Friday, August 31, 2007

The Air India Experience…

I was in Delhi on 24th & I would not like to discuss how I landed in Delhi, it was complete chaos for me… but, ya sure about my return flight to B’lore. I decided to fly by Air India (Indian), really a brave decision 4 me due, to all my previous experiences with the airline bt, I had made my mind for that. I flew with Air India, Delhi – Bangalore, 30th Aug., IC-403. I went to Airport counter on Sunday 26th to buy my tickets… the counter (with new Air India logo) was nearly empty with a short ‘Q’. my turn came n I asked for the 1630 hrs flight, the gentleman over there was a little confused stood up, strolled here n there for a few minutes changed his counter then, asked me to come over to that counter. Not a big deal 4 me n the whole ‘Q’ (although the short 1) shifted its counter. I again told my details etc. n asked for the cost, he said go to cash counter n pay…he he he… I went to cash counter n paid whatever I was asked to.
  • (fare- Rs. 3200 tax- Rs. 225+1100 = total Rs. 4525).

Luckily I checked the fare frm its site. Well this, a fair experience for me coz I know it works like this only…I dnt have much expectations frm it. on my scheduled date by 3 pm I was @ airport. Went to check-in counter n asked 4 aisle seat (this time also, very short ‘Q’, may b coz @ dat time there’s no rush). To my surprise I was awarded aisle seat, seat no. 10C (twice before, I asked 4 my preferences bt, was declined so I nvr I asked again, bt this time I jus did it). Everything went on smoothly, @ 1600 hrs passengers were asked to board the plane (hey, on-time). Now, the real experience was there, the plane was latest1. Aircraft registration no. VT-PPA (if I remember properly), which was delivered to IAL in July itself, (confirmed frm DGCA website). The aircraft was A-321, a 172 seater aircraft. Only 1 aircraft in its fleet ill now. “Air India” written on the plane. Entered the aircraft, saw the seats in economy class, enough leg-space, personalized TV screen. Flight took off nearly on scheduled time, flight time announced as 2.15 hrs for the flight. I will not bore u with wat they in snacks, it was as usual, bt, improved than b4. I would rather like to inform u abt the personalized TV, a touch-screen (can b operated frm handrest) 12 audio & video channels each.

  • Video channels - 02 channels showin same stuff.
  • channel 1&2 – English movie (Marc Lawrence directed “Music & Lyrics”, with Hugh Grant & Drew Barrymore)
  • channel 3&4 – Hindi movie (Abhishek & Aishwarya starrer blockbuster – “Guru”).
  • Channel 5&6 – comedy shows (Hindi & English)
  • Channel 7&8 – Shows (Travel, sports etc.)
  • Channel 9&10 – Music Videos (hindi)
  • Channel 11&12 – south Indian songs (may be Kannada, as flight was to blore)
  • Audio channels - bear with my very limited knowledge of music.
  • Channel 1- Indian classical
  • Channel 2- western classical
  • Channel 3- Ghazals
  • Channel 4- Raga’s
  • Channel 5- classical (Tabla)
  • Channel 6- classical (Veena)
  • Channel 7- combo classical (many instruments)
  • Channel 8- Hindi songs (1980-90s)
  • Channel 9- Hindi songs (New)
  • Channel 10- south Indian songs
  • Channel 11- Oldies Hindi songs
  • Channel 12- south Indian songs

Well this was all about the entertainment system. A good way to compete head on with Kingfisher Airlines & Jet Airways. The only turn off was that there are too many announcements in b/n (jus too many even, tried to count bt, lost the count). Landing was also on time. B4 leavin the plane I said to an air hostess standing at the doors –“Excellent flight, Thank U”… to b honest I never said so in ny flight, nt even in my fav. Jet Airways (I wonder is Jet still my fav… hv to gv a serious thought).

A couple of suggestions –

  1. plz announce Air India & not Indian Airlines
  2. aunties (older than my mom, I can say so, coz my mom still dnt hv ny grey hair) as air hostess… he he he…

A-321 is available on routes Delhi-Mumbai-Thiruvanantpuram-Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Chennai-Delhi (02 flights), Delhi-Bangalore-Delhi & Chennai-Singapore-Chennai. Lets wait n watch hw far can this go… ***best of luck*** to it. All this has been my written by my own personal experience.

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Private Airports goes Commercial…

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) has given approval to 03 private airstrips to go commercial. These are –

  • Jamshedpur Airport owned by Tata Steel Ltd.
  • Vijaynagar Airstrip owned by JSW Steel.
  • Mundra Airport (Gujarat) run by Adani Group.

These can boost Regional Airlines, which will use smaller airports. Air Traffic Control will be manned by AAI, but airport charges can be levied by their own discretion. Air Deccan has started operating a flight b/n Jamshedpur & Kolkata with an ATR. Tata has guaranteed a minimum number of seats to the airline. All these gives a rosy picture about boom in Indian Aviation, bt, I have a couple of serious questions-

  • What if the govt. do not complete its 5 yr. term? (shows the current tussle b/n Left parties & Congress Party )
  • Even if it completes 5 yr. term bt, do not come to power after the gen. elections in 2009. What if new govt. change its policy or even slow down the whole process? (the way it happened in the case of much-hyped golden quadrilateral by the then, NDA govt. & as soon as UPA came in to power the whole process slowed down). Well I am not against any govt. or taking a political side bt, a fair question to be asked… because all this happens in India… Jus hope 4 d best. Indian bloggers listing
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New rise in the Indian Aviation…

Few days after the final clearance from the governing bodies to the merger of Air India & Indian, these ads appeared in national dailies emphasizing on their much hyped changed looks etc…the new rise in Indian Aviation in the form of Air India... after Kingfisher & Jet Airways it’s the turn of national carrier to provide personalized TV screens in their new A-321, presently available on a few routes bt, soon to be extended on all routes…finally the sleeping giant awakens.

This 1 shows appeared on the national dailies with full page coverage showing the complete make over…showing all the three subsidiaries viz., Air India, Air India Express & Air India Cargo… The inaugural of a dedicated flight to India Post serving the North – East India…using the B – 737-200 Aircraft… The time table to North – East connecting Kolkata, Guwahati, Imphal & Agartala daily…

  • With so much hype I really wonder hw, it is goin to work for Air India in future with some sections of media already showin that the over – hyped Mumbai – New York flight is already a failure…I think its too early to say so, lets wait n watch…
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Atlast the Merger Cleared...

India completed the merger of state-run carriers Air-India Ltd and Indian Airlines Ltd, the combined entity is one of the Top 30 in the world in terms of fleet. Air-India, as the merged carrier is known, will have 112 Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS planes and will be run by the National Aviation Co. of India Ltd. The merger will save Rs800 crore ($194 million) a year and won’t lead to any job losses for the 34,000 employees employed by both the airlines. The ministry of company affairs has approved the merger.Air-India will induct 21 new planes this year. Air- India Express, ordered 68 planes from Boeing to expand flights. Indian Airlines, has placed an order for 43 planes from Airbus to expand services and regain market share. By 2011, Air India will have as many as 135 planes. The domestic and international operations of the newly formed airline would be integrated... Indian bloggers listing
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The Taj International Airport Hub (new airport near@Delhi )

The civil aviation ministry has approved the setting up of a new airport at Jewar near Delhi. Jewar, a two-hour drive east from Delhi, will see a spanking new nternational airport to come up by 2010, The project is called the Taj International Airport Hub. The idea for the Jewar airport was first floated in 2001 by the Uttar Pradesh government. It will require an acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land and an investment of Rs3,505 crore (excluding the cost of land), split over several phases. The state government will select a private partner, who will lead construction and management of the proposed airport with a 74% equity stake, with the balance 26% equally split between Airports Authority of India (AAI), the civil aviation ministry, and Uttar Pradesh government-owned Taj Expressway Authority. The private partner will be selected through a bidding process which will include multiple stages of seeking an expression of interest followed by pre-qualification and financial bids. The Jewar site first received a technical feasibility approval from the AAI in 2003. The Delhi airport is under private management by a GMR Ltd-led consortium. The consortium, under terms of its 30-year lease, has a right of first refusal to build and run the airport at Jewar if its financial bid is within 10% of the highest quote (received from companies that want to build and manage this airport) and it agrees to match it. The Taj International Airport Hub expects to handle 3.9 million passengers annually in 2011-12, or roughly one-fifth of the current traffic at the New Delhi airport. The proposal also seeks to derive a significant share of revenues through shopping malls, hotels, a cargo hub, an aviation academy and residential complexes as part of the airport project. The Civil Aviation ministry has already cleared the decks for a second airport proposed in Navi Mumbai. The government was considering second airports at Chennai and Pune, too, following the examples of Bangalore and Hyderabad. I think these are the few options govt. can consider for the new airport -->

  1. using IGI as domestic & Taj as Int'l airport.
  2. using Taj airport only for low cost airlines.
  3. sharing of flights between both the airports.
  4. flights from particular region (or country) directed to Taj Airport. Indian bloggers listing
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The Youth Movement In Indian Aviation...

One can see the youth movement in the cockpits of some Indian airliners. 19-year-olds are flying as first officers in aircrafts like Boeing 737s and A320s and the four-striper beside them might be as young as 25. In India about 5 percent of commanders on jet aircrafts are under 30 years of age. Thnax to the rapid expansion of Indian aviation. Indian pilots are now, trained almost exclusively for airline positions and the training has become very focused. A young pilot can be commercially rated at 18 years of age and, for some airlines, it needs just 1,500 hours of flying hours to get control of the wheel. Is it good or bad??? especially given the demanding flying conditions in India. If one becomes a commander after flying as a copilot for only two years, there is a level of risk involved due to lack of experience. One must remember that a 19-year-old copilot may be sharing the cockpit with a 25-year-old commander -- there are hardly any years of experience between them. to read complete click on the title... Indian bloggers listing
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