Thursday, March 15, 2018

Inside the engine turbulence at IndiGo and GoAir

InterGlobe Aviation-run low-cost airline IndiGo was the first customer of the Airbus A320neo planes, which promises about 15% fuel savings because of new-generation engines ('neo' stands for 'new-engine options'). Go Airlines (India)-run GoAir, too, inducted the same model with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines.
These planes have been riddled with glitches since 2016, when they were first inducted. Initially the problems included slow engine start-up times leading to delays and erroneous software messages to the pilots, but the situation has worsened since. Several instances of engines shutting down during flights and rejected take-offs have been reported on certain Airbus A320neo planes, forcing regulators to ground many of them.
India has about 40% of the Neos flying worldwide, bringing them much more in focus here. One can easily differentiate an Airbus A320neo from an older Airbus A320 (most of the IndiGo and GoAir fleet) by looking at their size - Neo planes have a bigger engine.
15/03/18 Economic Times

Flying costs a bomb as IndiGo, GoAir flight cancellations continue

New Delhi: Airfares on key routes have shot up as several IndiGo and GoAir flights got cancelled in the past three days after the aviation regulator grounded aircraft with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines. 

When Express checked the fares on Wednesday for a Thursday flight on major routes such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai, they were unusually high.

A peak time Delhi-Mumbai ticket was priced over Rs 95,000 while the starting fare on this route was Rs 9,000.

Surge price was the name of the game as the peak tariff on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Hyderabad routes were Rs 81,580 and Rs 50,000, respectively. Ditto Mumbai-Hyderabad at Rs 82,000-plus. On Delhi-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru sectors, fares kissed the Rs 50,000-mark.

Airfares to tier-2 cities like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai shot up as well, crossing even Rs 70,000. Interestingly, the tickets for a Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram route on a Sri Lankan airlines flight with a layover at Colombo was priced at Rs 14,000. Flying to smaller cities like Madurai and Coimbatore from Chennai became expensive and tickets crossed Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000, respectively.

The starting airfare on many routes went up to Rs 9,000-12,000 from their usual band of Rs 6,000-9,000 for late bookings. Airlines that were selling tickets at a high price included Jet Airways, Vistara and Air India.

IndiGo and GoAir cancelled around 50 flights on Wednesday.

A Delhi-Mumbai ticket for Thursday was being sold at over Rs 95,000, while fares on Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Hyderabad route shot up to Rs 81,580 and Rs 50,000, respectively

While Jet Airways refused to comment, a spokesperson of Vistara said the price rise had nothing to with grounding of aircraft of IndiGo and GoAir.

“Fares are not manually raised and lowered on a day-to-day basis in reaction to tactical situations. Revenue management systems are far more sophisticated than that. Fares are the result of complex algorithms that are driven by the dynamics of demand and supply for a perishable commodity,” said a Vistara spokesperson.

Notably, there was not much of a fare difference in the tickets of IndiGo and GoAir, whose 11 A320 neo aircraft powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines have been grounded by aviation regulator.
15/03/18  Sana Shakil/New Indian Express

India eyes Boeing fighter jets in latest procurement twist

New Delhi/Singapore: Boeing Co, considered the frontrunner in the race to supply the Indian navy with new fighter jets, is now in contention for a much bigger $15 billion order after the government abruptly asked the air force + to consider the twin-engine planes.
Until recently, Lockheed Martin Corp's F-16 and Saab AB's Gripen were in a two-horse race supply at least 100 single-engine jets to build up the Indian Air Force's fast-depleting combat fleet.
Both had offered to build the planes in India in collaboration with local companies as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to build a domestic industrial base and cut back on arms imports.
But last month the government asked the air force to open up the competition to twin-engine aircraft and to evaluate Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, a defence ministry source said. That jet is a finalist for the Indian navy's $8 billion to $9 billion contract for 57 fighters.
The defence ministry plans to within weeks issue a request for information (RFI), the first stage of a procurement process, for a fighter to be built in India. The competition will be open to both single and twin-engine jets, the official said, but both Lockheed and Saab said they had not been informed about the new requirements.
15/03/18 Reuters/Times of India

Air India official Twitter account restored, probe launched

National carrier Air India’s Twitter account was temporarily hacked by suspected Turkish hackers on Thursday morning. It has been restored now.

The cyber attack came to light after a series of tweets were posted in Turkish language on the official Twitter handle @airindiain, an Air India spokesperson said.

"This is to inform all passengers that the Air India official Twitter handle has been hacked. We are working with Twitter to get it back. All Air India Passengers please note that no flights have been cancelled as claimed in the Tweet," the spokesperson said.

“Last minute important announcement: All our flights have been cancelled. From now we will fly with Turkish Airlines,” read the tweet pinned to the official handle. The handle’s cover image was also changed to a photo of a Turkish Airlines plane.

All the malicious contents posted on the handle have been removed and the official handle has now been restored, he said.

They also retweeted the handle – AyyıldızTim several times. The national carrier’s Twitter handle was also changed from @airindiain to @airindiaTR for sometime.Twitter also removed the verified mark from the Air India handle after its name was changed by the hackers.
15/03/18 Ahmedabad Mirror

Stranded after touchdown, cabbies fleece at RGI

Hyderabad: The lack of affordable and frequent transport facilities connecting the Hyderabad airport to the rest of the city has irked many passengers, who are left at the mercy of expensive private cab aggregators to reach their respective destinations.
“Despite the fact that there is the Outer Ring Road (ORR) which directly connects the airport and Gachibowli, I am forced to pay more than ?850 for a ride to my apartment in Gachibowli from RGIA. The main reason for the high fares is the high parking fee charged at the airport which is above ?200,” said Ankith M, a resident of Gachibowli.
While the high fares being charged has emerged as the top concern, the wait-time for cabs has also gone up by more than 10 minutes, say commuters.
Another commuter Gourav Gupta said “It has become very costly to get a private cab from the airport to my home. The available pre-paid taxi service always reports non-availability of cabs. RGIA authorities must consider reducing the parking fee for cabs or doing away with it entirely, at the airport to ease commuters woes.”
Commuters now point to the opening of the Metro line-—between Biodiversity Park and Shamshabad airport, as one of the only solutions to the issue. The airport Metro line, which will be part of the second phase of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project, will be an elevated corridor which will allow passengers to travel at an average speeds of 100 km/hr.
“Building low-cost connectivity between the Hyderabad airport and other localities in the city is the need of the hour. Many times, even with long wait times, the private cab drivers cancel the trip at the last minute and commuters are forced to pay the cancellation fee.
“The pre-paid taxi services, meanwhile, is marked by nonavailability of cabs at most times of the day.
15/03/18 Swathy Iyer/Times of India

Airport slum dwellers to be rehabilitated in situ: CM

Mumbai: In a big relief to lakhs of slum dwellers living on the land near the Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) airport in Andheri and the Juhu airport, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced that they would be rehabilitated in situ (in the same place). Fadnavis made the announcement in the state Assembly.

Fadnavis’s announcement has put an end to fears that owing to objections from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), slum dwellers housed on the land near the airport would have to be moved out. Opposing any move to evict them, the slum dwellers were demanding in situ rehabilitation.

Last month, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) began carrying out a biometric survey of the residents of a slum on Juhu airport. A section of slum dwellers had believed that the survey was for ex-situ (off site). The CM clarified on Wednesday that all rehabilitations will be in-situ.
The SRA had sought permission to carry out the survey in May 2016. In two letters to the SRA’s chief executive officer, the AAI consented to “a feasibility study on ex-situ rehab”.

“The decision for in-situ rehabilitation of slum dwellers on airport land has already been taken. Earlier, there were some issues related to rehabilitation since many slum dwellers were ineligible. Only a third of the people were eligible. But due to our new dispensation of covering them under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana with a recent amendment, that issue is resolved. Once the amendment receives assent from the President, we will begin the process for in-situ rehabilitation,” Fadnavis told the Assembly.

Last month, the supervisor of a slum survey team was arrested for extorting money from residents of Nehru Nagar slum settlement on Juhu airport, which is spread over 30 acres of the airport’s 385-acre sprawl. The slum survey team was part of MahaOnline, a private agency appointed by the SRA to carry out a biometric survey.
15/03/18 Chaitanya Marpakwar/Mumbai Mirror

Trial runs for Kalaburagi airport to begin soon

Kalaburagi: The decades old dream of the residents of Kalaburagi and neighbouring districts of getting an airport at Kalaburagi is becoming a reality as the runway is getting readied for operations from March 14.

District Minister Sharanaprakash Patil told The New Indian Express here on Tuesday that the officials have informed him that the 3,260-metre runway of the airport would be ready by Wednesday evening. Other works would be completed within 10 days.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has given permission to the state government for ‘trial landing’ in Kalaburagi airport. Kalaburagi MP Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha, will land in Kalaburagi in a special flight to be arranged for the purpose.
The cabinet meeting held last week has accorded sanction for enhancing grant from `109 crore to `175 crore for the completion of Kalaburagi airport.

The state cabinet has also decided to invite tenders for the contract of maintaining the airport. The government order would be issued in this regard within a day or two. After the trail landing, the state government would write to AAI for allotting airline operations.
15/03/18 Ramkrishna Badseshi/New Indian Express

5 flights delayed due to poor visibility at Kolkata airport, blame it on non-seasonal fog

Five domestic flights were delayed due to poor weather conditions at Kolkata airport. Departure of as many as five domestic flights was hindered while three more flights saw diversion from Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport on Thursday.

The delay and diversion happened due to the poor visibility conditions triggered by non-seasonal fog. This further disrupted the air traffic, according to an airport official.

The disruption in flight services took place between 5 am to 8 am on Thursday as visibility at the city airport was less than 50 metres at that time.
15/03/18 India Today

Buildings around Mumbai airport, defence land to get construction bonus: Govt

Buildings facing height restrictions, owing to their proximity to the airport or defence installations, in Mumbai may soon be in a position to avail of a huge construction bonanza. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the state’s Legislative Assembly Wednesday that the government had plans to provide a “special dispensation” in Mumbai’s proposed new development control regulations to push for the redevelopment of these buildings.

This will be the first time in India, when a state government has proposed special concessions for buildings impacted by the restrictions around the airport and defence lands. “The height restrictions have impacted the viability of such redevelopments. In order to overcome the hardship faced by residents, provisions of conferring additional building rights for such redevelopments in the form of transferable development rights (TDR) or additional floor space index, and relaxations in town planning norms are being considered,” Fadnavis informed the Assembly.

He said further hinted that the town planning concessions to be offered for such developments could be in the form of dilution of norms required to be maintained for side margins around the plot, and permitting clubbing of two or more plots. TDR is a kind of floating floor space that can be utilise elsewhere in the city.

According to information, close to 6,000 buildings located near the airport in suburban Vile Parle, Khar, Santacruz, Kurla, and Ghatkopar, which house over 3.6 lakh people, attract height restrictions as they are situated in the airport’s imaginary “funnel” zone or the approach path of a low-flying aircraft. Another 1,500-odd buildings, especially those in the far-off suburban belts of Kandivali, Malad and Borivali, meanwhile face development restrictions due to the close proximity of defence-owned lands. The Chief Minister made the announcement during a discussion of Mumbai’s proposed new development control regulations, which are likely to be unveiled before the end of the month.
15/03/18 Sandeep Ashar/Indian Express

From March 25, SpiceJet shifts 22 flights to Terminal 2 at Delhi airport

Mumbai: SpiceJet will shift 22 flights connecting seven domestic destinations from Delhi's terminal 1 (T1) to terminal 2 (T2) from March 25. This includes flights to Kochi, Ahmedabad, Patna, Pune, Goa, Surat and Gorakhpur.
All remaining domestic flights will continue to operate from the terminal 1.
The shift comes in the wake of Supreme Court dismissing rival airline IndiGo's challenge of Delhi airport order to partially shift the operations from T1 to T2. Currently, GoAir operates all its flights from Delhi from T2.
SpiceJet said that all new flights operating to and from T2 will have a four digit number starting with “8”.
“SpiceJet has taken all possible measures to ensure smooth and seamless operations and minimal inconvenience to its customers.

Arrangements for regular bus service between the terminals for passengers for use by transit flyers as well as those who might come to the wrong terminal for their flight have also been made,” the airline said in a statement.
15/03/18 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

IndiGo, SpiceJet to continue operations from Delhi Airport’s T1 for three key routes

New Delhi: Budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet will continue operations from the T1 terminal on three key routes — Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata — as Delhi airport operator GMR looks to finalise proposals to shift other sectors to the newly-built Terminal 2 of the IGI Airport. As per the Delhi High Court order of February 13, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, the airlines were given liberty to suggest other sectors for shifting from T1 to T2 with a condition that it should be one-third of their passenger traffic volumes at T1. “Several alternative routes have been sent by airlines to the operator as per the supreme court directions. A final decision fulfilling the one-third traffic volumes criterion will be out in a few days,” a person aware of the matter said. Delhi International Airport (DIAL) has received over eight proposals from IndiGo and around six from SpiceJet for moving to T2 in place of the three major sectors. “These could be all different routes for both the airlines,” the source said.

The operator last year had asked IndiGo and SpiceJet to shift operations on the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Bengaluru and Delhi-Kolkata routes to T2 owing to congestion and proposed expansion work at the overburdened T1. GoAir, on the other hand, was asked to move its entire operations — an arrangement it complied with with effect from October 29, 2017. “The airlines will have to comply with the supreme court directions of collectively meeting the yardstick of one-third passenger traffic volume of their operations at T1. Several other routes will have to be moved out for these airlines if they don’t want to disturb these prime sectors,” it said.
15/03/18 Financial Express

Number of flights likely to soar this summer

Mohali: The number of flights operating from the Chandigarh international airport in the summer schedule, from March 26 to October 27, is expected to increase.
An airport official said on condition of anonymity, “Up to 34 flights will operate as per the tentative summer schedule. The final list will see an addition of a few domestic flights, including to Pune, Ahmedabad, Jammu and Dharamsala.”
The watch hours at the airport, currently from 5 am to 4 pm, will change to 7.20 am to 5.30 pm from March 26 and it is likely that the extended period will open up slots for more flights.
Chandigarh is set to be connected to Ahmedabad as GoAir is expected to start a direct flight to the textile hub in Gujarat in the summer schedule. This will be the fourth GoAir flight from the city after Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Sources said the flight would depart from the airport at 3.35 pm. Jet Airways had earlier announced a direct flight from Chandigarh to Pune from March 26. The flight would take off from Chandigarh for Pune at 2.40 pm and it would operate from Monday to Saturday.
15/03/18 Tribune

Smoke from engine - SpiceJet's Hyderabad flight cancelled

Mangaluru: All 31 passengers aboard SpiceJet flight to Hyderabad from here were asked to disembark from the aircraft that was ready to take off on Wednesday March 14. This measure was taken as smoke started to billow out of the engine of the aircraft just before takeoff.

Passengers had boarded the plane and the aircraft was about to takeoff when a major technical snag was detected. This is the third such incident in this airport during the recent months, and comes close on the heels of 65 aircrafts of private operators having been grounded for being powered by certain engines.

On September 21, 2017, an Air India Express flight with 173 passengers to Doha from here had returned within 30 minutes of takeoff after one of its engines had failed, and the passengers had providential escape.
The SpiceJet flight was to leave for its destination at 8.50 am on Wednesday. By the time the flight moved towards the runway, thick smoke was noticed and there was apprehension about the possibility of fire engulfing the aircraft. The pilot immediately brought the aircraft to a halt and contacted Air Traffic Control. Fire services and other help were rushed to the stranded aircraft, and passengers were evacuated safely.
15/03/18 daijiworld

Zaha Hadid Architects to design Navi Mumbai Airport in India

Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIAL) has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) to design the Terminal 1 and air traffic control (ATC) tower of Navi Mumbai International Airport in India.

The London-based architect firm was selected following a 12-week fast-track design competition among leading international architecture firms. The Navi Mumbai contract will be its first major project in the Indian sub-continent.
Under the terms of the contract, ZHA will be responsible for the design and build of the new NMIA terminal building, an ATC tower, and associated landside access.

ZHA project director Cristiano Ceccato said: “We are very proud to have been awarded the Navi Mumbai International Airport that will be a much-needed addition to Mumbai’s infrastructure and an additional gateway to India.”

The NMIAPPP venture comprises GVK-led Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) and Maharashtra government agency CIDCO, which have a 74% and 26% interest respectively.

GVK founder and chairman and NMIAL chairman GVK Reddy said: “Our vision is to establish one more landmark airport that would exceed the benchmarks that GVK had set through MIAL whilst creating Terminal 2 at Mumbai Airport.”
15/03/18 Airport Technology

68-year-old woman held for gold smuggling at Delhi airport

New Delhi: A 68-year-old Indian woman was arrested by the Customs at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country Rs 21 lakh worth of gold, according to an official statement issued on Thursday.
The accused was intercepted after her arrival from Dubai on Tuesday.
During her baggage search, eight gold kadas (bangles) and two gold chains, weighing 710 grams, were seized, the statement issued by the Customs said.
The passenger was arrested and the gold, valued at Rs 21.53 lakh seized, it said.
15/03/18 Tribune

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

DGCA took proactive step in grounding 11 aircraft: Sinha

New Delhi: The Centre today said the DG CA adopted a "proactive" approach in grounding the 11 aircraft of Indigo and GoAir and no other aviation regulator in the world would have taken the step.
All the grounded flights would not be allowed to fly till the faulty engines are replaced, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said as he sought to allay the collective apprehensions of passengers about flying safe.
He said that they had already figured out 17 engines which would be prone to shutdown during the course of carrying out regular monitoring and detailed analysis of all the 1,000 engines currently in operation in the country.
"We even asked airline to use only one of these identified engines in the aircraft as a precautionary step. However, after the incident on March 12 when an Indigo flight had to return to Ahmedabad because of engine failure, we decided to ground all such engines," he said at an event here.
14/03/18 PTI/Times of India

India will need over 1,300 planes in next few years: Newly-appointed aviation minister Suresh Prabhu

Even as India is in the middle of disinvestment plan for debt-ridden Air India, newly-appointed aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has said that India will need more than 1,300 planes in next few years. In an interview with news agency PTI, Suresh Prabhu said that the government wants to extend the ‘Make in India’ initiative to meet the demands of the aviation sector.

While he said that India will need 1,300 planes in next few year, he also said that the government does not want to bring all of them from abroad but will make in India. He said that the aviation ministry will be working closely with defence ministry to manufacture civilian and defence aircraft in India.

Suresh Prabhu last Saturday was given the additional charge of the civil aviation ministry after TDP’s Ashok Gajapathi Raju resigned over the demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh. Suresh Prabhu’s name was advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Ramnath Kovind after Raju’s resignation.

Suresh Prabhu took the charge of the ministry at a crucial time of strategic disinvestment of Air India, the expansion of cheap-flying plan UDAN and infrastructural development. Suresh Prabhu said that use of high-end technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in the airline industry will also be a priority.
14/03/18 Financial Express

IndiGo, GoAir cancel 48 flights as A320neo engine issue haunts airlines

Budget carrier IndiGo on Wednesday cancelled as many as 42 domestic flights after aviation regulator DGCA grounded 11 A320neo aircrafts fitted with a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines. India's largest airline by market share said the flights that have been cancelled on March 14 were bound for Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Dehradun, Amritsar, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, among others.

The Wadia Group-promoted low-cost carrier GoAir, which operates 230-odd flights daily, has also cancelled six flights on today due to the grounding of three of its A320neo planes. In an announcement on its website, GoAir said it would cancel 18 flights, including 8 daily ones, from March 15 to 24. These include flights from Cochin, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

The aviation sector in the country may remain affected with IndiGo and GoAir likely to face more disruptions in the coming weeks. Though the US-based aircraft engine maker had proposed a fix for the Pratt & Whitney's engine troubles but the two low-cost airlines may have to wait till June to get the replacements.

Launched in December 2010, Airbus A320neo (new engine option) is one of the fastest-selling aircraft in history. As compared to the previous narrow-body jets from Airbus, A320neo is more efficient - consuming 15 per cent less fuel, have lower CO2 emissions and significantly reduced noise footprint. These qualities attracted airlines across the world to introduce A320neos in their fleet, including 574 orders from GoAir and IndiGo.

IndiGo, which operates 1,000-odd flights per day, has had to replace Pratt & Whitney engines on its 32 A320 Neo aircraft at least 69 times in the period May 2016-November 2017. On an average, IndiGo flies four out of every 10 Indians. Of the total 11 A320neo aircrafts that have been grounded due to faulty engines, eight belong by IndiGo.
IndiGo has been struggling with the Pratt & Whitney engines in the newest A320 Neo aircraft ever since they were first inducted in February, 2016. Greg Hayes, chairman of Pratt & Whitney's parent UTC, responded to the issue in the post-earnings call in September, saying the company remains, "on track to certify a combustor upgrade to incorporate into new engines."
IndiGo has been struggling with the Pratt & Whitney engines in the newest A320 Neo aircraft ever since they were first inducted in February, 2016. Greg Hayes, chairman of Pratt & Whitney's parent UTC, responded to the issue in the post-earnings call in September, saying the company remains, "on track to certify a combustor upgrade to incorporate into new engines.
"According to a Bloomberg report, the Pratt & Whitney proposed plan had called for the replacement of faulty engines by June requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for almost three more months. Of the 11 newly grounded aircrafts, as many as five may be able to recommence flying by swapping engines between affected planes, it said.
14/03/18 Business Today

GoAir's New Offer: How To Avail Discount On Domestic Flight Tickets

Budget carrier GoAir is offering 10 per cent discount on domestic flight tickets on booking tickets via SBI credit card, said the airline on its official GoAir's discount offer is valid on booking tickets till March 31, 2018. The travel period for GoAir's discount offer on SBI credit card starts on July 1, 2018 and ends on September 30, 2018. However, the discount offer is not applicable on blackout dates -- August 14, 2018 to August 19, 2018 and September 28, 2018 to September 30, 2018, said the carrier.

Customers can avail the offer using the promo code, GOSBI10, on GoAir's website and mobile app only, said the country's fifth-largest air carrier.
13/03/18 NDTV

DGCA grounding planes with faulty P&W engines 'unilateral decision': EASA

New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA's move to ground A320 neo aircraft with a particular series of Pratt & Whitney engines was a "unilateral decision", European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said today.

Days after the Indian watchdog grounded 11 A320 neo for faulty P&W engines, the EASA also clarified that such a decision is not deemed necessary by it for the time being.
It was EASA that first issued an emergency airworthiness directive following in-flight shut down in A320 neo fleet worldwide fitted with PW1100 engines (from serial number 450 and beyond) on February 9.

Soon after, the DGCA grounded three A320 neos fitted with both the affected engines and earlier this week, grounded 11 more such aircraft fitted with at least one such defective engine.

"The grounding of the Indigo and Go Air A320 neo with one PW1100 engine is a unilateral decision from DGCA India. EASA has not been involved in this decision," EASA said in an e-mailed statement to PTI.

Noting that it is following closely the situation of the P&W engine issues on the A320 neo with Airbus, the agency said, "such a decision (grounding the affected fleet) is not deemed necessary by EASA for the time being".

On March 12, the DGCA said A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect as it cited safety of aircraft operations.

Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory.

Also, DGCA had said it would be in touch with stakeholders and review the situation in due course and when the issue is addressed by EASA and P&W.
14/03/18 PTI/Business Standard

Indian Airlines purchased faulty aircraft rejected by Qatar Airways

Lucknow: Indian airlines companies, Indigo and GoAir, are so careless about the lives of people that they had been flying the same Airbus A320 aircrafts which were outright rejected by Qatar Airways for not meeting the flying standards.

The Qatar-based airline had cited inefficiency of aircraft’s engine, made by an American company, for rejecting the deal.

Incidentally, the Indian aircrafts having complaints of mid-air engine failure are the same aircrafts which were rejected by the Qatar Airways in the past.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also denied permission of flying to 11 Airbus A320 aircrafts due to having faulty engines. Eight of these aircrafts belong to Indigo while three are of GoAir.

DGCA had to take the call on these aircrafts following the mid-air engine failure during Lucknow-Ahmedabad flight. Generally, the aircrafts carry engines of Rolls Royce, Neo and Pret & Vertini companies.

A total of 69 mid-air engine failures were reported during the past year and significantly all of those aircrafts carried America-made engines. DGCA, however, has only confirmed one mid-air engine failure and 11 flight cancellations owing to faulty engines.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi sets 2025 deadline for TB-free India

GoAir and Indigo are the only two Indian airlines which carry the Pret & Vertini company engine while Airbus 320 of Air India and Vistara possess CFM Leap-1 engines. Interestingly, Indigo and GoAir Airlines have also ordered 100 aircrafts of the same engine.

As per the norms, DGCA issues yearly Certificate of Air Worthiness after checking the engine quality of each and every aircraft. Apart from this, engine worthiness certificates are issued in every 24 hours for each aircraft which is called ‘extended engine checking’. This checking is done within 30 minutes of one aircraft landing at any airport before flying for another destination.
13/03/18 Shubhanshu Sharma/News Track

11 flights to and from Hyderabad cancelled

Hyderabad: At least 11 flights to and from the city were cancelled on Tuesday, a day after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded eight Indigo and three GoAir aircrafts (A 320 neo) on account of faulty engines.
While a majority of the cancellations on were of Indigo flights, GoAir too cancelled two of its services (one arrival and one departure) between Hyderabad and New Delhi, scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Other sectors affected due to the suspension of operations were Bengaluru, Chennai, Mangalore and Trivandrum.
Scores of passengers caught unaware by the sudden withdrawal of services across these airports were left severely inconvenienced, with many forced to shelve important meetings and family events. The lack of clarity from the airline operators, only further added to their woes.
“I was on my way to the airport when I received a message from GoAir that my flight had been cancelled. I frantically tried to call their customer care numbers, but none of them were functioning. I ultimately reached the airport to speak to their executives,” said Vikas Chhabra, founder and president of Aarohan Healthcare Services.
He was booked on the Go-Air flight, G8 423, to Hyderabad scheduled to depart from New Delhi at 10.10am. Chhabra was forced to call off an urgent meeting because of the cancellation.
14/04/18 Sudipta Sengupta/Times of India

Wings India 2018 puts forward India as global aviation hub

Wings India 2018, the international exhibition and conference on the civil aviation sector, providing a forum for the rapidly changing dynamics of the sector, was hosted from March 8-10, at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

With the theme ‘India – Global Aviation Hub’, the event this time focused on connecting cities and towns under India’s regional air connectivity scheme Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN).

Organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI), the flagship event on civil aviation hosted conferences focusing on aviation policy issues and business aspects with eminent speakers, policy makers and experts.

Even though the event attracted presence of 125 exhibitors and 35 CEOs with representation from countries including France, Germany, United States of America (US), Japan, United Kingdom (UK), Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Italy and Iran, Wings India was missing out on major international airlines, visitors, and the star attraction of the event – aerobatic displays.

With a total of 15 aircraft by ATR, Honda, Trujet, Gulfstream, Boeing, Embraer, Dassault, Club one Air, Aeroteck, Zoom Air, Air India, NAL and others for static display, Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport was filled with fewer aircraft this time. “We were not expecting a low key participation and response. There is hardly any crowd,” a participant who attended previous editions of the show told the Media India Group.
13/03/18 Arachika Kapoor/Media India Group

Suresh Prabhu for benchmarking Indian airports to world standards; looks to fast-track major projects

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu today held back-to-back meetings with various allied bodies of the ministry within days of assuming charge. “Conducted back to back meetings with officers from various departments, allied bodies of Ministry of Civil Aviation. Discussed various initiatives being taken by the Ministry, challenges involved and the roadmap ahead. We shall all work together with the mission to transform air travel in the country, make it more pleasurable, augment air connectivity under leadership of Hon. PM Narendra Modi ji,” Suresh Prabhu shared on his social media handles. learns that multiple strategies to expedite major AAI (Airports Authority of India) airport projects, improve passengers experience and promote skill development in the sector were discussed.

“The meeting focused on many areas – from fast-tracking airport projects in the pipeline like Navi Mumbai, Jewar, Mopa (Goa) among others to benchmarking airport service standards of Indian airports to those around the world,” sources tell FE Online. Prabhu also stressed on the need to encourage skill development in the sector, sources said adding that the minister believes the aviation sector can provide jobs to thousands if the necessary skills are taught. Yet another crucial aspect that found attention was airport security. Suresh Prabhu, who is also the Commerce Minister, took charge of the Civil Aviation ministry on March 12. The development comes at a time when the government is planning to sell off the aviation giant Air India.

The step to fast-track major airport projects around the country and also benchmark service standards to those around the world is likely to cheer passengers. Interestingly, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport were ranked the world’s best airports in the over 40 million per annum passengers category. In the 15 to 25 million passengers category, Bengaluru airport was rated the best, while Chennai airport was third. Hyderabad airport was adjudged the best in the 5 to 15 million passengers category and Kolkata, Pune and Cochin bagged the third spot in the same category.
14/03/18 Smriti Jain/Financial Express

Only 5% Indians travel by air: Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha

Even as the government looks to provide the much needed thrust to the aviation industry through schemes such as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha said that only 5% out of 1.3 billion Indians travel by air. Speaking at an AIMA event, Jayant Sinha laid out ambitious plans of a five-fold increase in passenger trips to one billion per annum in 15-20 years time frame. “A target of billion passenger trips in the next 15 to 20 years is very realizable and is in fact a realistic target that we should be looking for,” the minister said.

Interestingly, the government is looking to tap into helicopters, sea planes and passenger drones too apart from flights. “We in India have the opportunity to be a leader in this. We are already working on drone regulations so we can set standards, develop different drone technologies,” Jayant Sinha said.

In his address the minister said that the government has made air travel affordable even to people wearing hawaai chappal, and India has the potential to go from auto rickshaws to air rickshaws. Notably, India’s first heli-taxi was launched in Bengaluru by Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd. The Heli taxi service reaches Kempegowda airport in flat 15 minutes from Bengaluru’s electronic city, a journey which would otherwise take at least two hours.

Jayant Sinha added that aid that a billion passenger trips would open tremendous opportunities for growth and investments in the aviation sector. The minister observed that the the total number of passenger trips has doubled from 100 million in 2017 to about 200 million in 2017. According to the minister, the total revenue of the airline industry is around Rs 2 lakh crore.
14/03/18 Financial Express

Boeing signs new pact with TAL to manufacture floor beams for Dreamliners

New Delhi: Aerospace major Boeing and Tata Group company TAL Manufacturing Solutions (TAL) on Wednesday announced the signing of a new contract for the manufacture of advanced composite floor beam (ACFB) for Boeing's 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliner airplanes. The US aviation major said it had awarded the first contract to TAL for the floor beams in October 2011, and TAL recently delivered the 13,000 floor beam successfully to 787 fuselage suppliers. TAL has a dedicated manufacturing facility for Boeing in the MIHAN SEZ (multi-model international passenger and cargo hub airport - special economic zone) in Nagpur, India, from where it manufactures and ships the ACFBs.

Read more at:
"Boeing has provided advanced technology to support this partnership, and closely worked with TAL as they trained the frontline factory workers who are now delivering world class quality," Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said in a statement. Boeing and various Tata group companies have established partnerships in India to manufacture aerostructures for Boeing's commercial and military aircraft. "The collaboration between Boeing and several Tata group companies on various aerospace and defence programmes in India will drive synergies and create future opportunities for both companies in manufacturing and innovation," said Banmali Agrawala, President, Infrastructure, Defence and Aerospace, Tata Sons.
14/03/18 IANS/

Air India flight over Saudi airspace part of delicate 'political change' in Arab world

Air India has begun selling tickets for the first flight in its new leg from New Delhi to Tel Aviv and back again. The route, which will begin operations on March 22 with three weekly flights by the national carrier of India, will fly directly over Saudi Arabia.

Today, all Israeli carriers, as well as every foreign carrier that takes off or lands in Israel, is banned from passing through the airspace of all Arab states, with the exception of Jordan and Egypt — countries that have recognized international peace treaties with Israel. Because of the ban, flights from Israel to Asia are forced to fly north to Turkey and only then turn east, and vice versa — a detour that adds several hours to each flight.

The Air India route will become the first international one to travel through the skies of an Arab country with no official ties with Israel. As such, it will break an aerial embargo initiated by Arab states with Israel's founding in 1948. Flying over Saudi Arabia will shorten the flight time between India and Israel by hours and enable the carriers to drop ticket prices by hundreds of dollars.

"This is truly a historic event," said Israel's Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin in an exclusive interview. "It is proof that political change can be achieved without resorting to territorial compromise."

However, he added, "until the flight lands, I recommend restrained enthusiasm."

Levin explained that "the move is dramatic — from both a political and tourism standpoint. What the new route means is that the world is beginning to treat us in a whole new way. Until now, some countries have completely avoided any public demonstration of a connection with Israel. As for tourism, as soon as there is a short direct route to India, and maybe other places as well, prices will drop and tourism will swell."

Levin said the idea of a new route was first voiced in his office two years ago. A grant of 3.2 million NIS that the Ministry of Tourism promised Air India convinced their directorate to take the financial risk of opening the new route.

Despite the excitement in Israel, the public response is still restrained; everyone is aware of the sensitivity surrounding the new route. Saudi Arabia is a central state in the Persian Gulf, and for decades has steadfastly refused any rapprochement with Israel. In recent years, as a result of geostrategic changes in the Middle East and increased openness in Saudi Arabia to the Western world, informal ties have increased between the Muslim kingdom and the Jewish state.

The Saudi press has taken a softer approach to Israel, and informal representatives of the royal family have met with Israelis. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Israeli Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz have been interviewed on Saudi television. In addition to the visible steps come reports in the foreign press of intelligence cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and meetings between representatives of the two governments.
14/03/18 Ariel Kahana/Sun Sentinel/Jewish Journal

Federal Officials Describe Passenger’s Air Rage on Flight From India to Dulles

A passenger on an Air India flight from New Delhi, India, to Dulles International Airport became disruptive and dangerous Friday, according to federal officials.

A man in business class drank three alcoholic beverages before he was denied a fourth, officials said.

He then tried to get a friend in coach to join him in business class and was denied again, officials said.

At that point he began screaming at and then kicking and pushing flight attendants, saying, “You don’t know who I am. I am dangerous.”
There is one air rage incident for every 1,400 flights, according to the International Air Transport Association. That’s a slight drop from the numbers in 2015. Almost a third of them involved alcohol.

Last month, a flight was diverted to D.C. by an unruly passenger. A woman was accused of drinking in excess, throwing food, screaming and flirtatiously touching a male passenger near her.

She and the man on the Air India flight are charged with interference with a flight crew. Both cases are being heard in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
13/03/18 Scott MacFarlane/NBC Washington

Drones, helicopters to create billion air trips in India soon: Jayant Sinha

New Delhi: Passenger drones, among other forms of flying machines, will play a large part in achieving the government's goal of a billion passenger air trips a year, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has said.
He said a billion passenger trips in the near future will come not only from present-day narrow-bodied and wide-bodied aircraft, but also from a greater use of passenger drones, helicopters, turboprops and seaplanes, Sinha said on Wednesday at a conclave held by the All India Management Association.
The government seems to be taking a cue from the growing buzz around personalized flights on passenger drones and global cab aggregator Uber announcing its 'Elevate' programme which envisions flying taxis. Test runs are expected to start by 2020 in the United States and Dubai.
However, the ministers comments come at a time when scores of scheduled flights on the narrow-bodied A320 aircraft have been cancelled by major aviation players such as Indigo and GoAir over the past two days, after recurring instances of engine malfunction. Thousands of passengers have been left stranded, with as many as 50 flights being cancelled by the two airlines across the country on Wednesday, slightly down from about 70 on Tuesday.
Aviation authorities have subsequently grounded such planes. "I want to emphasize that we have taken the first steps there. No other regulator has been following the neo engines as closely as we have and we are the first ones to actually fully ground them," Sinha claimed.
The total number of passenger trips in India doubled from about 100 million in 2014 to 200 million trips in 2017, Sinha pointed out. "Not many industries in India can legitimately claim they can increase volumes five-fold.
14/03/18 Subhayan Chakraborty/Business Standard

SC order a relief for Haj aspirants

Kozhikode: About 1,000 elderly Haj aspirants from the State will be able to make the pilgrimage following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Tuesday that asked the Ministry of Minority Affairs to allow those in the 65-69 age group who have applied five times before.

This is apart from the existing 10,980 seats given to the State. The actual quota for Kerala allotted by the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) is only 6,400. “We have been able to achieve partial success through legal remedies. Unfortunately, the Ministry gave the figure of 2,000 in the category of elderly persons,” Thodiyoor Muhammed Kunju Moulavi, chairman of the Haj committee, told The Hindu on Wednesday. This year, Saudi Arabia increased India’s Haj quota by 5,000, taking the total to 1,75,025. “However, the Supreme Court has left it to the Centre to revive the Haj embarkation point at Calicut airport,” he noted.
The order of the apex court helped restore all the 21 existing Haj embarkation points in the country, including the Kochi airport, from its earlier policy that recommended only nine embarkation points.

The Moulavi said that the HCoI had been compelled to reverse some of its irrational policies after the Kerala State Haj Committee moved the court on behalf of the pilgrims.

Besides, he pointed out that the Ministry had also reduced the airfare for Haj pilgrims when the Kerala Haj Committee raised the issue of inviting global tenders instead of the Indian government having an agreement with the Saudi government that allowed only Air India, Saudi Airlines and Flynas [a budget airline operated from Saudi Arabia] to operate Haj flights.
14/03/18 The Hindu

34 flights likely to operate from Chandigarh airport this summer

Chandigah: A total of 34 flights are likely to operate from Chandigarh International Airport during its summer schedule, which will start from March 25 and continue till October 27.

Currently, 30 flights are operating at the airport. Meanwhile, IndiGo’s morning flight to Delhi (6E455) will remain cancelled on Wednesday.

The watch hour timings at the airport, which is currently from 5 am-4 pm, will also change by March end. The Indian Air Force has said that the watch hours will be from 7.20 am-5.30 pm.

Sources told Chandigarh Newsline on Tuesday that the highest number of flights in the summer schedule will be to Delhi. More than 10 flights will operate from Chandigarh to Delhi as per the schedule.

Indigo and Jet-airways are expected to operate majority of the flights.

Sources said that Air India is also considering flights to Jammu, Jaipur and Dharamshala from the Chandigarh airport. Other destinations, which have been included in the tentative schedule include Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, sources said.
14/03/18 Adil Akhzer/Indian Express

IndiGo's Hyderabad-Raipur flight suffers technical snag

New Delhi: Budget carrier Indigo Airlines' Raipur-bound plane carrying 112 passengers returned to Hyderabad on Wednesday soon after take-off due to a "technical glitch", according to an announcement by the company.

An IndiGo statement here said the incident is being investigated by its flight safety team and aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

"IndiGo flight 6E 334 from Hyderabad to Raipur after take-off experienced a minor technical glitch/over limit EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) with its engine 1," it said.

After carrying out the standard operating procedures, the flight crew landed the A320-232 aircraft safely back at Hyderabad and passengers were flown in another aircraft, the statement added.
14/03/18 IANS/Business Standard

IPS officer Robin Hibu lauds humanitarian gesture of Indigo airlines

Kangpokpi: A well acclaimed IPS officer of Aruncahal Pradesh and the first Joint Commissioner from NE region in the Rashtriya Bhavan Secretariat, Delhi, Robin Hibu, has stated that Indigo airlines is committed to the people of the North East States and its colossal humanitarian gesture towards the NE people is commendable.
Robin Hibu was speaking over the phone regarding the service of ferrying coffins for poor NE people free of cost from mainland cities by the airline.
He said that he met with Aditya Ghose, the Chief Executive Officer of the Indigo airlines recently at Indigo Airline Headquarters in Gurgoan, to convey his deep appreciation on behalf of the NE people and presented a NE shawl as a mark of gratitude for their commendable service.
“I was deeply touched when the CEO of the Indigo Airlines Aditya Ghose told me that Indigo will continue to help the NE poor people in mainland cities by ferrying the coffins of NE people from various cities for free”, said Robin Hibu while recalling his meeting with Aditya Ghose.
Robin Hibu further said that the Indigo airlines henceforth will recruit maximum number of NE youths as assured by the CEO and informed that all recruitment drive will be done through Helping Hands NGO who will forward the names of the candidates.
14/03/18 Sangai Express

HC orders Air India to deposit Rs 5L for missing flyer's wheelchair

Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has ordered Air India to deposit Rs 5 lakh with it for failing to transport the wheelchair of a disabled passenger on a London-bound flight, which "greatly hassled" the traveller.

Justice Vineet Kothari gave the orders while hearing a petition for compensation filed by Dr Rajalakshmi S J (30) and her mother Dr S Shobha. Dr Rajalakshmi is physically handicapped.

The petitioner said her customised wheelchair went missing from the luggage and that the airport authorities in London refused her a wheelchair. She was made to sit on a bench without any support. When she approached the Air India staff, they informed her the wheelchair hadn't been sent from India in the first place and that it would arrive at 7 pm local time. The wheelchair did not, however, arrive until the next day, leading her to miss a flight to Scotland and causing her "heavy monetary losses and mental agony".

Her travails didn't end there. She had to face a lot of difficulties as the travel agent didn't book rooms for her stay and she wasn't served any food. She was given a room which was not equipped for a person with a physical disability. What's more, the travel agent demanded a huge sum to carry her around in the wheelchair.

She suffered a lot of health problems during her Europe trip due to the poor facilities and inadequate food provided by the travel agent. She was forced to return to India because of her worsening health.
14/03/18 Deccan Herald

India’s highest profit making and loss making PSUs: Air India remains grounded; energy sector tops chart

Among 257 operating Publis Sector Units (PSUs) in India, Indian Oil, ONGC, and Coal India have emerged as the most profitable state-owned companies, while debt-laden Air India, BSNL, and MTNL have incurred maximum losses in the same year.

According to the Public Enterprises Survey 2016-17 tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday, the losses incurred by BSNL, Air India and MTNL accounted for 55.66% of the total losses by the top ten loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

Meanwhile, India’s energy sector companies Indian Oil, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), and Coal India added a profit of 19.69%, 18.45% and 14.94% respectively to the total profit earned by top ten profit-making companies. While two other energy sector companies Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals in the year 2016-17 made it to the list of top ten profit making CPSEs.
It is notable that Air India has not made any profit since at least the year 2007. The national-carrier, under intense competition from leaner, more efficient and often-cheaper private airlines piled up a debt of over Rs 52,000 crore, following which the Narendra Modi government decided to strategically disinvestment its shares to private players. The disinvestment process is currently underway.
13/03/inancial Express

3 phase plan prepared to develop Hisar Aerodrome as Int'l Airport: Ram Bilas Sharma

Chandigarh: Haryana Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said that in order to develop Hisar Aerodrome as International Airport, a three phase plan has been prepared including domestic airport under the Regional Connectivity Scheme in Phase-I, Small scale MRO, Fixed base operations, Defence Manufacturing and Defence MRO in Phase-II and Aerospace Manufacturing, Aviation Training Centre and Aviation University, International Airport, Aerotropolis - Commercial and Residential in Phase–III.
Replying to a question regarding the proposal to develop Hisar Aerodrome as International Airport in the ongoing budget session of Vidhan Sabha here today, Mr Sharma said that international consultant, M/s Frost and Sullivan was engaged in March 2016 to get a feasibility study regarding development of an integrated aviation hub including an international airport at Hisar. Apart from this, an Expression of Interest was floated on February 17, 2017 and a meeting was held with interested parties to gauge interest and obtain feedback.
He said that a piece of land measuring 4200 acres contiguous to the existing airstrip has been identified. A meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary was held on June 30, 2017 in which all relevant departments agreed to transfer land to Civil Aviation Department.
13/03/18 UNI

IAF lands its largest transport aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh's Tuting

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force's largest transport aircraft — C-17 Globemaster — on Tuesday landed at Arunachal Pradesh's Tuting airfield which is close to the Chinese border.
The landing of the US-manufactured aircraft is seen as part of the IAF's move to strengthen its overall operations in the strategically-key border state.
"The C17 Globemaster carried out a historic landing at Tuting Advanced Landing Ground. The mission was executed flawlessly owing to its superlative performance and excellent flying skills of pilots," said an IAF spokesperson.
Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28.
13/03/18 PTI/Times of India

Passengers concerned about security at Hubballi airport

Hubballi: Even though the upgraded Hubballi airport claims to have state-of-the-art facilities, safety of passengers is a big concern as vehicles are not scanned thoroughly. Shockingly, they are allowed to park right next to the new terminal.
The airport has been upgraded and air service to Bengaluru and Mumbai has been started. Soon, there will connectivity to other parts of the country under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik). The airport claims to have been developed as per international standards. However, passengers allege there are several security lapses
Ramesh Patil, a businessman and former president, Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who often travels from the airport, said: “Security personnel at the entrance ask passengers for ID proof and check the boot of vehicles. There is no thorough search to check for any object which can pose a security threat. There is no scanner to detect explosives. What if a Glasgow-like attack occurred at Hubballi airport? Who will take responsibility? When politicians arrive at the airport, their followers enter in large number. What if terrorists also enter the place?”
It may be recalled that at Glasgow airport in 2007, a propane gas cylinder-laden jeep rammed the airport departure area when over 4,000 passengers were in the terminal. No passenger died as the SUV hit a concrete pillar.
Passengers who take flights from Hubballi objected to the parking of vehicles, especially two-wheelers, right next to the new terminal. “What if a two-wheeler is fitted with explosives?” a passenger said. Passengers alleged that though there is parking facility, there’s no shelter for vehicles and passengers are forced to park their vehicles under the scorching sunlight.
14/03/18 Marx Tejaswi/Times of India

IATA partners with civil aviation ministry to enhance human resource availability in India's airline industry

New Delhi: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the National Aviation University to enhance human resource availability in India's aviation industry.

The three parties to the MoU "formalised this partnership in the presence of Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on the sidelines of Wings India 2018 in Hyderabad", IATA said in a statement.

The understanding among other provisions also provides for developing closer academic cooperation between IATA and National Aviation University, it said.

Under the agreement, the signatory institutions would also leverage "the existing infrastructure for training in India to expand the reach of vocational training in aviation disciplines".
14/03/18 First Post

Govt wants to extend 'Make in India' plan to planes, drones: Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: The government wants to extend the 'Make in India' initiative to planes and drones and not just import the entire requirement in the coming years, Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday. India will need more than 1,300 planes in the next few years, he said.

"We do not want 1,300 planes to be bought from abroad. We will make them in India," he told PTI. He said the ministry will work together with its defence counterparts to look at civilian and defence aircraft requirements.

The second priority, he said, is going to be drones as this sector holds huge potential. "It is a big market and India has a huge potential for that. So we will work on drones," he added.

Using high end technology like artificial intelligence and robotics in the airlines industry will be another priority area for the ministry, Prabhu said. India is recording a healthy growth in passenger traffic as compared to China, which is the largest aviation market in the world.
14/03/18 PTI/First Post

Tragedy of skipped flight haunts friends

Calcutta: Three Nepalese passengers on the US-Bangla Airlines flight that crashed in Kathmandu on Monday were to return home from Dhaka the previous day but postponed their journey to go sightseeing and shopping, according to two fellow travel agents from Calcutta who were with them in Cox's Bazar.

Hari Shankar Poudel, director of sales at Namaste Aviation International in Kathmandu, was one of the three victims who had befriended the group from Calcutta two days before the tragedy. The air crash killed 49 of the 71 people on board the Bombardier Dash Q400 aircraft.

"All of us were taking pictures with our mobile phones but Poudel had a proper camera with him. He took some shots of us and told me that he would mail the pictures once he reached Kathmandu. So said that it will never happen," Rofikul Hassan, who runs Maple Air Booking in Esplanade, told Metro.

If he had stuck to the original travel plan, Poudel would have been back in Kathmandu on Sunday along with 11 other travel operators from his city who attended a two-day summit organised by US-Bangla Airlines in Cox's Bazar. Two of the group took that flight as scheduled while the rest decided to spend an extra day in the Bangladesh capital.

Fourteen travel agents from the city had gone to Bangladesh on March 9, where they met the group from Kathmandu. "I knew Poudel by name through a common friend. On March 9, he came up to me and introduced himself. He came across as a very warm person," Rofikul recalled.
he two were together through the summit, where some of the travel operators were felicitated for meeting sales targets. A Bangladesh minister attended the event.

"He asked me about my company and the volume of business I generate," Rofikul said. "He loved the seafood there and urged me to have plenty of it."

After dinner, they went for a walk on the beach in front of the hotel. They also returned to Dhaka from Cox's Bazar together.

"I had thought of speaking to him after returning to Calcutta. I was in Dhaka when I heard about the crash," Rofikul said.

Suman Roy of Riya Travels said he got introduced to Poudel and immediately felt comfortable in his company. "He took my visiting card and apologised that he was not carrying one of his own. I saw him speaking to everyone."
14/03/18 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph

Vietjet to connect Vietnam and India

In the third quarter of 2018, travelers from India will be able to fly direct to Vietnam and vice versa.

The announcement which was witnessed by Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang and senior leaders of Vietnam and India at the recent Vietnam – India Business Forum also marks a significant milestone for the country especially in light of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India and the 10th anniversary of strategic partnership between the two countries.

The first route is scheduled to connect Ho Chi Minh City with New Delhi on a basis of four flights per week.

The introduction of the new route thus presents Vietjet with an opportunity to not only tap into the growing tourism market but also facilitate trade integration and exchange between Vietnam and India.

Modeling itself as a ‘Consumer Airline’, Vietjet will continue to meet the growing demands of consumers by introducing new routes, expanding its fleet, investing in modern technology, and offering greater value-added products and services. The airline also prides itself in offering diverse promotional programs on tickets and entertainment especially during the festive seasons.
14/03/18 ftn NEWS

Despite DGCA Guidelines on Drones, India Fails to Check Trespassing, Privacy: Report

New Delhi: Drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is the latest trend catching onto the imagination of the public. It is estimated that Indians have spent more than Rs 40 crore on civilian drones in 2016-17 alone.

The government, though, seems to be struggling with major gaps in policy to regulate the use of the aircraft, which are, banned in the country.
ccording to a study by the think-tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), ad-hoc measures taken by state and central government have been ineffective as questions of privacy and trespassing, air traffic, terrorist threat management, and legal liability have not been addressed properly.

The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India's civil aviation regulator, first issued a notification on the subject on October 7, 2014. Two years later, on April 21, 2016, first drafts of the guidelines were issued for the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). After a year-and-a-half of inactivity, the DGCA issued a new set of guidelines in October 2017. A report on says the final proposal may be finalised this month. It was to be done by December 31, 2017.
13/03/18 Aditya Nair/

Airport infrastructure: Case for expediting growth

With its rapidly-growing economy, the fact that India needs significant investments in airport infrastructure cannot be overemphasised. While Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and privatisation of airports have been attempted to some extent, the time has come to accelerate the pace on this front.

The broader trend seen in infrastructure, of attracting global capital, applies as much to airports as to any other sector. As they say, "All Roads Lead to Rome" (implying that there are few roads to Rome). There are alternative ways of creating and financing airport infrastructure.
"Asset recycling" -- a strategy of monetising existing assets to generate capital -- eminently applies to airports. Asset recycling of existing airport assets will allow the government to monetise financially-viable projects to generate capital with which to finance other economically useful -- but not financially viable -- airports. This is an alternative to a viability gap fund strategy or a strategy of financing new assets using extra charges on air tickets. The asset recycling strategy needs to be looked at in greater detail, especially with a view to developing airports in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

Airport operators and regulators also need to start thinking in terms of capital structure innovation around airport businesses. In terms of generating financing, the airport business can be listed through an IPO. This is an idea that has been around for a while in India. Globally, airport operators such as Corporacion America Airports are also looking at IPOs.
The cash liquidity that an IPO route provides without having to deal with the contingent liabilities of a debt structure can be useful in pursuing high-growth projects for airport operators. On the other end of the spectrum are financial instruments such as revenue-backed airport bonds. This would be a big step for airports and airport operators in India.
14/03/18 IANS/Economic Times

Forget CISF, city airport lacks enough cops

Surat: Despite increase in passenger traffic from Surat airport to more than 60,000 passenger per month against 10 times increase in the flight frequencies, the airport still lacks adequate security arrangement. Forget, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) deployment, even the state police deployment is short of staff. Against the required strength of 114 personnel, only 95 are stationed at the airport.
In a letter to the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) western region in 2017, the Surat airport director had stated that the traffic movement was almost 10 times compared to what it was in 2015. Though the deployment of CISF is a policy matter, considering the present scenario, it is requested that the matter may be brought to the knowledge of higher authorities for being a security issue.
It is to be noted that the resurvey for deployment of state police was conducted and forwarded to higher authority, but so far no approval is received and the show is managed with available 95 security personnel against the required strength of 114. During the resurvey of the state police, it was proposed to deploy 208 personnel.
RTI activist Rajesh Modi said, “The airport needs 208 security personnel to provide full-proof security to the passengers and the airport, but it is running with just 95 personnel. Surat is the economic capital of Gujarat and the government and its agencies are seriously overlooking the security aspect at the airport.”
14/03/18 Times of India

Man held for smuggling gold worth Rs 75 lakh at Delhi airport

New Delhi: An Indian man has been arrested by the customs for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing about Rs 75 lakh at Delhi airport, according to an official statement issued today.

The accused was intercepted on his arrival from Dubai on Sunday.

The passenger was carrying two bars and four sheets of gold, weighing 2.4 kg, having a market value of Rs 74.97 lakh, which he had hidden in the cavity of the flush assembly system of a toilet at the airport, the customs said in the statement.
13/03/18 PTI/India Today

Man held with forex worth Rs 10 lakh at Delhi airport

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Wednesday apprehended a passenger illegally carrying foreign currency worth Rs 10,97,620 at Indira Gandhi International Airport here.

The foreign currency in different denominations was seized at Terminal-3 of the airport during a pre-embarkation security check (frisking) when CISF Assistant Sub-Inspector Md. R. Hussain noticed some stuff under the clothes of the passenger which appeared to be suspicious, an official statement read.

Passenger Fahad Mohammad was then taken for pat-down search during which the foreign currency – Riyals, Euros, Dirhams, and Rupees – concealed under his clothes were recovered.
14/03/18 ANI/

IndiGo, GoAir finances to be hit: 70 flights cancelled after A320 grounding

New Delhi: IndiGo and GoAir cancelled another 70 flights on Tuesday -- a day after the airlines had to ground 11 planes following the aviation regulator's order on this -- because of a recurring malfunction in engines. The airlines said the affected passengers would be accommodated in other aircraft, though a change in schedule was likely.
The problem stems from a component in certain engines manufactured by Pratt and Whitney (PW), which can show early signs of wear, and is located in an area that must withstand high pressure.
A senior airline official said the grounding was taking a toll as the airlines had very little scope to alter their network, since they had taken the planes into consideration while making the schedule. “There will be cancellations till the start of a new schedule on March 25. We have a large network and multiple flights from one point to another, so we can accommodate the passengers in other planes. Necessary information is being shared with affected flyers,” a senior IndiGo official said.
PW has said that the issue will be resolved only by the end of June. “The corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration. We are working to mitigate the situation by the end of the second quarter,” the engine manufacturer said in a statement.
The impact of the inability to add new A320 neo planes on IndiGo’s market share is likely to be minimal, since none of the rival carriers have any major expansion plans. Closest competitor SpiceJet’s planned induction of Boeing 737 Max was slated for August. GoAir being a much smaller player was also likely to see less impact on its market share, but would face a delay in commencing international operations, which was scheduled to start last year.
IndiGo now plans to become aggressive in the secondary lease market.

A senior IndiGo official said the airline is planning to induct around 40 planes in the next one year, including 25 A320 ceos and 15 new ATRs.
14/03/18 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

Airfares surge up to 10 per cent after DGCA grounds IndiGo, GoAir planes

New Delhi: Cancellation of 65 flights by the country’s largest airline IndiGoBSE -2.58 % and GoAir due to grounding of 11 aircraft lead to a spike in last-minute fares on Tuesday, as passengers booked on cancelled flights tried to rebook on alternative flights.

“The cancellation of flights has resulted in a fairly significant impact on the airfares for immediate travel on some key routes. We have seen fares of over Rs 12,000 for a one-way between Delhi and Mumbai flight for today,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) at online travel portal Yatra. com, said on Tuesday.
Dhall expects the impact on fares to recede in the coming days. “With current load factors at over 90%, this reduction in capacity is likely to have a 5-10% impact on fares on key routes in the short to medium term,” he said.

“In order to cause minimum inconvenience to the passengers, the airlines are giving an option to passengers to choose another flight at no additional cost and giving full refund on any cancellations,” he said. Other industry executives, however, said the impact has not been much as cancellation in percentage of total flights is less.
14/03/18 Economic Tmes

Idukki, Wayanad airstrips: Cial to conduct pre-feasibility study

Thiruvananthapuram: The airstrip projects planned at Idukki and Wayanad that were shelved due to local protests have received a fresh lease of life. In the latest order issued by the transport department, the government has asked Cochin international airport Ltd (Cial) to conduct a pre-feasibility study for the projects.
The new move is part of the government’s idea to have airstrips in all districts that can promote tourism.
The Idukki airstrip project, which was subsequently scaled up to a medium-size airport project, was shelved after local protests intensified during previous UDF regime.
The idea of an airstrip at Anakkara, close to Thekkady, got a fillip during the previous LDF’s rule in 2008. A two-member Airports Authority of India (AAI) team had visited the location and given clearance for a facility spread across 500 acres with 1,500m runway that can cater to ATR aircrafts.
Later, when the project gathered steam, an agitation under the aegis of anti-airport agitation council forced the government to shelve the project. “Before going on to the next step of a feasibility study, the government wants to know whether the projects deserve the go-ahead and so the pre-feasibility study was ordered,” said government sources.
Earlier, the airstrip at Wayanad also met a similar fate in the wake of strong protests . The project was given AAI clearance and sites extending to 500 acres at Panamaram and Cheekkallor were identified , after conducting feasibility studies. Though the area identified is paddy land, the latest amendment of paddy land and wetland act that empowers the government to overcome the restrictions if the project is in public interest would make things easier.
The project was shelved for the past seven years. At present, the only air connectivity facility available in Wayanad is at Kalpetta, a school ground.
14/03/18 KP Saikiran/Times of India

Rajasthan govt puts cap on height of high-rises near the airport

Jaipur: In a bid to check the construction of high-rises in the periphery of Sanganer airport and state hanger, the government has fixed the height slab of such buildings within a radius of 500 metres from the airport.
The 500 metre distance has been fixed after considering state hanger as a centre point. Following the state government’s direction, the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) will issue notification and frame the new bylaws. The building permission in the surrounding area will be provided as per the norms which will be fixed.
An official said, while only 10 metre height of a building will be allowed in areas up to 200 metres, it will be up to 30 metre after a distance of 450 metre to 500 metre. Beyond 500 metre, the height of the building up to 34 metre will be allowed.
A senior official at JDA informed, “Civil aviation and intelligence officials inspected the site to fix security parameters and height of the buildings. The new rules will be framed following their recommendations,” he said.
Sources in the department claimed, “Three high-rise buildings near the state hangar, adjoining the Jaipur International Airport, which pose a security threat to VVIPs using the airstrip, will remain sealed.”
The construction of high-rise buildings near the Jaipur airport was halted after objections were raised by chief minister Vasundhara Raje claiming them to be a 'security threat'.
14/03/18 Times of India

Airports owe CISF big time: Privately run airports yet to clear dues amounting to Rs 800 crore

New Delhi: When it comes to security services, the top five privately run airports owe Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) quite a lot. Not to mention some big money.

The Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home -- Kiren Rijiju -- said in Lok Sabha that seven privately run airports owe a whopping sum of Rs 800 crore to the CISF for the deployment of its personnel on security duties.

Ironically, the biggest "defaulter" is Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) which has been ranked number one in the world on airport service quality ranking.

Operated by the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the airport alone has a massive amount of Rs 737.37 crore which it owes CISF.

The security provided by CISF at the Delhi airport was awarded the 'Best Airport Security' by the World Quality Congress (WQC) recently. The airport service quality (ASQ) rating had found that security at the Delhi airport was better than Heathrow, Dallas, Los Angeles, Dubai and Paris airports.
14/03/18 Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu/India Today

UDAN has to include freight at some point: Deloitte's Peeyush Naidu

Global consultancy company Deloitte has been working with the Union civil aviation ministry on the regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) for the past three years. It believes the demands like the inclusion of international flight services, connecting smaller airports to larger metros, etc, under the scheme are a reflection of market response and the scheme needs to respond back to incorporate some of these elements.
Deloitte India partner Peeyush Naidu, who is part of the team working with the ministry on UDAN, tells B Dasarath Reddy that, besides looking at some of these demands, the scheme also needs to expand to include freight by identifying suitable business models at some point. Edited excerpts:
What has been achieved under the UDAN scheme so far? If you look at overall achievement, as the minister and everybody has been saying, over these two rounds (awarding of routes) 70 airports will get connected through scheduled flights. So people will have an option to fly from 70 more airports in the country by the end of this year.
Is tweaking imminent in view of demands such as allowing international flight services under UDAN? I think nobody imagined that UDAN 1 and 2 would be so big when we started off. Ministry's objective was that regional connectivity will not happen with large planes so how do we get other operators interested in that segment. During the first round, IndiGo had said that it will not participate in the Udan scheme. By round 2, they had placed an order for 50 aircraft to participate in UDAN.
As things stabilise we should continue to make changes as any scheme to become successful it has to respond to the market dynamics.
Is the regional connectivity going to be a part of a larger logistics play in the country? If you look at how the regional connectivity can be expanded to include freight, we will possibly need to have a look at business models where we are able to move cargo in defined period of times to either domestic hub airports or through AFSs (air freight stations), which can be coexisting with multi-modal logistics parks, CFSs(container freight stations) and so on. Today the load is scattered because some of the people are taking it by trucks to some of the facilities nearby.
As smaller aircraft are predominantly meant for passenger traffic, their ability to carry additional cargo is limited. The A320s or the ATRs may carry some belly cargo. We know, for example, air cargo finds it cheaper to go by truck from Kanpur to Delhi than find air connectivity in Kanpur. So the focus should be to find and identify where some of these rubbings can take place and what business models in which can private sector is facilitated or can be incentivised to operate so that we can aggregate the first mile and the last mile.
14/03/18 B Dasarath Reddy/Business Standard

31 Pratt-powered A-320 Neos still flying in India

New Delhi: With 14 Airbus A-320 new engine option (Neo) aircraft with faulty Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines grounded, IndiGo and GoAir now have 31 Neos with an earlier series of PW flying in their fleets. However, these 31 planes fly only over land for domestic flights and are not used for over sea flights to the Gulf and Southeast Asia (where IndiGo flies) and to Port Blair (where both the budget airlines go). The reason: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had last year asked the two airlines no to fly these planes over sea as high salinity level in the air was believed to be causing troubles to the earlier series of Pratt engines.
“Earlier the PW engines on A-320 Neos were facing a snag in their combustion chambers. At that time last year, we had advised IndiGo and Go to keep the Neos away from sea as high salinity was felt to be one of the factors leading causing this trouble. This is being followed by them and the 31 PW-powered Neos which are now flying with the two airlines are perfectly safe. They just stay away from sea,” said a senior official.
Secondly, aviation regulators have to give something known as ETOPS (extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards) to twin engine aircraft to operate flights on routes where the nearest suitable airport to make emergency landing for any reason is more than an 60 minutes away. This clearance is required for overseas flights.
Last month while issuing an emergency airworthiness airworthiness directive warning of a potential “dual engine” inflight shutdown on A-320 Neo-family aircraft powered by PW PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had withdrawn the ETOPS for aircraft with this specific type of engines.
“Once EASA withdrew ETOPS, the planes with engines flagged off by them were not allowed to fly on routes where the nearest airport for an emergency landing was over an hour ago like a over sea flight. The reason: In case of an engine failure, the other engine can safely land a plane. But with EASA waning of dual engine shutdown, ETOPS did not remain an option. However, we have been doing this since last year itself when the combustion chamber trouble with PW engines on A-320 Neos started happening,” said the official.
Last summer, IndiGo had asked its pilots not to fly the Neos over 30,000 feet instead of the usual flying altitude of 36,000 feet to avoid snags. However, this restriction has been removed but the DGCA’s no-over-sea restriction for Neos remains.
GoAir and IndiGo have been following this by not flying their PW-powered Neos over sea. IndiGo and GoAir have 32 and 13 A-320 Neos, respectively. Interestingly while DGCA says 11 Neos of IndiGo are grounded and three of GoAir, IndiGo says only nine of its planes have been grounded.
14/03/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Flyers screamed as A320neo flight with faulty engine shook violently


sfty, indigo

Mumbai: In theory, a twin-engine aircraft can land safely with a single engine. But onboard an Airbus 320neo flying with only one engine, it does little to assuage fears, recall some passengers, as the plane shakes violently or the failing engine growls menacingly.
“About 30 minutes after departure, there was a loud sound, like a firecracker. From my 12C seat, I saw a flash outside the left window,’’ said sports historian Boria Majumdar, who was on a Mumbai-Kolkata flight that faced engine failure and returned to Mumbai recently.
“Some started screaming as the plane shook violently. It was like being in a car that had sped through three speed-breakers,’’ said Majumdar.
Soon after, the Indian aviation regulator grounded the A320neos equipped with engines that were prone to fail mid-air. In fact, there had been three in 16 days. Over the past year, the frequency of A320neo engine failures has been so high in India that the country now has a fairly large group of passengers who know what being in an aircraft with a failed engine feels like.
“Thirty minutes after we took off from Ahmedabad at 9.10am, there was a sudden, loud sound as if something had been sucked into the engine,’’ said Dhaval Gokani, 28, a marketing professional who was on board the IndiGo Ahmedabad-Lucknow flight that suffered an engine failure on Monday.
“The aircraft began shaking and we could see worry on the faces of the cabin crew who were on their breakfast rounds. The cabin filled with voices of enquiring passengers. It was scary, a situation where it’s not possible to predict how it will unravel,’’ added Gokani, also a frequent flyer. But minutes later, the commander’s voice came on. “The captain announced that there has been an engine failure, but we’re being supported by the second engine, which is working well, and we will land in 25 minutes. His voice was rather calm,” said Gokani. It proved infectious and the passengers settled down, only to erupt in applause when the aircraft landed safely at 10.04am.
Majumdar’s IndiGo flight, which suffered an engine failure on March 5, had taken off around 6.40pm. Half an hour into the flight, the plane started juddering. “I tried to stay calm. Passengers were talking nervously. The Captain made no announcement. Around 7.10 pm, the flight landed and the passengers clapped and cheered loudly. When we stepped out of the aircraft, we saw ambulances and fire brigades lined up with lights flashing,” he added.
For Kris Lakshmikanth, founder-chairman, Headhunters India, who was on board the January 10 Mumbai-Bengaluru IndiGo flight which suffered an engine failure, there was much drama onboard too. “During take-off itself, I realized something was amiss as the engine was making an unusual sound,” said the frequent flyer. “We were barely at 2,000 feet when there was the smell of smoke inside the cabin. I was seated in the front row and saw the faces of the cabin crew strapped in their seats in front of us turn pale,” said Lakshmikanth. “My co-passenger was a former Indian Air Force pilot and he said the engine seems to have failed. It was unnerving. Some passengers began crying,’’ he said. They learnt about the failure only after landing. “When the aircraft landed safely, the cabin erupted in applause. Before disembarking, I went to the cockpit to congratulate the crew. The co-pilot, who was rather young, appeared scared,’’ he added.
A senior commander, requesting anonymity, said pilot experience plays a crucial role in such situations. “The average age of the cockpit crew has gone down from 40 to 30,” he said. With the aviation market booming in India, pilots in their 20s are getting to command aircraft. Technological advances have increased the reliability of aircraft and so one doesn’t get to handle difficult situations as frequently. So when an engine fails, it can be trying for younger pilots, he added.
14/03/18 Manju V/Times of India

Amid aircraft crunch, IndiGo cancels 42 flights today

Mumbai: Domestic carrier IndiGo continued to operate with a curtailed schedule for the third day today with the airline cancelling 42 flights following the grounding of eight of its A320neo planes along with three of GoAir due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues.

IndiGo has cancelled 42 flights for March 14. This includes flights to Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Dehradun, Amritsar, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, among others, the airline announced on its website. Number of flights cancelled by the other carrier GoAir for Wednesday was not immediately available.

On Tuesday, IndiGo and GoAir had together cancelled over 65 flights due to the grounding of their 11 aircraft by the country’s aviation watchdog DGCA on Monday, citing passengers safety concerns arising out of the mid-air shut down of the Pratt& Whitney- manufactured Neo engines of these airplanes.

The cancellation of services in a large number has put thousands of passengers at inconvenience as they had pre-booked these flights amid the concerns of exorbitant fares which are charged by the carriers for last-minute travel. However, the two carriers had on Tuesday said they were taking measures to minimise inconvenience to the passengers whose flights have been cancelled by booking them on alternate flights as well giving them the option of cancelling or rescheduling their travel without any extra cost.
14/03/18 PTI/Indian Express