Monday, October 16, 2017

At least 15 Indian planes suffered engine damage while in the air this year: Report

More than 15 passenger jets belonging to Indian airlines reported engine damage while in the air in 2017 — the highest in six years — according to the civil aviation regulator’s data till August.

A Hindustan Times report stated that three of the 15 engine failures were raised serious questions about the country's aviation safety. On two occasions, an engine caught fire during take-off and in a different incident, the high-pressure turbine blade of an engine came off while on air.

“All three cases were of serious nature as anything could have happened to the aircraft. The passengers had a narrow escape,” an official in the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the paper.

“An aircraft is inspected before passenger boarding. There are instances of flaws getting detected during inspection. In such cases, we ground the plane,” the official was quoted as saying. “But if a snag develops after take-off, during landing or whilst the plane is airborne and cruising, it is serious.”

According to data of the last six years obtained through the right to information (RTI), in 2016 only seven aircraft reported engine snags during flights.
16/10/17 Moneycontrol

State govt announces civil aviation promotion policy 2017

Lucknow: In pursuance of the national aviation policy 2016 and regional connectivity scheme of the Union government, UP government has promulgated the ``Civil aviation promotion policy 2017 of UP’’.  The policy aims at connecting the underserved and unserved airports.  Under the Regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of the Center, an MOU has been sighed between the state government and the Union aviation ministry.

A state government release  here on Sunday said  the aim of the  ` ``Civil aviation promotion policy 2017 of UP’’  is to create a conducive business environment,  provide adequate  incentives for the  development of robust  civil aviation  infrastructure  and to aid in attracting investments to realize the untapped potential in the aviation sector.  The release said the policy aims to improve the air connectivity through development of new routes under RCS by providing incentives and also to facilitate inter- connectivity of non-RCS airports of U.P.
UP governments policy aims to realize the full potential of tourism by linking major state tourist destinations with rest of India and the world and to facilitate trade and generation of employment opportunities.  The policy aims to give a boost to agro -exports, other perishable goods, manufacturing and e-commerce businesses in UP by supporting the development of air cargo hubs and fulfillment centers.
16/10/17 Pioneer

Airport hires US advisers

Dum Dum: A surge in domestic traffic and stunted growth in the international sector have prompted the airport authorities to hire an American consultancy to reorient its expansion plans.

Landrum & Brown, which specialises in aviation planning and development, will review the master plan for the airport's expansion and recommend changes based on utilisation of the facilities.

According to the company's website, it has done similar master plan reviews for two privately managed airports in India - Delhi and Hyderabad. The firm has also sketched assessment plans for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Thailand airports.


"The firm will start the study early next month. The master plan was drawn in 2008-09 and the aviation scenario has since undergone lot of changes. All these factors now have to be included," airport director Atul Dixit said on Sunday.

Passenger traffic to and from the city has increased in the last few years, but this growth has been mostly in the low-cost domestic sector. The passenger count in the domestic sector increased by almost 26 per cent in 2016-17 over the previous year - from 12.8 million to 15.8 million. But growth was stunted in the international sector with 2.3 million passengers in 2016-17 against 2.15 million the previous year.
16/10/17 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph

Why India wants an empty airport

Reports that India is in advanced talks with Sri Lanka to revive the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota has sparked concerns that Sino-Indian rivalry will spread by proxy to the island nation. The airport is part of the massive port complex built by China. But following huge losses (estimated at around $300 million), Sri Lanka earlier this year decided to sell 70 per cent of its stake in the port to a state-run Chinese firm for $1.1 billion, in order to offset the loan from China.

This caused much consternation in New Delhi, which sees the possibility of PLA navy ships or submarines docking at that port as a major security threat and a vindication of its fears about a Chinese “String of pearls” or ports aimed at encircling India. The deal itself was delayed for months after India raised its concerns with Colombo, but finally went through because Sri Lanka was unable to repay the loan.

Almost $8 billion of Sri Lanka’s $65 billion national debt is owed to China, which has ramped up its infrastructure aid to the nation as part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. Plans for the port’s construction were drawn up soon after the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009, and the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa believed the project would help transform his home district into a international trade and tourism hub. India also convinced Colombo to retain the rights to deny Chinese warships entry to the port, and in May, Sri Lanka had rejected Chinese request to dock a submarine there.
16/10/17 New Indian Express

Chennai airport needs parallel runway: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

Chennai: Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that Chennai airport is in need of a new modern parallel runway in order to witness growth in the aviation sector and that the Centre is willing to partner with the State government to ensure this development. Speaking to reporters at the airport here on Sunday, the Minister said there is a plan to connect the domestic and international terminals to meet the increasing demand of the passengers.

“This is essentially, an old cross runway (airport)... So, it has a limited capacity... It is not like a modern parallel runway airport, something like in Mumbai,” Mr Raju said.

The aviation sector, he said, was a Government of India subject, but land is a state government subject. “So, the Government of India and State government has to partner for expansion of the airport,” he said and in a lighter vein remarked, “So, without land, an aircraft cannot land, You cannot take off (also).”

Last month, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had said that the annual passenger traffic at the Chennai airport was set to increase from current 20 million to 35 million in the coming years.
16/10/17 Deccan Chronicle

Vistara and Avis India Join Hands to Provide Premium Car Rental Services

Vistara, India's full service carrier, and Avis India, the country’s leading car rental, leasing and fleet management provider, today entered a partnership to provide a seamless and premium car rental experience to Vistara customers. The partnership enables all Vistara customers to book their airport transfers, chauffeur-drive cars and self-drive cars directly through Vistara’s website, with additional attractive benefits for members of Club Vistara.

Vistara customers will now enjoy the comfort and safety of a world-classcar rentalservice across 20 Indian cities with Avis. Through this association,customers booked on any Vistara flight can choose to make their airport transfer, chauffeur-drive or self-drive car reservations at the time of booking a Vistara ticket or later, using the ‘Enhance My Booking’ option. Members of Club Vistara (CV), India’s fastest rewarding frequent flyer program, will get to earn 10 CV points on every Rs 100 spent on making bookings with Avis using this option. To celebrate the launch of this partnership with customers, CV members who book their car rentals using this option until October 31, 2017 will get double Club Vistara points (20 CV Points per Rs 100) and a complimentary car upgrade on self-drive cars.

Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara said, “It is our constant endeavour to offer our customers a seamless and superior travel experience across all touchpoints, whether it is on ground or at 35,000 feet above it. As part of this philosophy, we choose our travel partners with utmost care. In Avis India, we find a partner that shares our passion for delighting customers with a first-ratetravel experience. Avis is a globally respected brand, and this partnership will enhance our efforts of ensuring that our customers’ experience of safety, comfort and style that they expect with Vistara, can be experienced door-to-door with their ground transportation as well.”
16/10/17 Business World

Bombay High Court notice sent to airlines over charging for first-row seats

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has issued notices to low-cost airlines Indigo and Jet Airways and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), seeking their response on a petition challenging their policy of charging extra cost for their front-row seats.

A division bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and GS Kulkarni on Sunday asked the airlines and the DGCA to file their replies within four weeks.

In her petition, advocate Yasmin Tavariya, a cancer survivor, described her own plight and that of disabled passengers in the back-row seats of airplanes.

"Low-cost airlines have scant regard for rules under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, specifically tailored for the facilitation of services to be rendered to persons with disabilities and for the standards of accessibility for transportation, including facilities and services, to be provided by them," Tavariya said in her petition.

Senior advocate Dinyar Madon pointed out to the court about the rules and circulars of the DGCA which made it mandatory for airlines to allot seats which would be convenient for disabled persons.
The plea stated that budget airlines are acting contrary to the very spirit of the statutory and constitutional provisions by being discriminative to passengers with disability and/or reduced mobility without any rational criteria, thus being against the very grain of fundamental rights and directive principles enshrined in the Constitution of India.
16/10/17 Mustafa Plumber/DNA

Mumbai airport in need of urgent attention: Experts

Mumbai: Mumbai’s airport, India’s second-busiest after Delhi, needs urgent attention as it is reaching the saturation point at a time when air traffic in the country is growing at the quickest pace in the world, aviation industry executives and experts said.

With record rains that pounded the city this year, it has been particularly harrowing for airlines with frequent shutdowns of the airport causing huge delays. Just about 60% of flights could take off or land on time in August — in fact, airlines have recorded a steady fall in monthly on-time performance at the airport since the beginning of the financial year in April. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has yet to release the numbers for September, the month that recorded the strongest spates of rain and thundershowers throwing flight schedules at the airport awry.

In the past one month, the airport has also seen an aircraft getting stuck on the side of the runway. Pilots and airline executives complain also about potholes in the taxiway.

“It’s a nightmare to fly in and out of Mumbai now,” said a senior executive at a full-service Indian carrier. “And it’s getting worse every single day. Now it has come to a situation wherein you can operate a flight remotely on time only during absolutely perfect weather. Otherwise, not a chance.”
16/10/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Capt GR Gopinath's Air Deccan fails to get enough landing slots in Delhi, Mumbai airports

Mumbai: GR Gopinath said his return to aviation is facing turbulence because the new carrier hasn’t got enough landing slots or parking space at airports in Delhi and Mumbai, India’s busiest. The airports say they don’t have the capacity to offer any more.
“The airports are the most important hubs in the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) network of Air Deccan,” he said. “Without parking bays, aircraft can’t even be imported,” Gopinath said this is despite top government officials interceding on his behalf. GMR Infra and GVK Power and Infra operate the Delhi and Mumbai airports, respectively. GMR also handles Hyderabad and GVK until recently controlled Bengaluru airport before selling it to Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Holdings. Together, the four privately-held airports handle more than 60% of India’s flights.

Under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme, bids were sought for 128 routes. Air Odisha won the maximum number of 50 routes, while Air Deccan came second with 34. Of these, 16 routes link Delhi, but it’s got only four landing slots. It has 10 linking Mumbai, where it has again got four slots. Air Odisha has 10 routes from Delhi and has got two slots.

A Delhi airport spokesperson said it had moved to a profile slot-structure from the flat-slotstructure, so incumbent airlines with years of operations at the airport get a preference over newcomers.
16/10/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Kolkata airport flies high as passenger growth reaches over 24%

Kolkata: The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, popularly known as Dum Dum airport, has witnessed a passenger growth of over 24 percent in the financial year 16-17 in comparison to the last fiscal. According to city airport Director Atul Dikshit, the growth was triggered from the introduction of more than half a dozen new flights and various passenger amenities in the airport from time to time. The number of passengers flying from the city airport in the 2016-17 fiscal has crossed 16 million.
"The revenue growth for the city airport has also registered a 24 percent rise. The revenue for the financial year 15-16 was Rs 863 crore that has gone up to Rs 1,073 crore in the 16-17 fiscal," Dikshit said.
Talking about the introduction of new route in the 16-17 financial year, a senior airport official said that US Bangla has commenced a flight to Dhaka, Myanmar Airways has started a flight to Yangoon, Novo Air to Dhaka, Zoom Air to New Delhi via Andal airport, Vistara to Pune and New Delhi and Air Asia to Ranchi.
"We have introduced a number of choices in retail through WHSmith which has brought some leading brands both for high-end and middle-class customers. The rates that are being offered is the same as the rates in leading fashion brands in shopping malls. Passengers can pick up something for their near and dear ones before boarding the flight or leaving the airport," the official said.
15/10/17 Soumitra Nandi/millenniumpost

More discounts on flight tickets as airlines dole out cheaper airfares this Diwali

Airlines have continued with the discounts on flight tickets in the run-up to Diwali with Air India and Jet Airways now joining the lot.

Air India said it is offering discounts in addition to cheaper fares, complimentary food and extra baggage offers.

“10% discount for domestic travel in economy and business class for bookings made on web and mobile app,” Air India said.

The scheme was made effective on October 13 and will last till December 15 for a travel period to be completed on or before December 15.

“Scheme not valid for travel on dates 21st /22nd /23rd October 2017,” Air India said.

In addition, Air India said, “Offer only valid on All flights operating on the Air India Network and booked through Air India website, and Air India mobile application. Scheme is valid for both, one-way and round-trip bookings.”

Full service carrier, Jet Airways is also offering cheaper priced flight tickets. Last week the company was offering a business class all-inclusive ticket from Mumbai to Delhi at Rs 14,805. Economy all-inclusive return tickets for the same journey however has been priced at Rs 6,000.

Drop in airfares during tourist season was suspected due to weaker air travel in the October period.
16/10/17 ZeeBiz

MADC-defence plan meeting on Oct 24 to discuss technical snags at land for new Pune airport

In a bid to resolve the technical issues at the newly proposed Pune airport in Purandar taluka, the Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC) will hold a special meeting with defence officials in New Delhi on October 24. MADC is still waiting to get clearance from the defence ministry for this long-pending project, despite a series of meetings, surveys and visits over the past year by MADC, defence officials, state and central government officials.
“In the last meeting with the defence officials they had raised concerns over the feasibility, take-off and landing-related issues, runway and several other technical issues at this proposed site for the new airport in Purandar taluka. Accordingly, a fresh survey was conducted by both defence and MADC officials separately. This meeting is for a discussion on these technical issues and to gain momentum for this project. We are positive about this meeting and hope a solution comes out of it to get defence clearance for this new airport.” said Suresh Kakani, vice-chairman and managing director of MADC.
The existing Pune airport is at Lohegaon which currently operates a total of 154 flight scheduled daily, with approximately 20,000 passengers travelling every day. For the last many years, the issue of a new airport for Pune has been in focus and Purandar taluka has been finalised by the state government. A total of 2,367 hectares land was approved by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for this new airport in seven villages of the taluka. PMB
16/10/17 Pune Mirror

Pune Airport’s long-standing woes: Shortage of chairs and trolleys; fliers suffer

Pune: Although the Pune airport administration is working hard to expand the existing facilities at the airport to meet the growing needs of the city and has also achieved success by acquiring additional land from the Air Force, it is struggling to get the basic infrastructure such as chairs and trolleys from its regional headquarters in Mumbai.
While the Pune Airport director has been asking for 1,000 additional chairs and 800 trolleys for about a year now, his demands are being ignored by the Airport Authority of India even as fliers continue to suffer due to the insufficient availability of chairs as well as trolleys. According to the information obtained from officials, Pune Airport, which has a daily footfall of about 15,000 fliers, presently has only 550 chairs. With no empty seats, passengers often have to remain standing as they wait for their flights. With the ongoing expansion of the terminal building, the daily footfall will increase further which will call for more chairs which seem hard to come by.
As per officials, there are about 700 baggage trolleys of which 235 are in disrepair and hence can’t be used. While the administration has written to the western region headquarters of AAI, seeking 800 more trolleys, there has been no response to the demand. “Trolleys and chairs are the most basic amenities that passengers need when they visit the airport. That’s why we have asked for additional chairs and trolleys to fulfil the growing demand. We are yet to get them,” said a senior AAI official.
16/10/17 Atikh Rashid/Indian Express

Safdarjung Airport pending dues: Delhi High Court seeks Airport Authority of India reply

The Delhi High Court (HC) has sought a reply from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) as to why the Safdarjung Airport should not be attached to recover an amount of over Rs 1 crore due towards a private company.

Justice Jayant Nath issued a notice to the AAI on an execution petition filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava on behalf of his client. The company is engaged in the consultancy business and offered their services in construction of Trivandrum Airport to AAI.

Following some disputes with respect to payment, the matter was referred to Sole Arbitrator OP Goel. On December 23, 2015, the arbitrator held the contentions of the consultancy company right and awarded them a sum of Rs 1,23,67,951. He also said that an interest at 12 per cent be given, if the amount is not paid within a reasonable period as defined by the arbitral award.On May 30, Justice Vibhu Bhakru upheld the directions passed by the arbitrator after the AAI challenged the arbitral award in the high court. Following this, two letters were written by the company but there was no response from the AAI officials.

Aggrieved by the non-responsive nature of the AAI, the company filed an execution petition through their counsel demanding the attachment of the Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi to recover the amount of Rs 1, 23, 67,951 along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum, from the date of passing of award till the date of payment.
16/10/17 Richa Banka/DNA

Rajasthan govt mulls acquiring land for new airport in capital city

Jaipur: After the recent visit of minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, the state government is mulling a proposal to acquire land for second airport in the city.
During his visit, Sinha said that in next five years Sanganer airport will not be big enough to cater to air traffic. According to sources, a highlevel committee meeting has been called on October 17, which will be chaired by the chief secretary where the proposal of land acquisition will be discussed.
Sources said the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) will also table the proposal to acquire land for the new Greenfield Airport project, which was finalised recently. The JDA has proposed to acquire 2,100.8 hectares land for the new airport project in Shivdaspura area, which has been earmarked for past 12 years. "The civil aviation minister said a minimum of 10,000 acre land will be required to develop a new airport. However, the state government has proposed to acquire 5,000 acre land. In the meeting with the chief secretary, it will be decided whether more land in the nearby area will be acquired or not," said a source.
The state government earlier had given in-principle approval to the proposal for constructing the Greenfield Airport. Following this the proposal was prepared for land acquisition by the JDA.
Sources added, "The JDA will provide compensation to the farmers as per the new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The process of land acquisition will start with preparation of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study. The district administration will issue a notification conducting SIA study. Once the study is completed, the land acquisition process will be started."
16/10/17 Times of India

Leslie Thng takes over as Vistara CEO

Full service carrier Vistara today said Leslie Thng has taken over as its Chief Executive Officer after receiving all requisite approvals.
Thng, whose appointment is effective from today, replaces Phee Teik Yeoh, who has returned to Singapore Airlines.
A joint venture between Tata group and Singapore Airlines, the airline began its commercial operations in January 2015. Currently, it has a fleet of 16 aircraft and has ambitious expansion plans, including flying overseas destinations.
"Thng has taken over as the airline s new CEO post all requisite approvals from the Government of India and regulatory authorities," Vistara said in a release.
He has joined the carrier from Budget Aviation Holdings -- a Singapore Airlines Holding Company -- where he was serving as the Chief Commercial Officer.
16/10/17 PTI/Economic Times

Two postage stamps mark Mumbai Airport's Platinum Jubilee

Mumbai: Two postage stamps have been issued to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of the first flight piloted by the late J.R.D. Tata at the now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

It was on October 15, 1932 that the 28-year-old Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata flew a Puss Moth single-engine aircraft carrying mail from Karachi to Mumbai, putting the city on the global airmap.
Later, the same aircraft was piloted by his friend, a former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot, Nevill Vintcent, who flew to Madras (now Chennai).

The Postal Department has issued two colour postage stamps of Rs 5 and Rs 15 each, displaying facets of the present-day busy airport and a first day cover showing the image of the airport where the flight commanded by Tata landed.

The first flight landed at Mumbai's Santacruz Airport, then a military airport, where the RAF launched operations in 1942 till it was transferred to the Indian government after independence for civilian use.

The hangars of the RAF at Santacruz were converted into a domestic and an international terminal for commercial passenger traffic, which started growing steadily thereafter.

Earlier owned and managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), in 2006 the operations were transferred to Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between the GVK-led consortium and AAI under a PPP initiative.
16/10/17 IANS/Business Standard

Jagmeet Singh denounces ‘anyone held responsible’ for Air India bombing

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has defended his response when asked if he would condemn any Canadian Sikhs who glorify Talwinder Singh Parmar, the mastermind of the 1985 Air India bombing, as a martyr.

Singh was asked in an Oct. 2 interview on CBC’s Power and Politics if he thought it was appropriate for some Sikhs to glorify Parmar by displaying posters of him in temples. The Brampton-born lawyer-turned-lawmaker responded by denouncing terrorism, but stopped short of naming Parmar or decrying his admirers.
16/10/17  Rahul Kalvapalle/Global News

Fresh impetus for Thiruvananthapuram airport development

Thiruvananthapuram: As the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for acquiring 18 acres of land for Thiruvananthapuram airport has commenced,  the long-pending expansion plans of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport has got fresh impetus. The Airport Authority of India has already begun preliminary steps for expanding the existing 33,0000 square metre international terminal by another 55,000 square metre, making it an integrated terminal for domestic and international services.

It will decongest the rush at the terminal during the peak hours ( 3 am to 6 am) and facilitates more flights during the time. Airport director George G Tharakan said that without expansion of the terminal building, it was almost impossible to allow more flights during peak hours. It is because of the convenience of connection flights to US and Europe that most flights to Gulf sectors prefer this time frame.

“At present around 12 flights are operating between 3 am and 6 am. Our runway has the capacity to handle even more than double the number of flights during this period. But the existing international terminal building can only handle passengers of three or four flights per hour. Hence the expansion of the terminal is very crucial for further expansion of the Thiruvananthapuram airport,” said Mr. Tharakan.
16/10/17 Arjun Raghunath/Deccan Chronicle

City airport: People won’t spare us for dilly-dallying, DM tells UP govt

Bareilly: With barely two months left for the district administration to meet its year-end promise of readying the Bareilly airport, district magistrate (DM) R V Singh has written a letter to the state government seeking intervention to expedite construction work for the much-awaited project. It has been almost a month since civil aviation officials met with DM Singh and assured him that flights would start from Bareilly by the end of 2017, but since then no progress has been made on the ground.
“We were promised that flights would begin by the end of this year, and citizens have been waiting with great hope. If there is a delay in the work, people will not spare us for dilly-dallying,” said a visibly anxious DM Singh.
The airport is to come up near the Indian Air Force’s Trishul airbase here. “When we met officials of the civil aviation department on September 13, we were told that the flight operations could begin with bare minimum infrastructure. The boundary wall that has been constructed by us is almost ready. We were expecting that work for the airport lounge would begin sometime in October first week but little has been done so far,” added DM Singh.
The city magistrate, U P Singh, who had earlier facilitated a meeting between airports authority of India (AAI) officials and the civil aviation department team, said that once the lounge is ready, it would take barely two months to complete rest of the construction work.
15/10/17 Pankul Sharma/Times of India

Gold seized from air passengers

Chennai: Customs officials at the Anna International Airport foiled three attempts to smuggle gold on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

According to officials, based on specific intelligence that gold was being smuggled into India from Singapore, customs officers carried out a search operation on board the Indigo flight 6E 54 from Singapore.

During the search, they found a red pouch kept in the life jacket below a seat. Subsequently, a passenger, Askar Ali, 32, holding an Indian passport was intercepted at the exit gate of the arrival hall.

On questioning, he confessed to have kept the pouch below the seat. Eight gold bars weighing a total of 800 gm were found concealed in two rectangular packets wrapped in black adhesive tape.

On Sunday, based on information provided by the Indigo airlines staff, a total of 288 gm of gold valued at ₹8.6 lakh in the form of bars and cut bits were discovered on Indigo airlines flight 6E519 that had arrived from Dubai.
16/10/17 The Hindu

Gold seized from 3 passengers at Cochin International Airport

Kochi: Gold was seized from 3 passengers at Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery on October 15. The arrested had adopted new methods to hide gold.
The officers of Air Intelligence Unit, Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery, effected three seizures. The first seizure was from a Malappuram passenger who arrived by Saudi Airlines flight No.SV 784 from Jeddah. He was carrying a speaker woofer system having two transformers inside it.
In one transformer gold shaped into wire rolls were cleverly concealed by winding into it. He also concealed two gold biscuits in his person.
In another case, a passenger of Bhatkal, Karnataka who arrived from Dubai in Jet Airways flight No.9W0527 was intercepted at the exit gate of the arrival hall by air intelligence officers. On a thorough personal search four gold biscuits cleverly concealed under the feet with adhesive tapes (two biscuits in each feet) were retrieved.
The third case was from Air Arabia flight No.G9 0427 wherein a passenger from Palakkad was carrying several perfume bottles. Gold in granular form was concealed inside the top portion of the lid of the perfume bottles.
16/10/17 Preetu Nair/Times of India

43 per cent increase in gold seizure at Mumbai International Airport, Egyptian women acting as carriers

Mumbai: Gold seizure by Customs at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) Mumbai in this fiscal till September has risen by nearly 43 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

“We had seized smuggled gold worth Rs. 7 crore during the period April 2016 and March 2017. Whereas, in this fiscal year, we have seized gold worth Rs. 10 crore during April-September 2017,” said a senior officer from Air Intelligence Unit (AIU).

Earlier, most of the gold smugglers were only Indians and Sri Lankans but, according to the AIU officer, now there is a new trend of Egyptian women acting as carriers in the gold smuggling syndicate. The kingpins behind smuggling business are using foreign nationals and women as “carriers” to avoid being easily detected.

“Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangkok and Singapore are major supply centres for gold market. That’s why the international gold smugglers have made their den at these major locations to smuggle gold into India due to price differentiation. The smuggling of gold is directly proportional to the increase in its import duty,” added the officer.

The gold smugglers or carriers or couriers disguise themselves as genuine passengers to dodge the customs check at the international airport. But the customs officers keep tight vigil on the suspects, especially those who avoid red channels where the passengers declare their dutiable goods.

The airport staff also helps smugglers to sneak the yellow metal out of CSIA in Mumbai. “In July, we arrested one airport staff Arif Mohamed Khan (23) near the gate located at V17F and recovered 464 grams gold valued at Rs. 13.68 lakh from the battery slot of the Samsung mobile he was carrying. The mobile phone with gold bars were given to him near the aerobridge by one passenger who had arrived from Dubai,” said the officer.
16/10/17 Diwakara Sharma/Free Press Journal

Gold worth Rs 1 crore seized from 3 women at Imphal airport

Imphal: Twenty gold biscuits were seized from three passengers from the airport here, police said on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, customs officials boarded a Kolkata-bound flight on the tarmac and seized the biscuits from three women on Friday.
The biscuits are valued at Rs 1 crore in international market, they said. The three women were detained.
16/10/17 PTI/Tribune

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Flights under UDAN to take off from 3 airports

Pune: Flights under the Union government's regional connectivity scheme, popularly known as UDAN, will take off from at least three airports in the state within a fortnight, senior state government officials said.

With Air Deccan winning the bid for starting flight operations from four unserved and underserved airports of Maharashtra, officials said that things were falling in line now. The first round of bidding was held under UDAN in March this year.
"Earlier this week, there was a meeting with officials of Air Deccan and the civil aviation directorate of the state government. Officials of the Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited also participated in the meeting. The discussions focussed on the reasons behind the delay and ways of fixing some of the bottlenecks," MADC vice-chairman-cum-managing director Suresh Kakani told TOI.
The official added that when it comes to Solapur airport, which is managed by MADC, flight operations could start only by November.
15/10/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Oman flight makes emergency landing at Dabolim

Vasco: Technical snag in one of the engines forced an Oman Airlines flight from Mascat to Goa to make emergency landing at Dabolim International Airport on Saturday evening. All 63 passengers onboard the plane were safe.
According to the information, the Oman flight took off to Goa from Muscat airport at about 2.55 pm thus in midair, the pilot noticed that the one of the two engines stopped working. To avoid any risk, the pilot informed about the engine failure to Goa Air Traffic Control and at 7.40 pm the aircraft safely made emergency landing.
15/10/17 Herald

Tamil Nadu airport expansions: in search of a second wind

In less than a decade, India will replace the United Kingdom as the third largest aviation market transporting 278 million passengers every year, the International Air Transport Association says. Time and again, this body has reiterated the need for the intelligent expansion of airports, as in the sterling case of Singapore’s Changi facility.

Closer home, the State government has chalked out expansion plans for various cities, including Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchi. Of these, Chennai airport’s Phase I modernisation plan seems like a complete letdown with a host of infrastructure issues.

Four years after the completion of Phase I, the terminals are bursting at the seams with about 30,000 passengers travelling every day. The situation is especially bad during early mornings and late nights with the terminal choked with serpentine queues. Though services have marginally improved, there is quite a long way to go, passengers say. This has highlighted the need for the immediate implementation of Phase II after which as many as 30 million passengers can use the facilities.

Officials say that though the final nod for the project is yet to arrive from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), they will begin the safety inspection for the project soon. The phase II project has been planned in such a way as to give the terminals an integrated look. “It may take four years to complete and we will carry out this construction in two phases. We have carefully planned the work to ensure passengers don’t face any inconvenience,” an official says. The first phase will be over by January 2020 and the second by July 2021 and together, it will be open for operations by September 2021.

With Tanjore paintings, murals and statues, the airport’s facade will significantly change for the better, officials say. But these are just the aesthetics. Functional conveniences are miles away.

“We want to make sure there are no infrastructural issues, such as the breaking of glass panels or the collapse of false ceilings. We will ensure the toilets can be easily maintained,” another official says.
14/10/17 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Demand for another daily flight in Delhi-Guwahati-Dibrugarh sector

Dibrugarh: Urging the need for introduction of another daily flight connecting Dibrugarh, Guwahati and Delhi in the morning hours, a memorandum was submitted by the Eastern Assam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (EACCI) Dibrugarh, to the chairman and Managing Director, Air India Limited, New Delhi.
In the memorandum, the EACCI highlighted a few details about the industrial and commercial importance of Dibrugarh, like petroleum giants ONGC, IOC, OIL, Brahmaputra Cracker Polymer Limited (BCPL) and Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited (BVFCL) are functioning in the close vicinity of Dibrugarh Airport. Second, tea companies, hotels are flourishing and tourism industry, particularly tea tourism, wildlife tourism and medical tourism are also showing an upward growth trend with the Dibrugarh Airport at the centre.
The third important fact states that Dibrugarh being located by the side of River Brahmaputra, has very nice climatic conditions throughout the year, thereby providing an appropriate natural and commercial atmosphere for growth of business.
Last, the fact that Dibrugarh is also the only non-capital city to have Rajdhani Express originating and terminating here daily and that 20 Rajdhani trains connect Dibrugarh with the national capital Delhi on a weekly basis (10 Rajdhani Express trains from Dibrugarh and 10 Rajdhani Express trains from New Delhi per week).
14/10/17 Sentinel

Discount battle heats up as airlines offer Diwali-special fare, starting at Rs 1,073

New Delhi: Airlines in India have rolled out attractive deals for travel this holiday season in their respective Diwali airfare sales. The customers are presented with a flurry of options to choose from as full service airlines Air India and Jet Airways and low cost carriers like Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Vistara etc go head-to-head in the discount battle.
Air India has rolled out a special 10 per cent discount for bookings made on Air India’s web and mobile app for domestic travel in economy and business class between October 13 and December 15 this year. The offer, though, will not be valid for travel on October 21-23.
As general practice, airlines step up fares during the holiday season–typically a fortnight to Diwali going to around mid January. This is the highest grossing period for airlines as travel shoots up during holidays. However, as the airline market opens up and gets more competitive, we are witnessing a different trend.
GoAir is offering tickets as low as Rs 1,073 on select routes–Chennai Hyderabad, Jammu-Leh, Delhi-Chandigarh, Chandigarh-Delhi, Hyderabad-Chennai, Lucknow-Delhi, Kolkata-Pata, Kolkata-Bhubaneswar and Lucknow-Kolkata. The low-cost carrier is offering the discounted fares till October 31, 2017. However, the travel fare can only be availed for travel on discounted ‘low fare wednesday’.
IndiGo’s ‘early flight initiative’ gives travellers the option to use IndiGo Early for a fare of Rs 1,000. The airline is providing this offer to passengers wanting to prepone their flight (within four hours).
15/10/17 Indian Express

Palace on wings: Raje plans 'height' of tourism

Seen the Palace on Wheels? That's passe. Sample this: The state government is planning to boost tourism through air connectivity. It is working on a plan ‘palace on wings’ on the lines of ‘palace on wheels’.

The plan was approved during a recent meeting with Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha and the tourism department was asked to prepare a comprehensive plan. It entails a package through which tourists will be taken to prominent forts and heritage sites in a helicopter. The idea is to attract foreign and up-market tourists.

There could be two or three packages which include Amer, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh Fort and Durg. A separate package may have other places of heritage importance.

Recently, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha approved a plan to expand air services in the state. As part of it, palace on wings scheme was also cleared to provide air connectivity to heritage places. Prominent forts, monuments and heritage properties would be connected through helicopter services and the plan is to popularise it like the Palace on Wheels. The helicopterS that would be taken on leases will have heritage facilities.

CM Raje is taking a keen interest in this scheme. Rajasthan would become a major hub of civil aviation and state tourism could reach new heights. It is also possible that in future other historic places in the country may get connected with Rajasthan’s heritage sites.
15/10/17 Dr. Rituraj Sharma/Nirmal Tiwari/DNA

Airport work grinds to a halt; police deployment after FIFA

Navi Mumbai: The Ulwe hill blasting, cutting and river diversion work for the development of Navi Mumbai international airport (NMIA) took a hit the third day since Thursday when villagers protested the relief and rehab package, but with the commissioner of police (CP) office communicating to Cidco that deployment of force at the site for re-starting the operations was possible after the on-going under-17 FIFA soccer matches ended on October 25, work in all likelihood continue to take a hit.
A Cidco officer said, `` we want the operations to start, but there's an issue about police deployment. Besides, we are closed next week for Diwali from 18th till 22nd,'' indicating hill operations not starting any day soon.
Cidco had got the indication of facing rough weather last week Friday when the MD along with a former MP, also a contractor and in BJP, Ramsheth Thakur was at the site for a bhoomi pujan to start work from the eastern side of the hill for blasting and Ulwe river diversion. Currently, the work was underway from the north side.
DCP (zone II), Rajendra Mane said, `` the 10 villages in the core airport area come under zone I and zone II. Cidco officers have mer me regarding the work issue, but have told them that deployment was possible in as required after October, 25. There is a communication in this regard from the CP office.''
15/10/17 Times of India

Surat int’l airport: State’s reluctance to blame for delay

Surat: Surat people's dream to fly to international destinations can be fulfilled provided Gujarat government acts positively.
Despite clear direction from Prime Minister's Office (PMO), ministry of civil aviation and ministry of home affairs for taking over immigration functions at Surat airport, the state government is yet to act on it.
In the latest communication to Gujarat government, ministry of home affairs, Government of India (a copy of which is with TOI) has stated that the process of declaration of Surat airport as an authorized immigration check post would be initiated only on the receipt of positive response from the state government.
The central government has clearly directed that immigration functions at Surat airport be taken over by the state government. A reference has been given in a letter dated June 7, 2017, addressed to the principal secretary, home department, government of Gujarat, requesting to make arrangements for providing required manpower and other infrastructure necessary for carrying out immigration functions at the airport. The letter further stated that the response in this regard is still awaited.
15/10/17 Times of India

Tamil Nadu, Centre should partner for Chennai airport expansion, says Civil Aviation Minister

Chennai:  Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said the Chennai airport needs a modern parallel runway to cater to the growing passenger traffic and, the Centre and state government would have to partner for this cause.

The civil aviation minister said there was a plan to connect the domestic and international terminals at the airport here to meet the rising passenger demand.

"This is essentially an old cross runway (airport)...

So, it has a limited capacity... It is not like a modern parallel runway airport, something like Mumbai," Raju told reporters at the airport here.

"Ultimately, if Chennai has to see a growth in the aviation sector, it would require a new modern parallel runway airport," he said.

Noting that aviation, as a sector was a Government of India subject and land, is a state government subject, Raju said, "The Government of India and State government has to partner (for expansion of the city airport)."
15/10/17 PTI/New Indian Express

Israel's Heron TP Armed Drone May Not Find Its Way to Indian Skies

The Indian defense ministry approved the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones last year and a final deal with the Israeli manufacturer was in the offing. However, the imposition of restrictions by the Israeli defense ministry has pushed the deal towards uncertainty as India's proposal for the purchase posed a mandatory requirement of transfer of technology from the foreign vendor.

In July of this year, Israel had exhibited keen interest in supplying combat drones to India with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signing memorandums of understanding (MoU) with India's Dynamatic Technologies and Elcom for the "manufacture of Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAVs in India under technology transfer from IAI & creation of futuristic UAV enterprise in India." The MoUs were signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit which was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel.
"The future is unmanned. Most Air Forces are working to have an uninhabited air vehicle for every possible mission. The USA already has more UAVs than aircraft. India must become an independent UAV manufacturer. No one will give technology. (We should either) beg, borrow or steal the technology…Use economic muscle like China did…Increase research funding," Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired), defense analyst told Sputnik.

With the restrictions in sharing of advanced technologies, the Israel Aerospace Industries will find it extremely difficult to convince India to buy it's million dollar combat drones. For India's part, it would have to explore the possibility of a favorable deal with other contenders like American General Atomics Aeronautical Systems which is interested in selling the MQ-9 Reaper to India.

Israel Aerospace Industries also announced a new export-version of the Heron TP on February 9th of this year at the AeroIndia exhibition in Bengaluru. The export version of Heron TP was meant for members of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of which India became a member in June 2016.
14/10/17 Sputnik

Fresh trial for airport full-body scanners

New Delhi: Fresh trials of full-body scanners at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport will start next month as security agencies have imported two new ones from Germany after the earlier machines failed to detect contraband and concealed objects.

The new scanners, officials said, have been imported keeping in mind Indian sensibilities as passengers, especially women, had raised privacy and cultural issues during the trial run in December last year.

"The new scanners will only show an outline of the passenger's body on a screen. We had asked the manufacturer of the machine in Germany to tweak specifications as per the Indian standard keeping in mind the sensibilities involved," Central Industrial Security Force director-general O.P. Singh said.

The CISF is in charge of security at airports across the country.

At the trial run last year, multi-fold saris of some women passengers had fooled the machines from the US into raising false alarms. Passengers had also objected to the removal of all metal objects like belts, watches - even mangalsutras - before being subjected to the scan.
15/10/17 Imran Ahmed Siddiqui/Telegraph

How Instalocate helps aggrieved flyers get compensation from airlines

It was around last Diwali when the Jains stumbled on their eureka moment. The travel buffs were stuck at San Francisco airport when a flight to Delhi was delayed due to a technical problem for over six hours. Result: the duo couldn’t reach home on time to join the family for the festive celebration.
“Instead of providing help, the airline was not responsive at all,” recounts Pallavi. A hunt for alternative options to reach Delhi proved futile as all flights were already booked due to the festive rush. “It was a frustrating experience,” she recalls, adding that what aggravated the misery was the realisation that the duo was legally entitled to get compensation but were not informed by the airline. After an exasperating month of filing documents, the gritty duo got compensation of €600.
“The agonising wait resulted in a tantalising business idea,” grins Pallavi who cofounded Instalocate with her husband in April this year. An artificial intelligence powered travel assistant, the Instalocate app enables disgruntled flyers to get compensation from airlines in case of flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding. In a little under five months, the fledgling startup has processed over $3,00,000 (Rs 1.95 crore) worth of compensation, has seen over 3 lakh people using its services and over 1.1 million messages exchanged over its instant messanger, claims Ankur, cofounder and CEO.
Instalocate, which raised funding from angel investors in Silicon Valley such as Venky Hari, founder of Junglee, and Gokul Rajaram, works on a simple business model: a neat 25% commission when the aggrieved passengers get compensated by airlines. It’s a win-win for the passengers, lets on Ankur, as they don’t have to pay anything upfront. “We are putting money back into their pockets,” he says.
15/10/17 Rajiv Singh/Economic Times

AAI suspends two officials, transfers 1

Ahmedabad: Two officials of Ahmedabad airport have been suspended and one transferred after the runway was damaged following heavy rains. Potholes on the runway had resulted in suspension of flight operations thrice during monsoon until they were temporarily repaired. Airport Authority of India had carried out a vigilance inquiry to find out if there was negligence in construction of the runway. Confirming action against three officials at Ahmedabad airport, AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “Two officials have been suspended and one transferred from Ahmedabad on finding poor quality of supervision. The agency is doing the repair work properly now. Work is currently on and should be over within a month.”
The runway at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport was nonoperational thrice during the monsoon after potholes were found on it. AAI officials carried out temporary repair work and the runway was made operational. However, questions were raised on the poor quality of runway construction after potholes were found. Top officials of AAI initiated a vigilance inquiry to find out if there were any loopholes in construction of the runway.
15/10/17 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

More F&B outlets at Vivekananda airport soon

Raipur: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will provide enhanced facilities for Swami Vivekananda Airport users in Raipur with development of more number of Food & Beverage (F&B) outlets at the Airport, officials informed.

AAI also has plans of offering space for medical centers, fuel pump and Aviation Skill Development Centres on city side of the Swami Vivekanand Airport in Raipur as part of its mega development and expansion plans, officials informed.

Notably, AAI has also drawn up ambitious plans for creating infrastructure for an international level business and leisure destination on the city side of Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur.

The project aims to  provide a world-class environment, in which people can work, play and stay while catering to the surge in traffic of corporate travellers and tourists, officials informed.

The entire land 80 acres of land earmarked for developing various types of infrastructure may be provided to multiple entities / developers for modular development on 30 year lease or to a single entity under PPP concessional framework for development of the city-side for 30 year lease, they informed.

The AAI believes that development of the city side of the airport would make the region an ‘economic hub’ with exceptional connectivity, officials informed.

The city side development of the airport also envisages setting up of hotels and convention centers with an ‘Airport Commercial District’ which would also include ‘Airport Business District’, and a host of world-class passenger convenience amenities among others.
15/10/17 Pioneer

After poor response, 3 firms keen on setting up two duty-free outlets at airport

Chandigarh: After tenders floated by Chandigarh International Airport Limited(CHIAL) to set up two duty-free outlets at the Chandigarh International Airport received poor response, the officials have now stated that three firms have shown their interest.
“Three parties have come forward. The process is on and we expect that it would take another 15 days,”Chandigarh International Airport Chief Executive Officer Sunil Dutt said on Saturday. He, however, didn’t provide any further details about the three firms which have applied for the tenders.
The CHIAL had recently called fresh tenders to set up two duty-free outlets. Earlier, the airport authorities failed to get a good response from global firms even after extending the date of submission of tender twice.
Officials said that currently scrutiny is on about the three interested parties and a final decision would be taken after going through the set process. The airport authority has decided to set up one duty-free outlet each in the departure and the arrival area of the airport. A firm which will get the tender can sell several products at the airport, including liquor and beauty products.
CHIAL authorities have also announced that additional snack bars alongwith one restaurant will be opened at the Chandigarh International Airport this month. The new terminal located at Mohali was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015.
15/10/17 Indian Express

No parking lot for online taxis at Cial

Kochi: Even as several airports in India have designated a specific pick-up and drop-off points for online taxis, authorities at the Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) are not likely to implement the same.
Furthermore, the Nedumbassery police have also asked online taxi drivers not to park their vehicles outside the airport facility.
"Currently, when we come to the airport to drop-off passengers, we will have to wait for a few hours to get our next trip request as many of us are waiting outside. Now, we park our car in a nearby spot outside the airport and wait," said Navas Ponnani, general secretary of the online taxi drivers' union.
Sony Mathai, station house officer of Nedumbassery police station, said that several online taxi drivers park their cars on the service roads next to the airport and end up blocking the road traffic.
"When they park their car, these roads get blocked and there have been several traffic congestion issues here. We have decided to take action against drivers who park their vehicles outside the airport," he said.
15/10/17 Vikram Vinod/Times of India

Woman creates ruckus at IGI Airport

New Delhi: A woman created a ruckus at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport after she was stopped by an immigration official while trying to exit immigration area without completing the required procedures.

The woman, identified as Mona Duggal, arrived at Terminal 3 from Moscow on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. She allegedly also manhandled a woman immigration officer. “One woman passenger, identified as Mona Duggal, arrived by flight (SU-234) from Moscow. While checking at exit gate, the immigration staff found that arrival immigration stamp on her passport was missing. When she was asked to complete the procedures, she got into a verbal fight,” an airport official said.

“The woman said that she did not need to go through immigration process and used abusive language without any provocation. She also threatened official of dire consequences,” added the official.

A senior woman immigration officials was called to pacify her, but she was not in a mood to cooperate and started shouting at the officer. Moreover, she physically assaulted her and also abused others.
15/10/17 Sunil Thapliyal/Asian Age

Concern over CIAL turning hub for drug smuggling

Kochi:  The Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, a top choice of international passengers, is turning a major transit point for international cartels trafficking drugs from the country.

While enforcement agencies, tracking drug smuggling through airports, have always raised this concern, the seizure of 19kg of ephedrine from the airport the other day has indeed lent strength to their suspicion.

“Ample information is coming in on attempts by drug cartels to convert Kochi into one of their transit points. This is seen as part of attempts by smugglers, mainly those based out of Tamil Nadu, to diversify their operations to less monitored airports,” said officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.

While operations were earlier carried out with the help of carriers, smugglers changed track to cargo two years ago to avoid being caught. “Contraband is sent in the name of fictitious exporters to their agents abroad. To avoid being traced, they employ local people like an unsuspecting autorickshaw or a cargo van driver to take the consignment to the airport,” they explained.
14/10/17 U Hiran/The Hindu