Indian Regional Carrier TruJet At Risk Of Losing Flying License

Indian regional carrier TruJet is currently at the risk of losing its air operator’s license. Rules state that…

Indian Regional Carrier TruJet At Risk Of Losing Flying License

Indian regional carrier TruJet is currently at the risk of losing its air operator’s license. Rules state that regional airlines must at least have a fleet of five aircraft to maintain their license. However, unpaid leases mean that TruJet only has a single operational aircraft. Let’s find out more about the airline’s current woes and how it could affect a possible $1.9 billion investment.

While TruJet is planning to grow its fleet dramatically, it currently only has its seven ATR 72s. Photo: Atamvir Multani via Wikimedia Commons

Serious challenge

According to BusinessLine, TruJet could be in danger of losing its scheduled air operator’s license. Under DGCA rules, India’s aviation regulator, any regional airline must have five aircraft operational in order to maintain its license. Failure to do so would result in a suspension or revocation of the air operator’s license.

TruJet is currently locked in a battle with lessors, grounding nearly its entire fleet. Out of the seven ATR 72s it operates, two have been grounded due to mechanical issues, and four have been grounded directly by lessors. Only one ATR 72-500, registered VT-TMN and leased from Aergo Capital, is currently flying, according to ch-aviation.

TruJet Fleet
TruJet is demanding a renegotiation of its lease payments before paying off its current dues. Photo: TruJet

The Hyderabad-based carriers seven planes come from three lessors, DAE Capital (three), Aergo Capital (two), and Elix Aviation (three). All three lessors have demanded that their planes be grounded until payments are made. While DAE and Elix’s planes are now on the ground, TruJet continues to operate one of Aergo’s planes.

Lease payments

The current dispute is a result of TruJet failing to pay its lease due to the respective lessors. This has meant the grounding of multiple aircraft as the airline struggles to survive in light of India’s devastating second wave. Instead, TruJet is demanding that the leases be renegotiated and payment plans changed before making any payments.

However, it seems unlikely that the lessors will choose to negotiate. With travel picking up globally, repossessing the plane might be a simpler and more lucrative decision for many. If the lessors decide to deregister the planes from TruJet, its license stands at serious risk of disappearing due to failing to meet fleet obligations.

TruJet A220
Despite TruJet’s recent major investment and fleet planes, the carrier is refusing to pay for now. Photo: Simple Flying

The dispute is interesting given that TruJet just saw a huge investment from financial firm Interups to the tune of $1.9 billion. While most of this capital is reserved for an order of 108 aircraft, some is reserved for operations too. However, Interups Chairman Laxmi Prasad has made it clear that he is not interested in carrying on the current leases, saying,

“We have taken the stance that we will buyout but not continue with leasing unless they (lessors) freeze current obligations and agree with us starting a new payment plan…It’s a must that we negotiate this now as otherwise in legal terms it implies that we have assumed their confirmation of outstanding obligations.”

For now, the future of TruJet and its big plans seems up in the air as it battles to keep its air operator’s license first.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Switzerland Looks To Reopen On June 28th For Vaccinated American

Switzerland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada. The news comes…

Switzerland Looks To Reopen On June 28th For Vaccinated American

Switzerland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada. The news comes just days after the United States relaxed entry requirements for travelers from Switzerland.

Switzerland will re-open its borders to travelers from the United States in late June. Photo: Getty Images

Swiss border re-opening for North American travelers in late June

Multiple media organizations report that pending final ratification by the Swiss Parliament on 23 June, Switzerland will lay out the welcome mat to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada on June 28.

“We are extremely happy,” says Switzerland Tourism director GCC Matthias Albrecht. “Now that borders will open, we can’t wait to welcome each one of you.”

Before the travel downturn, Switzerland was enjoying a surge in passenger arrivals from the United States. Across 2019, arrivals from the United States grew 10% to over 1.1 million, the third consecutive year of substantial growth. Off a much smaller population base, 126,198 Canadians also flew to Switzerland. Like their southern neighbors, Canadians were heading to Switzerland in increasing numbers each year.

A United Airlines Boeing 787 heading out off Zurich Airport in Switzerland. Photo: Getty Images

Welcome news for Switzerland’s biggest airport

For Zurich (ZRH) Airport, Switzerland’s biggest airport, the prospect of additional aircraft and passenger traffic from across the Atlantic is good news. The airport has been campaigning to ease travel restrictions, saying passenger numbers through Switzerland’s airports are down 75%, and thousands of jobs are at risk.

“The economic damage to the entire airport ecosystem is huge because international air travel has been severely restricted for more than a year now,” says Stephan Widrig, CEO of Flughafen Zürich AG, the operator of Zurich Airport.

In May, 450,00 passengers moved through ZRH. That is a big improvement on the May 2020 numbers but 83.4% lower than May 2019. There were 8,043 aircraft movements in May, down 67.1% on May 2019 aircraft movements.

“The desire to travel and the easing of travel restrictions by many countries are noticeable at Zurich Airport,” the airport said in a statement accompanying those recent figures.

Far from the 2019 heyday, flights into Zurich from across the North Atlantic are now scarce. United Airlines operates daily flights from both New York’s Newark (EWR) Airport and Washington Dulles (IAD). Air Canada is operating several flights a week between Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ) and Zurich. SWISS is flying into Zurich from Miami International Airport (MIA), New York’s John F Kennedy Airport (JFK), and Newark.

SWISS aircraft at Zurich Airport. Photo: Zurich Airport

SWISS set to be a big winner

Switzerland’s largest airline, SWISS, is set to be a big beneficiary of the border re-opening. SWISS had already seen growing demand for services from North America (albeit off a very low base) on the back of growing vaccination rates.

“The rise that we have recently seen in our bookings for the summer months clearly shows us how keen people are to travel,” says SWISS Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour.

Over June and July, SWISS will fly or resume services to 49 destinations from its key Zurich and Geneva hubs. Over the summer, the airline will operate 85 routes from Zurich, eyeing the leisure and VFR markets. SWISS says this is an improvement on 12 months ago but still well below (50% to 55%) 2019 flying levels.

SWISS says they’ve been tailoring flights to meet market demand. With the borders about to open for vaccinated United States-based travelers, they should soon be bumping up the frequencies of their transatlantic flying.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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