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In a first for Air India, aircraft flies without additional fuel provision

PW Bureau

The first flight that took off from New Delhi without fuel provision landed at 8.50 am at Hyderabad and was under the command of Capt Amitabh Singh Hyderabad: In a first for India, an Air India flight flew from New Delhi and landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad without any additional fuel which would have been necessary to carry in case of flight diversion. “This is the first flight in the country that has flown without carrying any additional fuel. We will be implementing the same procedure for all our 15 flights that are coming to Hyderabad daily, over a period of time,” an Air India official said.

Is flying without additional fuel provision possible?

An official release by Air India said that regulations require that every aircraft should carry enough fuel to fly to the destination and also an alternative airport in case the route needs to be diverted in case of emergency. However, the airline said that this results in aircraft carrying a lot of dead weight if there is no diversion. Flying without additional provision not only helps conserve fuel, but it also leads to emission reduction. “Provisions exist in the regulations to dispatch flights without an alternate, without compromising on safety issues,” the release said.

Dispatch with no destination alternate?

Under an initiative started by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Director General of Civil Aviation, Air Traffic Control India, Meteorological Department and Air India, Indigo, Spicejet and Air Asia jointly, called ‘Dispatch with no destination alternate,’ airlines are allowed to fly without extra fuel. However, there are conditions — they require the destination airport to be equipped with two runways and good weather condition.

AI first airline to implement the initiative

“For the first time in our country, we are going to use this provision to dispatch flights to Shamshabad airport without filing an alternate in Trial Phase 1, and carrying fuel to fly to the destination, and of course enough fuel for any foreseeable contingencies,” sources said.

What is the fuel requirement?

The fuel requirement for a Boeing 777 flying from New Delhi to Hyderabad could be reduced by about 4 tons (4,000 kg) the fuel consumption by about 140 kg if the aircraft flies without extra provision. The first flight that took off from New Delhi without fuel provision landed at 8.50 am at Hyderabad and was under the command of Capt Amitabh Singh, AI's Director Operations. Capt Digvijay Singh, Capt Rajneesh Sharma and Capt Akhil Gupta accompanied Capt Amitabh on the flight, the AI said.