Friday, December 23, 2005

2005 YEAR END AVIATION REVIEW

I’ll start with the Mysore Airport issue first. What we have is an old Airstrip that is used now only for NCC Air Wing glider and microlight flight training. It has seen better days when Vayudoot in the early 1980’s used to operate from Mysore. They used Dornier 228 Aircraft having 18 seats and connecting Tirupathi with Mysore via Bangalore. The Dornier 228 is a small turboprop airplane, narrow aisle, with one seat per window. I remember one time my father went up to the Vayudoot desk in Bangalore Airport and while being checked in for the flight to Mysore, had specifically asked for a window seat! The check in agent gave him a funny look. My father did not realize why the person gave him a funny look until he boarded the aircraft and found that all seats were window seats! When Vayudoot went broke, the services to Mysore also stopped.

Now again, Mysore Airport is making news, of the right type. The State Government has signed an MOU with the AAI to acquire and handover additional tracts of land. That seems to be in the process of happening now. Next year will see the handover and the AAI starting to work on the layout and designs. Tenders are to be called for the various works, early next year. The project may take 18 months to complete. I will be blogging more about Mysore Airport, what needs to be done, what is going on and so on, as we go along. Look for such articles in future.

The news from rest of the World: It has been an eventful year for the Airline industry. While Airline’s in the US slipped into the red, European carriers did well and Asian carriers did the best of all. Almost all the growth in Aviation and Aircraft orders placed at this year’s Paris and Dubai Air Shows and otherwise, has been from Asian Airlines. Indian companies have been making waves as well. Hope the boom sustains.

The US Airlines have expressed hope that with Oil Prices going down next year, profitability may return. There have been a few notable exceptions in the US. SouthWest Airlines has recorded another year of profits as they have done for 35 continuous years now.

Accidents-wise, the year has been mixed. There have been several crashes in Nigeria this year and a few elsewhere. However, looking at things as they are, it seems that 2005 may end up as a good year for Aviation in general. Travel by Aircraft still remains the best, safest and shortest way of getting from A to B.

New types of Aircraft were introduced in 2005. The first one was the demonstration of the Airbus A380 super jumbo. The second one is the yet to be produced Boeing 787 dreamliner. Although the 787 is yet to be produced, it has attracted the most number of orders for a new model airplane. Boeing, it seems, has pipped Airbus to the post this year in terms of total Aircraft sales and orders booked.

New Airlines took to the skies all over the World. India saw its fair share. Go Airways of the Bombay Dyeing (Jeh Wadia Group) took to the air late October of this year prior to that saw the launch of a regional jet airline from Coimbatore called Paramount Airways, from the Paramount Group of Coimbatore headed by Mr. Thiyagarajan. It seems like there are more companies willing to invest in the Airline sector these days. Some of the growth is to come from regional air operations connecting smaller cities point to point using smaller Aircraft. The customer/air traveler in India benefits from increased and better connectivity in the long run.

2006 may see some mergers, acquisitions and hoping against hope, some airlines tottering on the brink of bankruptcy in India and elsewhere. Increased competition may also mean reduced margins and losses for some. Higher fuel prices may also put pressure on bottom lines. Some Airlines have been aggressive this year in terms of growth, making news and offering freebies. Depending on their financing and how deep their pockets are, they will either fall in a heap or be more aggressive. Regardless of how the Airlines do, 2006 will still be a good year for the consumer.

The Government of India, under the circumstances of being in a coalition, has done a good job this year. Mr. Praful Patel has been the most dynamic Minister of his department so far. I have seen him several times on TV talking about matters related to Aviation and I could see that this is one man who not only understands Aviation and its problems, but is also someone who tries to work at improving things. There are lots more areas that require urgent improvements in Indian Aviation and one hopes that nothing stops the endeavor of the Minister to improve the setup.

In the coming year 2006, I will also be blogging from other parts of India and other countries with respect to travel, flying, life experiences and certainly other issues related to Mysore that’s close to my heart. I hope my blog will be more entertaining and informative in the next year.

Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to wish all those reading my blog, a Happy Holiday season and hope the New Year will be a safe, happy and profitable one for you and your families.

13 comments:

Suresh Yerapathi said...

Capt. Anup,

Does Mysore really need an airport? Is the investments made justified as against catering to a few people say 100 people flying in and out of Mysore.. Here I am assuming the numbers.. Not sure how many people use the air traffic.. once the an airport is in place.. I am not sure how many passengers the airport can handle? Since you are in the same industry, could you please highlight on that please?

Thanks

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Mr. yerapathi, Mysore does need an airport. Air connectivity is essential in todays world. regarding the Aviation ministry, what they are trying to do is to develop all regional airports in India with a very long term view. At the moment, if you have been reading the ACICM conveners views, one should think that there is scope for a large jet operation. I don't think so. The AAI has not laid out the plans yet for Mysore airport but some indictaors are that they will develop a longer runway for future charter flight/scheduled flights for bigger capacity Aircraft. In the first phase, the Airport will handle at least 100 passengers. The design will be such that further expansion of the passenger terminal may be made easily. The investment is rather low, considering the long term payback. In the begining you may expect 50 seat turboprop Aircraft to service Mysore. The frequency of flights will depend on the routes selected by the carrier. The actual revenue will come from landing fees, terminal charges, handling charges (all levied to the Airline), advertising, concession stands, renting out hangar and maintenance facilities etc. An Airport will facilitate a flight school with trainer aircraft as well, adding to the airport's economy. In Maldives where I was CEO of a sceduled domestic airline, we were flying sparingly to some of the small regional airports where each flight carried 50 passengers. The airports were fully developed, beautifully, with night landing facilities, navigation facilities etc. The Maldivian Government developed the infrastructure to take care of long term tourit interests such as development of resort islands around these regional airports some three years later. The same philosophy has been used in the US where I flew for 13 years. The idea is to first develop the infrastructure and make it available. That will facilitate more feeder airlines to start connecting Mysore with their hubs. I hope this longish answer clarifies matters. If additional info is required, please feel free to write and I will do my best to answer. Thanks for your interest Mr. Yerapathi.

GVK said...

Capt.Murthy, Do you ever see the prospects of our having an air ferry to Bangalore airport, at rates comarable to the cab fare from Mysore?
Would you know how this'flying doctor' concept works, economics-wise. If only such a thing could be feasible,we could airlift critical health cases to speciality hospitals in Mysore.

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Reply to Mr. GVK, Mysore to Bangalore is a very short sector and generally won't make money if the Aircraft is used solely on this route. overheads are large in aviation and fuel is also at an all time high in price. If the right type of aircraft is used and the route is coupled with onward routes or if the flight is linked to the arrival/departure of a foreign bound flight on a code share, the fare could be a little higher than an airconditioned cab fare (per person, assuming 4 persons to a cab) but there are times that I have taken a cab from Mysore to Bangalore airport by myself to connet a late night flight and that is much more costlier than a airfare. The advantage would not only be in the price but one could avoid four hours of traffic and the hassles of road travel (given the state of the roads). One can't beat the convenience of landing at the same airport and depart on an onwards flight. It would also take only 20 minutes of flight time, at the most, between these two airports. In my opinion, when the new Bangalore International airport at Devanahalli starts operations, the journey from Mysore to connect to an onward flight would be considerably longer, due to the increased distance. I do see a future in this and other routes out of Mysore.

Anonymous said...

Captain Murthy,

I am impressed with your ability to write and capture the industry. I'd like to publish your article on our article repository and invite you to write more for compensation. If you're interested, send me an email.

Aeprojectmanager@airlineempires.net
http://www.airlineempires.net

Anonymous said...

apologies...

the email address should be:

aeprojectmanager@gmail.com

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thank you Mr. Anonymous, I will send you an e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Hi Captain,
I was astonished by ur knowledge on the airport. I had certain queries regarding this airport in mysore. IS it the Same one on Nanjungud Road..??
If yes does the Govt plan to expand the same existing, defunct airport and redesign it or does it plan to take land elsewhere

Regards

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Yes sir, it is the same one on Nanjangud Raod. Sorry for my delayed reply as I am traveling as usual and have written new articles and had forgotten to visit my older ones to look for new comments. I have blogged about Mysore Airport in other blog articles. One of them is titled: "Mysore Airport Update". You could put further comments on that blog or another one that i wrote and titled: "Mysore Airport to become International!". This article also appears on my blog page. Thank you for your kind interest and i do look forward to more of your comments and questions.

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Anonymous said...

Anup Sir, i am not good in language even though I try to expose my view in this matter. i am also one of the person lost my land for mysore airport. with in that 20 acras of land. recently a news the airport going to be inagurate on january 2009. with out setlle the compensation is possible to open the air port ? can i get stay order ( if they not settle my compensation). what I spend for that land is my life time saving money . hard earing money .

I hope i can get reply
mayavananna2008@gmail.com