Tata Boeing Aerospace Delivers 250th Fuselage for AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter

Radhika Bansal

23 Dec 2023

Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), which is a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) and Boeing Aerospace, has delivered the 250th fuselage for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter from its facility in Hyderabad. These fuselages go into AH-64 helicopters manufactured for customers worldwide, including the US Army, and most recently, the six on order with the Indian Army, TBAL said.

The 14,000-square metres Hyderabad facility is a global sole source supplier for Apache fuselages, with over 90% of the parts used in the Apache aerostructure assemblies manufactured in India through more than 100 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) suppliers, it added. 

The company said in a statement, “This milestone reflects TBAL's continuous dedication to bolstering India's defence capabilities and advancing the nation's indigenous manufacturing prowess.”

The joint venture employs over 900 engineers and technicians at its Hyderabad facility and uses cutting-edge robotics, automation and advanced aerospace concepts in its manufacturing processes. TBAL said this key milestone reflects its dedication to bolstering India's defence capabilities and advancing its indigenous manufacturing prowess.

The AH-64 Apache is one of the most lethal aircraft which is almost completely manufactured in India. According to the Tata Aerospace release, over 90% of the parts used in the Apache aerostructure assemblies are manufactured in India through more than 100 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) suppliers. Globally, more than 1,280 Apache helicopters are in operation and they have accumulated a total of more than five million flight hours, of which 1.3 million hours have been during combat. 

With the contemporary AH-64E Apache variant in production till at least 2028, Boeing foresees that the aircraft will remain in service as a primary attack helicopter for various nations, into the 2060s.

Boeing delivered the first US Army Apache AH-64A variant in 1984 and thereafter went on to deliver more than 2700 of these choppers for various global customers including Egypt, Greece, India, and Indonesia.

Power of AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters

AH-64 Apache attack helicopter is capable of delivering a variety of weapons which include air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air-to-air Stinger missiles. The helicopter carries one 30 mm chain gun with 1200 rounds as part of the area weapon sub-system.

Apart from having a fully armed arsenal aboard, the Apache helicopter also comes fully equipped with fire control radar, which has a 360° coverage and nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems, said the Defence Ministry earlier.

Currently, the Indian Air Force has a fleet of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, which is considered to be the world's deadliest helicopter ever manufactured. Boeing signed a deal with the Indian government in 2020 to supply six more helicopters to the IAF.

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German Pilots' Strike Disrupts Lufthansa' Discover Airlines' Christmas Travel Plans

Abhishek Nayar

23 Dec 2023

In an unexpected turn of events, the German pilots' union VC has called for a five-hour strike at Discover Airlines, a leisure subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group. The strike is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 22, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (0700-1200 GMT), just ahead of the Christmas holidays, potentially impacting holiday travel plans for many passengers.

Strike Details

The strike is set to affect all flights operated by Discover Airlines using the Airbus 320 and 330 fleet departing from Germany during the specified time frame. The union, VC, did not provide a precise number of participating pilots, leaving passengers uncertain about the extent of the disruption to their travel itineraries.

Discover Airlines' Response

Discover Airlines responded to the strike announcement, expressing regret over the decision. According to a spokesperson for the airline, talks with VC were reportedly in the final stages, making the strike unexpected. The airline assured passengers that it would minimize the impact by rebooking affected individuals on alternative Lufthansa Group flights or flights scheduled outside the strike period.

Flight Impact

During the strike period, Discover Airlines had 16 flights planned. While the exact number of affected passengers remains undisclosed, the airline's efforts to rebook travelers on alternative flights suggest a commitment to mitigating the inconvenience caused by the industrial action.

Negotiations and Union's Stance

The VC spokesperson stated that the decision to strike was a result of the employer's failure to reach a satisfactory collective agreement. Despite being on the verge of finalizing negotiations, the union emphasized the seriousness of its desire for a fair deal and expressed readiness to resume discussions at any time.

Discover Airlines Profile

Established in 2021, Discover Airlines operates as the Lufthansa Group's leisure airline, primarily focusing on transporting travelers from Frankfurt and Munich to various holiday destinations. The disruption caused by the strike raises questions about the potential ripple effects on the airline's reputation and customer satisfaction.


As travelers brace for the impact of the upcoming strike, the aviation industry faces challenges in maintaining seamless holiday operations. Discover Airlines' efforts to rebook affected passengers demonstrate a commitment to customer service, but the overall consequences of the strike on the airline's operations and passenger experience remain uncertain. With negotiations at a standstill, the focus now shifts to resolving the underlying issues and preventing future disruptions in the dynamic landscape of air travel.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Settlements Reached Over Foreign-Owned Aircraft Stranded in Russia Post-Ukraine Invasion

Abhishek Nayar

23 Dec 2023

In a significant development, Ural Airlines and S7 Airlines have successfully negotiated settlements concerning 63 foreign-owned aircraft that were stranded in Russia following the commencement of its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The resolution comes as a result of extensive negotiations involving the airlines and three major lessors - AerCap, ALC, and SMBC Aviation Capital, with the participation of the Russian insurance company NSK.

Settlement Details

S7 Airlines, in a statement released on December 22, 2023, disclosed that they have finalized a deal with the lessors for a total of 45 medium-haul aircraft. The agreement covers 29 aircraft and four spare engines with AerCap, and an additional 18 aircraft and one spare engine with Ural Airlines. The settlements, totaling approximately $572 million, have been approved by the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of the Treasury.

Under the terms of the settlement, the lessors, namely AerCap, ALC, and SMBC Aviation Capital, have agreed to cease any claims against S7 Airlines under insurance policies and lease agreements. This marks a crucial step in resolving the complex situation surrounding the stranded aircraft, facilitating the airlines' efforts to move forward.

S7 Airlines' Perspective

S7 Airlines expressed its commitment to continuing negotiations with other foreign lessors to find resolutions for the remaining aircraft. The airline stated that discussions are ongoing to address aircraft relations with other lessors, indicating a proactive approach to resolving outstanding issues.

Ural Airlines' Announcement

Ural Airlines, in a separate statement, announced that the settlements allow the newly acquired jets to operate freely outside Russia without the fear of being impounded. As a direct outcome, Ural Airlines has declared its intention to resume flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) starting from December 27, 2023, signaling a positive turn of events for the airline.

International Approvals and Controversies

The settlements with AerCap and other lessors have been subject to scrutiny and approval by the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of the Treasury. This involvement highlights the international nature of the aviation industry and the need for cooperation in resolving intricate issues arising from geopolitical events.

Global Ramifications

This development follows the European Parliament's resolution in May 2022, demanding the return of over 400 "stolen" aircraft leased from foreign companies by Russia. The settlements between the Russian airlines and lessors represent a step towards addressing some of the concerns raised in the international community, fostering a more stable and cooperative environment within the aviation industry.


The resolution of the aircraft impasse between Ural Airlines, S7 Airlines, and foreign lessors marks a positive development in the aftermath of the geopolitical events surrounding the invasion of Ukraine. The settlements pave the way for these airlines to regain control of their fleets, allowing for the resumption of international operations and signaling a potential thaw in strained aviation relations.

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flynas Initiates IPO Process for 2024, Eyes Expansion and EVTOL Ventures

Abhishek Nayar

23 Dec 2023

Saudi Arabia's low-cost airline, flynas, has set its sights on an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2024, a move that signifies a potential transformation in the company's financial structure. With the engagement of investment banks Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley, along with Fransi Capital of Saudi Arabia, flynas aims to make a significant mark in the stock market after previous attempts in 2008 proved inconclusive.


Originally known as Nas Air, flynas has a rich history in the aviation industry. Owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Riyadh-based airline operates a fleet of 60 Airbus aircraft, comprising A320neos, A320ceos, and A330s. The airline has not only established itself as a key player in the region but has also signaled its intent to expand further with an order of 120 additional aircraft from Airbus, including 110 A320neo and 10 A321XLR models.

The IPO Endeavor

The decision to go public is not new for flynas. In 2008, the airline, then named Nas Air, had considered an IPO and had enlisted the services of Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., and NCB Capital. However, the plan did not materialize at that time. Now, with a renewed effort and the backing of renowned investment banks, flynas seems determined to make its mark on the stock market in 2024. The IPO move is expected to provide flynas with the capital needed for expansion and to navigate the dynamic aviation landscape.

Strategic Partnerships and Expansion Plans

In addition to its IPO aspirations, flynas has been proactive in forging strategic partnerships to bolster its position in the industry. On November 30, 2023, the airline announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EVE, the advanced air mobility arm of Embraer. This collaboration aims to explore the implementation of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) operations in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by 2026. The move aligns with the global trend toward sustainable aviation and showcases flynas' commitment to embracing innovative technologies.

Looking Ahead

As flynas prepares for its IPO in 2024, the aviation industry will be closely watching the developments. The success of the public offering could provide the airline with the financial impetus needed to fulfill its ambitious plans for expansion and technological innovation. Moreover, the strategic collaboration with Embraer's EVE signifies flynas' forward-looking approach in embracing the future of air travel.


flynas' decision to embark on an Initial Public Offering in 2024 marks a significant chapter in its history. With the backing of reputable investment banks and a visionary leadership, the airline aims to secure the financial backing necessary for its expansion plans. As the aviation industry undergoes transformative changes, flynas' strategic partnerships and commitment to technological innovation position it as a key player in shaping the future of air travel in the Middle East and beyond.

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SpiceJet Faces Legal Woes as Delhi High Court Orders Payment to Engine Lessors

Abhishek Nayar

23 Dec 2023

In a recent development, the Delhi High Court delivered a verdict against SpiceJet, an Indian low-cost carrier (LCC), in a case involving two engine lessors, Team France 01 SS and Sunbird France 02 SS. The court, led by Justice Rekha Palli, has ordered SpiceJet to settle outstanding payments amounting to INR 37 million (USD 445,000) by January 3, 2024.

Background of the Case

The dispute revolves around the non-payment of dues totaling USD 12.9 million, with SpiceJet being in arrears for a period of two years. The special purpose vehicles (SPVs), representing the lessors, have terminated the engine leases due to alleged breaches by the airline.

Court Decision and Payment Schedule

Justice Rekha Palli ruled in favor of the lessors, emphasizing the need for SpiceJet to fulfill its financial obligations promptly. The court has stipulated a payment schedule, with installments running from December 21 through January 3. Additionally, the matter is scheduled for a further hearing on January 4, where the judge hinted at the possibility of granting a restraining order against SpiceJet from using the remaining engine/s.

SpiceJet's Response and Financial Challenges

SpiceJet did not dispute the owed amount during the court proceedings. A spokesperson for the airline stated that they are consistently clearing their dues and are in the process of raising capital. The capital raise is intended, in part, to settle ongoing litigation, as various engine and airframe lessors pursue legal action against SpiceJet for lease breaches.

Capital Raise and Potential Investors

Reports suggest that SpiceJet is exploring a capital raise, and a significant portion may come from Mumbai-based businessman Harihara Mahapatra and his wife, Preeti. The Mahapatras, associated with Mahapatra Universal Limited, a conglomerate with interests in diverse sectors, plan to invest INR 11 billion (USD 132.4 million) in exchange for a 19% stake in SpiceJet.

Future Prospects and Industry Impact

As SpiceJet navigates legal challenges and financial restructuring, the aviation industry watches closely. The outcome of the ongoing litigation could impact the airline's operations and potentially influence its standing among investors.


SpiceJet's legal battles highlight the complexities within the aviation sector, where financial disputes and lease breaches have become increasingly common. The forthcoming hearings and the airline's capital infusion efforts will shape the trajectory of SpiceJet, emphasizing the delicate balance between financial viability and legal obligations in the competitive world of aviation.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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NIIF Intends to Invest up to INR 675 Crore in Upcoming Bhogapuram Int'l Airport in Andhra

Radhika Bansal

22 Dec 2023

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is planning to invest up to INR 675 crore in the upcoming greenfield international airport at Bhogapuram in Andhra Pradesh, which is being developed by the GMR group. This marks NIIF's second airport investment, after the GMR Goa International Airport Ltd, which operates Manohar International Airport in Goa.

GMR Airports Ltd (GAL) -- a subsidiary of GMR Airports Infrastructure Ltd (GAIL) -- and NIIF have entered into binding agreements for the NIIF to invest up to INR 6.75 billion (INR 675 crore) in GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport Ltd (GVIAL), GMR Group said. The transaction envisages a primary investment by NIIF in the form of Compulsorily Convertible Debentures (CCDs) to be issued by GVIAL, it said.

GVIAL -- a special purpose vehicle to develop and operate the Bhogapuram International Airport -- was 2020 awarded the concession to develop and operate the Bhogapuram International Airport (BIA) to the north of Visakhapatnam under a 40-year design-build-finance-operate-and-transfer model.

BIA, a part of the National Infrastructure Pipeline, is poised to become the largest airport in Andhra Pradesh with a phase-I capacity of up to six million passengers a year and with an ultimate capacity of up to 40 million passengers per annum, the statement said.

The transaction is subject to customary completion of conditions precedent and necessary approvals, the company said. This investment is part of the financial partnership announced last December between parties, concerning investment by NIIF in the equity capital of three airport projects of GMR Airports Ltd, it said.

"NIIF's investment in GVIAL represents the Fund's second airport project, underscoring our commitment to participate in the implementation of the government's ambitious National Infrastructure Pipeline," Vinod Giri, Managing Partner for Master Fund at National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd, said. NIIF's Master Fund is India's largest infrastructure fund with a robust and well-diversified portfolio across transportation, energy and digital infrastructure, he said. "NIIF believes that Bhogapuram International Airport will strengthen aviation infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh, playing a pivotal role in the region's economic progress in the coming years," Giri added.

The BIA project is well-positioned to boost connectivity and transportation infrastructure in northern Andhra Pradesh, GMR group said.

"We are confident that we will replicate the success of our Hyderabad Airport and the new world-class airport will act as the catalyst for the socio-economic growth of the city and the state (Andhra Pradesh)," GBS Raju, Business Chairman for Airports at GMR Group, said. "Our growing partnership with NIIF is a further testament to GMR's credibility as an airport infrastructure developer and the future of the aviation industry in the country," he said.

The transaction envisages a primary investment by NIIF in the form of compulsory convertible debentures (CCDs) to be issued by GVIAL. The transaction is subject to customary completion of conditions precedent and necessary approvals.

The GMR Group is currently overseeing the expansion of the Delhi and Hyderabad airports, with the completion of the expansion work anticipated by March next year, according to GMR Airports Infrastructure’s annual report for 2022-23. Upon completion of the expansion, the Delhi airport will have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers per annum (MPPA), while the Hyderabad airport will be able to accommodate 34 MPPA.


Shares of GMR Airports Infrastructure Ltd ended at INR 73.39, up by INR 2.03, or 2.84% on the BSE.