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Air India launches its first ever non-stop service between Mumbai and San Francisco

Air India Unveils 'Fare Lock' Feature for Hassle-Free Flight Bookings

The nonstop service between Mumbai and San Francisco was launched by Air India on Thursday, according to the minister of civil aviation jyotiraditya Scindia. The flight will operate three times per week.

Air India, India’s leading airline and a Star Alliance member, is spreading its wings further in the United States with the launch of its first-ever non-stop service between Mumbai and San Francisco from 15th December 2022. This closely follows the launch of its three times a-week flight between Bengaluru and San Francisco on 2nd December 2022. This new flight is in line with Air India’s vision to enhance its global footprint and provide the highest levels of
service and convenience to its customers.

Six Boeing 777 aircraft have been leased by Air India for use in operations to various overseas destinations. The aircraft’s cabin is also being renovated, which could increase passenger comfort.

For the first time, a nonstop flight with a distance of nearly 13,000 kilometers took off from the Mumbai airport. In order to continue the strong improvement of the airlines, TATA, which owns Air India, has made some audacious decisions. For the time being, it has ordered some of the 6 wide aircraft for leasing from the western nation.

One of the Boeing 777 airplanes arrived yesterday for the international operation’s passenger service. The majority of the improvements were visible over the seats and the aircraft’s livery as it arrived.


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Air India continues to develop Mumbai as an important hub for international as well as domestic traffic. The launch of the Mumbai-San Francisco route will be followed by Mumbai-New York City (JFK), Mumbai-Frankfurt, and Mumbai-Paris. Additional domestic flights originating from Mumbai will also be added. The flight will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with the newlyinducted Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. This will take Air India’s India-US frequency to 40 non-stop flights

per week. Presently, Air India operates non-stop flights from Mumbai to Newark, from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Chicago, and from Bengaluru to San Francisco. This will be the third Indian city after Delhi and Bengaluru to have a direct flight to San Francisco.

As we can see, the older Maharaja windows are no longer there in the newly arrived aircraft, which also has upgraded seat covers. The aircraft is marked with the Delta name because it was formerly run by the airline. In the case of Air India, they left it as is in order to avoid incurring additional costs for the seats. It entirely depends on the new owner whether they want to stick with the same brand or change that logo sign over the seat.


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There are the first interior shots of the Air India Boeing 200 LR aircraft, which previously belonged to Delta. It left the interiors very impressed.

The first flight AI 179 from Mumbai to San Francisco left Mumbai on time at 1430 hrs to arrive in San Francisco at a convenient 1700 hrs (local time) on the same day. The return flight AI 180 will depart from San Francisco at 2100 hrs (local time) to arrive in Mumbai at 0340 hrs+2 days. The Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Eknath Shinde graced the virtual inauguration ceremony of the flight. They flagged it off along with Mr. Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Civil Aviation, and Mr. Vinod Hejmadi, Chief of Finance, Air India.

The flight witnessed a grand launch with the auspicious lamp-lighting ceremony followed by cake cutting, ribbon cutting, and handing over the boarding pass to the first passenger to have checked in, at the Boarding Gate of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai by Mr. Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD, Air India; in presence of senior officials of Air India, Mumbai Airport, other organizations and passengers. The two senior-most citizens on the flight were also present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Speaking on the new flight launch, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said, “Today is a historic day for Maharashtra, India, and Air India. The Civil Aviation sector in India is on the cusp of transformation, and India is the third largest civil aviation market in the world with a growth of 10.6% CAGR in the last ten years. Air India has played a significant role in the sector’s transformation in the past and will continue to contribute to the growth of the industry. With Air India’s legacy, culture, and vision, the airline will take Indian Civil Aviation to newer heights.”

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The new in-flight meal menu that provides a variety of food options has also been improved by Air India, making passengers satisfied with the price they paid for the trip.

Recently, Air India announced that it is considering purchasing a new wide-body aircraft, including A350 and other narrow-body aircraft which totaled 500 aircraft which is already being discussed with Boeing and Airbus. It carefully selects the décor and seating options for its cabin. Given that it is a full-service airline, emphasis is placed on business class, premium economy, and economy.

Image and footage courtesy: @Vinamralongani (Twitter) @sachmihika

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Aerospace

Leonardo Unveils AW249 Next Generation Helicopter Makes International Debut

Leonardo Unveils AW249 Next Generation Helicopter Makes International Debut

The Italian Army has unveiled the new AW249 Fenice attack helicopter, declaring it a cornerstone of its transformation efforts, during its public debut at the prestigious Eurosatory defense show.

The AW249 is designed to meet the demanding needs of modern warfare, featuring a complete open architecture that allows for significant future growth and system adaptability. This flexibility ensures the helicopter can respond to evolving market requirements and remain at the forefront of military technology.

Features complete open architecture for future growth

Engineered for high performance, the AW249 boasts impressive speed, range, power margin, and payload capabilities. It excels in challenging Hot & High conditions and offers unparalleled manoeuvrability for nap-of-the-earth flight, allowing it to operate effectively in diverse and rugged terrains.

One of the helicopter’s key strengths is its ability to integrate fully and interoperate seamlessly within the modern multi-domain battlefield, encompassing air, land, sea, space, and cyber operations.

The AW249 features an advanced large area display human-machine interface, equipped with touch screen and gesture recognition devices within its tandem-seating cockpit. This sophisticated setup is complemented by a highly advanced Leonardo-developed Battle Management System.

The helicopter’s displays and modern pilot helmets provide the crew with rapid access to critical information on flight, navigation, and mission parameters, delivered through multiple sensors and advanced connectivity systems.

In terms of armament, the AW249 is equipped with a versatile weapon system. This includes guided and unguided 70mm rockets, air-to-air infrared guided missiles, and air-to-ground radio frequency or fibre optic guided missiles. Additionally, it is armed with a formidable 20mm three-barrel Gatling gun. With a maximum take-off weight of 8.3 tons, the AW249 is set to replace the Italian Army’s aging AW129 fleet.

Production contract expected soon; deliveries from 2027.

Since its maiden flight in the summer of 2022, four prototypes of the AW249 have been constructed. Currently, two prototypes are undergoing rigorous performance, system integration, and payload testing, while the remaining two are slated to begin testing shortly.

Leonardo anticipates finalizing the production contract soon, with deliveries to the Italian Army expected to commence in 2027.

Given its advanced capabilities and modern design, the AW249 will also be available on the export market, appealing to international customers seeking state-of-the-art military helicopter solutions.

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Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aerospace

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

At the prestigious ILA aerospace trade show in Berlin, Airbus Defence and Space made waves by introducing its pioneering Wingman concept, marking a significant leap forward in military aviation technology.

Teaming up with Helsing, Europe’s leading defense AI and software company, Airbus showcased a framework cooperation agreement aimed at revolutionizing the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense.

Airbus Wingman

The Wingman concept represents a paradigm shift in aerial warfare, introducing unmanned platforms equipped with advanced AI capabilities to augment the capabilities of manned combat aircraft. Pilots in command aircraft such as the Eurofighter command these autonomous drones, positioning them to undertake high-risk mission tasks that would traditionally pose a significant threat to manned-only aircraft.

Central to the Wingman concept is Manned-Unmanned Teaming, wherein manned aircraft serve as “command fighters,” retaining ultimate control over mission decisions while delegating tactical tasks to unmanned systems. This synergistic collaboration promises to enhance mission flexibility, increase combat mass, and minimize risk exposure for pilots, thereby bolstering overall operational effectiveness.

The capabilities of the Wingman extend across a diverse spectrum of mission profiles, ranging from reconnaissance and target jamming to precision strikes against both ground and aerial targets. Equipped with advanced sensors, connectivity solutions, and a diverse array of armaments, the Wingman stands poised to redefine the operational landscape of modern air forces.

While the Wingman model showcased at ILA Berlin represents the pinnacle of current technological innovation, it also serves as a catalyst for future design iterations. As with any pioneering concept, refinement and evolution are inevitable, with each generation of the Wingman poised to push the boundaries of aerial warfare even further.

MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Boeing introduced the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its maiden flight in February 2021. Developed by Boeing Australia, the MQ-28 leverages artificial intelligence to serve as a force multiplier for manned fighter jets.

The Ghost Bat is engineered to operate in tandem with existing military aircraft, enhancing and extending the capabilities of airborne missions. This cost-effective UCAV is designed to work as an intelligent teammate, complementing and amplifying the effectiveness of manned operations in various mission profiles.

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