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Airline pilots more prone to cataract

     Washington: Airline pilots have an increased risk of nuclear cataracts due to cumulative exposure to cosmic radiation, according to a study in the August issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Commercial airline pilots are reported to be at an increased risk for some cancers, but studies on the biological effects of their exposure to cosmic radiation have been limited. Vilhjalmur Rafnsson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, and colleagues conducted a case control study involved 445 men to determine whether employment as a pilot is associated with lens opacification. Exposure to cosmic radiation was assessed based on employment time as pilots, annual number of hours flown on each aircraft type, time tables, flight profiles and individual cumulative radiation doses calculated by computer. Among the 71 cases with nuclear cataract, 15 were employed as commercial pilots, whereas among the 374 controls (without nuclear cataract), 64 were employed as pilots. "The odds ratio for nuclear cataract risk among cases and controls was 3.02 for pilots compared with nonpilots, adjusted for age, smoking status, and sunbathing habits," the researchers report. The researchers found an association between the estimated cumulative radiation dose and the risk of nuclear cataract. "The association between the cosmic radiation exposure of pilots and the risk of nuclear cataracts, adjusted for age, smoking status, and sunbathing habits, indicates that cosmic radiation may be a causative factor in nuclear cataracts among commercial airline pilots," the authors conclude.
- Aug 9,  2005

Flying at lower altitudes can help reduce global warming (Go To Top)

     London: German Researchers have said that the fumes of water vapour and ice particles (contrails) left as trails by jet planes during high altitude cruising leads to the formation of cirrus clouds, which trap atmospheric heat, leading to global warming. Researchers have said that that by cruising at a lower altitude of 24, 000 feet compared to the present level of 33,000 feet, planes reduce their impact on global warming. Since the air at this height is not supersaturated with ice, exhaust from planes will not form contrails. Researchers said that planes fly at a high altitude because engines don't perform as efficiently in lower altitudes, adding that aircraft engines are optimised to fly at higher altitudes. "If you lower the altitude substantially you place a heavy load on air traffic control, and the engines don't operate as efficiently," NewScientist quoted Hermann Mannstein from the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen as saying. Mannstein whose team conducted balloon measurements of relative humidity in the atmosphere to show that the regions of supersaturated air were only about 500 metres thick said, that though the ability to determine the exact altitude of these regions was limited at present, it would be soon possible to relay such information to pilots in future. - -Aug 8,  2005

Jet Airways expands 'Check Fare' scheme to all sectors (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: Giving another push to the ongoing war on air fares, Jet Airways has decided to expand its hugely popular Instant Purchase 'Check Fares' across most of its network from today. The company said in a statement that it has withdrawn 15, 21 and 30 days apex and super apex fares where passengers had to book the ticket in advance. "Now the advance booking will not be necessary and 'Check Fare' tickets will be available on almost all sectors on a first-come, first-serve basis," a company spokesman said. Reservation and ticketing of 'Check Fares' have to be done simultaneously. Passengers can also book these fares on the airline's website. A Jet Airways ticket between Delhi and Mumbai will be available between Rs 2,120 and Rs 6,520 and Delhi-Kolkata between Rs 4,420 and Rs 8,220. The fare between Chennai and Delhi will be Rs 5,920 and Rs 10,220, while the fares between Delhi and Hyderabad range from Rs 4,280 to Rs 7,220, the statement said. Members of the airline's frequent flyer programme 'Jet Privilege' can also accrue miles on most 'Check Fare' tickets, subject to applicable conditions. Passengers can change their travel plan for a cancellation fee of Rs 500," he said. The fare levels ranging from ten to two will now be available in several sectors. Jet Airways' announcements assume significance in the wake of its major competitors lowering fares. Indian Airlines and Air Sahara had earlier launched a similar exercise.
- Aug 6,  2005

Designer uniforms to speak of airliner's ethos and identity (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: Glamour world, ramp, Page 3 and film industry have always been a part of the fashion industry, but now, fashion designers are also designing uniforms for India's booming aviation sector as a fleet of new carriers take to the Indian skies. " We have just presented (our designs) to Air India and we are still waiting. The brief was given and we have worked on that and we have put together some two or three options, let's see what happens," said noted fashion designer J J Valaya. Valaya thinks that it's an evolutionary process that everyone in the world is going through, even when it comes to dresses donned by professionals, after designing the couture it's the institutional designing which is in trend. "It's an evolution process which I think everybody is going through worldwide. We are capable to put new looks to any sector whether it's aviation or hospitality or would be anything. This is a trend, that most designers are now into institutional designing," said Valaya. Experts say that a special uniform would go a long way in projecting an airline company's long-term image. "The functionality to start with and then the identity, those two would be the key things with any airline or corporate when trying to project an image. There is that brief that has to come through the clothes, so that uniform or the way they dress has to speak what are the ethos of the airline. What message they are trying to convey as well as the extrmely functional and user friendly ," said Valaya.

     And it's not only for the aviation sector, designers are also designing for corporates and hospitality industry. Designers believe that these sectors (aviation, corporate, hospitality) have also become image concious. In order to picture a goody and professional image, a professional uniform has become an important part of the personality. Apart from the image, a designer can design the uniform in the given frame of time and finances. "Corporates have started to approach designers to doing there dresses and garments, especially uniforms for them, because I think image has become really important for them. To bring a professional, who can design outfits proffessionally within a given brief and costing and keeping in mind the wearabilty, colours," said Anjana Bhargav, fashion designer. Designers are given few inputs like weather conditions, where the uniform would be worn, the uniforms would be washed oftenly, being every day wear and the material preffered. "The fact that it is going to be washed and worn often and also attrition levels are very high in hospitality industry, people change their jobs very often it has to be made with certain size aspect that can be worn over and over again by few people so all those things we need to keep in mind when we have to design for a corporate or a hotel industry," said Anjana Bhargav. The corporate sectors or hospitality industry provides a platform to a designer to earn name and fame in the industry, being a part of a large project. "You are not capable of widening your market on your own on such a large level until you work with a corporate because suddenly your base becomes that much broader because your across the country: a) number of outlets, b) number of hotels; Visibity is so much stronger, base is wider which we could have never achieved on your own because each one has a limited budget and a strategise growth plan, so you may grow but it may take X number of years to grow where as doing this you grow completely in one shot," said Anjana Bhargav. With this latest trend of establishing an airliner's identity through a well-designed uniform or vision statement or a logo, designers are also all poised.
- Aug 5,  2005

India,China to lure pilots from West (Go To Top)

     London: India and China are reportedly competing with each other to recruit qualified European pilots to counter a potential shortfall of pilots over the next ten years, with Beijing's shortfall being pegged at about 8,000 trained personnel. India also been forced to hire foreign pilots. Air India is understood to have grounded aircraft because of a shortage of pilots. Experts expect India to need up to 4,000 more pilots over the next five years and that training them will cost about 200 million dollars, reports TimesOnline. India pays its commercial pilots about 8,000 dollars a month, whereas Chineses pilots are paid anywhere between 2,466 dollars to 6,000 dollars a month. Britain on the other hand forks out between 8,000 dollars and 18,000 dollars. With the commercial aviation industry in China booming, the country's government has decided to permit airlines to recruit foreigners for the first time. According to TimesOnline, at least 100 European pilots have been hired by Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Okay Airways. Forecasters are expecting China to become the worlds second- largest aviation market after the US in the next 20 years. Boeing estimates that China will need more than 2,400 new passenger and freight aircraft costing almost 200 billion dollars over the next two decades. It will need 55,000 pilots to fly them.
- Aug 5,  2005

Boeing eyes India's booming demand for aircraft (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: With the aviation sector in India poised for a 20 per cent growth over the next three to four years, US aircraft-major Boeing Company today unveiled its latest long-haul Boeing-777 Worldliner to the Indian market. "The demand which we are observing in India is one of the highest growth rates in the world today," Keskar said. "We see a demand for about 490 aircraft for about 36 billion dollar," he added. Boeing, which has been facing stiff competition from French aircraft manufacturer Airbus to corner Indias booming demand, which is expected to be about 490 aircrafts over the next two decades, triggered by falling airfares and increasing air passenger traffic. "Demand for the 777-2000LR is unquestionably rising," said Dinesh Keskar, Boeings vice President-Sales during an on-board press interaction. The new aircraft is capable of connecting almost any two cities in the world nonstop and has a capacity of 301 passengers. Boeing claims that it can fly more passengers farther and faster than A340 by Airbus. Boeing is vying with Airbus to corner the demand for national carriers, Air India and Indian Airlines. Air Indias board had approved a deal with Boeing to supply 50 aircrafts, which however faced rough weather after the French envoy in India cried foul over the deal. French Ambassador Dominique Girard had kicked up a row by stating that growing Indo-US relations influenced that Air Indias decision, which New Delhi had rebuffed. The 40,000 crore-rupee deal is currently before a Group of Ministers, which had favoured renegotiation of prices. India's domestic and international traffic is estimated to grow 20 percent a year with several new airliners bidding entry into sector, both for domestic and international operations.
- Aug 4,  2005

Centre planning for seven greenfield airports: Praful Patel (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Government has given in principle approval for construction of a new Greenfield airport at Mopa in Goa for which the state government has got a technical feasibility report prepared. Besides, there are also plans for construction of greenfield airports at Navi Mumbai, Chakan near Pune, Ludhiana in Punjab, Kannur in Kerala, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kohima in Nagaland which are in preliminary stages. This information was given by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. At present there are two ongoing Greenfield airport projects, one at Devanahalli near Bangalore and the other at Shamshabad near Hyderabad are in progress. The Government has already entered into Concession Agreements with the project companies of these Greenfield airports. The project company for Devanahalli airport, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), has already executed the relevant project agreements and the Financial Close has been achieved by it on 23rd June, 2005. As per the Concession Agreement entered by Government of India with BIAL, the new airport at Devanahalli is required to be completed within 33 months from the date of Financial Close. The project agreements for Shamshabad Hyderabad airport are in different stages of execution. The project Company for this airport i.e. Hyderabad International Airport Limited (HIAL) is required to complete this project within 36 months from the date of financial close, as per the Concession Agreement entered by Government of India with HIAL. Financial Close is expected to be achieved by September 2005. At present, there is no proposal for second airport at New Delhi,Patel said in his written reply.
- Aug 2,  2005

Air India plane heads for London after emergency landing in Delhi (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Air India plane that made an emergency landing at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGAI) late on Sunday night has been cleared for take-off to London today. The plane will take off for London at 2 p.m, Air India spokesman Jitendra Bhargava said, adding that engineers had given clearance for its onward journey. Earlier on Sunday, the Air India Boeing 747 aircraft carrying over 300 passengers and crew from Mumbai to London made a safe landing amidst full emergency. The landing took place after the pilot of the aircraft detected a technical problem over Karachi after taking off from Mumbai at 6.30 p.m. (IST). On contacting traffic control at Mumbai airport, the pilot was told to land at the nearest airport in Delhi for a check-up. The plane landed in Delhi at around 10.45 p.m. (IST), Delhi Airport Director V K Arora said, adding that all passengers and flight attendants had been put up in a five-star hotel. Though passengers had complained about not being given correct information, airline staff said there was nothing to worry about.
- Aug 1,  2005

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