International Civil Aviation Organization, the premier world body for civil aviation has recommended creation of a centralized system of information sharing among the different countries of the world for warning the carriers about the war zones. This development has taken effect after the downing of Malaysian Airlines over the conflict zone of Ukraine that led to killing of 298 people on-board.
It is noteworthy that ICAO had established the task force in August this year in order to identify the gaps in civil aviation operations with respect to flights to, from and over the conflict zones. The task force consisted of experts from different domains. ICAO has asked its 191 member states to provide fail-safe aviation zones over their airspaces. It has also asked members to share intelligence data, if they have it, for the tragedies that occur in civil aviation.
With member states generally agreeing to the blueprint of this centralized system of information gathering and sharing, it is likely that the recommendations will soon take the final shape and be ready for adoption and execution by the member states.
FAA has granted exemptions to four companies operating the drones and by doing it, it has served a perfect example of how the regulatory authorities can encourage innovation without allowing it to be misused in any way. In a spate of recent discussions over the security concerns of UAS that originated when some of drones were flown close to the airports, this is a welcome step. By granting this exemption, FAA has chosen to go in favour innovation in technology that finds use in a number of industrial and civilian uses.
The companies who were granted exemption are Trimble Navigation Ltd, VDOS Global, LCC, Woolpert, Inc and Clayco, Inc. These are in addition to the seven other companies engaged in the film and video production. The exemptions have been granted because the UAS which have to be used for operations do not pose a threat to the American airspace or its security. Another ground of granting the exemptions was that these weigh less than 55 pounds and will be kept in line of sight at all time during their flights.
These companies, with these exemptions granted, would be able to use these UAS for aerial surveying, monitoring of the construction sites and inspections of the oil rig flares. As FAA moves towards determination of regulatory procedures which will automatically allow the operation of UAS by companies, these exemptions showcase the right path.
Spicejet airline is the low cost carrier of India which is one of the four low cost carriers operating at this time: IndiGo, GoAir and Air Asia India being the other three. As the airline sees a major hurdle in meeting its financial obligations in the wake of recurrent loses, DGCA has begun taking stock of its financial health and the resultant impact on the safety and the operational feasibility of its routes. In directives, DGCA, the civil aviation regulator of India, has made it clear that the carrier has to seek financial respite in this time of crises and shall find an investor, otherwise its operations might be curtailed and even the license might get suspended.
DGCA has also measure to ensure that public does not suffer. It has asked the airline not to book tickets in advance of more than a month. It has also directed it to refund all the money for bookings taken till the month of October 2015. It has also taken back those slots (186 in number) which have seen flight cancellations. The companies that have leased the aircraft to the company have also taken back some of their aircraft which include the Boeing 737s and Q 400s. Reduction in fleet has led to curtailing of scheduled flights, resignation of more than a 100 pilots and even the salaries of employees have not been paid. All this leads to a messy situation in which Spicejet finds itself. It is to be noted that the carrier has dues amounting to 1600 cr. and it will be required to provide a credible payment schedule to DGCA by December mid. It has also been asked to give the salary to employees by the seventh of every month and has also been told to pay the dues of salaries by December 15.
Spicejet has been in news recently for its lowest fare price which it contented has led to market stimulation even though it was itself in turbulent weather. It has been surviving on funding provided by its owners who have infused capital to keep it afloat in past.