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Airbus A321XLR jet faces range gap after design safeguards

Airbus A321XLR jet faces range gap after design safeguards

Airbus has apparently been struggling with a gap in the predicted range of the aircraft in a recent development involving the much-awaited A321XLR. In order to obtain certification for the new long-range, single-aisle aircraft, agreements about the necessary design safeguards were established with European regulators. This adjustment is the result of those agreements.

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Despite being creative, this design generated questions from regulators due to worries about potential fire dangers and potential difficulties during an emergency evacuation. Unintended weight consequences resulted from the necessary modifications, which also included strengthening the structural elements and adding a specific protective liner to the fuel tank.

In response to a proposal for a major modification in the type design of a big aircraft, the A321XLR, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an important consultation document in December 2022. This aircraft included a one-of-a-kind design element, an RCT (Rear Centre Tank) located beneath the cabin floor, which necessitated additional safety concerns not typically encountered in regular aircraft design practices.

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To meet these specific issues while maintaining the highest safety standards, EASA proposed the establishment of special circumstances (SCs). These would impose severe safety procedures to offset the risks associated with the unusual RCT design. By enforcing these, EASA hoped to ensure that the A321XLR’s occupants are adequately protected in the event of an external fire, fuel vapor ignition, or fuel tank explosion. Moreover, the crashworthiness requirements seek to prevent fuel spillage that could potentially lead to hazardous fires in survivable crash scenarios.

According to the report, Initial weight enhancements were anticipated to add 200–300 kilos, but recent industry insights point to a heavier 700–800 kilos. The jet’s maximum range was originally estimated to be 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km), however it is anticipated that this significant weight increase will reduce it. Industry insiders realistically advise a reduction of about 200 nm (370 km), highlighting its operating range, which is closer to 4,000 nm.

The range of the A321XLR is particularly significant for airlines like New York-based JetBlue, which is anticipated to be among the first to fly the new model. JetBlue intends to create routes in Latin America and increase its presence in Europe with the A321XLR.

Despite these obstacles, Airbus is committed to completing the A321XLR’s certification by the end of the year, with the first aircraft deliveries anticipated in the second quarter of 2024.

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Pilot Faces Backlash for Working with Two Airlines Simultaneously

A significant controversy has erupted at Malta’s new state-funded air carrier, KM Malta Airlines, following the revelation that one of its pilots was secretly working simultaneously for another airline.

The incident involved First Officer Danica Theuma, who was found to be flying Virgin Atlantic planes in the UK while also employed by KM Malta Airlines. The incident came to light last month when Theuma, who was supposed to be observing obligatory rest periods as per her KM Malta Airlines schedule, was seen flying Virgin Atlantic planes out of Heathrow Airport in London.

A colleague who spotted her in the UK reported the incident to her manager. As a result, Virgin Atlantic’s management swiftly terminated Theuma’s employment upon discovering her double duty.

Theuma’s actions not only represented a severe breach of contract but also violated international safety regulations.

These rules strictly govern duty times and rest periods to ensure the safety of both passengers and crew. Despite these serious infractions, KM Malta Airlines has chosen to allow Theuma to continue flying for the airline.

Initially, KM Malta Airlines suspended Theuma after being informed of her conduct. However, the airline decided to reinstate her shortly after, a decision that has caused significant unrest among her colleagues. The airline’s employees are demanding that Theuma be held accountable for her actions and punished for disregarding safety rules.

The situation has sparked a heated debate within KM Malta Airlines, with many pilots expressing their dissatisfaction with the management’s decision to retain Theuma. They argue that her breach of safety protocols and contract should result in stricter disciplinary action to uphold the integrity and safety standards of the airline.

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IndiGo Partners with Private Firm to enhance its Cadet Pilot Program

IndiGo Partners with Private Firm to enhance its Cadet Pilot Program

IndiGo, India’s preferred carrier, has announced a strategic partnership with Garuda Aviation Academy to bolster its Cadet Pilot Program.

This initiative aims to train fresh pilots to become future junior first officers for the airline. This collaboration marks the eighth partnership IndiGo has established for its cadet pilot program over the past 13 years.

The comprehensive 21-month course is designed to equip aspiring pilots with the necessary skills and knowledge. The training program begins with a three-month ground school at Garuda Aviation Academy’s training center in Gurugram.

Aims to train fresh pilots as future junior first officers

This is followed by a 12-month intensive training session at 43 Air School in South Africa, renowned for its exceptional track record of training over 6,000 ab-initio pilots.

IndiGo has successfully inducted over 1,000 pilots through these rigorous training programs in the last 13 years. These programs encompass the entire spectrum of pilot training, from cadet selection to obtaining a commercial pilot license and A320 type rating, culminating in their induction into the airline as pilots.

Captain Ashim Mittra, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations at IndiGo, expressed his pride in the new partnership with Garuda Aviation Academy. He emphasized that the 21-month course is expected to cultivate the next generation of skilled pilots who will uphold IndiGo’s commitment to safe, affordable, and hassle-free travel.

Aligns with the Government of India’s UDAN mission

This initiative is in line with the Government of India’s UDAN (“Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik”) mission, aimed at enhancing connectivity to smaller and medium-sized towns and cities across the country.

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IndiGo Flight Tickets Now Bookable Through WhatsApp

IndiGo Flight Tickets Now Bookable Through WhatsApp

IndiGo, India’s preferred airline, has introduced an innovative AI conversational booking assistant named 6Eskai on WhatsApp, marking a significant step in enhancing customer experience.

This new feature aims to provide seamless travel solutions directly through WhatsApp, offering convenience right at the travelers‘ fingertips.

IndiGo launches AI conversational booking assistant

6Eskai is built on a generative AI assistant platform developed by Riafy, a Google partner. With this technology, customers can now book tickets, check-in, generate boarding passes, check flight statuses, and ask queries all via WhatsApp.

The service is capable of handling both text and voice messages in English, Hindi, and Tamil languages initially. To use this service, customers can simply initiate a WhatsApp text to +91 7065145858.

The AI assistant leverages Google Cloud’s Large Language Models to support this service. Through extensive prompt engineering, it offers conversational interactions, responds to emotions, and even adds humor to its responses, ensuring a more engaging customer experience.

6Eskai has 1.7 trillion parameters

This extension on WhatsApp is expected to significantly enhance the hassle-free travel booking services available through IndiGo’s digital channels. 6Eskai is a highly advanced AI with 1.7 trillion parameters, enabling it to answer a wide range of common questions effortlessly.

Its capabilities include booking tickets, applying promotional discounts, booking add-ons, performing web check-ins, assisting in seat selection, planning trips, answering FAQs, and connecting customers with an agent.

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