A couple of days ago, Jet Airways put up a loosely worded media statement on their website, which stated that they have not been flying above Ukraine for a few months. Here is the statement:

jetiarways

To this, I countered with data about the fact that Jet Airways has indeed been flying over Ukraine, in fact flying right on top of the conflict zone sometimes. Here is the post I wrote yesterday, and below is the snapshots of the July 17 flightpath of one of Jet Airways’ European flights.

9w119

Now, Jet Airways seems to see reason in the fact that they were not entirely above board in their last explanation. So, they’ve put in a new one today, where they state

Jet Airways has ceased flying over the Notified Ukrainian airspace as per directives received by all airlines, since the beginning of the conflict. We have now, effective 17th July 2014, completely ceased flying through the entire Ukrainian airspace.

jetairways2

Hey, I am still not convinced. I think that last flight I am showing above is flying through the notified airspace, although the NOTAM stated that you should fly above 32000 feet and hence they are in the clear. Had Jet Airways said they were in compliance with the notifications issued or something, that would have been fine as well

What is with this whole show that they can’t accept they made a mistake anyways? Other airlines such as Finnair have publicly acknowledged they made a mistake by stating that they did not fly over Ukraine.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

I’m still a little bit shocked at the way things played out last week in the air, and realising I won’t have a different point of view to offer, I restrained myself from pouring out on the tragedy that happened over the Ukrainian airspace last week.

However, one of the things on my mind has been the reactions that have been made by other airlines to assuage their customers about the situation. Many an airlines went about clarifying that they did not fly over the Ukrainian airspace for a while, but lets stick to the situation closer home.

The Government of India issued a statement a couple of days ago about India’s airlines not flying around Ukraine. In the same statement, they mentioned

The Ministry would like to mention there was no Air India flight near the ill-fated Malaysian plane at the time of the incident.

Here is a snapshot from the Press Information Bureau website, just in case it gets deleted later.

pibindia

I don’t know what degree of pulling the wool over my eyes would be acceptable, but this is totally not true. Air India 113, an Amritsar – Delhi – Birmingham service, passed the same ill-fated spot, as the government likes to call it, and as per Flightradar24, was only about 25 kilometres away from the Malaysia Airlines plane at the time of the incident. [Flightpath]

ai113

Heck, even Air India 1, the Air India Boeing 744 flight which is commissioned to take the Prime Minister of India to his international engagements also flew over Ukraine on the same day, at about the same points. This is a snapshot of AI1 flying over Ukraine, around the conflict zone. Not just that, the other plane in this snapshot is AI 121 on its way to Frankfurt from Delhi, again over Ukrainian airspace.

ai1

What surprises me is that the Special Protection Group, responsible for the security of India’s Prime Minister amongst other high level state representatives, need a 4 engine plane to move the PM around, but any commercial jetliner would do without even having the required counter measures for such threats like missiles.

And Jet Airways, as per their own website, claimed they have not been flying over Ukraine’s airspace since the conflict begin. Here is the statement.

jetiarways

Now, while they had a few flights over that airspace on the same day as MH17 going down (July 17, 2014), they should not even have bothered with a lie on their website. I have multiple examples, but here is just one snapshot for your reference about two Jet Airways flights flying near Donetsk on the Ill-fated day, like the government of India calls it.

9w2279w119

Those are two of the few Jet Airways flights which were over the Ukrainian air space just the same day, around the same time as MH17 took off from Amsterdam.

No one should fault an airline for flying over the conflict zone, because the airspace above 32000 feet was an open corridor for air traffic, so no one was doing the wrong thing by flying at that altitude. Here is a post by Seth, the Wandering Aramean, explaining how airspace was opened and closed before and after the MH17 incident.

But to try and distance themselves from the tragedy by lying to the public does not get my sympathy to either of the two airlines (Air India and Jet Airways).

Update July 21, 2014: Jet Airways issues a clarification but does not fully come clean.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

Last year, I wrote about Tata’s upcoming joint venture airlines with Singapore Airlines, which is the second JV Tata made in 2013 to get back into Indian aviation. Along with Air Asia, they’ve already launched a low-fare carrier called Air Asia India last month, and now the focus is on getting this one off the ground in another couple of months.

While Air Asia India is a no-frills carrier, the new Tata/Singapore Airlines carrier will be a full-service carrier which will compete with Air India and Jet Airways on metro routes to start with. They’re in the process of getting their Air Operators Permit in India right now, and their first Airbus A320 (to bear registration VT-TTB) took to the skies for its first test flight a few days ago.

There are many a folks expecting this carrier to get the access pass to the Star Alliance right away, by virtue of being a protégé to a Star Alliance founder Member Singapore Airlines. Not happening in the first 18 months I say. But it would be interesting to see how they scale up in a market where already there is minimal difference between a No Frills and Full service carrier, since they operate from the same airports and offer the same facilities apart from the little extra that the full service carriers charge for, i.e., a meal.

The brand name for this airline is also not out yet, so the frequent flyer program also isn’t known of course. But I’m hoping they’d status match to get a head start in the domestic market when they come out with one!

I’ll keep an eye on this…

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