Air cargo giants FedEx and UPS, the two largest remaining operators of the McDonnell Douglas-developed MD-11 freighter, have both announced plans to begin retiring their fleets of ageing trijets. Between them, FedEx and UPS currently operate 94 MD-11s or almost half of the 200 aircraft delivered between 1990 and 2001. But FedEx, which was the launch customer for the factory-built freighter version, has announced plans to phase out the trijet as part of a broad-ranging cost-saving and modernization campaign, while UPS began retiring the first of its MD-11s in January.
Dubbed the DRIVE program, the FedEx streamlining effort aims to deliver USD 4 billion in cost reductions by the end of fiscal 2025. Raj Subramaniam, FedEx president and chief operating officer, says part of this effort is focused on reconfiguring the air network. “This requires many steps, including plans currently being developed to phase out our fleet of MD-11s. Our aircraft modernization program and use of [Boeing] 777s and 767s affords us the ability to flex our plans,” he adds.
Commenting on the company’s fiscal 2023 third quarter financial results call, Subramaniam says the decision reflects a flatter market forecast. “Our fleet modernization strategy that we’ve been underway has allowed us to build a more agile and flexible fleet. And so, we come to a fork in the road here, will we see a high-demand environment or a low-demand environment? And the MD-11 was that flex fleet. And as we now look at the demand environment, we don’t see that high demand coming through.”
MD-11s in Service
FedEx currently operates 54 MD-11s. The carrier plans to replace them with a combination of 767-300F and 777Fs, of which it has 27 and eight on order respectively. The 767 is due to become FedEx’s single largest fleet type with 125 already currently in operation and 27 more on order. The 53-strong 777F fleet is due to growing to 61 with the addition of eight further aircraft through 2025. The carriers remaining 58 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 are also set for the chopping block, with FedEx planning their retirement by 2028, accelerating its removal from the books. While the operator owns and operates most of its MD-11s, up to seven are on leases expiring between 2023 and 2025. Most have an average age of around 30 years.
As reported in LogisticsInsider, FedEx's asset-heavy hub and spoke network will segue towards more point-to-point flying and shift from the current fly-fly-fly model to a less expensive truck-fly-truck model. Aircraft will be parked, the remaining fifty-eight MD-11Fs will be retired by 2028 - an acceleration of the previously announced retirement timeline, and the use of commercial contractors and external service providers will increase. Reduced flight hours will mean less money spent on jet fuel, flight crews, and maintenance.
In the three months ended February 28, 2023, which include the busy end-of-year peak, FedEx recorded a 31% drop in net income to USD 771 million year-over-year. Operating income for the FedEx Express segment, which includes air operations, plummeted 77% to USD 119 million.
FedEx Express is the largest of the three remaining MD-11F operators. UPS Airlines, which operates 42 of the type, began its phase-out earlier this year, although it has yet to announce a final retirement timeline. United Parcel Service said in its annual report for 2022 that it would retire the first six MD-11Fs in 2023, taking an after-tax charge of USD58 million.
UPS, which accepted its first MD-11 in 2001, says it will retire the first batch of six trijets in 2023 and currently has 40 remaining in service. Like FedEx, it is reducing costs as cargo loads decline and is replacing the older aircraft with more fuel-efficient 767-300Fs. The operator, which saw its 2022 fourth-quarter operating profit fall by 3.3%, currently operates 80 767s and has a further 27 on order between now and 2025.
Outside of FedEx and UPS, the third largest MD-11 operator is Florida-based Western Global Airlines with 15 aircraft, of which 10 are thought to be currently in storage at various locations.
Present Situation of the Cargo Industry
The cargo sector enjoyed a boom in demand during the pandemic when grounded passenger flights meant less belly hold capacity was available for transporting goods. Taking advantage of the strong cargo activity, Airbus has launched the A350F and Boeing the 777-8F. In recent months, however, cargo demand has weakened.
The cargo market slowed to 2023, with demand down 14.9% year-over-year in January and capacity up 3.9%, IATA said on March 7. But there are still grounds for cautious optimism, says IATA Director General Willie Walsh. “2023 began under some challenging business conditions. That was accompanied by persistent uncertainties, including the war in Ukraine, inflation, and labour shortages,” Walsh said. “But there is solid ground for some cautious optimism about air cargo. Yields remain higher than pre-pandemic. And China’s much faster-than-expected shift from its zero-COVID policy stabilises production conditions in air cargo’s largest source market. That will boost much-needed demand as companies increase their engagement with China.”
In November 2022, Boeing said it expected demand for freighters to remain strong even as the air cargo market normalizes after COVID-19, with the expected demand for nearly 2,800 freighters between 2021 and 2041, driven in particular by the Asia-Pacific region and by the e-commerce sector.
FedEx restructuring its air network
FedEx’s cost-reduction strategy includes parking 25 aircraft by the end of the fiscal year, accelerating the retirement of MD-11 freighters, increasing point-to-point flying and leaning more on contractors, commercial airlift and trucking. 40% of global air savings will stem from using less jet fuel, with crew and maintenance each representing 20% of the value associated with reduced flight hours.
The initial phase of FedEx’s efficiency campaign began months ago. During the fiscal year third quarter ended Feb. 28, FedEx cut aircraft utilization by 8%, grounded nine cargo jets and downsized to smaller aircraft on certain routes. The actions contributed to USD 1.2 billion in savings. FedEx plans to make its air network leaner by engaging in point-to-point flying, substituting truck service on certain connecting routes to enable consolidation and increase aircraft fill rates, and relying more on outside partners.
FedEx Express currently has an asset-heavy network that relies on a hub-and-spoke system. All shipments, regardless of their unit pricing or service commitment, are routed to hubs for sortation and redelivery even if it means carrying goods long distances. The centralized system allows the company to meet next-day delivery commitments but at a high cost, especially when demand and volumes drop.
FedEx is not cancelling orders for Boeing 767 and 777 freighters, or small turboprop planes used to serve rural areas, but will pull back on future growth as it relies more on long-term charter partnerships. Capital expenditures for the fleet are budgeted to fall from USD 2.3 billion last fiscal year to USD 1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2025.
The MD-11F is the last MD-11 variant flying today and was both the last and longest in-production version of the trijet. The MD-11Fs came off of the factory line with a forward port-side cargo door (140 by 102 inches (3.6 m × 2.6 m), enabling access to a main-deck volume of 15,530 cubic feet (440 cubic meters). The MD-11F has a maximum payload of 200,151 pounds (90,787 kg) and can transport 26 pallets of the 88 by 125 inches (2.2 m × 3.2 m) or 96 by 125 inches (2.4 m × 3.2 m)) size.
The MD-11 may have come about just as aircraft with only two jet engines were not just strong but trustworthy and efficient enough to haul freight and passengers, but an ageing aircraft that did not need to fly as often as a passenger aircraft was incredibly financially efficient when acquired. Even though the MD-11 was not the best passenger aircraft; the MD-11 can live on as a good air freighter.
American Airlines to Modernize the Cockpit Displays on More Than 100 A320’s
Airlines are continually looking for ways to enhance the safety and efficiency of their aircraft as technology advances. One way they are accomplishing this is by improving cockpit displays. American Airlines has stated that the cockpit displays on over 100 of its Airbus A320 aircraft will be upgraded. The new screens will use liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to replace the present cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, giving a more contemporary and dependable display for pilots, such as improved situational awareness and more precise flight information.
The Importance of Cockpit Display Improvements
As aircraft technology advances, cockpit displays must also develop to suit the needs of modern aviation. The present CRT screens in American Airlines' Airbus A320 aircraft are obsolete and difficult to maintain. In addition, the screens consume more electricity and emit more heat than contemporary LCD displays.
What does the Collaboration Entail
American Airlines and Airbus have formed a collaboration to modernize the cockpit displays on more than 100 of the carrier's Airbus A320s. According to an announcement made by Airbus on April 19, 2023, the two firms would collaborate on a multi-year upgrade effort to "install Expanded Electronic Instrument System (EEIS2) LCD flight deck displays and new display computers" on American Airlines aircraft. The EEIS2 will replace the airline's present cathode ray tube displays and Display Management Computers (DMC). "Each A320 family aircraft has six flight deck displays and three DMCs placed in the avionics compartment," according to Airbus. Thales, a French aerospace, defense, and transportation electrical systems firm, will build the EEIS, which will be integrated by Airbus. The A320 family's Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) stated that it will "supply the relevant service bulletins and installation kits, as well as on-site engineering assistance." According to the Manufacturer, the new system enhances "information displays for pilots owing to its high-quality LCD screen and delivers new system capabilities and functions for American's A320ceo fleet." Furthermore, Airbus stated that the refit initiative will increase fleet commonality, save maintenance costs, and save 50 kilograms (110.2 lbs.) of weight per aircraft.
The Advantages of Improving Cockpit Displays
American Airlines and its pilots will benefit from improved cockpit displays on the A320s in a variety of ways. The new screens will be more dependable and require less upkeep than the previous CRT displays. They will also use less electricity and produce less heat, putting less strain on the aircraft's electrical system. Furthermore, the LCD displays provide greater visibility and color contrast, making it easier for pilots to read and analyze flight data.
Increased Situational Awareness: The new displays will provide pilots with better situational awareness, which is critical for flying safety. The displays will convey key flight data such as altitude, airspeed, and heading in a clear and straightforward manner, allowing pilots to make rapid and educated judgements.
Improved Flight Data Management: The new displays will also help with flight data management, which is critical in today's aviation. The displays will make it easier for pilots to obtain and handle flying data, decreasing workload and boosting overall performance.
Improved Safety Features: The new displays will also have improved safety features such as sophisticated terrain awareness and warning systems, which will assist pilots in avoiding possible risks and improving overall flight safety.
The Upgrading Procedure and Timetable
The cockpit display enhancements will be performed in stages, with the first aircraft completed by the end of 2023. Airbus will carry out the improvements at its sites in Toulouse, France, and Mobile, Alabama. The update will entail removing the old CRT screens and replacing them with modern LCD displays, as well as making other required changes to the cockpit systems.
Implications of the Upgrade
In many respects, American Airlines and Airbus' partnership to modernize the cockpit displays on more than 100 Airbus A320s is important.
American Airlines' Fleet is Being Modernized: The refurbishment represents an important step in modernizing American Airlines' fleet, which is critical in today's aviation sector. The upgrade will help the airline remain competitive and deliver a better flight experience for its passengers.
Enhancing Pilot Performance: The improvement will also improve American Airlines' pilots' performance, allowing them to operate the aircraft more effectively and safely. This will improve the overall performance and reputation of the airline.
Ensure Passenger Safety: The upgrade's major purpose is to safeguard the safety of American Airlines' passengers. The new displays will provide pilots with improved situational awareness and safety features, lowering the likelihood of accidents and increasing overall flight safety.
Cockpit Display Technology's Future
The partnership between American Airlines and Airbus to improve the cockpit displays on the A320s is just one example of how cockpit display technology is always evolving. As aeroplanes grow more complex, cockpit displays must keep up with these improvements. LCD screens are growing more popular, and we should expect to see more airlines update their displays in the future.
American Airlines and Airbus' partnership to modernize the cockpit displays on more than 100 Airbus A320s is an important step in modernising the airline's fleet and improving overall flight safety. The improvement will provide pilots with increased situational awareness, better flight data management, and additional safety measures, ensuring the passengers' safety. This partnership exemplifies how airlines and aircraft manufacturers may collaborate to improve aviation safety and performance.
With Inputs from AeroTime
In today's world, when the impacts of climate change are becoming more apparent, it is imperative that firms take steps to decrease their carbon footprint. Air travel, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, and airlines are looking for ways to minimize their carbon emissions. Air Canada is leading the way with its Descent Profile Optimization programme, which is expected to save up to 560 metric tons of CO2 each year. The firm has also been working on sustainability efforts. This device claims to minimize the amount of fuel consumed during a flight's descent phase, lowering CO2 emissions.
DPO stands for Descent Profile Optimization
Airlines employ DPO technology to improve the descent portion of a flight. During the descent phase, the aircraft must drop its height from the cruising altitude to the altitude of the destination airport. This phase consumes a substantial quantity of fuel and contributes significantly to CO2 emissions. DPO uses sophisticated software to determine the most effective fall profile for the aircraft. To find the ideal descent path, the programme considers different criteria such as weather conditions, aircraft weight, and air traffic control constraints. This optimized path is subsequently presented to the pilot, resulting in a smoother fall and lower fuel use.
How does DPO Aid in the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
DPO technology aids in the reduction of CO2 emissions in two ways. To begin, by lowering the quantity of fuel consumed during a flight's descent phase. Second, the optimized descent route helps the aircraft arrive at the target airport faster by lowering the amount of time it spends in the air. The reduction in flight time reduces the quantity of fuel consumed and, hence, the amount of CO2 emitted.
Air Canada has chosen Airbus' Descent Profile Optimization (DPO) solution for its A320 and A330 aircraft in order to become more fuel efficient and, as a result, more sustainable. DPO, an upgrade to the aircraft's Flight Management System (FMS) performance database, will be implemented on 48 A320ceo and 18 A330ceo Air Canada aircraft, according to Airbus. When the DPO optimizes an aircraft's flight trajectory during its descent to an airport, the solution reduces fuel usage and, as a result, CO2 emissions. "Air Canada has set an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon neutrality by 2050." "One of the ways we will reach this goal is by operating aircraft more effectively to minimize fuel use," said Murray Strom, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations and Maintenance at Air Canada. Strom further stated that using less gasoline helps the airline maintain financial stability because "fuel is often one of the company's largest costs."
The software-only modification allows aircraft to compute the profile of the descent using an optimized engine model, requiring less fuel while the engine is idle. By lowering fuel consumption, it decreases CO2 and NOx emissions correspondingly, as well as maximizing the time an aircraft spends at cruise altitude, since the technology puts "the peak of descent later in the profile," according to Airbus. "The wasteful level-off step is minimized by the FMS during profile computing, without impacting the final approach speed," the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) stated. The solution "will help Air Canada achieve an estimated 70 metric tons of fuel per aircraft/per year on their A320 fleet (220 tons eq C02), and an estimated 110 metric tons per aircraft/per year on their A330 fleet (340 tons eq C02)," according to Dominik Wacht, the manufacturer's Head of Customer Services for North America. The DPO will also bring the existing engine option (CEO) fleet up to the new engine option (NEO) fleet's operational standards, further contributing to Air Canada's decarbonization ambitions.
DPO Implementation at Air Canada
Air Canada has been at the forefront of sustainable measures, including the deployment of DPO. Since 2016, Air Canada has started employing DPO’s and has experienced considerable improvements. Air Canada has installed DPO on approximately 130 aircraft, resulting in annual CO2 reductions of up to 560 metric tons.
The Advantages of DPO
DPO provides further advantages in addition to lowering CO2 emissions. DPO results in a gentler fall, which improves passenger comfort. The optimized descent also decreases aeroplane noise pollution during the descent phase, which is a key problem for inhabitants who live near airports.
The introduction of DPO by Air Canada is a big step towards sustainability. The utilization of modern technologies such as DPO is critical to decreasing the aviation industry's carbon footprint. The aviation sector may progress towards a more sustainable future with initiatives like DPO.
With Inputs from AeroTime
SpaceX's widely anticipated Starship rocket took off for its first test flight on April 20, 2023. But, only seconds after launch, the spacecraft detonated in mid-air, startling onlookers, and enthusiasts worldwide. We will look at what happened during the test flight, the impact of the explosion, and what this implies for SpaceX's future ambitions.
What exactly is the Starship Rocket?
A summary of the Starship project: SpaceX's Starship rocket is a cutting-edge spaceship that aims to revolutionize space travel. The Starship is the company's most ambitious project to date, with the goal of transporting personnel and goods to the moon, Mars, and beyond. The Starship rocket's technical characteristics are as follows: The Starship rocket is a massive monster, measuring more than 160 feet tall and weighing more than 5 million pounds. Six Raptor engines power the spaceship, making it one of the most powerful rockets ever created.
On Thursday, SpaceX's next-generation spaceship, Starship, crashed minutes after liftoff in an uncrewed test flight from South Texas, cutting short Elon Musk's construction of a rocket vessel that would someday transport humans to the moon and Mars. The flight test was the first for Starship atop SpaceX's new Super Heavy rocket, as well as the first launch for that lower-stage booster, which SpaceX has billed as the most powerful launch vehicle on the planet. Despite the fact that the two-stage rocket ship only made it halfway to the edge of space, ascending to just under 25 miles (40 km), the flight met its primary goal of getting the new vehicle off the ground during liftoff despite several of its engines malfunctioning. While SpaceX executives were pleased with the accomplishment, the mission fell short of numerous goals. The objective was for Starship to fly into space at least 90 miles (150 kilometers) above Earth before re-entering the atmosphere and crashing into the Pacific near Hawaii.
Nevertheless, SpaceX later stated that the spacecraft "experienced several engines out" during its ascent, then "lost altitude and began to tumble" before the "flight termination mechanism on both the rocket and the ship was commanded." Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer, looked ready to dampen expectations in statements made on Sunday that discounted the likelihood of a successful maiden flight. In February, SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell stated that "the true purpose is not to blow up the launch pad." By that metric, the first flight of Starship with its booster rocket was a watershed moment in SpaceX's aim to return passengers to the moon and, eventually, Mars as a key partner in Artemis, NASA's newly launched human spaceflight programme. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson thanked SpaceX on Twitter, adding that "every great achievement throughout history has taken some measure of calculated risk, since great risk comes with tremendous return."
The Fiery Disassembly
The two-stage rocket ship, which stands 394 feet (120 metres) taller than the Statue of Liberty, took off from the company's Starbase spaceport on the southern point of Texas along the Gulf Coast east of Brownsville. SpaceX wanted to make a 90-minute first voyage into space, but only as far as Earth’s orbit. A live broadcast from SpaceX showed the rocket ship ascending into the morning sky as the Raptor engines roared to life in a ball of flame and billowing clouds of exhaust and water vapour. Nevertheless, less than four minutes into the flight, the upper-stage Starship failed to separate from the lower-stage Super Heavy as planned, and the combined spacecraft was spotted falling end over end before exploding. According to SpaceX, the pad and surrounding region were blocked off well in advance of the test. Any debris from the explosion should have fallen in regions designated as off-limits by the US Coast Guard. According to SpaceX, the spacecraft reached a maximum height of around 24 miles (39 km) before exploding. The rocket also appeared to lose control before reaching the key launch point of maximum aerodynamic pressure, according to the corporation. On the livestream, SpaceX executives praised the liftoff as a significant achievement. During the webcast, a swarm of SpaceX employees watching a livestream together at the company's headquarters outside Los Angeles shouted enthusiastically when the rocket passed the launch tower - and again when it blew up.
What exactly does this signify for SpaceX?
Short-term consequences: The Starship rocket explosion is a major setback for SpaceX, forcing delays and perhaps costing the business billions of dollars. The corporation must analyse what went wrong during the test flight and take preventative measures to avoid such mishaps in the future.
Long-term consequences: Despite the setback, SpaceX remains dedicated to its ambition of transforming space travel. The business has already begun construction on a new version of the Starship rocket, taking lessons from the failed test flight into account. SpaceX's ultimate objective is to make space travel accessible to everyone, and the business will continue to push the envelope in the coming years.
Musk, shown wearing a headphone at the Starbase mission control centre in Boca Chica, Texas, later tweeted that the second Starship test launch will be in a few months. "Congratulations to the @SpaceX team for an amazing Starship test launch! I have learned a lot for the next test launch. " He tweeted about it. Musk, who paid $44 billion for Twitter last year, is also the CEO of Tesla Inc., an electric vehicle manufacturer. One of the webcast commenters, SpaceX lead integration engineer John Insprucker, stated that the event will give a plethora of data to influence future flight testing. The path to Thursday's catastrophe was not without challenges and difficulties. In February, a stationary test fire of the Super Heavy while strapped to a platform ignited just 31 Raptor engines, while an earlier static firing test in July 2022 resulted in the vehicle's engine compartment exploding.
Previously, SpaceX has flown prototypes of the top half of the Starship in five brief flights to a height of 6 miles (9.7 km), attempting to refine its return landing capabilities. Except for one, they all went up in flames. The dramatic nature of the first fully integrated Starship-and-booster vehicle's loss during its maiden launch on Thursday emphasized the hurdles SpaceX confronts as it expands beyond its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, the heart of the company's satellite launch business. Even a textbook test flight would have culminated in a crash landing of both halves of the spaceship at sea. The Super Heavy and Starship were both planned to be reusable components, capable of flying back to Earth for gentle landings, a technique that has been standard in scores of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches.
Nevertheless, the flight plan for Thursday's launch called for the lower stage to fall into the Gulf of Mexico after separating from the upper stage, which would have landed in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii after completing almost one full Earth orbit. According to a SpaceX update, "the vehicle encountered several engine failures during the flight test, lost altitude, and began to tumble." "The flight termination system on both the rocket and the spacecraft was activated." "An issue occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation, resulting in vehicle loss." "No casualties or public property damage have been recorded," the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "The FAA will oversee the inquiry into the Starship / Super Heavy test mission incident." Returning the Starship / Super Heavy vehicle to flight is contingent on the FAA deciding that any system, method, or practise associated with the disaster does not jeopardize public safety. This is typical procedure for any accident inquiry."
Despite the setback, SpaceX is unlikely to abandon its lofty aspirations. Elon Musk is known for his endurance and ambition, and the firm has a track record of coming back from setbacks. SpaceX has already accomplished a number of firsts in space exploration, including the launch of the first privately financed liquid-propellant rocket into orbit, docking with the International Space Station, and launching the first commercially constructed and flown spaceship to transfer goods to the ISS. SpaceX clearly has the skills and resources to continue pushing the limits of space exploration.
The explosion of SpaceX's Starship rocket on its first test flight serves as a reminder of the dangers and difficulties of space travel. The launch of the Starship rocket was a significant milestone for SpaceX, but the explosion serves as a reminder of the dangers and difficulties that come with space travel. While the reason for the explosion remains unknown, SpaceX will likely learn from this setback and go on with its ambitious plans. SpaceX's growth in space exploration has been nothing short of spectacular, and we can expect more fascinating advances from the firm in the coming years.
With Inputs from Reuters
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday, April 20 signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for cooperation in aviation safety. The agreement was signed on the first day of the EU-India Aviation Summit here where the Airport Authority of India also signed a declaration of intent with Eurocontrol, a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation.
While the MoU between DGCA and EASA will focus on collaboration at the regulatory level and safety level, the declaration of intent between AAI and Eurocontrol will be focused on the area of air traffic control.
Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said India and the EU share historical relations and invited industry players from the EU to become a part of the fastest-growing aviation market in the world. "India and the EU have shared strong historical relations which continue to grow today on the back of robust physical, digital and people-to-people connectivity, aided by the aviation industry," he said. Scindia made these comments in his virtual address at the two-day summit. He could not attend the event in person after testing Covid positive.
Adina V'lean, European Union Commissioner for Transport, also addressed the summit through virtual mode. "From commercial opportunities to aviation safety and security, sustainability, air traffic management, or consumer protection, our shared experiences, as well as our shared objectives, make us natural partners. We already have a successful history of partnership and cooperation in many areas. I truly hope aviation will become one of our most successful partnerships," she said.
Focus of the Summit
The summit focuses on EU-India air transport relations and the mutually shared challenges and opportunities of the two regions, such as the post-Covid recovery of air traffic, increasing sustainability, maintaining safety and the development of unmanned aircraft systems. The summit will bring together top-level policymakers, industry executives and stakeholders from both the EU and India. "We have a long-standing history of bilateral relations between India and the EU. I am sure we have a bright future together with even stronger cooperation and collaboration between EU and India," said Andreas Carlson, Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Sweden.
The EU-India aviation market is also strategically important, with around 23 lakh passengers travelling on direct routes between the EU and India every year. Yet around 60% of all passengers travelling between the EU and India connect via hub airports in other countries, “showing the significant potential for growing the direct market". Currently, India has open skies arrangements with only six of the 27 EU member states.
Sweden’s minister for infrastructure and housing, Andreas Carlson, represented the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. Close to 300 other representatives from the European and Indian aviation sectors, including EASA, SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking and Eurocontrol, Airports Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, airlines, airports and other stakeholders are attending the event. Europe has created the world’s largest integrated aviation market – a market that serves 27 States and a population of more than 450 million, that transported over one billion passengers in 2019 – half of those domestically, within the EU, and the other half internationally.
The government recently laid out new MRO guidelines for rationalisation of the charges leviable on MRO Service Providers to promote ease of doing business. Scindia also said, "I would urge industry players from the EU to tap these opportunities and become a part of the fastest-growing aviation market in the world.”
The Civil Aviation Minister has also invited EU players to partner with India in developing adaptive technologies to support the objective of tackling emissions from the aviation industry. The government is also encouraging airports to use 100% green energy by 2024 and achieve net zero by the year 2030. Currently, 25 AAI airports are using 100% green energy and the government is targeting to make another 121 Airports carbon neutral by 2025. The government is also working towards encouraging the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
AAI Chairman Highlights Modern Facilities and Expansion Plans
The EU-India Aviation Summit 2023, which took place in New Delhi, Sh. Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), expresses the growing propensity of Indians to fly due to the country's increasing GDP. He highlighted the untapped travel potential between India and European destinations and emphasized AAI's commitment to meeting the growing passenger demand.
AAI is working towards enabling travellers with better and cheaper air travel options by expanding the capacity of its airports and developing Tier 2 and Tier 3 airports. He also mentioned that AAI has recently built a new terminal building with modern facilities at Chennai airport, showcasing their focus on improving infrastructure. AAI is investing more in airport infrastructure to facilitate the growing demand for domestic and international passenger travel. AAI's efforts to support the expanding aviation sector in India and strengthen air connectivity between India and Europe.
German Airports Deserted as Transport Strikes Over the Cost-of-Living Crisis
Germany, one of Europe's most prosperous countries, is undergoing a cost-of-living crisis, which has resulted in widespread transport strikes. Personnel in the aviation, rail, and public transport industries have gone on strike, effectively shutting down the country's transport infrastructure. As a result, German airports are barren, trains and buses are not functioning, and commuters and visitors are stranded.
The Roots of the Cost-of-Living Crisis
The growing cost of housing, petrol, and food is mostly to blame for Germany's cost-of-living crisis. Many Germans are trying to make ends meet, and fuel prices have been continuously rising as a result of rising global oil prices. Furthermore, the epidemic has disrupted global supply networks, raised food prices, and worsened the cost-of-living problem.
Housing Crisis: For several years, the cost of housing in Germany has been escalating. In certain places, the cost of renting an apartment has risen by up to 20% by 2021. The surge in housing expenses has made it difficult for many Germans to obtain affordable homes, particularly in big cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich.
Fuel Prices: Germany's transport system is mainly reliant on imported oil. The country's high gasoline taxes have made it one of the most expensive places in Europe to purchase petrol. The recent rise in global oil prices has increased the cost of petrol in Germany.
Food Valuations: Like many other nations, Germany has been harmed by the pandemic's disruption in global food supply networks. As a result, food prices have increased dramatically in recent months, making it more difficult for many Germans to buy basic essentials.
Personnel Perception: Another issue contributing to the transportation strikes is workers' sense that they are not being fairly rewarded for their labor. Many public transport and airport employees believe that their earnings have not kept up with increased living costs, leaving them struggling to make ends meet. Furthermore, there is a widespread belief that transportation employees do not receive the same benefits and protections as workers in other industries.
The Effects of Transportation Strikes
The continuous transport strikes have had a tremendous impact on the economy and daily life in the country. The strikes have harmed not just commuters but also the tourism industry, which contributes significantly to Germany's economy.
Commuters Who Are Trapped: The strikes have left many commuters stranded, unable to travel to work or school. This has severely disrupted many people's daily routines and resulted in financial losses for those who are unable to work.
Industry of Tourism: The transport strikes have had a considerable impact on the tourism business in Germany, which is a popular tourist destination. Visitors who are unable to go to their destinations have had to abandon their plans, resulting in major losses for the tourist industry.
Economic Devastation: The transport strikes have had a huge impact on German daily life. The strikes have caused huge disruptions in public transport and aviation travel, as well as considerable economic losses for the country. Numerous firms have had to close temporarily, while others have reported severe income drops as a result of the strikes.
Poor Morale: The strikes have had a profound impact on the morale of transport employees. Many workers believe that their employers and the government do not take their problems seriously, resulting in a sense of dissatisfaction and resentment among the workforce.
Airports in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Cologne-Bonn were nearly empty on Thursday, the opening day of another wave of strikes announced by Germany's Verdi labor union in response to the rising cost of living. Over 100,000 people will be impacted by aviation security personnel strikes at the three airports on Thursday and Friday, according to the airport association ADV, with around 700 departing aircraft postponed. "The situation at the terminals today is the same as it was during the previous Verdi strikes this year: departure terminals are empty, and the situation is quiet," said a spokeswoman for Hamburg Airport in a statement. According to the union, it has been talking with the BDLS aviation security organization to press for wage increases for night, weekend, and public holiday duties, but no agreement has been reached. Verdi has called on security personnel at Stuttgart airport to join the walkouts on Friday, leading the airport to suspend all departures. The EVG union in Germany has also called for a state-wide transport strike on Friday, with national train operator Deutsche Bahn among those affected. The walkout will affect 50 enterprises and will last from 03:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (0100 GMT-0900 GMT), causing severe inconvenience, according to the railway and transport union. Rising inflation in Europe's largest economy has triggered a new wave of strikes as employees want better wages to offset growing living costs.
What Steps May Be Taken?
The German cost-of-living crisis is a complicated issue that necessitates a diversified solution. The government must take steps to address rising housing, gasoline, and food prices. This might include expanding the availability of affordable housing, investing in sustainable energy sources, and enacting laws to encourage local agriculture.
Affordable Housing: In order to alleviate the housing issue, the government must invest in the construction of more affordable homes. Rent regulation, for example, might assist in keeping housing costs down and make it more accessible to individuals on low incomes.
Renewable Power: Since Germany relies significantly on imported oil, it is exposed to price changes. Investment in renewable energy sources like wind and solar power might help the country lessen its reliance on fossil fuels and stabilize energy prices.
Local Agricultural Assistance: The epidemic has underlined the necessity of local agriculture in securing a secure food supply. The government might invest in local agriculture by offering subsidies to small-scale farmers or enacting rules that encourage more sustainable farming techniques.
The Reaction to the Transportation Strikes
The German government has been reluctant to respond to the transport strikes, drawing criticism from both employees and the general public. Several lawmakers have asked for stronger assistance for transport employees, including higher pay and benefits. Others, however, have claimed that the strikes are disturbing everyday life and damaging the economy and have called for an end to the demonstrations as soon as possible.
The cost-of-living dilemma in Germany is a major issue that affects many people's everyday lives. The continuous transit strikes have underscored the situation's seriousness and the necessity for action. The government can assist address the core causes of the issue and improve the lives of many Germans by investing in affordable housing, renewable energy, and local agriculture. Going forward, it will be critical for the government and companies to take action to solve these issues and guarantee that transportation employees can earn a fair wage.
With Inputs from Reuters