Monday, February 20, 2017

Dramatic moment German fighter jets intercept London-bound flight after pilot lost contact with air traffic control

The Eurofighter Typhoons were scrambled after the Jet Airways Boeing 777 aircraft lost contact with local air traffic control for a few minutes as it was crossing over Cologne.

Video footage apparently taken from a British Airways plane travelling behind showed two fighter jets flying alongside a passenger plane above the clouds.

The London-bound flight had 330 passengers and 15 crew on board and was flying from Mumbai to Heathrow.

Officials said contact with the passenger plane was restored by the time the fighter jets were airborne and that they were deployed to “ensure the safety of the flight and its guests”.

It made a safe landing at Heathrow after being escorted by the Typhoons as a precaution last Thursday.

The video was uploaded to Facebook by user CirrusPilot with the caption: “This incredible footage shows the German Air Force intercepting a Jet Airways 777-300ER bound for London (from Mumbai) yesterday after it failed to respond on the appropriate ATC frequencies.

“The trailing British Airways plane captured the footage near Cologne Germany.
“The JA pilots saw the Eurofighters and after speaking over emergency frequencies the plane carried onto London.”

Jet Airways said in a statement: “Contact between Jet Airways flight 9W 118, from Mumbai to London’s Heathrow Airport and the local ATC, was briefly lost while flying over German airspace.
“Communication was safely restored within a few minutes. As a precaution, the German Air Force deployed its aircraft to ensure the safety of the flight and its guests.

"The flight with 330 guests and 15 crew subsequently landed at London.”

It added that the matter was reported and the crew was taken off the roster pending a probe.
20/02/17 Hatty Collier/Evening Standard

Jet Airways flight loses radio contact, makes Germany scramble combat jets

A Jet Airways Boeing 777 aircraft en route to London was intercepted by two German air force planes as it failed to communicate with the local air traffic control.

The incident occurred on Thursday and was reported on aviation safety websites after the intercept was filmed by a trailing passenger jet.

According to the Aviation Herald website, contact was lost when the aircraft, which was flying on a Mumbai-London route, was transitioning from Slovakian air traffic control to that of the Czech Republic. The website reported that contact was lost as the pilots were suspected to have tuned on to the wrong radio frequency.

According to the website, Germany dispatched two Eurofighter Aircraft when the Boeing 777 entered it's airspace. Radio contact with the aircraft was restored about 60 nautical miles north of Nuremberg, it said.

In a statement, Jet Airways said that communication was lost in German airspace and safely restored within a few minutes. As a precaution, the German Air Force deployed its aircraft to ensure the safety of the flight and its guests. The flight with 330 guests and 15 crew subsequently landed at London without incident. Jet Airways has duly reported the matter to the concerned authorities, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. "As part of the standard process, the flight crew of 9W 118 has been de-rostered pending investigation,” the statement said.
20/02/17 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

A perfect storm gathers for India's airlines

Mumbai: The nascent recovery in India's airline industry is under threat as rising costs and seat capacity combine with a crippling lack of airport infrastructure to hobble growth prospects.

India's carriers are likely to report combined losses of as much as $380 million to $450 million in the year to March, 2018, according to a recent estimate from the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, a Sydney-based consultancy.

Meanwhile, fleet expansion plans may be hit given the shortage of landing and parking slots at airports, say observers. That means airlines would be unable to take advantage of the robust growth in passenger traffic.

"It will be difficult (for airports) to accommodate the newer planes. Most of the deliveries will be delayed," said Jeet Ghosh, an analyst with Kolkata-based research firm Stewart and Mackertich.

Less than a year ago, India's airlines seemed on the verge of a turnaround as low fuel prices enabled steep discounts on fares, stirring a boom in passenger numbers and in revenue.
20/02/17 Nikkei Asian Review

SpiceJet offers discounts on its SpiceMax seats

Mumbai: SpiceJet Monday announced an offer of Rs 250 off on its SpiceMax category, the wider, roomier seats on the front end of its aircraft.

The airline, along with its peers, has been offering such discounts in the ongoing lean travel season.

Last week, it introduced a flat 10% discount on flights to Muscat from India.
The offer is valid for travel till March 25, the airline said.

Before that, the low fare carrier had announced a 7% discount on flights to Dubai.
20/02/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Over to Hisar: New airport and aviation hub coming soon

Hisar: Good news for the city: Hisar would soon get an airport. A feasibility report and the Centre’s approval have come in to air-link this counter-magnet city to other parts of the country. Capt DK Punia, executive director of Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation, said that initially the city would be linked to Delhi, Chandigarh and Jaipur. “The small distance air services would begin in the first phase. The 20 seat and 40-seat airplanes would be available on these routes,” he said. Flights to Mumbai, Ahmadabad and other far-off cities would start in the next phase.
Plus, the Haryana government has expedited work on the Integrated Aviation Hub in the city. The government thinking is that besides a rise in demand for airport connectivity, there is urgent need for expanding services such as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and Fixed Base Operation (FBO). An official spokesman said the project would be developed over 3,000 acres adjoining the existing Hisar airfield which will also have features such as aircraft parking and transit facilities, an aerospace park and an aviation training centre.
With an existing airstrip of 4,000 feet, spread on 3,000 acres of government owned land, the Haryana government has invited ‘global expression of interest’ for developing the proposed integrated aviation hub. Due to its close proximity with neighbouring airports and states including the National Capital region, Hisar could also serve as a potential location for commercial development, the official said.
19/02/17 Deependar Deswal/Tribune

50 years of flying: Women pilots from Mumbai look back at the glass ceiling

Mumbai: For Rabia Futehally (82) and Mohini Shroff (81), co-founders of the Indian Women’s Pilots Association (IWPA), learning to fly in the early sixties was a challenge in itself in comparison to convincing her critics that they could fly. From being ridiculed about their interest in this field to managing time between home and attending classes, they are some of the earliest female fliers from the Bombay Flying Club, the oldest flying club in India.
Celebrating 50 years of IWPA, a non-governmental organisation founded in association with the club in 1967, Futehally recalls difficulties women used to face then in learning to fly. However, she is still looked upon as the first woman during her time who completed 11 hours of flying solo.
“A male counterpart in our classes would brag about completing 19 hours of flying solo. At that time, one of our trainers interrupted him and complimented me instead on doing a good job as a woman by completing 11 hours of flying without fear. I was a 25-year-old, mother to a nine-month-old, when I first climbed into the high cockpit of my favourite Piper PA-18 aircraft,” remembers Futehally, who is also the first woman pilot in the country to receive a private pilot licence (PPL).
While families supported them, others took time coming to terms with the concept of women wishing to fly, they say. What drove them to take the leap was a pure passion to be “in control”. “I was 21 when I took my first flight, post which I took flights over the eastern and southern parts of the country with ease. I still remember being called a ‘rare species’ when Rabia and I would enter the class to learn flying. I continue to fly at this age because I believe I can still be in control and also enjoy the thrill to fly,” says Mohini.
“For 35 years that I was into flying, I flew every single day. There was a time when I hit a turbulent patch while flying upon Goa and I began to lose height. With a cool head, I tried to re-work the motor and took control. Nothing can replace the happiness you get on flying a solo successfully,” adds Futehally.
20/02/17 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

GVK starts reducing debt to fund Navi Mumbai airport

Mumbai: The promoters of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) has started reducing the huge debt of its parent company GVK Power & Infrastructure (GVKPIL) to fund the Rs 17,500 crore greenfield Navi Mumbai International Airport.
The Hyderabad-based company, which has a debt of around Rs 25,000 crore, including certain non-performing loans, has begun the process with certain assets being partially monetized to reduce the debt.

A Issac George, director & chief financial officer, GVKPIL, told DNA Money, "In the next fortnight, the transaction pertaining to the sale of 33% stake in Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) to Fairfax Holdings will happen. All approvals have come in. This transaction would raise around Rs 2,200 crore for the company to repay existing debt."

"As on December 31, 2016, GVKPIL had accumulated losses and the company has incurred losses during the preceding two years. The company has delayed payment of loans and interest and certain loan accounts have been classified as non-performing by banks," said GV Krishna Reddy, chairman & managing director, in the Q3 result statement.
20/02/17 Ateeq Shaikh/DNA

GMR wants to demerge airport arm; seeks lenders' nod

Mumbai: GMR Infrastructure which operates the New Delhi international airport and the Hyderabad international airport has sought the approval of its lenders to demerge its airports arm and list it separately, according to a tweet by CNBC TV18.

GMR Infrastructure which operates the New Delhi international airport and the Hyderabad international airport has sought the approval of its lenders to demerge its airports arm and list it separately, according to a tweet by CNBC TV18.

According to the same unnamed sources, the demerge will be done to unlock value and to cut debt.

GMR which runs the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad recently lost out to GVK to build the new Navi Mumbai airport. This would be the second airport in the country's financial capital.
20/02/17 DNA

Cochin International Airport Terminal Three duty free RFP details released

CIAL Dutyfree and Retail Services Ltd (CDRSL) is today launching its global Request for Proposals to develop, operate and run duty free stores at Cochin International Airport’s new Terminal 3.

Bids will close on 28 April and an award is expected by the end of May.

CDRSL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL).

As revealed last week, The Moodie Davitt Report is providing exclusive global coverage of the open tender in one of India’s best-performing airports for retail, featuring one of the country’s most successful airport authorities.

The new Terminal 3 is expected to be operational in March. The 1.5 million square feet facility will include an extensive retail and food & beverage offer. The duty free proposition will feature both arrivals and departures stores. As reported, the arrivals business is particularly important at Cochin, accounting for around 90% of existing sales.

The duty free business at the airport is currently operated by CDRSL under a Management and Procurement contract. The incumbent Management and Procurement contract partners are World Duty Free Group, Kreol (Mr. A.S. Lal) and Alpha Kreol India Ltd.
20/02/17 The Moodie Davitt Report

Airports Authority of India asks civic body to extend BRTS till airport

Surat:  Airports Authority of India (AAI) has shown its readiness to allow entry of BRTS and city buses operated by Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) at the airport premises to facilitate travel by passengers.
Airport director has written to the civic body asking it to extend the BRTS and the city bus services to the airport premises. The time slots of the buses should match the arrival and departure of the flights from the airport. The civic body is running the BRTS from Udhana-Magdall and Pilod till TGB Hotel on Dumas Road. Recently, the civic body introduced direct city buses from Chowk Bazaar to Dumas as well.
Sources said private cabs have been charging hefty fares from passengers arriving at the airport in the absence of a reliable public transportation system. The passengers have to pay Rs600 for one-way transfers from airport to different parts of the city. Airport director Pramod Kumar Thakre told TOI, "We have written to the civic body to extend the BRTS and city bus services to the airport premises. The buses could directly come into the airport's parking area, pick up the passengers and proceed. A discussion was held regarding the bus service at the recently concluded airport advisory committee meeting."
19/02/17 Times of India

Chopper pilot cherishes flying bond with Bengaluru

Bengaluru: While all eyes were fixed on the planes in the air, Squadron Leader Tanya Srinivas, a helicopter pilot was among the senior officials in and out of the base. For Tanya, who has over 1,300 hours in IAF's helicopter fleet, including two major rescue operation in Uttarakhand and Srinagar, flying in hometown Bengaluru is still very special.
It was in Bengaluru, more than 10 years ago along with several enthusiastic teenagers at 1 Karnataka Air Squadron, NCC (Flying Arrows), that she flew for the first time. And for many along with her, the love of flying made their career choices an easy one. "During my days in the air squadron itself, I knew I wanted to be a pilot," she said.
"When we used to fly in Bengaluru, the only tall structure we could see from the sky was the Utility Building. Now it's all changed,'' she added.
It was her love for flying that found her the love of her life as well. Tanya has been married to a chopper pilot for five years. The couple were deployed in the rescue mission during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. A year later, she was also part of Operation Megh Rahat, rescuing citizens in Srinagar.
19/02/17 Arun Devi/Times of India

Saab takes off for Hyderabad

Bengaluru: ​ What could have been the pride of Bengaluru six years ago in the field of airborne electronic warfare system, is now flourishing in Hyderabad in the neighbouring state of Telangana, much to Bengaluru’s and Karnataka’s loss.

At a time when the information technology city, claiming to be the aerospace capital of India, is increasingly looked upon by the leading global aviation companies for development of future supersonic fighter gets, a major research and development joint venture (JV) between Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) and Swedish aircraft major SAAB for manufacturing airborne electronic warfare systems has silently been taken out of Bengaluru to Hyderabad.

Two years after setting up shop in India, SAAB, back in 2011, had announced a major R&D joint venture with the Bengaluru-headquartered HAL for manufacturing avionics for combat helicopters.

SAAB even decided to shut its manufacturing unit in South Africa in pursuance of a billion dollars’ worth of business opportunities in India over the next 10 years. It had planned to set up a development facility in Bengaluru, and Bangalore Mirror had carried the announcement of the joint venture (JV) in February 2011.

Choosing Bengaluru for their ambitious plan, Inderjit Sial, head of SAAB International India, had said, “Bengaluru is an automatic choice!” Swedish major’s
Asia-Pacific (Marketing and Business Development) Jan Widerstrom had even announced plans of recruiting about 300 students from various Indian universities for training in Sweden. And who were to be placed in India to carry out their R&D.
20/02/17 Niranjan Kaggere/Bangalore Mirror

Govt moves a step further over Vijay Mallya's extradition

New Delhi: In a fresh blow to the beleaguered businessman and liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Union Home Ministry has forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) a court-issued request to bring him back from United Kingdom to India to face money laundering probe. The MEA is expected to take up the issue with UK soon.
The Mumbai special court order has been attached in MHA's letter to MEA which approved the Enforcement Directorate's request to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to bring back Mallya to the country.
The External Affairs Ministry has been requested to forward the communication to the authorities in the UK to extradite Mallya to India, official sources said.However, in absence of extradition treaty with UK, the process is expected to take a couple of months.
While the MEA has put the ball in UK's court in the past,  EU countries have not handed over wanted persons by India on account of alleged ill treatment meted out to convicts in the jails here. A plea which has been used by many wanted accused against deportation for trial in India.
However, 1992 India-UK MLAT has a clause through which the treaty can be invoked in a criminal probe seeking the "transfer of persons, including persons in custody, for India."
The Mumbai special court,  which is entrusted with hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), had last fortnight approved the ED's request to issue an order against Mallya under the India-UK treaty.
20/02/17 Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu/India Today

Amsterdam couple demand refund from Spice Jet

Hyderabad: A couple from Amsterdam who travelled by Spice Jet Airliner recently charged the airline of unprofessional service and demanded that 388.46 Euros they had spent for their travel be refunded.

The couple Kathleen Satur and Franciscus Bouwman, shared on Facebook what they described as the problem suffered by them during the flight to Hyderabad from Colombo. The flight, they said, was to take off from Colombo at 5.30 pm and reach Hyderabad via Madurai at 9.15 pm.

“A few minutes before the plane was scheduled, we noticed that the departure was advanced to 6.30 pm and the staff reasoned that there was some technical problem. Due to it the flight did not take off till late in the night,” Franciscus Bouwman wrote in a post shared on Facebook.

The airlines staff collected the passports from the passengers saying that they will arrange another flight. All of them were then asked to collect their baggage and asked to wait for the flight. “Instead of arranging another flight, the Spice Jet staff asked us to choose between fare reimbursements or wait. To our fate we had to wait till February 12 and fend ourselves with our own money. The staff showed no sympathy nor were they cooperative. Least expected of any airlines,” he said.
20/02/17 TelanganaToday

“Nagpur has become the first airport in India to display art for a cause”

Nagpur: When you arrive in Nagpur by air next from any trip and walk into the Arrivals lounge to retrieve your bags, you will pause, look and admire! You will be thrilled with the new look of our Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Airport that espouses and supports the cause of empowering the girl child in a most beautiful and unique way.

The brain child of Dr. Suchika Gupta Deshmukh, MD of HERD foundation, the huge mural measuring 293 running and 2930 square feet, was dedicated to the people today. Helping her fulfill her vision were a local artist Shagufta and American Fulbright scholar Augustina Dross.

This big canvas, which runs across two entire walls of the lounge was painted in just 13 days with Augustina in the lead, aided by Shagufta and numerous volunteers who worked almost round the clock.

Augustina was scheduled to leave back for USA on 18th February, and it was the first week of February by the time all permissions had been received from the Airport Director and other formalities were done with.

How to undertake such a gigantic task, in the short window of time, which was a first even for the experienced Fulbright scholar/Artist, was a real question. Shagufta and others at HERD appealed for more volunteers on social media and the response was overwhelming.
20/02/17 Nagpur Today

Fewer flights at KIA due to partial runway closure

Bengaluru:  The partial closure of Kempegowda Internatinal Airport from February 19 to April 30 between 10.30 am and 5 pm will impact nearly 100 flights per day, including international flights. Considering the fact that Bengaluru airport grew by 22.5 per cent in 2016 with a record 22.18 million passengers, the challenge will be huge. Flight movement at the airport is expected to come down from 540 to 440  per day.

However, none of the passengers had to face inconvenience as announcements were made way ahead of time through the airport’s Twitter handle, newspapers and other social media platforms, according to airport authorities.
Airlines too were informed about the development six months ago. Hari Marar, president, Airport Operations, BIAL said, “Not a single passenger had any issue. It was a well thought-out process from BIAL’s side. Since, all the airlines were informed six months ago, they had not planned any schedules between 10.30 am and 5 pm or made their adjustments accordingly.”

He further added, “The frequency of flights has definitely increased due to the closure. We have accommodated 50-60 flights before and after the closure time. Under usual circumstance, the airport sees 540 flights per day, but due to the ongoing work, it has come down to 440 flight movements now.”
20/02/17 Sangeeta Bora/New Indian Express

Project DISHA brings changes at Coimbatore airport

Coimbatore: Even amidst issues related to land acquisition, Coimbatore International Airport has witnessed changes under project DISHA (Driving Improvements in Service and Hospitality at Airports), an initiative by Airports Authority of India (AAI).

According to AAI officials, project DISHA team could identify some of the key issues at the Coimbatore airport and bring in changes.

They were delay taken in the time for check-in during peak hours, time taken for security check, lack of cleanliness of comfort stations, and limited dining options in security hold area.

AAI officials said that the analysis enabled project DISHA team to focus on the issues and improve them.
According to AAI officials, the concerted efforts through project DISHA could bring in positive results in check-in time, security check, space layout at the airport, improvement of seating arrangements near boarding gates, and creation of additional space for additional dining in security hold area.
20/02/17 The Hindu

LandFlight flying high with Lufthansa and Air India

A company providing executive private hire coaches and chauffeur-driven cars is flying high after renewing its partnership with two major airlines at Birmingham Airport.

LandFlight, which is based in Solihull, has agreed new deals to extend its working relationships with Lufthansa and Air India.

The company, whose fleet includes coaches, buses, cars and people carriers, has worked with airlines operating at Birmingham Airport for more than 30 years, providing daily ground transport for up to 25 crew at a time between hotels and terminals.

Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, has agreed a new three-year contract with LandFlight to continue its work with crew and passenger transport in the West Midlands. Meanwhile, Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa has extended its partnership with the firm for another two years.

Danny Matthews, director at LandFlight, said the contract extensions were testament to a high quality, prompt and reliable service.
20/02/17 Ian Hughes/Soilhull Observer

Boeing promotes Dinesh Keskar as Asia Pacific sales head

Boeing’s India head Dinesh Keskar has been elevated as senior vice president sales for Asia Pacific and India regions. Keskar will continue his present role as president of Boeing India till a successor is named, the company announced on Friday.
In this role, Keskar will head sales organization, including contracts, marketing, revenue management and other support functions. “Asia Pacific is an important market for us. It is the fastest growing region and according to our 20 year market outlook, one-third of all planes will be ordered in this region,” Keskar said.
20/02/17 Business Standard/Defence Aviation Post

Cathay offers discounts for HDFC card holders

New Delhi: Cathay Pacific Group today announced partnership with HDFC Bank for a limited period discount offer.

"Cathay Pacific customers making flight bookings through the Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon website can also enjoy up to 5% discount on transactions made through all HDFC credit/debit cards. This discount is applicable on select Business and Economy classes," said a release from the airline.

This offer is applicable exclusively for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights to Hong Kong for travel made between March 1, 2017, and August 31, 2017. The booking of discounted tickets is available between February 16, 2017 and March 15, 2017.
20/02/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Pilot spots drone at 18,000ft after take-off

The pilot of a New Delhi-bound IndiGo flight spotted a red drone at an altitude of around 18,000 feet, soon after take-off from the domestic airport on Sunday afternoon.

With the drone was flying at an altitude of around three nautical miles near the airport. The pilot immediately alerted the Air Traffic Control (ATC) of the domestic airport around 2.24pm. The ATC later informed the police control room for probe.
20/02/17 The Times Of India

Will India’s 43 New Airports Help Boeing?

Demand for air travel rose 23% last year in India, more than double demand growth in China. The growth resulted from more routes and more flights. The latter is expected to continue in 2017, and that is good news for The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA).
In mid-January Boeing announced a $22 billion order from India’s low-cost carrier SpiceJet. The order includes 100 new 737 MAX jets and renegotiated terms for 55 previous orders. SpiceJet also acquired an option on another 50 Boeing planes, including 777s and 787 widebody jets. This was a big win for Boeing
On Saturday, the country’s aviation ministry said that it would make 43 currently unused airports operational again in 2017. That means that in addition to more flights, there are now going to be more routes to fly and that is additional good news for Boeing and arch-rival Airbus.
19/02/17 Paul Ausick/24/7 Wallst

Gold worth Rs 54 lakh seized from passenger at Goa airport

Gold worth Rs 54.28 lakh was today seized from a passenger, who arrived from Dubai by an Air India flight, by sleuths of the Air intelligence unit, Custom officials said.

Acting on a tip-off, the passenger, a native of Kerala, was apprehended while carrying two kg gold worth Rs 54.28 lakh, after he arrived from an Air India flight at the Goa airport at 4.30 AM, they added.
19/02/17 PTI/DNA

Mangaluru airport to increase safety features, flight capacity

With the 2010 Air India Express crash at Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) still strong in memory, the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) approval for construction of Phase 2 of the parallel taxiway (1,200 m) and grading of basic strip is expected to enhance safety by providing additional buffer strip, besides increasing overall flight-handling capacity.

Upon commissioning of the parallel taxiway on the south side, the airport’s flight handling capacity will be doubled from eight per hour to 16.

The buffer strip, which can reduce damage to aircraft during overshoot or undershoot or excursion of aircraft from the runway, will be expanded from the present 75 m to 150 m.

The parallel taxiway will be constructed at a cost of ₹98 crore in 30 months by PBI Construction Company. Taxiway is the stretch or the track connecting the runway with the apron (parking stand for aircraft).
19/02/17 Anil Kumar Sastry/The Hindu

Come March, airport to get ninth flight to Delhi, second to Mumbai

Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar is all set to get the ninth daily flight to Delhi and second to Mumbai in March.
IndiGo will operate a daily non-stop flight between Amritsar and Delhi, besides the holy city and Mumbai from March 16. Aditya Ghosh, president and whole time director, IndiGo, said, both corporate and leisure customers travelling from Amritsar would now have an opportunity to experience hassle-free and on-time services of the airlines. IndiGo has also inducted two brand new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft into its existing fleet this month.
The popularity of Amritsar-Delhi route can be gauged from the fact that already three airlines are collectively operating eight flights daily on this route.
The national carrier, Air India and Jet Airways operate three flights each daily, besides SpiceJet is flying two daily flights on the route. An industrialist, Kamal Dalmia, said, “There is invariably high traffic between Amritsar and Delhi as all branches of trades deal with their peers in Delhi.” Besides, a huge Sikh and Punjabi population with ties in Amritsar is settled in Delhi, he added.
Traders dealing in dry fruits, cereals, food, FMCG, readymade garments, spices and other products travel between Amritsar and Delhi frequently.
19/02/17 The Tribune

‘With more people flying us, trust has returned’

SpiceJet, which was almost on the verge of closure, has now become one of the profitable low-cost air carriers in the country. Since 2015, when the original founder Ajay Singh took charge of the carrier, it has been on a turn-around path. Its stock rose more than 3 times to Rs. 61.9 on February 17, compared with May 2015. The chairman and managing director of SpiceJet talks about the challenges and the journey ahead for the airline. Edited excerpts:

It is two years since you took charge of the company. How has the comeback been?

Our comeback has been an exciting story.

The company was almost shut down and the management even wrote a letter to the government in December 2014 saying they are closing shop.

Our passengers panicked even as a large number of flights were cancelled. Nobody was booking tickets. Everything that can go wrong had happened; people wanted to take back the planes.

Since then, we have worked hard to take this U-turn for success.

We have had eight quarters of profit, and for 22 months in a row the load factor has been more than 92%. We have the best on-time performance compared to other airlines in India. We have also placed a large order for 200 aircraft. So, it’s a sea of change at SpiceJet.

The trust has returned which is evident in the number of people flying.

The feel-good factor is in seeing people retain their jobs in the company. Airline failures are depressing for the economy.

Kingfisher was a bad advertisement about the Indian aviation sector. We are glad that we were able to prevent another Kingfisher from happening in India.

We are flying to 6 international destinations from India and are looking at newer ones. We are also discussing code-sharing agreements with many operators.
20/02/17 Pradeesh Chandran/The Hindu

IAF clears 16-acre defence land for airport expansion

The Indian Air Force has given a nod to the Airports Authority of India to go ahead with the expansion work on the 15.84 acre defence land even as its transfer to the Pune international airport is pending after it was announced last year.
A senior AAI official said a meeting was held with Air Force authorities in Pune on Monday during which the issue was discussed. The official said tenders for the jobs related to the expansion work would be floated shortly, following the IAF's nod and most of the work, particularly related to construction of a new terminal building, will be completed within three years.
"The AAI wants to begin the expansion work without any delay. The IAF has given the AAI permission to begin work on the defence land. The recent meeting focused on the modalities and the terms and conditions. The site survey work has already started and the tendering process will be initiated soon," the official told TOI not willing to comment on whether the actual transfer of the land had taken place or not.
After getting an in-principal nod from defence minister Manohar Parrikar for transferring the land to Pune airport authorities in May last year, the Air Force Station (AFS), Pune, had constituted a board of officers to study the case.
"The board submitted its report giving its consent to the Defence Estates Office (DEO), Pune, a few months ago. The board's report has been submitted to Principal Directorate Defence Estates, Southern Command, for further action. Now, the directorate has told South Western Air Command (SWAC), Gandhinagar, under which the AFS, Pune, falls, to comment on the board's report. Once we get the SWAC comments, the final proposal will be sent to the ministry of defence," sources in defence told TOI.
Officials from AAI said the expansion plan included quite a few things for Pune airport and that they wanted to start the work without any delay.
19/02/17 Joy Sengupta/The Times Of India

Jet Airways selects Honeywell's GoDirect fuel-efficiency software

India-based airline Jet Airways has chosen Honeywell’s GoDirect software to reduce its fuel consumption and operating costs.

Part of Honeywell’s GoDirect family of connected aircraft technologies, the software offers data analysis, reporting and monitoring tools for improved fuel conservation.

The software can evaluate data from more than 100 reports that integrate with existing airline systems through a data interface, enabling airlines to quickly apply fuel-saving recommendations.

The GoDirect software also helps reduce carbon emissions from international flights.

Honeywell Aerospace connectivity services senior sales director Jason Wissink said: “Typically, fuel consumption accounts for as much as 20% to 40% of an airline's operating costs.
20/02/17 aerospace-technology

Bhopal: Jet flight makes emergency landing, official denies

120 passengers had a narrow escape after Delhi bound Jet Airways flight made an emergency landing at Raja Bhoj Airport on Sunday. However, airport authority claimed it was not an emergency landing but only a delay in take off.
20/02/17 The Free Press Journal

Almost 30% flights delayed: India's airports are choked as traffic continues to climb

Legendary delays at the congested Mumbai airport coupled with massive fog delays at Delhi during January pulled down on-time performance  (OTP) of all domestic airlines. So during the month, at least one in four flights into or from the country’s four busiest airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore – was delayed.

For Vistara, the airline which in the past clocked highest OTP, this meant about half the flights on its network were delayed in January. For SpiceJet, which clocked the best OTP from these four airports in January, almost 30 percent flights were still delayed. Almost 2.4 lakh domestic air passengers had to be compensated by various airlines last month on account of flight delays beyond two hours, which is more than double the number of people who had to be similarly compensated during January of last year. This means close to 8,000 people had to contend with delays beyond two hours every single day of January.

These data go on to show that India’s airports are starting to resemble its choked roads, with too much traffic, little infrastructure and no long term planning or solutions in sight. Domestic passengers came close to the 100 million mark last year, with most of the growth involving flights into and out of the biggest cities. In January alone, the market added almost 20 lakh more passengers compared to the same month last year, growing by over 25 percent. Most of India's 40 largest airports will exceed their design capacity within a decade based on projected growth rates, consultancy CAPA estimates, with Mumbai and Chennai fast approaching saturation.
20/02/17 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

Domestic air traffic in Jan up 25% at 95.8 lakh passengers

The domestic airlines flew 95.79 lakh passengers in January this year, registering a growth of 25.13 per cent over the 76.55 lakh passengers flown during the same period previously.

The latest data released by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation shows that IndiGo carried the maximum number of passengers during the month at 38.09 lakh, followed by Jet Airways (14.84 lakh), with Air India in the number three spot with 13.5 lakh passengers.

SpiceJet flew 12.29 lakh, while GoAir carried (7.88 lakh), Vistara (3.03 lakh) and AirAsia 2 .86 lakh passengers during January this year.
20/02/17 The Hindu Business Line

AirAsia India's BLA does not violate ownership norms: DGCA

Aviation regulator DGCA has said the Brand Licencing Agreement (BLA) of AirAsia India does not violate the "substantial ownership and effective control" norms.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation's (DGCA) conclusion comes after a detailed review of the BLA that was directed by the Delhi High Court in November 2016. The report has been submitted to the court.
AirAsia India, a joint venture between the Tatas and Malaysia's AirAsia Berhad, commenced operations in June 2014.
While Tata Sons holds 49 per cent, its two directors -- S Ramadorai and R Venkataramanan -- have 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent shareholding, respectively, in the airline. The remaining 49 per cent is with AirAsia Investment Ltd.
The BLA is between AirAsia Berhad (licensor) and AirAsia India (licensee). Under the pact, AirAsia India has been permitted to the operate scheduled air services under the trade name and livery of the licensor.
20/02/17 PTI/The Times Of India

Sunday, February 19, 2017

flynas to Operate Codeshare Flights to Seven New Indian Destinations in Partnership with Etihad Airways

Riyadh: In a strategic move to expand its access to global destinations, the Saudi national carrier flynas announced it was adding seven new destinations in India as part of its codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

This comes as part of an expanded codeshare agreement between the two airlines signed in October 2012. flynas currently operates 18 flights per week from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to Abu Dhabi, and the codeshare agreement allows flynas to place its 'XY' code on Etihad Airways' flights between Abu Dhabi and over 20 destinations on its global network.

flynas will add its 'XY' code to Etihad operated flights from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin and Kozhikode. These flights will serve a large number of expatriates in Saudi Arabia, and will offer more choice and flexibility for business and leisure passengers travelling between Saudi Arabia and India.

Bandar Al-Muhanna, CEO of NAS Holding, said: "We began 2017 by launching a number of new domestic flights, and now we are expanding our list of international destinations through our partnerships in order to meet the needs of our passengers.
19/02/17 PRNews Wire

To cut long waitlist, Air India to operate Airbus 320 from Bhopal to Delhi daily

Bhopal: National carrier, Air India faced with persistent demands and long waiting list of passengers flying to Delhi has decided to operate an Airbus A-320 daily evening on Delhi-Bhopal-Delhi sector from February 20. The Airbus aircraft will replace the A-319 with 122-seater. Airbus will help in increasing the capacity of passengers from 122 to 1687.
Currently only Jet Airways and Air India operate from the state capital. That too, the two airlines have cancelled their afternoon flights owing to re-carpeting work of runway. The re-carpeting work is being carried out between 10 am and 56 pm and will continue till April. This has left passengers with very little choice and they were dependent only on the morning and evening flights to go to Delhi but the waitlist were quite high.
Air India sources said that the airline has been planning to connect Bengaluru with Bhopal from this winter. "There has been long pending demand from both IT professionals and students to connect Bhopal with IT city Bengaluru. The flight for Begaluru most probably will start from October 2017," said an official of Air India.
The Airbus aircraft will take off from Delhi at 7.05 pm and reach Bhopal at 8.25 pm. From Bhopal to Delhi, AI-438 will take off at 9.15 pm to reach Delhi at 11 pm.
19/02/17 Ramendra Singh/Times of India

Pranab grounded UPA plan to privatise Air India

The United Progress Alliance (UPA) government had finalised a plan to privatise Air India five years ago, but it did not take off as the then Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, vetoed it.

Today, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is non-committal on privatising the debt-ridden airline.

The privatisation proposal came on October 28, 2011, when a Group of Ministers in the UPA government sat down to decide Air India’s fate and approve a bailout package for the carrier.

Some Cabinet Ministers favoured the plan, based on recommendations made by a group of bureaucrats.
Mr. Mukherjee as Finance Minister rejected the idea, on the ground that privatising Air India was beyond the mandate of the GoM, according to documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and reviewed by The Hindu.

The October 2011 recommendations in the turnaround plan and financial restructuring plan were submitted by a group of officers of the Union Finance Ministry, after a spell of continuous losses.

“Once Air India is able to achieve an appropriate level of growth rate, divesting the airlines to a strategic partner could be considered,” the group said, in a recommendation to the GoM on Civil Aviation headed by Mr. Mukherjee in October 2011.
18/02/17 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

Now, IndiGo Airbus 320 Neo faces engine snag

New Delhi: Engine trouble on the Airbus A-320 new engine option (Neo) shows no signs of abating.
On Saturday, an IndiGo A-320 Neo developed a snag in one of the engines, manufactured by aircraft engine makers Pratt and Whitney. "The aircraft (VT-ITC) got a 'oil chip detected' warning for one engine at Vadodara. It had to be flown back as a ferry (without passengers) to Delhi on Sunday for engine change," said a source.
IndiGo did not comment on this latest trouble with this engine. Till the time of filing this story, it could not be ascertained at what stage of flight the latest engine trouble with A-320 Neo happened.
Saturday's trouble is the fourth in less than a month with both IndiGo and GoAir - that use A-320 Neos with P&W engines - reporting two engine issues each. IndiGo A-320 neo on Saturday reportedly got an "oil chip" warning similar to the one that was witnessed by a GoAir A-320 Neo which had taken off from Delhi for Bangalore on February 8 and had to return to Delhi after a fire scare on an engine.
19/02/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Auditors suspect the long and short of jaipur runway

You can land a wide-bodied jetliner at Jaipur International Airport, but it will not be able to take off. Runway 9 was extended from 9,174 feet to 11,500 feet to facilitate movement of such aircraft flying international routes. They need 10,000 feet of runway at sea level to land and 13,000 feet to take off.

Passenger traffic at Jaipur airport for 2015-16 was 3,63,899 (international) and 2,54,0451 (domestic). Aircraft movement for the same period was 2,927 for international flights and 22,772 for domestic.

An audit report accessed by The Sunday Standard notes, “The work of extension and strengthening of runway was taken up for critical aircraft of ‘E’ category like B-747-400/B-777-300. However, the review of fleet position of major airlines as on March 2016 reveals that major players like Indigo, SpiceJet don’t have any B-747-400B/B-777-300 aircraft and only Jet Airways and Air India have 10 and 40 ‘E’ categories aircraft respectively.”

The auditors are of the view that the runway extension at Jaipur airport was meant only for wide-bodied aircraft used on domestic routes—whose requirement is only around 8,000 feet of runway at sea level—since its length was already 9,174 feet before the proposal.

The auditors said: “The extension of the runway at Jaipur airport needs to be justified. Moreover, it was already observed that domestic airlines mostly have a fleet of ‘C’ category aircraft, whose runway requirement is from 6,860 feet to 7,874 feet as against available length of 9,174 feet at the airport.

The  report has instructed the planners at Airport Authority of India to clarify why such a proposal was taken up when international wide-body flights carry substantial amounts of fuel and are therefore heavier.
18/02/17  Yatish Yadav/New Indian Express

Bidar Airport likely to start operation under UDAN scheme

Bidar: After over seven decades of its construction, the Bidar airport is likely to be opened for civilian flights, courtesy the ambition Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme of the Union Civil Aviation Ministry.

A letter by the Ministry to the State government has confirmed that eleven private airlines have bid for operating flights from 43 under utilized or unutilized airports in the country. Among these are the airports in Bidar and Torangal in Karnataka.

Bidar airport is unique. It is not a ‘ghost’ airport, meaning it is not among the 200 facilities created under the 15 year UPA regime, most of which have been empty after airlines did not operate owing to low demand.

It was established by British forces before the second World War. It was used as a refuelling centre and transit station for carrier planes. After independence, the Indian Air Force began a primary pilot training centre in Bidar that was later upgraded to the Hawk fighter plane training centre.

It has world class technical facilities, including three kilometre long airstrip and state-of-the-art signalling systems. The ‘Plus’ shaped airstrip helps airplanes take off from opposing directions and cheat strong winds in one direction.
19/02/17 Rishikesh Bahadur Desai/The Hindu

AI will have no buyers: Raju

New Delhi: “I would like Air India to survive and fly Indian skies proudly. That’s my wish – whether in the public or the private sector,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told The Hindu in an interview, citing the airline’s huge debt as its biggest issue, despite the ₹30,000 crore bailout package.

“It has a big debt. You put the airline on the market and no one will buy it,” Mr. Raju added.

In 2000, the then NDA government decided to sell 51% of equity of Indian Airlines, with a 26% stake going to a strategic partner. It also decided to allow disinvestment of 60% in Air India, running international operations, with a 26% foreign entity stake. However, the move was shot down by Sharad Yadav, who was the Civil Aviation Minister.
18/02/17 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

GMR Goa airport to be ready by May 2020: Aviation minister Raju

Benaulim: Union minister for civil aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Saturday said that the first flight from the greenfield Mopa Airport that is being built by GMR Airports Ltd in North Goa would take off in May 2020. Chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had earlier said that the first phase of the proposed Greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa would be completed by 2019.
"We visited Mopa yesterday and we had an interaction with the concessionaire and overall they feel it will take a time of three years to three and a half years so by May 2020 it is likely to become operational," Raju said while addressing the press on the sidelines of an aviation workshop.
Raju visited the Mopa International Airport site and spoke to the management of GMR Goa international airport limited (GMRGIAL), the subsidiary of GMR that has been tasked with constructing the airport on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
"It is a very very good deal. The total project cost excluding land cost is 1800 cr is first phase. It will be commissioned by May 2020. The Land cost is about 200 crore," union civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said.
18/02/17 Newton Sequeira/Times of India

‘No applicants for seaplanes yet’

Panaji: While state tourism authorities blamed the director general for civil aviation as the reason why the seaplane service failed to take off in the state, Union ministry of civil aviation claimed that no proposal had come to them for commercial seaplane operations. The Union minister for civil aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Saturday said that only after applications were received would the clearances be given.
"This is news to me. In the civil aviation policy we have explicitly made provisions for seaplanes and we would be very happy to have seaplanes come forward so I would like to know which is the party that has applied and it is an open invitation to parties to come and apply," Union secretary for civil aviation Rajiv Nayan Choubey said, while speaking to reporters in South Goa.
"We would be very happy to give approvals. I will have to check up, but I must confess, immediately I am not aware of such a proposal," he added.
The much-awaited seaplane services, which were set to commence in Goa last year failed to take off with Goa Tourism officials claiming that the due permissions required to start the operations were not given by DGCA, which reports to the Union ministry of civil aviation.
19/02/17 Times of India

Mi-17 copter makes precautionary landing in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: A utility helicopter belonging to the Indian Air Force made a precautionary landing today at Bannerghatta near here after it developed a technical snag.

“An Mi-17 helicopter made a precautionary landing at Bannerghatta after it developed a technical snag,” IAF Public Relations Officer and Wing Commander Anupam Bannerjee told PTI.

After attending to the technical snag, the helicopter was flown back to the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited airport in Bengaluru, Bannerjee said.
19/02/17 Siasat

Villagers protest acquisition of land for airport

Jaipur: Protesting against the upcoming airport at Kishangarh town, the people of Rathodon Ki Dhaani village today appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to displace them in the name of development.
In a unique protest, villagers sat on the road with their cattle bearing plates that read, ‘do the justice PM sahab, don’t kill us for the sake of development’.
They said their families have been living in the village for more than 500 years and despite their continuous protest their land is being taken away for the airport.
“Chief secretary OP Meena on February 8 this year had promised to look into our compensation demands. But nothing has happened. We are being forced to leave our villages,” Pratap Singh Rathore, resident of Rathodon Ki Dhani, said.

Tamil Nadu airports receive 8% of international tourists in January

Chennai: Two airports in Tamil Nadu -- Chennai and Tiruchirappalli -- received more than 8% foreign tourists visiting the country in January.
According to data released by the Union tourism ministry, the two airports figured on the list of 15 top ports that had recorded the highest tourist arrivals, while New Delhi and Mumbai secured the first and second places respectively.
The Chennai airport has received 7.32% of overseas tourist arrivals and Tiruchirapalli airport welcomed 1.38% tourists from abroad. The ministry of tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) with data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).
As per the data in January 2017, the number of foreign tourists visiting India jumped by 16.5% when compared with January 2016. The number of FTAs in January, 2017 was 9.83 lakh while 8.44 lakh inbound tourists travelled in January, 2016.
18/02/17 Yogesh Kabirdoss/Times of India

Int’l airport authorities ask Centre to foot security bill

Chandigarh: With the high cost of security at the international airport in Mohali eating into the profitability of the Chandigarh International Airport Limited, the board of directors of the airport has asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to bear the expense.
The decision was taken during a recent meeting of the board of directors. The financial status of the recently commissioned international airport, growth in passenger traffic and the future expansion plans of the airport were also discussed during this meeting.
An official in the Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, requesting anonymity, said the board of directors was informed that the annual cost of the Central Industrial Security Force deployed at the airport was Rs 30 crore. Against this, the airport authorities are able to recover just Rs 7.5 crore from the passengers, as an amount of Rs 150 per ticket of a passenger flying out of Chandigarh is charged for the security. The remaining Rs 22.5 crore cost of security is being borne by Chandigarh International Airport Limited, from the profit it has started earning now.
19/02/17 Ruchika M Khanna/Tribune

Clean sweep for SpiceJet at AsiaOne Awards, Singapore

It was a clean sweep for India's favourite airline - SpiceJet at the Asia One Awards, Singapore - as it walked away with top recognition in three prime categories. The airline which has been trending all through 2016 with multiple awards and accolades was adorned 'Asia's Greatest Brands - 2016' by the Asia One Board. The selection process was supervised by Price waterhouse Coopers.

SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Ajay Singh, who has scripted the most remarkable turnaround story of recent times, was honored with the title of the 'Global Asian of the year' while Chief Financial Officer Mr. Kiran Koteshwar won the award for 'Asia's Greatest CFO 2016'.

"This is a most exciting time for SpiceJet and it gives us immense pleasure to witness the continued momentum in our performance. The awards are a source of huge encouragement as it recognizes the transformation of our business while reiterating the best-in-class experience being delivered through path-breaking products and customised services. 2016 was eventful and we look forward to a bigger and bolder 2017," said Mr. Ajay Singh - CMD, SpiceJet.
19/02/17 Equipty Bulls

Scoot, Tigerair offers discounted fares from India

Mumbai: Scoot and Tigerair, the two low-fare subsidiary carriers of Singapore Airlines, Monday announced all inclusive one way fares as low as Rs 5,099 from India to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth among other destinations.

The offer period begins from February 20 and lasts until March 2. The applicable travel period is from March 1 to October 28.

"Passengers from all eight destinations from India namely Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Jaipur, Amritsar, Lucknow, Trichy can enjoy exclusive fares on Scoot and Tigerair’s network such as Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bali, Manila, Cebu and many more," said a statement.
Under the offer a Chennai-Singapore flight can be booked for Rs 5,099, a Bengaluru-Kuala Lumpur flight is available for as low as Rs 8,699 and a Jaipur-Melbourne flight comes for Rs 13,499.
19/02/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Ashok Gajapathi Raju: No question of shutting Dabolim

Benaulim: Pointing out that the Airports Authority of India was investing nearly Rs 500 crore to expand the Goa International Airport at Dabolim, Union minister for civil aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Saturday asserted that there was no question of the civilian enclave at the Naval airbase at Dabolim being shut down after the new Mopa Airport turned operational.
"Why is there this fear at all? Passenger traffic is growing at 23% per year nationally. In Goa, traffic is growing above national average at 30%. If the trend continues, do you want to choke Goa? If there is an opportunity of growth, why not take it? Who told you that we are going to shut down any airport," Raju said on the sidelines of a civil aviation conference. Union civil aviation officials felt the state required another airport and the airports would benefit the two districts of Goa. "We think it is feasible to have two airports. Had it been not feasible, a private party would not come in to build a new airport," an official said.
Civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey also took pains to quell rumours that the airport at Dabolim would be closed once Mopa became operational.
19/02/17 Times of India

AirAsia becomes first foreign airline to start operations from Srinagar airport

New Delhi: In a first move by a foreign airline, AirAsia became the first airways ever to start its operations from Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir. The landing for the AirAsia flight had been flagged off by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at Srinagar airport on Sunday.
Srinagar airport is christened ‘The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport’ for the last five years, but no foreign airlines has operated services from there so far. The flight operation by AirAsia is expected to give a fillip to tourism in the valley. To begin with, AirAsia, a Malaysian low-cost airline, will operate one flight daily between Delhi and Srinagar.
Aviation regulator DGCA has said the Brand Licencing Agreement (BLA) of AirAsia India does not violate the “substantial ownership and effective control” norms. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) conclusion comes after a detailed review of the BLA that was directed by the Delhi High Court in November 2016. The report has been submitted to the court.
19/02/17 Financial Express

3 held for smuggling 7kg gold hidden in trousers and roller

Mumbai: Three passengers were arrested from the airport, in two separate cases, on Friday for smuggling in 7.2 kg gold, worth Rs 2.14 crore, by hiding it in hooks and supports of old trousers and a roller used by jewellers. Just a couple of days ago, three persons were caught smuggling in gold concealed inside their rectums.
In the first case on Friday, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) nabbed a woman and her accomplice for smuggling 4.2 kg gold in the form of hooks and supports of old trousers and coating them with silver colour. Officials said that when they noticed an old clothes consignment, declared to be worth Rs 13,000, was unusually heavy, they opened the cargo. The clothes were imported by one Usha Mudaliar, who had arrived from Dubai a few days ago. As the hooks and hook supports were very heavy, they scratched them only to find that they were made of gold and coated with silver colour. Officials seized 364 such pieces, totally weighing 4.2 kg and worth Rs 1.14 crore, from 91 trousers.
Mudaliar denied having imported them and told officials that she had given her passport to a woman friend, Durriya Soni, a few days ago for monetary consideration. Soni allegedly used the passport to get the consignment cleared for her accomplice, Yusuf Lokhandwala, through an agent. The DRI has arrested Soni and Lokhandwala. Officials said the duo had adopted similar modus operandi in the past for smuggling gold.
In the second case, the Air-Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the customs intercepted a passenger from Dubai at the airport on suspicion. When they checked Shadab Khan's check-in baggage, they found a steel roller in it. Khan told officials that a person wanted him to deliver it for polishing at an office in Andheri. Khan also produced a document for the roller—it is mostly used for making ornaments.
19/02/17 Vijay V Singh/Times of India

Passenger held at IGI with fake ticket

New Delhi: Airport police arrested a passenger coming out of the IGI airport on Saturday for carrying a fake ticket of Gulf Airlines.
The accused, Sukhjit Singh, later told police that he had come to drop his friend and had used a fake ticket to enter the premises. A case has been registered against Singh.
CISF officials said that recently cases of passengers using fake tickets to enter the airport premises to drop their relatives or friends have become a more common occurrence.

In a similar case, a passenger was arrested at the IGI airport on Friday night for using a fake ticket to enter the premises.
The man, Hitesh Kanzaniya, had allegedly come to see off his girlfriend, who was flying to Pune.

Kanzaniya was spotted near the check-in area for flight AI 853, bound for Pune at 6.45pm.
However, during checking of tickets, CISF officials found that his girlfriend had a valid ticket, but the ticket Kanzaniya carried was fake and had been edited. A case was then registered against Kanzaniya.
19/02/17 Times of India

Show ends with a bang, until next time

Bengaluru "I may not be able to see them, but I can hear them. That is enough for me to feel them. The roar in the skies is satisfying," says Sudhir Kumar, a 34-year-old, visually challenged employee of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Sudhir, who works in the Air Headquarters in Delhi, had heard stories about the aero show from his colleagues. "I listened to the videos they played and could visualise the fighter planes. I was desperate to come for the show this year," he told STOI here on Saturday.
Sudhir's passion best captured the excitement at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, as the curtains came down on the 11th edition of world's second largest air show.
The early birds were the wisest. Experienced Bengalureans reached the airbase as early as 6.30am even though the first flying display was only at 9.30am. The Ballari Road was packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic with over 1 lakh citizens heading to the show.
For Dimple Ved, who came from Shirdi, Maharashtra just to witness the planes in the skies, "ecstasy" was not enough to describe her feelings. "We were worried seeing the traffic pile-up on the highway. I prayed the show would not get over by the time we entered. The experience inside was magical."
Deepanker Ray from Sarjapura said, "I've seen them in Hollywood movies. There's no way I would missed this today. I left home at 6am so that I could get the best spot to take the best shots."
Shutterbugs couldn't take their cameras off the air, even for a water break. From the photographers who had invested lakhs on high-end equipment to shoot the air show to the selfies with the men and their machines, they clicked every minute.
19/02/17 Aparajitha Ray/Times of India

India to develop airborne early warning system with 360 degree sweep

Bengaluru: As Indian Air Force has taken delivery of its first indigenous "eye in the sky" Netra (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) its developer says an advanced version with a 360 degree sweep -- against the present 240 degrees -- is on the cards.
"The next system will be upgraded, with more range and 360 degree coverage," DRDO Chairman S. Christopher told IANS on the sidelines of the Aero India 2017 military exposition, adding that India will be only the second country in the world after Israel to develop an AEWC system with a 360 degree sweep.

The present system, mounted on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet, can only scan scans the area on both sides of the aircraft but not those in front or at the back. This achievement made India only the fourth country to develop its own AEWC system.

"The present system scans on both sides; it has around 240 degrees coverage. But that does not mean it is lacking in any way. All over the world, countries have electronic scanners with limited coverage, except Israel," Christopher said.
18/02/17 IANS/Economic Times

India’s biggest sky hunt begins

New Delhi: India has launched the world’s biggest hunt for fighter jets in recent years. From single-engine to twin-engine, global players have been invited to build nearly 300 fighter jets here on the basis of foreign technology under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign.

Though all eyes are on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to announce its much-awaited strategic partnership model, the main focus will be towards developing an indigenous defence industry.
In view of India’s biggest hunt for its fighter jets inventory, all defence majors showcased their best products in Aero India in Bengaluru from February 14 to 18. In the category of singleengine jets, Sweden’s Saab and America’s Lockheed Martin have offered to shift their production line of fighter jets, the Gripen-E and F-16 (Block 70) respectively, to India, if chosen by the Indian government.

While aviation giant Boeing pitched its F-A/18 Hornet, Sweden’s Saab AB also offered the naval version of its Gripen fighter to the Indian Navy with an offer to build it in India. However, last week US President Donald Trump asked US-based Lockeed Martin—which makes F-16s—to take a “fresh look” at its proposal to set up a production line in India for combat jets.

The IAF announced its fresh fighter programme last year, months after it signed a contract to buy 36 Rafale warplanes from France for $8.85 billion. IAF placed a requirement of over 200 single-engine fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of Russian MiG-21s, which have been in service for nearly 50 years.
The IAF is operating with a depleting fleet of 34 squadrons compared to the sanctioned strength of 42, and it is desperately eyeing to fill the shortage of its fighter jet strength in the multi-medium role category. In 2015, the government had scrapped the decade-old multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract and finalised 36 Rafale jets in place of 126 MMRCA to meet the urgent requirement of the IAF.

Last month the Navy invited global manufacturers to pitch for 57 planes for its aircraft carriers, a multi-billion dollar order that the government had hoped would go to the state-run producers of indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
19/02/17 Pradip R Sagar/New Indian Express

HAL chief calls up youth to take up flying as career

Bengaluru: “It is a wonderful machine and my flying is intended to enthuse youngsters to look for flying as a career in defence or in aerospace as engineers and take-up challenging assignments”, said T Suvarna Raju, chairman and Managing Director, HAL.

Raju flew the indigenously built Basic Trainer Aircraft - ‘Hindustan Turbo-prop Trainer (HTT 40) at the Aero India 2017. The aircraft was co-piloted by Group Capt C Subramaniam (Retd).

HAL is making progress on the indigenous design, development and manufacture of a Basic Trainer Aircraft HTT - 40. The aircraft will be used for basic flight training, aerobatics, instrument flying and close-formation flights whereas its secondary roles would include navigation and night flying.
18/02/17 Anil Urs/Business Line

IAF to add six vintage aircraft to its collection

Bengaluru: The Indian Air Force’s vintage collection, which currently includes Tiger Moth and Harvard, is set to get six more aircraft over the next three to five years. Dakota DC-3, Hurricane, and Spitfire — all of which have served the force in the past — are set to be restored for flying displays.

The lone de Havilland Tiger Moth — a fighter plane from the 1930s — has already flown close to 200 hours in over four years after restoration from its static status at the Air Force Museum in Palam. It is the only vintage craft in Aero India 2017. The restored Harvard — the American designed-combat trainer which served during WWII — has flown close to 50 hours and narrowly missed its date with this Aero India edition owing to technical issues.

Both aircraft are part of the IAF’s Hindon-based Vintage Air Craft Flight, which will also be expanded from the current two pilots to four pilots, with additional technical staff.

Among the additions waiting to be restored is the Hawker Hurricane, a British-designed single-seater of the 1930s and 1940s, and Supermarine Spitfire, also a single-seater aircraft used by the Royal Air Force in WWII. The American-made two-seater transport plane Douglas DC-3 Dakota has been restored. “The Dakota DC-3is in the U.K. now. We expect it to be ready for flying displays by mid-year. The work on Hurricane and Spitfire will be taken up shortly,” said Wing Commander Prashanth Nair, who is among the two IAF pilots flying the vintage aircraft. “The effort is to showcase vintage flights and the aviation heritage of the IAF. It is also a tribute to men who maintain these machines,” he added.

However, the IAF is yet to take a decision on the rare plane, Westland Wapiti of the 1920s, which was part of the air force when it was founded in 1932. “Since the Wapiti air frame, currently displayed at Palam museum, is the only one-of-its-kind in the world, the decision on its restoration is yet to be taken,” Wing Commander Nair said.
18/02/17 Sharath S. Srivatsa/The Hindu

HAL hopes to fly multi-role chopper by 2019, yet to finalise engine

Bengaluru: State-owned behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is hopeful of flying its future multi-role helicopter, a mock-up of which was unveiled at the just-concluded Aero India here, by 2019 — but the engine for it has not yet been finalised. Finer details of the chopper, which will be the biggest rotary-wing aircraft ever made by India, will be finalised only after specifications are received from the users to develop the different versions that are planned.
The HAL, which boasts of building a series of helicopters like the Dhruv Advanced Light helicopter (ALH), the weaponised Rudra ALH, a Light Combat Helicopter and the latest Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), has embarked on the mission to make an Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH), with a 12-tonne lift capacity, to reduce the dependance on imports for this category.
The mock-up presented at the Aero India 2017 is based largely on the Russian Mi-17, and HAL plans to develop four versions of it for the three Services and for civilian use.
An HAL official, who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the chopper should be flying by 2018-19. After that, trials and customer acceptance may take seven to eight years. However, asked about the engine that is planned to be used in the chopper, the official said it has yet to be decided.
He also said specifications are needed from the users to finetune the design. “Requirements need to come from the users. Right now we have designed the mock-up on the lines of the Mi-17,” he said.
“Once this helicopter is ready, we will not need to go out and buy helicopters. So far we have largely depended on the Russian Mi-17s,” the official said.
19/02/17 IANS/Financial Express

The lowdown on the Aero India show

It is an unusual line-up, not very easily seen elsewhere in the world. The majestic Russian Sukhoi-30, the highly advanced French war-plane Rafale, and the American warhorse F-16, all streaking across the sky, with an occasional sonic boom signalling their friendly banter over Bengaluru.

Every two years, in February, most of the global manufacturers in the aerospace industry assemble in the south Indian city to parade their finest products. Their aim — to entice one of the world’s biggest military spenders, which is also home to several dozen rich who count private aircraft and helicopters among necessities of life. This year’s show, at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, was significantly focussed on indigenous platforms — it was also a fait accompli because of the dull global interests compared to the previous years. India’s first indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS), called Netra and mounted on a Brazilian Embraer 145 jet, was handed over to the Indian Air Force, and the Light Utility Helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was on display for the first time. However, the real attractions were the aerobatics teams. The Indian Air Force’s ‘Surya Kiran’ aerobatic team made a comeback after six years, for the first time flying Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT). Yakovlev aerobatic team, Skycats, from the UK, and the Sarang helicopter display team also put up impressive shows.

Started in 1996, AeroIndia is among the world’s biggest aerospace shows. This year’s was the 11th edition, featuring 549 exhibitors compared with 644 companies in 2015. The exhibition began on a low key, but as India opened up its purse strings after the Kargil conflict to become a major buyer in the global arms bazaar, companies began to flock to Bangalore for Aero India and to New Delhi, where Defexpo showcases land and naval systems.

In the past decade, India has emerged among the world’s biggest importers of arms. According to data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), between 2006-10 and 2011-15, India’s arms imports increased by 90%, and it was the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
19/02/17 The Hindu

Aero India: Will it be in Goa next time?

At all earlier 10 Aero India inaugurations, the Defence Minister ended his speech with the date and venue of the next edition.

But this time, on Tuesday, Manohar Parrikar didn’t do so, sparking intense speculation in aviation circles that this could be the last air show in Bengaluru.

The Defence Minister, who is a former chief minister of Goa, is reported to have said during a poll campaign in that State on January 22 that the air show could be moved to Goa if people wanted it.

Last year, the ministry’s other biennial event, Defexpo 2016, was shifted from its traditional venue of Delhi to Goa.

However, quelling speculations, a defence ministry spokesperson said, “There is no reason to believe that Aero India 2019 will not be held in Bengaluru.”

Yet, the presence of Goa Chief Minister Lakshmikant Parsekar throughout the latest event and his interactions with big businesses did not escape attention.

However, many feel the infrastructure in tiny Goa might not be adequate for these two international events. Many who went to Goa for Defexpo in March last year as exhibitors or organizers or visitors recounted harrowing experiences.
18/02/17 The Hindu

Shifting Aero India venue to Goa: Political or logical?

Bengaluru's Yelahanka Air Force Station has played host to the biennial Aero India show ever since its inception in 1996. The venue is much loved and the crowd as enthusiastic as ever, however, over the last two editions talks of shifting the venue for Aero India has disappointed many. Time and again, references to shifting the Aero India Show to Goa have been made and that has not gone down too well with either the government or the people. The fact that it is more political than anything has come as a dampener.
It was ironical that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who has time and again suggested that the venue be shifted to Goa was invited to inaugurate the 11th edition of Asia's premiere aero show. As if to add to the speculation Parrikar in his inaugural address said that the space at Yelahanka Air Force Station was becoming insufficient for the show. He said that despite increasing the access area by 10 percent, aircraft were falling short of space. It may be noted that his statement of the venue not having enough space comes at an edition where the numbers of display aircraft as well as participating firms have seen a dip. The statement reeked of hints that Yelahanka is not the ideal venue according to him. In January earlier this year, Parrikar didn't bat an eyelid when he suggested that Aero India could be shifted to Goa if Goans wanted it. He justified his statement by claiming that Goa had successfully hosted the Defense expo and hence both events could be held at the same place. The Goa government in 2016 tabled a bill on the floor of the House revealing that the state had already passed a resolution to give land in Quittol (Betul) on a permanent basis to host the two mega events. The Goa government had identified land on the request of Manohar Parrikar. In 2016, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a letter to Goa Chief Minister, Parsekar had requested to allot land in Goa for the Defence Expo and Aero India shows. Their argument was that since Goa is a tourist destination, such shows will be an added advantage. "Government of Goa may consider allotment of about 150 acres of land on the coastline which can accommodate 10,000 feet runway along the coast so that a permanent venue for conducting Def Expo and Aero India Show can be set up," Parrikar had said in 2016.
18/02/17 Anusha Ravi/One India

It's now three days of hard work to clean show venue

Bengaluru: The crowds left the Yelahanka airbase carrying with them impressions of steel birds that roared in the sky, but 200 housekeeping staff will work for next three days to clear tonnes of garbage they left behind.

“It will be 12.30 in the middle of night when we will clear the runway area as the Air Force needs it for immediate operations. But the garbage in the exhibition area and the halls require two or three more days of work,” said Satish Kumar who was supervising 200 maintenance workers.

Abhishek Gupta, director of Reddonatura, which is converting the food waste into manure during the Aero India, said that the amount of food waste has come down from 10 tonnes during the last air show to 7.5 tonnes in 2017. “But dry waste has remained almost the same at 30 tonnes, and nearly two tonnes of it is plastic,” he said, adding that his team will make sure that all kinds of garbage including plastic, is recycled.

Many visitors to whom DH spoke, expressed satisfaction with the cleanliness of the whole environment in the airbase. The maintenance staff, however, said that the last two days of the show that were open for public gave them more work. Venkatesh T, who was hired for cleaning at Rs 400 a day, said he will have two more busy days of work. “There was work for the three days, but today was the busiest,” he said.
19/02/17 Chiranjeevi Kulkarni/Deccan Herald

Neighbouring villagers soak up the fun from outside

Bengaluru: While people thronged the Yelahanka Air Force Station on Saturday, more than 1,000 people braved the scorching sun and stood on the bund surrounding the airbase just to get a glimpse of the aerial displays.
Neelavathi and her daughter, Revathi came by with others in their family. "The aircraft make so much noise and it feels they will come crashing down on us. They're so big; it's exciting to watch them. We've been standing here for an hour. This is like elevated platform so we like watching it from here," said Neelavathi.
While people travelled from afar to witness the spectacle, the show is old hat for residents of surrounding villages. Some have come from nearby villages to Sugatta to get onto a terrace or water tank. Several terraces have been converted into makeshift viewing areas with a cloth cover.
This is the tenth aero show for Sidanna, a 65-year-old farmer in the village. "I've even worked at the airport and got a chance to see these aircraft up close. Only youngsters find it thrilling. Many young people come to see it. Earlier, there used to be only farmland here but now it's over-run with planes. People start coming from the first day and camp here all day," he said.
Sridhar, Sudarshan and Bharadwaj, all primary school students from a government school in the vicinity, stopped to stare at helicopters whirring by. "I love the planes which emit coloured smoke. It looks so beautiful. The helicopters are my favourite," said Bharadwaj, a class 2 student. Sudarshan figured that the best view was to be had from the terrrace of the boys' hostel.
19/02/17 Arpita R/Times of India

When crowds stepped into Mars!

The Mars Mission beckoned big crowds at the Aero India 2017. Visitors young and old queued up before a small theatre set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The visitors’ collective mission was this: To watch a wide spectrum video about the Mars surface, how it looks like and the duration of a Mangalyaan flight to the red planet.

Isro personnel manning the theatre said over 500 people had already watched the video screened on a curved screen. The theatre interior was aptly designed to mimic the planet surface. “A huge display of the Martian surface was outside with an invitation written in bold: “Step into Mars.”
19/02/17 Deccan Herald

After tepid performance, Surya Kirans to return to past glory

Bengaluru: When the Surya Kirans took wing after a six-year break, expectations were high. However, fewer jets and the absence of the team's trademark tricolour smoke disappointed many fans. But there is good news. The aerobatic team is expected to return to its original glory before Air Force Day on October 8.
The aero show witnessed only six aircraft instead of nine, which is the standard formation. Why didn't the aviation extravaganza see the nine-member team perform in its signature style? Sources said complications in the integration of the smoke system was to blame. On acquiring the new Hawk aircraft, the team approached Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to get the smoke system integrated to the payload pods. When it got no response, it approached BAE Systems, which manufactured the Hawks.
The manufacturer's proposal was time-consuming so the air force got back to HAL once again, after procuring the smoke system. To its relief, the integration is underway at present.
While the machines are being prepped, the men are being trained. In order to raise a team of nine new members, three former team members were called back. Three pilots, who helmed the Hawks, were also called back to groom the five new entrants.
The team has also brought new go-pro cameras, which are being used to record the training process. Footage from these cameras is being used for debriefing.
19/02/17 Arun Dev/Times of India

Aerobatic display teams mark the conclusion of Aero India 2017

To mark the successful conclusion of the Aero India 2017 and to serve as a token of remembrance of fruitful association over the last few days during the airshow, the aerobatic display teams got together today. Posing in front of the Grumman G-164 A of the Scandinavian team and the Yak-50 of the Yakovlev team, stunt pilots of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic team (SKAT), the Yakovlevs and the Scandinavian along with their three ‘skycats’ provided for a visual treat. The SKAT pilots, led by Wg Cdr Ajit Kulkarni, looked resplendent in their red flying overalls. The Scandinvan leader Jacob Hollander’s flying suit matched the colour of his flying machine while the skycats placed themselves atop the yellow and blue airplane for photographs. The Yakovlev pilots, led by Jez, in their black flying suits gave a very professional look. After the ‘photo session’ the SKAT daredevils met up with the spectators to shake hands and distribute memorabilia.
18/02/17 Business Standard

Stuck in traffic jam, visitors enjoy Air Show from flyovers

Bengaluru: Bumper to bumper traffic jams were witnessed in several locations along the busy Bellary Road, which also connects to Kempegowda International Airport Ltd, at Devanahalli. | Express Photo Service

Bengaluru: On the last day of the biennial aerospace expo Aero India, many visitors parked their vehicles on the flyovers along Bellary Road in the city and watched the air show here, as the traffic snarls stretched for more than five kilometres along the road.

Bumper to bumper traffic jams were witnessed in several locations along the busy Bellary Road, which also connects to Kempegowda International Airport Ltd, at Devanahalli. Slow moving traffic was witnessed along Hebbal flyover, Yelahanka New Town area, Jakkur and others.

Residents trying to connect to Bellary Road, from arterial roads in North Bengaluru were seen facing problems due to the traffic pile up.

Bengaluru Traffic Police has deputed personnel along the stretch of Bellary Road from Hebbal to Yelahanka Air Force Station, to divert and manage traffic.

Traffic in the road had peaked by 8.30 AM, due to the flow of visitors to Aero Expo. Around 12 noon, many visitors assuming that they could not reach air show on time parked their vehicles on the roadsides of the flyover and were seen watching the performances of aircraft over Yelahanka Air Force Station.

Rajesh, a software professional who had come with his family, parked his vehicle on the roadside on the flyover near Yelahanka Air Force Station and watched the aerobatics.

"I started at around 9 AM from Mekhri circle," who was stuck at the elevated Highway, near Nitte Meenakshi College Road, at 12 noon. He had covered only 11km in three hours.
18/02/17 Kiran Parashar K M/New Indian Express

Roads choked on final day of Aero India

Bengaluru:  The heavy rush of visitors to the Yelahanka air base on the last day of the air show saw massive traffic snarls.

Traffic moved at snail’s pace in the morning, all the way from Hebbal flyover to Chikkajala police station, while lack of exit plan choked all roads after the show in the evening.

Traffic police started segregating vehicles right from the morning with only VIPs, guests and delegates of the Aero India allowed on Hebbal and Yelahanka flyovers. Other people on their way to the air display viewing area as well as general public were directed to service roads, which were too small to handle the rush of vehicles.

Soon, the service roads were choked, following which, the traffic police opened the flyovers for all.The rush of vehicles, together with the time needed to segregate vehicles near the Yelahanka flyover, slowed the traffic and led to jams.

DCP (North) Renuka K S, who monitored the situation from Kempapura, noted that the police did their best by deploying additional personnel right from the morning. “The traffic management plan was a detailed one. We opened the six-lane alternative road to the airport, though it is incomplete, to ease traffic on Ballari road. Also, there is no service road in front of the IAF station. With limited infrastructure, there will be problems,” she said.

While the sheer number of vehicles overturned the elaborate plans of police in the morning, the absence of an exit plan led to bumper-to-bumper traffic in the evening with commuters spending nearly an hour to pass the stretch of the road in front of the air force station.
19/02/17 Deccan Herald