GoAir may get clarity on A320 Neo delivery schedule by mid-Jan

Go Air Aircraft at the Delhi Airport. Photo: S.Subramanium

Budget carrier GoAir, whose fleet expansion plans were affected after European aircraft maker Airbus recently indicated a potential delay in the delivery schedule for A320 Neos, is likely to get clarity on the matter in two weeks, airline sources said on Sunday.

The Wadia-promoted airline was to induct these fuel-efficient aircraft from the next fiscal, but due to some “industrial reasons” the aircraft maker had indicated a potential delay in the delivery of these planes.

“Airbus is expected to get back to us on the issue of A320 Neo (new engine option) plane this month, which will clear the air about its delivery schedule,” the sources said here, expressing hope that some firm communication from Airbus in this regard would come around January 15.

The budget carrier was supposed to have 26 Airbus A320 Neos by end of 2017. GoAir had, in June 2011, placed order for 72 new A320 neos, valued at about Rs. 32,400 crore on list price, with Airbus.

Airline spokesperson was not available for comments.

GoAir had late last year said that deliveries of these planes were likely to be pushed back by 3-4 months. As per the earlier schedule, the planes were set to start joining the fleet from April this year.

One of the top three low-cost carriers, GoAir had 9.2 per cent market share in November last year.

GoAir, which is the second profitable carrier after the IndiGo, currently has 19 A320s in the fleet operating 144 daily flights across 22 domestic destinations.

Boeing, Lockheed Face Budget Battles Amid ISIS War

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are two of of the biggest winners in the fight against the Islamic State as defense spending rises, but next year could still see budget pressure on some costly programs.

The Air Force has dropped over 20,000 missiles and bombs in its fight against ISIS, depleting stockpiles below what some see as optimal. The U.S. is also approving munitions sales to Middle East allies.

In November, the State Department OK’d the sale of 13,000 Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) bombs to Saudi Arabia for $1.29 billion. Qatar and Saudi Arabia also got approval to buy more Patriot air-defense systems and Patriot missiles from Raytheon and Lockheed (NYSE:LMT).

F/A-18 fighter jets take off from the USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf for a mission against the Islamic State in Iraq. AP

Meanwhile, the federal government’s fiscal 2016 budget includes money for 11 extra Lockheed F-35 fighter jets, five more Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and seven more E/A-18G Growlers.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the procurement dollars will flow unabated.

“The counterterrorism fight is here to stay and will continue to use resources that, at one point, the DoD thought would shift over to stuff like sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities geared more to fights against adversaries that have sophisticated air force systems,” said Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

‘Inflection Point’ Ahead

While the 2016 defense budget has gotten bigger, having to rely on Congress to pay for items that the armed services put on their unfunded requirements wish lists “is not a way to plan your future,” said Mark Bobbi, an aerospace, defense and security analyst at IHS.

“Who knows what the U.S. economy will look like next year?” he told IBD. “It’s looking flat or even might move into recession.”

He expects the fiscal 2017 budget, which will likely be decided in late 2016, to be an “inflection point” for some major programs.

The long-range strike bomber, which Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) won earlier this year over a Boeing-Lockheed team, is likely safe, along with Boeing’s KC-46 tanker, Bobbi said.

But the $400 billion F-35 program is “sticking out like a sore thumb,” and the Air Force is pressuring Lockheed to lower costs for the overbudget and behind-schedule program, he added.

Next year will also be a big one for the KC-46 tanker program, which has had its own share of cost and development problems, as Boeing tries to get the plane back on track and into production, said Hunter.

5 Ways to Splurge on a Budget

Women window shoppingYou’ve been great about saving and not going on a spending spree, but every now and then, it’d be nice to loosen the budget belt a little. Ever feel that way? It’s healthy. In fact, some experts say that splurging or spending freely on something you don’t need can be good for you.

Financial expert Kyle Winkfield put it this way:

“When you splurge responsibly, it’s like a successful diet with built-in cheat days. With any great budget that’s successful, you build in a splurge. It’s your cheat day.”

So, can you cheat with a splurge and not blow your budget completely? If you plan for the splurge with a “fun money” account and stay within your budget limits, it’s doable. Everyone has the urge to splurge, especially as the holidays approach. Nevertheless, smart spending is still within your grasp. Read on to find out how to splurge on a budget.

1. Use Credit Card Rewards

Using the money you’ve already spent to buy a little something extra is genius. “If your credit card offers rewards, check your statement and add up the available rewards points,” said consumer finance expert and Freedom Financial Networkvice president of sales and Phoenix operations, Kevin Gallegos. “Visit the rewards website — your splurge area — to see what you can get by converting rewards into gifts, cash or gift cards.”

People with cash-back credit cards typically earn about $25 a month in rewards, estimated one 2010 study. And if you use your card for reimbursed business travel and expenses, you might earn a nice-sized reward for your purchases.

Especially nice are the cards that offer discounts to your favorite stores, like Chase’s Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card. It rewards you 3 percent cash back at Amazon.com. Redeem your points, and you can fund some holiday shopping and pick up a little something extra for yourself, too.

But don’t go into credit card debt by getting a credit card for the sole purpose of earning points; only get a new cash-back credit card if you don’t have any credit card debt and you can pay off the monthly balance.

2. Go Big After a Little Research

If you’ve saved your splurge money for a big-ticket item like a TV or laptop, practice smart spending. “You’ll be able to score the best deals on major items with good research,” Gallegos said. “If you are choosing a high-dollar item, check reputable online review sources like Amazon and CNET. Then, use comparison-shopping sites such as PriceGrabber, Pronto or Shopping.com to find the best online prices. Finally, search for coupon codes online at sites, including RetailMeNot, FatWallet and DiscountCodes.”

Comparison shopping alone can save you significant dollars. PriceBlink, a browser add-on, alerts you as you online shop if there’s a lower price available elsewhere on the web. Sites such as Offers.com track product pricing over time, which “can help you decide if the splurge is a good one,” said Offer.com’s Kerry Sherin. Add a coupon code, and you could save even more on your splurge. Coupon code offers can range from free shipping to 25 percent or more off purchases. For purchases more than $100, that 25 percent can add up to significant savings.

To really amp up the savings, however, fill your virtual shopping cart with your intended purchase and abandon the sale. Many online retailers will email you a discount offer for the abandoned items to nudge you to make the purchase.

3. Spend Money on Small Items

Control the urge to splurge on items you can’t afford by buying small items that feel splurge-worthy. “To gain the feeling of purchasing something special, do so on little things,” said Gallegos. “Maybe it’s purchasing a $5 bar of handmade soap, a small amount of an expensive spice for holiday baking, a top-quality chocolate bar or a craft beer.”

Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews.com, added, “Smaller luxuries can still make a big difference in how you feel. Fine cosmetics, bed linens, good razor blades, and yes, quality toilet paper, are all affordable treats that will leave you feeling like a million bucks.”

When you’re working toward achieving long-term budgeting goals, splurging can take a back seat. But buying a little something that makes you feel special can diffuse the feeling of “I never have any fun!” that could lead to a big budget blowout later. Even personal finance guru Dave Ramsey agreed. “When buying stuff that you really need, it’s okay to spend a little extra to avoid financial, or even physical, pain in the long run,” Ramsey wrote on his blog.

4. Buy Experiences Instead of Material Things

Research cited in The Wall Street Journal suggests that people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than material goods. According to San Francisco State University associate professor Ryan Howell, “people think that experiences are only going to provide temporary happiness, but they actually provide both more happiness and more lasting value.”

An evening with friends, a vacation with family or a date night with a spouse all count as experiential splurges with a high return on happy memories. And, these experiences don’t need to derail your budget.

So, splurge on taking a day off to spend with your family, planning a special holiday dinner with loved ones or attending a concert to see your favorite band. As an added bonus, another study — this one published inPsychologicalScience.org — found that just the anticipation of the experience can be more exciting than buying a material item.

5. Buy at the Right Time

Many experts say certain months offer better deals on some products. For example, some of the best things to buy in October include air conditioning units, a new car and outdoor equipment. If your practice smart spending and buy your splurge item when it’s at its lowest price, you’ll probably feel better about spending the money.

For an everyday example, let’s say you’re itching to splurge on a fancy homemade dinner. With some pre-planning, you can usually buy what you need to make the meal more without spending a lot and still feel like you’re treating yourself. According to TheGroceryGame.com CEO, Teri Gault, holiday sales at grocery stores offer an average of 67 percent savings on steaks, whole rib roasts, shrimp, lobster and champagne. She said December is a great time to stock up on all these items so you’ll have them handy year-round for your next meal splurge.

Sticking to a budget doesn’t have to mean you deprive yourself every day. Allow yourself a cheat day every now and then to stay on track. Just plan for your splurge, make it proportional to your budget, don’t go on spending sprees, and you’ll avoid morning-after regrets and overspending fallout.

8 Steps to Budget Mastery in 20 Minutes a Month

Anxious father paying bills online
The word “budget” strikes fear and panic in many. No one likes to think about them, let alone talk about them. The truth of the matter is that most budgets fail, and they fail badly, because most budgets lie. Yes, that’s right — they lie. A budget can represent whatever numbers you put in it. If you forget to add a bunch of expenses in each month, then it makes sense that you would be over budget month after month after month.

To break this silly cycle of money mayhem, here’s an easy eight-step system you can use to master your budget in only 20 minutes a month. Open up a spreadsheet and let’s get started!

1. Create a Second Column

Not to be redundant, but we’ve got to first start with the budget. Why most budgets fail is because they only have one column, the budgeted column. We’ve already gone over why this doesn’t work. Instead, upgrade your budget to a two-column layout for success. Your first column is the “What I Think I Will Spend” column, and the second column is the “What I Actually Spent” column. Basically, you create two mirror columns to accurately display what is going on in your budget for a given month.

2. Fill in ‘What I Think’

The “What I Think” column should be the easiest column to complete and shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes at most. This column represents all of your budgeted items. It’s an approximation of what you think you will spend during the month. Most of the numbers should be easy to access from your normal monthly expenses. Don’t labor over this column too much, but make sure that you attempt to accurately itemize each income and expense item.

3. End of Month

The end of the month is where things start to get a bit more analytical (but don’t let that scare you). At the end of each month, print off your most recent bank or credit card statements in which you’ve incurred your expenses for the month. This is the easiest step in the eight-step process, but it’s critical to analyzing what went on during the month.

4. Add It Up

Once you’re armed and ready with your statements (and receipts, for cash spending), get out a handy calculator and some highlighters. Color-code your statements for budget expense items like groceries, eating out, gas, clothing, utilities, phone, and so on. Then go through the list and highlight each item in each category. This makes it easy to add it all up when you are finished. There’s nothing yet to analyze in this step, you are simply categorizing for step six. This will take you the longest out of all the steps, so allow 10 minutes to conquer your statements. Once you do this process for a month or two, it should be very easy to go through your statements in five minutes or less. Practice makes perfect.

5. ‘What I Spent’

Now it’s time to fill in the second column, “What I Spent.” Simply take the numbers from your statements and input them into the budget template. If you notice that you’ve left off a category on your budget, add it and put it in bold so it can jog your memory next month. Each month has its own twists and turns, so it’s common that you might leave out a category by accident.

6. Compare the Columns

You’ve done the heavy lifting now, and are almost through your 20 minutes this month. Take a look at your budget and compare the two columns. Are there any areas that surprise you? Did you come in under or over budget, and why? What about those missing categories, are they essential to include going forward? You see the power is in comparing these two columns. It gives you a chance to evaluate your budget from estimation in the beginning of the month, to an absolute at the end of the month.

7. The Envelope Trick

If you have a category that is always your Achilles’ heel, and month after month you are overspending, then it might be time to kick it old school. For instance, let’s say eating out is always an area you overspend in. If you’ve budgeted $200 for the month in your first column, then at the beginning of the month you can withdrawal that $200 in cash, and stick it in an envelope. For the entire month, every time you eat out, you must dip into this envelope. Once the money is gone, your eating-out budget is gone. While this might seem harsh, it’s an old school way to force you to stay within budget. At the end of the day though, none of these steps will work unless you put effort in and are committed to mastering your budget.

8. Reward Yourself

We all love a good reward, and you should pat yourself on the back if you’ve completed these steps for the month. No matter the outcome, you’ve taken small moves that will lead to big changes in your cash flow. Pick a dollar amount that you are comfortable with at the beginning of the month, and set a goal for yourself. Maybe you want to treat yourself to an extra cupcake at the end of the month, or go to that concert that you are dying to see. Whatever it is, give yourself a pat on the back, but not for too long — next month is coming quickly and it will be time to restart the 20-minute system.