Air India (AIN)/(IND) Chairman, Rohit Nandan said, “(AIN)/(IND) worked hard to meet the exacting expectations prior to joining. It is indeed an honor and privilege to be the first airline from India to join the (SAL) alliance.”

(AIN)/(IND) will add +400 daily flights and +35 new destinations in India to the Star (SAL) Alliance network. The biggest growth will come from its home market, which is being served by 13 (SAL) Alliance members flying to 10 destinations and holding a 13% market share.

Bringing (AIN)/(IND) into the equation not only adds more airports, but also increases the (SAL) alliance’s market share in India to 30%.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s entry will allow the (SAL) Alliance network to grow to 27 members, offering about 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries. (AIN)/(IND) has a network of 33 destinations across the USA, Europe, Canada, the Far East and Southeast Asia, and the Gulf.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is demanding compensation from Boeing (TBC) for delivering 787-8s that do not meet promised fuel-efficiency targets because the 787-8s are heavier than planned, according to a "Bloomberg" report. It quoted (AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan as saying that design changes made after targets were set, means some 787-8s are overweight. He said (AIN)/(IND) is negotiating a formula for compensation, which may be finished after (AIN)/(IND)'s 18th 787-8 Dreamliner is delivered.

(AIN)/(IND)’s 787-8s were among the earliest production models of the airplane, which weigh more than other 787-8s due to custom-fitted reinforcements. They needed the most work among the more than 60 early 787-8 Dreamliners that required post-assembly modifications.

Despite this, (AIN)/(IND) has said it is satisfied with the 787-8’s performance. It has just taken delivery of its 14th Boeing 787-800. The 787-8 flew from the Boeing factory at Charleston, South Carolina, to the Indian carrier’s Delhi hub. (AIN)/(IND) is on track to take another delivery (the 15th of 27 ordered) at the end of June.

(AIN)/(IND) is in the middle of a turnaround plan funded by a $5 billion performance-linked bailout by the government. Senior management sources said (AIN)/(IND)’s profitability is improving.
(AIN)/(IND)’s losses have been steadily reducing over the past three years, but debt remains a matter of concern. Outstanding debt stood at Rs 260 billion/$4.4 billion and working capital loans were about Rs 211 billion.

The Air India Group (which comprises the main airline, low-cost carrier (LCC) Air India Express (AXB) and regional carrier Alliance Air) has a fleet of 128 airplanes, of which 37 are on lease. Air India (AIN)/(IND) is set to join the Star Alliance (SAL) later this year.

July 2014: Air India (AIN)/IND) officially joins the Star (SAL) Alliance this month. (AIN)/(IND) Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan announced that now (AIN)/(IND) is formally integrated into the Star (SAL) Alliance network, “our entire European operations, Asian Operations, [and] Pacific operations shall be through the 787 Dreamliner.”

Air India (AIN)/(INDd) officially joined the Star (SAL) Alliance ON July 11th, opening the world’s fifth-largest aviation market to the other 26 member airlines comprising the (SAL) Alliance network. The government-owned airline will be the first Indian carrier to join a global alliance.

At noon, with a Bollywood-referencing “lights, camera, action” flourish, a huge red curtain dropped at Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Terminal 3, revealing an Airbus A320 SEE PHOTO - - "AIN)/IND-A320-STAR ALLIANCE-2014-07" painted in the Star (SAL) Alliance livery, as (AIN)/(IND) Air India Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan and the Star (SAL) Alliance (CEO), Mark Schwab walked the red carpet out onto the tarmac to greet (AIN)/(IND) flight crew (FC) members and fellow (SAL) Alliance executives descending the A320's passenger stairs.

The day culminates a seven-year process for (AIN)/(IND). It will add nearly 400 daily flights and 50 domestic Indian destinations to the (SAL) Alliance network. (AIN)/(IND) is the first Indian airline to be inducted into the group and is its 27th member.

“New destinations include the industrial hubs of Aurangabad and Vadadora; [pharmaceutical production hub] Indore; textile and engineering center Coimbatore, and Jamnagar, India’s ‘oil city’,” Air India (AIN)/(IND) said.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) said the biggest growth will come from its home market, which had been served by 13 (SAL) Alliance members flying to ten destinations, holding a 13% market share. The addition of (AIN)/(IND) to the (SAL) Alliance will increase the (SAL) alliance’s market share in India to 30%.

Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s primary hub is located in Delhi, with its major secondary hub situated in Mumbai. (AIN)/(IND) had 95 airplanes in its fleet (one of the youngest in the industry, with an average age of four-and-a-half years) which includes a mix of wide body Boeing 777s, 747s, 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A330s, A321s, A320s and A319s.

India’s government has budgeted for Rs 65 billion/$1.8 billion, as equity infusion for flag carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND) during the financial year 2014 - 2015. Provision for the amount has been made in the union budget, unveiled by India’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in Delhi.

This year’s provision is higher than the Rs 60 billion support, that the loss-making airline received in financial year 2013 - 2014. This is possibly because it has showed improved performance in the period. (AIN)/(IND) was able to reduce net loss to -Rs 53.8 billion in 2013 - 2014 from -Rs 54.9 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue improved about +15% to Rs 143 billion.

(AIN)/(IND) still loses more money than any other Indian carrier. Mumbai-based, Jet Airways (JPL) came a close second this year with losses of -Rs 41 billion. High operating costs and increased competition have put a huge pressure on both airlines.

Air India (AIN) has made losses since 2007, going deeper into the red after an ill-executed merger with Indian Airlines (IND). After losses mounted, the government was forced to step in to issue fresh equity. As part of a turnaround plan, the government will pump in funds over the next three years, provided the airline is able to show improvements in its performance. The way forward will not be too easy because two new airlines (AirAsia India (AAI) and a Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture (JV)) will begin services by the end of this year. Local analysts say this will add to pressure on fares. As a government-owned airline, Air India (AIN)/(IND) does not have the operational flexibility that private airlines have.

Earlier, Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju said (AIN)/(IND)’s load factors had improved to 73.6% LF in 2013 - 2014. He expected revenues to increase +4% to +5% after its entry into the Star (SAL) Alliance.

Meanwhile, the government has announced plans to improve India’s air connectivity. More airports are planned in smaller cities over the next few years. Visas on arrival will be issued to tourists arriving at nine major airports in the country.

Air India (AIN) started its only route to Russia on July 18th, when it commenced the 4,311 km link between Delhi (DEL) and Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The Star (SAL) Alliance carrier has flown to the country in the past (including Delhi - Amritsar - Moscow Sheremetyevo - Birmingham with 707s in the 1980s), and this time it will fly its 256-seat 787-8s four times weekly on the airport pair. (AIN) will only face indirect competition on the city pair, with Aeroflot (ARO) flying daily A330 services from its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub.

August 2014: 787-8 (36288, VT-ANQ), delivery and A320-231 (0432, VT-ESF), in Star (SAL) Alliance colors.

September 2014: Aeolus Air (AEZ) will lease one of its two A320-231s (368, C5-AAO), to Air India (AIN) for the duration of the Hajj season. At present, (AIN) has also wet-leased a pair of 767-200ERs from Dynamic Airways ((IATA) Code: 2D, based at Greensboro, USA) and Jet Asia Airways ((IATA) Code: JF, based at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) (JSZ), respectively, to cover its Hajj charter flight needs.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has entered into sale/lease-back agreements valued at USD600 million with two European financial institutions. India's LiveMint says the debt-ridden national carrier has sold four of its 787-8s to Germany's Deutsche Bank, while a fifth has gone to British firm, Investec. Both companies have similar existing agreements with Air India (AIN)/(IND) with Deutsche Bank having bought three 787s and Investec four. “Sale and leaseback of planes will give us upfront liquidity. Besides liquidity, the balance sheet of the airline will also look strong,” adding that the airline plans to offload an additional five 787s.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) has been working on expanding its leased-in fleet with 30 airplanes already on lease. (AIN)/(IND) is expected to add an additional 17 A320s for use on its domestic operations.

Subsidiary Air India Express ((IATA) Code: IX, based at Mumbai International) (AXB) is scheduled to lease eight 737-800s this winter while Alliance Air (India) is set to take on five ATR72s - two from an undisclosed Britsh firm and two from (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF).

October 2014: Air India (AIN/(IND) will receive around INR30 billion/USD490.3 million in additional funding from the Indian fiscus before year-end, V Somasundaram, the Permanent Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation, has said.

Speaking to "The Express" newspaper, Somasundaram said the capital infusion, part of a larger INR60 billion/USD980 million grant, would allow the loss-making carrier to continue operations while it undergoes restructuring.

"(AIN)/(IND) has a turnaround plan under which a little over INR60 billion has to be infused this year. I think more than half of that has been given already. Another around INR30 billion will be infused by the end of the financial year," he said. "The problem was they (Air India) had lot of uneconomical routes and lot of loss-making operations. So during the last two to two-and-half years, these have been reduced. They have been successful in bringing down the loss substantially. And by 2015, they are expecting to be profitable, that is in the next financial year."

The government has in the past three years given INR32 billion to Air India (AIN)/(IND) and earlier this year, approved an additional INR199.11 billion infusion to be phased in over the next five years.

High fuel and interest costs, falling yields coupled with an enormous employee-airplane ratio had caused the airline to post provisional operating losses of -INR32 billion in 2012 - 2013, though this is now estimated to have fallen to -INR22 billion.

As part of its restructuring, (AIN)/(IND) plans to reduce the number of non-performing routes in its network to 19% by the end of the current financial year having reduced the figure to 38% last year from 60% the year prior. In addition, it has also entered into a number of sale/lease-back deals with various banks to help offset the cost of its incoming 787-8 fleet.

Air India (AIN) currently has 107 airplanes and serves 25 countries, 85 destinations, 205 routes and 377 daily flights.

November 2014: Almost 600 of the 5,050 pilots (FC) in Indian airlines are women, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). At 11.6%, this is way above the 3% global average estimated by the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

India is also seeing a steady rise in women pilots (FC) annually. The last five years saw 4,267 commercial pilots' licences being issued, of which 628 or 14.7% went to women.

One of the reasons why women pilots (FC) fare better in India than in other countries, is the strong family support system they have here. "Women who go on overseas flights have to spend days away from home. In India, women have their mothers or mothers-in-law to take care of the kids and that ensures they can go on long flights too," says a woman pilot (FC).

A direct outcome of this trend is that Indian carriers are employing more women pilots (FC). The Jet Group, for instance, had 152 women pilots (FC) in October 2011; today it has 194 - the highest in India. "There has been steady growth of about +10% year on year in the number of women pilots (FC) joining the airline," said an official referring to Jet Airways (JPL) and JetLite (SAQ). The official added that 30.5% of their 13,674 employees are women.

At IndiGo (IGO), 11% of pilots (FC) are women. "That number is definitely growing. Of the pilots (FC) that joined from April 2014, 16.5% are women," said an (IGO) official.

Overall, 43% of the airline's 8,200-strong workforce is women. SpiceJet (ROJ) and GoAir (GOZ) also reported that the number of women pilots (FC) is on the rise. The merged Air India (AIN) - Indian Airlines (IND) has the second largest number of women pilots (FC) at 171, and often has an all-women crew operating its longest non-stop flights to the USA. A company source said they fall short of the highest number, because they haven't hired new pilots (FC) in a while.

(DGCA) data shows that even the crisis years of Indian aviation (2010 to present) a higher percentage of women opted to train for commercial pilot (FC) licences. The number of licences issued in 2010 was 1,292 which fell to 858, 691 and 643 over the next three years. Even so, the percentage of women acquiring the licences from 2010 to 2013 went up from 14.8% to 16.4%.

Harpreet AD Singh, the first woman pilot (FC) to be selected by erstwhile Air India (AIN) in 1988, says airlines saw a surge in women applying to fly in the mid-1980s and 2005 onwards, when private low-cost airlines took off.

"The erstwhile Indian Airlines (IND) was the first here to hire women pilots (FC) in the early 1980s. Captain Sadamani Deshmukh became the first woman commander then (of a Fokker Friendship) and this became a big thing that time," said Singh. "Then in 1988, I was chosen by erstwhile (AIN) as the first woman pilot (FC)."

Singh, who is now an Executive Director with (AIN) and President of Indian Women Pilot Association, claims that while the global average of woman pilots (FC) has always been 2 to 3%, India has been at over >10%. "We hope for a time when we no longer have to celebrate an all-women crew (engineer (MT), cabin crew (CA) and pilots (FC) on board. It should be a common occurrence," said an IndiGo (IGO) official.

December 2014: Air India (AIN)/(IND) is considering changing some of its nine remaining Boeing 787-8 orders to the larger 787-9, Chairman & Managing Director, Rohit Nandan said.

January 2015: Ms M Sathiyavathy, an Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor to the Civil Aviation Ministry, will head the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at a time when the aviation regulator's safety system has been downgraded.

56-year-old, Ms M Sathiyavathy, who will succeed Prabhat Kumar, will be the first woman to become the chief aviation regulator, official sources said. She will serve for three years until the end of 2017.

This change at the (DGCA) comes at a time when India's aviation safety ranking has been downgraded and is up for review in early 2015.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had downgraded the safety ranking from the top category-I to category-II and brought it below Pakistan and on par with countries like Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh on January 31, 2014.

An (FAA) inspection team visited India early this month to reassess India's safety system. The team is likely to submit a report by January 15, 2015. A final decision on whether India would get back its top class ranking is expected to be taken up by March.

The Airports Authority of India and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security are also awaiting new full-time heads. The government is looking for a new Air India (AIN)/(IND) Chairman as incumbent Rohit Nandan has completed his tenure and is currently on extension.

March 2015: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has initiated the process for recruiting 197 pilots (FC), taking into consideration its fleet augmentation plans and retirements that will happen in the next two years. (AIN)/(IND) had a strength of 1,464 pilots (FC) as on February 1 this year.

"In view of the fleet augmentation and the retirements to take place in the next two years, (AIN)/(IND) has advertised for filling up of 197 vacancies," Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

In the last fiscal year, (AIN)/(IND) hired just one pilot (FC), while there was no recruitment of pilots (FC) in the 2013 - 2014 period. Prior to that, 2 pilots (FC) were hired in the (2012 - 2013) fiscal year, while the number stood at 39 during 2011 - 2012 financial year.
According to the Minister, pilots (FC) are subjected to fly only within the applicable Flight Duty and Time Limitations (FDTL).

Necessary system has been in place, whereby, all operational situations are catered for exercising better supervision and control, he noted. "Only in exceptional and unavoidable, unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of airline, pilots (FC) are requested to complete the flight to avoid delays, which cause inconvenience to passengers by giving extensions within applicable rules," Sharma said.

He was responding to a query on whether there have been instances where pilots (FC), including those from Air India (AIN)/(IND), have been made to work extra time due to shortage of people. The Minister also noted that there is no proposal at present to amend the pilots (FC)'s working hour rules.

To a question on whether Air India (AIN)/(IND) is considering to employ foreign pilots (FC), Sharma replied in the negative.

April 2015: News Item A-1: The (FAA) has restored India’s aviation safety rating to Category 1 under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. The (FAA) had downgraded India to Category 2 in January 2014.

The upgraded rating means India complies with international safety standards set by (ICAO).

USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx said, “USA and Indian aviation officials have an important, cooperative working relationship. The United States government commends the government of India for taking corrective action to address the safety oversight issues identified during the (IASA) process.”

A Category 1 rating means that the country’s civil aviation authority complies with (ICAO) standards and permits India’s air carriers to add flights to the USA using their own airplanes and carry the code of USA carriers on their operations.

India first achieved a Category 1 rating in August 1997. A December 2012 (FAA) audit identified some deficiencies in the (DGCA) from (ICAO)-set global standards for oversight of aviation safety, which led to a Category 2 designation. Subsequently, the (FAA) began a reassessment of India’s compliance with (ICAO) standards under the (FAA)’s (IASA) program.

News Item A-2: Air India (AIN)'s turnaround looks unlikely as the 787 Dreamliner, (AIN) had bet on, is losing money on all deployed routes.

An internal route economics analysis done by (AIN), shows that (AIN) has lost over >1,800 crore rupees on all international routes operated using the 787 Dreamliners till January of the last financial year. This is nearly half the losses of around 3,900 crore rupees incurred by (AIN) on international flights and about a third of net losses of 5,500 crore rupees estimated for 2014 - 2015.

On the Delhi - Sydney - Melbourne route itself, (AIN) has lost over >300 crore rupees in the first 10 months of the financial year. Losses on the Delhi - Rome - Milan flight tipped over >150 crore rupees. On the Amritsar - Delhi - Birmingham, Amritsar - Delhi - London, Mumbai - Singapore flights, losses stand at -125 crore rupees, -200 crore rupees and -110 crore rupees, respectively.

Meanwhile, lower than expected occupancy levels forced (AIN) to halve frequencies to Moscow to two flights per week to contain losses in February this year. The Delhi - Moscow flight has piled up losses of -60 crore rupees, since (AIN) resumed services to Moscow in July 2014, after a gap of 15 years. "Usually, on international routes, average occupancy levels for any airline stand at around 70%. (AIN) assumed passenger load factor (PLF) of 80% LF, while preparing business plans on the Sydney - Melbourne route. On the Delhi - Moscow sector, the average occupancy has been around 47%. It shows flights have been launched without proper groundwork. This is impacting financials," a source informed.

The Delhi - Moscow route is one of the five sectors serviced by 787 Dreamliners, where flights meet fuel costs, but not variable costs. Air India (AIN)'s 787 flights to all other destinations meet fuel costs but not total costs. It is only on three routes, not serviced by 787 Dreamliners, that (AIN) made money between April and January last fiscal. These are all mid-haul flights between Kozhikode and Sharjah, Kolkata, and Yangon, Cochin - Kozhikode, and Jeddah. The surplus over total costs recorded on these three routes is about 11 crore rupees.

The financials are worrying as the 787 Dreamliners are crucial to the turnaround plan of the loss-making government carrier. Boeing (TBC) claims the airplane is +20% more fuel-efficient. The 787 was inducted to do away with a route-plane mismatch in (AIN)'s operations.

The staggering losses have come at a time when concerned about the overall health of (AIN), the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked (AIN), the national carrier to submit a detailed performance report on its revival plan.

"Independent Directors on (AIN)'s board have asked for specifics of profit and loss figures, load factors across routes to determine the cause of the losses. The (CMD) is also monitoring the financials," added a source in (AIN).

News Item A-3: Boeing (TBC) and Air India (AIN)/(IND) celebrated the airline’s milestone delivery of its 20th 787 Dreamliner from Boeing’s final assembly facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The new 787 Dreamliner also features the Star (SAL) Alliance livery, Air India’s (and the world’s) first 787 to do so. The flag carrier joined the leading global airline network last year, reflecting the strong network growth of the Indian aviation market.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) serves more than >60 domestic and 37 international destinations. (AIN)/(IND) has ordered 27 787 Dreamliners, with seven more scheduled to be delivered.

May 2015: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has rejected some 25% of its most recent intake of new pilots (FC) following psychological reports on their mental stability. The reports have been mandated by the airline in the wake of the recent Germanwings (RFG) crash, believed to have been deliberately caused by a depressed pilot (FC). All 150 people on board died when the (RFG) Airbus A320 crashed into the southern French Alps on March 24.

(RFG) advertised some 197 vacancies for pilots (FC), but only 160 were called in for interviews. However, for the first time, the final selection interview included personal analysis by psychology experts from the Indian Air Force (IAF.

As a result, only 78 of the potential employees were approved for employment. The remaining 42 were “rejected on concerns raised by [the] psychologists,” an Air India spokesperson said.

Air India is the first airline to have publicly acknowledged the need for stricter psychological profiling on potential aircrew. “If 25% of [potential pilots] have been red flagged by psychologists, it is a serious concern and should be looked into seriously,” Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) spokesperson Mohan Ranganathan said.

As a result of the airline’s new selection procedure, the (DGCA) said it is looking at making similar profile checks mandatory.

“All the pilots working with airlines should be tested psychologically to ensure that the flying is safe,” Ranganathan said.

June 2015: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND) now operates non-stop flights between Delhi (DEL) and Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka. See photo - - "AIN-2015-10 - Delhi to Colombo.jpg." On June 15, the Indian flag-carrier (AIN) began daily flights on the 2,393 km route using its 182-seat A321s. The route is already served by SriLankan Airlines (LNK) with daily flights. This becomes Air India (AIN)’s second route to Sri Lanka as it already serves Colombo from Chennai with daily flights. Air India (AIN) now serves a total of 25 international destinations from its Delhi hub, ranging from the 813 km route to Kathmandu in neighboring Nepal, to the 10,000 km-plus routes to Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, plus New York and Chicago in the USA.

News Item A-2: Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Air India (AIN)/(IND) have reached a code share agreement that will see the airlines connect their networks primarily via Australian gateways.

787-8 (36293, VT-ANV), Jackson Square Aviation leased.

July 2015: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND)'s pilot (FC) shortage problem forced (AIN)/(IND) to reschedule two flights from Mumbai airport which hit over >200 passengers on Saturday, July 18.

(AIN)/(IND) has been battling pilot (FC) shortage for a while now as it lost a number of its A320 pilots (FC) to rival airlines. It also has a shortage of Boeing 787 pilots (FC). On Saturday, July 18, (AIN)/(IND) realised that it did not have cockpit crew (FC) to operate its flights Dubai and Hong Kong.

While the Dubai flight was being operated with an A330, the Hong Kong one was to be operated with a 787. The Dubai flight, which was to depart at 6:24 pm on Saturday July 18 evening was rescheduled to 6 am Sunday. The Hong Kong and Incheon flights, which were to depart on Saturday evening, were clubbed together and departed at 9:00 am, Sunday.

An Air India (AIN)/(IND) spokesperson said: "Air India flight AI 983 from Mumbai to Dubai and flight AI310 from Mumbai to Hong Kong and Incheon via Delhi were rescheduled due to operational reasons." The official added that (AIN)/(IND) had ensured that all passengers flying on both these flights were accommodated in other flights.

News Item A-2: China Aircraft Leasing Group (CHD) delivered the second new Airbus A320 aircraft to Air India (AIN)/(IND) under a 12-year operating lease agreement for five aircraft. The first delivery was completed February 3 and the remaining aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2015. The delivered A320 aircraft (configured with maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 77 tons and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Authorization Required (AR)) is equipped with Sharklets, 2.4-meter tall new wingtip devices, which enhance the fuel-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 family resulting in up to -4% lower fuel burn over longer sectors.

August 2015: News Item A-1: India is betting on a former railway bureaucrat, who styles himself as "Mr Turnaround" to fix the financial troubles of debt-burdened national carrier, Air India (AIN)/(IND), which last made a profit in 2007.

Ashwani Lohani, whose past roles include stints at India's railways and a regional tourism board, will take over as Chairman & Managing Director. He has a tough task ahead. Once India's biggest carrier, Air India (AIN(/(IND)'s market share has tumbled to about 15% amid rising competition from nimbler private sector rivals. It is sitting on 500 billion rupees/US$7.6 billion of debt and annual interest costs of US$600 million are hampering investment in its revival.

(AIN)/(IND), which received a US$5.8 billion government bailout in 2012, is expected to report another operational loss for the 2014 - 2015 fiscal year, when it announces its results next month, a senior executive told "Reuters."

The executive said the continued modernization of its fleet, a plan to sell property assets worth US$60 million and lower fuel costs should help (AIN)/(IND) return to profitability under the new boss this year.

"We are very upbeat that the trend will continue (under Lohani)," said the executive, who asked not to be named, because he was not authorised to speak to the media. "We want to focus on getting the airline back to profitability."

Lohani describes himself as "Mr Turnaround" on his page on networking site Linkedin, largely for his work boosting tourism in India's Madhya Pradesh state.

News Item A-2: New entrant low-cost carriers (LCCs) to India, including Singapore Airlines (SIA)-backed Vistara (VST) and AirAsia India (AAI), are facing potential schedule disruptions at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi. Both airlines have been flagged as having likely takeoff and landing limitations imposed during low-visibility days at the Delhi hub this winter.

Delhi,—frequently a victim of severe smogs, sees hundreds of flights canceled every winter due to poor visibility. The airport is fitted with (CAT IIIB) automated landing-guidance systems in place, but requires both airplane and aircrew (FC) to be certified before they can utilize them.

Vistara (VST) said that has been "working closely" with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India to ensure both its aircraft and crews were compliant with (CAT IIIB) certification for low-visibility conditions, but admitted it was not yet at that stage.
"We are hopeful of getting the certification in time [for] uninterrupted operations during the forthcoming winter season,” it said.

Similarly, recent start-up AirAsia India (AAI) is said to be still working through the process of obtaining certification for low-visibility operating conditions, even though its aircraft, Airbus A320s, are fully (CAT IIIB)-compliant.

Indian state carrier, Air India (AIN(/(IND) faced similar restrictions last winter, when it tried to reroute some of its non-(CAT IIIB) Boeing 787 airplanes through Delhi, but were unable to land in foggy conditions due to lack of the required certification.

News Item A-3: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has taken delivery of the third new Airbus A320 from the China Aircraft Leasing Group.

September 2015: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND) announced it would connect Delhi to Silicon Valley hub San Francisco with a non-stop 777-200LR flight from December 2. This will be the first non-stop flight to operate on the route.

San Francisco will become (AIN)/(IND)'s fourth destination in the USA. It operates daily non-stop flights to New York, Newark and Chicago.

Along with its direct flight to San Francisco, (AIN)/(IND) also announced a ticket coupon scheme of 15 - 30 days validity and the launch of holiday packages in collaboration with state tourism development corporations. "The San Francisco flight will make travel easy and convenient for students and parents of non-resident Indians. Business travelers looking for short stays and direct options will also be hugely benefited by this connection, just like the existing three non-stop flights," (AIN)/(IND) said.

Passengers from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Pune will have seamless connections to the flight from Delhi. Likewise, the return flight from San Francisco will provide onward connections to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Bhubaneswar. The flight to and from San Francisco will operate three days a week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

(AIN)/(IND) will also launch Incredible Air India Holiday Packages from December 1, in association with state tourism development corporations. The packages will cover air and surface transportation, hotel accommodation on bed and breakfast basis and sight-seeing tours.

Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State of Tourism & Civil Aviation, at the launch of the scheme, said, "India is a great tourist destination and this is a good opportunity for us to increase tourism in India.

News Item A-2: China Aircraft Leasing Group (CHD)) completed the delivery of the fourth Airbus A320 aircraft to Air India (AIN)/(IND), marking the 55th aircraft of (CHD)’s fleet.

October 2015: News Item A-1: (SITA) has been selected by India’s Cochin International Airport to provide common-use passenger and baggage management technology as it manages +21% growth in passenger numbers. (SITA)’s tech will be used across the airport including in its new international terminal, which is due to open in 2016 and will handle up to 4,000 passengers an hour.

News Item A-2: Air India (AIN/IND) has abandoned plans to convert its remaining 777-300ER order slots into narrow body airplanes instead. News of the plan first emerged in February this year when (AIN)/(IND) held talks with Boeing (TBC) about converting the three slots into ten 737 MAXs for its Air India Express (AXB) subsidiary.

"We have decided to drop the idea of changing the order of the remaining three 777s," a senior airline official told the "Times" of India newspaper. "We will use them for new routes."

Air India (AIN) is planning to enhance its North American network having recently announced plans to begin direct Delhi International - San Francisco, California flights this December.

In June, (AIN)/(IND) also abandoned plans to convert its last six 787-8 order slots into larger 787-9s.

November 2015: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has added a fourth daily flight on New Delhi - London Heathrow. The additional flight will use a Boeing 777-200LR alongside the other three Boeing 787 flights in its existing schedule.

News Item A-2: "Air India Plans Non-Stop Flight to Washington DC"
by Tushar Srivastava, "Hindustan Times" November 28, 2015.

After San Francisco, Air India (AIN) plans to launch direct flights to Washington DC and other cities in the USA.

(AIN) already operates non-stop flights to three USA cities: New York, Chicago and Newark, with operations to San Francisco scheduled to commence from December 2.

"(AIN) is actively pursuing to connect more cities in the USA (with India). A New Delhi - Washington flight is also in the pipeline," said Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju.

"(AIN) connects the country like no other airline. Today, the Maharaja is the one of the most impoverished Indians, and I hope (AIN) comes out of its poverty," Raju said, indicating to the financial troubles of (AIN), the national carrier, whose mascot is the Maharaja.

A senior official at Air India (AIN) said the launch flight, both to and from San Francisco, has already been sold out and the demand was "tremendous." "This new flight will be a boon for the Indian diaspora in the USA West Coast, making travel easy and convenient for students." "Next year, we will launch many new flights . . . 2016 will be a year of consolidation and growth for (AIN)," said (AIN)'s new Chairman & Managing Director, Ashwani Lohani.

"The USA is the biggest holiday destination for Indian travelers, with an estimated 10 lakh leisure travelers visiting the country every year. Non-stop flights to the USA attract good traffic," said aviation expert, Rajji Rai.

The Delhi - San Francisco flight will be of a duration of close to 17 hours. The flight will leave Delhi on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, while the return service will be on Thursday, Saturday, and Monday. With a three-cabin configuration, the flight will have 8F seats in first class, 35C in business and 195Y in economy.

Air India (AIN) used to serve Washington via New York, but the service was discontinued a few years ago. (AIN) also had flights to Los Angeles in California, which was discontinued before the merger of Indian Airlines (IND) with Air India (AIN) in 2011.

(AIN) has flights to 34 international destinations spread across the USA, Europe, the Far-East and South-East Asia, and the Gulf.

News Item A-3: "Aviation Ministry Relaxes Norms for Aircraft Import"
by Lalatendu Mishra, "The Hindu" November 28, 2015

Further simplifying the procedures and making it easier for the procurement of aircraft by airlines, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has delegated the power to grant initial No Objection Certificate (NOC) or in-principle approval for import or acquisition of aircraft to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

This comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed norms for remittances of money for import of aircraft, and other aviation related purchases by airlines.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced these changes through a circular issued on November 28. As per the existing procedure, Scheduled Operators (airlines) and Regional Scheduled Operators have to seek approval from the Ministry for Import of Aircraft. "The delegation of power is being done in order to simplify procedures as compliance of various Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) are regulated by the (DGCA)," the Ministry said.

The (DGCA) has been asked to make necessary amendment in the related (CAR)/Rules in accordance with the changes. After the changes are effected by the (DGCA), "the Scheduled Operators/Regional Scheduled Operators need not approach the Ministry of Civil Aviation for initial (NOC)/In-principle approval for import/acquisition of aircraft."

Earlier, the Ministry had asked the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and the (RBI) to amend their existing notification and master circular respectively to relax the norms for aircraft import.

Responding to this, the (RBI) on November 26, 2015 issued a circular allowing banks to advance remittances of up to US$50 million for import of aircraft, once airline companies receive approval from the (DGCA). Earlier, for remittance of funds, the approval of the ministry was mandatory.

In early October, the (DGFT) had carried out the requisite amendments in its rules governing aircraft imports. Several airlines had voiced their concern over the delay in approvals, which had affected their aircraft induction, fleet expansion and replacement plans.

News Item A-4: China Aircraft Leasing Group (CHD) has completed delivery of the fifth Airbus A320 aircraft to Air India (AIN)/(IND), marking the 56th delivered aircraft of (CALC) (CHD)’s fleet.

December 2015: News Item A-1: "Air India to Turn Profitable on Cheaper Fuel Prices, 787 Dreamliner Operations" December 15, 2015.

Ailing Air India (AIN)/(IND) is likely to turn profitable for the first time in more than >4 years, helped by a reduction of costs due to a slew of factors like cheaper fuel prices and increased capacity from 787 Dreamliner operations, among others.

News Item A-2: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has launched its 4th USA route with the introduction on December 2nd of a new 3x-weekly (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) service between Delhi (DEL) and San Francisco (SFO). The 12,376 km route will be operated by (AIN)/(IND)’s 238-seat 777-200LRs and will not face any direct competition. Flights depart India at 02:35 in the morning arriving in California at 06:00. The return flight leaves (SFO) at 10:00 and gets back into Delhi at 16:20 the following day. The outbound flight has a scheduled flying time of 16 hours and 55 minutes, beaten only by (EVA) Air’s Taipei to Houston Intercontinental service, which clocks in at 17 hours and 35 minutes. (AIN)/(IND), the Star (SAL) Alliance carrier already serves Chicago O’Hare, New York Newark, and New York (JFK).

(AIN)/(IND) on December 15 introduced a new service from Ahmedabad (AMD) to London Heathrow (LHR) via Mumbai (BOM). The 7,651 km route will be flown by (AIN)/(IND)’s 787-8s which will operate the service on a daily basis. (AIN)/(IND) operates a 3x-daily service from Delhi to London Heathrow (LHR). This December has also seen the launch of domestic flights to Durgapur in NE India from both Delhi (DEL) and Kolkata (CCU). Durgapur is a relatively new airport which was opened earlier this year and is known locally as Kazi Nasrul Islam Airport.(AIN)/(IND) is currently the only airline serving the airport.

Routes as follows:
Ahmedabad (AMD) to London (LHR) via Mumbai (BOM), 787-8 7x-weekly;
Delhi (DEL) to Durgapur (RDP), A319 3x-;
Kolkata (CCU) to (RDP), A319 3x-.

January 2016: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has started operations between Kochi (COK) and Dubai (DXB). On January 11, (AIN)/(IND) began daily flights on the 2,781 km route between the 2 airports. Competition on the route is intense with 6 other carriers already serving the market: Emirates (EAD) (19x-weekly flights); Air India Express (AXB), IndiGo (IGO), Jet Airways (JPL) and SpiceJet (ROJ) all offering daily flights; and flydubai (FDB) (4x-weekly flights). This new route appears to replace (AIN)/(IND)’s Kochi to Sharjah service, which ends on January 10. (AIN)/(IND) now serves Dubai from 6 Indian airports, the other being Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, and Kozhikide.

February 2016: "Incident: India 787-8 Near Frankfurt on February 8, 2016, Engine Shut Down in Flight" by Simon Hradecky, The Aviation Herald, February 8, 2016.

An Air India (AIN)/(IND) Boeing 787-8 (registration VT-ANO) performing flight AI-115 from Delhi (India) to London Heathrow (UK) with 90 passengers, was enroute at FL400 about 150 nm north of Frankfurt/Main (Germany) when the flight crew (FC) reported they needed to shut an engine (GEnx) down. The 787-8 drifted down to FL280 continuing in the general direction of Amsterdam (Netherlands), then turned around and diverted to Frankfurt for a safe landing on runway 25C about 50 minutes after leaving FL400.

The airline confirmed a technical problem as cause for the diversion to Frankfurt.

March 2016: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND) and (Alafco) have signed a lease agreement for operating lease of 14 A320neo aircraft at the Hyderabad airshow in India.

(AIN)/(IND) operates 66 A320 family aircraft including 22 A319, 24 A320 and 20 A321. Airbus (EDS) plans to deliver the A320neos to the operator beginning in 2017.

April 2016: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has made Vienna (VIE) its 8th destination in Europe with the introduction on April 6 of 3x-weekly flights on the 5,544 km route from Delhi (DEL). (AIN)/(IND) will use its 787-8s on the new service which operates on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and faces no direct competition. This direct flight ensures the ongoing positive development of India as a growth market for tourists coming to Vienna. The number of overnight stays from Indian nationals increased by +61% over the last 5 years, from 56,000 to 91,000.”

Air India (AIN)/(IND) already serves 7 other destinations in Europe; Birmingham, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Milan Malpensa, Moscow Domodedovo, Paris (CDG), and Rome Fiumicino. For Vienna, Delhi becomes the 8th destination in Asia served this summer with non-stop flights. Austrian Airlines (AUL) serves Astana, Bangkok, Beijing (also served by Air China (BEJ)), Shanghai, and Tokyo, while China Airlines (CHI) offers direct flights to Taipei, and Korean Air (KAL) connects to Seoul.

June 2016: "India Allows Airlines to Import Up to 18-Year-Old Planes"
by (PTI), June 26, 2016.

Domestic airlines can now import aircraft that are up to 18 years old into the country with the government amending more than 2-decade old rules in this regard.

The move is expected to provide a fillip for the government's ambitious efforts to boost regional air connectivity as it gives more leeway for operators in expanding their fleet.

Till now, aircraft that are >15 years old were not allowed to be imported. As part of larger efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the domestic aviation sector, which has huge growth potential, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made changes to rules that had come into effect way back in July 1993.

With the revised norms, pressurised aircraft that are not >18 years old or those which have not completed 50% of design economic pressurisation cycle, can be imported.

A pressurised aircraft is one which is equipped to handle cabin pressure at an altitude of >10,000 feet. Such planes should not have completed "15 years of age or 75% of design economic life or 45,000 pressurization cycle."

The regulations would be applicable for entities having scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation operations. "Considering that modern commercial air transport jet aircraft are significant economic assets that can have an effective economic useful life of decades, the restriction imposed on import of aged aircraft is cautiously revised," the latest Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) signed by (DGCA) Chief M Sathiyavathy said.

In this regard, changes have been made in the relevant norms or Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) effective from June 17. "Aircraft intended to be imported for air cargo operations shall not have completed 25 years in age or 75% of its design economic cycles or 45,000 landing cycles," it noted.

The regulator also said that studies were conducted by international aviation community on the correlation between fatal accidents and age of the aircraft. "Such studies have not clearly established that there is a correlation between accident rate and aircraft age up till 18 years," it added.

With respect to unpressurised aircraft, the decision would be taken on a case to case basis after examining the record of the plane that is to be procured from overseas. "However, the (DGCA) would normally not allow such aircraft which are >20 years old," it said.

The watchdog noted that aircraft intended to be imported and used for scheduled commercial operations should have their design economic calendar and operational life clearly established by the holder of type certificate, among other requirements. "It must be appreciated that normally manufacturers of jet aircraft prescribed a design economic life for their aircraft which extend to 20 years or 60,000 landings/pressurization cycles," the (DGCA) said.

According to the regulator, the minimum standard for aircraft life is set to ensure that the plane does not have problems such as corrosion, fatigue, and cracks in areas which are normally not accessible during even major checks.

Generally, manufacturers indicate a design-economic life in terms of years and pressurisation cycles for jet aircraft in order to keep a tab on age-related problems of the plane.

September 2016: Air India (AIN)/(IND) will increase nonstop San Francisco - Delhi Boeing 777-200LR service from 3x- to 6x-weekly from November 21.

November 2016: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has launched a (SITA)-produced new mobile app enabling passengers to book, check-in and manage every aspect of their journey.

December 2016: News Item A-1: (EVA) Air and Air India (AIN)/(IND) announced a new code share partnership schedule on December 1. Under the agreement, the carriers will use both airlines’ flight numbers on (EVA)-operated routes between Taipei to Bangkok and Taipei to Singapore and on Air India (AIN)/(IND)-operated flights between Mumbai to Bangkok and Mumbai to Singapore.

(EVA) operates 24x-weekly Taipei to Bangkok service and 2x-daily Taipei to Singapore service. Air India (AIN)/(IND) operates daily Mumbai to Bangkok service and daily Mumbai to Singapore service.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) is (EVA) Air’s 16th code share partner, in addition to Air Canada (ACN), Air China (BEJ), All Nippon Airways (ANA), Asiana Airlines( AAR), Colombia flag carrier Avianca (AVI), Bangkok Airways (PGB), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Hong Kong Airlines (CRY), Shandong Airlines (SHG), Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ), Thai Airways (TII), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Turkish Airlines (THY), (EVA) Air regional subsidiary Uni Airways and United Airlines (UAL).

News Item A-2: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) has an Air India (AIN)/(IND) contract to provide Boeing 777 landing gear overhaul.

January 2017: 787-8 (36295, VT-ANX) delivery.

February 2017: See A320neo video:
https://www.youtube.A320-251neo (7638, VT-CIF), ex-(F-WWID) leased from Avalon (AZV) ((CIT) Aerospace).com/watch?v=CJQQKFK8cVU&feature=youtu.be&t=132

2 A320-251neo (7459, VT-EXF; 7475, VT-CID), ex-(F-WWDN, F-WWIA), leased from (ALAFCO) and (CIT) Aerospace (TCL).

March 2017: Air India (AIN)/(IND) plans to use its fully owned regional Alliance Air to increase connections between regional airports within India. (AIN)/(IND) (CCO) Pankaj Srivastava said in an exclusive interview (AIN)/(IND) the Indian flag carrier must grow rapidly within the domestic market and is looking to expand regional connectivity. “There are 45 airports in India that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have built up, refurbished and made operational,” he said.

May 2017: A320-251neo (7616, VT-EXU), ex-(F-WWDM) (GECAS) (GEF) leased.

June 2017: A320-251neo (7638, VT-CIF), ex-(F-WWID) leased from Avalon (AZV) ((CIT) Aerospace).

July 2017: Air India (AIN)/(IND) celebrated the 1st-ever non-stop flight connecting Delhi (DEL) and Washington Dulles (IAD) on July 7, with (AIN) scheduled to operate the route with a 3x-weekly 777-300 service. (AIN), the Star (SAL) Alliance carrier did operate to the USA capital up until May 2010, when the city was flown to as a tag-on stop from its New York services.

Sabre Global Demand Data shows that for the year ending March 2016, the Washington area welcomed >281,000 Indian visitors (making India the 4th largest overseas travel market for the region.

“With international visitation between India and the Washington DC area expected to double by 2025, the Airports Authority’s partnership with Air India (AIN), the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia is just one way we’re working to enhance the level of service offered at Dulles International,” said Jerome Davis, Executive VP & (CRO) of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“Washington Dulles is (AIN)’s 5th USA destination after New York (JFK), New York Newark, Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco, and it reinforces our commitment to providing the most convenient service between the USA and India,” commented Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & Managing Director of (AIN). (AIN) faces no direct competition on the airport pair.

August 2017: News Item A-1: See photo - "AIN-2017-07 - Youngest 777 Female Captain.jpg."

News Item A-2: Air India (AIN)/(IND) commenced its 9th European destination on 15 August (significantly launched on the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence Day) with 3x-weekly services from Delhi (DEL) to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). The Swedish capital joins the Star (SAL) Alliance carrier’s existing European operations to London Heathrow, Birmingham, Paris (CDG), Frankfurt, Milan Malpensa, Madrid, Rome Fiumicino and Vienna. Facing no direct competition, the 5,581 km sector will be flown by Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s 787-8s, which is 25 strong. “Stockholm Arlanda is the fastest growing airport in Scandinavia. We are pleased that Air India (AIN)/(IND) has chosen to set up operations in Stockholm and it is also a clear confirmation of our strong growth. Sweden has the largest market in Scandinavia, and demand is increasing for non-stop services to India, especially among business travelers. The new route will also make it more convenient for the growing number of Indian visitors to fly to Stockholm,” said Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia President & (CEO).

Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & Managing Director of (AIN)/(IND) said: “We are confident that Air India’s 1st foray into Scandinavia would add new destinations to trade, commerce and tourism between India and Sweden.”

September 2017: Air India (AIN) has made Copenhagen (CPH) its 2nd destination in Scandinavia after Stockholm Arlanda and its 1st in Denmark, with (AIN), the Star (SAL) Alliance member starting a 3x-weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) service from Delhi (DEL) on September 16. “If there is 1 airline that is happy to expand its network to the world’s highest-ranking country on the happiness index, then it’s (AIN),” said Pankaj Srivastava, Commercial Director of (AIN) at a ceremony at the Danish airport. “This new route to India is a historic breakthrough. The number of returning Indians has doubled world wide over a few years. Now we’ve got a hole in a huge market, not just the capital, but all Denmark and South Sweden can enjoy,” commented Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, (CEO) of "Wonderful Copenhagen."

The 5,837 km route is being flown by (AIN) on its fleet of 787-8 Dreamliners. With this launch, (AIN) now serves 10 destinations in Europe from Delhi, with Copenhagen joining Birmingham, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Madrid, Milan Malpensa, Paris (CDG), Rome Fiumicino, Stockholm Arlanda, and Vienna.

News Item A-2: Avolon (AZV) delivered 1 Airbus A320-200neo to Air India (AIN)/(IND). This is the 7th (AZV) aircraft on lease to (AIN)/(IND).

October 2017: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has received its final Boeing 787-800 airplane, completing an order placed >10 years ago. (AIN) in 2006 placed orders with Boeing for 68 airplanes: 27 787-800s, 15 777-300ERs, 8 777-200LRs and 18 737-800s. (AIN) has taken delivery of most of the aircraft, except 3 777s that are expected to be delivered early next year. Most of these airplanes are on sale-and-leaseback arrangement, under which the seller leases the airplane back from the purchaser.

December 2017: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN)/(IND) commenced flights from Bhubaneswar (BBI) and Chandigarh (IXC) in India to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK), Thailand, meaning that the Indian flag carrier now serves the Thai capital from 4 destinations in India non-stop, with these latest routes joining Delhi and Mumbai services.

Flights from Bhubaneswar (BBI) commenced on December 10, with the 1,743 km sector flown 2x-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays). Chandigarh operations began December 11 with the 3,092 km link to Suvarnabhumi seeing 3x-weekly flights. Both connections will be flown on (AIN)/(IND)’s A320s, with neither city pair facing direct competition.

News Item A-2: Air India (AIN) is contending with a rising trend of older passengers traveling between India and the USA opting for wheelchair assistance at airports, particularly when arriving at or departing from USA airports. “As per the [USA Department of Transportation] requirement, we cannot charge for a wheelchair and cannot ask the passenger why they need one,” (AIN) Regional Manager Americas, Vandana Sharma said.

January 2018: "New Delhi to Allow Foreign Investment in Air India" by
Alan Dron (alandron@adepteditorial.com) January 12, 2018.

The Indian government has eased ownership rules surrounding Air India (AIN)/(IND), allowing up to a 49% stake to be held by foreign investors. The decision, announced following a meeting of the Indian government’s Cabinet on January 10, is part of the policies of the pro-business government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to liberalize and simplify the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy to make it easier to do business there.

The government hopes that such liberalization will lead to an inflow of overseas investment that will boost the economy without impinging on the state’s budget commitments. (FDI) inflows have grown steadily in recent years, from $36 billion in 2013 to 2014 to a record $60 billion in 2016 to 2017.

The government’s previous (FDI) policy had stipulated that (AIN)/(IND) was off-limits to overseas investors, while foreign airlines could take only up to 49% of the shareholding of other Indian carriers.

The government has now decided to allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49% in (AIN)/(IND), as long as the ownership and effective control of the airline continues to be vested in Indian citizens or organizations.

Air India (AIN) has failed to make a profit since its merger with domestic carrier Indian Airlines (IND) in 2007 and has struggled in recent years, both because of its high operating costs and following the appearance of new competitors such as IndiGo (IGO), SpiceJet and Jet Airways (JPL).

February 2018: Irish lessor Avolon (AZV) delivered 1 Airbus A320neo aircraft to Air India (AIN)/(IND). This is the 8th Avolon (AZV) aircraft on lease to (AIN)/(IND).

May 2018: Avolon (AZV) delivered 2 Airbus A320-251neos to Air India (AIN)/(IND) and are the 9th and 10th Avolon aircraft on lease to (AIN)/(IND).

August 2018: See attached "Close of Operations" Air India (AIN) management letter to staff.

October 2018: News Item A-1: Air India (AIN) and Air Seychelles (ASY) have signed a code share agreement to increase connectivity on their respective networks.

Each airline will place its flight numbers on certain routes operated by the other. (AIN)’s flight numbers will show up on (ASY) flights between Mumbai to the Seychelles and Johannesburg. (ASY) will place its flight numbers on (AIN) domestic flights to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Kochi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Trivandrum. International (AIN) flights to Mumbai and Bangkok will also fly under (ASY) flight numbers.

“India has a huge latent market for leisure travel owing to the burgeoning middle class and rising disposable incomes. As per government statistics, the Indian air market in 2017 to 18 carried 62 million international passengers and is poised to grow at +12.4% (CAGR) till 2025 as per (CAPA),” said PS Kharola, Chairman & Managing Director of (AIN). “The Inbound arrivals into India for 2017, stood at 26.89 million passengers registering a growth of 8.8%. Not only are Indians traveling to international destinations more; the average spend on travel too is on the rise.”

“India is a very important market for Air Seychelles (ASY) and we are pleased to grow our commercial ties with Air India as part of our strategy to offer our guests greater choice and connectivity,” said Remco Althuis, (CEO) of Air Seychelles. “Apart from providing services to the beautiful islands of Seychelles, guests traveling from India can also enjoy seamless connection in <3 hours over Seychelles to Johannesburg.

“In fact as from December 10 this year, (ASY) will provide an additional 544 seats per week between Seychelles and Johannesburg to accommodate the growing demand over the upcoming Winter and Easter period thus, offering holidaymakers and business travelers from India more choice when planning their travel during the peak seasons.”

“In fact as from December 10 this year, (ASY) will provide an additional 544 seats per week between Seychelles and Johannesburg to accommodate the growing demand over the upcoming Winter and Easter period thus, offering holidaymakers and business travelers from India more choice when planning their travel during the peak seasons.”

“Air India (AIN), the flag carrier of India is ensuring that we reap the benefits of this growth in outbound and inbound tourism by adding new destinations through our own network and through alliances. This partnership with (ASY) will enable our customers to have a direct access to this beautiful archipelago in the Indian Ocean,” said Kharola. “Our vast domestic network will ensure a seamless travel experience from all parts of India to the direct flight between Mumbai and Seychelles. We are indeed excited about this alliance.’’

(ASY) operates 5 services per week between Mumbai and Seychelles. It has been serving Mumbai since December 2014 and it flies on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Code shares allow airlines to book passengers on flights operated by partner airlines. Many agreements take advantage of the frequent flyer programs of both airlines. Code shares can give passengers easy access to a range of destinations around the world via the hubs of both partner airlines.

News Item A-2: See video of (AIN) 747-487 (VT-ESP) takeoff:


Click below for photos:
AIN-747-400 2018-09.jpg
AIN-767 CS-TLQ 2007-02
AIN-777-2008-07 INST PNL
AIN-777-300ER - 2014-09
AIN-777-300ER 2017-12.jpg
AIN-777-337ER 2007-12
AIN-787 - 2012-05
AIN-787 - 2012-06
AIN-787 DREAMLINER - 2011-11
AIN-787 VT-ANT 2018-10.jpg
AIN-787-8 - 2013-06
AIN-787-8 - 2014-10
AIN-787-8 VT-ANI 2018-10.jpg
AIN-787-800 - 2017-10.jpg
AIN-A310-300F 2007-07

November 2018:

3 737-2A8F (JT8D-17) 681-22282, /80 VT-EGF; 689-22283, /80 VT-EGG; 798-22285, /81 VT-EGI; 799-22286, /81 VT-EGJ), FREIGHTER.

0 747-237B (JT9D-7Q) (130-19960, /71; 185-20459, /72; 277-21182, /75; 390-21829, /79 VT-EFU "KRISHNA DEVA RAYA;" 414-21993, /79 VT-EGA "SAMMUDRA GUPTA;" 431-21994, /80; 434-21995, /80 VT-EGC "HARSHA VARDHANA"), 3 SOLD TO MOFAZ, 19960; 20459; SOLD TO (AEO) 2000-06; 21182; SOLD TO (MON) AVIATION. 21993; 21994; 21995; SCRAPPED. 34C, 376Y.

0 747-212B (JT9D-7Q) (401-21936, /79), EX-(SIA).

0 747-337BC (CF6-80C2B1) (711-24159, /88 VT-EPW "SHIVAJI;" 719-24160, /88 VT-EPX "NARSIMHA VARMAN"). 24160; PARTED OUT 2009-01. 32C, 261Y, PLTS.

0 747-4B5 (PW4056) (739-24199, /89 VT-EVJ "FATEHPUR SIKRI"), (KAL) 3 YEAR LEASED 2002-11. 12F, 26C, 385Y.

0 747-4B5 (PW4056) (729-24198, /89 VT-AIC "SANCHI;" 830-24621, /90 VT-AID "KAZIRANGA"), (KAL) LEASED 2003-12. 12F, 26C, 385Y.

0 747-412 (PW4056) (791-24066, VT-AIF "ELLORA" 2004-06; 809-24226, VT-AIE "MAMALLAPURAM" 2004-08; 838-24975, VT-AIQ "ELEPHANTA" 2005-09 - 2006-10), (GUG) LEASED, (TBC) CONVERTED TO FREIGHTER. FREIGHTER.

1 747-433 (PW4056) (862-25074, VT-AIM "SUNDERBANS"), AIRCASTLE INVESTMENT LEASED 2005-04. COMBI.

4 747-437 (PW4056) (987-27078, /93 VT-ESM "KONARK;" 1003-27164, /93 VT-ESN "TANJORE;" 1009-27165, /93 VT-ESO* "KHAJURAHO;" 1034-27214, /94 VT-ESP* "AJANTA;" 1089-28094, /96 VT-EVA* "AGRA;" 1093-28095, /96 VT-EVB* "VELHA GOA"). /3 OPTIONS, LEASED. *ONLY 4 STILL OPERATING 2018-11. 12F, 26C, 385Y.


1 767-3Y0ER (PW4060) (474-26205, /93 CS-TLQ), EX-(MAE), (FGC) WET-LEASED 2006-11. 30C, 215Y.

1 767-319ER (CF6-80C2B6F) (785-29388, /00 G-CDPT - SEE PHOTO), (FGC) WET-LEASED TO (AIN) FOR HADJ 2007-02. 24F, 60C, 162Y.

0 777-200, ALAFCO (AVF) 5 YEAR LEASED 2006-02.

0 777-222ER (PW4077) (8-26917, VT-AIR "HAMSADHWANI" 2006-01), RETURNED TO LESSOR AS (N719ML). 46C, 249Y.

1 777-222ER (PW4090) (88-26935, /97 VT-AIL "KALYANI;" 92-26943, /97 VT-AIJ "NEELAMBARI;" 205-28714, /99 VT-AIK "MEGH MALHAR"), EX-(UAL), AVITAS 5 YEARS LEASED. 26935; 26943; TO OMNI AIR INTERNATIONAL (OAE) & WET-LEASED TO XL AIRWAYS FRANCE (STU) 2014-05 - 2014-09. 46C, 249Y.

8 777-237LR (GE90-115B) (610-36300, /07 VT-ALA "ANDHRA PRADASH;" 621-36301, /07 VT-ALB "ARUNACHAL PRADESH;" 629-36302, /07 VT-ALC, "ASSAM;" 663-36303, /07 VT-ALD "GUJARAT;" 698-36304, /08 VT-ALE "HARYANA;" 793-36305, /09 VT-ALF; 800-36306, /09 VT-ALG; 805-36307/09 VT-ALH), 5 SOLD TO ETIHAD AIRWAYS 2013-10.

15 +7 ORDERS 777-337ER (GE90-115B) (800-36306, VY-ALO, 2009-07; 643-36308, VT-ALJ "BIHAR" 2007-10; 659-36309, /07 VT-ALK "CHATTISGARH;" 656-36310, /07 VT-ALL; 713-36311, /08 VT-ALM; 719-36312, /08 VT-ALN; 814-36316, /09 VT-ALR; 864-36317, /10 VT-ALS "MIZORAM;" 871-36318, /10 VT-ALT "NAGALAND;" 880-36319, /10 VT-ALU "ORISSA" 2010-06). 4F, 35C, 303Y.

27 787-8 DREAMLINER (GEnx-1B64) (36273; 36274; 36275; 35-36276, /12 VT-ANH; 46-36277, /12 VT-ANI; 29-36278, /11 VT-AND; 36279; 36280, /13 VT-ANE; VT-ANI; 54-36281, /12 VT-ANJ; 60-36282, /12 VT-ANK; 65-36283, /12 VT-ANL; 36284, /12 VT-ANM, 2013-06; VT-ANP "THE MAHARAJA" - SEE PHOTO; 36285; 36286, 36288, 2014-08; 36293, VT-ANV, 2015-06 36295, VT-ANX, 2017-01), 1ST DELIVERED 2012-09 (MANUFACTURED IN SOUTH CAROLINA, USA), 18C, 238Y.


0 A300B4-203 (CF6-50C2) (177, /82 "GANGA;" 180, /82 "GODAVARI;" 190, /82 "CAUVERI"), 3 GIVEN TO (AFG) 2002-05.

0 A310-304 (CF6-80C2A2) (392, /85 VT-EJL "SABARMATI;" 406, /86 VT-EJG "YAMUNA;" 407, /86 "VT-EJH TISTA;" 413, /86 VT-EJI "SARASWATI;" 428, /86 VT-EJJ "BEAS;" 429, /86 VT-EJK "GOMATI;" 538, /90 VT-EQS "KRISHNA;" 544, /90 VT-EQT "NARMADA"), (447, /87 VT-EVG "KOSI;" 481, /88 VT-EVH "TUNGABHADRA"), EX-(MEA), (GEH) 5 YEAR LEASED 2001-04; 481 RTND, LST (JOR) 2004-07. 538; TO DRESDEN FOR CONVERSION TO FREIGHTER, 2007-01. 407 CONVERTED TO FREIGHTER 2008-08. 544 TO (ARY) 2010-03. 20C, 181Y & FREIGHTERS FOR AIR-INDIA CARGO.

0 A310-304 (CF6-80C2A2) (519, /89 VT-EVI "BRAHMAPUTRA"), (ILF) 3 YEAR LEASED 2002-01, EX-(KEN). 20C, 181Y.


0 A310-304 (CF6-80C2A2) (598, /91 VT-EVW "CAUVERI"), EX-(RJA), (AFIS) 3 YEAR LEASED 2002-12. 20C, 181Y.

0 A310-308 (CF6-80C2A8) (695, /94 VT-EVX "LUNI"), EX-(EAD), (AFIS) 3 YEAR LEASED 2003-02. 20C, 181Y.

0 A310-324 (PW4152) (501, /89 VT-EVE "PERIYAR;" 548, /90 VT-EVF "MAHANADI"), (SIA) LEASED 2001-01, 20C, 181Y.

0 A310-324 (PW4152) (589, /91 VT-EVY "GANGA;" 634, /92 VT-EVU "GODAVARI"), (SIA) LEASED 2002-12. 589; 634; RETURNED 2005-12. 20C, 181Y.

0 A310-324 (PW4152) (665, /93 VT-AIA "TAPTI;" 680, /93 VT-AIB "PENNAR"), EX-(SIA), (ALAFCO) 3 YEAR LEASED 2003-12. 12C, 175Y.

0 A310-324 (PW4152) (654, /92 VT-AIH "TUNGABHADRA;" 669, /93 VT-AIG "KOSI"), EX-(SIA), (TBC) LEASED. RETURNED; LEASED TO (FED) 2007-07. 12C, 175Y.

0 A310-324 (PW4152) (684, VT-AIN "DAMODAR;" 693, VT-AIO "VAIGAI;" 697, VT-AIP "PAMBA"), (SIA) LEASED 2005-04. 684; 693; 697; TO (DEC) 2010-03.

0 A310-325 (PW4156A) (674, F-OIHS), EX-(ZDV), (AIFS) LEASED 2000-09, RETURNED, LEASED TO (KHZ) 2000-11.

0 A310-325 (650), (AIFS) LEASED.

22 A319-100.


15 +4 ORDERS (2013-10) A320-231 (V2500-A1) (0045, /89 VT-EPB), 20C, 126Y.

1 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (368, C5-AAO), (AEZ) WET-LEASED FOR HAJJ SEASON 2014-09. 20C, 126Y.

1 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (432, VT-ESF), 2014-08 IN STAR (SAL) ALLIANCE COLORS. 20C, 126Y.

2 A320-251neo (7459, VT-EXF; 7475, VT-CID), ex-(F-WWDN, F-WWIA), LEASED FROM (ALAFCO) & (CIT) AEROSPACE (TCL).

19 A320-251neo (7638, VT-CIF), EX-(F-WWID) AVOLON (AZV) LEASED ((CIT) Aerospace) 2017-06.

17 A321-200:

2 A321-211 (CFM56-5B3) (3146, /07 VT-PPB; 3752, /09 VT-PPL), 20C, 152Y.

1 A321-231 (3619, VT-PPK), 2008-08.

2 A330-223 (PW4168) 353, /00 VT-IWA; 362, /00 VT-IWB), 24C, 255Y.

10 A340-300, 10F, 27C, 235Y.



3 CRJ-701ER (CF34-8C5) (10029, /01 VT-RJE; 10048, /02 VT-RJD; 10052, /023 VT-RJC), AIR INDIA REGIONAL OPERATIONS. 70Y.


Click below for photos:
AIN-3-Rajeev Dandona 2018-10.jpg
AIN-4-Pankaj Srivasta - 2017-03.jpg



































Rajeev is currently designated as Senior Assistant General Manager. He has been involved in the merger of multiple (EASA) approvals across the organization in (AIESL), holding a post of Quality Manager since February 2017. He has also been involved in extension of Organization Part 145 Capability, undertaking new and expansion projects for (AIESL) under (FAA)/(EASA)/(DGCA) approvals for base maintenance, component shops, Test Cell at various locations in India. Rajeev is well versed in quality activities of quality auditing, root cause analysis, (SMS), six-sigma, liaising with regulators, regulatory documentation, training, etc.

He joined Air India (AIN) after completing B.E. (Mechanical) from (VJTI), Mumbai in 1991 and acquired Basic Aircraft Maintenance Engineers License and then various related approvals. Rajeev also worked as an aircraft maintenance engineer in the Engine Overhaul Facility. He has been in an executive Management position in Quality for 7 years and also holds an (MBA) in International Business from (ICFAI), completed in 2009.














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