Friday, 30 January 2015

Drones Okay For Agriculture and Real Estate

That drones might pose as security risk is well known to FAA but this is not preventing it from permitting its use in civil applications. Before it comes out with a ruling permitting full-fledged usage of drones for commercial and non-commercial purposes, it is allowing exceptions selectively on case-to-case basis. The most recent exceptions are for use of drones in taking photographs of buildings/properties that are on sale and for ‘crop scouting’ in agriculture. 

In the field of agriculture, these can be used for making aerial surveys, taking aerial measurements of fields, ascertain health of crops in the fields, monitor the presence of pests and even be fitted with the sensors to gather a range of information which is not visible to naked eye. The use of drones in this way is expected to save time and labor of farmers who currently have to walk to different parts of their fields for inspections.
In the field of commercial real estate, these are expected to undertake aerial photos of the properties which are on sale so as to present the real-time videos for their listings. These would be helpful to prospective buyers. This can also be used to check the health of properties where it is difficult for man to reach, especially in case of the tall buildings. 

FAA has also granted exemptions to 11 companies so far that are involved in oil exploration, film production, landfill, real estate, agriculture, etc.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Air Arabia Buys 49 percent in Petra Airlines, Makes Amman an International Hub

If Etihad and Emirates have been on expansion spree with a number of partnerships and agreements with global airlines, Sharjah based Air Arabia is not sitting idle as well. It has recently acquired stake in Jordan’s Petra Airlines. The acquisition is a strategic move which would allow Air Arabia to make Amman its 5th international hub. Petra Airline will be rechristened as ‘Air Arabia Jordan’.  The new hub of operations will be the Queen Alia airport in Amman from where the flights will reach to a number of destinations in Europe, North Africa and Middle East.

Jordan is a country having a rich historical and cultural heritage and a number of tourists visit there. Air Arabia will be able to not just provide greater reach to the country and beyond for its own passengers but will also help in uplifting the local economy with more job creations. Infusion of capital through the equity route will also help in Air Arabia Jordan achieve its short and long term goals.

Tips for Carrying Musical Instruments on American Carriers

Airlines and musicians seem to be at loggerheads with one another when it comes to transportation of the musical instruments. Since the musicians have to carry their favorite instruments with them for their performances or even for routine practice, there is no other way but to carry these aboard the airplanes. Problems in carrying these by air are many. Prohibitive or highly restrictive airline rules and policies of the airlines are the first layer of hindrance which the musicians have to cope with. If they are lucky enough to carry these on the flights, whether as cabin or as checked in baggage, the next hindrance to ensure that these remain safe and are not lost or damaged.  Whether it is the favorite sitar of Indian maestro Ravi Shankar or even the guitars or violins of the less popular musicians, airlines have a bad reputation of ensuring their safe carriage.

Department of Transportation of US has now permitted the carriage of guitars, violins and other smaller musical instruments on board as cabin baggage. However, here is a general checklist of some important tips which have to be considered before taking musical instruments along:

  1. Check whether the airline allows its carriage in the first place. You can also check which airline has the most friendly policies regarding its carriage.
  2. Check for the size restrictions and weight restrictions.
  3. It is better to inform Customer service reps of airline at the time of making the booking for tickets about the nature, size and weight of musical instruments before making the reservations.
  4. Ascertain where all these can be kept and whether there is sufficient space for it to fit in.
  5. Generally, stringed or fragile items, which are not too bulky or fragile, shall be carried as hand baggage.
  6. If you have to place the instruments in checked baggage, do take all precaution in its packing including proper labeling to ensure safe handling.
  7. Always have some extra time for checking in since it is advisable to check in instruments after screening in your presence only. So, arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled check in time. 

What is runwaySimulator Airport Capacity Model?

runwaySimulator Airport Capacity model has long been used by the FAA to ensure that the airports are developed in such a way that that most optimal capacities can be developed for flights to operate. This tool was developed by MITRE. Now, they are planning to allow the use of this tool in the public domain.
The tool is used for managing the runway related operations of the flights. These include recording of the arriving and the departing traffic, assigning the runway, sequencing of the flights and other operations on the runway.  It generates a random traffic sample and this aspect takes into consideration the mix of airplanes that are used for landing or taking off. Also noted are the differences in their respective operational parameters. Also built in the model are the standards of separation between a pair of aircrafts. Pilot and controller behaviors are assumed to be constant. If certain types of aircrafts are not allowed to use certain runways, these exceptions are also developed within the model. With these basic inputs being developed in the model, the algorithm helps in assignment of runways and sequencing of the airplanes. So, it helps in maintaining efficiency of operations with due respect to rules governing separation of carriers and eligibility of runways for certain types of airplanes.

When put in the public domain, this can also be used for estimating capacity of runway for different arrival-departure mixes. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Interjet is the new Codeshare Partner of American Airlines

Interjet airlines, one of the fastest growing airline of Mexico, has reached a codeshare agreement with the American Airlines. The agreement gives a push to the raid expansion plans of Interjet which is currently serving 38 destinations in Mexico and other destinations across US, Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Mexico shares its northern borders with America and there is good connectivity between the two countries. With the cementing of this agreement, AA will be able to expand its reach to 5 cities of Mexico from its capital Mexico City. These cities are Villahermosa, Merida, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Huatulco and Oaxaca.

Since it is the traffic from southern American states which makes for a good proportion of air traffic to Mexico, this agreement will enable the travelers to travel to different Mexican cities on one ticket.
Other partners and alliances of AA can be seen here

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Safest Airlines to Fly With in 2015- has released a list of the safest airlines of the world. After the twin tragedies of Malaysia Airlines crashes and the one of AirAsia within a span of a few months has added to the concerns of the passengers regarding air safety. This list, which is brought out annually, could not have come at a more opportune time. If the findings of the organization are anything to go by, a majority of the airlines it monitors are safe to fly with which would be music to the ears of passengers and would ameliorate their flying fears.

As per the report of the group, Qantas airlines of Australia is the safest airliner of the world and it has still maintained this position over from the last year. The airline fleet has the average age of 7.9 years since it was privatized 20 years before. The carrier has also remained in the forefront of safety related innovations and has remained ahead of others on this score. Qantas also sets the best benchmarks for adopting the safety standards.

The report has also tried to do away with the popular contention that low cost carriers can not remain safe since they have to operate on low costs which invariably means making some compromises with their safety standards. Out of the about 450 airlines it monitors, about 150 are having 7 star rating in terms of safety, the highest which an airline can get. Similarly, it has also monitored LCCs for air safety standards and brought the list of 10 top LCCs which has passed the IATA OSA audit. has also brought out the list of least safe airlines and leaders in this category are Agni Air, Kam Air, Nepal Airlines, Scat and Tara Air.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Saudia Will Have Males and Females Seated Separately

Saudia, the national carrier of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will soon be issuing instructions to its booking staff to not allow gender-mixing in flights, unless the people are very closely related. Saudi Arabia has been quite a traditional and a highly conservative society. There are sensitivities regarding these types of issues and the government often makes the rules for public order and conduct with due respect to these sensitivities.
Saudia had received a number of complaints from the passengers about males being seated along with their wives and other female passengers. This has not been taken as a very acceptable behavior in the Saudi society and therefore the national carrier has been asked to meet these concerns of the passengers. Soon, instructions will be issued to the booking staff to ensure that the separation happens between males and females, unless they are very closely related.
This one instance goes to show how various factors go to influence seating patterns aboard the aircraft. Precisely how will this be managed in case of online seat selection is another challenge.

Air Canada Puts St. Kitts and Dubai back on its Radar

Air Canada has decided to launch a non-stop service to Dubai, the affluent Gulf nation, after 1 year, in November 2015. Air Canada will fly 3 flights in a week to this city and will be its first non-stop service to Dubai. This has come in the wake of the fact that Air Canada continues to develop on its international network as a part of its strategy. Air Canada makes use of codeshare agreement with Etihad to connect Toronto with Abu Dhabi. To reach Dubai it relies on services of other Star Alliance member Lufthansa from Frankfurt and Munich. This flight will cement the relations between the two countries. Boeing 787 is planned to be used with 3 cabin classes of flights.

Besides direct flight to Dubai, Air Canada is also planning to start its seasonal service to St. Kitts, popular for its leisure vacations. This will be a non-stop service between Toronto and Robert Bradshaw Airport. St. Kitts is world famous for its sunny weather during the winter, exotic beaches, wonderful gifts of nature, hospitable people and sleepy towns and villages.