Want To Become A Travel Expert? Read This

When it comes to travel, no matter for pleasure or business, it is imperative to do some pre-planning before the trip. Here are some tips that can help.


If you are traveling somewhere that needs particular vaccinations, make sure you have the certificate verifying you have been vaccinated. If you don’t have the certificate, there is no way to prove you had the vaccination so authorities may quarantine you.


When you plan a trip, choose a digital camera that is in sync with your trip and its needs. If you are going on an outdoor trip, for instance, a rechargeable battery may not be the answer. You want a camera you can turn off and on quickly and that will focus almost immediately.


If you are leaving for your trip from a port city, try to find a reasonably priced hotel with included parking and check in the night before. Ask hotel staff when it comes to parking deals if there aren’t any published.


There are many pet friendly hotels and even have facilities for them as you head out to explore.These may include cat spas and doggie day care for your pets. You can take your pet along as long as you just need to be certain they are allowed.


Try getting in some physical activity before your flight. This will help you avoid the tediousness of long flights. Your back and legs can easily cramp up after sitting for such a long time period.


Check the websites of your airline to get the best price.Sometimes they have better prices than the best price.


A motorcycle is a good mode of transportation for short travels. It can be quite a lot of fun to travel by motorcycle.


You do not want to have to be annoyed by constant construction when you are trying to relax.


Try getting the “local” rate that a hotel gives the hotels when you travel. A lot of hotels offer locals special deals to people from that area so they can fill up their rooms.If you are friendly with a person who lives in the city you plan to visit, ask your friend to call the hotel and see if it offers a local rate. This approach can help you save money.


How well you plan for a trip directly affects how enjoyable your trip will be. Use the tips shared here to have a great trip.


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Across The Ocean In A Dash 8: Icelandair To Resume A Greenland Route

Icelandair is resuming flights between its home country and South Greenland. The carrier will fly over the Atlantic using one of its DHC Dash 8-400s, which can seat 76 passengers. Flights to Narsarsuaq will start on April 1st, 2022.

Icelandair is bringing forward the route resumption by two months due to stronger demand. Photo: Ronnie Robertson via Wikimedia Commons


According to Aviation24.be, Icelandair is bringing back its route to South Greenland after a pause due to the pandemic. Starting April 1st, the flag carrier will resume flights to Narsarsuaq from either Reykjavik or Keflavik. A final decision on the route and timings will be made in the coming weeks.

Icelandair Dash 8
The Dash 8 will make a short 750-770 mile hop between Iceland and Greenland (formally a part of Denmark). Photo: ERIC SALARD via Flickr

While the Iceland-Narsarsuaq route was set to resume in June, the airline has decided to bring it forward by a full two months. In a statement, the Chairman of Innovation South Greenland, Hans Peter Hansen, said,

“It is not an April Fool’s joke, but really good news for South Greenland when Icelandair resumes flights to Narsarsuaq on 1 April. So far, Icelandair has indicated that it is willing to start on 1 April instead of in June, as first planned. But we need a route all year round, so we are continuing to work on getting it started even earlier.”

Up to the job

Icelandair is planning to use one of its two de Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s on flights to southern Greenland. With a range of nearly 1,500 miles, the turboprop is more than capable of flying the 750-mile journey across the Atlantic. Moreover, the Dash 8 has an optimal capacity of 78 seats for the journey, laid out in a 2-2 configuration across 20 rows.

The aircraft was operated by subsidiary Air Iceland Connect, the flag carrier’s regional arm. However, with the two arms merged earlier this year, the planes will fly under Icelandair’s branding and livery in the coming months.

Across The Ocean In A Dash 8: Icelandair To Resume A Greenland Route
The Dash 8 fleet will soon carry the Icelandair livery, ending the Air Iceland Connect subsidiary. Photo: Matasjauu via Wikimedia Commons

In recent months, Icelandair has been deploying its Dash 8s further from their home base. The aircraft has been deployed routes to the UK, including a three-hour hop to Manchester that’s over a thousand miles. As global demand recovers, expect to see the Dash 8 fly some more important routes in addition to its usual services.

Iceland’s big year

2021 has been a strong year for aviation in Iceland. The island nation in the Atlantic is home to a new low-cost carrier, PLAY, and has seen a flurry of flights from the US due to its early reopening to vaccinated travelers in May. This pace is set to continue into 2022, as PLAY expands into the North American market and airlines see strong demand for leisure travel next year.

PLAY is Iceland’s newest low-cost airline and looking to fill in WOW Air’s absence from the market. Photo: PLAY

For now, the route to Greenland will be a major boost for the local community and open up new destinations for visitors.

What do you think about Iceland’s growing market? Let us know in the comments!


Emirates Boeing 777 Takes Off After The Runway’s End In Dubai

Emirates is in the spotlight after an incident in Dubai before Christmas raised questions about some pilots’ skills and experience levels. Last week, a Boeing 777-300ER bound for Washington DC overran the runway while taking off, narrowly missing houses close to the airport.

An Emirates 777-300Er had a near miss when taking off from Dubai last week. Photo: Emirates

Emirates jet passes over homes at just 75 feet

According to The Aviation Herald, the Emirates Boeing (registration A6-EQI) was operating EK231 from Dubai to Washington DC on Monday, December 20, when the incident occurred. EK231 is the regular 02:35 departure across to DC.

The jet accelerated for takeoff on Dubai’s runway 30R. It rotated for takeoff past the end of the runway and did not become airborne until at the end of the runway end safety area. The Boeing passed over the first private homes at 18,500 feet (5,640 meters) past the runway threshold, flying 75 feet above ground level.

The aircraft’s transponder indicates A6-EQI stayed on the runway until accelerating through at least 216 knots over the ground about 14,400 feet (4,400 meters) past the runway threshold and about 90 meters short of the localizer antennas.

The Aviation Herald reports the aircraft sustained some damage on departure. After safely gaining some altitude, A6-EQI continued onto Washington DC, where it was checked for cracks as well as damage to the wings, flaps, and landing gear.

Source: Radarbox.com

Pilots fail to correct autopilot altitude setting

The plane operated a return service to Dubai, where the Boeing was temporarily grounded. There are also unconfirmed reports four crew members lost their jobs over the incident. Emirates also issued a crew alert to its pilots in the aftermath. That crew alert suggested the autopilot was incorrectly configured.

“Crews are reminded there are no FCOM (flight crew operating manual) normal procedure requirements to change the MCP (mode control panel) after landing or shutdown,” the alert reads. The mode control panel tells the autopilot to stick to a specific altitude.

It appears the Boeing 777 pilots did not set the autopilot to an altitude of 4,000 feet, the initial climb altitude. Instead, they left the altitude setting at the master control panel at 0 feet (probably from the jet’s previous landing in Dubai). As a result, when taking off, the flight director did not indicate takeoff rotation but instead indicated maintaining that altitude as A6-EQI continued barrelled down runway 30R in Dubai.

“There have been times when the MCP altitude window has been set to the airport elevation which may cause issues on the subsequent departure. The FCOM 4.10.2. states that the AFDS (Autopilot Flight Director System) will engage in “ALT” when the first flight director switch is turned on if the MCP selected altitude is within 20 feet of the displayed barometric altitude. Crews shall not set airport elevation on the MCP after landing or shutdown,” the alert added.

Emirates has a reputation for hiring some relatively inexperienced 777 pilots. Photo: EmiratesStay informed:Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Experts question pilot’s experience and skills

Since the near disaster, many experienced pilots have said they usually prefer to hand fly on takeoff rather than immediately flicking to autopilot. They also say at least two pre-departure checklists should have picked up the 0 feet setting in the control panel.

There are suggestions that there was a lack of experience and situational awareness in the cockpit that morning, causing the errors. The incident also shines a spotlight on Emirates’ longstanding practice of hiring relatively inexperienced Boeing 777 pilots.

After several days on the ground in Dubai, A6-EQI has since returned to service.

Did you miss our previous article…


ZIPAIR Operates First Flight To Los Angeles

Japan Airlines’ subsidiary Zipair has completed its inaugural flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. The low-cost carrier completed the Christmas Day service in just under 10 hours using one of its Boeing 787-8s. Let’s take a look at this flight and what we can expect from the airline when it comes to this route.

Zipair has three Boeing 787-8s in its fleet. All come directly from its parent company, Japan Airlines. Photo: Zipair

Three flights per week

On Saturday Zipair completed its inaugural flight to Los Angeles after announcing the service roughly six weeks prior. For now, the service will run thrice-weekly but will eventually ramp up to once daily in February 2022.

A relatively new carrier having started during the global health crisis, the budget airline has only served a handful of destinations in its one year of commercial operations. Zipair has mainly flown to other major cities in the region like Seoul, Singapore, and Bangkok, as well as the major US leisure destination of Honolulu.

The airline’s president offered the following statement at the time of the route’s announcement:

“Ever since the introduction of ZIPAIR, one of our key goals was to establish a flight across the Pacific and I could not be prouder to stand here today to announce the launch of our Los Angeles route. Our mission is to define a new standard in the air travel industry by offering a unique low-cost business model on long-haul international routes,” -Shingo Nishida, President of ZIPAIR Tokyo

Welcome @ZIPAIRTokyo! Today the airline begins its much-anticipated non-stop service between Narita International Airport in Tokyo and #LAX. ZIPAIR will initially offer 3 flights per week to LAX and plans to offer daily service starting in February. pic.twitter.com/mbYkGOiVNt

— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) December 25, 2021

Flight details

Using the aircraft registered JA822J, one of the airline’s three 787s, Zipair flew its inaugural service to LAX from Tokyo Narita (NRT) at December 25th at 15:02 local time. Heading over the Pacific Ocean with a flight time of nine hours and 18 minutes, the Dreamliner touched down in Los Angeles at 07:20- 10 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time.

JA822J is an 11-year-old Boeing 787-8 which originally flew with parent company Japan Airlines between 2012 and 2019. Originally configured with 30 business and 176 economy class seats, the jet was reconfigured for a denser layout of 290 seats. This consists of 18 premium “ZIP Full-Flat” seats and 272 standard economy class seats.

flight zg24
The service will begin with a frequency of three times per week. Photo: RadarBox.com

Joining a small group of airlines

While most budget airlines tend to fly “closer to home” with a fleet of narrowbody jets, Zipair is part of a small club of airlines that have dared to operate low-cost transoceanic and long-haul services. Other budget carriers currently doing the same include LEVEL, Scoot, AirAsia X, and Jetstar. A notable low-cost carrier that recently exited this sector is Norwegian, which ended its transatlantic long-haul services due to the global health crisis.

Zipair only has a fleet of three aircraft at the moment. Photo: Zipair

Despite these airlines focusing on offering low fares, there is still a premium offering in most cases- something that even budget travelers are willing to go for with these lengthy services. In the case of Zipair, the Japanese airline’s business class product features a 180-degree reclining leather seat equipped with reading lights and charging equipment.

Would you fly a budget airline across the Pacific between Tokyo and Los Angeles? Let us know by leaving a comment.


What Is Jeppesen: A Look At Boeing’s Flight Planning Subsidiary

Jeppesen is one of the largest companies globally that offers navigational and flight planning software. It was founded in 1934 as one of the first companies to offer charts for pilots and was only acquired by Boeing in 2000. Today it offers all kinds of navigational logistics, tools, and training.

As a company, Boeing has many divisions and services – including the historic Jeppesen. Photo: Boeing

Making charts since 1934

Jeppesen was founded in 1934 by Elrey Borge Jeppesen, a pilot from US-based airlines Varney Air Lines (later to become part of United Airlines). He developed charts that he had used personally on fights to sell to other pilots – initially referred to as his “little black book.” He was soon sourcing route sketches from other pilots and expanded the charts on offer.

In 1931, Varney Air Lines became part of United Airlines, and this was one of the first airlines to start using Jeppesen’s charts. Jeppesen remained a pilot with United Airlines until 1954, when he left to focus on developing the chart business.

Elrey Borge Jeppesen was a pilot from a young age. Photo: Jeppesen Memorial via Wikimedia

Jeppesen’s company soon started working on other services alongside chart development. As early as 1947, it worked with the US Civil Aviation Authority (later to become the FAA) on developing standard instrument approaches for airports. Jeppesen also developed the important standard procedures for missed approaches.

The company was initially based in Jeppesen’s hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. It moved to Denver in 1941 as it expanded. Its first international branch opened in Frankfurt in 1957. This was initially to support a contract with the US Army, but it also allowed further expansion into Europe.

cquisitions and company expansion from the 1960s

Jeppesen remained the owner of the company until 1961, when it was sold to the media company Times-Mirror Company (Jeppesen remained on as Chairman, though). Since then it has seen a series of mergers and acquisitions that have expanded its offerings to reach the multiple services it has today.

In 1974 it merged with Sanderson Films, a leading flight training company at the time. This had been formed by pilot Paul Sanderson after the Second World War to use technology and film to improve pilot training.

In 1989, Jeppesen purchased Lockheed DataPlan, a leading flight planning, logistics, and weather information provider. In 1996, Jeppesen acquired MentorPlus, another map and flight planning services provider. And in 2000, it also took over Nobeltec, a company providing marine navigation software and charts.

cquisition by Boeing

By 2000, Jeppesen had expanded its service offering significantly into flight planning, training, and logistics, as well as charts and navigation. It has also expanded globally with further offices in Europe, Australia, and China.

In 2000, the Times-Mirror Company was taken over by competing media company Tribune in one of the largest media acquisitions in history. This gave Tribune an extensive portfolio of newspapers and the benefits of economies of scale that go along with that.

However, after paying $8.3bn and adding massive debt, it soon sold off many of the non-core media parts of the company. The Jeppesen division was sold to Boeing in October 2000 for $1.5 billion.

Boeing ForeFlight Dispatch
Boeing ForeFlight includes dispatch and planning tools and is part of Jeppesen today. Photo: Boeing

Under Boeing, the company continued its series of acquisitions and service expansion. In 2004, it acquired SBS, a provider of crew-scheduling services. It went further in this market in 2006 by taking over Carmen Systems, a leading provider of crew scheduling and disruption-management software.

The company moved into fuel management in 2014 with the acquisition of ETS Aviation. And in 2019, after a two-year partnership, it acquired ForeFlight Mobile, expanding its services in digital and real-time mapping for pilots.

Stay informed:Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Jeppesen services today

Jeppesen retains its position as a leading provider of maps and charts – for both aviation and maritime use. These have of course rapidly moved away from paper charts to electronic. The electronic flight bag concept was introduced in 2002, and Jeppesen is a key supplier. Charts can also be incorporated into cockpit displays – first offered on the Embraer E2 in 2019 (according to Boeing).

Charts in Cockpit
Charts are used in some cockpit displays. Photo: Boeing

Other flight operation services include flight planning, and crew planning and management. Network and operations management services include aircraft utilization, fuel efficiency and management, and flight routing. It is also a leading supplier of pilot training materials and other equipment.

Have you used Jeppesen maps – either before or after it became part of Boeing? Or any of the company’s other products and services offered today? Feel free to discuss these further in the comments. 

Did you miss our previous article…


Where Will India’s Startups Get All Of Their Pilots?

In addition to competing for customers, India’s startup airlines will also compete with each other for other scarce commodities. Depending on the time and place, this could range from airport slots to trained and certified pilots. The latter appears to be in high demand as two airlines ramp up their operations in India’s highly competitive air travel sector.

Akasa Air will be an all-Boeing 737 MAX airline. Photo: Akasa Air

The ‘new’ kids on the block

Two Indian carriers will ‘begin’ operations in 2022: Akasa Air and Jet Airways. Indeed, while Jet Airways is a revival of sorts, it has mostly had to start back at the beginning since its collapse in April 2019.

With the two airlines getting themselves set up to fly passengers next year, their hiring departments are in full swing, looking to secure their own pools of pilots and other staff. According to Moneycontrol sources and observers, the carriers are seeking crews from other airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Indeed, the media outlet notes that some personnel from these established carriers have already received offer letters. Headhunters are seeking senior employees from existing airlines, while a SpiceJet pilot has reported that some of their colleagues have already left, with others in the middle of serving their notice period before moving over.

A senior executive wishing to comment anonymously said that it was not surprising for pilots to leave SpiceJet to join Akasa, “especially those who have not been paid their full dues. After all, both airlines have the Boeing 737 MAX.” 

indigo spicejet
Poaching pilots from existing carriers might be a strategy that the newcomers will be pursuing. Photo: Getty ImagesStay informed:Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Poaching from SpiceJet would be easier

With most of this activity happening behind the scenes, there are no clear numbers or metrics to measure the shift of pilots from one airline to another. However, it would be safe to say that pilots from SpiceJet would be the preferred target for Akasa Air.

That’s because the startup airline will operate the Boeing 737 – an aircraft type that is at the heart of SpiceJet’s short and medium-haul operations. Considering the fact that pilots coming from this budget airline would be trained on the 737, much of Akasa’s work would be already completed. This would reduce the need for hiring and then retraining Airbus-focused pilots for its Boeing fleet. The Airbus A320 and A321neo are the main types of aircraft operated by IndiGo.

The picture for Jet Airways is a little more vague. The airline has yet to disclose details for its future fleet: Its leadership has stated that the plan is to have 50+ aircraft in three years and 100+ in five years. Jet Airways is reportedly poised to place a large aircraft order in the near future, although it has yet to determine (or at least disclose) what types of aircraft it will operate. The airline’s first run, prior to its 2019 collapse, saw it operate an overwhelmingly Boeing fleet- especially for its narrowbody jets.

Jet Airways Boeing 737s
Jet Airways was a large operator of the Boeing 737. However, it is not yet certain if the airline will return to this type or if it will instead choose jets from the A320 family. Photo: Getty Images

For their parts, SpiceJet and IndiGo have denied a move of pilots away from their fleets towards the new carriers. A SpiceJet spokesperson told Moneycontrol that “the information [of commanders and first officers leaving] is absolutely wrong and denied,” while IndiGo says “very little to negligible attrition” among its pilots has taken place over the last two years.

IndiGo says it’s a similar situation with its engineers, ground staff, and cabin crew. However, it admits that “that there will always be opportunities for talent given the way this industry is evolving.”

As the industry recovers and new carriers fight for their share of the market, it looks like a job in India’s aviation industry might be an excellent way to go- whether it’s as a pilot or other crew.


Akasa Air: India’s Boeing 737 MAX Startup Reveals Its Branding

We finally know what Akasa Air’s MAX 737 airplanes will look like. On December 22nd, the Indian ultra-low-cost startup airline unveiled its branding, revealing the aircraft livery, the company’s tagline, and spoke about its vision of welcoming passengers of all socio-economic backgrounds. While there’s still time before the carrier’s plan of a 2022 summer launch, the unveiling of its colors and logo has offered us for the first time a clearer picture of the brand’s official identity.

Akasa Air revealed its logo and tagline, giving us the first look at its brand identity. Photo: Akasa Air

Colors revealed

In an official statement, Akasa Air has revealed the logo that the tails of its MAX aircraft will carry – a symbol which the company describes as “The Rising A” in “Sunrise Orange” and “Passionate Purple” colors. Akasa’s communication explained its tagline “It’s Your Sky” as an inclusive brand experience meant for all kinds of travelers. In an official statement, Akasa Air’s Founder, MD, and CEO, Vinay Dube, said,

“Translating our purpose to serve every traveller with an innovative yet simple alternative required a modern and confident symbol. The Akasa Air brand identity encapsulates the collective spirit of flying and the individual pursuit of dreams for each of us. It is our promise to all, regardless of backgrounds or beliefs, that it’s your sky, your dreams, your passions, and your personal journey, and Akasa Air is honoured to be a part of it.”

The carrier’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Experience Officer, Belson Coutinho, gave the reasoning behind the logo, explaining that the Akasa team wanted a logo that was simple, easy-to-recall, and connected with the brand ethos.

Now that the airline’s colors have been revealed, and if everything goes according to plan, India could witness purple and orange-tailed 737s criss-cross its skies sometime in the middle of next year.

Unveiling ‘The Rising A’ of Akasa Air

Inspired by elements of the sky, The Rising A symbolises the warmth of the sun, the effortless flight of a bird, and the dependability of an aircraft wing.

Always moving upwards. Always inspiring to rise. pic.twitter.com/vzMDT9gEmv

— Akasa Air (@AkasaAir) December 22, 2021

Summer launch

Akasa Air’s story so far has seen some swift action in a short span of time. It wasn’t too long ago when it was reported that the former CEO of Jet Airways and GoAir Vinay Dube was looking to start a new airline in India. In January this year, he filed for a no-objection certificate (NOC) with the aviation ministry, and by then had already convinced Nikhil Ved, Jet’s former head of strategy and planning, to partner up with him.

By May, Dube had begun looking for investors and just a month later found success after convincing Rakesh Jhunjhunwala – known for his sharp business acumen – to back the airline. Jhunjhunwala’s commitment of $35 million for 40% of the company made quite a headline earlier this year.

Akasa Air: India’s Boeing 737 MAX Startup Reveals Its Branding
The carrier plans to start scheduled commercial flights in the summer of 2022. Photo: Akasa Air

After some teething problems, Akasa received the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government that paved the way to obtain further clearances and regulatory approvals, including the all-important AOC (Air Operators Certificate). Then came the Dubai Air Show, which put to rest all speculation about the carrier’s fleet when an order of 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was announced.

Akasa’s brand reveal at the turn of the year suggests that the company feels confident enough, the pandemic notwithstanding, that a summer launch is highly probable.

What are your thoughts about Akasa’s logo and color themes? Do share your comments below.

Did you miss our previous article…


India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft

There are over 1500 registered commercial airplanes in India of which more than 600 are actively flying, according to ch-aviation. With some existing airlines inducting newer planes into their fleets, the country is home to many young aircraft. However, there are some that have been flying for decades, serving in all kinds of roles.

While most of India’s 600+ active commercial planes are fairly young, there are some that have been around for decades. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Wikimedia Commons

More than half a century old

The oldest aircraft in India is 51.04 years old. Flying for the Indian Air Force (IAF), it’s not involved in commercial service anymore but it does have a commercial history. The Boeing 737-200 first entered service in January 1971 with former domestic carrier Indian Airlines. It had a registration number VT-EAJ and serial number 273. In 1993 it was acquired by the IAF and its registration changed to K3187.

The next two oldest planes on the list are also former Indian Airlines B737-200s bought by the IAF with registrations K2412 and K2413 and both around 38 years old. These older refurbished 737s are mainly used as VIP aircraft to fly top politicians in the country.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
While not in commercial service anymore, the three oldest active airplanes in India fly for IAF but flew commercially in the past for former Indian Airlines. Photo: John Wheatley via Wikimedia Commons

Cargo dominates the list

The next few airplanes down the list are all from cargo operators. That’s hardly a surprise since cargo airlines often go for older planes that no longer fly for passenger carrying services. The oldest among these all belong to Blue Dart Aviation, a cargo airline based in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

All six Boeing 757-200(PCF)s make up the entire fleet of Blue Dart Aviation and are between 24 to almost 30 years old. The oldest of the six VT-BDO (29.68 years) entered service in 1992 with Britannia Airways and was converted into a freighter in 2002 for Boullioun Aviation Services. After flying cargo for a couple of other carriers, it entered Blue Dart’s fleet in July 2012.

The other five Blue Dart 757s with registrations VT-BDN, VT-BDM, VT-BDQ, VT-BDB, VT-BDA are 29.44, 26.25, 25.81, 25.08, and 24.73 years old, respectively.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
Blue Dart’s VT-BDO is one of the oldest airplane in the country at almost 30 years old. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Wikimedia Commons

Joining the cargo list are five passenger-to-cargo-converted Boeing 737s of SpiceXpress, the cargo division of India’s low-cost carrier SpiceJet. Three of these converted freighters are the 737-700 variant and two -800.

All five have been flying for over two decades, with the oldest, VT-SFB, being 23.45 years old with a serial number 73. Joining Xiamen Airlines as a passenger plane and changing owners a couple of other times, it was converted into a freighter for SpiceXpress in 2018.

Passenger jets

Among the passenger jets, two of the oldest active airplanes surprisingly belong to IndiGo, known for its young narrowbody fleet. The two Airbus A320-200 with the registrations VT-IKC and VT-IHV, are fast approaching the two-decade mark at 18.88 and 17.76 years, respectively. The older of the two first flew for the Gulf carrier Qatar Airways in 2003 and joined IndiGo fairly recently in 2019.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
Among active passenger jets, IndiGo operates the oldest. Photo: Getty Images.

Regional carrier Star Air’s four Embraer 145LRs also make the list with all four being between 17 and 18 years old.

Rounding out the top 10 oldest active passenger jets are SpiceJet’s 737-800 (VT-SGJ, 16.88 years), an Embraer 135LR of air charter company India Fly Safe Aviation (VT-JSI, 16.83 years), AirAsia India’s A320-200 (VT-HYD, 16.13 years) and Air India’s A319-200 (VT-SCB, 16.1 years).

Special mention

Airports Authority of India (AAI) also have two of the oldest active airplanes in the country. Although not used for carrying passengers or cargo, its two Dornier 228-200 airplanes are part of AAI’s flight inspection unit.

VT-ENK and VT-EPU are well over three decades old at 35.3 and 33.79 years, respectively. AAI deploys the two airplanes to inspect airport features such as ground navigational aids, visual landing aids, etc. These airplanes have also inspected airports of neighboring countries, including Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan under UNDP projects and bilateral agreements.


Why Was Airbus Formed To Build The A300?

Airbus was formed on 18th December 1970 by a pair of European aerospace firms backed by France, Germany, and the UK. The new manufacturer long had plans for a new widebody aircraft, known as the A300. So why did making a new aircraft require the formation of Airbus?

The A300 made its first flight in 1972, marking the beginning of Airbus’s successful aircraft line. Photo: Getty Images


Airbus was formed as a direct response to the dominance of US aerospace firms in the post-World War 2 commercial aviation space. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and McDonnell Douglas were leading in terms of sales and new aircraft types, with European firms lagging behind.

However, a few European countries decided that it would be best to merge their major manufacturers into one. Given the formation of the European Economic Community (the EU’s predecessor), a merger was feasible and a good way to ensure the continent had its own robust aviation ecosystem.

A300 Henri Zeigler
Henri Ziegler was one of the founders of Airbus and served as the firm’s first President. Photo: Getty Images

The deal between France, Germany, and the UK saw the formation of Airbus, created by merging Aérospatiale and Deutsche Airbus in 1970. However, the A300 has its roots a few years even before this.

political project

Even before the negotiations to form a joint European firm was complete, the ministers from the three major countries were working on making a new aircraft. In particular, Germany, France, and the UK identified a market for a twin-engine, widebody aircraft, seating around 250.

In September 1967, the trio agreed to collaborate on such an aircraft, which came to be known as the A300 program. Henri Zeigler was the general manager of the program, while Roger Béteille led technical development. The pair went on to become the founding fathers of Airbus a few years later. In 1969, the A300 was formally unveiled by France and Germany.

Airbus A300
Air France was an early adopter of the A300, not surprising given the politics before the plane’s formation. Photo: Getty Images

After months of working on the project, it became clear that bringing together the European firms was the most cost-effective way to develop the A300 and compete with US giants. However, convincing all three nations was not easy. The UK government withdrew in 1969 due to a fear of huge losses, while France threatened to pull out due to their largest share of investment.

Came together

Despite all the political tensions, France and Germany decided to form ‘Airbus,’ with each country’s firm owning 50% of the company. The flagship program for the new company was the A300, a widebody aircraft that was set to be one of the technologically advanced in the world.

UPS A300-600
A300 is still in operation today with a few carriers and by scores of cargo operators as the A300-600. Photo: Airbus

The A300 was set to be a ground-breaking aircraft and had new features such as composite materials. From then, the rest is history, with Airbus going on to become of the world’s largest jet makers.

What do you think about the A300 program’s history? Let us know in the comments!

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Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?

The Competition Commission of India has approved Tata’s acquisition of Air India, AI Express, and AI-SATS Airport Services. The process began a couple of months ago with the Tatas winning the bid and is now very close to being completed. The Tata Group has until January 23, 2022, to take complete control of the airline and start flying it as a private entity under their brand.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Tata’s acquisition of Air India. Photo: Getty Images

Countdown begins

Following the signing of the sale-purchase agreement on October 25, the process for getting clearances from regulatory agencies was underway. Now that the CCI has given the go-ahead, others such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), lenders, and third-party vendors will likely give a green signal pretty soon.

Once all the requirements are met, and the previous and new owners are happy with the balance sheet, the Tatas will pay ₹2,700 crores ($355mn) upfront to the government, as decided, and take ownership of the carrier.

What next?

Before the acquisition, the Tatas would most probably want to settle the ongoing wage issues of AI’s current employees. One of the first things the new owners would do is ensure that AI operations are kept running and even improved.

The Tatas have established a new subsidiary to handle the Air India deal, known as Talace, which is in talks with banks to secure a one-year loan to the tune of ₹23,000 crores ($3.02bn). While most of it will go towards purchasing Air India, some of it will be used for the carrier’s operational costs.

Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?
The Tatas are expected to bring about many changes within the airline, including management and fleet optimization. Photo: Getty Images

Changes in the management team and working culture of the airline are all on the cards, and the Tatas have come up with a 100-day plan to improve the airline’s services, such as on-time performances, addressing customer grievances, and just raising the overall basic service standards. While it’s impossible to dust off years of malpractices in just 100 days, the Tatas will hope to bring about some improvement and set the tone for things to come.

Then there’s the big question about the merger. While there are plans to merge AirAsia India and AI Express, there’s been no official announcement about Vistara and Air India. Will the new owners eventually combine all airlines under the Tata umbrella to form one carrier or operate two separate entities – one full service (AI and Vistara) and its low-cost arm (AI Express and AirAsia India)? At the moment, the second option seems more plausible.

Fleet and network

Another key issue, and a pressing one, facing the Tatas is fleet and network optimization. They’ll have to take a call about Air India’s grounded planes and how to turn around the poor conditions of the interiors of many of its aircraft.

A little over 80% of AI’s fleet is functional. This means that many planes are sitting on the ground, gathering dust and not bringing in any money. Refurbishment alone would cost millions, with up to $300,000 per widebody aircraft. Many of its planes from the A320 family are also awaiting new engines, the costs of which are expected to run into hundreds of millions.

The Tatas may not be ready to foot such expensive bills to get all the old planes flying again. Instead, we could see fresh aircraft orders, both from Airbus and Boeing.

Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?
Many of AI’s planes need new engines and maintenance, something that will cost the Tata Group millions. Photo: Getty Images

In the long run, a private Air India will have to up its game in network expansion, not just in India but also internationally. There’s a huge demand for direct non-stop flights after the pandemic, but AI has to add more destinations in the future to compete with foreign carriers.

AI currently flies to five airports in the US and eight in Europe; Emirates flies to 15 in the US and more than 40 in Europe. While the two airlines have very different structures, AI will have to think about expanding its fleet and network eventually, which will again cost billions to the Tatas in long-term investments.

How excited are you to see Air India acquired by the Tata Group? What expectations do you have from future AI operations? Please comment below.