Tuesday, April 24, 2018

India targets second Delhi airport by 2023

Singapore: Plans for the development of a second international airport at India's capital appear to be making headway following government approval of a feasibility study, which targets operations to commence by April 2023.

A techno-economic feasibility study report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows that the new airport will be located at Jewar in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and 72km from the Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport. Construction is expected to commence by April 2019.

PWC says the Jewar airport would "decongest" Delhi airport, which is "soon expected to reach capacity".

Last year, Delhi airport handled 57.7 million passengers, a 10% growth from five-years ago. Although the airport has a plan to raise its capacity from the current 70 million to 109 million by 2034, PWC believes that capacity could be reached earlier due to strong growth in India's air traffic.

"Capacity constraint at Delhi airport along with the horizontal expansion of the city has necessitated requirement of a new airport," adds PWC.

The report adds that the new airport at Jewar will be able to capture the growing traffic, especially spillover traffic from the crowded Delhi airport around 2029/30.

Local media reports add that the government has approved the project and will use a public-private partnership model to develop the airport.

According to the masterplan, the project is estimated to cost Rs157 billion ($2.36 billion), to be spread out over four phases.
24/04/18 AAron Chong/Flight Global

Can Air India’s privatisation process take off?

In the recent past, a lot has been debated over the ongoing privatisation process of national carrier Air India. The government and the airline management have been working on different ways to draw out a strategy towards the privatisation process.

The government has given its in-principle approval to divest a 76% stake in Air India to private players, including Air India’s 100% stake in low-cost carrier Air India Express Ltd (AIXL) and 50% stake in Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS).

On 28 March, the civil aviation ministry released a preliminary Information Memorandum (IM) containing information about the disinvestment of Air India, AIXL and AISATS and sought Expressions of Interest (EoI) from interested bidders by 14 May.

This is an opportunity for foreign airlines to invest in Air India. It opens up avenues for individual bidders as well as a consortium of individuals or airlines to invest in Air India. The acquisition of Air India would provide the investor with best international slots and immediate access to the domestic network.

With 76% disinvestment, the control and management of Air India will solely vest with the private player, thereby allowing them to operate without much hurdle. However, since the government will retain a 24% stake, the winning bidder will not be able to exercise 100% control or merge the airline with any of their existing businesses. Some other issues need to be considered, too.

FDI policy
According to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy, 2017, the FDI limit for scheduled air transport service or domestic scheduled passenger airline and regional air transport service has been raised from 49% to 100%. FDI up to 49% is permitted under the automatic route and FDI beyond 49% through government approval.

Foreign airlines are allowed to invest in Indian companies, i.e. operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital, subject to government approval.

Even though FDI was permitted in Indian aviation companies, the policy expressly restricted foreign airlines to invest in Air India. However, Press Note 1 of 2018 permitted foreign airlines to invest in Air India, subject to certain conditions such as: (a) foreign investment in Air India, including that of foreign airlines to not exceed 49%, either directly or indirectly (b) substantial ownership and effective control of Air India to continue to be vested in Indian nationals.

It is clear from the above that the FDI policy restricts the ownership and control of Air India to Indian nationals. However, with the onset of the disinvestment process and issuance of the IM, the condition of ownership and control in favour of Indian nationals is debatable. Therefore, pursuant to the completion of the bidding process and award of the bid, the FDI policy will be required to be suitably amended.

Debt concerns
Air India is jostling with a debt of about Rs 52,000 crore and salary arrears of approximately Rs 1,200 crores accrued from 2012. The winning bidder will have to absorb this liability.

However, interested bidders have been expressing interest in acquiring only the cash-rich divisions of the national carrier and not absorbing the entire debt. The IM mentions that the interested bidder will be responsible for the existing debts of Air India post disinvestment.

AISATS is the only continuous profit-making entity for the past five years. It provides services in Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mangalore and Trivandrum in India.
24/04/18 Tejasvini Shirodkar, Pearl Boga and Karen Issac/VCCircle

Jewar airport to have 2 train links with Delhi

New Delhi: The long-awaited Jewar airport in Greater Noida, which got the Centre’s final nod on Monday, could be connected by at least two different train systems to Delhi. The UP government is examining the feasibility of having a dedicated Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) corridor from Sarai Kale Khan to the proposed airport site. Three RRTS routes have already been approved from Sarai Kale Khan hub to Meerut, Panipat and Alwar.
The Jewar RRTS is being considered in addition to the Greater Noida metro which will be extended to the airport site and another direct link between IGI Airport to Delhi’s second airport, for which a train is among the various possibilities. The airport will also be connected to the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which connects Palwal with Kundli, bypassing Delhi. This site will also get an Aerocity like Delhi’s IGI Airport.
“We are working simultaneously on connectivity to Jewar airport and the timely completion of its first phase in financial year 2022-23. We have asked the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC, which has begun work of RRTS) to examine the feasibility of having a separate line from Sarai Kale Khan to Jewar airport. This rail is faster than metro due to fewer stations where it needs to stop and is well suited for the airport,” Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority chairman Prabhat Kumar told TOI. YEIDA is the nodal authority for building the Jewar airport.
24/04/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

GVK wants to run Ahmedabad, Jaipur airports

New Delhi: Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) operator GVK has expressed interest in running the Airport Authority of India’s Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports, a senior government official said on Monday. GVK has submitted bids for taking over maintenance and operations of the two profit-making airports belonging to the Airport Authority of India (AAI). “GVK has bid for both Ahmedabad and Jaipur airport terminal operations. Technical bids are under consideration. The winning bid will be finalised soon,” a civil aviation ministry official said. Jaipur airport has received four expressions of interest (EoIs) while three companies bid for the airport in Ahmedabad on the last day of submission, April 10.

State-owned AAI adopted a single-stage process for partial privatisation during which the bidders were asked to give financial bids as well. The financial proposals are likely to be opened later this month for bidders which qualify the eligibility criteria.

An AAI official said they were confident of generating interest among big players after significant changes in terms and conditions. GVK did not respond to an e-mail query sent by FE. Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports are among the 15-odd profit-making airports of AAI. While Ahmedabad handles 8.42 million passengers annually, Jaipur currently caters to 4.34 million tourists each year.
24/04/18 Financial Express

Direct flights between Dubai and India’s diamond hub set to boost trade

Finally, direct flights between the world’s two biggest diamond trade centers will take off next week to add some sparkle on the faces of dealers in precious stones on both sides.

Air India Express, the international budget arm of India’s flagship carrier airline, is all set to launch a thrice-a-week service to connect Surat, the global hub of diamond cutting and polishing industry in western Indian state of Gujarat, with Dubai, the second largest market in the world for rough diamond trading.

According to local parliamentarian C.R. Paatil, the last stumbling block for the jinxed project will be removed when the country’s diamond city is accorded the customs notified status by the federal government within in a few days.

The international flights between the two diamond hubs were to be started from May 15 last but it took one year to expand the runway from 2,250 meters to 2,950 meters and provide the required funds and 68-strong immigration staff to the airport of Surat where some 80 per cent of the world's rough diamonds are processed in its 4,500-odd small and large cutting-and-polishing units.

An Air India Express official told Al Arabiya English that the airline would deploy 189-seater Boeing 737-800 aircraft and expected a 50-60 per cent seat occupancy on the route initially, adding that Surat would be air-linked to also Sharjah by October.

As per the rough estimate provided by the tours and travel association, around 400,000 people from Surat and south Gujarat travelled to international destinations during 2015-16. The passenger traffic from the region is increasing by almost 20-25 per cent every year.
24/04/18 Mahesh Trivedi/Al Arabiya

Glare disturbs Indigo pilot during landing

Nagpur: Passengers of flight no 436 of Indigo Airlines were at the risk of a mishap during landing at Nagpur airport on Sunday evening. The pilot faced a strong glare as a light was focused at the cockpit. This could have hampered the pilot’s vision and even disturbed the landing. Though the plane landed safely, the incident was reported to the air traffic control (ATC) tower by the pilot.
Senior airport manager VS Mulekar said a complaint has been filed with the police. “But Mihan India Limited (MIL), which runs the airport, has not received any written complaint from the airlines or the pilot so far,” he added.
MIL is a joint venture between state government’s Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) and Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The Delhi-Indore-Nagpur flight landed in the city at around 7.30pm. The pilot reported to the ATC tower through the wireless device that he had faced a strong dazzling light from the right of the approach patch.
“It could have been a major risk because as the pilot swoops down, the path has to be visually identified. A strong glare for a long time could have hampered the landing causing a deviation,” said a source.

Meanwhile, an Indigo spokesperson said the airlines’ safety team has not received any report on the Nagpur incident so far. The crew reports after all the flights in the given schedule are over. The matter may have not been reported because the crew is still flying.
A source said that the light may have come from localities like Shankarpur, Wathoda or settlements near a tony hotel.
24/04/18 Shishir Arya/Times of India

Hi-tech fire tender at airport soon

Patna: City’s Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport will soon be equipped with rapid intervention vehicle (RIV) and six-stretcher ambulance for emergency situations.
Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) general manager (rescue and fire service) Subash Kumar said on Monday the AAI would provide one RIV with content up to the capacity of 1,600 litres at Patna airport by December this year. RIV is a compact airport firefighting vehicle, particularly suitable for rapid and safe operation at small airports and heliports.
“A six-stretcher ambulance will also be bought for emergencies. It will work 24X7 at Patna airport from September. Patna airport is among the busiest airports in India and such safety equipment is badly needed. We are also planning for smart fire station at the airport,” he said.
Subash was here for a five-day training programme -- ‘Basic CBRN Emergency Management Training’ — that aims at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear material emergencies at the airports. The programme is being conducted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the AAI, National Disaster Response Force and the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS).
24/04/18 Faryal Rumi/Times of India

Mangaluru: Air India flight develops technical snag - passengers face problems

Mangaluru: Air India 680 flight that was to leave for Mumbai at 12.40 pm on Monday April 23 got cancelled as the aircraft did not begin its journey due to a technical snag.

The aircraft, on its arrival from Mumbai, was diagnosed with technical problems. Although the technical staff here tried to address the issue, they could not do so. Therefore, alternative arrangements to fly the passengers to Mumbai by Jet Airways flight were made. But only 82 persons got the opportunity to fly out of 122 Air India passengers and therefore 40 were stranded.

Airport sources said that the passengers who could not undertake the journey were provided hotel accommodation and that they would be taken to Mumbai on Tuesday April 24.
24/04/18 daijiworld

‘More facilities for woman travelers at Srinagar Airport’

As a part of Airports Authority of India’s commitment to improve comfort for women air travelers’ sanitary napkin vending machines have been installed at Srinagar International Airport.
As per the statement four machines are installed in ladies restrooms of Srinagar Airport Terminal building in first phase. This facility is available by dispensing machines by inserting the coin Rs. 5 per napkin. This money will be utilised to maintain the napkin stocks in the machines.
“The availability of sanitary napkins at affordable prices inside the airport terminal buildings will ensure comfort to women passengers and promote hygienic practices,” it said.
Sharad KumarAirport Director, Srinagar airport informed that this initiative is in line with Airports Authority of India’s project DISHA (Driving Improvement in Service and Hospitality at Airports) which aims at improving customer service.
Meanwhile a tree plantation drive was organized by Airports Authority of India and SpiceJet Airlines at Srinagar Airport to celebrate the World Earth Day on 22nd April 2018. The programme was flagged off by Sharad Kumar,Airport Director.
24/04/18 Bright Kashmir

Chennai airport slashes user development fee

Chennai: The Chennai airport will be charging just Rs 69 per passenger as user development fee (UDF) from May 1. This is a steep reduction from the present Rs 166 for domestic passengers and Rs 667 for international passengers. However, experts say the airlines may not immediately pass on the benefit by lowering the fares due to increasing fuel prices.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has reduced fees in wake of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India passing an order saying that the user development fee is reduced from May 1, 2018.

Once the order is implemented, it will cause the AAI a revenue loss of Rs 200 crore. Interestingly, on April 18, 2017, the AAI proposed to increase the user development fee to Rs 200 per domestic passenger and Rs 400 per international passenger while the AERA had suggested a total waiver of the user development fee in its consultation paper released in February.

The move to charge Rs 69 from both international and domestic passengers was taken after the AAI submitted that it requires an additional grant of Rs 300 crore to meet its operational requirements.Interestingly, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has suggested that UDF should be removed as pre-funding of infrastructure investment by users. “Abusing airport monopoly by making consumers pre-fund investment is costlier than funding through financial markets,” IATA had observed.

Meanwhile, domestic and international landing charges have been reduced by approximately 89 per cent. This would also impact the revenue collected from landing charge which was Rs 305.6 crore last year. Now it will fall to Rs 59.7 crore this financial year.The move has been welcomed by the aviation industry which suggested eliminating unjustified differentials in landing charges between domestic and international flights.
24/04/18 C Shivakumar/New Indian Express
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SAGA to ensure smooth take-offs, landings at Mumbai airport

Mumbai: After a successful four-month testing phase, the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) has permanently introduced an airport surface and terminal area surveillance system for real-time monitoring of aircraft and vehicles in the operational area. The system will also aid in identifying the causes for flight delays and take corrective action.

The Surface Awareness and Guidance at Airport (SAGA) is a computer application tailor-made for Mumbai airport by ALTYS Technologies of Toulouse, France. The system is now being used by officials at the Joint Control Centre at the airport. SAGA works independently alongside the surface movement radars used by the Air Traffic Controllers to ensure efficient movement on the ground.

A MIAL official said,“We are trying to streamline Mumbai airport’s operations considering it is going to be under pressure till the Navi Mumbai airport is ready. SAGA will help us avoid delays and ensure smooth functioning that will likely reduce travel time for passengers.”

The application, which was under testing since November 2017, is now fully operational. It will be instrumental in live traffic analysis on the runway, which will help in identifying possible causes of delay. The Mumbai airport sees a take-off or landing every 55 seconds. The application will also send operational alerts to the airport control room whenever excessive waiting time is detected in segments such as the runway, taxiway or apron.

The application enables information-sharing on the operational axis among different centres such as joint control centre, apron control, airside management office, back office of the airport operations services, corporate offices at Mumbai airport, and the aero-marketing department.

A MIAL spokesperson said, “Aircraft moving on the airport surface, or airborne during approach or take-off, as well as ground vehicles can all now be visually tracked using a single unified interface. Aircraft and ground vehicle position and movement information such as the time of entry, exit, and average speed of motion will be collected using the system’s independent Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast and Multilateration sensors.”
24/04/18 Aditya Anand/The Hindu

Now, Birmingham flight to take off thrice a week

Amritsar: After getting good response from passengers, Air India has increased its flight frequency from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, to Birmingham from two to three days per week.
Tickets are open for booking on Air India website and other air ticketing portals for Saturday travel as well. This additional third direct flight of the week AI-117 on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will depart from Amritsar on Saturday at 1.55 pm and return next day on Sunday at 7.30 am.
Member of Parliament (MP) Gurjeet Singh Aujla said he was thankful to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviations, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Air India, Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Shwait Malik for endorsing his demand.
“Similarly Air India’s Nanded flight (AI 815/AI 816) is also expected to increase its operations to three days, including Wednesdays from May 12,” he said.
According to Aujla, he has been pursuing the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office for adding Amritsar as a point of call amending the bilateral air services agreements with other nations. Amritsar is not a designated point of call in the bilateral air services agreement with many countries, so their carriers are not getting permission to fly to Amritsar.
24/04/18 Tribune

1940's vintage Dakota DC-3 aircraft soon to be inducted into Indian Air Force

A Dakota DC-3 aircraft of 1940's vintage would be inducted shortly into the Vintage Aircraft Flight of the Indian Air Force.

In 1988, a large fleet of Dakota DC-3 served in the Indian Air Force. It was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time.

To honour the first Dakota which transported troops of the 1st Sikh Regiment to Srinagar on 27 Oct 47 during the Kashmir conflict, the Indian Air Force has allocated the aircraft with a registration number.

Built in 1944, the aircraft served in the military with the RAF and was also operated by various civil airlines.

The aircraft was obtained from scrap in 2011 and was restored to flying condition in UK by Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Rajeev Chandrasekhar for gifting it to the IAF.

Subsequently, the IAF signed a contract with M/s Reflight Airworks Ltd London for upgrading its navigational systems. The CAS ceremonially accepted the aircraft into the IAF from Rajeev Chandrasekhar on February 13, 2018.

After its restoration, the aircraft successfully completed all test flights and commenced its journey from the UK on 17 April 17, 2018. It is being flown to India by a joint team crew of the IAF and M/s Reflight Airworks Ltd. The ferry to India, by making en-route halts at France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, will be completed on April 25, 2018, at Jamnagar.

To honour the old warhorse in its new residence, the induction ceremony of Dakota VP-905 is scheduled on May 04, 2018, at Air Force Station Hindan.
24/04/18 Manjeet Singh Negi/India Today

Spicejet commemorates Earth Day at Srinagar Airport

Srinagar: On the eve of Earth Day, Spice Jet Srinagar held a plantation drive at Srinagar International Airport.
“Devdar trees were planted in the vicinity of airport which was inaugurated by Sharad Kumar director airport authority of India and station manager Spicejet Sartaj Ahmed Mantoo,” reads a handout.
The organizers said that their message is to leave the earth green for next generations.
“We make effort to educate, mobilize and activate citizens to contribute in keeping the earth green,” it adds.
It added that this year, Earth Day-2018 theme is 'End Plastic Pollution'. It is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics.
24/04/18 Greater Kashmir

Quikr's Nitin Sethi joins IndiGo Airlines as VP Digital

Nitin Sethi, vice president product design and user experience, Quikr, has quit the company. April 13 was his last day with the brand. Sethi has joined IndiGo Airlines as vice president digital.

Sethi specialises in digital transformation and comes with over 18 years of experience. Before joining Quikr, Sethi worked with CommonFloor.com as head of product design and experience. Prior to that, he worked with Appigizer as investor and mentor. His resume also includes the likes of Dazzlr as head of product and user experience and Yatra, as group head consumer experience and design. Sethi has also worked with companies such as Info Edge India (Naukri.com Group), India Art Village, Babyoye.com, Dainik Bhaskar Group, Prism Education, Mega Softwares, rediff.com, Times Internet, and Bharti Airtel.
24/04/18 afaqs!

GoAir, AirAsia India Latest Offers: Flight Tickets Under All-Inclusive Rs 1,400

Airlines GoAir and AirAsia India have announced flight tickets priced under Rs. 1,400 in limited-period offers. While GoAir is offering flight tickets priced from an all-inclusive Rs. 1,304, AirAsia India is offering flight tickets from Rs. 1,399. Discounts on flight tickets from both the airlines come weeks ahead of summer vacations in schools. GoAir's discounts on flight tickets can be availed till May 2, while AirAsia India's offer is open till May 6. Discount offers on flight tickets from AirAsia India and GoAir comes in the wake of robust growth in passenger traffic registered in the past few months. Domestic air passenger traffic rose 28.03 per cent year-on-year in March, with domestic carriers flying 1.15 crore passengers, data from aviation regulator DGCA showed.

GoAir flight tickets starting at Rs. 1,304

Under its scheme, GoAir is offering tickets starting at an all-inclusive Rs. 1,304 on flights from Bagdogra to Guwahati, according to the airline's website - goair.in. GoAir's limited-period offer is applicable on destinations including Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Guwahati. Some other discounted flight tickets offered under the scheme include flights from Guwahati to Bagdogra starting at Rs. 1,364, from Ahmedabad to Mumai starting at Rs. 1608, according to its website.

Without divulging the total number of seats offered under the scheme, GoAir said: "Limited seats only."

Fares are valid across select fare types and group discount is not applicable on this offer, GoAir mentioned, among other terms and conditions.

A search on the GoAir bookings portal on Tuesday showed tickets for a flight from Bagdogra to Guwahati early next month available for booking at Rs. 1,304.

GoAir is also offering a 10 per cent off on bookings made through its mobile app. To avail this discount, the booking is required to be made using promotion code 'GOAPP10'.

AirAsia India flight tickets starting at Rs. 1,399

Under its scheme, AirAsia India is offering flight tickets starting at Rs. 1,399 on flights between Ranchi and Kolkata, between Kochi and Bengaluru, and between Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, among other routes and fares. The airline is also offering flight tickets from an all-inclusive Rs. 1399 on one-way journeys between Guwahati and Imphal, between Hyderabad and Bengaluru, between Bengaluru and Kochi, and between Bengaluru and Chennai, according to its website.

AirAsia India's offer is applicable on destinations such as Bengaluru, Goa, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ranchi, according to its website. AirAsia India's offer is valid on travel till October 31, 2018, it noted.
24/04/18 NDTV

Vistara Launches New Website In Its Bid To Transform Online Customer Experience

Airline Vistara has launched an all-new website in its bid to transforms online customer experience. The new website - airvistara.com - is "easily accessible on popular web browsers and is designed to provide enhanced features, speed, smart functionality and easy navigation accompanied with a user-friendly interface", Vistara said in a press release on April 24. The new website - airvistara.com - supports booking of flight tickets in "three simple steps", according to Vistara. Club Vistara members can also now view a comprehensive account summary "through a simplified, intuitive dashboard-on-a-page", Vistara added. Club Vistara is a frequent flyer program operated by Vistara, offering special benefits such as increased baggage allowance, priority boarding and lounge access, among others.

"The new Vistara website has been designed from scratch with the sole purpose of making our first point of interaction with our customers as seamless, intuitive, and pleasant as the on-ground and inflight experience, and empowering them with more choices," said Vistara chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor.
24/04/18 NDTV

Currency worth Rs 33 lakh seized from passenger

Trichy: Foreign currency worth Rs 33 lakh was seized from a Kuala Lumpur-bound passenger at the Trichy airport on Sunday.
According to officials from the air intelligence unit of the customs department, when they were engaging in their routine checking process, they developed suspicion on a passenger who was about to board a Sri Lankan Airlines.
When the customs officials examined his belongings, they found that he had concealed assorted foreign currency notes valued at Rs 28.02 lakh and Indian currency of Rs 2,000 denomination valued at Rs 4.70 lakh. The total value of both foreign and Indian currency was valued at Rs 32.72 lakh from the passenger who was then identified as Jaynulabudeen, 27, of Trichy. During interrogation, he said that he was planning to fly to Kuala Lumpur through Colombo.
24/04/18 Times of India

Gang posing as airline hiring staff dupes youth of Rs 2 lakh

New Delhi: A network of fraudsters who duped several youths seeking a job in the aviation industry is on the radar of Delhi Police. A probe was initiated after a youth complained of being duped of approximately Rs 2 lakh by men posing as recruitment agents for GoAir.
The complainant, Prabhat Chaudhary (19), told police that he was contacted by two people through an online job portal in December 2017 promising to get him a job as a cabin crewmember.
Chaudhary met the two men in a hotel at Mahipalpur in southwest Delhi on January 3 where he was asked to pay Rs 3.10 lakh. “I agreed to pay them only after getting selected. They agreed and took me to the airline’s office at Terminal 2 of IGI airport where a person took my interview,” he added.
The next day, the youth got a mail from the airline’s “recruitment department” informing him that he has been selected for the job. Chaudhary forwarded it to an email ID provided on GoAir’s website to seek confirmation regarding his selection. However, he claimed that he didn’t get any reply. When he sent another mail, he got a call from a woman who introduced herself as the HR head. She said that he would be soon told about the mandatory medical check-up.

The victim said that the “recruitment agents” took him to a private pathology lab in Janakpuri for medical examination. He met other candidates there and after getting assured handed over Rs 1.5 lakh to the recruitment agents. He promised to give the remainder amount when the training starts.
“They told me that the training would be done in Jammu, but when I researched I found that the airline had no base there. When I raised the question, they offered to take me to the airline’s Mumbai office for another interview,” the youth said, adding that the men paid for his air tickets.
The youth was taken to the GoAir office in Worli in Mumbai, but no interview took place. Later, Chaudhary got a mail stating that the training base had been shifted to Udaipur due to “geological conditions”.
“I received an air ticket for Udaipur and upon reaching I was boarded in a hotel along with other candidates. A man claiming to be an HR representative soon came and asked for Rs 50,000 as security deposit. When I offered a demand draft, they refused and asked for cash,” the complainant said.
He stayed in the hotel for three days, but no one from the company turned up. Later, the phone numbers of the agents was found switched off. He returned to Delhi and lodged a complaint at Vasant Kunj (north) police station.
24/04/18 Times of India

Monday, April 23, 2018

This is what will get Navi Mumbai airport off the ground, Maha hopes

To complete the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) by 2019, Maharashtra government has set up a 23-member task force that will work on a war footing to meet all requirements. According to the state cabinet’s decision, the state government has set up the task force to deal with various agencies that are part of the proposed NMIA in Navi Mumbai. The mammoth task force will be headed by the state chief secretary. Its members include secretaries of the home, finance, energy, and revenue & forest departments, and the chief of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation.

“The task force will work to get the security clearance, electric supply, water supply and so on for the proposed airport. It will work as a coordinator to get all sorts of approvals and clearances on time,” said a notification frm the state government, a copy of which is with DNA.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently broken ground for the project at a ceremony. While inaugurating the function, Modi asked the state government and the nodal agency — CIDCO — to finish the project on time. He had joked he would come for the final inauguration only if the deadline was adhered to.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis wants to complete the project on time so that they can showcase this infrastructural development work before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress sat on the files for 15 years but could not make any progress. The incumbent government wants to highlight this during the elections. Therefore, the airport project has to be complete by 2019,” said a person who is privy to project-related developments.
23/04/18 ZeeBiz

CAG Pulls Up Govt On Non-Operational Baljek Airport

Shillong: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has observed that the Meghalaya Transport Department has not made any effort to make the Baljek Airport in West Garo Hills District operational even though more than nine years have passed since completion of the original project.

 The CAG report stated no additional funds had been sanctioned by the state government for upgradation of the airport while the additional land, acquired for expansion of the airport had also not been handed over to the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

The Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills had noted (May 2013) in the status report on the airport that the buildings were getting damaged owing to non-maintenance since the airport had been lying unutilized.

It added that further delay in project implementation would result in added increase in the cost of upgradation.

The case was reported to the Transport Department between July 2016 and July 2017 and reminded in August 2017 and January 2018 and the reply has not been received.
22/04/18 Shillong Times

Dip in air traffic in routes connecting Mumbai to metros

Mumbai: While domestic air traffic grew by 28 per cent in March when compared to last year, certain key routes connecting Mumbai to other metropolitan cities have seen a dip in passenger load across major airlines last month, states a study by safety body Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). As March marks the end of the financial year, it is an off-peak season for business and leisure travel.

According to the March air traffic data provided by DGCA, key routes, including Mumbai-Delhi, Mumbai-Bengaluru and Mumbai-Hyderabad, have reported a dip in the “seats sold in the highest fare bracket”. This means that the number of passengers planning trips to these cities, one or two weeks ahead of the date of travel, has reduced.

Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer (B2C), Yatra.com, said: “As per the March DGCA report, there has been a marginal decline in the percentage of seats sold in the highest fare class for most airlines when compared to February. This is on account of the overall load factors in March having reduced marginally, as well as less people travelling for business.”

“Business travel is the largest contributor to last minute travel and hence, the consumption of higher fares. March typically sees lower business travel on account of closing of the financial year and this seems to be the case this year as well.”
23/04/18 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

More Haj pilgrims opt for Mumbai departure

Mumbai: Haj pilgrims travelling from Mumbai is expected to double from 6,297 in 2017 to 12,018, with the government allowing pilgrims to choose the point of embarkation for the first time.

Other embarkation points in the State, such as Aurangabad, could see only 350 pilgrims using it to travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, mostly due to the higher airfare: a round-trip ticket from Mumbai is expected to cost Rs. 59,200, while it could cost Rs. 81,929 from Aurangabad. Last year, 2,734 pilgrims travelled from Aurangabad.

This year, 1,28,002 Haj pilgrims are expected to spend Rs. 57 crore less on airfare than last year, which saw 1,24,852 pilgrims spend Rs. 1,030 crore on air travel to Saudi Arabia. On Sunday, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government’s commitment to transparency and strict directives to airlines to check unreasonable increase in fares has ensured that airfares come down significantly this year.

Mr. Naqvi said Saudi Arabia had approved India’s decision to revive the option of Haj pilgrims travelling by sea, and discussions are on to work out formalities and technicalities.

The Central government had withdrawn subsidy for the Haj in January based on a Supreme Court order in 2012. Around Rs. 450 crore was spent on Haj subsidy in 2017, of which Rs. 200 crore went into subsidising airfare. Post-subsidy, the net amount paid to airlines in 2017 was close to Rs. 830 crore.

Dr Masood Khan, CEO, Haj Committee of India, said the option to choose the point of embarkation has been crucial in reducing money spent on air travel. “This year, many are traveling to major cities to board flights, as the airfare is much cheaper from metro cities.”
23/04/18 The Hindu

Cancelled ticket: Travel portal to pay patron Rs 63,000

Chennai: District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (north) on Sunday directed online travel services facilitator MakeMyTrip to pay a sum of Rs 63,000 as compensation to a customer whose ticket was cancelled mistakenly by the firm.

V Natraj, of Coimbatore, moved the forum seeking compensation from the website for deficiency in services. Natraj and his friendPramothhadbooked flightticketson July 29,2015 through the Chennai office of the company, to travel from Chennai to New Delhi on August 28 and was charged Rs 12,098 for the same.
However,Pramoth’stravel plan had to be dropped due to personal reasons and a day before their scheduled flight, Natraj cancelled his friend’s ticket through MakeMyTrip’s website, according to the petition. MakeMyTrip, however,cancelled Natraj’s ticket instead, and refunded a sum of Rs 3,799 after collecting a penalty, the petitioner stated, adding that he learned of the cancellation of histicketonly on the day of travel through the airlines’ customer care. Following this,hehadtobook a ticket again on August 28, spending Rs 8,994, Natraj claimed.
On July 14, 2016, Natraj movedtheconsumer forum seeking a compensation from the travel company for the inconvenience.
MakeMyTrip, in their counter petition, said that for proper adjudication of the matter, it is imperative that the concerned airlines also be impleaded to file their version of the incident. While accepting the petitioner’s claim that his ticketwaserroneously cancelled instead of his friend’s, the company stated thatthewrong cancellation was done by the airlines and that they had processed a full refund and the same was confirmed by airlines via an email on October 2, 2016.
23/04/18 Times of India

Indore airport handled over 2 million passengers in 2017-18

Indore: Indore’s Devi Ahilyabai Airport has joined select airports of the country which see more than 20 lakh flyers annually, a senior official said today. Aryama Sanyal, Airport Director, Devi Ahilyabai Airport, told PTI today that the number of passengers the airport handled during the financial year 2017-18 rose by nearly 33 per cent to 23.66 lakh.

During the fiscal 2016-17, the number of flyers stood at 17.82 lakh, the official informed. The official expressed hope that the number of flyers annually would reach 25 lakh in the current financial year, adding that enhanced air connectivity and passengers amenities were fuelling this growth in traffic. She said that the airport currently operates 68 scheduled flights, 34 each of arriving and departing flights, daily and this number is expected to reach 80 per day by December this year.
She said that enhancement in infrastructure at the airport last month now allowed it to operate flights round the clock. Sanyal said that the Airport Authority of India had approved the “Automatic Dependent Surveillance Radar” system for the airport keeping in mind an expected increase in flights in the near future. The system would allow the airport to manage more flights in an efficient way, the official said.
23/04/18 PTI/Financial Express

Kolhapur airport reopens after six years with flights connecting the city to Mumbai

After a closure of six years, the Kolhapur airport in Maharashtra resumed operations on Sunday with Air Deccan launching its first flight from the city to Mumbai.

The first Kolhapur to Mumbai flight was operated with an airport having 18 seats, which departed from the Kolhapur airport at 3:05 PM on Sunday. As per data shared by the officials, all of these 18 seats were booked in its first flight from Kolhapur to Mumbai.
An airline official revealed, “We have started the air service from Kolhapur to Mumbai. We have received a good response as all the seats of the first flight were booked. Booking for flights is now full till April end. Within a few days, the bookings for May will also be full”.
There will also be a Mumbai to Kolhapur flight, which will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday every week. This flight is scheduled to depart from Mumbai at 1:15 PM.
23/04/18 Samonway Duttagupta/happytrips

Emirates Airline eyes expansion in Iran, India

Dubai: Emirates Airline said it is eyeing expansion in Iran, which it described as “a very important market”, saying it is interested in increasing its operations there.
Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice-president of commercial operations at Emirates, said the carrier is also interested in increasing its capacity to Saudi Arabia and India, both of which remain highly protected markets.

In Iran, Emirates currently operates flights to Tehran and Mashhad, and the carrier said seat factors on both routes are high year-round, at more than 70 per cent, and goes to 90 per cent at peak seasons.
“We are looking at opportunities there. Iran is not a small country; it’s huge, much like India. In India, we now cover nine points, so we need more flights there,” Al Mualla said on Monday at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition.
The removal of sanctions on Iran in 2016 opened doors for various industries to do business with the country and grow bilateral trade ties. Iran’s large population that is driving demand for consumer products also makes the country attractive to airlines.
“We haven’t started dialogue (with Iran), but I’m sure when the time comes, it will happen. See, the problem is we’re limited with the aircraft as well. The aircraft is coming, but we already know in the next five years where our capacity is going to be,” Al Mualla said.
In India, Emirates currently has a capacity of around 55,000-60,000 seats as India’s aviation market remains protected by its government that advocates local carriers. Authorities from the UAE and the Indian governments are involved in talks about boosting that capacity of UAE-based airlines into the subcontinent, given the strong demand for flights there.
“Even if we get another 20,000-30,000, that would be suitable. We’re asking for more than that, but for now, if we manage to get 20,000, that would be good.”
Emirates is expected to announce its financial results for the financial year ending March 2018 in the coming days, and while Al Mualla said he could not discuss performance, he said fuel prices were a challenge.
23/04/18 Sarah Diaa/Gulf News

AAI asks spouse of whistle-blower to pay Rs 23 lakh for occupying staff quarters

Mumbai: A part of credit for the current focus on buildings that come in flight path in the city goes to a couple, both Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees, based in Mumbai. Early this year, Mangala Narasimhan, AAI deputy general manager (aviation safety) took her employer to court over its alleged inaction in the building obstructions and flight safety issue. She might also file a fresh PIL, challenging a government provision that builders use to construct beyond the height permitted under international air safety norms.
“Which is probably why AAI served my husband an eviction notice asking us to vacate the official quarters,” said Mangala. Her spouse, KSL Narasimhan is AAI joint general manager (air traffic control) is under suspension. In an unprecedented move for a government organization, AAI also ordered Narasimhan to pay Rs 23 lakh for “illegally” occupying the staff quarters.
In 2015, when hearing a PIL on air safety, the Bombay high court ordered AAI to hand over Mumbai airport safety audit reports for the past five years. Narasimhan appeared in the court, on behalf of AAI and handed over the reports. A month later, AAI suspended him for appearing in the court “without authorization”. He challenged his suspension in the HC and produced written orders he received from his bosses asking him to appear before the HC to hand over the reports.
Three months later, AAI revoked his suspension on the condition that he moves out of Mumbai to the Kolkata office. He then sent a letter to the AAI chairman, pointing out the illegality of the transfer order and declined to join Kolkata. He received no response.
“Under AAI norms, a suspended official should be paid a subsistence allowance. But AAI has been paying only a fraction of this. Out of this sum, AAI has been deducting the dues for staying in the staff quarter,” said Mangala. AAI did not respond to a query sent by TOI.
23/04/18 Times of India

50 mins on board and 3 hours later flight cancelled

Pune: Altogether 170 flyers on board an Air Asia flight from Pune to New Delhi were first made to wait in the aircraft for around 50 minutes and then, after 3 hours, told that it had been cancelled due to a technical delay on Sunday evening.
The flight (I5-732) was supposed to take off from Pune at 6pm. However, the “inordinate delay” left the flyers in a fix.
“The passengers are stuck, tired and frustrated... The flight was supposed to take off from Pune at 6pm. But it was delayed by around half-an-hour. We boarded the flight around 6:10pm. The flight was on the runway by 6:40pm for the take off, when the problem started,” Bhavishya Alavad, one of the flyers, said.
“Something happened at the runway and the flight did not take off. As we remained a confused lot, the flight turned back and proceeded towards a bay. It stood there with the passengers on board. When we asked, we were told that there was a technical problem. We waited in the flight at the bay for at least an hour. Around 8pm, we were asked to deplane,” he said.
“All the passengers were angry, but hoped that the airline will arrange for an alternative. We had to deplane and waited at the terminal building till 9:10pm. We then saw our luggage coming out without any notice. We were told that the flight has been cancelled,” Alavad said.
TOI sent a detailed text message and a WhatsApp message to an Air Asia spokesperson, seeking the carrier’s comment on the situation. However, there was no reply till the time of filing of this report. Sources said a senior Airports Authority of India official met the aggrieved passengers late in the night and told them that efforts were on to make an alternative arrangement.
A passenger, however, said Air Asia sent a text message around 11.30pm, stating, “Dear guest, we sincerely regret to inform that your flight I5-732 (PNQ-DEL) on April 22 is cancelled due to operational requirements. You may choose to fly on an alternative date or avail a full refund...We regret the inconvenience caused.”
23/04/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Proposed amendments to the Aircraft Rules, 1937

The Ministry of Civil Aviation recently invited suggestions and objections to the proposed amendments to rule 30(7) and 32A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 (the “Rules”) which essentially provide for swift and expeditious process for de- registration and export of aircraft by overseas lessors / owners.

The proposed amendments make it mandatory for the Indian civil aviation regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation (“DGCA”) to deregister the aircraft registered in India within five (5) working days on receipt of an application from an Irrevocable De- registration and Export Request Authorisation (“IDERA”) holder. Unlike past practice, the DGCA would not seek consent or documentation from the operator of the aircraft, or any other person before de-registration. The application for de-registration should be accompanied with (i) the original or notarised copy of the IDERA; (ii) certificate from the International Registry established under Cape Town Convention (“CTC”) in respect of all registered interests ranking in priority; and (iii) consent from all  interest holders to such  deregistration and export of aircraft.

Consequent upon de-registration, the DGCA would take action to facilitate the export and physical transfer of the aircraft along with spare engines within five (5) working days on application being made, provided all dues in India are cleared. Thus, the only challenge in course of repossession of aircraft would be payment of dues in India, such as customs and airport authority’s dues.

The proposed amendments would fast track the process of de- registration and repossession of aircraft. Usually, where an application for de-registration is made by the lessors / owners of the aircraft, DGCA tends to seek consent of or documentation from the Indian airline operator before it deregisters the aircraft. If the Indian airline operator disputes de-registration, then the DGCA usually does not act in furtherance of the application of the lessors / owners. In such a scenario, lessors / owners are constrained to approach an appropriate court for relief, which entails time and cost.
23/04/18 Lexology

Bangalore airport is opening its runway to runners

If you’re an #avgeek who’s always wondered what it’s like to hang out on an airport runway, Bangalore airport is giving you a chance.

Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru is turning 10 next month, and the celebration is anything but standard operating procedure. On the afternoon of 8 May, the airport’s runway will be closed off for a 10K run, and you can participate.

Organised by BIAL (Bengaluru International Airport Limited), the runway race is the first of its kind for an Indian airport, although such events have taken place at other major airports around the world, including New York’s JFK and London Heathrow.

There are certain qualifiers, of course. Registrations close on 30 April. When you sign up, make sure to submit details of past races that you have run. Do note that only 100 participants will be selected, and you must be 18 years or older to qualify. Also note that the race starts at 12.45pm and ends at 2.15pm.
23/04/18 Samira Sood/Conde Nest Traveller

UDAN: How steel giant SAIL’s tie-up with Airports Authority of India will help in air connectivity development

New Delhi: Domestic steel giant SAIL today said it has inked a pact with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for utilisation of airstrips at its three facilities — Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur — under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN. “Three steel cities of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur belonging to states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, respectively, will soon prominently feature on the aviation map of India,” the company said in a statement.

SAIL and AAI have signed an MoU today on utilisation of airstrips under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) -UDAN, a flagship project of Government of India, it said. The RCS-UDAN scheme, launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, envisages enhancing the regional air connectivity by providing support in terms of infrastructure and other facilities.

“Under the MoU, AAI as an implementation agency under RCS-UDAN would be executing the required works before commencement of RCS flights at all these three airports. Eventually AAI will operate and manage airport operations for Burnpur, Rourkela and Bokaro airport, on behalf of SAIL for three years,” SAIL said. It said, start of operations at Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur airports under the RCS-UDAN would benefit the citizens of these cities through better connectivity and also speed up the developmental activities in the region.
23/04/18 PTI/Financial Express

Jet Airways & AeroMexico to codeshare from May 1

New Delhi: Jet Airways and Mexican carrier AeroMexico have started codeshare sales from Monday for travel commencing May 1, 2018 between Delhi and Mumbai and Mexico City via the Heathrow Airport in London. Jet Airways will put its “9W” code on flights operated by AeroMexico from London to Mexico’s capital city. In turn, AeroMexico will put its “AM” code on the direct flights offered by Jet Airways from London to cities in India.
India and Mexico have seen a 15% annual growth of traffic rate over the last three years. Jet’s director Gaurang Shetty said: “This is an important agreement for the Jet Airways, as it enables us to offer our guests more connectivity options to Mexico which is gaining more and more traction with the discerning Indian traveler looking for new experiences. We are confident that this relationship will help facilitate demand for not only leisure but also in the fast growing trade and business cooperation areas between both nations.”
Anko van der Werff, chief revenue officer, AeroMexico said: “The celebration of this codeshare agreement is further proof that AeroMexico continues to work to connect its customers to the most important regions of the world, which is why it was fundamental to sign this agreement for travel to India, a country featuring continued growth of its economic activities and diverse tourism industry.”
23/04/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Dip in air traffic in routes connecting Mumbai to metros

Mumbai: While domestic air traffic grew by 28 per cent in March when compared to last year, certain key routes connecting Mumbai to other metropolitan cities have seen a dip in passenger load across major airlines last month, states a study by safety body Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). As March marks the end of the financial year, it is an off-peak season for business and leisure travel.

According to the March air traffic data provided by DGCA, key routes, including Mumbai-Delhi, Mumbai-Bengaluru and Mumbai-Hyderabad, have reported a dip in the “seats sold in the highest fare bracket”. This means that the number of passengers planning trips to these cities, one or two weeks ahead of the date of travel, has reduced.

Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer (B2C), Yatra.com, said: “As per the March DGCA report, there has been a marginal decline in the percentage of seats sold in the highest fare class for most airlines when compared to February. This is on account of the overall load factors in March having reduced marginally, as well as less people travelling for business.”

“Business travel is the largest contributor to last minute travel and hence, the consumption of higher fares. March typically sees lower business travel on account of closing of the financial year and this seems to be the case this year as well.”

While Jet Airways operates over 135 flights out of Mumbai to local and overseas destinations, IndiGo operates over 102 flights. For example, passenger seat occupancy for the highest fare segment in Jet Airways between Mumbai and Delhi in March fell to 0.40 per cent as compared to 0.89 per cent in February. Similarly, flights between Mumbai and Bengaluru on IndiGo witnessed 0.02 per cent occupancy last month as compared to 0.13 per cent in February in the same category.

Other airlines, including Vistara, Spice Jet and Go Air, also witnessed a dip in the key sectors operating out of Mumbai.
23/04/18 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

Alliance Air carries out test flight to Pasighat in Arunachal

 Itanagar: Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, successfully carried out a test flight to Pasighat Airport in Arunachal Pradesh's East Siang district today, officials said.

The airline operated an ATR-42 aircraft to the airport from Guwahati in Assam and the duration of the flight was two hours twenty minutes, they said.

The aircraft landed successfully at the Pasighat Airport from Guwahati with officers of the airlines on board and paved the way for operation of commercial flights, a state government official said.

The officers along with crew members led by Vikash Sharma the Chief of Flight Safety Alliance Air, flight Inspector of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) N S Lohan and Alliance Air Coordinator T K Saha were accorded warm welcome by officials of the state.

"It was a lovely flight to Pasighat. We are really proud that we are making history. People of the state are really going to enjoy Alliance Air," Flight Inspector Captain N S Lohan said.

"This is a really historic moment for the people of the state," the Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Management of the state, Kaling Moyong, said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pema Khandu today said a new chapter in the history of Arunachal Pradesh has begun with the successful landing of the Alliance Air aircraft at the civil terminal of Pasighat at 12.30pm.

"Soon we would have the first civilian aircraft flying out of Pasighat and I am optimistic the same would follow in various ALGs of the state encompassing our state in the country"s flight map. This may look a simple step to many but is one giant leap for us," Khandu said in a statement here.
23/04/18 Outlook

First aircraft lands at Pasighat in Arunachal

Guwahati: Opening a new chapter in air connectivity in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh, an Alliance aircraft – ATR 42, made successful test-landing at the civil terminal of Pasighat Advance Landing Ground (ALG) at 12.30 pm on Monday.
The aircraft with its crew reached Pasighat from Guwahati in 2 hours 20 minutes. They were accorded a warm reception at Pasighat by local legislator Kaling Moyong. Chief Minister Pema Khandu said a new chapter in the history of Arunachal Pradesh has begun with the successful test-landing of the Alliance aircraft.
“Soon we would have the first civilian aircraft fly off from Pasighat and I am optimistic the same would follow in various ALGs of the state encompassing our state in the country’s flight map,” Khandu said, adding that one of the greatest challenges of connectivity facing the state had been overcome.
23/04/18 Tribune

‘Air India facing cash deficit of Rs 250 crore every month’

New Delhi: Air India is unable to purchase all the spares it needs, resulting in idling aircraft, due to a monthly cash deficit of Rs 200-250 crore that affects availability of funds for maintenance, the civil aviation ministry has candidly admitted.
The ministry has told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that a restricted cash flow was responsible for inoperational aircraft despite a turnaround plan (TAP) being in force since 2011 while fleet expansion had been hit by viability issues and an ongoing CBI probe into previous acquisitions.
“There is a cash deficit of Rs 200 crore to Rs 250 crore every month which affects availability of funds for procurement of spares,” the ministry told the PAC even as it said that “every attempt” was being made to devote maximum financial resources to availability of spares to improve utilisation of aircraft.
It needed $300 million accessed through external commercial borrowings to liquidate outstanding dues of foreign suppliers in 2015 to improve the situation as maintenance expenditure soaked up Rs 2,500 crore or 12% of the debt-laden airline’s operating expenditure.
An examination of AI’s functioning by the PAC is significant in the light of the government’s decision to disinvest 76% stake in the carrier.
23/04/18 Rajeev Deshpande/Times of India

Central team to visit Mandi to select airport site

Shimla: A high-level team from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation will soon visit Himachal to explore the possibility for the setting up of an international airport in Himachal. This was stated by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu during a meeting with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in New Delhi on Monday.
The Chief Minister had raised the issue of construction of an international airport in Mandi district to promote tourism in the state.
The Union Minister instructed officials of the department to send a high- level team soon to Himachal Pradesh to select a suitable site, keeping in mind technical parameters required for an international airport.
The Chief Minister apprised the Union Minister that tourism was a major contributor to the GDP of the state which had immense tourism potential. He said the state was unable to exploit full potential of tourism in the absence of an international airport and good aerial connectivity which was a must to attract the high-end tourists.
Thakur also informed the Union civil aviation minister that the three airports in the state at Shimla, Bhuntar and Gaggal could not be expanded due to unavailability of land in a hilly terrain. He added that flights to these airports were very erratic due to which tourists were unable to benefit.
23/04/18 Tribune

Air India's aircraft sit idle because it can't pay for spares and repair

Despite many attractions such as lucrative international routes and prime time slots, Air India has yet to find a suitor after the civil aviation ministry came out with the preliminary information memorandum on Air India's strategic disinvestment on March 28. Air India's mountain of debt, besides many other issues, discourages buyers. The debt stands at Rs 48,876 crore.

India's national airline is also being bled by a cash deficit. The civil aviation ministry has admitted that several of its aircraft are idling because Air India is unable to purchase all the spares it needs thanks to a monthly cash deficit of Rs 200-250 crore that affects availability of funds for maintenance, according to a TOI report.

The ministry has told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that a restricted cash flow was responsible for inoperational aircraft despite a turnaround plan (TAP) being in force since 2011 while fleet expansion had been hit by viability issues and an ongoing CBI probe into previous acquisitions.

On March 28, the ministry came out with the preliminary information memorandum on Air India's strategic sale. It has sought expressions of interest from potential bidders for a 76-per cent stake sale in loss-making Air India as well as divestment of Air India Express and AI-SATS. The last date for submission of expression of Interest is May 14. The qualified bidder will be informed on May 28. A number of airlines have refused to come forward due to discouraging terms of sale.
23/04/18 Economic Times

Air India flight to Copenhagen 4 times a week, more new services planned

New Delhi: Buoyed by the occupancy rate of its Delhi-Copenhagen flight, Air India on Monday announced increasing the frequency on this route to four days a week, even as it planned new services from Mumbai to Germany soon.
The airline took to Twitter to announce increasing the frequency of the tri-weekly Delhi and Copenhagen flight, launched in September last year to four days a week from May 11.
"Happy to announce Air India to increase frequency on Delhi Copenhagen sector four times a week effective 11th May 2018," it tweeted.

Air traffic between India and Denmark has seen a robust growth of over 10 per cent and the number of visas issued rose by about 20 per cent during the last couple of years.
Sources said the frequency of services from Delhi to Austria's capital Vienna would be announced soon.
23/04/18 PTI/Times of India

Resentment in Bhubaneswar-bound Vistara flight for ill-mannered passenger

Bhubaneswar: In a shocking incident, a passenger onboard a Bhubaneswar-bound Vistara flight UK 781 was seen showing unmannerly behavior while he was sleeping on his seat no- 1F with his legs kept over a newspaper on April 20.

The person identified as Chiranjit Singh Grewal’s uncivil gesture crossed all limits when he refused to put his legs off the newspaper stand when a co-passenger opted to read it and even kept another newspaper on his lap.

Reportedly, the flight which took off from New Delhi was about to take off when Grewal was busy in talking over his mobile phone despite repeated requests by the airline staff.

Resentment brewed among other passengers who witnessed the person’s unusual behavior on the flight.
23/04/18 Pragativadi

Flight Charter Startup JetSetGo Acquires India’s Oldest Aircraft Operator

JetSetGo today announced the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation Limited - India’s oldest non-scheduled aircraft operator (NSOP) with operations in India.

Incorporated in 2014 and for the first time aggregating India’s available private jets and helicopters, JetSetGo has rapidly grown to have pan India presence becoming the country’s largest private aviation company that offers seamless and cost-efficient air connectivity with 2,800 aircraft movements executed last financial year alone. Typically managing and executing chartered flights through DGCA approved non-scheduled operator permits that are owned by others, the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation Limited now gives far more flexibility to JetSetGo to directly manage its own fleet and to provide on demand air connectivity. It will also offer its customer’s aircraft sales & acquisition, fleet management and other aviation support services.

Speaking about the acquisition, Kanika Tekriwal, CEO of JetSetGo said, “As the oldest NSOP and having truly created the aircraft management market in the country, Indo Pacific has been instrumental in many ways in the growth of the private jet and helicopter market in India. Indo Pacific has far too many firsts to its credit and we are excited that this acquisition brings together the values of the old with the dynamism of the young. This acquisition now gives a significant boost to our ability to grow our fleet and offer unique services and next generation aircraft for personalized on-demand mobility.”

With rapid growth in the domestic civil aviation market and increasing global investor focus on hybrid electric planes, flying taxis and disruptive transportation models, JetSetGo has been positioning itself well at the centre of India’s evolving on-demand air travel market with a simple vision to enable the fastest form of travel from any Point A to Point B at a time when most forms of commute unfortunately remain far too inefficient in the country for a variety of reasons. Unlike most start-ups in the country that continue to burn cash, JetSetGo has been cash flow positive from inception.
23/04/18 BW Disrupt

HC directs de-sealing of Flying Club only for winding up process

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed de-sealing of the prestigious Delhi Flying Club (DFC) and asked the management to take out its articles and complete the winding-up process of the premises at the Safdarjung Airport in two months.
The court made it clear that now the premises would be used by the DFC, which was established in 1928 with an aim of training young men and women as aviators in India, only for the winding-up process and it will not take any fresh booking for events.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik and former air chief marshal and Padma Vibhushan awardee PC Lal were some of the alumni of the DFC.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued the direction after the counsel for the club said it was ready to withdraw the petition challenging eviction notice by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
In January 2017, the AAI had made a demand that the DFC clear its dues and a show-cause notice was issued on by the eviction officer. The flying club had challenged the eviction notice before the high court which had directed it to assail it before appropriate authority.
The club had said since there was no appellate tribunal, it has moved the high court.
The court said the club will be de-sealed with effect from April 26 and it will give the physical possession of the premises to the AAI on or before June 26.
It said the direction that the premises will be used only for winding -up process was being issued so that third parties are not troubled because of the litigation between the DFC and the AAI.
23/04/18 Tribune

Woes of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport

Anybody visiting Assam or arriving through Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport is bound to have a disappointing experience at the overall ambience and poor facilities at the airport.

The Advantage Assam programme gave a temporary cosmetic facelift to the airport. The long queues at the entry point of the airport, in front of the X-Ray machines, the check-in counters and the serpentine security check queues are the other disappointing tales for the passengers flying out.

On 16th April last, after landing into LGBI airport from Bengaluru, the marked difference in facilities of both the airports was clearly visible to me. Bengaluru is of an international standard; LGBI offered a very disappointing ambience.
Usually, a vehicle dropping off a passenger is given 5 minutes to exit and in such a case no parking fee is payable. Recently, the parking booths at the entry and exit points have been placed in such a manner that on most occasions, it becomes impossible for the driver to exit within 5 minutes mainly due to the unorganised parking and long line of exiting vehicles leading to the exit booth.

One fails to understand whether the facilities provided in the parking lot to the vehicles justify the exorbitant charge of sixty rupees from each vehicle as parking fees. There are neither any attendants to facilitate organised parking nor is there adequate security cover provided to the vehicles. Deliberately, the lessee of the parking lot through his attendants at the exit pay booth delays collection of the parking amount so that the free time limit of 5 minutes is over. It is a common sight for the occupants of a vehicle falling into verbal arguments with the fee collection agents with regard to payment of parking fees, causing unnecessary harassment to the vehicles that are behind in the queue.

Any vehicle which left the airport on the afternoon of 16th April last had to wait for minimum 30/45 minutes at the exit booth of the airport due to the sheer inefficiency of the attendants at the exit booth in collecting the parking fees, for which long queues of vehicles formed at the exit point which stretched back right to the drop-off point of the airport.
23/04/18 BHaskar Dev Konwar/Guwahati Plus

Sri Lankan couple smuggling Rs. 9 mn worth gold to India nabbed at airport

Colombo: A Sri Lankan couple, who attempted to smuggle out a stock of gold worth over Rs 9.1 million to Mumbai, was arrested early this morning by the Customs officers at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

The Customs says the value of the stock of gold is around Rs. 91,183,850.

The business couple, residents of Maradana, had arrived at the Katunayake International Airport this morning to take a jet Airways flight to Mumbai departing at 5:45 am.

Upon inspection of their luggage at the airport the airport security officers found gold pieces weighing 2kg and 355g concealed in the luggage.
22/04/18 Colombo Page

Army man carrying tusks arrested at Srinagar airport

Srinagar: An army man was detained by Jammu and Kashmir police at Srinagar Airport on Sunday for carrying elephant tusks in his baggage.

The soldier working as a cook in the army was detained at Srinagar Airport for illegally carrying elephant tusks. However, an official said that they have detained him and further investigations are going on.

Pertinent to mention, tusks are one of the highly prohibited items and cannot be carried or brought or taken from one place to another. It is banned under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). The Wildlife Act of India, 1972 also prohibits the trade of ivory tusks.
22/04/18 Kashmir Life

Woman nabbed with gold at airport

Bhubaneswar: The customs' air intelligence unit seized 545 grams in gold articles from a non-resident Indian woman at Biju Patnaik International Airport here on Sunday.

This is the third such incident of gold haul in the airport this month.

Custom officers said the gold articles, which included 27 rings, four bangles and a chain, were recovered from two out of the 50 women's handbags that the passenger, who arrived from Bangkok, was carrying. "The woman was travelling with a Thai passport. The gold items were given silver coating to avoid recognition."
"The value of the seized gold is around Rs 17.88 lakhs. We are further interrogating the passenger," said a customs officer.

On April 9, gold weighing 700 grams worth Rs 22 lakh was seized while being smuggled inside a mixer grinder. More than five kilograms of gold have been seized from passengers at the airport since it started international operations.

Though the airport got international tag in October 2010, the first direct international flight was launched only last April with an Air Asia flight to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Similarly, Air India started international flight services to Bangkok from the airport in December.

A customs officer suspected the involvement of a well-organised racket behind such incidents.
23/04/18 Telegraph