Thursday, March 02, 2006

Air Transport



Meaning

Transport of men, mail and materials through a vehicle in the air from one place to another is referred to as Air transport. The vehicle in case of air transport is termed as Aircraft. Aircraft is a vehicle operating primarily in the earth's atmosphere but at appreciable distances above the ground.

The growth of air transport has modified the travel habits of million of people and has influenced socio-political and economic life of the people in many countries. These effects have been made possible not only by the rapid technological development of the aircraft but also by the introduction of uniform navigational and communication facilities throughout the world by steady advance in air flight safety. The progressive evolution of international air agreements, regulation, rules of flight, conduct and regulatory agencies together provide a worldwide code of civil aircraft operation.

Characteristic of Air Transport

1. Air transport by nature provides the speediest mode of transport service. The aircraft need to fly above a certain limit of speed due to the basic aerodynamic principle. Speed is the greatest merit of air transport over land or sea transport. Air transport has brought the World closer and in fact the people can reach the other parts of the World within the shortest possible time. Air Transport is used as a very efficient means for speedy transport of men, mail and goods.

2. This mode of transport does not encounter the geographical barriers of earth's surface like mountains, hills, deserts, rivers, etc. and this allows the air transport to provide gradually faster services. It has also the advantages of linking remote and inaccessible areas across the mountains, oceans, deserts and dense forests.

3. Aircraft usually follow Great Circle routes. Great circle routes are the shortest routes between two points. But at times due to political restrictions great circle routes are not followed. Availability of full load traffic is also essential for the aircraft to follow great circle route. If traffic is not available then a longer route is followed by the airlines. On account of security reasons of various countries the aircraft has to change their routes.

4. Weather conditions playa vital rol~ in air transportation. The meteorological elements have significant impact on aviation. The sub-tropical belts of high pressure are the most favorable and in most places, almost ideal areas for aviation. Development of air transport requires better landing equipment in the airports for safe landing of aircraft. Technological improvements and aids like radar, de-icing device, beacons for night flying and many other help in developing the air transport.

5. The rate of depreciation and obsolescence of aircraft is high. The price has to be paid for the rapid technological change in the aircraft manufacturing industries. A major check is also required after twenty thousand air-borne hours, after which the aircraft is said to be in a mint condition. The cost of this check is very high. Moreover, Digital Flight Recorder readout is mandatory every month.

6. The nature of air transport operation required that a major portion of work force acquire job or industry specific skills, through experience or training.

Socio Economic significance:

(a) It facilitates links to inaccessible areas. The air transport aids the land transport in the economic development of areas where other means of transport is practically absent. In regions where road cannot be constructed or land transportation links cannot be established, this mode of transport is to be pressed into service because of necessity. Settlement in various mining areas or in the snow-fed areas is only possible because of air transportation links.

(b) Helps to expand geographical market. Air transport has prompted a number of industries to expand their geographical markets and introduce "just-in-time" innovative distribution technique. The globalization of production market has contributed significantly the growth of air transport. Now the supply of international market is provided by some three hundred airlines.

(c) It creates consumer market. Despite the fact that air transportation has been expensive, all the nations have. utilized every opportunity in developing this mode of transport. The development of civil aviation has been due to the desire to have well-organized air-routes to reach the consumer market. Air cargo has created new markets and has contributed notably to the development of international trade in certain high cost commodities.

(d) It helps to increase military importance. Aircraft are not merely the carrier of goods or passenger or mail but they are also used as the weapons of war. They maintain a system of high-speed transportation requirement of the government and of essential industry in war as well as in peace. The most important advantage military aviation derives from civil aviation is in the development of airways, air navigational aids and ground organization. The military importance of air transport generally prompts the governments to attach more importance for the development of this sector. Air transport serves the boarder areas to strengthen national security.

(e) It creates employment. Air transport industries also create employment opportunities. Development of civil aviation offers jobs in its different segments of operation. Skilled and unskilled persons can be employed in a larger scale with better co-ordination of road and air transport.

if) It provides faster relief operations during flood, cyclone, drought and other natural calamities. When all the land routes of a particular place is cut-off due to natural and other calamities, air transport is the only means to connect that area. Air surveys can also be undertaken to know the topography of a region by using helicopters. At the time of draught, artificial rain can also be affected by air-crafts.

(g) It assists to increase foreign exchange reserve. A national airline can help in saving foreign exchange. Receipts from foreign travelers, export freight and airport expenditure by foreign airlines provide revenues of great value in terms of foreign exchange for many airliners. The wide-ranging opportunities offered by long-haul aircraft attract tourists. Its related economic benefits are enjoyed by smaller and less developed. countries. Economic gains are achieved by the use of air transport, as a stimulant to trade, tourism and industry and the location of one or more international airport terminals in the vicinity of a capital city is a factor critical to national growth.

(h) It assists in developing international tourism by offering attractive travel package to the travelers. The hotel industry can grow with the development of better airport facilities and frequencies of air services. The growth of floriculture industries is possible because of fast transportation facilities thorough air services. Speedy deli very of these types of products is required because of its perishable nature and air-transport fulfills this condition.

(i) Air transport reduces the transit time of transportation, which is vital to boost economic activities. Trading, commercial and official activities can be done at the quickest possible time because of availability air transport. Better international understanding is essential for the welfare of the human race. This requires frequent visit of top dignitaries of a country to the other country to assemble in an international summit and this is possible because of availability of air transport. Air transport offers substantial savings in time over long distances and plays an important role in areas where surface transport is not adequate.

Limitation of Air Transport Services

(i) Air services are affected by adverse weather conditions. Weather condition of a region plays an important part in setting up an airport. In earlier days of air transport, this natural factor played an important role. However, with the development of air flight technology, the airplane can fly at a higher level, thus avoid the weather hazard. Further, development of radio technology, introduction of modern technical equipment for night flying, considerably reduced the weather hazards. However other Weather hazards such as cloud, fog, smoke, dust storm, which either interfere with visibility or affect performance of the air transport service.

(ii) Obsolescence in case of aircraft is high. The rate of obsolescence and depreciation in respect of aircraft is very high. Cost of replacing the outdated aircraft requires appropriation from profit each year to reduce burden on the management of the airlines.

(iii) Not popular for bulk freight transport. As regards freight, it is a popular means of transport, except for commodities of high value per unit of weight, like costly medicines, perishable product and electronic products, etc. The commodities, which can withstand high transport cost, are generally transported by air. It also cannot provide doorstep services or direct connectivity to consumption points.

(iv) It is not economical over short distance. Air transportation is unable to be advantageous or economical over short distances. It is because of this unavoidable limitation that all domestic airlines run for short distances have either been abandoned or are heavily subsidized by Governments.

(v) Air transport is capital intensive. Air transport development requires huge capital investment. Modem traffic control building has to be constructed for safe landing of aircraft. Provisions for ground facilities like air traffic control, radio and meteorological services with modem technical equipment is essential for air transport development. A large area is required for the construction of aerodrome to accommodate large sized aircraft and this requires sizable investment. An aircraft is costly to manufacture, costly to operate and costly to maintain. It needs very high consumption of energy per unit of weight carried.

(vi) Legal restrictions. Many countries imposed several legal restrictions on the foreign airliners in the interest of their own national unity and peace.

(vii) High freight cost. Air transport can only be availed by rich and affluent class of the society because of its high freight cost. This means only the privileged class of the society can avail this opportunity. Air transport, presently is a luxury in the developing countries. Only a small fraction of the total population uses this service.

(viii) Small carrying capacity. Its cargo and passenger carrying capacity is low as compared to road, rail and water transport.

(ix) Air travel is risky. The chances of breakdown due to various factors are high and the chances of survival in case of any accident during the journey are very remote.

Element of Air Transport
There are three elements in air transport i.e
(i) Airway
(ii) Aircraft service
(iii) Airport.

AIRWAY

All aircraft's follow chartered routes marked by modern mechanical devices such as beacons and radio beams. They are controlled by control towers that know the speed, altitude and location of the planes at all times. Air flights are undertaken on carefully undertaken routes as per predetermined timetable and controlled from the air terminals.

AIR CRAFT SERVICE

Commercial air transport is divided into:

(a) Scheduled airlines, and
(b) Non-scheduled airlines.

(a) Scheduled airlines. These provide transport facilities between a given number of points according to a pre-determined routes and time. Scheduled airlines facilities can further be classified into three principal services:

(i) Long distance or intercontinental services.
(ii) Medium distance or regional service.
(iii) Local or inter urban services.

For scheduled air services, the privilege of operating commercial services through or into a foreign country can be divided into:

(i) privilege of flying across a country non-stop,
(ii) privilege of flying across with a stop for technical purposes only,
(iii) privilege of bringing in a discharging traffic from the home state of aircraft or airline,
(iv) privilege of picking up of traffic for the home state of aircraft with privilege of picking up traffic for or discharging traffic from third states in the territory of the state granting the privilege.

(a) Non-scheduled airlines. This offer transport facilities under charter contracts or according to the demands of traffic i.e., they can be hired for special journeys. In many advanced countries, private companies offer Charter flights to passengers during the holiday season.

AIR PORT
Meaning
Without airports there can be no aeronautics as both are inter-dependant. An airport is any space, strip or ground adopted and used primarily for the purpose of take off and landing of an aircraft. An airport can be defined as one or more runways for aircraft together with associated terminals and buildings where passengers and freight are transported and processed, domestic and International Airports are considered to be large complex industrial enterprises (Airstrips or Aerodromes do not meet this definition).

Airports act as a forum for different functions and related activities that combine to facilitate air transport traffic and the interchange between air and surface transport. An aerodrome is described by the International Civil Aviation Organization as a defined area on land or water (including any building, installation and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and movement of aircraft. Airfield is used in reference to small aerodromes, generally without hard runways or facilities of handling large transport aircraft or their passenger or cargo.

Elements of an Airport

Following are the four principal elements of a major airport:

(i) Airport management and control. The airport management and control function embraces the day-to-day operation and long-term planning of the airport, the terminal, runway and taxiway system, local air-traffic control, the lighting, navigational and aircraft approach guidance system, as well as fire-fighting, fuel supply and all ancillary services including custom facilities.

(ij) Passenger and cargo terminals. The passenger and cargo terminals provide for handling passengers, baggage and cargo and the related activities.

(iii) Runway, taxiway and apron system. The runway, taxiway and apron system are required to meet the needs of the aircraft for landing and take off, for positioning correctly for these maneuvers, for aircraft location to receive and discharge loads and for the operating and servicing crews to work.

(iv) Airport services. Airport services related services related to the airport comprise the apron (the part of the airport surface adjacent to the terminal, the handling of aircraft, passenger baggage, cargo, aircraft fuel supply, aircraft catering and engineering services.) Ground related services include passenger terminal catering and the concessionaire facilities within the terminal and the car parking and the garage arrangement in the airport terminal area for the travelling public and the airport staff.

Functions of Air Port
For historical, legal and commercial reasons the activities performed within an airport vary among countries and often among airports within the same country. In many developing countries, the airport functions are owned and operated by a government entity; whereas in many industrialized country ownership functions are privatized. Thus, airport services and facilities can be classified into following categories:

(a) Essential operational services and facilities. Such services are primarily concerned with ensuring safety of aircraft and airport users. This includes air traffic control (ATC) services to facilitate the approach and landing of aircraft, meteorological services, telecommunications, police and securities, fire and ambulance services (Including search and rescue) and runway and building maintenance. These facilities or services are generally provided by the airports themselves or by local or central government departments. The cost of such services differs among airports.

(b) Traffic Handling Services. Numerous services relating to traffic handling have to done at airport. These are commonly termed as ground handling activities. These include cleaning, provision of power, fuel and processing baggage and freight. Other ground handling facilities are more specifically traffic related and cover the various stages of processing Passengers, baggage and freight through terminals and unto aircraft.

Economies of Air Transport

The operating result in an airline is the difference between the operating revenue and operating expenses. The operating cost per unit capacity, i.e., available Ton Kilometres (A TKM) is called 'Unit Cost' and operating revenue per unit capacity utilized, i.e., one revenue ton kilometer (RTKM) is called 'yield'. The total operating cost, hence, is a product of capacity and unit cost and the total revenue is a product of capacity utilized and the yield. These relationships are expressed as under:

Operating expenses = A TKM x Unit cost
Operating Revenue = RTKM x Yield
= (ATKM x Load Factor) xYield.

The expenses of air transport industry can be grouped as under;

(i) General Expenses -These expenses include maintenance of airport building and space, maintenance of air-terminal facilities, advertisement expenses, establishment expenses of general maintenance staff. These are generally fixed in nature.

(ii) Flying Expenses -These expenses includes cost of aircraft, fuel expenses, salary cost of operating crew. These are generally variable in nature.

Documents of Carriage

Passenger Ticket. For the carriage of passengers, the carrier must deliver a passenger ticket, which must contain the following particulars:
(i) The place and date of issue.
(ii) The place of departure and of destination.
(iii) The agreed stopping places.
(iv) The name and address of the carrier or the carriers.
(v) A statement that the carriage is subject to the rules relating to liability contained in the First Schedule to the Convention.

Luggage Ticket. A luggage ticket must be made out in duplicate, one part for the passenger and the other part for the carrier.
It must contain the following particulars:
(i) The place and date of issue.
(ii) The place of departure and of destination.
(iii) The name and address of the carrier or carriers.
(iv) The number of the passenger ticket.
(v) A statement that the delivery of luggage will be made to the bearer of the luggage ticket.
(vi) The number and weight of the packages.
(vii) The amount of the value declared in accordance with the Rule 22(2).
(viii) A statement that the carriage is subject to the rules relating to liabilities.

Air Consignment Note. The consignor has to prepare Air Consignment Note and hand over the goods to the carrier in three parts. The first part shall be marked 'for the carrier' and shall be signed by the consignor. The second part shall be marked 'for the consignee' and shall be signed by the consignor and by the carrier and hall accompanies the goods. The third part shall be signed by the carrier and handed by him to the consignor after the goods have been accepted.

The Air Consignment Note shall contain the following particulars:-

(a) The place and date of its execution.
(b) The place of departure and of destination.
(c) The agreed stopping place subject to change by the carrier if necessary.
(d) The name and address of the consignor.
(e) The name and address of the consignee,
(f) The name and address of the first carrier.
(g) The nature of goods.
(h) The number of packages the method of packing and the particular marks or numbers upon them.
(i) The weight, the quantity, the volume and dimensions of goods.
(j) Apparent conditions of goods and of the packing.
(k) The agreed freight, the date and place of payment and the person who is to pay it.
(l) If the goods are sent for payment on delivery, the price of the goods and if the case so requires, the amount of expense incurred.
(m) The amount of the value declared in accordance with the rule 22(2).
(n) The number of parts of the air consignment note.
(0) The time fixed for the completion of the carriage and a brief note of the route to be followed, if these matters have been agreed upon.
(P) A statement that the carriage is subject to the rules relating to liability contained in the scheduled.

Liability of the Carrier. According to Rule 17, the carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of death or wounding of a passenger or any other bodily injury suffered by a passenger, if the accident which caused the damage so sustained took place on board the aircraft or in course of any of the operations of embarking. According to rule 18(1), the carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of the destruction or loss of, or of damage to, any registered luggage or any goods, if the occurrence which caused the damage so sustained took place during a carriage by air. As per Rule 19 and Rule 20(1), the carrier is also liable for damage occasioned by the delay in carriage by air of passengers, luggage or goods. BQt this liability seizes if the carrier proves that he has taken all necessary measures to avoid the damage. If the carrier proves that the damage was caused by or contributed to by the negligence of the injured person, the court may exonerate the carrier wholly or partly from his liability.

History of Civil Aviation

The history of civil aviation in India began in December 1912. This was with the opening of the first domestic air route between Karachi and Delhi by the Indian state Air services in collaboration with the imperial Airways, UK, though it was a mere extension of London-Karachi flight of the latter airline. Three years later, the first Indian airline, Tata Sons Ltd., started a regular airmail service between Karachi and Madras without any patronage from the government.

At the time of independence, the number of air transport companies, which were operating within and beyond the frontiers of the company, carrying both air cargo and passengers, was nine. It was reduced to eight, with Orient Airways shifting to Pakistan. These airlines were: Tata Airlines, Indian National Airways, Air service of India, Deccan Airways, Ambica Airways, Bharat Airways and Mistry Airways.

In early 1948, a joint sector company, Air India International Ltd., was established by the Government of India and Air India (earlier Tata Airline) with a capital of Rs 2 crore and a fleet of three Lockheed constellation aircraft. Its first flight took off on June 8, 1948 on the Mumbai (Bombay)-London air route. At the time of its nationalization in 1953, it was operating four weekly services between Mumbai-London and two weekly services between Mumbai and Nairobi. The joint venture was headed by J.R.D. Tata, a visionary who had founded the first India airline in 1932 and had himself piloted its inaugural flight.

Significance of Air Transport
Air transport is the most modern, the quickest and the latest addition to the modes of transport. Because of speed with which aeroplanes can fly, travel by air is becoming increasingly popular. As far as the world trade is concerned it is still dominated by sea transport because air transport is very expensive and is also unsuitable for carrying heavy, bulky goods. However, transportation of high value light goods and perishable goods is increasingly being done by air transport.

Nationalization of Airlines
The soaring prices of aviation fuel, mounting salary bills and disproportionately large fleets took a heavy toll of the then airlines. The financial health of companies declined despite liberal Government patronage, particularly from 1949, and an upward trend in air cargo and passenger traffic. The trend, however, was not in keeping with the expectations of these airlines which had gone on an expansion spree during the post-World War II period, acquiring aircraft ad spares.
The Government set up the Air Traffic Enquiry Committee in 1950 to look into the problems of the airline. Though the Committee found no justification for nationalization of airlines, it favored their voluntary merger. Such a merger, however, was not welcomed by the airlines.

Foreign Airlines
Foreign airlines carrying international passenger traffic to and from India existed long before Independence. Their operations are governed by bilateral agreements signed from time to time between the Government of India and the governments of respective countries. In 1980-81, the number of such airlines was 35. It rose to 49 in 1996-97.

The share of foreign airlines in India's scheduled international traffic has increased. In 1971, their share was 55.58 per cent which went up to 65 per cent and declined to 58 per cent during 1972-75. It fell to 55.72 per cent in 1976 and further to 55.02 per cent in 1977. Between 1978 and 1990 it gradually increased and rose to 75.93 per cent. In 1996, the share was nearly 72 per cent.

Open-Sky Policy
The Open-sky policy came in April 1990. The policy allowed air taxi- operators to operate flights from any airport, both on a charter and a non charter basis and to decide their own flight schedules, cargo and passenger fares. The operators were, however, required to use aircraft with a minimum of 15 seats and conform to the prescribed rules. In 1990, the private air taxi-operators carried 15,000 passengers. This number increased to 4.1 lakh in 1992, 29.2 lakh in 1993, 36 lakh in 1994 and 48.9 lakh in 1995.

The 1996, private air taxi operators carried 49.08 lakh passengers which amounted to a 41.14 per cent share in the domestic air passenger traffic. Seven operators viz NEPC Airlines, Skyline NEPC, Jet Air, Archana Airways, Sahara India Airlines, Modiluft and East West Airlines have since acquired the status of scheduled airlines. Besides this there were 22 nonscheduled private operators and 34 private operators holding no-objection certificate in 1996. The number of plus 120 category aircraft in the private sector was 34 and the total fleet strength was 75 in June, 1996. Two out of seven scheduled air taxi operators suspended their operations in 1996 because of the non-availability of aircraft.

Development of Civil Aviation

The repeal of the Air Corporation Act from 1 March 1994 enabled private operators to provide air transport services.

Six operators were given the status of scheduled operators on 1 February 1995.

Currently there are five international airports and 87 domestic airport in the country with 28 civilian enclaves for defence purposes.

The Airport Authority of India plans to invest Rs 35,000 million for the construction and up gradation of airports.

Budgetary support of Rs 485.50 million was allocated to AAI in 1996-97.

In august 1996, in a major policy decision, the government allowed the private sector to set up air cargo complexes in a bid to ensure smooth movement of export cargo.

Domestic and foreign investors including NRIs have been invited to participate in the development of infrastructure support at select airports.
With a market share of 43% Indian airlines is the biggest player in aviation.
Rs 24,710 million have been marked for development of the civil aviation sector in the annual plan for 1997-98.

The Indian Air cargo Market

The growth of air cargo in India has also been manifold though it might not have kept pace with the progress made all over the world. Table 1 shows how both international and domestic air cargo traffic has increased, reflecting an overall year on year growth.

Table 1: Trends in cargo traffic at five international airports in India.
(Figures in '000 tonnes)
Period - International Cargo - Domestic Cargo - Total - Percentage Increase
1972-73 - 47.4 - 33.6 - 81 -
1982-83 - 165.4 - 84.6 - 250 - 209%
1992-93 - 300.5 9- 0.9 391.4 - 56.56%
1999-2000 - 494.2 - 183.0 - 677.2 73%
(Source - Transport India 2000)
Future Outlook of the Industry

Future projections reflect that the air cargo industry both in the domestic sector and the international sector will continue in its upward trend of growth. Fig.1 reflects that the domestic air cargo will continue at a somewhat steady rate of growth whereas the international air cargo movement as illustrated in Fig.2 shows a steeper rate of growth indicating that international air cargo trade will flourish at a higher rate of growth.

9 comments:

Thiruppathy Raja said...

Excellent read. I like your style...have a good one!/Nice blog! Keep it up!

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john said...

Air transport is indeed one of the best ways to transfer one cargo to another place, it is one of the fastest ways too. It's a good thing that nowadays we have tdg training certification for those companies and organization involved in such activity. Transporting dangerous goods such as gun powder can cause serious troubles when not handled properly and the right training will definitely avoid those troubles.

Packers Movers said...

Air transport is indeed one of the best ways to transfer one cargo to another place, it is one of the fastest ways too. It's a good thing that nowadays we have tdg training certification for those companies and organization involved in such activity.

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Ron Schaberg said...

Very thorough descriptions of our industry. Nice read!

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