Supply chain issues and crew shortage continue to dog the recovery of the world's fastest-growing aviation market.
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Indian airlines are expected to record a consolidated loss of $1.6 to 1.8 billion in the financial year 2023-24 ending March 31, 2024, according to aviation consultancy CAPA India. The full-service carriers are predicted to incur a loss of $1.1-$1.2 billion. With a net induction of 132 planes next fiscal, Indian airlines are estimated to take the total fleet of all carriers to around 816 aircraft. However, more than 100 aircraft from different Indian carriers are grounded as a result of supply chain and other issues. Highlighting the potential for growth in aviation, India’s civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that it was time for India to look at manufacturing aerospace products. He added that the aggregate fleet size of domestic carriers is estimated to reach around 2,000 aircraft over the next five to seven years. He claims that by the end of this year, up to 15 Flying Training Organizations (FTOs) could be established, bringing the total number of such organizations to 50 from the current 35. He emphasized the expansion of the drone industry, stating that it is projected to reach a value of approximately $40 billion by 2030 and produce about 250,000 million employees. All industries have an S-shaped evolution curve, and the minister noted that India is currently in the “infancy and growth phase” of its civil aviation industry.
Indian civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Tuesday the country has no plans to increase air traffic rights for the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates had requested the Indian government to increase the maximum number of seats between the two countries by 50,000 per week. The current weekly seat capacity of 65,200 seats was established through a memorandum of understanding between the two governments in 2014. However, Scindia while speaking to Reuters said, “At this point we’re not looking at increasing it.” Scindia said he would prefer domestic carriers to fly long haul. “The minute you give direct connectivity to international locations directly from Delhi, any passenger is going to prefer a direct connect, rather than going through another country’s hub,” he said. Air India‘s widebody plane order and IndiGo‘s plans to fly twin-aisle planes were signs the “transition” has begun, said Scindia.
Thomas Cook (India) and its group company SOTC Travel have partnered with global technology consulting and digital solutions company LTIMindtree to launch ‘Green Carpet’ — a global platform to monitor and manage business travel emissions. The platform is designed to help organizations capture, monitor, analyze and reduce their carbon emissions from business travel. It offers real-time insights related to Scope 3 emissions and helps organizations to significantly reduce their ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting costs. Green Carpet enables simplified data capture and analysis of travel emissions with real-time dashboards, swift and easy integration with current business travel platforms of corporations, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide analytics and recommendations, and decision making to drive enterprise net zero goals, a statement from Thomas Cook read.
Tata Group-owned Air India will reduce the frequency of flights on certain U.S. routes as a temporary measure to mitigate the problem of crew shortage in long-haul wide-body operations, said the airline’s chief executive officer Campbell Wilson. The carrier will stop three flights each to San Francisco and Newark airports for the next three months. Wilson also said the airline will have 100 pilots for Boeing 777 planes in three months as they are being “activated” and around 1,400 cabin crew are in training. Air India has a staff strength of around 11,000 people, including flying and non-flying employees. Earlier in February, the company had said that it will hire 4,200 cabin crew and 900 pilots through 2023 to support its fleet expansion plans. The airline also placed orders for 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing.
Representatives from the Indian national tourism administration attended a workshop organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on tourism statistics, measuring the economic impact and sustainability of tourism. Approximately 200 participants from nine member states — Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Maldives and Thailand, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative of Nepal — took part in the workshop, which began with a discussion around the theme of ‘Measuring the sustainability of tourism for people, planet and prosperity.’ The speakers emphasized the need for cooperation at the national and international levels in order to generate the reliable data needed to guide the economic, social and environmental aspects of tourism for sustainable development.
Delays in getting airplane deliveries from European plane manufacturer Airbus due to supply chain disruptions is limiting the growth of Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo in some markets, said IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers. India’s aviation market is booming as demand for air travel accelerates from pandemic lows. “There’s an opportunity in the markets where we would like to serve our customers and we cannot do it yet to the extent we would like to,” Elbers told Reuters in an interview about pressure from the shortage of aircraft supply. IndiGo, which has more than 50 percent share of the Indian civil aviation market, has seen a resurgence in domestic and international demand with its capacity doubling over the past year. In the short-term, the airline is meeting some of this demand by extending leases on existing planes and working with global partners like Turkish Airlines, from whom it has taken a widebody on “wet lease” — meaning a plane complete with the crew needed to fly it — to fill international capacity.
The U.S. Consulate General in the south Indian state of Hyderabad has started operations from its new facility in Nanakramguda, an information technology cluster in western part of the city. Consequently, visa applicants who have scheduled interviews ought to go to the new facility for their interviews. It is located in Sy. No. 115/1, Financial District, Nanakramguda. All other visa services — including biometrics appointments, “dropbox” appointments (interview waiver), and passport pickup — will continue to take place at the Visa Application Center (VAC), located at the Lower Concourse, HITEC City Metro Station, Madhapur, Hyderabad. The U.S. Consulate General represents the US in the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.
Representatives of Hotel Association of India (HAI) have lauded Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy’s statement about according industry status to the tourism sector. Talking about the importance of treating tourism as an industry, Reddy had said, “This would make it more competitive and lead to more sub-sectors of tourism having access to benefits including power tariff and other taxes at industrial rates against the earlier requirement of payment at much higher commercial rates.” The status would also help to reduce costs of hospitality projects which are capital intensive and encourage further investment. “The hotel industry in addition to being capital intensive has high operational costs that are largely fixed in nature. Benefits of lower utility tariff and tax rates will make hotel and hotel projects more profitable and encourage investments in the sector,” said K.B. Kachru, vice president of the association.
37 percent of affluent Indians plan to travel in groups in the upcoming months, according to the latest findings by YouGov, a market research and data analytics company. Almost two in five have traveled with a wider group in the past 12 months, and the same proportion intends to do so in the next few months. Another travel activity that affluent Indians are keen to undertake is taking a longer holiday than usual or taking a cruise. Additionally, YouGov research reveals the priorities of global affluent travelers for their next travel destinations, of which safety is the top priority for affluent Indians. Compared to global affluents, Indian affluents prioritize having a once-in-a-lifetime-experience (34 percent), quality services (33 percent), improving their health and wellness (33 percent) and experiencing different cultures (33 percent) when choosing their next travel destination.
Stotrak Hospitality — an eco-friendly boutique hotel chain with properties across the north Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan — has opened Hotel Luxury Inn in Mussoorie, a hill town in Uttarakhand. It is the second hotel of the group to mark its presence in the city. Featuring 26 rooms and suites, the hotel is located in Mussoorie’s Picture Palace area and is at a walkable distance from the Mall Road. Strotak Hospitality already operates hotels in Mussoorie (The Kenilworth), Dehradun (Sukoon, and Spice Hotel), Ranthambore (Earth Resort & Spa), Jaisalmer (Sam Dunes) and Nahan. The hotel’s strategic location allows guests to explore the scenic viewpoints, trails around the local market, and famous landmarks around the city.
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Photo credit: Full-service carriers in India are predicted to incur a loss of $1.1-$1.2 billion. Regis Duvignau / Reuters