Tuesday, August 9, 2016

AIESL to Score?

Neelam Mathews
Aug  8 2016

Aerospacediary is hearing a buzz that is getting louder.  Is one of India's most successful airlines about to sign an MRO deal with Air India?
Just goes to show political will is a strong contender!
Either ways, if AIESL gets two dozen aircraft , it will be a coup.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Indian Tanker Deal May Still Be Concluded

 - August 3, 2016, 8:35 AM

An artist's impression of an Indian Air Force A330MRTT refueling two Mirage 2000 fighters. (Airbus D&S)

India has withdrawn the tender for a new air refueling tanker, more than three years after choosing the Airbus A330 MRTT  in preference to the Ilyushin Il-78 following a second round of bidding. This latest example of indecision on major defense projects, following the saga of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, is creating concern in the international defense industry that India is chronically indecisive. However, AIN has learned from a senior Indian Ministry of Defence official that the A330MRTTprocurement may still be concluded, on an intergovernmental basis between Spain and India.
Though there has been no official confirmation, Indian media reported that the high price of the MRTT is the reason behind the nation's failing to conclude a contract. However, the vendor has not been given the cause for the pullout. “The cost of the MRTT has increased following depreciation of the rupee in the past three years,” said the senior MoD official.
A retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officer commented to AIN: “This is ludicrous. The MoD is making inconsistent statements. The A330 MRTT was chosen after considering the total cost of the platform plus the life cycle costs. Yes, it is more expensive to acquire than the Il-78, but much more efficient. So what changed?”
An IAF engineer said the six IL-78s already in service in the IAF are suffering from maintenance issues related to unavailability or delays in acquiring spares. “Sometimes there are structural issues and at other times, problems with the Israeli pods that keeps the fleet grounded.” He said that at the recent Red Flag Exercise in the U.S, only one of the two IL-78s sent by the IAF performed. AIN could not confirm this. “The MRTT is urgent because we need to enhance our capability,” IAF chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha told AIN in April.

A finance ministry official said it did not make financial sense to have a mix of models in the fleet as the cost for setting up a maintenance facility for the A330s “would be enormous.” This was refuted by a retired IAFofficial who said that maintenance facilities already exist in India for the airframe as Airbus has a large commercial presence here. “This is utter lack of understanding,” he said.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kazakhstan Seeks Attention With Multi-Billion-Dollar Expo Build

Pix Neelam Mathews

Former Soviet nation and US designer push energy-efficient innovations

Energy sustainability is a key focus for EXPO 2017 (center) and high-profile upgrade of Kazakh capital of Astana.
Photo: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

July 19, 2016

AT THE EXPO 2017 SITE IN ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN—Even with a highly depreciated currency and an economy battered by the oil price slump, the former  Soviet nation of Kazakhstan is ramping up completion of EXPO 2017 and its surroundings in the capital of Astana—a futuristic megaproject estimated to cost between $3 and $5 billion that will showcase global energy efficiency but also promote the Central Asian nation's push to modernize and raise its worldwide profile.
The first international exhibition to be held in Central Asia and in a former CIS country, "Future Energy" will host 3 million visitors between June and September of next year and create what its Chicago-based designer Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (AS+GG), said will make Astana “the first Third Industrial Revolution city where energy consumed by the Expo community will be provided from renewable sources.” Buildings will generate their own power that will be distributed by a smart grid. 
Participants tell ENR that despite archaic construction rules and the unforeseen oil-sector crash since EXPO 2017 was awarded to Kazakhstan in 2012 and work started in 2014, national pride and an iron administration led by its government-owned company are pushing forward.  
Akhmetzhan Yessimov, chairman of JSC National Company that is running EXPO 2017, confirmed in June to the Paris-based intergovernmental group that supervises international exhibitions, that construction will be done by year-end.
Yessimov was appointed last August in the wake of an alleged corruption scandal involving EXPO 2017 managers who have since been arrested, terminated or have left, say local news reports. He had been mayor of Almaty, a Kazakh city that lost the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing in July 2015 by just four votes. Almaty now is vieing for the 2026 Games, set for award in 2019. Officials had claimed last year that 80% of venues would be completed in 2017.
AS+GG won the design for EXPO 2017 and Astana against 49 competitors. “The design was chosenfor its uniqueness and it could also relate to the architecture of Astana’s contemporary buildings,” Alisher Pirmetov, the exhibition's first deputy, told ENR. Flashy glass and metal buildings dot Astana’s surrealist skyline.“The urban design for Expo City was determined by site specific indicators such as weather conditions, cultural context and land accessibility.” Astana is the second coldest capital city after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Split into two phases, the 430-acre project with 62 dedicated to EXPO 2017 will feature 97 pavilions; a residential development; and related retail, cultural, educational and civic facilities.
A subsequent phase of development will see the buildings converted into an office, research and financial center, a pet project of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Pirmetov said the concept was being worked on and other such centers “are being studied.” He added,that the start of Phase 2 would depend on “interest from investors.”
The centerpiece of EXPO 2017 is the iconic 8-story-high, 80 meter-dia globe with a transformative skin and geothermal reserves underneath. Its design includes high-performance glazing that will maximize solar heat gain in winter while providing shading in summer. Energy piles will reduce exposed thermal mass that will provide temperature modulation within the buildings during both summer and winter, said AS+GG. Turkey's Sembol Group is the main project contractor. The metallic structure contains 12,000 tons of steel.
“The sphere by itself is an innovation," said Serdar Güçar, regional vice president and managing director, at Hill International, the project's program manager. "The façade made in Italy is unique as it is not smooth, but curved. He says the sphere includes solar photovoltaic panels. "The way glass parts attach to the surface of the structure is part of the design,” he said.
Challenges were many, with each piece of glass weighing 800 kg, requiring use of 80kg cranes.Building regulations, old Soviet approaches later combined with more modern western codes, sometimes created issues.
Other key contractors include Swiss-based Mabetex Group, a Russian company and two Kazakh contractors, YDA Group and SAES Sredazenergostroy.
All have signed up Kazakh subcontractors as part of the government's effort to provide jobs to locals, which includes convicts. The labor force totaled 5,000 at construction peak, also including migrant workers from neighboring countries. Pirmetov acknowledged workmanship of the kind that was required for the sphere could not be done locally “because of the scale and pressure.”
Every project has its own vagaries and “that’s what project management is all about,” said Güçar. “Coordination becomes an issue with inefficiencies created by different contractors for different buildings.” About 254 local companies are at work on the construction site.
Graft has also hurt. In June, EXPO 2017's former chairman was found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars in project funds and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The project's former construction department chief will spend two years behind bars, found guilty of abuse of power and embezzlement.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Air transport supports 28.8 million jobs, $626 billion of Asia-Pacific GDP

Benefits of connectivity must be protected with appropriate support from governments if the air transport sector is to help fulfill its potential as a connector of people, trade and tourism and is a driver of sustainable development.
These are the conclusions drawn in a new report, Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, issued by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG)-

Worldwide, aviation supports 62.7 million jobs and generates $2.7 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP).  Across Asia-Pacific, specifically, air transport supports 28.8 million jobs and contributes $626 billion to the region’s GDP.
In the next 20 years, forecasts suggest that aviation-supported jobs worldwide will increase to over 99 million and GDP to $5.9 trillion. Asia-Pacific boasts the highest share of global traffic at 33% and aviation in the region is forecast to grow strongly at 5.1% per annum for the next 20 years.
With the liberalisation of the air transport market in the ASEAN region being agreed in 2015, the prospects for further growth is greatly increased, although government support is needed to help modernise airspace management and reduce congestion that could have a negative impact on growth.
ATAG executive director, Michael Gill, says that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations highlights a number of goals that the international community should strive to achieve by 2030: “We found that air transport in some way supports 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, from decent work and economic growth to quality education and reduced inequalities. By continuing to grow in a sustainable manner, aviation can strive to be a force for good for many years to come.” “A significant factor in our work on sustainable development is the industry’s world-leading climate action plan. We need support from governments around the world to agree on a key part of that plan at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, where we hope an agreement can be reached on a global offsetting scheme for air transport. It is a vital part of our industry’s future role in helping to support development worldwide.”
Andrew Herdman, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), said: “Aviation is a key driver of economic and social development, nowhere more so than the Asia Pacific region, and we are strongly committed to delivering sustainable future growth. Governments have an important role to play in providing a stable policy framework and coordinating the necessary investments in associated aviation infrastructure to match the projected growth in travel and tourism demand, spurring further income growth and job creation, as well as strengthening regional integration and global connectivity.”
Patti Chau, Regional Director for Airports Council International Asia-Pacific: “Like other members of the aviation industry, airports share a common vision for the sustainable development of the sector. Airports are key infrastructure, enabling transportation of passengers and cargo and facilitating economic development. Growth in connectivity is essential to a country’s and region’s prosperity and at ACI, we call on governments in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East to continue to develop aviation policy that will support the growth of air transport, whilst respecting the right balance between that growth and sustainability.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Niger Turner is Chairman TrueNoord

TrueNoord (formerly GA-Finance) announces the appointment of Nigel Turner as non-executive Chairman to the business.
An experienced industry figure, Turner cements the recent expansion of the senior management team which secured new investment from Bregal Freshstream to build its regional aircraft portfolio.
Nigel Turner is well known to the regional aviation industry. Until recently he was Deputy Chairman of Jetscape and before that served in the role of Deputy Chairman and CEO of BMI until 2009. He was a director of NATS (National Air Traffic Services) for 13 years.
He is currently a Director of Finnair. Commenting on the appointment, Anne-Bart Tieleman - CEO of TrueNoord, said: “The announcement of our new brand, new investment and enhanced management team, is further strengthened by Nigel’s decision to join us as Chairman. This is a positive development for the business as we grow the fleet to take advantage of the many opportunities being presented to us in the regional aircraft leasing sector.
Nigel’s far-reaching experience from both sides of the leasing process; understanding the needs of both lessee and lessor, will help guide TrueNoord as we define our niche strategy and step up the expansion of our leasing portfolio.” Nigel Turner, Chairman of TrueNoord, said: “With the recent consolidation in the regional aircraft leasing market TrueNoord will provide a high quality, relationship orientated approach which will provide more choices for airlines and create better opportunities for OEMs. Our ambition is to become one of the leading lessors in the regional aircraft market with the solid backing of Bregal Freshstream, and a very experienced management team led by Anne-Bart Tieleman. I am pleased to join the Board of TrueNoord and look forward with great optimism to the next few years.”