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Spiralling aviation fuel; biofuel driven plane could take to Indian skies soon

Author: PTI/Saturday, August 25, 2018/Categories: Aviation

Spiralling aviation fuel; biofuel driven plane could take to Indian skies soon

New Delhi - At a time when spiralling aviation fuel has strained the finances of domestic airlines, a private carrier is planning to operate some of its flight through biofuel.

No frills carrier SpiceJet will test a plane on Monday that uses biofuel. It could be a small turboporp, with officials from DGCA and other aviation bodies onboard to ascertain the feasibility of biofuel-drive aircraft.

The objective is to make air travel economical and bring some respite to the airlines reeling under high fuel price through the use of alternate fuel, insiders in the aviation industry said.

Aviation leaders are a worried lot over the rising fuel costs and have demanded the government bring Aviation Turbine Fuel under GST.

Vistara's chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor said in a tweet today that aviation in India is not for the "weak-kneed" while expressing concern over the domestic aviation fuel rates.

"Domestic aviation fuel (ATF) rates ex-DEL are  now 97% higher (ie almost double) the low it hit in Feb 2016, and less than 10% short of highest ever it hit in 2014. Average fares are however down at least 40% from 2014! Aviation in India not an industry for the weak-kneed," he said.

Domestic carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet have reported losses in the June quarter, the high fuel cost being a key factor for the financial reverses. Jet Airways, on the other hand, has deferred announcing its quarterly results.

If the test on Monday brings success, India could join a select few countries such as USA and Australia who have had biofuel-operated commercial aircraft.

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