Thursday, 1 September 2011

Snag-hit AI plane lands with emergency support

An Air India aircraft, with 123 passengers on board, made a safe landing at the international airport here with ‘full emergency support' on Tuesday afternoon after the pilot detected a snag in the hydraulic system.
The commander of the Chennai-Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram flight alerted the Air Traffic Control as the A-310 aircraft was approaching Thiruvananthapuram around 12.15 noon. He sought emergency support, which was immediately made available, airport sources said.
Security agencies and the city police were also alerted. Airline sources said the aircraft landed safely at 12.24 noon. It moved to the parking bay on its own and hence the snag could not be a major one, officials said. The passengers were evacuated. The aircraft has been grounded and engineers are working to rectify the snag.
In November last, flight operations from the international airport came to a standstill after an AI aircraft with 80 passengers and two infants got stuck in the middle of the runway while making an emergency landing.
Flight 915, bound for Dammam in Saudi Arabia, returned after the commander got a warning of snag in the aircraft doors. The A-330 aircraft made a ‘hard landing' and in the process got struck, forcing the airport authorities to close the airport.

NEW DELHI: The growing thirst of Indian companies, big and small, to access Chinese markets has pushed up air travel between the two countries, making it the fastest-growing aviation route from India.

Air traffic from India to China grew 17.9% in the first six months of this year, beating overall international travel growth from the country, which stood at 10.9%, according to the International Air Transport Association. If this trend continues, China will soon overtake Singapore as the most favoured destination on the itinerary of Indian businessmen and executives.

In the past few months, several Indian pharma and IT companies and investment banks have set up shop in China, boosting travel between the two countries. This is in addition to about 400 Indian companies, including IT majors such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS, power producers like Adani Power and Suzlon, and automobile maker M&M, that already have a presence in China.

"While overall international traffic from India is growing at 10-12% annually, the segment flying between our country and China is exhibiting much higher growth at 14-16%," said Sunny Sodhi, VP (air product) at travel portal The majority of this segment constitutes business travelers, he added.

China is already India's largest trade partner. Commerce between the two countries has grown 20-fold in the past decade, touching $61.7 billion in 2010. In the first half of this year, trade volumes between the two crossed $35 billion, posting a year-on-year growth of 16.1%.

Economists say as the Indian and Chinese economies expand in the coming years, trade between the two would see a significant increase.

"As we have seen in the past, Indian IT, ITeS, pharma and even auto companies will go more to China while, power & power equipment, telecom and auto companies from China will set shop in India over the next five years," said DK Joshi, chief economist with ratings agency Crisil.

Analysts say the aviation sector would be among the biggest beneficiaries of the growth in bilateral trade.

"By the way business traffic on the China route is growing, it is expected to beat the India-Singapore route in the next five years," said Manmeet Ahluwalia, India marketing head at online travel company Expedia.

Singapore was rated the most visited destination by both business and leisure travelers from India by Nielsen Outbound Travel Monitor in 2010.

But its share in overall international travel from the country is on the decline. "China has emerged as one of the routes that is taking away Singapore's marketshare," Ahluwalia added.

Sandeep Shastri, vice-president and general manager at American Express Global Business Travel, said on a scale of 1 to 10 measuring the popularity of international destinations from India, China would get 7.
Economic Times
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