SourceAfter the merger is finished, the combined entity will decide on the issue of joining the Star Alliance or any other global airline consortium to leverage better operational efficiency in international and domestic operations.
Nice to see that state-of-the-art facilities like hydrant distribution are being set up in major airports. This ATF taxation issue is a long standing woe of the aviation industry, and I hope the State Govt.s rethink their "bleed the golden goose till it dies" policy soon! kay:IOC pumping up fuelling infrastructure at airports
V. Sajeev Kumar
The company has given orders for 40 additional bowzers for refuelling to meet the growing demand.
Riding on the boom in the air traffic in the country, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd is upgrading its infrastructure facilities it has created at various airports. This is to provide better service aircraft in supplying aviation fuel as the company controls over 97 airports out of 117 in the country. Indian Oil, with a share of 65 per cent of the aviation fuel market, is the major player both in civil and defence airports thereby meeting the requirements of 21 domestic, 64 international and 250 private airlines.
Between one sunrise and the next, Indian Oil refuels 1,400 aircraft — that is, one aircraft every minute somewhere in the country — a senior official of Indian Oil told Business Line on the sidelines of the International Aviation conference in Kochi.
The aviation fuel business, he says, is growing at about 20 per cent, and this is expected to continue on account of the growth in the aviation industry. The setting up of extensive network of fuel supply infrastructure by several oil companies had also helped to achieve the surge in air traffic in the recent period that prompted airlines to fly to locations, hitherto, considered remote.
Given the growth in the sector, Indian Oil is upgrading its aviation operating service standards by entering into strategic tie-ups with international oil majors. Indian Oil has forged an alliance with Air BP, one of the largest aviation fuel companies in the world, for technology innovations. The aviation industry, he said, is moving towards a global bench. The customers are global and they demand the same standards everywhere. In this situation, the tie-ups with global companies would further help transfer significant learning in the business. Likewise, Indian Oil had a joint venture company AviOil Ltd in partnership with Nyco SA of France and Balmer Lawrie.
Indian Oil's safety and quality standards are also benchmarked to global partners. The company is trying to move towards hydrant refuelling system at pumps at airports, which allows flights to fuel faster.
The system was recently commissioned at the Kolkata airport and is setting up a more advanced automated hydrant refuelling system at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. The facility will be ready in two months and with this, the Thiruvananthapuram airport will be the first airport in the country to have such facility.
In Chennai, he said, the company is laying a pipeline directly from the supply point to the aviation fuel station, not only to ensure speedy supplies, but also to eliminate truck movement. In anticipation of the airport upgrade programme, the company is leading a consortium of global infrastructure companies, such as Skytanking and Indian Oil Tanking Ltd, for setting up new generation facilities at the new Bangalore International Airport Ltd.
"In Mauritius, we are a part of the consortium of energy majors supplying aviation fuel to several international airlines. We have already achieved a market share of 25 per cent there and are also looking at African markets. Since we have a terminal facility in Mauritius, it is much easier to enter Africa," he said.
Indian Oil is moving towards technology innovations. To become the least cost supplier, he said there is a need for getting advanced technology. The company has ordered for 40 new additional bowzers for refuelling schedule to meet the growing demand. Today ever more number of aircraft taking off and there is a need to keep pace with the airline industry. The company's philosophy in aviation is "least cost supplier to customer and no delay in service," he said.
The official also stressed the need for rationalisation of the sales tax structure by State governments to bring down the ATF prices. Various State governments are charging different types of taxes for ATF and there is a need for a uniform structure. Today, aviation fuel prices, which is linked to international crude oil prices, constitute 35 per cent of the operating cost of any aircraft. If the State governments decide to bring down the prices, it would help airlines operate more services at competitive rates, he added.
Apart from this, he hoped the airport modernisation programme and related infrastructure development taken up recently at several airports would help sustain the growth in the aviation sector in next few years.
Paramount Airways, promoted by the Madurai-based textile manufacturer Paramount Group, is planning to enter western India, with Mumbai as its focal point.
M Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Paramount Airways, said: "We are operating over 50 flights in South India. We top the marketshare with 26 per cent in the period-ended December 2006 followed by 24 per cent each by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways."
"We are dominating the south Indian market and that is almost saturated. Now we are planning to enter western Indian with Mumbai as the hub. Our strategy is to dominate region after region region. We would be operating from Mumbai to other western destinations such as Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Nashik and others," Thiagarajan, one of the youngest airline company managing directors in the world, said.
This Chennai-based airline operated the Chennai-Delhi long haul service and later withdrew its operations.
"We realised that short haul services and regional connectivity would make sense for us. Now we connect almost all south Indian destinations like Coimbatore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Madurai and Chennai," he said.
The airline, which operates five Embraer aircraft presently, has placed orders for 15 more aircraft, with a listed price of $40 million each.
"With more airplanes coming in we will start linking western India to south India and later, by 2010, Paramount Airways will have a pan-India presence," Thiagarajan said.
Paramount Airways is a full service airline operating business and first class. "We are not in the low cost business. Our model is different. The focus is on passenger comfort and every seat is either a window or an aisle. There are no middle seats," he said.
The e-check-in, valet service, lounge facilities for all passengers are some of the service offered by this airline.
Paramount Airways is also planning to construct a hangar in Chennai for which Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already allotted land.
"Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer would be associating with the airline company in transferring technological know-how," sources said.
T'PURAM: With the merger of Air India and Indian drawing closer, speculations are rife about the name of the new company and the fate of Maharajah, the mascot of Air India.
Air Indian or Indian Air is among the likely names for the new national carrier, according to sources.
It is learnt that the name of the new airline has already been decided, but is kept under wraps.
Though the chances of retaining either Air India or Indian as the title of the new company are bleak, sources in the airline industry point to the fact that since the title Air India has already been well established all over the world it would be better to retain the title Air India from a commercial point of view.
The title Air Indian, a combination of Air India and Indian, is also doing the rounds. What adds to the workability of the title is that it sounds similar to Air India.
An entirely different change in the title will force the new company to invest heavily in popularising the new title. Hence the chances for titles like Bharat are also bleak. Moreover, the title Bharat is not familiar to foreigners.
Tata Airlines which was started in 1932 by J R D Tata became Air India in 1953 with the Centre acquiring major stakes. Indian Airlines was also started in 1953.
Air-India's logo 'Maharajah' which made its appearance in 1946 has become a familiar figure. The fate of 'Maharajah' too hangs in the balance with the merger of the national carriers.
The proposal for Air India-Indian merger was approved by the empowered committee of Union Ministers last week and it is now pending Cabinet approval.
sell it to tata and rename it as tata airways ... just as it was. That sounds good