In my story in today’s International Herald Tribune, I interview folks who are agog over the rapid growth and ambitious plans of the formerly overlooked Turkish Airlines. Of Turkish, Ralph Anker of anna.aero writes Istanbul is “the most diverse hub in Europe.”
While Turkey keeps sending its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to soothe trouble spots around the world maybe he ought to plan a stop in New Delhi and explain that when a nation’s aviation system becomes a global laughing stock, you got problems baby!
Oh, never mind, Tony Tyler already did.
Okay, so the incredibly handsome and dapper Tyler didn’t put it exactly that way. He’s a gentleman after all. But in a speech to India Aviation 2012 conference in Hyderabad he got thisclose calling the situation in India “critical” and saying, “I am not here to point fingers or apportion blame. The state of today’s Indian aviation industry is the result of a number of factors.”
A number of factors, indeed. Let’s just recap.
- Over the past year pilots flying for Air India, Spice Jet and IndiGo were charged with falsifying their flight hours
- Air India battled additional charges that its pilots had broken “bottle to throttle” regulations.
- Kingfisher canceled flights by the hundreds as regulators examine whether the airline is safe.
- Practically every Indian airline is losing money
- A government audit showed inadequate training and flight monitoring are endemic to all Indian airlines
- The Indian carriers are so unreliable as business partners, the Star Alliance boss, Jaan Albrecht told me in December, the global airline network would not be looking to add an Indian member in the near future.
All of this suggests the booming demand for air travel has outpaced Indian airlines’ abilities to safety operate. That’s the airlines’ problem. What the government does about it becomes the problem of the Indian travelers who – like the rest of the world – are developing an appetite for mobility. It’s also a problem for the growing number of visitors intrigued by or doing business in Incredible India.
Tyler’s speech, which you can read here, presented a four-pronged plan of action and a call for a unified national aviation policy. It is all well couched in niceties of course.
But if you ask undiplomatic me, it is terrible that a country with so much to offer can be languishing so far behind the pack in aviation.
In fact, it’s incredible.