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A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science For whom the bell tolls? Gay abandon in pricing A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways The balancing act Solar, solar everywhere … A yen for wastage… A more liberated TN… F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Protest masters... Kinetic Karnataka Kudos to NDTV... L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles B H Kothari - a tribute Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Mersal magnified The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more TELANGANA at last…BUT Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Where a state respects its litterateurs… Towards speedy justice The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Plummeting profits of PSBs Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... TIAM turns a full cycle Funding the un-funded Quality silica from Neyveli Modi storms Silicon Valley Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Tatas moving out of urea production... New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Tatas moving out of urea production... Should we change the official year? Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... IPL - no surprise this scam The power-full Hindujas Editor's Says There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai The rise and fall of Annamalai University Kulandai was a giant Revive development banks... Cement prices continue to rise… Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! 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Tribute Moily’s bold thrust Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Auto components surge… Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Streamlining mandatory third party cover CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. London, London Narayan This scant respect for Law Welcome GST China invests in India Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Fortune 500 review Mu Sigma – is no more Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Tribute – M V Murugappan Readers' Mail A friendly business group Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Make standards certification mandatory... Wise Presidents Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Why this malaise in medical education? When the President was rendered homeless… Haul over the coal Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Maximising the micro pricing … Welcome focus on core competence to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Sweeter prospects for sugar West Bengal: mindless malignancy The Gulf aviation boom Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Breaththrough in malaria control Solar thermal shines… Music happens Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ PC’s preference for professionals SoA @ 80 The nuclear option Boy, can you beat these? Convulsions in The Hindu Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health More heat than light Delhi Chalo... An inexplicable neglect CII projects higher growth… Small units prefers to remain small... Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Quality education through the PPP mode TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Building loyalty through the stomach ONGC at KG Basin GM Technology at last! When Ratan Tata visited SRM Banning booze... Shanti and Sadhana through Music Marketing expert Balagopal is no more L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Waning interest in public discussions… Parliament in paralysis... Multi-faceted Venkat Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector GNS - 100: our first subscriber Where is Rajaji? Adharma of opposition politics A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Pharma – overdose of copying Delhi is distant Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Lalu’s envy, India’s pride A welcome initiative by the judiciary When online building permits work…. Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Silver Years of Madras Musings Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform
 
Fortune for Indian Airlines

In the 1950s and 1960s, several countries in Asia and Africa were gaining independence. The first things these countries did were  (a)  invent a flag (b) decide on a national anthem and (c) establish a national airline. But setting an airline and efficiently managing it required both resources and management skills.

The Gulf countries witnessed a huge surge in their incomes post the 1971 oil crisis. Most of these countries are small with little natural resources, except oil. With their sparse population, managing big business was an additional problem. With the oil prices zooming, several of these thought the civil aviation sector, employing manpower from across the globe, can be a lucrative business. Several oil-rich countries set up their airlines in quick succession.

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer of oil and Kuwait were among the earliest. In subsequent years, one witnessed several airline companies established in the Gulf region – Emirates, Gulf Air, Etihad Airlines... These countries also built modern airports. Dubai emerged among the largest of these and competed with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong. The Gulf airlines, buoyed by oil wealth, went for a large fleet of modern aircraft. Emirates was one of the earliest to go for Airbus 380 aircraft, the largest in operation.

The location of the Gulf, en route to Europe and the US, was a significant advantage. Airlines in the Gulf attracted customers from India, used their home base as their hubs and offered non-stop flights to Europe, the US and other far off places and compete with the established airlines in Europe. In this, they found the large Indian air travel population an extremely attractive target for custom. The sloppy performance of India’s cash-starved national carrier Air India coincided with the surge in air travel from India, and these became great opportunities for the Gulf carriers. Through hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha, these Gulf airlines offered convenient and often shorter duration flights to the US. Etihad Airlines went one step further in establishing the US immigration and customs department at Abu Dhabi. This helps complete formalities of immigration and customs in the transit time and enable passengers to arrive at US airports as domestic travellers.

The traditional hubs in Europe, Frankfurt for Lufthansa, Heathrow for British Airways or Charles de Gaulle for Air France, have been rapidly losing custom to these airports in the Gulf. These Gulf airlines also offer airfares at extremely competitive rates. Thus, the boom enjoyed earlier by the European airlines has substantially declined giving space to these airlines from the Gulf.

In India, a corresponding change is not taking place at an equal pace. Air India continues to operate international flights from the Mumbai and Delhi hubs. This means passengers from other cities are aggregated in these two hubs. For long, there has been a demand for Air India offering direct flights from the south, but it has not taken place. Two decades ago, Lufthansa started offering direct flights from Chennai, then extended these from Bengaluru and Hyderabad to Frankfurt and then to dozens of destinations in America, Europe, Africa and elsewhere. Private airlines like Jet Airways and later Kingfisher held promise of expanding its destinations to Europe, the US and other places. Again these were constrained by their resources needed for large-scale acquisition of aircraft and for maintaining and improving the services. Kingfisher crashed out.

Jet Airways joined hands with Etihad as an equity partner and has been able to increase its custom for foreign travel. IndiGo and SpiceJet thrive on local custom.  Tatas entered with a lot of promise, simultaneously setting up two airlines – one a joint venture collaboration with Singapore Airlines and the other with the budget airline AirAsia of Malaysia. These are in the process of getting licenses to fly abroad after the recent amendment to the 5/20 rule, which stipulated a minimum of five years’ experience in operation and at least 20 aircrafts.

Indian companies need much larger resources to benefit from the massive increase in the number of air travellers.

The new aviation policy provides exciting prospects to trigger entry of more operators in the Indian aviation sector.

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