Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Air India Set To Lease Dornier 228s for New Regional Routes

Neelam Mathews
Feb 20, 2017
Feb Air India is planning to add Dornier 228 twin turboprops to the fleet of its Alliance Air subsidiary to boost service to second- and third-tier cities under the government-backed Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which begins in March. Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani told AIN that the flagcarrier expects to lease 10 of the 19-seat aircraft from government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which already produces military-configured versions under license from Switzerland Ruag Aviation.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is now working on a requested civil type certification for the aircraft. “The certification from DGCA could well be facilitated and speeded given HAL and Air India are both government owned,” R.K Bali, managing director of India’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA) told AIN. He said that HAL, which is in the process of creating a leasing division, will have to make provision for maintaining the aircraft to airline requirements. So far, it has produced 125 Dornier 228s in India.

According to BAOA, most flights under the RCS program will be of no more than 90 minutes' duration and on average carry 10 passengers. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

HAL Proposes an Indian Multirole Helicopter

 - February 16, 2017, 6:02 PM

Indian multirole helicopter on display
A full-scale mockup of the Indian multirole helicopter (IMRH) was displayed on the HAL stand at Aero India. (Photo: HAL)
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has launched an Indian multirole helicopter (IMRH) program by displaying a full-scale mockup at the Aero India show in Bangalore. The IMRH is being designed to fulfill a long list of missions and could replace India’s large fleet of Mil Mi-8/17s, as well as some naval helicopters. The company did not indicate a timescale for development, flight trials and production.  HAL previously stated (on its website) that it was seeking a partnership with an international helicopter manufacturer for the IMRH, to shorten the development time frame.
HAL said that the twin-engine IMRH would be in the 12-ton class IMRH with a service ceiling of approximately 20,000 feet, a payload of 3,500 kg and a seating capacity of 24. It will be equipped with an automatic flight control system (AFCS), mission systems and advanced cockpit displays. “The Indian Air Force version will have a significant hovering and payload capacity at higher altitudes,” said T. Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director of HAL. The company said that it has “not yet identified” the powerplants for the IMRH.
Raju stressed the multirole nature of the project. These include tactical troop transport, casualty evacuation, underslung load carriage, combat search and rescue, anti-surface operations, offshore operations, VIP transport and air ambulance. But asked about the status of the project by AIN, Raju said: “This is only a proof of concept. We need to take it further. We have conceived all the options.”
India is one of the world's largest operators of helicopters with approximately 140 in its inventory, and continues to acquire more. Clearance has been given for the purchase of 48 Mi-17V5s by the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defense minister Manohar Parrikar.
At Aero India, Bangalore-based Alpha Design Technologies announced a $30 million contract with Elbit Systems of Israel to upgrade the Indian Air Force’s 90 Mi-17 helicopters. Alpha Design, as the major offset partner, will manufacture key sub-units including smart cockpit displays, transponder, digital voice recorder (DVR), missile launch detection systems (MILDS), cables and brackets.
The Mi-17, an export version of the Mi-8, is also operated by India’s neighbor, Pakistan. Afghanistan is another Mi-17 operator in the region, but it may be replacing its fleet with refurbished U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawks. A recent report of the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction was quoted in the media as saying that this is because the Mi-17s are in a state of “steady decline due to higher-than-anticipated utilization rates and accelerating attrition.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Indian Bizav Is Missing Out On Plan To Expand Regional Service

 - February 13, 2017, 4:31 PM

Business aircraft operators are encountering barriers to participating in India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which is supposed to stimulate cost-effective air service to second- and third-tier cities. The first flights under the program, which is intended to boost service to some 325 airports and airstrips around the vast country, are due to be made in March, according to the Airport Authority of India (AAI). To date, prospective operators have bid to add service at just 19 of these airports.
It is a good policy plan that has fallen short of implementation,” said Rohit Kapur, former president of India’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA).
For instance, charter companies wanting to operate under the RCS now need to complete a new certification process to qualify under the new designation of scheduled commuter airline (SCA). “This is an extra conservative approach,” said Kapur, questioning the necessity of introducing a new layer of approval for existing charter operators.
Aircraft operating under the RCS need to have two engines. “If a single-engine aircraft is good to operate as a charter, why is it not under the SCA?” asked Kapur, who was participating in a February 13 “Enabling Business Through Air Connectivity” conference in Bangalore, on the eve of this week’s Aero India show. At the same time, he complained that authorities are not doing sufficient due diligence on some new companies applying to be accepted into the RCSprogram.
According to RK Chaukiyal, executive director of AAI, which is implementing RCS, there has been a “good response” to the program. He told the conference that most operators applying so far are looking to provide flights with aircraft seating between 20 and 80 passengers. RCS is due to run for 10 years, and Chaukiyal indicated that changes could be made along the way, as more bids will be opened up in the next six months.
However, aviation consultant Mark Martin questioned the AAI’s rationale for operating the RCS. “It looks like a work in progress,” he told the conference. “If they keep changing the policy, what will happen to the initial bidders? Are we grasping in the dark? This doesn’t make sustainable sense.”
An international operator speaking on condition of anonymity told AIN, “You do not need complicated bidding to give routes. Just let them fly to airports that are available,” he cautioned.
With a fragmented underutilized business aircraft fleet in India, BAOA is looking at ways to consolidate these aircraft, said BAOA president Jayant Nadkarni. “There has to be a seamless link between operators with a transparency, though not cartelization. Only then will utilization start increasing,” he stated.
Around 45 percent of India’s business aviation fleet is underutilized said Kanika Tekriwal, CEO and founder of Indian charter broker JetSetGo. “This is a reason why we do not encourage people to buy aircraft in India. It makes no sense.” 

BAE and HAL Debut Advanced Hawk at Aero India Show

 - February 15, 2017, 7:47 AM
This BAE Systems development aircraft ZJ100 has been upgraded to Advanced Hawk configuration, with combat training potential. (Photo: Neelam Mathews)
At the Aero India show in Bangalore, in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), BAE Systems has unveiled the Advanced Hawk that it first described in the UK last June. Painted in Anglo-Indian colors, the British company’s development aircraft ZJ100 is on display at HAL’s stand, and there is also a simulator displaying the aircraft’s new capabilities. These include active leading-edge slats and combat flaps on the wings, and a large-area display in the cockpit.
Together with HAL, we are looking forward to showing this industry-funded demonstrator to the Indian and other air forces and seeking their feedback on the combination of features that will better prepare student combat pilots for the demands of frontline aircraft,” said Stephen Timms, ‎managing director for BAE Systems Defense Information, Training & Services. BAE describes the aircraft as “a dual-role solution for training and operations.”  
A second upgraded Hawk is appearing in the flying display, this one rolled out from HAL’s Bangalore factory late last month. This blue-painted jet is the 100th of a planned total of 123 Hawk Mk132 jet trainers that HAL is license-producing for the Indian air force and navy. The aircraft that have already been delivered recently completed 100,000 flying hours.
This is the first Hawk with a ‘Make in India’ signature,” said T. Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director, HAL. The Indian company is calling it the “Hawk-i”. A dual-redundant mission computer and data transfer units designed and developed by HAL have been substituted for the British-supplied systems. HAL also claims that the Hawk-i’s Embedded Virtual Training System (EVTS) offers improved capability compared to the existing Hawk system.
According to BAE Systems, the Advanced Hawk also features additional engine thrust; a laser designator pod; hardpoints that are smart-weapon enabled; a dual-purpose centerline pod (weapons or luggage); air-to-air refueling; defensive aids system including a countermeasures dispenser and radar warning receiver; and a digital head-up display.
HAL maintains that the Hawk-i could reduce training demands on more expensive frontline Indian air force aircraft such as the Dassault Rafale and Sukhoi Su30MKI. High commonality with the existing Hawk production and support infrastructure in India would enable the Hawk-i to be manufactured and supported with the maximum reuse of facilities, equipment and skills, the Indian company said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

aeroindia-Service Group ACASS Launches Indian JV With Invision

 - February 13, 2017, 1:49 PM
Indian aircraft management and charter company Invision Air last week launched a joint venture with Canadian business aviation services group ACASS. The Mumbai-based operator holds the majority stake in the new ACASS India enterprise.
Montreal-based ACASS's services include sourcing flight crew, providing regulatory and management support and handling aircraft sales, as well as delivering and preparing them for entry into service. CEO Andre Khury told AIN that despite slower-than-anticipated growth in the Indian business aviation sector, he believes that the new venture will allow ACASS to capitalize on opportunities in a potentially huge marketplace.
Sourcing qualified flight crew and support personnel is a particular challenge in India. ACASS believes it can alleviate this situation by drawing on a database of approximately 17,000 pilots and mechanics.
We’ve been here through thick and thin, and we’re here to stay,” Khury told AIN. “I’m perhaps myopic in my vision. I have faith that India as a whole will still have steady growth. With Invision’s boots on ground, their real experience will allow us greater continuity. It was a milestone decision for us.”
Invision managing director Vinit Pathak is serving as president of ACASSIndia. “ACASS’s know-how with our experience in operations and maintenance brings a compelling proposition to the market,” he commented. “We wanted to augment our experience with international capability. We will be looking at different revenue streams and more growth in transactions and services.”
Khury and his new partners acknowledged that India remains a frustrating environment for business aviation, which continues to suffer from the perception that it is an elitist mode of transportation. “One element that has always been very challenging for us and anybody in the industry is that India is very bureaucratic and things can take a long time,” said Khury.
More specifically, India requires foreign aircrew to take an exam on local regulations when seeking temporary authorization to fly in the country, and that process can take months. India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association continues to press for reform, but Khury expressed disappointment that the government had not used the recent federal budget approval process to rationalize regulatory processes.
Broadly speaking, growth in India’s business aviation sector started slowing down beginning 2009. However, Khury said that the market is relatively mature by Asian standards, but that ACASS is now seeing stronger growth in Southeast Asia.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Guest Column -The Shortest Route to Reliable Service

By Lindsay Norman
 Senior Specialist Marcom division of Honeywell Aerospace

We have all had the frustrating experiences of not remembering a login or password to an account that you need access, only to be led down a path of confusing reset actions that eventually lead to another set of credentials you are sure to forget. From bills to e-commerce sites, we all have built up numerous maybe even hundreds of aliases in order to access our accounts online. Honeywell Aerospace is no different and because of the company’s size and history, customers used to log in multiple times on different platforms to get at basic account information.
In order to reduce this level of complexity, the Honeywell Aerospace Services team decided to create GoDirect; a one-stop shop and single sign-on location for all of Honeywell’s Aerospace Services.

Steve Kersh, a Senior Director with Services Operations says this was a frustration for customers. However, not everyone wanted total consolidation either. “Some customers wanted a single invoice and others told us it could create more problems because of procurement processes already in place.”
So, the addition of the shopping cart feature was born. This feature allows customers to customize their billing to fit their needs, across the different services. And while many of us have grown accustomed to this feature on our favorite shopping websites, this is relatively new for aerospace. Other features, like live web chat, are also making their way into the industry. According to Kersh, the Global Data Center (GDC) has found that this is extremely helpful when working with international customers who prefer to communicate in writing versus the telephone to reduce the inherent language barriers. The GDC is one of Honeywell’s premier and long standing services supporting thousands of customers for the last 30 years.
Personalization is a key component in the new GoDirect website. For example, some customers may be enrolled in the Honeywell Avionics Protection Plan (HAPP) but would like to know more about the Mechanical Protection plan (MPP) or the service plan for APUs and engines (MSP) which has been supporting customers for 40 years.
With all aerospace services being housed in one location customers can browse and learn more about complementary products and services. The system displays the services that a business or individual is currently enrolled in upon login and customers can modify their accounts with their own imagery and fleet information for additional organization. GoDirect will also be the first point of reference for any new services available, positioning customers on the front lines of new technology and innovation.

Lindsay is a Senior Specialist in the Marcom division of Honeywell Aerospace. She joined Honeywell in August of 2015 and has a background in communications, digital marketing and social media. Previous roles include destination marketing and healthcare communications. She studied at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

India To Buy Six More C295s for Coast Guard

 - January 4, 2017, 7:35 am

India is likely to sign a contract with Airbus Defence and Space for 56 C295military transports within six months, according to the country's retiring chief of the air staff, Arup Raha. Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of Defence has cleared the separate acquisition of six C295s for an Indian Coast Guard requirement. Both orders will be delivered by the Tata-Airbus partnership that is India’s first-ever private sector aircraft development enterprise.
At his end-of-tenure press conference on December 23, Raha told AIN that the evaluation of the C295 bid for the IAF is complete and contract negotiations would start soon. “Since benchmarking and other issues [of the aircraft] are known to us, the process will not take very long, especially with a proactive defense minister where things get sorted out faster than they did in the past,” he said. He added that, given the large number of aircraft to be ordered—16 to be delivered in flyaway condition and 40 to be manufactured in India—the Coast Guard contract would be “processed subsequently to completion of this series.” He continued, “The landmark decision for manufacture of this 8- to 10-ton-capacity aircraft will empower the private sector and help us with capabilities, with assistance from OEMs.”
The IAF need for a new medium airlifter has become urgent, as the service grapples with aging An-32s. In the past two decades 15 have crashed, the most recent one last year with 29 people on board. That aircraft has not yet been located, since Russian aircraft do not have underwater locator beacons. A contract will be signed within two months, Raha said, to equip helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft with emergency locator transmitters and underwater locator beacons linked to flight data recorders that are triggered by water immersion and indicate where wreckage is, in a large area of sea.
The Airus-Tata partnership will deliver the C295s for the Coast Guard in “raw” condition to the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), which will integrate an indigenous mission system. “DRDO could likely use a surface-scanning radar that could be coupled with transponders on boats, an imperative for the Coast Guard,” said Bharat Malkani, managing director of Max Aerospace & Aviation Ltd. The mission system could be a derivative of the multisensor airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system developed by Center for Airborne System (CABS) with DRDO for the Embraer 145 platform, a defense official told AIN. “The C-295 is not a complicated aircraft. It is easy for DRDO to integrate the sensor in the nose with OEM input. It is not complicated structural work, and can be certified for airworthiness by the Indian body, CEMILAC,” said the official.
The Airbus Defence and Space C295 maritime patrol aircraft comprises a range of sensors and components including search radar, electro-optic/infrared sensors, electronic support measures, an electronic intelligence system (ELINT), COMINT, a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), an IFF interrogator, a satcom, a datalink and a Link-11.