India's August Domestic Air Traffic Up 23%: IATA

India's domestic air passenger traffic grew in double digits for the 48th consecutive month in August, a global airline association said. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India's domestic air passenger volume measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) was highest among major aviation markets like Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the US.  As per the data, India's domestic RPK in the month under review rose by 22.6 per cent," IATA said in its global passenger traffic results for August 2018. 

"Traffic continues to be stimulated by sizeable increases in the number of domestic routes served."  India's domestic passenger traffic growth was followed by that of China at 14.9 per cent and the Russian Federation at 13.2 per cent.  In terms of capacity, India's domestic available seat kilometres (ASK) -- which measures available passenger capacity -- was higher by 16.1 per cent in August, that of China's 11.7 per cent and the Russian Federation saw an 11.3 per cent rise. 

Mahindra Aerospace's 'Airvan 8' Type Certified by DGCA

Mahindra Aerospace's Airvan 8 is now type certified in India. The company has thanked Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for Type Acceptance of its Turbocharged Airvan 8. The company conveyed this information through a tweet. Mahindra Aerospace tweeted, “Thank you #DGCA for Type Acceptance of our Turbocharged Airvan 8! Customers in India can now choose between the 300 HP Airvan 8 NA (Normally Aspirated) or 320 HP Airvan 8 TC (Turbocharged).”

Mahindra Aerospace had received a FAR 23 type certificate from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority for its Airvan 10 last year. Airvan 10 is the turbocharged version of the Airvan 8. The Airvan 10 is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250 B-17, which produces 450-shaft horsepower. Now the company’s Airvan 8 has also received type acceptance certificate from DGCA. It will allow Mahindra to make this aircraft operational in India.

SpiceJet Flew Jets On Seed Oil

SpiceJet operated India's first ever biojet fuel flight.

For eight years, a team of 20 scientists worked to convert the small black seeds of the jatropha plant into fuel to fire the engines of a jet plane. On August 27, their work at the verdant campus of Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun paid off. Three hundred and thirty kilos of bio-jet fuel developed from jatropha — a hardy plant with nearly 40% oil content — was partially used to propel a 45-minute SpiceJet flight from Dehradun to Delhi .

The IIP team took four days to extract this quantity of oil, which was used in the right engine of the plane. “Since this was a test flight, only 25% of bio-jet fuel was used and the rest was conventional aviation turbine fuel (ATF). International standards cap the use of bio-jet fuel at 50% in each engine,” says Dr Anjan Ray, director, CSIR-IIP.

Feedstock for bio-jet fuel can be obtained from 400 types of plant seeds. This initiative relied on jatropha as it was readily available from the Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development Authority. “Around 500 farmers from Maoist-hit villages grow this crop. It’s transforming their lives,” says Ray.

Planes use kerosene-based fuels, which are polluting. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), air transport contributes to 4.9% of climate change. Burning biofuel also leads to emissions but they’re less toxic.

“Any hydrocarbon fuel will generate about 3.15 tons of CO2 per ton of fuel combusted. But when we burn fuel that’s been obtained from a plant, its carbon emission is balanced by the carbon the plant absorbs from the atmosphere. Using 100% bio-jet fuel on a flight can bring down its carbon footprint by 50-80% depending on feed stock, supply chain and process of production,” explains Ray. Another benefit is reduced air pollution. “Conventional aviation fuel contains 3,000 parts per million of sulphur that leads to emission of sulphur dioxide. Biojet fuel contains less than 10 parts per million sulphur.”

The IIP is also working on ways to turn used cooking oil into biofuel for both jets and automobiles. A litre of used cooking oil can yield 850-950ml of biodiesel. India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has introduced regulations from July 1 that bar commercial eateries from reusing cooking oil, and instead encourages them to pass it on to biofuel developers. “Annually, about 23 million tonnes of cooking oil is consumed in India,” says an FSSAI communication.

“The conventional jet fuel demand in India is 6-7 million tonnes, up to half of that can be technical substituted by bio-jet fuel, and about a third of this half can be obtained from used cooking oil,” says Ray. If biofuels have benefits, why are cars and planes still powered by petrol and kerosene? It’s the cost and the difficulty of manufacturing it on an industrial scale.


India to announce new Bio-ATF policy soon: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet operated a demonstration flight of its biofuel-powered Bombardier Q400 aircraft from Dehradhun to Delhi on 27 Aug 2018. The fuel for the flight was developed by Indian Institute of Petroleum

The oil ministry will soon announce a new Bio-Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) policy, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The idea is to promote the use of clean biofuel in aviation. He was speaking to the media at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport during an event marking the arrival of the country’s first biofuel-powered aircraft operated by SpiceJet. Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, commerce minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha were also present on the occasion.

The government had earlier this year approved the National Policy on bio-fuel, which allows blending of ethanol produced from damaged foodgrains, rotten potatoes, corn and sugar beet with petrol, hoping to cut oil imports by Rs 4,000 crore in the current financial year alone.

The policy provides for viability gap funding (VGF) scheme for setting up 2G Ethanol bio refineries at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore in six years in addition to additional tax incentives and higher purchase price as compared to first generation biofuels. Fuel cost accounts for around 50 per cent of an airlines expenses in India. In a bid to reduce operational costs of airline operators, the country’s aviation industry has been appealing to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) council to include ATF under the ambit of GST. 



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