Thursday, August 17, 2017

Air India sale process to be completed before year-end

The government plans to wrap up the disinvestment in state-run carrier Air India before end of the year and the preference is veering towards a "domestic buyer" for the debt-laden airline.
The Union Cabinet gave an in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment in Air India in June and a panel of ministers headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley is now devising the strategy for executing the sale.
"We will complete the process before the year-end. There is no choice but to privatise it," a government source told TOI.While no final decision has been taken, the source said the preference so far is for a "domestic buyer." Some foreign companies including airlines have informally expressed interest in buying Air India.
Disinvestment of Air India gathered pace after the government's think tank NITI Aayog recommended up to 100% stake sale, along with writing off its debt. Experts say it would be a difficult task to undertake a stake sale in the airline in the run up to 2019 general elections.
17/08/17 Dipak K Dash and Surojit Gupta/Times of India

Senior Pilots to Serve One-Year Notice Period, Says DGCA

Senior pilots will now have to serve a 12-month notice period before joining another airline, with aviation regulator DGCA coming out with new rules notwithstanding opposition from the pilots' community.

Currently, both senior and junior pilots are required to serve a six-month notice period.
Currently, both senior and junior pilots are required to serve a six-month notice period.
Pilots’ Union Object Decision
The notice period, however, may be reduced if the air transport undertaking provides a no-objection certificate to a pilot and accepts his resignation earlier than the period stipulated in the amended rules, as per the amended Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR).
Provision of this CAR would be subject to the outcome of writ petition pending before the Delhi High Court, the regulator said.
Sometime back, a petition was filed against the DGCA proposal to increase the notice period for pilots and it is pending before the court.
“During the notice period, neither the pilot shall refuse to undertake the flight duties assigned to him nor shall the employer deprive the pilot of his legitimate rights and privileges with respect to the assignment of his duties,” the watchdog said.
Jet Airways’ pilots’ union said it remains opposed to increasing the notice period.
We seriously object to this new rule. We were opposed to it and we remain opposed to it. We will strongly protest this move along with all pilots from all airlines.
 National Aviators Guild (NAG) President D Balaraman
NAG claims to have more than 1,000 Jet Airways pilots as its members.
While alleging that the DGCA is favouring private airlines, Balaraman said pilots would go on a mass protest.
Two pilots' unions at Air India – ICPA and IPG – did not offer any comment on the DGCA decision.
ICPA (Indian Commercial Pilots Association), a recognised union, has around 600 members, while IPG (Indian Pilots Guild) – which is derecognised – has about 900 members.
17/08/17 PTI/Quint

UDAN scheme: Flight services resume from Pondy to Hyderabad after 3 years


Puducherry: After a gap of about three years, flight services resumed from the Union Territory, with the launch of services between Puducherry and Hyderabad this morning.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy accorded a warm reception to passengers on their arrival at Puducherry airport in neighbouring Lawspet by private carrier Spicejet.


He had earlier inaugurated the daily flight service by lighting the traditional lamp on the premises of the airport linking Puducherry with Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

Narayanasamy handed over to each of the 78 passengers boarding passes for the newly introduced service to Hyderabad.

Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, Chief Secretary Manoj Parida, Deputy Speaker V P Sivakolundhu and legislators belonging to the ruling Congress and DMK and AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP N Gokulakrishnan, the Chief Minister presented gift hampers and garlands when 74 passengers landed at the airport.

Flight services were resumed following an agreement inked between Spicejet and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to operate daily flight services from here to Hyderabad and Vijayawada

Later, Narayanasamy told reporters that Spicejet had come forward to operate the scheme under the centrally- sponsored UDAN scheme for regional air connectivity.

He said that with the introduction of flight services, passengers proceeding to Hyderabad would be saved the trouble of a tedious journey if they preferred to go by road or by proceeding to Chennai for a connecting flight.

"We have brought into effect flight services overcoming several hurdles," he said without elaborating.

"The resumption of flight services is in keeping with the arrangements the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had made.
16/08/17 PTI/Business Standard

After government's pressure, SpiceJet gets more slots at Dubai

New Delhi: India's insistence on better and more flight slots for its carriers in Dubai's airport for increasing the seat capacity between the Emirate and India seems to be yielding results.
SpiceJet has informed the civil aviation ministry that it got slots equalling 5,500 weekly seats at Dubai airport. This has come even before the two governments agreed to an increase in flying rights between them.
"They have informed us that they have slots. The airline, however, cannot start flights because our carriers have exhausted the current seat quota and would require an increase in bilateral seat entitlements before SpiceJet could utilise these slots," said an aviation ministry official, who did not want to be named.
"They have informed us that they have slots. The airline, however, cannot start flights because our carriers have exhausted the current seat quota and would require an increase in bilateral seat entitlements before SpiceJet could utilise these slots," said an aviation ministry official, who did not want to be named.
SpiceJet, which already operates some flights to Dubai, did not respond to an email seeking comment. Sources in the airline, however, confirmed to ET that it has written to the ministry on the allocation of extra slots in Dubai.
16/08/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

2 pilots’ unions plan to take aviation regulator to court

Mumbai: Two associations representing more than 1,600 pilots plan to take India’s aviation regulator to court over a new rule, which requires them to serve a notice period of up to one year when they resign from an airline. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation introduced the rule on Wednesday.
"We had petitioned at the Bombay High Court even when the rule was in its draft stages. Then, we were told it was too early to appeal. Now that it's been implemented despite all our protests, we will file a fresh petition," said D Balaraman, the president of the National Aviators Guild, which has more than 1,000 pilots of Jet AirwaysBSE -1.75 % as members.
The Indian Pilots' Guild, affiliated to Air India and represents about 600 aviators of the national carrier, will also approach the Bombay High Court over the issue, a spokesperson said.
Other unions would protest against the rule but were yet to decide on a legal course of action, said Praveen Keerthi, general secretary at the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, another second lobbying body of Air India pilots.
18/08/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Passengers sue Boeing for 2016 Emirates crash in Dubai

Chicago: Passengers who were aboard an Emirates plane that crash-landed in August 2016 are suing Chicago-based Boeing for an alleged malfunction of the aircraft's electronics.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court alleges the aircraft's electronics system prevented the operation of a switch at a critical moment. More than a dozen passengers involved in the lawsuit claim the system didn't provide any warning to the crew that the switch wasn't working.

The Emirates Boeing 777-300 flying from India crash-landed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

All 300 people aboard survived, scrambling down emergency slides before flames destroyed the plane. A firefighter was killed battling the blaze.

UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority earlier this month determined there were no mechanical problems leading up to the incident.

A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuit, noting the litigation is pending.
17/08/17 AP/New Indian Express

All women crew flies Air India jet to Stockholm from Delhi

New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha today congratulated the government run Air India for launching direct all women crew flights from New Delhi to Stockholm. Sinha tweeted this message: “.@airindiain sets new benchmark with maiden direct flight from Delhi to Stockholm with an all women crew. Well done!” Air India yesterday operated a Dreamliner Boeing 787 to Stockholm, making the Swedish capital its tenth destination in Europe, as per PTI. The airline will be providing its service thrice-a-week with flights on every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The flight will leave Delhi at 2.50 pm (local time) and reach Stockholm at 6.40 pm, while the return flight will leave Stockholm at 8.40 pm and reach Delhi at 7.20 am next day, according to The Times of India.
In a statement, the Embassy of Sweden said, “With an increase of passenger volume between India and Sweden by 50% in three years, the direct flight is likely to further bolster the growing relationship between India and Sweden. The flying time of passengers will be reduced by at least two hours,” the report added.
17/08/17 Financial Express

Development of Warangal airport sought

Hyderabad: The demand for development of the existing airport at Mamnoor in Warangal which was constructed by Nizam in 1930 has resurfaced with the State government taking up the matter with the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao met the Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, after which Mahbubabad MP Azmeera Sitaram Naik also called on Mr. Gajapathi Raju.

A memorandum of understanding for the development of airport was actually signed between the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government and the Airports Authority of India in March 2007 but it did not make any progress as one of the conditions for the construction of the international airport at Shamshabad here was that there should not be a second airport in the radius of 150 kms.
The MoU envisaged construction of the airport at Mamnoor to handle TR-42 and ATR-72 type of aircraft and future upgradation for operation of bigger type of aircraft such as B737-800/A320/A321 as per traffic demand. The Airports Authority of India will execute the entire project at its cost.
16/08/17 Hindu

Belagavi airport gets a facelift, soon to be up and running

Belagavi: With work on the upgradation of the Belagavi airport  drawing to a close , the Airport Authority of India (AAI) is expected to inaugurate several important newly built installations, including the hi-tech terminal building shortly.

A high powered delegation of the AAI that reviewed construction of the several ancilliary buildings and terminal was reportedly satisfied with the progress of the work.

The AAI delegation , headed by Mr Sanjeev Jindal, GM (Engineering-Civil) and Ms. Charul Shukla, Joint General Manager (architecture/planning), reportedly appreciated the efforts of AAI engineers and all agencies involved in the upgradation of different installations at the airport and  suggested some minor changes.     Several other works around the terminal building such as the garden and grass carpet are also on verge of completion.
When contacted, airport director, Rajesh Kumar Maurya, said the landscaping and garden were expected to be completed within the next 15 to 20 days and tenders for some other minor work outside the terminal building would be awarded shortly.
17/08/17 Deccan Chronicle

HC questions AAI on allowing Amit Shah’s airport meeting

Panaji: The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday questioned the Airports Authority of India over its decision to allow a public meeting of BJP president Amit Shah on the premises of Dabolim International Airport in Goa.
A division bench of Justices G.S. Patel and Nutan Sardessai was hearing a petition filed by city lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues, who had alleged that laws were violated to allow Shah to hold a public meeting at the Goa airport, during his visit to the state in July.
The court asked AAI if they would allow civilians to conduct meetings on the premises of the airport, which is a sensitive installation, to which the AAI counsel said that the meeting was a spontaneous affair.
The division bench is expected to pronounce its order on the issue on August 21.
16/08/17 IANS/India.com

New Jaipur-Kota flight to start from Friday; to be connected with Delhi soon

Jaipur: Adding to the intra-state air connectivity, the state government is all set to start a direct flight to education hub of the state - Kota from Jaipur from Friday. The 9-seater aircraft will take off from Jaipur at 2.25 pm every day and will take 45 minutes to reach Kota. However, the inaugural run of the flight will take place from Kota in which dignitaries including chief minister, Vasundhara Raje the local MP Om Birla and others will participate. Officials are also planning to extended the Kota-Jaipur flight upto Delhi after getting clearances for it.
The intra-state flight to Kota is a part of MOU inked between the state government and private airlines under which direct flight from Jodhpur to Jaipur was started.
Authorities of the Supreme Airlines the operator, district police and in-charge Kota airport had a meeting and the flight also had its trial run on Thursday.
"The fare per person would be around Rs 2600 and it is going to take almost 45 minutes to reach Kota from Jaipur and from Jaipur to Kota. Bookings would be open on the website of the operator," said Lokesh Nirwan, in-charge, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Kota on Thursday.
He added that the flight to Kota is just a beginning and would be a boon especially for the parents whose children are studying in Kota for preparation of medical and engineering entrance exams.
Kota airport has a runway of nearly 4100 feets and after complying various things and other technical advancements can also accommodate bigger aircrafts in future.
17/08/17 Ashish Mehta/Times of India

First look of terminal that will double Chennai airport capacity

Chennai: Airports Authority of India (AAI) has tentatively approved a design to build an integrated terminal, after demolishing the old unused domestic terminal and the present international arrival building at Chennai airport. Estimated to cost around `2,000 crore, the new expanded terminal will be able to accommodate around 11,500 passengers at a time, nearly double the capacity of the present facility.

The glass and steel structure will have an extended canopy covering the entire flyover that runs in front of the terminals. This feature was included after study of new buildings that are being used now. Though the new domestic and international departure levels have a large canopy, it does not protect alighting passengers from rainwater and smaller awnings had to be installed later. A tender will be floated by end of the year for construction. "One of the three designs suggested has been approved. The integrated terminal will be based on it," said airport director G Chandramouli.
Sources said the terminal would be built in a phased manner without disturbing the existing traffic and passenger flow. The old abandoned domestic terminal will be demolished first and rebuilt. Following this, the international arrival wing would be pulled down before moving the operations to the new international arrival, which is yet to be opened. AAI is working to open the new international arrival hall, located on the ground floor of the present domestic terminal building. Its inauguration was stalled because it does not have space to handle the baggage for wide-body international flights. "There is only one ramp to handle the bags," said an official.
17/08/17 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Australian agency believes it can locate MH370 with 'unprecedented precision'

Australia's main scientific agency said on Wednesday it believed with "unprecedented precision and certainty" that a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft crashed into the sea northeast of an area scoured in a fruitless two-year underwater search.

The agency's assertion is based on satellite pictures taken two weeks after Flight MH370 went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, on a flight to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

But the Australian government rejected the conclusion of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), issued in a report on Wednesday, saying it was not specific enough.

The disappearance of the Boeing 777 has become one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. It is thought to have been diverted thousands of miles off course out over the southern Indian Ocean before crashing off the coast of Western Australia.

Australia, Malaysia and China called off a A$200 million ($160 million), two-year search for the plane in January after finding nothing, despite the protests of families of those onboard.

The CSIRO has previously raised doubts about the main 120,000-sq-km underwater search zone, saying it believed the plane went down to the north of it.

Its latest assertion was its most insistent yet and was based on a review of satellite images provided by the French military intelligence service and France's national space agency, CNES, which showed 70 pieces of debris with a dozen of those "probably" man-made.

"We think it is possible to identify a most-likely location of the aircraft, with unprecedented precision and certainty," the CSIRO said.
16/08/17 Reuters/DNA

Supreme Court grants greater land use flexibility to DIAL

New Delhi: Shares of GMR Infrastructure surged 13.41% on the Bombay Stock Exchange to close at Rs 18.60 on Thursday after the Supreme Court of India allowed Delhi International Airport (DIAL) to use airport land for commercial purposes.

The two airports – Mumbai and Delhi – will now have greater land use flexibility, allowing them to set up commercial complexes, hotels, business convention centres, etc, on 5% of the leased land earmarked for non-aeronautical purposes.

These can be used by the public too like the Delhi Airport Express Metro. Analysts said the order would allow private airport operators at Delhi and Mumbai to commercially use land for nonaviation related businesses too.

These airports were allowed to use the land around airports for aviation-related businesses only, but with this order, airports in Delhi and Mumbai can utilise the space for building shopping malls as well.
17/08/17 Samanwaya Rautray/Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

SpiceJet to hike excess baggage fee to Rs 300/kg

SpiceJet plans to hike the fee charged for excess baggage to Rs 300 per kg, sources said a day after the Delhi High Court set aside capping of fee for excess checked-in baggage on private airlines.

The court, on Wednesday, set aside the Rs 100 per kg fee cap fixed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for excess checked-in baggage of 15-20 kg.

Sources said the airline plans to increase the excess baggage fee to Rs 300 per kg from the current level of Rs 100.

A SpiceJet spokesperson could not be immediately contacted.

As per the DGCA circular, issued in June 2016, private airlines were directed to charge only Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg as against their earlier rates, ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350.

The circular had come into effect from July 1 last year as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation.

The DGCA in its circular had said that the airlines would be free to charge any fee beyond 20 kg of excess baggage.
17/08/17 ZeeBiz

Check-in with 15-20 kg to cost lot more on domestic flights

New Delhi: Checking in more than 15 kg on domestic flights could now blow a big hole in your pocket.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday set aside a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) order that capped excess baggage charge at Rs 100 per kg for each extra kilo between 15 kg and 20 kg.
While airlines were earlier free to charge any amount as excess baggage charge beyond 20 kg, they can now go back to their old fee of up to Rs 350 per kg beyond 15 kg itself. For flyers, it could mean shelling out up to Rs 250 more per kg in the 15-20 kg band.
About two years back, all Indian carriers — except Air India — had reduced free check-in baggage allowance for economy class domestic flyers from 20 kg to 15 kg. They then started charging anywhere upto Rs 350 per kg for each kilo beyond 15 kg. After getting complaints from passengers, the DGCA last summer directed airlines not to charge more than Rs 100 per kg for extra baggage between 15 and 20 kg. Beyond 20 kg, they were free to charge any amount per kg as excess baggage charge.
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court set aside the aviation regulator's order capping excess baggage charge at Rs 100 per kg in the 15-20 kg band. The court said DGCA had no power to fix such tariff for excess checked-in baggage. The Federation of Indian Airlines, which has carriers like IndiGo, Jet, GoAir and SpiceJet as members, challenged this order.
17/08/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

SpiceJet furnishes Rs 329 crore bank guarantee to court

SpiceJet has furnished a bank guarantee of Rs 329 crore to the Delhi High Court in a case related to share transfer dispute with the airline's previous owner Kalanithi Maran, according to a regulatory filing.

Last month, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals of the budget carrier challenging the Delhi High Court verdict asking it to deposit Rs 579 crore in connection with the share transfer dispute.

"The company has furnished a bank guarantee of Rs 329 crore to the Registrar General of High Court of Delhi," in compliance with the Supreme Court order, the airline said in a filing to the BSE late Wednesday.
17/08/17 PTI/Economic Times

India may increase Dubai seat entitlements by 6,000 seats a week

New Delhi: India and Dubai are likely to finalise an agreement to increase the seat entitlement by 6,000 seats a week. However, the outcome of the talks depends on Indian carriers agreeing to hold talks without any commitment of getting preferred slots at Dubai's main airport.

This comes almost a year after the ministry turned down a similar request from Dubai. The talks have resumed as Indian carriers have fully utilised the current capacity entitlements. Of the current entitlement, 66,504 seats on the sector designated airlines of both India and Dubai are utilising capacity to the full extent.
According to an official of a private airline, the civil aviation ministry official has asked Indian carriers whether the agreement can be increased without any guarantee of slots. Simultaneously the ministry has also asked if the Indian carriers will use the Al-Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali which is 37 kilometres away from the main city of Dubai. "The civil aviation ministry sent a questionnaire to airlines asking if it is okay to hold talks without any guarantee of slots at Dubai's main airport," the official said. Lobby group Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) which represents IndiGo, SpiceJet, Go Air and Jet Airways has asked the government to ensure that they get preferred slots at Dubai airport. However, Dubai Airport in the past has said that the allocation of slots is independent of bilateral agreements.
Mohammed Ahil, Director General of the Civil Aviation, the governing body of aviation activities in the Gulf state has written to ministry that there is a further requirement of increasing the number of seats as carriers from Dubai was not being able to expand operations in India for lack of flying rights.

17/08/17 Business Standard

Delhi High Court sets aside DGCA circular on excess baggage fees

The Delhi High Court today set aside the Rs 100 per kg fee fixed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for excess checked-in baggage of 15-20 kgs on private airlines.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru set aside the DGCA's June 10, 2016 circular according to which private airlines had been allowed to charge Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg as against their earlier rates, ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350.
The circular had come into effect from July 1 last year as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation.
The court had said the amounts charged by the airlines would be restored if the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) succeeded in its plea challenging the circular.
FIA, in its plea through advocate Gaurav Sarin, had said that the DGCA did not have the jurisdiction to fix tariff as this power laid with the airlines and the fares weredetermined by the market forces.
It had said that the DGCA can interfere only when there are specific instances of discriminatory practices and such circulars cannot be issued in a general manner.
16/08/17 PTI/India Today

Phonon.in launches India's first multi-modal flight bot for aviation sector


Vadodara: Phonon.in, a Vadodara-based interaction automation company has taken on this challenge and applied this to simple customer centric applications taking the paradigm of providing information at your fingertips to the next level. Phonon is proud to announce the launch of India's first multi-modal flight bot for the aviation sector.

Phonon's multi-modal flight bot, aptly named, Trixie, in its first version is geared to provide flight status for any domestic flight in India over Facebook, Twitter and through voice-recognition based speech platform. Phonon's flight status bot is available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trixie22north/ and on Twitter handle @22n_phonon or page at www.twitter.com/22N_phonon. The caller may also call into +91 9978 74 6666 to know their flight status by just speaking out the airline and flight number to experience Phonon's speech recognition based flight status bot.

Phonon's chatbot deployment uses enhanced artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to provide instant responses to simple queries raised by passengers. The advanced speech-based Natural Language Processing system that works in English is capable of understanding queries in various Indian accents as well. The text-based bots on Facebook and Twitter can respond to questions asked in various Indian languages as well.
17/08/17 ANI/Business Standard

Two rapid exit taxiways to be commissioned at Bengaluru

Bengaluru: Airlines can now add more flights from the Bengaluru airport with the commissioning of two rapid exit taxiways (RETs) from tomorrow, which will increase aircraft movement capacity to 38 per hour from 34 movements per hour at present.
The runway upgradation work at the Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru, which included construction of two additional RETs, has been completed and the taxiways are set to be commissioned tomorrow, a release said.
Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), a joint venture company, runs the Bangalore International Airport.
Canadian NRI businessman Prem Watsas Fairfax group now has around 48 per cent stake in BIAL. Apart from Fairfax, Siemens Project Ventures, Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation are the other stakeholders in the JV airport.
With the addition of the two RETs, the per hour flight handling capacity at the runway increases to 38 as against 34 now, BIAL said in the release, adding that it will progressively be scaled up to 44 movements per hour.
16/08/17 PTTI/India Today

Yet another A-320 NEO snag: IndiGo flight to Kolkata lands in Nagpur after getting engine failure message

New Delhi: In yet another snag with the Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines powering the Airbus A-320 new engine option (NEO), an IndiGo aircraft flying from Ahmedabad to Kolkata on Wednesday had to be diverted to Nagpur after the cockpit reportedly got an engine failure message. The IndiGo NEO (VT-ITK) landed safely in Nagpur.
An IndiGo spokesman said: "IndiGo flight 6E-135 (Ahmedabad-Kolkata) experienced technical snag in one of the two engines. Though the aircraft could have continued flying safely, the flight crew decided to carry out a precautionary landing at Nagpur to get the aircraft checked. The aircraft landed safely. A ferry flight was organised to complete the journey of stranded passengers at Nagpur. Safety of passengers and crew is of highest priority in IndiGo."
Sources say 6E-135's pilots got a message that engine number two had failed. The latest problem with the snag-ridden PW engines of A-320 NEO has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Earlier this month, the DGCA had taken up the issue of constant troubles with PW. IndiGo and GoAir have PW-powered NEOs in their fleets. The unending snags with the engines often keep a significant number of these planes grounded. The meeting was called after seven NEOs of IndiGo and two of GoAir were grounded due to a snag in the engine at the same time. Pratt informed the regulator that it has this particular snag "to some extent". Since the snags require replacement of engines, which PW is unable to supply on time, airlines like IndiGo and GoAir suffer prolonged grounding of planes.
16/081/Saurabj Sinha/Times of India

Might Airlines Go Vegan, Just for the Health of It?

Six percent of Americans are vegan, up from one percent in 2014, according to a GlobalData study published in June 2017. How is this trend reflected in the airline catering industry, and will it extend to other aspects of the passenger experience?

What the Health, a documentary that’s vehemently in support of veganism, has been causing a stir since it launched on Netflix in June. While the producers have been accused of bias and exaggeration, the film has planted a seed, prompting discussion about the effect of animal product consumption on human health, and even causing some viewers to switch to a plant-based diet.

Air India initiated a similar debate in July when it announced plans to to offer an entirely vegetarian menu for economy-class passengers on domestic routes. While the airline cited cutting costs and reducing food waste as reasons for the decision, some called it discriminatory – about 30 percent of Air India’s customers opt for non-vegetarian meals, according to The Indian Express.
Following Air India’s announcement, PETA sent letters to Indian airlines encouraging them to serve vegan meals to all passengers. The animal rights organization explained that meat, egg, and dairy production is one of the leading contributors to climate change, which is causing droughts and heatwaves in India. “Balancing an airline’s carbon footprint can start with putting meat and dairy products on the no-fly list,” said PETA India CEO Manilal Valliyate. “PETA is encouraging all Indian airlines to follow Air India’s lead and serve exclusively healthy, humane, and eco-friendly vegan meals on all flights.”
16/08/17 Kristina Velan/apex

Air India shows interest in overhauling defence planes

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry has written to the Defence Ministry asking them to facilitate the servicing of defence aircraft at Air India’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities.

“Suitable measures may kindly be initiated to negotiate with OEMs [original equipment manufacturer] of defence aircraft to give training and maintenance manuals so that we can maintain the defence aircraft at much cheaper cost and better turnaround time, as compared to giving the maintenance to OEMs abroad,” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey wrote to Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra recently.

Air India’s MRO unit — Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) — currently carries out MRO activities for commercial aircraft of various Boeing and Airbus fleet type at its facilities based in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram , Nagpur and Kolkata.

In a bid to expand its business to defence aircraft, AIESL had even applied for a bid to service Indian Air Force’s IL-78 mid-air refueller aircraft and four Embraer-135 aircraft used to transport VIPs earlier this year. However, the bids were rejected as AIESL does not have the mandatory authorisation certification required to be obtained for servicing these planes from the Russian-based OEMs.
17/08/17 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

Chandigarh-Bangkok flight starts from October 6

Chandigarh: Air India on Wednesday announced the schedule of its much awaited Chandigarh-Bangkok flight to be launched from October 6. The new A-320 Neo aircraft would fly four flights a week on the route.
The matter is awaiting HC nod in wake of a petition filed by Mohali Industries Association because of delay in international flights from city airport. Air India counsel told the division bench comprising of judges S S Saron and Avneesh Jhingan that the flight would land Chandigarh airport at 9.30 am. The plane would take off for Bangkok at 1.30 pm. During the hearing, assistant solicitor general of India, Chetan Mittal told that a meeting of defence, aviation secretaries along with other officials would be held on August 22 to deliberate issues regarding land acquisition for extension of the airport.
Mittal also informed the bench that re-scheduling issue of Chandigarh-Dubai flight would be resolved with Indigo airlines. The authorities want the airline to advance its Chandigarh-Dubai flight by 15 minutes so that maintenance work of runway does not hamper flight operations. The next hearing of the case is on August 28. The Chandigarh-Bangkok flight was first announced in September last year by the managing director of Air India, Ashwani Lohani during launch of first Air India Express flight from Chandigarh to Sharjah. The flight service was to start in April but was deferred to May due to a delay in procuring aircrafts.
17/08/17 Ajay Sura/Times of India

Aviation woes are not just about Air India

Volume 2 of Economic Survey 2016-17 highlights aspects which show that divestment of Air India is only one of the many problems that the aviation sector is trying to deal with. It talks about reforms such as privatisation/disinvestment of Air India, creation of aviation hubs and reconsidering the 0/20 rule as ways to improve Indian airlines’ share in the international market. (The 0/20 rule says that any airline that sets aside 20 per cent of its fleet or has 20 aircraft can fly on international routes.) All these are valid points.

There is a reason why foreign airlines have been able to walk away with a lion’s share of Indians travelling abroad. In the 1980s, the Government allowed only Air India and a few foreign airlines to operate to a restricted number of airports. In time, more airports were opened which allowed foreign airlines to operate to more parts of the country. But successive governments took decisions which did nothing to help Indian carriers get a share of the international market.

For example, in 2003 the Government announced an open sky policy with Asean countries (which includes Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia — favourite destinations among Indians), Myanmar and Indonesia, and Saarc countries which allowed Sri Lanka’s national airline, Sri Lankan, to ramp up its flights to India to over 100 a week from under 45 earlier. The open sky agreements allowed carriers of Asean and Saarc to operate an unlimited number of flights to 18 tourist destinations and a daily service to the four metro cities.

Less than two years later, India and the US signed a landmark agreement permitting any number of airlines to operate any number of flights to any point in each other’s territory. Bilaterals were signed with various other countries, chief among which were Dubai which saw the weekly seats that were allowed to each side go up to 54,200 from 23,000.
17/08/17 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

Experts Explain Why Sexual Assaults Occur On Airplanes & What Airlines Can Do To Stop It

It seems like every few months brings a new story about sexual assault on an airline flight. In March, a woman on a flight from Tampa to Toronto claimed she was sexually assaulted by a fellow passenger. In April, a woman was reportedly groped by an intoxicated man on a flight while her daughter sat right next to her, and the flight attendants kept bringing the man alcohol. In July, a woman claimed she woke up to a man masturbating next to her on an American Airlines flight. And these are just the reports that make it into the news — meaning that it's likely that many more incidents occur without attracting media publicity.

Though they told Slate that they had "40 open cases involving sexual assaults on aircraft in 2015," the FBI doesn't specifically track airplane sexual assault in their national crime statistics. And there's no record of how many reports are made to local authorities instead of the FBI — or to crews who then don't pass the information on to law enforcement at all. Airlines themselves, according to a specialist investigation in 2014, habitually refuse to disclose their own statistics about sexual assault incidents on board their planes. Add this to the fact that the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 75 percent of sexual assaults go unreported, period, and it begins to seem like the issue is much larger than many had previously realized.

In fact, not understanding the scope of the issue is one of the biggest obstacles preventing airlines from making progress. "Part of the problem," Sara Nelson, international president of the flight attendant association AWA-CFA , tells Bustle, "is that we don't have a full understanding of how much of a problem this is on our planes. We have anecdotal information, we have reports from some passengers who have been willing to stand up, but this is a unique crime, and the victims of it have unique needs." So how do we combat a sexual assault problem when we're not even sure of its scope? Bustle talked to several experts about why sexual assaults occur on airplanes — and what airlines can do to make air travel safer for women.
Though we often think of planes as extremely safe, protected, and highly regulated spaces, there are several factors that sexual predators on planes often utilize to their advantage. "We have people crammed together in closer spaces than ever before," Nelson tells Bustle. Airline seats have become smaller (average seat size has dropped from 18 inches across to 17 inches over the past decade), meaning flights contain more passengers in closer quarters than in the past — which can provide cover for abuse and assault. "You would think that with more people in a confined space that it would be harder for somebody to commit a crime," says Nelson, "but in an assault like this, oftentimes it's easier, because it's harder for people to see, the close space and the seats pressed together make it hard for viewing, and the victims of this sometimes will not realize what's happening until it gets to a point of obviously unacceptable. There can be an 'oops factor' —[a person committing an assault will tell the victim] 'I accidentally touched your leg.' That's problematic."
16/08/17 JR Thorpe/Bustle

IndiGo, SpiceJet take battle to cyber crime unit

Gurgaon: The cyber crime unit of the Gurgaon police is close to completing a year-long investigation into a complaint filed by InterGlobe Aviation, which runs IndiGo, against a former employee that she allegedly conspired to steal proprietary and confidential information, and use the data at competitor SpiceJet.
InterGlobe has accused Pahuna Lal, former assistant manager, financial planning and analysis at IndiGo, of stealing financial and price-sensitive information to deploy and use it in her position with SpiceJet. Lal quit IndiGo and directly joined SpiceJet as deputy general manager, corporate strategy and projects, in September 2015.
Gurgaon-based InterGlobe complained in a First Information Report (FIR) that Lal “dishonestly copied” information on total departures, fleet purchase plans, aircraft and balance sheet specifications, including ten-year financial projections, among other data. The alleged theft, it said, caused it “wrongful loss” and “wrongful gain to Lal and her co-conspirators”.

Responding to ET’s questions on the accusations by IndiGo, Lal denied doing any wrong and said she is determined to explore the strictest possible legal action against IndiGo and its management for harassment, intimidation and maligning her reputation. “The FIR filed by IndiGo is frivolous and utterly false. It has been filed because I am a woman, and therefore, IndiGo feels that I can be intimidated,” she said.
18/08/17 Binoy Prabhakar/Economic Times

Cocaine worth Rs 40cr seized at IGI

New Delhi: In one of the biggest seizures of this year, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has seized 4kg fine quality cocaine, worth Rs 40 crore, from IGI airport.
A Tanzanian woman, Beatrice Kemmy Ndyetabula, and her aide have been arrested in the case.
The contraband was concealed in ribbon rolls in the woman's luggage. The consignment was meant to be delivered to a distributor in Dwarka. The bureau is conducting further raids to arrest sother members of the cartel.
Madho Singh, director of Delhi zonal unit of NCB, said that they received a tip off about a Tanzaninan woman arriving in Delhi from Mumbai — with cocaine — on August 16 and accordingly surveillance was mounted around the airport.
Ndyetabula arrived at the IGI airport by a GoAir flight at 2.50pm. She was intercepted by the NCB team at the arrival hall of terminal 1 and questioned. She was carrying two bags which were thoroughly checked and white powder was found in 27 ribbon rolls kept in her bag. Upon testing, the powder was confirmed to be cocaine.
She told officials that she had flown into Mumbai from Nairobi, Kenya by Kenya Airlines flight with the drug on August 16. She said she was supposed to hand over the drug to a Nigerian national, Augustin, who was arrested from Dwarka. Augustin did not have a passport.
18/08/17 Times of India

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Flight operations resume in Puducherry

Puducherry: Puducherry on Wednesday regained a spot in the aviation map with the resumption of flight services on the Puducherry-Hyderabad sector.

A 78-seater SpiceJet Bombardier, SEJ 1004, from Hyderabad landed at the airport with full capacity around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The return flight, SEJ 1005, with 76 passengers took off to Hyderabad around 12:00 p.m.

The entire Cabinet, led by Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, ruling party legislators, Chief Secretary Manoj Parida and senior officials were present at the airport to witness the resumption of flight operations.

The resumption of flight operations at the Puducherry airport, under the Centre’s flagship Regional Connectivity Scheme, ended about two years of hibernation, since Alliance Air had suspended its operation after six months following differences with the government over subsidy.
16/08/17 Rajesh B Nair/The Hindu

Malaysia Airlines sale: Get your flights to India from $573 return

Malaysia Airlines has some last-minute space on flights to Delhi in India with available flight dates from August to October 2017, going from Melbourne to Delhi for as little as $573 round trip. These are about as low as prices will ever drop to India, coming in a little bit cheaper than previous Malaysia Airlines Delhi flight sales which saw prices fall to $588 return.

They're still a bit more expensive than AirAsia flights are going at the same time, however. If you want to go budget and don't need the checked baggage and in-flight meals then AirAsia might be the one for you.

The reason there's space left to fill is probably because it's monsoon season in India from July to September, so you might want to aim for the later October travel dates for much better weather, while still getting practically identical prices.

The other catch is that certain dates might come with a fairly extensive stopover on the way back, so it might be worth tweaking your dates a bit to avoid this.
16/08/17 Finder

Teething trouble for air corridor

A new air corridor trade scheme between India and Afghanistan has got off to a turbulent start, according to a report from The Hindu.

Fresh produce consignments, including melons and apricots, were left to rot at Kabul airport earlier this month following the delay and cancellation of chartered services on the trade route.

Citing figures from the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the report claimed only160 tonnes of cargo have been transported under the scheme.

Along with a lack of cargo planes, the report suggested a slow screening process and minimal cold storage facilities at Kabul airport have hampered trade.

Meanwhile, Indian traders have raised concerns about the length of time it takes to clear perishable goods through their customs department.

“We were told that all these procedural delays would be sorted out within a month of the corridor starting, but there are yet to be resolved,” Sayam Pasarlay, a spokesperson for ACCI, told The Hindu.
16/08/17 Asiafruit

Jammu airports modernised terminal building to open tomorrow

Jammu: Jammu airports upgraded and newly expanded state-of-the-art terminal building will open tomorrow, senior officials said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju will inaugurate the new building in the presence of Union ministers of state Jitendra Singh and Jayant Sinha.
"The Jammu Airport is set to offer a world-class experience to passengers with an expanded and modernised terminal. The inauguration will be held tomorrow," Jammu Divisional Commissioner Mandeep Bhandari said.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and state Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta will also be present at the opening.
Bhandari said all arrangements relating to security, traffic management, including alternative traffic routes, and other logistics have been taken care of.
Police and other administration officers have been directed to maintain the highest levels of coordination, he added.
Director Airports Authority of India (AAI) D K Gautam said the departure hall on the ground floor of the Rs 80-crore project was ready.
"It will be open to passengers from tomorrow," Gautam said.
16/08/17 India Today

Pilot says distracted by laser beam before landing at Delhi’s IGI Airport

New Delhi: Security agencies at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport faced some tense moments after the pilot of an Indigo flight called the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and complained of being distracted by a laser beam while landing on Tuesday.
An FIR has been registered at IGI Airport police station and police have started investigation.
According to police, Subham Trivedi, the pilot of IndiGo flight no 6E198 — from Mumbai to Delhi — informed the ATC that the incident took place when he was five nautical miles from the airport and was about to land. “The incident was reported around 12.40 am Tuesday when the flight had been cleared to land on runway 29/11. But he suddenly complained of some distraction and informed the ATC, who informed the manager on the ground,” said a senior police officer, adding that the ATC later helped the pilot land the plane and informed the Delhi Police control room about the incident.
Soon after, Delhi Police officers and other security agencies rushed to the spot. “A laser light causing distraction to the vision of the pilot is not only a source of nuisance but may also cause danger to the safety of passengers and crew. It may also be dangerous for the aircraft,” the officer said.
16/08/17 Mahender Singh Manral/Indian Express

Air India Freedom Sale: Dubai flight tickets at Rs 6,000, Colombo at Rs 7,000

Indian travellers looking for a quick a getaway to an international destination must know national carrier Air India is offering cheap tickets as part of its Freedom Sale marking 70 years of Indian Independence. The sale began on 13th August and fliers can book tickets till 20th August to avail the discounted rates. The cheapest tickets among international flights are for Asian cities, some of which are also popular tourist destinations for Indians.
Tickets to Nepal's capital Kathmandu, Sri Lankan capital Colombo, Myanmar's Yangon are being offered for as low as Rs 7,000. The rates, however, can change, depending on ticket availability. The travel period during for to avail this offer is 16th September 2017 to 30th November 2017 and 25th January 2018 to 31st March 2018, as per the Air India website.
Tickets to Middle Eastern cities, most of which have a strong Indian population, are even cheaper. Tickets to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sarjah, Muscat, Bahrain, Kuwait, Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are priced Rs 6,000.  But, fliers must note that the travel period at these rates are from 1st February 2018 to 20th April 2018. Tickets to other major international cities in the US, UK, Australia and Europe are also offered on lower rates than usual.
16/08/17 Business Today

As India increasingly takes to the skies, here is how Modi government looks to provide a big boost

New Delhi: The Indian air travel market has been witnessing 20 per cent annual growth in domestic passenger traffic. To sustain this double digit annual growth, country’s aviation infrastructure needs to grow. It has been learnt that over 800 new aircraft are likely to enter the market. At present, 500 aircraft are operated by country’s carriers, PTI reported on July 20. Now, front-end infrastructure such as airport terminals and runways are coming up in good numbers. However, it is the aircraft maintenance which is still lagging behind in terms of global standard.
Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL)’s, a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Nagpur is a vital cog in the wheel to address the above-mentioned issue. It has been learnt that the Nagpur MRO facility consists of two wide-body hangars, a support building and other miscellaneous buildings. The MRO unit is designed for undertaking maintenance of any type and size of aircraft, including A380. Each hangar can accommodate one wide body or three narrow body aircraft at a time, as per PTI report.
However, the growth and commercial viability of the facility will depend on a number of factors such as air traffic growth at Nagpur, having better commercial sense for private airlines, and fiscal incentives to the unit to make it competitive with other MRO companies in India and other key locations spread across Asia, according to Indian Express report.
16/08/17 Financial Express

Air India airhostess slips up, deploys evacuation chute upon landing

Air India on Tuesday grounded an airhostess for accidentally deploying the evacuation chute of a Boeing 777 after the plane landed and reached its parking bay in Mumbai. The incident happened when AI 102 operated on Delhi-Mumbai sector on Tuesday. The chute got deployed in a way that it went inflating inside a catering van that was near the aircraft with meals to be loaded for the next flight.
"We are investigating. A cabin crew member admitted to deploying the chute by mistake. Her statement will be recorded on Wednesday," said a senior AI official.
The official said it seems the B-777 had landed and reached its parking bay when the airhostess accidentally opened the "R2 door escape slide" in auto mode. "The aircraft had to operate another flight and we arranged for a replacement cabin crew for the personnel grounded," the official said. The return flight this aircraft as to operate to the US was delayed due to this.
Inflatable evacuation slides, used for evacuating an aircraft quickly in an emergency, are packed within the door structure. In new generation aircraft, these slides deploy automatically when a door is opened in 'armed' condition to reduce evacuation time. Inadvertent slide deployment leads to delays as the aircraft cannot take off for another flight till all doors have a packed chute.
16/08/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Air India’s MRO: Traffic, tax incentives imperative for Nagpur facility to take off

Nagpur: The Indian air travel market, which is currently witnessing a 20 per cent annual growth in domestic passenger traffic, is pegged to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world. However, to sustain this growth, it is also deemed essential for the country’s aviation infrastructure to grow. Although various parties are putting their weight behind the front-end infrastructure such as airport terminals and runways, the back-end infrastructure, a major part of which is aircraft maintenance, is still a laggard compared with its global peers.
Air India Engineering Services Ltd’s (AIESL) Nagpur maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility is a step in the direction to correct this issue. However, the growth and commercial viability of the facility depends on a number of factors such as air traffic growth at Nagpur, having better commercial sense for private airlines, and fiscal incentives to the unit to make it competitive with other MRO companies in India and other key locations spread across Asia.
16/08/17  Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

Glorious history of civil aviation in Hyderabad stuck in air pocket

Hyderabad: Hyderabad Does Not Have An Aviation Museum. Relics Of Yore Remain Only In Photographs And Books. Now, Heritage Activists Want A Portion Of The Begumpet Airport To Be Converted Into An Aviation Museum To Inspire The Younger Generation
The legacy of civil aviation in Hyderabad continues to inspire pilots and researchers in aviation even seven decades after the first commercial flight took off the Begumpet airport in July 1946.The Begumpet airport, which is now virtually defunct, has been a witness to the history of Hyderabad's civil and military aviation as it unfolded over the years. It was the first airport to watch a new chapter being drafted in the world of aviation when the world's first woman commercial pilot took off from its runway in 1948. However, the aviation history of Hyderabad traces back to a little over 100 years ago, 1911 to be precise.
In fact, Hyderabad's aviation heritage is intricately linked with the nobility and the ordinary citizens, and military and civil aircraft. It also cherishes several interesting episodes including the air phobia of the Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who founded the Begumpet airport, and the mysterious Sydney Cotton, who airdropped arms prior to the Operation Polo or the so-called Police Action in 1948 that led to the merger of Hyderabad state with the Indian Union. The runway and the air traffic control tower in Begumpet airport still echoes the daredevilry of the women aircrew. Sadly, Hyderabad with a glorious history and heritage of civil and military aviation does not boast of an aviation museum.
16/08/17 Syed Akbar/Times of India

The state of civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in India

The state of the Indian drone industry is a complicated one, given the harsh restrictions imposed upon UAS in the country. In October of 2014, the Director General of Civil Aviation in India issued a public notice (http://dgca.nic.in/public_notice/PN_UAS.pdf) that regulated Indian UAS use for the first time. The notice is clear: ‘Til such (future) regulations are issued, no individual no non-government agency, organization, or an individual will launch a UAS in Indian Civil Airspace for any purpose whatsoever.’

Despite the fairly obvious warning to any potential UAS user who’s not government-affiliated, there are no laws against the sale of drones in India-and the market for them is growing rapidly. Civil drones alone are estimated to have made over a billion Rupees in sales (roughly equivalent to fifteen million US Dollars), and the UAS market’s worth in India is expected to rise to $421 million by 2021.

The military market makes up the bulk of India’s drone expenditure, however. India imports more military drones than any other country, making up 22.5% of global UAS imports. A recent defence deal with Israel for the purchase of ten Heron drones shows that the interest in UAS from the Indian government is still very much alive.
15/08/17 Adam Mortimer/SUAS news

Etihad Airways partners with Indian designer Manish Arora at Lakmé Fashion Week

Etihad Airways and Lakmé Fashion Week today announced a collaboration with one of the most lauded and inspiring international contemporary designers, Paris-based Manish Arora, who returns to the prestigious Mumbai fashion event after more than five years.

The celebrated Indian couturier marks the 10th anniversary of his colorful Paris collection by presenting ‘CosmicLove’ at the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter Festive 2017 on August 19. His show, Etihad Airways Presents Manish Arora, will take the star-studded audience of Bollywood celebrities, lifestyle media and fashion lovers on a visual journey that spans the tribes of Africa and the outer reaches of the universe.

Known for his astute craftsmanship and unique play on colors – his trademark being pink and gold – Arora’s designs are inspired by Indian heritage but with a contemporary vibe.

Etihad Airways flew Manish Arora on its recently-launched Airbus A380 Paris – Abu Dhabi service and onwards to India, capturing his journey on film from the French capital to Delhi, during which he speaks candidly about his inspiration from the varied cultures and environment for his renowned creations.
15/081/17 eTN

Airports Authority of India directed to float new tender for appointing Master Concessionaire

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to call for a fresh tender for Appointment of Master Concessionaire to design, build, finance, operate and maintain general retail outlets at the Chennai Airport. Justice M Duraiswamy set-aside the bid submitted by Bangalore-based Evolve Business Ventures (EBV) and declared it as contrary to the tender conditions of Request For Proposal (RFP) dated October 2016. The order was passed on a petition filed by Travel News Services (India), New Delhi. In October 2016, the AAI (Southern Region) floated a  tender for which EBV was declared the highest bidder.

However, according to the petitioner, two firms that were placing bids – Bhawar Lifestyle and EBV – were related and under the same management team. “The relationship between two bidders need not necessarily be corporate relationship, but a close relationship of two bidders that puts either or both of them in a position to have access to each other information about or to influence the proposal of either or each other, shall be deemed to have conflict of interest,” said Justice Duraiswamy. The petitioner had written to the AAI authorities highlighting the violation of RFP conditions and requested them to disqualify the bids submitted by the two firms. However, the AAI  did not pay heed to this and opened the financial bids on December 22, 2016.
16/08/17 New Indian Express

New airports may be named after cities not personalities

New Delhi: The government is considering naming future airports after cities and not personalities because it feels that names of cities are easier to remember for passengers especially foreign tourists. The civil aviation ministry is, however, yet to finalise its decision. Regarding renaming of existing airports after personalities, the government is yet to make up its mind.  The government, however, is likely to allow naming of airport terminals after eminent personalities.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha clarified the government’s stand while giving a written reply in the matter to the Lok Sabha recently. He said the proposal of naming and renaming airports after cities is being examined by the government and that the government is also working on a policy on naming / re-naming of airports.

“Due to lack of any firm and explicit instructions/guidelines for naming/renaming of airports in the country and considering the convenience of passengers in general and especially foreign tourists who are not familiar with the local history of the area, a view has emerged to name the airports by the name of the city in which they are located/served and the terminals of the airports after eminent personalities in honour of their memory.

There will be no changes to existing airport names,” Sinha said.

Sinha also confirmed that the ministry has received proposals from Andhra Pradesh regarding renaming of the Vijayawada Airport and the Tirupati Airport. On this, he said, “Since a policy on naming /re-naming of airports is presently under deliberation in this ministry, it has emerged that all proposals for naming / re-naming of airports may await the finalization of the above policy.”
15/08/17 New Indian Express

Parallel taxiway to reduce delays at Dabolim airport

Vasco: To decrease flight delays at Goa international airport, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has awarded the contract to build the parallel taxiway at the Dabolim airport to Dilip Buildcon Limited and the work for the same would commence soon after the monsoons, said AAI Goa Airport Director BCH Negi.
He was speaking on the occasion of 71st Independence Day celebration held at Dabolim airport on Tuesday.
“We have been taking several initiatives to increase passenger facilities and to reduce flight delays at the Goa Airport. Recently, AAI has finalized Dilip Buildcon as the contractor for construction of 3.7 kilometer-long parallel taxi-track which will improve aircraft turnaround time at the Dabolim airport. The Rs 125 crore project works would start soon after the monsoon season gets over,” Negi said.
“Other works to increase passenger facilities have already started at the airport. We have given more focus to cleanliness and thus have appointed a new cleaning contractor for the airport. Similarly, since passenger growth at Goa airport has increased substantially, we have already initiated plans to develop many areas under the terminal building to avoid any congestion at the terminal building,” he informed.
16/08/17 Herald

HC orders fresh tender for retail outlets in Chennai airport

The Madras High Court has directed the Airports Authority of India to call for fresh tender for operation of general retail outlets at the airport here.

Justice M Duraiswamy issued the order while setting aside the bid submitted by Bengaluru-based Evolve Business Ventures on the ground that it was contrary to the tender conditions listed in the October, 2016 Request For Proposal (RFP).

In a recent order, he held that co-bidder Bhawar Lifestyle and Evolve Business Ventures were closely linked to each other, which violated clause 2.2.1 (c) (vi) of RFP.

According to the clause, proposals of such companies shall be deemed to have conflict of interest affecting the bidding process, the judge noted.

The two companies had engaged a common consultant who had 'mistakenly' mentioned the account ID of Evolve Business Ventures in Bhawar Lifestyle's earnest money deposit challan.

The judge directed the AAI (Southern Region) represented by its Regional Executive Director, Chairman of AAI, New Delhi, and the Airport Director of International Airport here to call for a fresh tender for appointment of master concessionaire to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the outlets.
15/08/17 PTI/DNA

Irish tourist degtained with satellite phne at IGIA

New Delhi: Security personnel at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport went into a tizzy when a 28-year-old Irish national was detained at the Airport on August 14, a day before the Independence Day with a satellite phone, a device which is prohibited in India and can be used by terrorists, police said on Tuesday.

"Since satellite phones are prohibited in India, we took action against the accused identified as Pattrick O Connor  He had come to India to visit Leh Ladakh," Deputy Commissioner of Police, IGI, Airport Sanjay Bhatia told The Pioneer.

The accused was produced  before a Delhi court to pay fine as is the norm in such cases. A Kalandra under section 6 of the Indian Wireless Act was registered as a diary entry in the IGI Domestic Airport Police station against the accused.

The official said the accused was not aware that satellite phones are not allowed, except on special permission, in India.
16/08/17 Sauvik Mitra/Daily Pioneer

Air hostess found dead outside Kolkata apartment, two detained

Kolkata: An air hostess working with a private airlines was found dead on Wednesday after allegedly falling from the third floor of a building in Kolkata. Police have detained two persons for questioning in the case.
“The deceased has been identified as Khongsit Clara Bansha Rai. Preliminary investigations have revealed that she was the lead cabin attendant of Indigo airlines. It is too early to ascertain how the incident took place,” said a police official. Rai was a resident of Shillong.
Sources said Rai had gone to attend the birthday party of a friend in an apartment at Prafulla Kanan area in Kestopur under Baguihati police. Her body was found near the apartment with serious head and body injuries. Passersby noticed Rai’s body lying in a pool of blood early morning and informed the police.
“Two people, one male and one female, who were at the party have been detained. We are digging for more information in the case to find the exact sequence of events,” an official at Bidhannagar police station said. Rai’s body has been sent for the post-mortem examination.
16/08/17 Sweety Kumari/Indian Express

Jet Airways extends freedom sale till Aug 21

Dubai: Continuing its endeavour of offering exceptional value, Jet Airways, India’s leading full-service, premier international airline, on Tuesday August 15 announced a seven-day extension to the freedom sale due to high demand.

The special offer will allow guests to avail discounted fares to the tune of up to 30 percent on base fares on flights originating from Dubai and Sharjah to select destinations in India and onwards to Bangkok, Colombo, Dhaka, Hong Kong, Kathmandu and Singapore. The promotional fares will continue be applicable on tickets booked up until August 21, 2017 and valid for travel starting from March 31, 2018.

This is yet another guest-delight initiative from Jet Airways, already acclaimed for delivering exceptional value to travelers, aside from its attractive promotions and innovative product offerings.

Shakir Kantawala, vice president Gulf, Middle East & Africa, Jet Airways, said, “Jet Airways uses every opportunity to create memorable experiences for its guests and India’s Independence Day is another such occasion for us to give wings to the aspirations of the increasingly globalized Indian, helping them to explore new destinations using our attractive, limited period fares.”
15/08/17 daijiworld