Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Draft Air Passenger Charter proposes zero ticket cancellation fee within 24 hours of booking

New Delhi: If an air passenger cancels their ticket within 24 hours of booking, and provided travel is to take place after 96 hours, then they could be allowed to do this without charge. This has been proposed in the draft Air Passenger Charter which has been put in public domain on Tuesday for public comments.

The government has unveiled Air Sewa hashtag which has four elements, including Draft Air Passenger Charter and a DigiYatra experience for seamless movement through airports in India.

Unveiling Air Sewa, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said it is proposed that cancellation charges should not be more than basic fare and fuel surcharge. It is proposed that if a domestic airlines cancels a flight or delays for more than 4 hours then a passenger can seek full refund.
22/05/18 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

Zero cancellation fee proposed within 24 hours of air ticket booking

The air passengers will soon have plenty of reasons to rejoice. The ministry of civil aviation has released draft passenger charter that defines the rights of air passengers. A long list of rules aims to empower passengers in case of flight delays, cancellations and other forms of inconveniences caused by the airlines. The crucial points include:

1. The draft has capped the cancellation charges, and it will never exceed the basic fare plus fuel surcharge in any circumstance. At the moment, each airline follows its own cancellation policy. For instance, market leader IndiGo takes a minimum of Rs 3,000 on cancellations. GoAir charges Rs 2,950 for cancellations beyond two hours of departure. The step will certainly benefit passengers who are flying on shorter routes as fares on short-haul flights are lower than the current cancellation charges of the airlines. It will also put a tight leash on the airlines that change their cancellation charges frequently.

2. Passenger will be allowed the cancel or amend tickets within 24 hours of booking ticket without bearing any cost. Some airlines like Vistara and Jet Airways are already offering this facility to their flyers.

3. If there's a delay of more than 4 hours, the airlines have to offer full refund of ticket to the passenger. Also, if the delay involves the flight to fly on the next day, the airlines have to offer free hotel accommodation. Last month, aviation regulator DGCA reported 81,191 cases of delays beyond two hours. IndiGo had the highest number of passengers - 29248 - affected by the delays beyond two hours, and the airline offered free refreshments to those affected.

4. According to draft, the airlines will have to pay a minimum compensation of Rs 5,000 (or more depending on ticket price) in case the passenger is denied boarding on the plane on account of overbooking by the airline. Overbooking is one of the biggest menaces that the regulator has not managed to curb. Despite their fancy software, airlines in India frequently indulge in overbooking to ensure effective use of capacity. Early this year, DGCA had told Delhi High Court that it does not allow overbooking of flights and airlines are liable to compensate passengers. With the charter, there's finally a rule in place.

5. The most interesting point in the draft includes all airports to provide passengers with free 30-minutes Wi-Fi services. Currently, the free Wi-Fi services are available for local mobile numbers and passengers with international roaming packs. In addition, the draft highlights that both domestic and international airlines are allowed to offer internet services and mobile services on-board an aircraft in Indian airspace, and interested stakeholders need to apply for licenses and regulatory clearances.
22/05/18 Manu Kaushik/Business Today

DGCA can grant exemptions from flight duty limits, but not as routine: HC

The Delhi High Court today said the aviation regulator, DGCA, had the power to grant the airline companies an exemption from the stipulated flight duty time limitations (FDTLs) of pilots, but "not as a matter of routine". A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar gave the ruling on pleas filed by Air India and the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), seeking modification of the high court's April 18 direction to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) not to permit variations in FDTLs.
The FIA represents private carriers Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir.
The court directed the DGCA to indicate its stand on the applications.
The regulator was also asked to place on record the applications of airlines seeking exemptions or variations in FDTLs from December 1 last year till date and the orders passed by the DGCA in each case.

"Under Rule 133A(4) of the Aircraft Rules, the DGCA stands empowered to grant exemptions," the court said, adding, "Prima facie, we have no doubt that neither any exemption to prescriptions under the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) nor any variation thereof can be given as a matter of routine."

The bench listed the matter for further hearing on August 2.

Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for the FIA, told the court that exemptions from the stipulated FDTLs were only granted in exceptional circumstances and if none were granted, it would lead to "flights and passengers being stranded all over the place".

"It will create utter chaos," he said and asked the court to clarify its April 18 order by saying that the DGCA will also take into account Rule 133A(4), when considering an airline's application for exemptions.

The court had, in its April 18 order, said the DGCA would be bound by the amended Rule 42A of the Aircraft Rules, which did not give it the power to permit any contravention of the stipulated FDTLs.

Chidambaram said the court had passed the order as it was not informed about Rule 133A(4), which gave the DGCA the power to grant exemptions.
State-run Air India, represented by advocate Lalit Bhasin, also took a similar line of argument.
22/05/18 PTI/moneycontrol.com

Unique ID to enable paperless boarding for domestic flyers

New Delhi: A unique identity number will soon let you whisk past airport processes while boarding domestic flights. A technical team representing Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the four private metro airports has finalised the format for biometric-based “digi-yatra” (DY) for all airports to enable a completely paperless boarding process for domestic flyers.
Under this, each traveller will need to get the unique ID from an aviation ministry portal which will be linked to their biometrics. People will give this unique DY ID at time of booking domestic tickets.
Only those who want a paperless boarding experience will need to get this unique ID as the existing procedure will continue to remain in place. The aviation ministry had in September 2016 created the Airsewa portal for grievance redressal.
Now this portal will be used for Digi-Yatra. “We are soon going to launch an updated version of AirSewa portal for which tenders have been issued. AirSewa-II will have a link for Digi-Yatra. Passenger will (individually) enrol themselves on this link to get a unique DY ID number. At the time of registration, they will give some ID proof like Aadhaar or four-five other things like driving licence. The details will be matched for verification,” AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told TOI.
Airline websites will also be updated to give the option of providing the unique DY ID number by passengers at the time of booking tickets. “When a passenger goes to the airport for the first time after getting the unique ID and with a ticket where the ID has been given at the time of booking, he or she will need to take the photo ID card and a photograph with them.
22/05/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Domestic airlines to order more wide-body planes as more Indians fly overseas

Two Indian carriers are expected to place significant orders for wide-bodied aircraft, one of which could be significant, according to a latest assessment by aviation consultant CAPA.

Wide-bodied aircraft form a mere 1.5% of the current fleet of a total 550 aircraft of Indian carriers. About 1,000 aircraft are on order, most of which are narrow-bodied aircraft with single aisle that can accommodate a fewer number of passengers.

These aircraft are being acquired for domestic flights or short international routes.

The wide-bodied plane, on the other hand, has two aisles, more seats and is, therefore, used for long distance flights or on high-density domestic routes.

Aviation industry insiders said the demand for wide-bodied aircraft is arising as Indian carriers are now preferring to use them on heavily congested routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Bengaluru, etc, as the slots available are scarce and demand growth explosive.

But most importantly the carriers are eager to expand out in the international market, triggering demand for the larger planes.

CAPA expects the domestic aviation industry to grow 20% this fiscal.

Devesh Agarwal, a Bengaluru-based aviation expert said the Indian carriers will deploy wide-bodied planes on busy domestic routes such as Mumbai-Delhi purely for the lack of slot availability.

"Otherwise, it makes no economic sense," he said.

CAPA said the financials of airline companies will be impacted this fiscal due to rising fuel costs, weakened rupee and aggressive capacity inductions.
22/05/18 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

Kolkata tops Chennai air passenger traffic by 25% in 2017

Chennai: Chennai airport's annual passenger traffic may have touched the 20 million-mark, but in terms of growth percentage Kolkata has overtaken Chennai. Kolkata had 25% passenger growth last year becoming a gateway airport in the east and also attracts traffic from south east Asia headed to Delhi. Chennai had only 10% growth due to capacity constraints though the airport was expanded at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore in 2013.
Statistics show that Chennai's passenger traffic growth was slower than all major airports except Mumbai, an airport which is saturated, last year. Kolkata and Chennai were expanded simultaneously as part of the Airport's Authority of India plan to open modern airport in the two cities. However, Chennai has not been able to capitalise on the expansion because of constrains on the air side - runways, taxi way, apron - of the airport.
An official said that Kolkata which had always seen sluggish growth had performed well last year. "The annual passenger numbers is more than 19million. The airport has a good integrated terminal and space on the airside. This has helped the airport emerge as a hub for all small cities in North East.The airport will be able to cross the 20million passengers mark next year," He added.
Passenger movement has increased at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. Hyderabad showed 20% increase in passenger traffic last year though the total number of travellers still hover around 18million per year.
A senior official said that "Kolkata's growth may not have an impact on Chennai. But it has set an example of how an airport can be converted into a passenger-friendly facility. The airport has a better terminal than Chennai. Due to space constraints, the domestic and international terminals don't have depth. This limits the number of passengers handled at a time."
In terms of business, Chennai has lost to Bengaluru. The airport handled ....passengers last year. Due to absence of parking stands for planes and lack of rapid exit taxiway, airlines did not want to use Chennai as a hub andmoved to Bengaluru. Aviation experts also caution that unless AAI improves facilities at Chennai and offer incentives to airlines to fly, the airport would further loss out when Andhra open new airport at Amaravati, it's new capital.
22/05/18 Times of India

Accident bureau to probe Alliance Air's overshooting incident

Mumbai: Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) on Tuesday said they will be taking over the investigation of Alliance Air flight's overshooting incident.
The incident took place on May 21 at 5.29 pm, when the aircraft of Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, arriving from Mumbai overshot the runway by 117 meters during landing at the Shirdi airport.
Up to 70 passengers who were on board had a narrow escape.
According to media reports, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will also investigate the matter separately.
22/05/18 ANI

Air India to be sold only at right price, not less: Government

New Delhi:  The government on Tuesday made it clear that Air India divestment is not a distress sale and that the process will be concluded only at the right price. “The Government retains the right to sell or not to sell AI if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” aviation secretary R N Choubey said, while adding that the divestment move has generated a lot of “positive buzz”. “We are confident that this move will be successful. But the transaction will happen only at the right price,” he said.
The government, which hopes AI has a new owner before the year-end, had earlier extended the last date for intimating qualified interested bidders eligible to bid for AI to June 15 from May 31. The last date for interested bidders to submit their expressions of interest has also been postponed to May-end from May 14. The highest bidder would be known by end of August, Choubey said, and will have to meet substantial ownership and effective control norms and get security clearances before the stake sale takes place.
The government is okay if the successful bidder of AI is a non-airline. Consultants have been hired to decide on enterprise value and do asset valuation. Based on this, a floor price will be set for the AI. If bids are lower than the floor price, then AI sale is unlikely to happen.
22/05/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Will Air India ever be sold? Top official reveals what government will do if it doesn’t get right price

Air India’s disinvestment, the big-ticket PSU sale which could boost the government coffers and help it unload a white elephant, might have just hit a snag even before taking off. A top government official has said that the government could, after all, decide not to sell the national carrier Air India, which has so far struggled to find takers since it was put on the block.

“The Government retains the right to sell or not to sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said to reporters on the sidelines of an event on Tuesday. The highest bidder for Air India should become known by the end of August, media reports said citing Choubey.

In March, the government had unveiled plans to sell up to 76 percent stake in the national carrier and transfer the management control to private players, and the winning bidder would be required to stay invested in the airline for at least three years. Expression of Interest (EoI) was sought from various entities, including foreign airlines to start off the disinvestment exercise

Paving a way for privatization, the Union Cabinet in June last year had provided an in-principle approval for debt-ridden Air India’s disinvestment. In September, the government invited applications from investment bankers, law firms, and other entities to advise it on the stake sale. While many domestic airlines including IndiGo and SpiceJet have already ruled themselves out of the race for acquiring a stake in the national airline, a recent Bloomberg report said that Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal has Air India on his radar.
22/05/18 Financial Express

No navigation aid: 295 flights face delays

Mumbai: A total of 295 departures and 117 arrivals were delayed at the Mumbai airport on Monday, according to data collected by flightradar24, a live flighttracking website, at 10pm.
Since aircraft on hold to land are given preference over aircraft waiting to depart, departures were delayed by an average of one hour and arrivals by 30 minutes. The airport’s instrument landing system, a navigation aid that allows air-traffic control to stack arrivals close to each other, is switched off on runway 27 since May 17.
It will remain switched off till June 5 for an upgrade. With only basic navigation aid available for pilots coming in for approach to land, air traffic movement has slowed down, leading to longer circling time over the city.
“With no ILS, the separation between aircraft on approach to land has gone up and so runway 27 is not as efficiently used. But slowly the quantum of delay has been going down,” said an air traffic controller.
22/05/18 Times of India

Love in the air: Man proposes to girlfriend aboard Indigo flight

Indore: Love took a long flight for a man who proposed to his girlfriend aboard an Indigo airline flight.

In a video of the incident that has gone viral, the passenger can be seen making the proposal using internal announcement system aboard a Indore-Goa flight on May 20 .

The clip showed the woman walking up to him and the latter, in a hat tip to countless romantic celluloid scenes, kneeling and offering his ladylove a rose.

The airline staff, in an apparent show of support for the man, can be seen holding placards on the aerobridge with "will you marry me?" written on them.

The romantic gesture, however, allegedly falls foul of the guidelines issued by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Indore Airport Director Aryama Sanyal said that the incident took place aboard an IndiGo Airlines Indore-Goa flight.

She said that the man had first proposed to his girlfriend on the aerobridge leading to the plane, and later, after obtaining permission from the airline staff, used the internal announcement system.
Sanyal said that the incident happened before the plane took off and requested that it be seen in a "positive" manner.

"If a person is proposing to someone at the aerobridge, then there is no need to take permission from the airport authorities.

However, for using the internal announcement of the plane, the nod of the flight's captain must have been taken," she said.
22/05/18 ANI/Deccan Chronicle

Rising fuel prices to hit airlines

The Indian airlines which are facing strong headwinds from the rising fuel prices may see its financial getting affected in FY19 in comparison to the last couple of years. The weakening of the rupee and rising fares out of aggressive capacity inductions is surely to add to their woes.

The firming up of Jet fuel costs has already started hurting the yields of the airlines and the Q4 results of Indigo and Spicejet are an indication. The fuel costs constitute more than 40% of the overall operating costs of the airlines.

According to an outlook report released in January by aviation consultancy firm CAPA for FY2019, all low-cost carriers (LCCs) except for AirAsia are expected to make a profit. The LCC may report $450-500 million profit. However, full-service carriers (FSC) are projected to report losses of $825-850 million – with both Air India and Vistara loss-making. Jet Airways expected to either break-even or report a modest profit, subject to the Q4 performance.
22/05/18 DNA

Why Arunachal Pradesh being on India's aviation map is crucial

New Delhi: A 42-seater ATR aircraft landing may not attract much attention in most parts of the world but when the Alliance Airlines plane touched down at Pasighat, it was a historic moment for Arunachal Pradesh. Cut-off of sorts from the rest of the country due to scarce air connectivity, Monday's flight signalled the arrival of regular commercial flight operations - bringing the state and its people closer to the rest of the country.

The aircraft, belonging to Alliance Airlines - a subsidiary of Air India, took off from Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport and completed an epic 1.5-hour journey to land at the Pasighat airport at around 1415 hours. It was epic because on board were not just Arunachal CM Pema Khandu, Deputy CM Chowna Mein, Assembly Speaker TN Thongdok and other cabinet ministers and legislators, but also dreams, hopes and aspirations of people of an entire state. "Today is a historic day and I congratulate the people of Arunachal in general and people of Pasighat in particular for this new milestone that would remain engraved in history as a huge step in the development of our state," Khandu told mediapersons. "With Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm and his concern in the sector of connectivity for the northeast has enabled us to fulfil a dream," he added.

PM Modi's government has indeed played a leading role in helping smaller centres of the country come onto the aviation map. Launched in 2017, the NDA government's UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme has not just envisaged developing existing regional airports to make them bigger hubs but to also bring aviation to smaller towns across India and make it financially viable. Commercial flight to Pasighat, for example, would be thrice a week from Guwahati and while only Alliance Air would be operating initially, reports suggest Zoom Air and Turbo Jet too would have flight operations soon.

Beyond just fulfilling dreams of people in the state, commercial flight operations here, many say, is also a daring statement to China that Arunachal Pradesh is indeed an integral part of India and no suggestions or manoeuvring contrary to it would be agreeable. In the past, China has issued maps showing Arunachal as its territory, protested PM Modi's visit here, threatened others from doing the same - including US diplomats, denied visa to sportspersons from the state and even issue stapled visas to people at large.
22/05/18 Zee Media

Jet to start three new flights in June

Jet Airways, looking at the growth in passenger traffic, is going to introduce three new flights from Nagpur. “There will be direct flights from Nagpur to Allahabad, Indore and Hyderabad. The Nagpur to Hyderabad flight will be starting from June 1 whereas the Nagpur-Allahabad and Indore flights will be starting from June 6”, said Jatinder Nakade, former Chairman of Travel Agents Association of India and Director of Travel Links while speaking to The Hitavada on Monday. Jet Airways has planned to start the Nagpur-Hyderabad flight on a daily basis whereas the Nagpur-Allahabad and Nagpur-Indore flights would be for three days in a week, i.e. on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Passengers can ascertain the timings of the flights by logging on to the Jet Airways website or contacting the air travel agent.

These three new flights will be in addition to destinations like Mumbai and New Delhi. The Nagpur-Hyderabad route is witnessing a surge in demand as Hyderabad is an established Information Technology (IT) hub. Other than Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines already has its presence on the Nagpur-Hyderabad route and operates two flights on a daily basis. With the growth in air passenger traffic shooting up by 20 per cent to 25 per cent per annum, the domestic aviation sector was witnessing a boom. The bookings to these three new sectors had started and were getting a good response at the Travel Links office, said Nakade.

“Initially, Jet Airways has introduced fares at nominal rates with special early bird incentives. The air fares were being quoted on Nagpur-Allahabad sector from Rs 2,634 (including taxes), Nagpur-Indore from Rs 2,818 and Nagpur-Hyderabad from Rs 3,503 as on May 21”, said Nakade. The air fares would change as per the demand and supply, he added. Jet Airways had purchased a large number of 45-seater aircraft and wanted to press them into service to increase their presence by starting flights on new sectors.
22/05/18 Ravi Chandpurkar/Hitavada

Put jet fuel in GST, aviation to finance ministry

New Delhi: The aviation ministry is pushing for inclusion of aviation turbine fuel in Goods and Services Tax (GST). Jet fuel prices have risen 40 per cent from January 2017 to this month.
Aviation secretary R N Choubey will meet revenue secretary on Tuesday to make this request as higher jet fuel prices are impacting airlines — and in turn passengers through rising fares — dearly.
The aviation ministry will cite the example of bunker oil which was carved out of the oil basket to be put in GST.
22/05/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Jet Airways UDAN offers: Fly for as low as Rs 967

India’s major airline operator, Jet Airways is offering fares starting for as low as Rs 967 under the Narendra Modi-led government’s regional air connectivity UDAN scheme. Th carrier has bagged four routes under the government’s scheme. The airline has announced the commencement of its operations under scheme, Udan, from June 14 onwards, with the first flight to be operated on the Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna sector.

Notably, the fares for Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna flight turned out to be the least at Rs 967, while the flights on the Patna-Allahabad-Patna route will cost Rs 1,216. Similarly, the ticket price for a trip on the Nagpur-Allahabad-Nagpur route has been pegged at Rs 1,690, while the Indore-Allahabad-Indore flight will cost Rs 1,914. Another attractively priced route includes Delhi-Nashik-Delhi flight at Rs 2,665, as per Jet Airways press release.

According to the currently available details, the airline will  fly three times a week on the Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna route. Besides this, the airline will also fly on the New Delhi-Nashik, Nagpur-Allahabad-Indore and Lucknow-Bareilly-Delhi routes.

“The UDAN scheme is a great initiative which facilitates in realizing the benefits of the aviation sector, reach the vast expanse of India and its various geographies. It is our constant endeavor to provide connectivity with a view to providing a fillip to the development of trade and tourism within all parts of India,”  Mr. Gaurang Shetty, Whole time Director, Jet Airways said in a press release recently.

With at least half of the seats in the Udan flights are offered at subsidised rates, the participating carriers get a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Centre and the states concerned, said a PTI report. To fund the scheme, the civil aviation ministry is collecting a levy of Rs 5,000 per departure from airlines operating in major routes, including Mumbai and Delhi.
22/05/18 Financial Express

Sharing mini-bus, taxi options for airport

Nashik: hough the city is being connected by air to different parts of the country there are hardly any options for the fliers to travel from the airport to the city and vice-versa.
While there is no bus service at the airport, the autorickshaw drivers demand hefty amount from the passengers. Keeping the problems being faced by the travelers in mind, a city-based travel agency has started to provide taxi and mini-bus service on sharing basis.
The price set by the company for every passenger is Rs 350. The distance from airport to the city is around 20km. The travel agency is owned by the president of Travel Agents Association Nashik (TAAN).
“We are planning to provide pick-up and drop facilities to passengers travelling by Delhi-Nashik return flights from June 15. This service is to facilitate the passengers,” an official from the travel agency said.
“Initially, we will rope in two taxis and a mini bus for the transport service. We are also in talks with some other agencies for the same purpose. Initially, one side fare for city to Ozar airport will be Rs 350 per seat. But we will reduce the fare following good response from the passengers,” he added.
While Air Deccan has started its operations from Nashik in December last year, Jet Airways will deploy 168-seater aircraft on Nashik-Delhi air routes from June 15. The flight will operate thrice a week on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
22/05/18 Tushar Pawar/Times of India

Nagpur airport expansion contract to be awarded soon

Mumbai: With the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur operating at overcapacity, Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) is set to award a contract to expand the airport to one of five bidders in two-three months.

Against an annual capacity of 10 lakh passengers, the Nagpur airport handled 19 lakh passengers in FY17. In FY18, this rose over 14% to 21 lakh. According to Ernst & Young (E&Y) whom MADC has engaged for the purpose, estimates are that passenger volumes will touch 25 lakh this year. E&Y has forecast passenger traffic to grow 15% year-on-year (Y-o-Y).

In order to cater to the growing passenger volume, MADC has planned to expand the airport in phases. At the end of the first phase of development by 2022, the capacity will go up to 40 lakh from 10 lakh at present.

Suresh Kakani, VC & MD of MADC, said as soon as 75% of this capacity, or a throughput of 30 lakh passengers was achieved, it would trigger the second phase of development, taking the total capacity to 70 lakh. “The presence of export-oriented industries in the special economic zone (SEZ) at the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport (MIHAN), the technology parks under construction as well as the lack of an international airport in the region are among the reasons why passenger volumes have been growing rapidly at Nagpur Airport.”
So far, five companies — Essel Infraprojects, GMR, GVK, PNC Infratech and a consortium of Tata Realty and Tata Projects — have bid for the expansion of the airport. The estimated cost for the expansion is `1,685 crore.

The airport currently has only one runway which is just over 3-km long and 30-metre wide. The plan is to construct a brand new parallel runway that will be 4.5-km long and 60-metre wide.
Besides the runway, the winning bidder will have to construct the terminal building, some hangars and a taxiway that can be used to evacuate aircraft to the two upcoming maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities. The airport currently has one MRO, run by Air India. IndaMer Aviation’s MRO is expected to be operational by December this year.
22/05/18 Rouhan Sharma/Financial Express

Poor passenger amenities at Pune airport

Pune: The city airport might be have upped its passenger traffic and growth rate, but basic passenger facilities are not quite up to the mark, revealed the first quarter survey by the Airports' Council International (ACI).
Figures show that in 20 of the 33 basic passenger services-related parameters, the airport scored less than it did in the last quarter of 2017. The ACI, which is headquartered in Geneva, has been conducting these surveys for the past five years.
On May 19, IT professional Nitin Deshpande tweeted: “Escalator not working. Air conditioning either not working or woefully inadequate. Lounge not operational for months now. Even at 2.30 am it is sweltering hot in the departure lounge.”
On May 18, a passenger posted three photos of passengers sitting on the floor. “Flights to Ahmedabad get delayed for 5 hours and nobody is bothered about the passengers at Pune airport. No place to even sit,” he wrote.
Vatsal Mishra, another passenger, wrote: “What bad management at Pune airport. No one is even managing the check-in queues.”
While last year, the airport had been ranked third in “passenger services” in the category of the best airport by size and sub-category of 5-15 million passengers per year, this year it has slipped. The first quarter survey this year gave fewer points to the Pune airport in areas like check-in, parking, flight connectivity, trolley service, shopping, lounge etc.
22/05/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Jet Airways, Air India offering exciting discounts on domestic & international travel

New Delhi: Two Indian airlines are currently offering exciting discounts on air travel to international and domestic destinations. While Jet Airways has floated a number of offers for customers Air India is also offering instant discounts on air travel. According to the website of Jet Airways, it is offering 25 per cent discount on base fare in Premiere from India to select destinations in Europe. Customers should note that the offers are valid only on return journeys and is not applicable on travel to Amsterdam, London, Manchester and Paris.The tickets under the offer have to be purchased between May 21 and May 31, 2018, and travel should be completed between June 1 and September 15 this year.  As per information furnished on the website, the tickets have to be purchased a minimum 10 days prior to departure. In additional, Jet Airways is also offering 10 per cent discount on domestic flights.
While air travel is expected to get expensive with a rise in fuel prices, Jet Airways and Air India are still offering lucrative discounts on flight tickets to various destinations. Jet Airways has launched an offer where up to 25 per cent discount on premiere international tickets can be availed by a customer.

Jet Airways and Air India Jet Airways, Air India have been offering discounts on air tickets to select international and domestic destinations. New Delhi: Two Indian airlines are currently offering exciting discounts on air travel to international and domestic destinations. While Jet Airways has floated a number of offers for customers Air India is also offering instant discounts on air travel. According to the website of Jet Airways, it is offering 25 per cent discount on base fare in Premiere from India to select destinations in Europe. Customers should note that the offers are valid only on return journeys and is not applicable on travel to Amsterdam, London, Manchester and Paris.The tickets under the offer have to be purchased between May 21 and May 31, 2018, and travel should be completed between June 1 and September 15 this year.  As per information furnished on the website, the tickets have to be purchased a minimum 10 days prior to departure. In additional, Jet Airways is also offering 10 per cent discount on domestic flights.
It should be noted that the offer is only available on jetairways.com and mobile app. The 10 per cent discount is applicable on base fare in Premiere and Economy flights within India and is applicable on return journeys only. Tickets for the same must be availed between May 19, 2018, and September 30, 2018, and the travel must commence before or on September 30.  Customers should note that the tickets have to be purchased a minimum 15 days prior to departure. Among other things, the offer is not applicable on bookings done using the “Multicity option” and last but not the least, the offer cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. In addition, there is a slew of cashback offers for payments made through major mobile wallets.
22/05/18 ET Now News

Party drugs worth Rs 30 crore seized from Delhi airport, 4 held

Four men were arrested for their alleged involvement in an international drug syndicate and narcotics worth Rs 30 crore that was recovered from them, the police said on Monday.

Tablets of various drugs such as Mephedrone, Methaqualone, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Nitrazepam and Alprazolam, which are known as 'party drugs', were seized from them, they said.

More than 6.5 lakh tablets of various drugs, 2 kg of Mephedrone and 1 kg of Methaqualone were recovered from them. The members of this syndicate used to collect drug tablets and contraband sourced from various parts of India and send those to their clients in foreign countries including the UK, the USA, the UAE and other Middle-East countries.

The arrested accused have been identified as Ashish (29), Asim Ali (23), Parveen Saini (32) and Rajender (26).

The kingpins of the gang have been identified as Baljeet Singh alias Balli and Gajender Singh Rathore alias Gajju, who are currently in London. Saini was operating from Delhi and used to look after the entire network of this drug cartel in India.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police has been working on the drug cartel involved in the supply of tablets and synthetic drugs abroad for the last few months.

On 18th May, police received a specific information about Parveen Saini booking a consignment of various types of drug tablets and synthetic drugs to London (UK) from Custom Cargo of IGI Airport, Delhi.

These drug tablets were to be shipped off by hiding it in parcels of miscellaneous goods which were being exported to the UK.

Sharma, who is working as Custom House Agent in custom cargo of Indira Gandhi International Airport, was supposed to prepare the custom clearance documents for these goods.

The police learnt that Sharma was to manage clearance of this consignment with the help of people deputed on X-ray machines of cargo. Saini had contacts with the people deputed on X-ray machines of customs cargo.

Accordingly, the police team swung into action and laid a trap in the parking of customs cargo of IGI Airport, Delhi.
22/05/18 Tanseem Haider/India Today

Monday, May 21, 2018

Air India flight hits snag, makes emergency landing at Mumbai airport

New Delhi: An Air India Goa-Mumbai flight made an emergency landing at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Monday due to a hydraulic failure.
Full emergency was declared in flight 662 at 8.36pm and the plane landed safely at 9.18pm with 143 passengers on board. The aircraft stayed put on the main runway of the Mumbai airport after landing.
Everyone on board the flight was safe and no injuries were reported.
The primary runway resumed operations at 9.40pm. Flight operations had been moved to the secondary runway while the main one remained non-operational.
Mumbai Airport is the second busiest in the country, handling over 980 aircraft a day.
21/05/18 Times of India

Aircraft stuck on runway halts operations at Mumbai airport

New Delhi: Operations at Mumbai airport came to a halt at about 21:15, as an Air India aircraft made emergency landing at the airport and was stuck on the runway due to hydraulic failure.

This has already impacted operations of over 50 flights at the airport.

“Air india aircraft from Goa made emergency landing and blocked runway. Now being moved from runway due to hydraulic failure once aircraft removed runway inspection will be done and then dep shall be given clearance,” said a source in the know.

While the runway was opened for landing, the take offs were still not happening, due to presence of hydraulic oil on the main runway (09/27). This is set to further impact operations at the airport, which is already crippling with delays and cancellations due to an upgrade in the Instrument Landing System.

An airline official, who did not want to be quoted, said that infrastructure constraints are really becoming a problem every passing day. “It also does not help that airports stay mum, it is left to the airlines to inform the world and face the flak for delays,” said the airline executive.
21/05/18 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Air India sale still stuck on the runway

Mumbai: Uncertainty hangs over the Indian government's plans to sell Air India as onetime prospective buyers shun the troubled carrier.

Asked Friday whether Singapore Airlines was still interested in bidding, CEO Goh Choon Phong replied that he had said no such thing and that any developments on this front would be announced. The executive remarked that Singapore Air looks to focus Indian operations on Vistara, a joint venture with the Tata group conglomerate that plans to begin international service in the latter half of the year. Vistara is seen as "the undisputed leader in terms of product quality and services" in India, Goh said.

Senior executives at Singapore Air have repeatedly said to "keep the option open" on the potential bid for Air India. Goh's comment struck a decidedly more negative tone toward that.

Lacking serious bidders, the government has been forced to sweeten the deal. May 1 saw it push back the deadline for expressions of interest to May 31.

The government wants to sell 76% of Air India along with all of Air India Express. As of March 28, prospective buyers were required to submit expressions of interest by May 14, with qualified interested bidders to be informed May 28.
20/05/18 Nikkei Asian Review

DGCA moves NGT, says impossible to dump poop mid-air

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has moved the National Green Tribunal seeking a stay and review of its order directing the aviation regulator to issue a circular to all airlines operating at IGI Airport here to ensure that they do not empty toilet tanks mid-air.

The DGCA has now moved a plea seeking review and stay of the December 20, 2016 and the January 10 order of the tribunal claiming that it was impossible to dump human waste mid-air from aircraft toilet.

A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra Singh Rathore issued notices to the original petitioner Lt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya and others while seeking their replies by May 23.

Dahiya had moved the NGT alleging that faeces were splattered from aircraft on his South Delhi house before Diwali in 2016 after which the tribunal on December 20, 2016 had directed the DGCA to issue a circular to all airlines to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation if their planes are found dumping waste mid air.

The petition has referred to the findings of the expert committee, constituted by NGT, and said there is no switch or system available in the aircraft to dispose waste in flight.

“The aircraft system has three level of in-built external protection for disposing the waste and under no circumstance release of waste during flight is possible and there has been no such resort ever by the operators.

“The modern day airline toilets are sealed and cannot be emptied in flight and toilet waste can only be disposed of by manual operation on ground during its servicing,” the plea said.

The tribunal had earlier constituted committee comprising representatives from the DGCA, Central Avian Research Institute and CPCB to collect samples from the house of Dahiya.

The committee members were directed to send the samples for tests to ascertain whether it was human or bird excreta.

The NGT had earlier directed the CPCB to take a clear stand whether it can differentiate between human excreta and bird poop.

Aviation regulator DGCA had maintained that it was impossible to dump human waste mid-air from aircraft toilet, and bird droppings had landed on the complainant’s house, after which the green panel had ordered testing of the excreta samples.

The CPCB had said that there were traces of faecal coliform in the samples, indicating presence of human waste.
21/05/18 PTI/India.com

Jet Airways considers removal of 777-300ER first class cabin

Singapore: Jet Airways could remove the first class cabin on its 10 Boeing 777-300ERs in favour of more business and economy seats.

Jet tells FlightGlobal the refurbishment "forms part of a comprehensive cabin upgrade programme being evaluated by the airline to improve its guest experience", and that the process will take up to two years.

"The move is highly likely to go ahead," says the airline.

The reconfiguration would see the seating capacity of the widebodies grow to 400. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that each of the 777-300ERs is configured with eight seats in first class, 30 in business and 308 in economy - a total of 346 seats.

The carrier, however, did not disclose if it has selected the service provider for the refurbishment works.

Meanwhile, local media reports quote Jet's chief executive Vinay Dube as saying that the removal of first class cabins was due to the seats "not giving [them] the return we are looking for.... [and to] increase the cost efficiency (of the airline)".
21/05/18 Aaron Chong/Flight Global

Dead birds delay landings

Calcutta: Two aircraft had to abort landing in the city within one-and-a-half hours after dead birds were found on the main runway on Sunday morning.

Airport officials said a GoAir flight from Delhi was about to land at 7.35am when the pilot told the air traffic control that he had spotted a dead bird on the runway. The pilot was asked to make a go-around and the flight finally landed at 7.50am.

The pilot of an Air India flight spotted another dead bird while he was taxing out after landing at 9am.
The pilot of a cargo aircraft of Blue Dart, which was about to land at 9.01am, was asked to make a go-around. The flight finally landed at 9.15am.

Airport officials said both birds might have died after being hit by the thrust of aircraft engines.
21/05/18 Telegraph

Summer vacation on head, but Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo stocks hit fuel air pocket, tank up to 12%

Summer vacations are on our heads and airlines are eyeing holiday travellers to give them a big boost in the hot summer months. Families would be out for a good time as schools are set to close and airlines have already started presenting mouth-watering offers in India and abroad. However, the airlines, whether affordable or premium, have been hit by the fuel bomb. There is simply no relief in sight from rising prices of this commodity and it has changed the nature of prospects in coming months from calm to volatile. And not just airlines, even investors in the stocks of these airlines would have been eyeing gains to be milked from this yearly opportunity. But right now, they have been left bleeding badly. Jet Airways, SpiceJet and InterGlobe Aviation share prices today tanked by up to 12 per cent as investors fear that rising fuel prices will inflate the cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), putting pressure on airlines' margins even further.
21/05/18 Zee Biz

Air India to phase out dual-bogey A320s by YE2018

Air India will phase out its last remaining dual-landing-bogey A320-200s by the end of this year. Air India inherited the aircraft from Indian Airlines as part of their merger in 2011.

"Most of the time these planes are on a stand-by mode and they perform one or two schedule flights in a day," an official told India's PTI news agency.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, three of the aircraft are currently active - VT-ESE (msn 431), VT-ESF (msn 432), and VT-ESL (msn 499).

The configuration was due to the fact that many airports served by Indian Airlines at the time did not have suitable runways and taxiways that were not of optimal quality. As such, to better distribute loading and ease the strain on the aircraft's landing gear, twins were ordered.
21/05/18 ch-aviation

Ethiopian Airlines offers $500 Israel-India roundtrip fares

Ever since Air India began operating direct flights from Tel Aviv to Delhi in March, overflying Saudi Arabia, airlines have been offering cheaper flights to India with stopovers.

The latest this morning was Ethiopian Airlines, which is offering a flight to India for $461 with a 90-minute stopover in Addis Ababa, including up to 40 kilograms of luggage.

A "Globes" check of several dates shows that roundtrip flights actually cost $500, which is still definitely an attractive price. The bargain is valid for people ordering tickets by the end of June (the dates of the flights is not restricted, but the number of discount tickets on them is limited).

The flight from Tel Aviv to Delhi will take less than 13 hours, and the return flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv will take 14 hours. Ethiopian Airlines offers two daily flights from Tel Aviv to Addis Ababa: one morning flight and one late night flight.

Icelandic carrier WOW Air, which features trans-Atlantic flights to the US and Canada, is adding flights to the Far East by launching a route from Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, to Delhi. The new route will begin operating on December 5 using Airbus A330neo airliners. Fares from Iceland to India will start from $200 per passenger one way (excluding luggage and other accessories). To this must be added the cost of a flight from Tel Aviv to Reykjavik.

This route is less attractive to Israeli passengers in both price and length of the journey. The flight from Reykjavik to India takes 10 hours and the flight from Tel Aviv to Iceland takes 7 hours; it is aimed more at passengers flying from the US on the way to India. WOW Air operates flights from Tel Aviv three times a week.
21/05/18 Michal Raz Chaimovich/Globes

Arunachal enters commercial aviation map

Guwahati: A wartime airstrip laid 66 years ago helped Arunachal Pradesh create history on Monday by becoming the last of the eight northeastern States to be on India’s commercial flight service map.

Pasighat Airport, too, made it to the record books — as India’s easternmost airport with civilian operations — when an Alliance Air flight touched down at 2.30 p.m. from Kolkata via Guwahati carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and other passengers.

Pasighat, about 570 km northeast of Guwahati, is the headquarters of East Siang district and the State’s oldest city. The airport is roughly on 95.33°E Longitude while Mohanbarie Airport near Dibrugarh in adjoining Assam, hitherto the easternmost civilian airport, is on 94.91°E longitude.

“Today’s a historic day, ending our long wait for fixed-wing flights. This flight service also underlines the focus of our government on providing air and road connectivity to the remotest parts of Arunachal Pradesh,” Mr. Khandu said, after alighting from the 48-seater ATR-42 aircraft.

The Alliance Air flight took off a couple of hours later for Kolkata. Officials of Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, said the near-full flight holds promise for the thrice-a-week service on the Kolkata-Guwahati-Pasighat circuit introduced under UDAN, the regional air connectivity scheme.
21/05/18 Rahul Karmakar/The Hindu

Pema Khandu among 25 passengers on board first flight to Arunachal Pradesh

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh on Monday found a place on the aviation map of the country as the state's first commercial flight with Chief Minister Pema Khandu among 25 passengers on board, landed at Pasighat Advance Landing Ground in East Siang district.
The 42-seater ATR aircraft of the Alliance Airlines touched down at Pasighat airport around 2.15 pm after 1.5-hour journey from the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati.
"Landed safely at Pasighat airport few minutes ago flying from Guwahati on Alliance Air. Proud to be part of this historic moment. I am extremely thankful to PM @narendramodi ji and @MoCA_GoI for connecting Arunachal with airways (sic)," the CM tweeted minutes after landing at the airport.
21/05/18 PTI/Times of India

UDAN success: How small-town India is flying high in 13 months

New Delhi: Thirty-five kilometres from capital Gangtok, a town of nearly 36,000 residents is bracing itself for its date with history. Pakyong, in eastern Sikkim, would soon be a fixture on the aviation map of the country, with Bombardier Q400 aircraft ensuring air travel to the town. Made possible by the ambitious UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, that would be no ordinary achievement for a state which was yet off-limits for India’s rapidly expanding aviation network.

Before UDAN or the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) was introduced in April, 2017, India had a total of 75 airports connected by scheduled commercial flights. In the 13 months since, 25 new airports and airstrips, belonging to states and privately-held, have been added to the aerial network, with airlines, both new and established ones, lapping up over 300 routes in the first two rounds of bidding under UDAN. The third phase of allocation of UDAN routes may happen in the coming months. The ministry of civil aviation is currently reviewing the progress made by carriers in the first round. Interestingly, the ministry is contemplating promoting seaplanes to boost tourism under the scheme, after the introduction of helicopter routes in the last round.

Airports at Adampur and Pathankot in Punjab, Vijaynagar in Karnataka and Rourkela in Odisha have been turned around for civilian use under the scheme. While the Pathankot airport was revived after seven years, the airstrips at Rourkela and Vijaynagar were hitherto being operated by corporates for business purposes. Karnataka’s Hubli airport saw flights starting earlier this month. Kadapa, Kandla, Nanded, Ozar (Nashik), Pondicherry, Porbandar, Vidyanagar, Jalgaon, Diu and Mundra are amongst the other places that have launched operations. The RCS, launched to make air travel to small towns affordable and revive the country’s unserved and under-served airports, caps airfare for a one-hour journey on a fixed-wing aircraft at Rs 2,500.

Airlines plying on regional routes have claimed significant passenger load factor so far. “We are seeing a fantastic response on our UDAN route flights. Occupancy is over 90% on most routes,” Chairman & MD, SpiceJet, Ajay Singh had said. “Passenger response is very good. We are getting an average 70% occupancy on RCS routes,” says Senthil Raja of Turbo Megha.

India is the world’s fastest growing domestic aviation market. As per civil aviation regulator DGCA, Indian airlines handled over 11.7 crore travellers in 2017, posting 17.3% growth on y-o-y basis. Experts believe regional connectivity is critical if this high growth is to be sustained. “Adding airport capacity at metros is important. But for high growth, developing regional connectivity is the way forward. With economic prosperity and reasonable airfares, more and more people in tier-II and tier-III cities will travel by air. That is where UDAN will play a critical role,” says an aviation analyst.
21/05/18 Financial Express

SIA to leverage Vistara's international growth

Singapore: Singapore Airlines says that Vistara's pending addition of international routes will fit well in the group's route portfolio.

At its latest results briefing, SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong says that "because of the traffic between India and Singapore, we know that there will be synergies".

This, Goh adds, is "for the obvious reason that they can actually tap into the traffic that we can feed from Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific".
Vistara has previously said that it will operate its first international service in the second half of the year, after already having achieved the minimum fleet size of 20 as per Indian aviation regulations to apply for international routes.
21/05/18 Aaron Ching/Flight Global

Tamil Nadu cruises to new heights with expansion of airports

With passenger traffic, aircraft movement and cargo handling reaching a new high, the Tamil Nadu government has taken steps to speed up land acquisition for expanding six airports in the state.
In response, airlines have started showing interest in operating more flights from Salem, Trichy, Tuticorin, Madurai and Coimbatore which have huge potential for domestic and international connectivity.
The civil aviation ministry and the state government have been holding a series of meetings to complete the expansion plan and district collectors have issued notifications to acquire land to speed up land acquisition. Transfer of defence land in Chennai and Trichy will take place soon, sources said.
Orders have been issued to acquire 99 acres of land for Chennai airport expansion, while release of Rs166 crore has been sanctioned towards acquisition of 466 acres of patta land in Madurai. In Coimbatore, the state has released `176 crore towards interim award and laid out plans to revise compensation for land in 22 revenue blocks. The plan is to acquire 134 acres of defence land as well. The process is on to acquire 338 acres from defence estates in Trichy.
21/05/18 Julie Mariappan/Times of India

India set to overtake US aviation market, says minister

New Delhi :  India will become the world’s second-biggest aviation market by 2038 with 1bn passenger journeys a year, according to the country’s aviation minister.

Jayant Sinha believes rapid growth in passenger travel will see it leapfrog the US but lag behind China, whose own growth in passenger trips will see it overtake America by 2022, according to forecasts from the International Air Transport Association.

India’s aviation sector has boomed recently, with the number of passenger trips doubling to 200m over the past four years. Mr Sinha said he expected that growth to continue.

“We’ve set a target of 1bn trips [per year] in the next 15-20 years . . . At 1bn trips I suspect we will probably move past the US,” Mr Sinha said.

Iata’s forecast for Indian passenger trip growth would put it at a more modest 478m a year by 2036, but India’s aviation ministry officials stuck by Mr Sinha’s forecast.

India has the fastest growing domestic airline industry in the world. Last year, passenger volumes rose 17.4 per cent, ahead of second-placed China, which grew at 13.5 per cent, according to Iata.

However, the system is already running into capacity constraints. The strains on air-traffic control, for example, have led to an increase in the number of near misses between aircraft, as well as frequent delays. Last month, more than one-third of flights to and from Mumbai airport were late, airport authorities said.

The sector is growing so quickly that the country is also struggling to build enough airports, buy sufficient aircraft and recruit enough pilots to meet demand, although it is attempting to fix all three problems.

New Delhi has plans to build 50 airports and helipads in the next five years, Mr Sinha said, and a further 50 in the decade after that.
21/05/18 Kiran Stacey/Financial Times

Airport deal: Cos seek time, relaxed norms

Nagpur: Four private players, who have qualified to bid for Nagpur airport, have sought time of at least two months to weigh the deal before they finally bid. The state government, on the other hand, has plans to invite financial bids by June this year.
The issue came up during a pre-bid meeting held last week. Officials of the companies insisted that they should be given time to study entire dynamics like location, commercial prospects and other aspects before bidding. It was also insisted that successful bidder should be allowed to develop commercial infrastructure like hotels or other facilities from day one itself. The original plan calls for having such facilities on land other than the secured area of the airport after six years of the phase 1 development. The bidders want to start commercial development soon after bagging the airport deal.
The meet was attended by officials of GVK, GMR, Essel Infra and PNC Infra. Tatas, which had cleared the qualification round, did not turn up for the meeting. There was no representative of the Tatas in the earlier pre-bid meeting too.
Two of the companies — GVK and GMR — have a prior experience of running an airport. There was a demand from rest of the companies that the norm on having a tie-up with an experienced player by the first-timers should be relaxed. It was insisted that companies not having prior experience can come up with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an existing airport operator after they bid. Companies already running airports elsewhere insisted on having an MoU first. This can, however, eliminate competition because only two companies — GVK and GMR — have been running airports, said sources.
21/05/18 Shishi Aryal/Times of India

Work to start on international airport in Dholera in 2019

Gandhinagar: After more than a decade’s talks and discussions, finally, the state government is taking concrete steps to realize the new Dholera international airport project, which will be named the New Ahmedabad Airport. The state government is in the final stages of signing a joint venture agreement with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop the new airport situated about 80km from Ahmedabad. The agreement is expected to be signed in June 2018, work expected to begin by 2019, and the new airport expected to become operational by 2022, said sources close to the development.
With Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport expected to cross its maximum capacity of 18 million passengers a year by 2025-26, and with almost no option of expanding the existing airport, development of the new airport at Dholera has become a strategic necessity. A new SPV (special purpose vehicle) is expected to be formed shortly.
Manoj Gangal, director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport, said that another airport for Ahmedabad is required sooner or later considering the rapid growth in passengers. “We have reported highest growth in domestic passengers in the country and we are at second position in the country, after Kolkata, in terms of growth of international passengers. Passenger footfall is doubled every three years,” Gangal said.
21/05/18 Kapil Dave/Times of India

Passenger alleges Air India failed to return his lost luggage with all of its contents

Chicago: An airline passenger has filed a class action lawsuit against Air India Ltd. and Air India, citing alleged breach of duty and negligence.
Tayabali Lokhandwala filed a complaint on May 2 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the defendants failed to properly handle his checked luggage.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges, when he arrived at his destination, his luggage had been lost. Although his luggage allegedly was found three weeks after his flight, he claims his bag had been opened and some items had been removed. The plaintiff claims the defendants allegedly refused to compensate him for the lost items.
The plaintiff holds the defendants responsible for allegedly failing to properly handle his luggage and compensate him for the loss of his bag and personal items.
21/05/18 Noddy A. Fernandez/Cook County Record

Officials inspect Jeypore airport for UDAN clearance

Jeypore: An eight-member team, comprising officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI), on Sunday visited the Jeypore Airport to take stock of infrastructure development for operation of flight services under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.

The team led by Civil Aviation Ministry Joint Secretary Usha Padhee reviewed the infrastructure for operation of flights.

The construction work of the airport developed jointly by the AAI and the State Government had begun in 2016. While September 2017 was the deadline set for completion of work, the State-level coordination and monitoring committee decided to operationalise it by February this year. However, the work hasn’t been completed even after three months of the revised target.

The officials discussed on the impediments leading to the delay in completion of the work.
“We hope all the pending works will be completed within three months,” said Koraput district Collector K Sudarshan Chakrobarthy.
21/05/18 Pioneer

Kingfisher airlines among 18 firms to be delisted from NSE

Mumbai: Defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) along with 17 other firms will be delisted from the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) from May 30.

According to a NSE circular, companies like KFA, Agro Dutch Industries, Broadcast Initiatives and Lumax Automotive Systems among others will be delisted.

The stock exchange said that firms like Brandhouse Retails, Elder Pharmaceuticals, First Leasing Company India, Glodyne Technoserve, Helios and Matheson Information Technology, Tulip Telecom and Varun Industries will be delisted "due to liquidation".

"As per Rule 21(2) (b) of the Securities Contracts (Regulations) Rules 1957, it is hereby notified that it has been decided to delist (withdraw the admission to dealings in) the equity shares of companies w.e.f. May 30, 2018 which have been compulsorily delisted by BSE Limited," the stock exchange major said in a circular issued on May 18.
21/05/18 IANS/Pioneer

Delhi High Court bats for ex-Air India staff accused of theft

The Delhi High Court has asked Air India to consider the plea of a former woman executive director — accused of stealing a painting by renowned artist Jatin Das from the airline’s collection — challenging the national carrier’s decision to suspend her post-retirement benefits.

Rohita Jaidka, who retired in January 2011, had moved the High Court seeking restoration of her entitlements including medical benefits which were stopped by Air India. Ms. Jaidka told the Court that she was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Justice Sunil directed the carrier to consider the woman’s legal notice while treating it as a representation and pass a speaking order within four weeks.

“The woman has an impeccable and blemish-free career spreading over nearly four decades and her dedication towards work was well appreciated by the company/Air India... They have arbitrarily and unlawfully suspended the post-retirement benefits of the woman,” the petition said.
20/05/18 The Hindu

Man held for masturbating in front of woman onboard flight in Delhi

A Russian man was apprehended today at IGI Airport in New Delhi after an Indian woman claimed that he was sitting next to her on a Turkish airlines flight and masturbating in front of her.

CISF personnel guarding the airport reached flight TK-716 - which was flying from Istanbul to Delhi - as soon as it landed and were informed that the Indian woman had, in the meantime, made a distress call to the Delhi Police alleging sexual harassment by a co-passenger.

On enquiry it was learnt that the man, Krishna Ridzhal, had opened his trousers and started masturbating next to her. The woman complained to the airlines crew and he was shifted to another seat.

The man was later handed over to Delhi Police, who had also reached the Terminal-III area of the airport. He has been booked under Section 509 (words, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC, police said.
20/05/18 Arvind Ojha/India Today

Brazilian woman arrested from New Delhi airport for smuggling cocaine worth Rs 6 crore by swallowing 106 capsules

New Delhi: A 25-year-old Brazilian woman has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in New Delhi for allegedly smuggling cocaine in 106 self-swallowed capsules, officials said on Sunday.
The woman was apprehended by the NCB sleuths on 14 May, upon her arrival from Sao Paulo in Brazil, based on an intelligence input.

She was subsequently taken to the Safdarjung hospital, where an X-ray confirmed that there were cocaine-filled capsules in her body, the officials said.

A total of 106 capsules, containing 930 grams of pure South American cocaine, were recovered from the woman, they added. According to the Hindustan Times, the seized cocaine was worth around Rs 6 crore.

She was placed under arrest on Saturday under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and remanded to judicial custody by a court.

"She got the consignment from the South American drug mafia and was supposed to deliver it to African drug traffickers active in the National Capital Region," a senior NCB official said.
21/05/18 PTI/First Post