Monday, 31 December 2007

Airline Update (India)

As the year draws to a close, its now apparent that it will be remembered as an year of consolidation and international expansion dreams kicking off for some.

Kingfisher and Deccan have merged and will retain the Kingfisher name (their current 46% stake will be increased to 51%). This is the third deal of this nature after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines (now just Air India) and Jet airways acquiring Sahara (now known as Jetlite).

Jet airways has kicked of its international operations successfully and has been adding new routes and destinations as its fleet receives new members. An exclusive lounge for their more privileged passengers has be unveiled at their European hub, Brussels. Code sharing with other international airlines are taking shape and it all looks a rosy picture going into the new year for them.

Air India following their merger is being inducted into the Star Alliance, which is the world's biggest airline alliance, now with 19 existing partner airlines. Full alliance benefits will probably arrive in 2009. Air India is poised to make a fresh order for extra widebody aircraft (possibly including the new Airbus A380) as it begins inception of the new Boeing aircraft from its last order (deliveries from this order are set to continue for the next 2 to 3 years). The airline is also planning to establish a European hub either at Munich, Germany or Vienna, Austria.

With Kingfisher also set to start flying outside India's borders by the end of 2008 it appears that the Indian players are beginning to compete on a global stage with services that are truly world class. Its clear they don't simply intend to match services of their international counterparts but to exceed them! An exciting year to look forward to from this perspective, compliments of the season and a Happy New Year to all, wishing you good health and success in the year ahead.

Tata motors set to acquire Jaguar and Land Rover marques from Ford

Tata has emerged as the clear front runner to acquire the classic english marques from ailing Ford which is looking to curb losses by releasing the loss making brands. Ford however decided to retain Volvo for the present.

Two other companies have also showed keen interest, one of them Mahindra & Mahindra also of Indian origin, although Tata is the clear favourite after receiving approval from the unions in the UK.

So, what does Tata stand to gain from the deal?
In the long run, acquiring the two marques will improve Tata’s own offerings due to knowledge gained and share of expertise. In the meantime if they feel they can restore profitability of Jaguar it will be a bonus.
Jaguar and Land Rover also stand to gain cause they will be in the hands of a really large firm which has a lot of financial resources and so they have their best shot of success (i.e. retaining the objectives of their branding and remaining in existence!)

Its a risk for Tata, but we’ll never know what could have been if they don’t try, so Tata deserves credit for their bold moves; and 10 years from now it’ll be interesting to see what came of this deal, if the marques are still under Tata, and the progress that Tata has made in the other vehicle classes with it’s own offerings.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Airline update...

Yes yes... after a long break we're back... and in due time to announce (though by now its just old news... but I think its stature is such that it deserves a mention) that the first Airbus A380 has been delivered to Singapore Airlines who promptly put it to use on their Sydney route. And they've ordered it with a really spruced up interior...

In the meantime Jet Airways of India has been launching new routes on as it looks to expand its international operations to the West. The carrier currently operates flights to New York(both JFK and Newark) and Toronto, Canada from 3 Indian cities (New Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai). All flights have a stop at Brussels, Belgium which is the airliners hub in Europe. Within the past week an exclusive lounge was unveiled at the Brussels airport for Jet Airways' First and Premiere Class passengers.

Other routes in the pipeline are Shanghai(China), San Francisco (US) and Johannesburg (South Africa) pending delivery of new widebody aircraft orders from both Boeing and Airbus.

The airline is also waiting for approval from the Indian government to fly to several locations in the Gulf region which is a popular destination for Indian nationals.

Monday, 06 August 2007

Victory to Team India...

At Trent Bridge, Nottingham! Not often you hear that... And convincingly too, by a margin of 7 wickets... match scorecard

Cricinfo adds...
'The victory means India have now won at least one Test in ten of their last 12 tours, but have only won two of those series against a team other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. With the last Test at The Oval - a venue which has traditionally produced belters - India have an excellent opportunity to go on and get that rare overseas series victory.'

The next step will be to maintain it... consistency doesn't come easily...

A decent effort to shrug off their poor touring record which has been the main stumbling block in the overall rankings for the subcontinent.

The match photos... Zaheer Khan, Man of the match took a fiver in the 2nd innings.
A rare sight in the past, Sourav and Sachin actually running between the wickets in a Test!
Livewire DK (Dinesh Karthik) celebrates a catch...

Images courtesy:

Back to the airlines...

Just an alert to South African residents that Indian carrier Jet airways plans to fly to Johannesburg as of November this year. Times of India article

Thursday, 07 June 2007

Kingfisher (International Ops)

Yes indeed… Kingfisher have big plans… Plans to become an international carrier between the lucrative western markets to the subcontinent. According to Indian law an airline can only apply to operate internationally after a proven 5 year domestic track record and a fleet of over 20 aircraft. Kingfisher is so keen to get started as soon as their widebody orders come through that they have been considering all alternatives to begin international operations asap… They’ve contemplated starting a US based airline by the same name (such restrictions to establish an international airline don’t exist in the US) and most recently they acquired a 23% stake in their domestic counterpart Deccan airways, this gives them majority stake in Deccan and ticket fares will most probably go up to prevent further losses for Deccan… However since Deccan was established before Kingfisher this now means that they should be able to commence international operations within 6 months if all goes to plan.

Kingfisher really mean business… they’ve got 5 airbus A380 on order (with the option of 5 more)… yes, that’s the super jumbo that’ll be the largest passenger aircraft when it is released. Recently they had one flown to India to commemorate their 2nd Anniversary since the airline started. However due to the production delays and issues experienced with this new Airbus model Kingfisher can only expect to take delivery of theirs’ after 2011. They indeed to begin international operations with the A340 aircrafts they have on order which should be ready much sooner. Latest info is that Kingfisher is set to make another widebody aircraft order (most prob Airbus A340-600) at the Paris Air Show in a couple of weeks. Kingfisher intend to offer top class service building on the reputation they have set on their domestic offerings and plan to employ an entirely international flight crew sourced from the US and Eastern Europe… They became only the second airline to be a sponsor in Formula 1 when they signed a deal to sponsor the Toyota F1 team for the 2007 season (and building on this they indeed to provide live F1 coverage on their flights! )

When they do receive their new aircraft they intend to launch non-stop flights from India to the US (one probable route is Bangalore – San Francisco) as the latest aircraft are able to have much longer fuel ranges than previous generation models.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Kingfisher Airlines

Let's kick off with Kingfisher my personal choice for air travel in india... Why? I hear u ask, the answers are pretty simple.

The one time I was able travel on Kingfisher (on a standard economy class ticket) I was whisked from the airport entrance by a dude in a red blazer to their counter, he even pushed my trolley for me (this was in India!) after a prompt check-in procedure I could spend a few more precious moments bidding farewell to loved ones before I had to go through the gates (quite a contrast to the usual where one has to wait in a queue hoping that you won't have issues with luggage weight and that sort of thing).

Secondly Kingfisher which was launched in just 2005 only purchases new aircraft and this means you get to travel in a fleet that is still very new (they're still to receive the bulk of their orders). Kingfisher were the first domestic Indian airliner to launch a First class service and their aircraft are well-specced with in-flight entertainment options even for the economy (Kingfisher) class. Services such as personalized video screens and headphones broadcasting 5 video channels of the trendy FUN TV and the exclusive Kingfisher Radio - 10 channels of chartbusting music from across the globe, and individual moving map on the personalized video screen which continually keeps track of your aircraft's altitude and speed, as well as flight time remaining to keep you on top of things at all times are noteworthy for a domestic flight in any country (so in India, they're damn impressive).

In addition the luggage restrictions are reasonable, the onboard cuisine is more than satisfactory, the crew are professional (..and good looking ;) and the ticket prices are comparable to other carriers. These are the factors that draw me when I'm trying decide which flight to choose. Ahh... Go Ahead and 'Fly the Good Times' :)

About Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher Airlines is India's first and only private airline to receive the prestigious, 'Best New Airline of the Year' award in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region from Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). Kingfisher Airlines has also been voted as the 3rd Most Successful Brand Launch of the Year 2005, in the annual Brand Derby Survey conducted by India's leading business daily-Business Standard. In another Survey conducted by, Kingfisher Airlines was voted as the 8th Buzziest Brand of 2006 amongst 2000 leading national and international brands. Kingfisher Airlines has also bagged the "Service Excellence for a New Airline" award from Skytrax, a UK based specialist global air transport advisor.

Another addition to the list of laurels is the "Best New Domestic Airline for Excellent Services and Cuisine" award from Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA). In a survey conducted by IMB for the Times of India, 46% of the participants voted Kingfisher Airlines 'The Best Airline" and "India's Favourite Carrier". Kingfisher Airlines has also won the “Brand Leadership Award” in the service and hospitality segment against several acclaimed hotels, leading banks and other airlines. Lastly Kingfisher Airlines won the Economic Times Avaya Award for Excellence in “Customer Responsiveness” for 2006. The Award is highly acclaimed and is presented by India’s largest selling Economic daily, “Economic Times. For more information on Kingfisher Airlines log on to Fly the Good Times with Kingfisher Airlines.

[Airbus photo obtained from]

Monday, 21 May 2007

The (new) Indian aviation industry...

And keeping in line with my new theme of providing interesting stuff that I think might interest you; I've decided to post a few items on the recent boom in the air travel industry in the motherland.

Here's a quick question to get you thinking:

Q: How many domestic airline carriers are in operation in India today? Care to name them...

A: I only realised the scale of growth on my recent visits in 2005 and 2006. A quick check on Wikipedia reveals the following list:
* 1 Air Sahara (now taken over by Jet Airways and soon to be rebadged 'JetLite')
* 2 Jet Airways
* 3 Air India Express
* 4 Alliance Air
* 5 Paramount Airways
* 6 Indus Airways
* 7 Air Deccan
* 8 Go Air
* 9 IndiGo Airlines
*10 Kingfisher Airlines
*11 Spicejet
*12 Jagson Airlines

Yes that's 12 domestic carriers in operation today. Just four years ago, before India liberalised aviation, there were only three main domestic airlines!

Here's a piece I read somewhere on the net... 'During the financial year 2005 - 06, India's civil aviation industry achieved the biggest ever growth in aircraft movement and passenger traffic. Passenger traffic in the domestic airports increased by 22.3 per cent to 59.54 million, while aircraft movement increased by 14.2 per cent to 730 000.'

India is now the fastest growing aviation market in the world according to a recent article by the BBC.

The next couple of posts will take a closer look at specific airlines that have been making the headlines of late.

Monday, 14 May 2007


Ever heard of iGoogle? Browse to and have a look on the top right hand corner, you'll probably see a link that plainly reads 'iGoogle'.

iGoogle which was previously known as 'Personalized google homepage' is a way to customise your google page with all sorts of information that you frequently access on the net (by clicking on 'personalised home' once in iGoogle). From your mail, news, sport and even weather; all these can be added in the form of 'gadgets' to your personal iGoogle. You'll have to sign in with your gmail login (whats that... you don't have a gmail account?! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN all this time! Tsk tsk) and then you can search from hundreds (probably thousands of gadgets). Probably a good idea to save your login details (if you're using a private connection) and set your iGoogle as your homepage :)

Go ahead, try it out if you haven't already done so and if you're a regular on the net then you'll surely find it worthwhile.

Friday, 11 May 2007


Zamzar is a free online file conversion site... and its brilliant. No need to register on the site, no cost involved and its legal; its plain, simple to use and very handy indeed!

Convert document, image, audio or video files (up to a size of 100MB) to another format. For example you can convert a Microsoft Word document (including the new 'docx' MS Word 2007 format) to 'pdf'; or a '3gp' (popular cellphone recording format) file to 'mpg' format. See the full list of available conversion formats here.

New Indian cricket kit on sale now...

The latest ODI kit for the 2007/08 season of team India by Nike is available on Amazon for $99 and from Cricshop (by cricinfo) for 40 pounds.

How safe is your car ???

Ever wondered how safe you and your loved ones would be in the event of a motor accident. Do various makes of vehicles offer various levels of safety and if so is the difference really tangible? The short answer to this question is YES! In fact, its so important there's an institute whose sole purpose is to assess the safety of new cars. You might have heard of it, Euro NCAP (thats pronounced 'n~cap'), based in Brussels, Belgium. They've come up with a system of rating cars according to how safe they are. There are various tests conducted (for example a frontal head on collision into a cement block at 64 km/h), more detail on this as well as test results for specific car models are available at Oh, also note that your car's model (ie year of manufacture) will most likely have a different rating to a different generation of the same make (as in when a new model is introduced with a new shape this car's safety rating will usually be different to the previous model) with safety standards improving with newer models generally. So make sure you check the correct period of your model.


I've had an idea... my next goal is to create informative posts that YOU might be interested in, things that you're not really sure about, perhaps don't know where to look... well I'll try give u a map :)

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Yawn... Is it over yet... CWC 2007

Hmmm... So its finally done... actually it was over a while back, just didn't bother to report on it.

The final was a sad tale which will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, which is unfortunate as both sides who contested it clearly deserved a grand showdown. The first of the disruptions was the weather, the taps were opened and showers rained down and resulted in a much delayed start and a shortening of the match to 38 overs a side.

Hardly an ideal start, but Adam Gilchrist didn't seem to care; he set about destroying the SL bowling attack and managed a blistering century (he really seems to be the guy for the big occasion, he's played in the last 3 world cup finals and has been resoundingly successful on each occasion), there were other noteworthy contributions from the Aussie top order including Mattie Hayden and Ricky Ponting. None of the SL bowlers had any figures of credibility.

The Sri Lankans faced with a mammoth target of 282 in 38 overs had to be aggressive from the start, after an early loss there was a phase when SL were still in the chase while Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara were together, but when that partnership was broken one felt the game slipped out of reach for SL. This combined with other factors such as rain, bad light, pathetic umpiring made the latter stages of this game a sad affair.

Eventually after a few incidents that I'd rather not mention and the second innings being further shortened to 36 overs Australia came out victors by 50 odd runs. The presentation and closing ceremony were conducted in the dark with makeshift spot lights and all that can be said is that the competition should have ended much earlier.

Player of the Tournament was Glenn McGrath, one of the legends who went out in style. Perhaps its worthwhile dwelling on the fact that this tournament presented an opportunity to see many of the retiring greats, complete their ODI careers. So thanks to McGrath, Lara, Kumble and Inzamam-ul-Haq as well as the late Bob Woolmer for their part in making the modern game what it is today.

Oh... and I know I won't forget Leverock’s stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa, just about Bermuda’s only memorable performance during a pitiful World Cup campaign. India showed just who was boss with a 257-run walloping. It was the largest margin in one-day history.

[Information source:]

Friday, 27 April 2007

Brave Cricket... My foot!

A fine line between bravery and stupidity; thats a lesson the Proteas will take back from this latest semi-final embarrassment. Looking to erase the 'chokers' tag applied to them SA managed a feat not seen thus far, their lowest world cup score.

South Africa's top order crumbled to a poultry 27-5 thanks mainly to unnecessary rash shots early on; Smith charging down the wicket only to be beaten by a swinging delivery which had him bowled and Kallis uncharacteristically swinging at a widish one managed to find the edge. (See graphic, content obtained from
Australia needing just 153 runs for victory never looked in trouble despite losing Gilchrist early. Micheal Clarke played a fine knock of 60 odd to see his side through, the Aussie tail has yet to bat in this world cup!to go

Monday, 16 April 2007

Cricket update

And South Africa have continued their below par performance on the field, going down to New Zealand by 5 wickets; later Greame Smith attributed the loss to the toss and the pitch conditions early on... tsk tsk. He might have had a point, I'm sure Kallis (see adjacent graphic) would agree... but that was no excuse for Gibbs (fabulous dive, but the catch didn't stick) and co. to put a below par display in the outfield.

The Irish have hit back, beating Bangladesh comprehensively by 67 runs. Bangladesh once again batted with their do-or-die, now-or-never attitude and lost wickets going for aggressive strokes when they weren't really called for. If it all works on the day they can take on the top sides but if it doesn't they appear very amateur indeed. With experience they should become a more accomplished force, time will tell. Credit to the Irish (players and fans) who have a passion for the game and their country and aren't intimidated by the fact that they're playing amongst the top sides in the world.

[Images source -]

Thursday, 12 April 2007

World Car of the Year 2007

And the winner is... the hush is as profound as the sound (or lack of for that matter) of the running engine of the luxurious Lexus LS460.

The flagship Lexus model was chosen by a panel of 45 journalist-judges from around the world.

The World Car of the Year assessment process considered the requirements of consumers the world over and began with individual jurors evaluating and rating the contestants against a variety of standardised categories. Such attributes as styling, build quality, safety and performance were assessed to form a top ten shortlist in January.

The LS460 impressed the panel of judges with such world firsts as its automatic parking system and 8-speed automatic transmission as well as its peerless build quality and capable performance.

[Selected content attributed to]

Sunday, 08 April 2007

Who would have guessed!

The biggest upset thus far has been pulled off again by Bangladesh who beat South Africa (currently ranked no. 1 ODI team in the world) by 67 runs yesterday. The Bangladeshi side who were largely responsible for Team India's exit it the first round of the competition appeared to have lost their touch with a couple of very average performances to follow up in the beginning of the Super 8; but they found their super form again with a sterling performance against SA, it was their first victory against the south african side in 9 encounters. Their care free attitude of play showed once again that if luck's on their side they can outplay the very best teams in the world.

Friday, 30 March 2007

To the Super 8s

The 2nd Stage of the CWC competition has commenced and India have completed their dismal showing and flown back home. The game's super power (the way I see it Australia and India are the biggest teams in world cricket today) have put up their worst display in a world cup to date. Big loses result from their exit running into millions in forfeited Caribbean travel packages as well as a predictable drop in the television audience from the massive subcontinental market.

Oh well... Tough! The competition goes on... and for minnows Ireland and Bangladesh and their fans things could not be rosier... As I post this blog Ireland is facing England in their fist Super 8 encounter, a distinguished achievement and hopefully this will promote the game in the Irish Republic and they will develop into a fully fledged cricketing force. Fans who at the start of the tournament foresaw a tie between the rivals India and Pakistan will be treated to a spectacle of Ireland v Bangladesh!

The teams from the Southern Hemisphere exhibit none of the inconsistencies their counterparts from the subcontinent suffered, Australia are looking ominous and their squad looks to be back in good shape with the return of Symonds from injury. This produced one of the best matches thus far when they defeated South Africa in their final first round match. South Africa look in good knick although the Caribbean pitches have exposed that perhaps they are lacking slightly in variety in the bowling department. My personal favourite of mine, Shaun Pollock hasn't been the force he normally is; though I believe he will prove himself in the second half of the tournament. These two along with the All blacks are looking to be the teams to beat in this competition, New Zealand look quite strong out on the field with strength in their allrounder department. Sri Lanka is the only major South Asian team left and are doing a reasonable job thus far, their bowling looks to be well organised array of weapons with ample ammunition in the form of experience, capable of being deployed on any type of track at the various battle grounds.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Cricket World Cup 2007

Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the latest edition of the world cup is that the Irish are through to the Super 8s level, a feat that would have been laughed at by most had it been ventured prior to the commencing of the tournament. The big guns from the subcontinent managed to prove once more that consistency is one aspect of the game thats missing from their Caribbean luggage, perhaps all the holiday gear took up all the available compartments. Pakistan gifted the Irish with their passport to the next round on St. Patrick's Day (miracles do happen, if you were an unbeliever then here's your example). India managed to perform worse than Bangladesh in all areas of play and went down to the youngsters in their first match of the tournament, its going to be an uphill battle here on for the biggest side in world cricket to make it past the first round. The Australians are proving strong despite a few injury scares coming into the tournament, an indication of the depth of their squad. The South Africans set about shattering records to show their intent, Herschelle Gibbs becoming the first man in International Cricket to hit a 6 of every ball of an over and Mark Boucher scoring the fastest 50 in a World Cup.

All the action was accompanied by the tragic news of the passing of Bob Woolmer, coach of the Pakistan side and ex-coach of South Africa, just a day after Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament.