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7JetSet7 Code: IND
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: ORIENT
Country: INDIA
Employees 28000
Telephone: +91 (11) 371 8551
Fax: +91 (11) 371 4546

Click below for data links:
IND-2004-01-50 YRS
IND-2004-01-50 YRS-A
IND-2005-12--B-50 YRS
IND-2011-08-BAD WEEK
IND-2012-09 - 787
IND-Visit Taj Mahal-Z-2015-04.jpg





JANUARY 1993: 1992 = -$69 MILLION: +7.4% (RPK) TRAFFIC, +7.5% PASSENGERS (PAX), +3.8% (FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC.










JANUARY 1995: 1994 = -$91.6 MILLION (-$56.6 MILLION) (NET LOSS).


FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1995 = -$63 MILLION (-$86 MILLION).


















FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1996 = -$11.3 MILLION (-$30 MILLION).












APRIL 1998: 22,582 EMPLOYEES.




EMPLOYEES (K): 11 QAN 30; 12 SIA 28; 13 KLM 27; 14 SWA 25; 15 TWA 25; 16 SVA 25; 17 IND 23; 18 IBE 22; 19 SAS 22; 20 ACN 22; 21 TII 22; 22 PIA 21; 23 AIN 19.







APRIL 1999: 21,081 EMPLOYEES.















APRIL 2000: 21,990 EMPLOYEES.


JULY 2000: TO BANGKOK (A320, 3/WEEK).


EMPLOYEES (K): 19 QAN 23.4; 20 ACN 23; 21 MAS 22.8; 22 IND 22; 23 TWA 21; 24 EGP 20.1.




5 ORDERS (NOVEMBER 2000) 737-200'S (737-2Q3: 24103; 737-205: 23467; 737-2K9: 23405; 737-209: 24197 & 23796). 2 ORDERS (APRIL 2001) A320'S, LEASED.



APRIL 2001: 21,992 EMPLOYEES.

2 A320-231'S (V2500) (247, VT-EVO; 257, VT-EVP), EX-TRANSAER (TSD), ORIX (OXA) LEASED.



2 A320-231'S (V2500) (327, VT-EVQ; 336, VT-EVR), ORIX (OXA) LEASED.

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.


APRIL 2002: 20,703 EMPLOYEES.




June 2002: 3 A300B2-101's (026; 036; 060), traded in to Airbus.

July 2002: 2001 = -$51 Million: 7.3 Billion (RPK) (+2.5%); 63.3% LF; 5.81 Million (PAX) (-.7%); 89.54 Million (FTK) (-8%); 20,703 employees (+0.5%).

Plans service from Calcutta - Hong Kong. Will add flights to Bangkok, Kathmandu, and Yangon.

6 orders (10/02) A310's. 2 A320-231's (308, VT-EVS; 314, VT-EVT), ex-Iberworld (IBW), Orix (OXA) leased.

November 2002: FY 2001 = -INR 2.47 Billion/-$51 Million: -15% (RPK); -8% (PAX).

December 2002: Scheduled service to Langkawi, and Penang. Calcutta - Gaya - Bangkok (A320, weekly).

Reportedly has finalized an order for 43 A320's.

February 2003: 5 orders (4/03) A320's (V2500-A1), Debis AirFinance (DEA) and Boullioun (BOU) leased to join its existing fleet of 36 A320's.

A320-231 (376, VT-EYA), DebisAirFinance (DEA) leased.

March 2003: Will form a separate subsidiary for its ground handling services, of which 49% could be sold to an overseas investor. Also, will reduce number of non-operational employees by -1,000 through a voluntary retirement program.

20,100 employees.

April 2003: A320-231 (179) delivery. 2 A320-231's (V2500-A1) (362; 376), ex-British Mediterranean (BMR), Debis AirFinance (DEA) leased.

May 2003: A320-231 (V2500-A1) (386, VT-EYB), ex-British Mediterranean (BMR), Debis AirFinance (DEA) leased.

June 2003: Receives Government OK to order 43 new A320-family airplanes.

July 2003: 19,750 employees. (FAX: +91 (11) 371 45 46).

2002 = -INR 2.45 Billion/-$53.14 Million (-INR 2.46 Billion).

August 2003: Sunil Arora, becomes Managing Director of Air India (AIN), succeeding Jatindra N Gogoi, and continues to act as Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Airlines (IND).

50th anniversary! Adds "50 years of flying." logos on its airplanes.

2 A320-231's (168, VT-EYD; 362, VT-EBC), Boullioun (BOU) leased.

September 2003: 2002 = 7.55 Billion (RPK) (+3.6%); +11.5% (ASK); 58.8% LF (-4.5); 5.5 Million (PAX) (-4.5%); 111 Million FTK (+8%).

78 (PRH) 8.67; 79 (XIN) 8.61; 80 (TAV) 8.32; 81 (IRN) 8.01; 82 (HNA) 7.93; 83 (IND) 7.55; 84 (OLY) 7.55; 85 (ACH) 7.50; 86 (SBR) 7.48; 87 (MTH) 7.09; 88 (KUW) 6.71; 89 (VIE) 6.60; 90 (SPR) 6.57; 91 (BMA) 6.56; 92 (LNK) 6.41; 93 (RAM) 6.38; 94 (BTA) 6.36; 95 (QTA) 6.20; 96 (COI) 5.96; 97 (EGF) 5.94; 98 (LOT) 5.87; 99 (FRO) 5.49; 100 (WJI) 5.49.

Has been granted 5th freedom rights to Doha and can now carry passengers to and from Doha on its Bahrain - Doha - Calcutta service.

A320-231 (179, VT-EYE), leased.

October 2003: 737-2A8 (22860) returned from Indian Air Force.

December 2003: Awaiting final approval to start operations to Pakistan, from Delhi and Mumbai to Karachi and Lahore. Tentative plans to operate to Kabul.

February 2004: India's Finance Ministry has delayed Indian Airlines (IND)'s plans to acquire 43 Airbus airplanes.

Is hiring +139 pilots (FC).

April 2004: Government suggests it will restructure Indian Airlines (IND) and lower its stake from 100% to 49%.

Plans to lease 5 A319's for Alliance Air (ALX) and 6 A320's for mainline operations.

July 2004: A320-231 (225, VT-EYF), ex-Mexican (CMA), Orix (OXA) leased. A320-231 (478, VT-EYI) leased. Releases tender for leases of 11 A319's for 3-5 years from 11/04.

August 2004: A320-231 (326), leased.

September 2004: Applied for scheduled services to Hong Kong & Jeddah.

October 2004: 19,750 employees.

3 A320-231's (344), Debis AirFinance (DEA) leased.

December 2004: FY 2003 = +INR 441.7 Million/+$10 Million (-INR 1.97 Billion).

In January, Calcutta (Kolkata) - Gauhati - Bangkok (2/week).

January 2005: A320-231 (97), WFU in storage.

February 2005: Seems certain 12 orders A330's for expanding its international routes.

March 2005: 2 A320-231's (354, VT-EYJ; 411, VT-EYK), deliveries.

April 2005: 19,520 employees .

August 2005: Ms Sushma Chawla, acting Chairman & Managing Director, first woman to hold this top position, replaces Sunil Arora.

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: Indian government finally approved Indian Airlines (IND)'s order for 43 A320 family airplanes. Indian media quoted Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh as saying, "Our government has announced today the purchase of 43 Airbus (EDS) airplanes worth $2.2 billion." The announcement was made after the conclusion of talks between Singh and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

India is moving to stabilize the flow of pilots (FC) from airline to airline and will legislate that pilots (FC) must give carriers six months' notice of intent to leave. In the mad scramble to launch new airlines, pilots (FC) have been jumping ship with little or no warning, causing chaos for scheduling and leaving passengers stranded. Many flights have been cancelled owing to a lack of crews. Pilots at government-owned Indian Airlines (IND) and Air-India (AIN) have been particularly sought after.

October 2005: Indian Airlines (IND) will operate a daily nonstop flight from Bangalore to Goa and from Bangalore to Pune starting on Oct 30th. Flights will operate with an A320.

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 Friday 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 Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND) will issue (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."

The airline took delivery of its first 3 A319-112's (2593, VT-SCA; 2624, VT-SCB; 2929, VT-SCC), painted in the new "Indian" livery, CIT Leasing (TCI) leased.

December 2005: India will build a second international airport in Bombay capable of handling 40 million passengers per year, a Civil Aviation Ministry official said, according to the Associated Press.

Separately, Indian Airlines (IND) will change its name to "Indian" and paint its airplanes with a new livery featuring a flaming sun logo, according to media reports.

January 2006: Indian (IND) said it posted a record net profit of +INR656.1 million/+$14.8 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, a +48.5% increase over the previous fiscal year's profit of +INR441.7 million. The carrier reported that earnings were driven by an increase in traffic, which lifted total revenue to INR53.63 billion from INR47.26 billion in (FY) 2004. Indian (IND) said "strict cost control measures" adopted during the year saved it INR765.9 million.

Indian (IND) extended the closing date for dry leasing 12 wide-body airplanes till January 31st. (IND) is looking amongst the A310, A330, A340, 767 and 777.

February 2006: Amadeus said Indian (IND) will implement Amadeus Electronic Ticket Server to fully manage and distribute e-tickets, including interlining. As part of the agreement, (IBM) will upgrade processes and systems at Indian (IND) to (IATA) e-ticket standards.

India's New Delhi and Mumbai airports' privatization continues to be surrounded by controversy, even after a long-delayed decision on the winning tenders was handed down. The government announced in late January that the contract to control and rebuild New Delhi has been awarded to a consortium led by GMR Group and German operator Fraport. It had been named the preferred bidder for both airports, but chose New Delhi after matching a rival bid from the Reliance group and Mexico's Aeropuertos Servicious Auxilliare. The contract for Mumbai airport, the country's biggest hub, then was awarded to a group led by (GVK) Industries and the Airports Company of South Africa.

The sales process already had been dogged by controversy and several parties walked out after complaining about the government's evaluation parameters. The decision immediately sparked a protest from the reliance consortium, which called the process a farce and has said it will take court action. Meantime, unions angered by the sale of the airports to foreign interests launched a four-day strike, which ended February 4 only after promises that no Indian jobs would be lost. The winning consortia have pledged to absorb 60% of the work force, while the Airports Authority of India will absorb the rest. The International Airport Authority of India Officers Association also has signaled court action.

A little more than a month after announcing a record annual profit of nearly +$15 million, Indian (IND) put pen to paper on a deal for 43 A320 family airplanes that was approved by the Indian government last September. The order is worth $2.2 billion, according to the carrier. The deal was signed in New Delhi by Indian Chairman and Managing Director, Vishwapati Trivedi along with Airbus (EDS) Executive VP, Kiran Rao, French President, Jacques Chirac and Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and comprises 20 A319s, 4 A320s and 19 A321s. All airplanes will be powered by (CFM56-5B)s and will feature 2-class cabin configurations. The A319s will have 122 seats, the A320s 140 seats and the A321s 171 seats.

"The acquisition of the 43 airplanes of the A320 family will allow Indian (IND) to step up growth and modernization, expand its market and further improve the quality of its product offering," Trivedi said. Indian (IND) currently operates three A319s and 45 A320-200s.

Has been forced to ground 12 of its 47 A320-200's due to a shortage of engines and other spare parts over the last 6 months. Mostly due to a dispute with its engine parts supplier, International Aero Engines (IAE) over alleged payment arrears. 9 airplanes were grounded in Delhi, 2 in Mumbai, and 1 in Hyderabad.

March 2006: Air-India (AINJ) 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 Air-India (AIN) gained momentum with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing off on development of a strategy for the combination, according to Indian Express. The newspaper reported that Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel briefed Singh and outlined scenarios including merger.

April 2006: Indian (IND) will increase the frequency of flights from Calicut to Dubai from 2 to 7 on June 1st. Currently, the airline operates a flight on Wednesdays & Sundays, which will increase to daily. All flights will be operated with an A320. Indian (IND) will inaugurate its first nonstop service from Chennai to Dubai on June 1st. Currently, the airline operates 9 weekly 1 stop flights. Those will be replaced with 7 nonstop flights, all with A320s. Launched Nugpur - Bangkok using A320-200s. Indian (IND) now connects Bangkok with nine India cities: Bangalore; Chennai; Delhi; Guwahati; Hyderabad; Jaipur; Kolkata; Mumbai, and now, Nagpur. Will also start a freighter hub at Nagpur shortly. The conversion of ex-Alliance Air (ALX) 737-200s into freighters in a phased manner, will take care of the operations of this hub.

The Indian government is looking to fast-track the proposed merger of Air-India (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.

2 A319-112's (1668, VT-SCD; (DEA) leased and (1718, VT-SCE), (GEF) leased, ex-Air Canada (ACN).

May 2006: Indian (IND) began adding a fuel surcharge of +INR300/+$6.68 to tickets on all domestic sectors effective May 4.

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%).

June 2006: Indian (IND) inaugurated a new service into Bhopal. The airline now operates a daily flight on the Mumbai - Indore - Bhopal - Delhi route using an A320.

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.

July 2006: As one of the world's largest domestic carriers, Indian (IND) operates jet airplane services to regional destinations in addition to domestic flights.

(IATA) Code: IC - 058. (ICAO) Code: IAC (Callsign - INDAIR).

Parent organization/shareholders: Indian government (through a government holding company (100%).

Owns: Alliance Air (ALX) (100%).

Alliances: Air India (AIN); Gulf Air (GUL); Pakistan Airlines (PIA); & SriLankan Airlines (LNK).

Main Base: Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).

Hubs: Chennai International airport (MAA); Mumbai/Bombay International airport (BPM); Calcutta International airport (CCU); & Hyderabad airport (HYD).

Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Agartala; Agatti Island; Ahmedabad; Aizawi; Amritsar; Aurangabad; Bagdogra; Bangalore; Bhopal; Bhubaneswar; Chandigarh; Chennai; Coimbatore; Delhi; Dibrugarh; Dimapore; Gaya; Goa; Guwahati; Hyderabad; Imphal; Indore; Jaipur; Jammu; Jamnagar; Jodhpur; Jorhat; Khajuraho; Kochi; Kolkata; Kozhikode; Leh; Lilabari; Lucknow; Madurai; Mangalore; Mumbai; Nagpur; Patna; Port Blair; Pune; Raipur; Rajkot; Ranchi; Shillong; Silchar; Srinagar; Tezpur; Thiruvananthapuram; Tiruchirapalli; Tirupati; Udaipur; Vadodara; Varanasi; & Vishakhapatnam.

International, Scheduled Destinations: Al-Fujairah; Bahrain; Bangkok; Colombo; Dhaka; Doha; Dubai; Kabul; Kathmandu; Kuala Lumpur; Kuwait; Lahore; Male; Muscat; Ras-al-Khaymah; Sharjah; Singapore; & Yangon.

Air Deccan (DCC) said its 21.2% market share in June made it India's second-largest airline, passing Indian (IND), which held a 20.8% share, according to Deccan (DCC). The Low Cost Carrier (LCC) operates 14 A320s and 21 ATR turboprops on 265 daily flights to 55 domestic destinations.

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.

Indian (IND) is planning to convert 5 737s, operated by its subsidiary Alliance Air (ALX), from passenger to cargo configuration. The airline is planning to operate these airplanes from a base at Nagpur to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

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 Indian (IND), the tie-up should be complete by March 2008. The new company then would be the subject of an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Ocober 2006: State-run domestic carrier Indian (IND) (formerly known as Indian Airlines) today received the first jet of a 43-plane order placed with Europe's Airbus Industries under a $2 billion deal signed in February, officials said.

This is the 1st new airplane that the airline added to its fleet in about a decade, a federal aviation ministry official said.

Delivery of all 43 airplanes is expected to be completed by March 2010, he said.

The A319 which joined the fleet this month is the domestic carrier's 74th airplane. "It is indeed a historic occasion and ushers in a new era for the airline which is witnessing the induction of its own airplanes after a gap of 12 years," Chairman and Managing Director, Vishwapati Trivedi said.

Reports today said the government is planning to merge international carrier Air-India (AIN) and its domestic counterpart Indian (IND) into a mega-carrier with about 130 airplanes to take on competition from rivals such as Singapore Airlines (SIA), Emirates (EAD) and British Airways (BAB).

A319-112 (2907, VT-SCF), delivery.

November 2006: The "Federation of Indian Airlines" is the name of the new industry body created by scheduled passenger carriers in India, according to press reports. Initial members are Air Deccan (DCC), Air-India (AIN), Air Sahara (SAQ), GoAir (GOZ), Indian Airlines (IND), IndiGo (IGO), Jet Airways (JPL), Kingfisher Airlines (KFH), Paramount Airways (PAT), and SpiceJet (ROJ). The group will cooperate in areas such as human resources, maintenance and ground handling, as well as lobbying issues.

December 2006: Amadeus reached agreement with Indian Airlines (IND)to make the carrier's domestic flights available for booking and ticketing in India.

INCDT: An A320 operating Flight IC 402, Kolkata - New Delhi on December 5, ran off the runway while landing at New Delhi.

January 2007: Indian said it carried 837,000 passengers in December 2006, an increase of +6.5% over the year-earlier month and a record for any December. International passenger numbers climbed +20% to 211,000.

Indian Airlines (IND) is preparing for -INR180 to -200 million/-$4.1 to -$4.5 million in combined losses resulting from days of heavy fog in Delhi, according to "The Economic Times." Runway visibility was down to 100 m as 35 arrivals and 50 departures were cancelled Tuesday, with another 61 diverted. The 3-day total of cancellations and diversions reached 300, the paper said. Air Deccan (DCC) said it has canceled 15 - 20 flights on each of the past three days, and faces losses of more than -INR40 million.

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 Indian Airlines (IND) to join SkyTeam.

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

If accurate, the report appears to put the Star Alliance in an interesting position. Star (CEO) Jaan Albrecht said at last month's meeting in Istanbul that the group expected to announce the addition of a carrier in either India or Russia this year, and rumors have circulated that the alliance was courting Air-India (AIN). "The Times" of India reported in November that (AIN) would announce an agreement with Star 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 6 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 (AIN) Express and Alliance Air (ALX) also will be merged.

(CFM) International and Indian Airlines (IND) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to establish a (CFM56) Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) joint venture in India. The shop will perform "the full spectrum of services" for (CFM56-5B) and (CFM56-7B) engines, (CFM) said. Indian (IND) operates six (CFM56-5B)-powered A319s and has 43 A320 family airplanes on order.

Indian launched 3x-weekly nonstop Delhi - Kochi service February 18 aboard an A319. It will continue to connect the cities daily, via Mumbai.

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."

ORIX Aviation (OXA) announced that Indian Airlines (IND) extended its lease on two A320s through 2011, and leased an additional A320 for five years.

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) said Indian Airlines (IND) chose (PW4000-100)s to power two A330-200s it has on order, the first of which, will be delivered in October. Indian (IND) currently has a fleet of 48 A320s and 6 A319s, as well as 11 737s that are operated by subsidiary Alliance Air (ALX).

Indian Airlines (IND) reached a deal with KfW IPEX-Bank of Germany for $500 million in financing toward the carrier's purchase of 20 A321s, 19 A319s and 4 A320s. (IND) expects to take delivery of 10 airplanes this year, and has 12 years to repay the loan. (HSH) Nordbank is joint underwriter.

March 2007: The Indian government, at a cabinet meeting last week chaired by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, gave final approval for the merger of Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (IND). The 2 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 2 years. The combined airline will operate a fleet of about 120 airplanes and employ some 30,000 workers.

April 2007: 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 Co 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 Air-India (AIN) and Indian (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, Indian (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 Air-India (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 (AIN) Express, 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 >100 airplanes over the next 5 years. Air-India (AIN) ordered 68 combined 777s, 787s and 737-800s in 2006. Indian (IND) has begun induction of the 1st 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 Air-India (AIN) is the larger of the 2 with a turnover of INR95 billion/$2.18 billion in 2005 to 2006, its equity capital of INR1.53 billion is <Indian (IND)'s INR4.32 billion. Air-India (AIN)/(IND)'s net worth was INR5.5 billion at the end of 2006, while Indian (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: The Indian government made seat assignments compulsory for all domestic airlines. The Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation said it was imposing the regulation "in order to ensure correct loading of airplanes and keeping the center of gravity of the airplane within limits at all times during flight."

SITA said it is working with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to deploy an additional 17 (VHF) ground stations at the nation's airports, enabling Indian airlines and (AAI) to exchange real-time data with airplanes and allowing "increased safety and efficiency of operations." This will bring SITA's Aircom network in India to 23 stations.

"Air-India" (AIN)/(IND) will be the name of the new state-owned airline, resulting from the merger of the old Air-India 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 Air-India (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 Air-India (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.

June 2007: Indian Airlines (IND) said it had resolved the issues with the Air Corporation Employees Union representing ground operations and clerical staff, that led to a three-day strike and that operations are scheduled to return to normal. The carrier said the issues pertained to career progression and payment of a decade's worth of arrears. The Indian government's Press Information Bureau said the arrears total INR2.67 billion/$65.1 million and will be paid out over 18 months. (IND) called the strike "totally illegal and unwarranted" and said it would "take stringent action against striking employees."

A321-232 (3130, VT-PPA), delivery.

July 2007: A321-211 (3146, VT-PPB), delivery.

August 2007: Ceased operations. Merged with Air-India (AIN).

September 2007: 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 Air-India (AIN) and Indian Airlines (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."

October 2007: Air-India (AIN)/(IND) Chairman, V Thulasidas said that the carrier 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.

2 A319-112s (3271, VT-SCG; 3288, VT-SCH), 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 Co of India Ltd 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.

2 A319-112s (3300, VT-SCI; 3305, VT-SCJ), deliveries.

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). Star (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 Air-India (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. Star (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 Star Alliance (SAL) Board of Chief Executives (CEO) voted to accept the application of Air-India (AIN) to become a member. "India has long been on the radar of the Star Alliance (SAL). After all, it is one of the world's fastest-growing economies and aviation markets. Having now come to an agreement with Air-India (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 Air-India (AIN)'s mentor; it also was mentor to Air China (BEJ), which joined the alliance this week along with Shanghai Airlines (SHA).

For Air-India (AIN) Chairman & Managing Director, Vasudevan Thulasidas, joining Star (SAL) is "kind of natural," as (AIN) has been cooperating with numerous Star (SAL) members for several years. He confirmed that the airline stopped talking with other alliances months ago, and opted for Star (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 Indian Airlines (IND) and its large Boeing (TBC) order. Thulasidas said he expects Air-India (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. The airline is in the process of renewing its systems. "We are analyzing offers for the moment. The merger with Indian Airlines (IND) raised the need to change and upgrade several (IT) systems, including (DCS)," he said. "We included the connectivity with Star (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 Star (SAL) carriers.

A319-112 (3344, VT-SCK), & 2 A321-211s (3326, VT-PPE; 3340, VT-PPF), deliveries.

January 2008: Air-India (AIN)/(IND), Jupiter Aviation and Airbus (EDS) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) last week to establish a three-way Joint Venture (JV) Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility in India to perform work on all types of Airbus (EDS) airplanes operated by (AIN)/(IND) and other Indian airlines. Air-India (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.

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%.

A321-211 (3367, VT-PPG), delivery.

March 2008: Air-India (AIN) parent, National Aviation Co of India 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.

April 2008: A321-211 (3498, VT-PPH), delivery.

August 2008: 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.

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 Air-India (AIN) at 539,000. (AIN) had a load factor of 57.5% LF.

January 2009: A321-211 (3752, VT-PPL).

February 2009: Formerly Indian Airlines (IND), now operates as "Air-India" since merging with national flag carrier, Air-India (AIN).

A fleet of 11 737-2A8s are now wet-leased to and operated by Air-India Regional, which was formerly Alliance (ALX) that became Airline Allied Services Ltd.

A321-211 (3792, VT-PPM), delivery.

March 2009: 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.

A319-112 (3822, VT-SCO), delivery.

April 2009: A319-112 (3874, VT-SCP), delivery.

May 2009: Air India (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.

A319-112 (3918, VT-SCQ), delivery.

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."

A321-211 (3955, VT-PPN), 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.

A319-112 (3970, VT-SCR), delivery.

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.

A319-112 (4020, VT-SCS) and 2 A321-211s (4002, VT-PPO; 4009, VT-PPQ), deliveries.

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).

A319-112 (4029, VT-SCT), delivery.

October 2009: Air India (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.

A319-112 (4052, VT-SCU), ex-(D-AVYQ), and A321-211 (4078, VT-PPS), ex-(D-AVZU), deliveries.

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 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."

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)/(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."

1 A319-112 (4089, VT-SCV), and 2 A321-211s (4096, VT-PPU; 4127, VT-PPU), deliveries.

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.

A319-112 (4121, VT-SCW), and A321-211 (4138, VT-PPV), deliveries.

January 2010: Indian airlines carried 44.5 million passengers in 2009, up +7.9% from the prior year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation reported. Fourth-quarter traffic soared +30.5% year-over-year to 12.5 million passengers and December traffic rose +34.8% to 4.5 million.

Jet Airways (JPL) (17.9%) and JetLite (SAQ) (7.5%) led all companies in full-year market share with a combined 25.4%, followed by Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) at 23.9% and Air India (AIN) with 17.5%. IndiGo (IGO) (13.9%) and Spicejet (ROJ) (12.4%) rounded out the top five. Indian carriers cut capacity during the first half of 2009 but registered year-over-year increases in both (RPK)s traffic and (ASK)s capacity in each of the year's last six months.

December (RPK)s rose nearly +40% over the year-ago month, with average load factor surpassing 80% LF owing to the peak season. IndiGo (IGO) posted a 90% LF load factor for the month, with Jet (JPL) posting the lowest figure at 78.2% LF.

India's airlines transported 43.8 million passengers on domestic routes in 2009. Kingfisher (KFH) led the way with a 23.9% share equal to 10.5 million passengers, followed by (JPL) at 17.9% and (AIN)/(IND) at 17.5%.

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.

A319-112 (4164, VT-SCX) and A321-211 (4155, VT-PPW), deliveries.

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.

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.

SR Technics (SWS) signed a two-year extension of its contract with Air India (AIN)/(IND)/(AXB) parent National Aviation Company of India for maintenance services on (CFM56-5B) and (CFM56-7B) engines powering 61 A320 family and 737-800 airplanes. The contract is valued at CHF60 million/$55.7 million). Services will be performed at (SWS)'s Zurich Engine Maintenance Center.

2 A320-214s (4201, VT-EDC; 4212, VT-EDD), deliveries.

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."

Optimism regarding the gradual recovery of India's commercial aviation industry was dampened in Hyderabad as the India Aviation show and conference opened amid concerns that a new 10% tax on domestic tickets could stifle growth. On the bright side, Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel said the industry handled the recession "with composure" and that he has "cautious optimism" about 2010.

Airbus (EDS) Executive VP Marketing & Contracts, Kiran Rao said India's passenger airplane market will increase at least +12% this year, according to "Mint," which added that (EDS) delivered 29 airplanes to Indian airlines in 2009. "People are starting to discuss their fleet requirements once again and there is a growing interest," he said. IndiGo (IGO) President, Aditya Ghosh told "Mint" that (IGO) plans to add +10 A320s rather than six during the fiscal year starting April 1.

Patel told reporters that India could absorb about 300 new airplanes over the next five years and that there would be sufficient demand to increase the number of airports from 90 to nearly 400. "Demand for pilots (FC), which evaporated last year, is significant now with close to 120 flying schools operating in the country. The industry will see a very strong path of recovery from the beginning of 2011," he told "The Business Standard."

But Patel was among many who urged that the government repeal the 10% service tax on domestic air travel and scheduled to start in April. A similar tax on international flights already has been cancelled. He said the Ministry of Civil Aviation will ask the Ministry of Finance to do the same for domestic operations. The Federation of Indian Airlines also will lobby authorities, and executives admitted that fares may rise if the tax is implemented.

"The service tax and increased operating cost would inevitably result into hike in fares. The industry needs relief, not the additional taxes," Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) Chairman & CEO, Vijay Mallya told "The Economic Times." "There is a recovery in passenger traffic. But the process of recovery will be impacted if airlines are burdened with taxes."

Central Board of Excise & Customers Chairman, V Sridhar told the "Times" that the government is discussing the issue with airlines and may reduce the rate to one "which is not too excessive and should not pass undue burden."

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.

A321-211 (4280, VT-PPX), 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."

Goa, India, is to have a new international greenfield airport at Mopa, giving it two airports. The airport will be constructed by the state government on a build-own-operate-transfer basis. A request for proposals will soon be released to international players.
A study conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) says it is possible to operate both Dabolim Airport and the new one with equitable distribution of traffic between them. The (ICAO) study concluded that even after the expansion, the Dabolim Airport will be saturated by 2013. It has therefore been decided that the present Dabolim Airport at Goa will not be closed to meet the requirement of increased inflow of air traffic more efficiently, and should result in balanced development of the entire state, says the government.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation forecasts +12.5% annual growth in passenger numbers in India for the next decade, suggesting that Indian airport capacity must double every six years. Airport investment in the next five years will total 400 billion rupees/$8.5 billion, about three-quarters of which will be in developments financed by both the public and private sectors, according to the Committee on Infrastructure.

Indira Gandhi International Airport has a design capacity of about 18 million passengers per year, which will rise to 60 million with the opening of a new terminal this year. The ultimate capacity is intended by 2026 to reach 100 million, which is more than any airport is currently handling anywhere in the world.

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.

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.

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 "" 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.”

January 2012: 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."

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.

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

June 2012: 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.

September 2012: 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 Chatrapati 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 Pilot Career Conferences & Job Fairs

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

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.

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.

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.”

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.

August 2013: Air India (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, Air India (AIN)/(IND) is accepting online pilot (FC) applications.

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 (AIN)/(IND).

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, the carrier is still far from breaking even. Net loss was close to $1 billion in 2012 - 2013 and it continues to carry a huge debt on its books.

Air India (IND) is planning to beef up domestic capacity by leasing more A320s with sharklets and (CFM56) engines. (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, (IND) has doubled the tenure of the lease, offering to take the airplanes for up to 12 years. (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 airplane in all-economy (Y) configuration.

(AIN)/(IND)e 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, 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.

December 2013: 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.

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 (AXB) 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.

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).

June 2014: 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 joined 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.

September 2014: 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.

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.

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.

December 2014: News Item A-1: 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: In a letter to the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), an Indian professional pilot association has warned of possible risks to passenger safety due to the continuing operation of old decades-old airplanes by flag carrier Air India (IND).

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) submitted a document to the (DGCA) warning of potentially lethal consequences if (IND)’s older Airbus A320 airplanes, some of which are over >25 years old, are not retired.

“The A320s which are [some] of the oldest in the world are being operated with repetitive snags endangering flight safety,” asserted the (ICPA). “The (DGCA) should not permit (IND) to operate these lethal snag-prone airplanes in lieu of passenger safety,” it added.

The (ICPA) also raised concerns over pilot (FC) hours at (IND), requesting that (DCGA) “to clarify the minimum time before scheduled departure that a pilot (FC) must report for flying at airports.”

The association also requested the (DGCA) to lay down specific regulations for available pilot (FC) hours, that take into account entitled leave, mandatory training time, and other entitlements that would affect the year’s permissible working hours’ allocation.

Although (IND) has not suffered any major incidents recently, one of its older A320s suffered a landing gear issue early March and was required to make an emergency landing at Delhi.

The (ICPA) said the issues with older airplanes were compounding poor employment issues at Air India (AIN)/(IND) following “nonpayment of full salary and allowances for last almost 32 months.” The union said this contributed further to the “stressful working conditions and plight of our pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA), engineers (MT) and all other employees.”

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 USA 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 1st 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 (IND) jet pilots (FC) have been grounded after a fierce cockpit quarrel.

(IND) insisted there was no physical violence.

An (IND) pilot (FC) and co-pilot (FC) engaged in a fierce quarrel in the cockpit just before taking off on a flight from the western Indian city of Jaipur to the country's capital Delhi, reported the "Times of India," citing unnamed airline sources.

The newspaper's sources say the quarrel erupted over pre-flight procedures and allege that the two men came to actual blows.

(AIN) denied that there was any physical violence. "There was an argument between the two and nothing more," an Air India (AIN) spokesman told the "Times." "They have settled the issue."

Although standard procedure dictates that the senior pilot (FC) of Flight AI 611 should have informed the airline about the incident immediately, he reportedly did not do so, because it would have led to the flight's cancellation, the "Times" said. Instead, he filed a log entry with (AIN) after landing in Delhi.

The "Times" subsequently reported that both pilots (FC) had been suspended over the incident. "Both the pilots (FC) have been derostered," airline spokesman, G P Rao told the paper. "An inquiry has been ordered into this."

The mental health of airline pilots (FC) has been under intense scrutiny after the suicidal Germanwings (RFG) pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz crashed an airplane into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people on board.

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, (AIN)/(IND)’s (and the world’s) 1st 787 to do so. (AIN)/(IND), 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 7 more scheduled to be delivered.

May 2015: A-1: 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 1st 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.

(AIN)/(IND) is the 1st airline to have publicly acknowledged the need for stricter psychological profiling on potential aircrew (FC). “If 25% of [potential pilots (FC)] have been red flagged by psychologists, it is a serious concern and should be looked into seriously,” Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) 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: 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: Air India (AIN)/(IND) has taken delivery of the 3rd 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 1st non-stop flight to operate on the route.

San Francisco will become (AIN)/(IND)'s 4th 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 to 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 3x-weekly 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 1st emerged in February this year when (AIN)/(IND) held talks with Boeing (TBC) about converting the 3 slots into 10 737 MAXs for its Air India Express (AXB) subsidiary.

"We have decided to drop the idea of changing the order of the remaining 3 777s," a senior airline official told the "Times" of India newspaper. "We will use them for new routes."

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

In June, (AIN)/(IND) also abandoned plans to convert its last 6 787-8 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 to London Heathrow. The additional flight will use a Boeing 777-200LR alongside the other 3 Boeing 787 flights in its existing schedule.

News Item A-2: 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-.

Air India (AIN)/(IND) began in December 2015, 3x-weekly, Kolkata to Kazi Nazrul Islam, Durgapur to Delhi. The service will use 48-seat ATR42 aircraft.

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: The Indian government has confirmed it will spend >$12 billion on aviation as part of its 12th 5 Year Plan (FYP), which finalizes at the end of 2017.

A large proportion of the projected investment will go into launching and developing up to 200 new airports at secondary and tertiary destinations over the next 20 years, Ministry of Civil Aviation spokesperson, Anil Srivastava said at the launch of the India Aviation Show at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

The government said it is looking for a significant amount ($9 billion) to come from the private sector.

The Indian government is aiming for an overall growth rate of +8% in coming years, and has projected that passenger numbers will swell to 450 million by 2020, from just <160 million at the start of the current (FYP).

Indian aviation saw a +13% growth in passenger traffic for the 10 years to 2013, and the government says it will leverage on this rapid expansion to make the country one of the top three aviation markets worldwide by 2020.

Srivastava noted that around $1.3 billion is slated for investment in non-metro projects in coming years, with a focus on modernizing and upgrading secondary and remote airports.

Manufacturers are also eyeing the Indian market. Airbus (EDS) reported it had sourced >$500 million of aviation related products from India in 2015, +15% more than in 2014. It looks to expand to >$2 billion in cumulative aviation-related procurement to 2020.

Pratt & Whitney (PRW) also committed to an investment of >$150 million to set up a Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO), component repair and training center in the country, and Boeing (TBC) has said it will “invest in capabilities, infrastructure, and partnerships to enable aerospace to be an economic growth engine” in India.

Srivastava underlined these initiatives by adding that India aims to become a global aviation hub for manufacturing and (MRO) as well as for passenger and cargo traffic.

News Item A-2: 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: News Item A-1: Key Indian international airports at Delhi and Mumbai are experiencing accessibility problems as a result of traffic volume increases and infrastructure upgrades.

Airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) said surface improvements on the airport’s Runway 10/28 would take 1 week from April 5, but carriers would not be inconvenienced. However, some carriers have warned passengers to expect delays during the maintenance period.

(DIAL) said remaining runways, 09/27 and 11/29, would be fully available on a 24/7 basis to handle traffic and that “these 2 runways will be sufficient to take care of the current need of air traffic movement.”

In addition, low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo (IGO) issued a statement to travelers April 8 saying that “consequential delays and congestion” are to be expected during the upgrading work at Delhi International.

At Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, IndiGo (IGO), SpiceJet (ROJ) and GoAir (GOZ) have all noted there are accessibility issues and extra costs involved with a planned relocation from the existing Terminal 1.

National carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND), which was the launch airline at the new terminal late last year, has advised passengers on some domestic flights to check-in up to 3 hours before takeoff because of extra security and check-in procedures.

Airport operator, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) is keen to move the (LCC)s to the new facility to improve overall capacity and service quality, but several (LCC)s and passenger groups have raised issues about the extra times required, as well as resulting increased operating costs and the longer distance between parking gates and terminals for transit passengers.

News Item A-2: (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.”

(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), Shanghai, and Tokyo, while China Airlines (CHI) offers direct flights to Taipei, and Korean Air (KAL) connects to Seoul.

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 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 - 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.

February 2017: 2 A320-251neo (7459, VT-EXF; 7475, VT-CID), ex-(F-WWDN, F-WWIA), leased from (ALAFCO) and (CIT) Aerospace (SIL).

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.

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

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.”

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.

January 2018: "New Delhi to Allow Foreign Investment in Air India" by
Alan Dron ( 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.


Click below for photos:
IND-787 STAR ALLIANCE-2015-04.jpg
IND-A320 2017-11.jpg
IND-A321 - 2013-04

October 2018:

10 737-2A8 (JT8D-17A) (679-22281, /80 VT-EGE; 681-22282, /80 VT-EGF; 689-22283, /80 VT-EGG; 739-22284, /81 VT-EGH, 798-22285, /81 VT-EGI; 799-22286, /81 VT-EGJ; 899-22860, /82 VT-EHE; 902-22861, /82 VT-EHF; 903-22862, /82 VT-EHG; 907-22863, /82 VT-EHH) (1 GROUNDED, TO BE SCRAPPED), ALL LST (ALX). 119Y.

1 737-2A8C (JT8D-17A) (747-22473, /81 VT-EGM), LST (ALX), 119Y.

1 737-2K9 (1178-23405), 2000-12, LST (ALX). 119Y.

1 737-2Q3 (JT8D) (1565-24103, /88 N241AC), EX-(SWL), (ZNY) LSD, LST (ALX). 119Y.

1 737-205 (JT8D) (1245-23467), 2000-12, LST (ALX). 119Y.

2 737-209 (JT8D) (1420-23796; 1581-24197), LST (ALX). 119Y.

21 +6 ORDERS 787-8 DREAMLINER (GEnx-1B) (46-36277, VT-ANI; VT-AND; 35-36279, /13 VT-ANH; 36280, /13 VT-ANE; 36293, VT-ANV, 2015-06), 1ST 787 MANUFACTURED IN SOUTH CAROLINA, USA AND DELIVERED 2012-06. 18C, 238Y.

0 A300B2-101 (CF6-50C2) (059, /78 VT-EDY; 088, /79 VT-EFV; 111, /80 VT-EFW; 113, /80 VT-EFX) (026; 036; 060; TRADED IN TO AIRBUS 2002-06), (3 >20 YRS, FOR SALE). 027 WFU AT BOMBAY. 059; & 088; SCRAPPED AT BOMBAY. 113 WFU IN STORAGE 2005-03.

0 A300B4-203 (CF6-50C2) (177, /82 VT-EHN "GANGA;" 180, /82 VT-EHO "GODAVARI;" 181, /82 VT-EHC; 182, /82 VT-EHD; 190, /82 VT-EHQ "CAUVERI"), EX-(AIN) 2001-03, TO (AFG) 2002-05. 16C, 216Y.

1 A300B4-203 (CF6-50C2) (240, /83, VT-EVD; 262, /83 VT-EVC), EX-(PAL), (GEH) LSD. 262 SCRAPPED 2003-07. 24C, 231Y,

6 ORDERS A310.

1 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (1668, /02 VT-SCD), EX-(ACN), (DEA) LSD 2006-04. 16C (2x2), 96Y (3x3).

1 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (1718, /02 VT-SCE), EX-(ACN), (GEF) LSD 2006-04. 16C (2x2), 96Y (3x3).

5 +4 ORDERS A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (2593, VT-SCA, 2005-11; 2624, VT-SCB, 2005-11; 2629, VT-SCC, 2005-11; 2631, VT-SCD, 2006-04; 2907, VT-SCF, 2006-10), (TCI) LSD, FOR (ALX) OPS. 16C (2x2), 96Y (3x3).

15 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (3271, VT-SCG, 2007-10; 3288, VT-SCH, 2007-10; 3300, VT-SCI, 2007-11; 3305, VT-SCJ, 2007-11; 3344, VT-SCK, 2007-12; 3822, VT-SCO, 2009-03; 3874, VT-SCP, 2009-04; 3918, VT-SCQ, 2009-05; 3970, VT-SCR, 2009-07; 4020, VT-SCS, 2009-08; 4029, VT-SCT, 2009-09; 4052, VT-SCU, 2009-10; 4089, VT-SCV, 2009-10; 4121, VT-SCW, 2009-12; 4164, VT-SCX, 2010-01), 16C, 96Y.


19 ORDERS (2013-10) A320:

3 A320-200, (DEA) LSD 2004-10.

4 +1 A320-200, (CHD) LSD. WITH SHARKLETS.

2 A320-214 (4201, VT-EDC, 2010-02; 4212, VT-EDD, 2010-02).

1 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (225, VT-EYF), EX-(CMA), (OXA) LSD 2004-07.

2 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (308, /92 VT-EVS; 314, /92 VT-EVT), EX-(IBW), (OXA) LSD 2002-07. 20C, 125Y.

31 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (045, /89 VT-EPB; 492, /94 VT-ESK), 097; WFU 2005-01. 20C, 125Y.

2 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (327, /92 VT-EVQ; 336, /92 VT-EVR), (OXA) LSD 2001-11. 20C, 125Y.

2 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (247, /91 VT-EVO; 257, /91 VT-EVP), EX-(TSD), (OXA) 5 YR LSD 2001-04. 20C, 125Y.

8 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (168, VT-WYD, 2003-08; 179, /91 VT-EYE 2003-04; 326, 2004-08; 344, 2004-10; 362, VT-EBC, 2003-08; 376, /92 VT-WYA, 2003-02; 386, /92, VT-WYB, 2003-06, EX-(BMR); 478, VT-EYI, 2004-07), (DEA)/(BOU) LSD. 20C, 125Y.

3 +3 ORDERS A320-231 (CFM56-5B) (354, /05 VT-EYJ; 411, /05 VT-EYK). TWO CLASS, 140 PAX.

10 A320-251neo ((7459, VT-EXF; 7475, VT-CID), EX-(F-WWDN, F-WWIA), LEASED FROM (ALAFCO), AVOLON (AZV) & (CIT) AEROSPACE (SIL).

9 ORDERS A321-200 (CFM56-5B3/P), TWO CLASS, 171 PAX:

11 A321-211 (3498, VT-PPH, 2008-04; 3752, VT-PPL, 2009-01; 3792, VT-PPM, 2009-02; 3955, VT-PPN, 2009-06; 4002, VT-PPO, 2009-08; 4008, VT-IGH, 2009-08; 4078, VT-PPS, 2009-10; 4096, VT-PPT, 2009-11; 4127, VT-PPU, 2009-11; 4138, VT-PPV, 2009-12; 4155, VT-PPW, 2010-01; 4280, VT-PPX, 2010-04), TWO CLASS, 171 PAX.

5 A321-232 (CFM56-5B3/P) (3130, VT-PPA, 2007-06; 3146, VT-PPB, 2007-07; 3326, VT-PPE, 2007-12; 3340, VT-PPF, 2007-12; 3367, VT-PPG, 2008-01), TWO CLASS, 171 PAX.

12 ORDERS (2010-07) A330-200 (PW4000-100):

0 B AE HS 748, 11 RTND.

0 F27, 4 RETIRED.

2 DORNIER 228-201 (TPE331-5-252D) (1002, /86 VT-EJN; 8037, /84 VT-EIO; 8054, /85 VT-EJO), 1002 RTND. 19Y.

1 +5/6 ORDERS ATR 42-500, 50 PAX.


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