Wednesday, October 19, 2016

India’s Vistara To Dive into International Market

 - October 18, 2016, 9:00 AM

 Twenty-month-old Indian startup airline Vistara plans to adjust its strategy to fly internationally following the establishment of a new civil aviation policy in the subcontinent that allows carriers with 20 aircraft to fly abroad immediately. The previous mandate called for a minimum of five years of domestic flying with 20 aircraft.
Against a background of a booming economy and India’s fast growing aviation industry, Vistara expects to launch its international operations by 2018. Talks have begun “with two airlines for partnerships [to foreign destinations],” confirmed Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO of the Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines joint venture. While it has applied for a code-share agreement with parent Singapore Airlines, Vistara has signed 12 interline agreements including those with British Airways, Finnair, Air France-KLM, ANA and JAL.
Fleet addition has proved steady. “By June 2018, Vistara will get all new 20 A320s,” said Yeoh. The airline’s 13th aircraft will arrive in October, increasing its 430 weekly frequencies to 515 to 18 destinations. The first of seven CFM Leap-1A powered A320neos arrives next April. Yeoh said that the airline is also considering new widebodies.
The airline relaunched a frequent flier program on September 26, which Yeoh called “the fastest earn and burn, redemption and elite tier upgrades” compared with competitors Air India and Jet Airways. “We are confident the revamp will draw more passengers to Vistara,” he said. “Today we are reinventing our [frequent flier program]…There will be more [announcements] soon.”
“In another two years, Vistara is likely to match Jet Airways network,” said Vishok Mansingh, CEO of Mumbai-based consultancy CAV Aero Services. “This is good time to woo passengers to join their [frequent flier program] as it is tied to SIA, which is a big advantage.” He added the Star Alliance could likely make Vistara its regional alliance partner in coming years.
The Vistara Board recently decided to invest $37 million to enlarge its footprint in India, said Yeoh, who added he expects further infusion of funds. Already, Vistara has increased aircraft utilization, and reconfigured all aircraft by reducing the number of its business class seats by half—to eight—and premium economy by one-third,” said Yeoh. “This has done us good. We have achieved more revenue per flight basis,” said Yeoh.
“We have found that eight business class seats give a yield of 24 economy seats in the same space,” added Yeoh.
Since March, fare wars in India have cut profits severely. “We have tried to tailor pricing to market demands, though it is not reckless pricing,” said Yeoh. Facilitated by an Amadeus revenue management system that tracks profiles of bookings, historical data of competitors and loads, “the system has helped us price intelligently,” he explained.
In India, excess seat capacity relates to the rate at which airlines bring in aircraft and infrastructure constraints at airports. “Airlines are not free to choose to which airports to go to and are forced to operate to airports that are congested with few slots available in peak hours. This has made the situation worse,” said Yeoh.
Being ruthless with cost efficiencies, Vistara claims to be “lean and mean,” with an employee to aircraft ratio of 1,200:13. “Margins are wafer thin and in India there is a high cost of doing business,” added Yeoh. “We drive hard negotiations with our vendors who have dealt with SIA before. We have been able to harness good deals even for 20 aircraft.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guest Column - How Brazil Security Handled the 2016 Olympics

By Brian Holland

With the 2016 Olympics being a prime target for acts of terrorism, police forces and security personnel had to be adequately prepared for any adverse act that may have arisen. Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, security on a global scale has increased their efforts in order to protect citizens. With the Olympic games being the epicenter of attention during its three weeks in the media, security had to be at the forefront of surveillance and safety.

Brazil Prepares to Host the Olympics

“We plan to send at least 80,000 security personnel into the streets of Rio during the games, which is double the number deployed in London in 2012”, states the Secretary of Security for the state of Rio de Janeiro, José Mariano Beltrame [source]. Indeed they did. This was the largest-ever deployment of security staff for a mega event in the country's history. Although Brazil is deemed as a low-threat country, the threat of an attack is always imminent and guards were on full standby, ready for anything to happen. Brazilian soldiers stood guard outside the Rio Olympic Park while police officers administered security screening checks for the games in an effort to assist in safeguarding the field. This included X-ray machines as well as the patting down of attendees, ensuring they did not bring in any weapons or other contraband. In an effort to be as assured as possible, additional personnel was hired for supplementary safety purposes and relief.

Olympic Security Heightened at Major Checkpoints and Barriers

Fears of an attack during the Olympics were high, especially since the whole world was watching. Civil institutions, private security staffing firms, and airports sending flights into the region all had to coordinate and work together to deter would-be attackers. The strong security presence during the Olympic games put to rest worries that visitors and athletes may have had in regard to a potential attack. If an incident were to happen, Brazil was prepared for it. In light of the recent attacks in Nice, France, shortly before the debut of the Olympics, Brazil police forces realized they had to up their measures. Through reviewing procedures, creating more hefty barriers, and installing ample spot-checks on roadblocks and checkpoints, Brazil was not taking the potential of a threat lightly [source].

Brazil adjusted its security after news of potential threats and suspicion about a possible attack on the nation during the Olympic games. Heightened checkpoints, barriers, and traffic restrictions throughout the city meant everyone was under a bird's eye view and officers were regulating each and every person's movement, as it was necessary protocol. Soldiers that were part of The National Force stood guard at the Rio International airport in Rio de Janeiro, monitoring everyday interactions and interpreting individuals movements in an effort to detect terrorists before they had an opportunity to attack. Every single international visitor who landed at that airport for the duration of the Olympic games, had their luggage inspected and were searched twice. This would give peace of mind to athletes and attendees alike, that the games would be safe to attend. Tourist landmarks were heavily patrolled with security personnel as well, to ensure the safety of visitors and to regulate activity. Authorities partook in extensive security exercises and introduced new security measures in an effort to keep citizens safe and out of harm's way.

To be fair, Brazil ranks low on the Global Terrorism Index, a measure of a country’s threat to terrorists [source]. Even so, no expense was spared to keep the 500,000 visitors that flew into the country during Rio safe and sound. Amid concerns about other forms of unrest, including petty crime and violent protests, the government of Brazil offered a show of force by deploying a security force of over 85,000 armed personnel, which succeeded in keeping guests, athletes, and foreign dignitaries safe [source].

Meet the Author

Brian Holland is the President of Point Security Inc., a certified small business with over twenty-five years of experience providing sales and service of security screening equipment throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He enjoys educating individuals on ways they can better secure their facility. For more information please contact Point Security Inc.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Indian Air Force Confirms Jaguar Re-engine Plan

 - October 5, 2016, 7:34 AM

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has confirmed that it will re-engine its fleet of Anglo-French Jaguar strike aircraft. The plan was discussed by IAF Chief of Air Staff Arup Raha during his annual press conference this week. Raha was enthusiastic about the recently confirmed acquisition of Dassault Rafales, but cautious on progress with the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project with Russia.
“Technology is improving so rapidly that weapon systems and platforms soon become redundant,” said Raha. This phenomenon is being addressed through the IAF’s Long Term Perspective Plan, a 15-year scheme that is divided into three five-year spans. Raha said that while most previous procurement “had been process-driven; it is now changing to outcome-driven.”
Honeywell is to supply 270 F125IN turbofan engines to replace the twin Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 821s on apporoximately 120 Jaguars. The F125 is 600 pounds lighter and should enable 25-percent-shorter hot-and-high takeoffs. Raha said India’s Jaguars have become overweight and underpowered because of avionics and systems upgrades. Honeywell will first be required to conduct a trial modification of the Jaguars with the new engines. The plan was first mooted in 2012.
Full of praise for the Rafale, for which the IAF has signed a contract for 36, Raha added: “We’d like more, but the decision has to be taken in the near future based on capability and price.” Other officials in the IAFtold AIN that the version for India would be more lethal than the French and other recent international versions.
An Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed for co-production of the FGFA. But now that the IAF has completed a design review, it has “found gaps in information in terms of the depth and transfer of technology…and a lack of visibility of total cost,” said Raha. While things are now clearer, “let us see what happens,” he added.
The IAF combat fighter inventory includes 270 Su-30MKIs. An official said: “Ordering more will not be wise. We should not have all our eggs in one basket.”
Live firing of the air-to-ground version of the Brahmos missile on the modified Sukhoi Su-30 MKI will be finished in three months.
Aiming to boost its capability for local production via a transfer of technology, India has received “unsolicited offers for the Gripen, F-16, and F-18. Whoever gives the best deal will get the contract,” said Raha. Meanwhile, deliveries of the 80 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk1 version will not be completed until 2028. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Delhi Phase 3A expansion continues

Neelam Mathews
Janes Airports Review
Oct 3, 2016

GMR Group-managed Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) is holding a financial review of four bids for Phase 3A (2016-20) development at the Indian hub.
Delhi International Airport will grow with a fourth runway and fourth terminal.
Delhi International Airport will grow with a fourth runway and fourth terminal. (Neelam Mathews)

The technical evaluation has already been conducted. The two top bidders will soon be identified for.......Read More Janes Airports Review (Subs) 

CIDCO tries to accelerate Navi Mumbai/Mactan Cebu stays on target for 2018 opening

Neelam Mathews 

Sept 27, 2016 

Congestion at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is driving the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal agency for development of the greenfield airport at Navi Mumbai, to speed up the delayed USD2.49 billion public-private partnership (PPP) project.
"All major approvals are in place except a minor one," said Bhushan Ashok Gagrani, CIDCO vice-chairman and managing director.....Read more Janes Airports (Subs)

Mactan Cebu stays on target for 2018 opening

The USD389 million, 797 ha Terminal 2 (T2) at Mactan Cebu International Airport is on course to begin operations in June 2018, senior officials confirmed to IHS Jane's  during the GAD Asia conference in New Delhi on 14-16 September 2016.
T2 is the first public-private partnership (PPP) airport terminal to be built in the Philippines.
Mia Sebastian, director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines, indicated that Clark International Airport could follow Mactan Cebu into privatisation.
Mia Sebastian, director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines, indicated that Clark International Airport could follow Mactan Cebu into privatisation. (Neelam Mathews)
Phase One adds additional capacity for up to 8 million passengers ....Read More Janes (Subs) 

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Authors: Bharat Anand Partner
Kabir Bogra  Associate Partner

Khaitan &  Co 

With the conclusion of the contract for supply of 36 Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for approximately $8.8 billion, the focus of the discussion has now shifted to what the deal means for India and the development of the Indian defence sector.

In terms of the immediate prospects for the defence industry, the deal offers limited scope for the defence industry. The “fly away” nature of the aircraft imply implies that no part of the manufacture of the aircraft would be undertaken in India. However, the defence industry can hope to play some part in the two MRO centres and the 50% offset that France has committed for the deal. While the offsets alone would constitute business worth at least 3 billion Euro (approx. INR 22,000 crore), it is a far cry from the aspirations of the industry to participate in the manufacture of the aircraft itself.
The deal has evoked mixed reactions from defence analysts as well as the public. It is undisputed that the IAF has critical capability gaps and the 36 aircraft, which would comprise approximately two and a half squadrons, would immediately address some of these concerns. On the other hand, analysts have pointed out that the agreement is a stop-gap solution that does not address India’s long term vision of building domestic capability in defence manufacturing. While these perspectives are relevant, the deal should be seen from the perspective of achieving two primary objectives – immediately bolstering air capability and committing funding for a series of large acquisitions in the immediate future.

The primary motivation behind the deal is Dassault’s performance record and the IAF’s vast experience with Dassault platforms since the acquisition of Mirage 2000 aircraft in the 1980s. The comfort and satisfaction of the IAF with Dassault aircraft is evident from that fact that it has repeatedly sought to procure more aircraft and has also undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of the existing Mirage fleet to keep them relevant and up to date. It is pertinent to note that India is not alone within the developing country community in opting for the Rafale over other offerings. Egypt and Qatar have utilized the Mirage 2000 platform since the 1980s and have also opted for the Rafale over EADS, Boeing and Lockheed products.  
The deal also exhibits the government’s commitment to put money on the table to strengthen defence capability and augurs well for future acquisitions. It is relevant to highlight that the IAF has a requirement for at least 84 aircraft in addition to those procured under the Rafale deal. The government is also actively pushing the Indian Navy to consider the Dassault Rafale M series aircraft for its aircraft carrier tentatively named the INS Vishal, with a capacity to carry 54 aircraft. This itself totals to 138 aircraft with a value proposition of anywhere between USD 30-40 billion at current prices.
The commitment to large capital acquisitions is also crucial to stem the diversion of funds from capital purchases to revenue expenditures. A continued concern under the government’s fiscal accounting has been the balancing act to reallocate unspent funds towards avenues that require more funding, which sees between 25-40% of the military capital expenditure budget routinely being reallocated to revenue expenses. With the Rafale deal, plans to purchase up to five hundred utility helicopters, armored infantry vehicles, artillery and warships can also expect concrete funding commitments.
To keep the focus sustained on completing crucial acquisitions, the government needs to ensure that its policy framework enables meaningful participation by the domestic industry. Under the revamped Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016) and the Strategic Partner (SP) model envisaged by the government, the domestic industry plays a leading role in acquisition of technology and domestic manufacture in India. These reforms have not resulted in concrete measures in terms of implementation and identification of SPs for key platforms such as aircrafts and warships. Since both the DPP 2016 and the SP model envisage sweeping changes to the current procurement framework, it is likely the same will suffer from several teething issues. Therefore, it is imperative that the government moves quickly to implement the same to ensure that key stakeholders are identified early and can begin collaborations with foreign vendors.
The Rafale deal should encourage the defence sector and there is reason to be optimistic. However, the window of opportunity is small and shrinking. The government has essentially another fourteen months to push reforms on the sector for economic activity to commence, since thereafter the general elections are bound to push these initiatives to the backburner.

Friday, September 30, 2016

India advances its ATGM requirements


30th September 2016 - 9:54by Neelam Mathews in Delhi 
India advances its ATGM requirements
India’s Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, has cleared around $3 billion in procurements, including anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM)....more on ShephardMedia