Thursday, April 27, 2017

PM Modi set to launch first flight under UDAN scheme from Shimla to New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to flag off the first UDAN flight from Shimla to New Delhi on Thursday. The flight will be operated by Alliance Air, a regional arm of national airline Air India.

The Prime Minister will also be handing out boarding passes to all passengers boarding the first UDAN flight. Senior officials of the aviation ministry, Air India and Airports Authority of India will also be present at the event.

But what exactly is UDAN? Listed below are five things you need to know about this new initiative.

Q1) What does UDAN stand for?

The word UDAN is an acronym for ‘Ude desh ka aam nagrik’, which essentially means all common people can now use air travel as a means for travelling. The scheme is intended to make flying more affordable for common people and to connect over 45 unserved and under-served airports across the country. The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.

Q2) Will all tickets on flights be subsidised under the UDAN scheme?

No. But 50 percent of all seats on each flight will now have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat, per hour. The government has also decided to extend the subsidy to the operators flying on these routes in the form of viability gap funding. According to the prime minister’s office, airfare for a 1-hour journey of approximately 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs 2,500.

Q3) Which are the places being connected under the UDAN scheme?

Flights under the UDAN scheme would connect airports spread across more than 20 states and union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The airports that will be connected to each other under the scheme include Shimla, Bhatinda, Neyveli, Bilaspur, Cooch Behar, Nanded and Kadapa.
27/04/17 Money Control

Civil aviation team visits Calicut airport

A team of civil aviation department officials today visited the Calicut International Airport at Karipur near here today to assess feasibility of operating wide-bodied aircraft.
The team, comprising officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI), was led by DGCA Joint Director J S Rawat and reviewed infrastructure at the airport for operating wide-bodied aircraft.
They held discussions with Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition) Jayasankar Prasad and ASO (Transport Department) J Vijayanath regarding the status of land acquisition for the development of the airport, Airport Director K Janardanan said in a press note.
The outcome of the inspection will be conveyed to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
The visit was in response to a request by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after a meeting with the Civil Aviation Minister in Delhi, he said in the press note.
26/04/17 PTI/India

Rites to conduct survey for Jewar airport

The proposed Jewar international airport project is gaining momentum. Days after chief minister Yogi Adityanath revived the project, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) on Wednesday appointed engineering consultancy company RITES to conduct an obstacle limitation survey (OLS) for the same. The move came in the wake of the state civil aviation department asking YEIDA to get the process started immediately.
According to YEIDA officials, they have received a letter from the director of civil aviation, Lucknow, on April 25, asking them to expedite the survey. "In September last year, we had advised the UP civil aviation department to carry out an obstacle survey of the land where the airport is proposed since we do not have any expert to do the same," said Arunvir Singh, CEO of YEIDA.
"At the time, a quotation had been taken from the Airports Authority of India. They quoted more than Rs 1.19 crore for the OLS. Finding that a little steep, we sought a quote from RITES. They have agreed to do the survey for Rs 69 lakh. On Wednesday, we formally appointed the central government agency for the survey and also made them the payment," he added.
Singh said RITES will begin the survey from May 1. "The OLS will be completed within a month," he said.
27/04/17 Vandana Keelor/The Times Of India

AirAsia Starts Operations On Kuala Lumpur-Bhubaneswar Route

AirAsia commenced its operations between Kuala Lumpur and Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. "We've landed in #Bhubaneswar!" the Malaysian carrier said on Twitter announcing the launch of its Kuala Lumpur-Bhubaneswar operations. With four weekly direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian airline added Bhubaneswar to its list of destinations in India. The Kuala Lumpur-Bhubaneswar flight marks AirAsia's 14th route into India. The new route - Kuala Lumpur-Bhubaneswar - will be operated exclusively by AirAsia Berhad (flight code AK). "It's #Bhubaneswar! We're flying 4x weekly!" it had said in a tweet on Wednesday.
AirAsia also shared images of the customary water cannon salute given to its maiden flight to Bhubaneswar after it landed in the city.

AirAsia on Wednesday shared a video clip Twitter showing its crew dancing before its inaugural flight took off from Kuala Lumpur.

A search on the AirAsia portal on Thursday morning showed a one-way flight from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur next week was available from an all-inclusive Rs. 13,899.
27/04/17 Sandeep Singh/NDTV

What action against senior AI pilot for forging docs: HC asks

The Delhi High Court today asked Air India what action has it taken against a senior pilot for making an alleged false entry in a pre-flight medical test register, when he took no alcohol test before take-off.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva termed such conduct as "a serious issue" as the pilot was being promoted to the post of Director (Operations) in the Board of Air India Ltd (AIL) and would be ultimately responsible for all safety-related issues.

"He forges documents. On such a serious issue, what has Air India done about it? Ultimately when he is promoted, he is going to be responsible for overall safety," the court observed.

It also asked the state-run carrier why such conduct was not brought to the attention of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

The judge did not appear to accept the argument on behalf of the pilot, Captain Arvind Kathpalia, that the doctor who was present in the medical room had "entrapped" him into entering his details into the pre-flight register.

The court questioned how such a senior officer could be intimidated or entrapped by the doctor to enter his details in the pre-flight register.

The judge also wondered why would such a senior officer enter his details into the pre-flight register when he never took the pre-flight breathalyser test and had gone to the medical unit only after flying back from Bengaluru.

According to the plea of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) opposing Kathpalia's promotion, the senior AI pilot flew a plane to Bengaluru from Delhi without taking the mandatory breathalyser test and then operated the return flight also without taking a test.

Thereafter, he had proceeded to forge the pre-flight medical register in Delhi after arriving back here, the petitioners have alleged.
26/04/17 PTI/DNA

Airport takes global flight

AirAsia gave the city its first international flight, connecting the state capital to Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysia-based budget airline will operate its flight from here four days a week - on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

While the flight with 180 seating capacity was scheduled to land at the Biju Patnaik International Airport at 11.25pm, the return journey was scheduled for 11.55pm.

State tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda was present at the airport for the inaugural event.

"This is a proud moment for the state and the flight service will be a perfect gateway to travel destinations, such as China, Japan and other South-East Asian destinations. Besides tourists coming to Odisha will no longer have to come via Calcutta. This will save their valuable time and the state government is hopeful of attracting tourists from Asian countries," said Panda.

Several passengers reached the airport much before the scheduled time with the state government roping in traditional dance troupes and band to welcome them.

As the passengers arrived at the airport to take the first flight to Kuala Lumpur, airlines staff warmly welcomed them with flower petals and tilak.

"The entire atmosphere was ecstatic and it will be a wonderful experience to be a part of first international flight from the state. We are hopeful that the flight service will be successful and it will attract other foreign airlines to start operations here," said Lali Pattnaik, a passenger on her way to Kuala Lumpur.
26/04/17 Lelin Mallick/The Telegraph

First Direct International Flight Takes Off From Bhubaneswar Airport

The first direct flight to an international destination took off from Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar today marking the beginning of a new era in civil aviation in this part of the world.

The Air Asia flight was scheduled to depart from Bhubaneswar at 11:55PM to Kuala Lumpur.  In the preliminary phase, the flight will operate 4 times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

As a part of the promotional strategy and to attract flyers, the first flight arrived here with a group of journalists from Malaysia. A postage stamp to commemorate the occasion was also released.

Earlier during the day, the High Commissioner of Malaysia to India, Datuk Hidayat Abdul Hamid met the CM Naveen Patnaik and held bilateral discussions on tourism, trade and education.
27/04/17 Odisha TV

PM Modi To Launch First UDAN Flight Today. Details On The Low-Cost Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch today the maiden flight under the government's ambitious UDAN plan to provide connectivity to far and remote areas of the country. The Shimla-Delhi flight will be operated by Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India. Under the UDAN or 'Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik' scheme, fares have been capped at Rs. 2,500 for one hour flight. The Civil Aviation Ministry has already awarded 128 routes connecting 70 airports to five airlines under the UDAN scheme: Air Alliance Air, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. On each flight, 50 per cent of the seats would have a cap of Rs. 2,500 per seat/hour. These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories.
Under the UDAN scheme, the government will extend subsidy in the form of viability gap funding to the operators flying on these routes. Apart from various incentives, the operators of such flights would be extended viability gap funding - for which money is partly raised through a levy of on flights operating in major routes like Delhi and Mumbai. The viability gap funding would be in place for three years for the airlines concerned from the date of starting operations in a particular UDAN route. Other benefits include zero airport charges for the operators and three-year exclusivity on the routes.
27/04/17 NDTV

Trujet launches flights to 3 routes under ‘UDAN’

Trujet, the Hyderabad-based regional airline, has announced on Tuesday that it is launching its services on three new routes from Thursday, under the aviation-ministry mooted UDAN scheme. With this development, Trujet becomes the only flight-service on the routes of Hyderabad-Cuddapah, Hyderabad-Nanded and Nanded-Mumbai.

Vankayalapati Umesh, Managing Director, Turbo Megha Airways Pvt Ltd, was quoted in a statement saying, “Providing Air Connectivity on hitherto unconnected sectors is part of our strategy of connecting un-served and under-served markets.”

Trujet is promoted by Turbo Megha Airways, funded by Vankayalapati Umesh, actor Ram Charan Teja and others. It started operations in July 2015 with an investment of Rs.500 crore. Currently, it connects 8 destinations including Hyderabad, Tirupati, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, and Aurangabad.

The airlines operates a fleet of ATR-72 aircrafts leased from an Irish company, and will soon add another aircraft to serve the three new routes.
26/04/17 The Dollar Business

Navi Mumbai International Airport’s runway, terminal may be ready before scheduled deadline

The first terminal building and runway of the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) may be completed before the scheduled deadline of December 2019, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), which has given the task of the proposed airport has said. As per an Indian Express report, the groundwork for the construction of the airport, which had got its Stage II environment clearance recently, could begin soon. It is expected that the airport when comes into being, will take the load off from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Bhushan Gagrani, MD, CIDCO said that the environmental clearance has been received and the company planned to start the work at the earliest.
“We are hoping to complete the work of the first runway and the terminal building of the airport till the stated deadline. The work on the other runway could take time because major changes are required to clear its terrain in comparison to the first runway,” he was quoted as saying by the paper. When the airport comes up, it is likely to to handle around 10 million passengers annually in the beginning and gradually cater to 60 million passengers every year by 2030.
The GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited, which runs Bengaluru and Mumbai airports, won the right to build the airport in February this year.
26/04/17 Financial Express

Gold bars worth Rs 59 lakh seized, Air India worker taken into custody

Two kg of gold bars valued at Rs 59 lakh were seized today at Calicut international airport in Karipur, about 30 km from here and an Air India subsidiary unit staff taken into custody in this connection, DRI sources said. DRI sleuths, acting on a tip-off, intercepted Siddhique (24), employees of Air India Air Transport Services a subsidiary of AI, while he was leaving airport early this morning after his duty.
A check revealed he had hidden the two gold bars, shaped like a cell phone and weighing one kg each, in his pouch, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sources said.
27/04/17 PTI/Financial Express

First Air Asia International Flight: 96 passengers welcomed by ministers at 00:08 hours

The launch of Air Asia’s first direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Malaysia(Kuala Lumpur) was marked by a grand celebration at the Biju Pattnaik International Airport during late night hours on Wednesday.
The state government had made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the launch of the international flight. The flight from Malaysia was actually scheduled to reach Bhubaneswar at 11:25 pm. However, with a delay of around 40 minutes, the flight carrying 96 passengers arrived at Terminal 2 of the airport in the city at around 12:08 am on Thursday. The Tourism Department of the state welcomed the passengers and greeted them with all good wishes.
The passengers were welcomed with the pomp police music band and cultural dance performances depicting the Odia culture.
27/04/17 Pragativadi

Air India Express flight diverted to Muscat

An Air India Express flight travelling from Kuwait to Calicut in India was diverted to Muscat International Airport after it developed technical problems, a senior official attached to the airline industry said.

The flight landed at Muscat International Airport around 7.45 am in the morning. “It is still parked at the airport and we are awaiting more details why it had to land in Muscat,” the official said.
27/04/17 Rahul Das/Times Of Oman

Air India passengers kept waiting for 3 hours as flight faces icing issues

A Hong Kong-bound Air India flight from Mumbai via Delhi with 256 passengers on board was on Wednesday delayed by nearly three hours due to icing on the exterior parts of the aircraft.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane had flown in from sub-zero temperature and was scheduled for departure from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here at 7.45 pm.

The flight, AI 314, was rescheduled for take off at 10.45 pm, according to the airline's spokesperson.

The delay was because the plane was undergoing 'anti- icing' before take-off, the official said.

However, the airline had to finally arrange for another aircraft for the flight to Hong Kong.
27/04/17 PTI/Business Standard

Foreign currencies seized from flyer at Trichy airport

Foreign currencies worth Rs 29 lakh was seized from Kuala Lumpur bound passengers at Trichy airport on Tuesday night.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) acted swiftly based on a tip off and carried out a baggage check on passengers who were to board an Air Asia fight to Kuala Lumpur.
Authorities found foreign currencies concealed in the bottom of the luggage stroller and seized them under the customs act of 1962. Enquiry was carried out with the passengers who were allegedly attempting to smuggle the currency to foreign countries.
The passengers have been identified as Mubarak Ali, 37, from Trichy and Abdul Vahab, 40, from Chennai.
Mubarak tore the bottom of his luggage bag to conceal foreign currencies worth Rs 16.5 lakh which include Saudi riyal and US dollars. He was also carrying Rs 3 lakh Indian in curency. Abdul Vahab had concealed foreign currencies worth Rs 12.80 lakh.
27/04/17 The Times Of India

JMI Students Innovate Software To Detect Unwanted Drones Near Airports

A 6-member team of students of FTK-Centre for Information Technology (FTK-CIT) of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has developed a software that would detect unwanted drones at airports and nearby restricted air spaces at the recently held Team SMART INDIA HACKATHON-2017 for which it has been declared 'Nav Parvartak' (New Innovator) winner and awarded Rs.One lakh.

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, JMI collaborated with the Computer Science students on their projects, said a statement from JMI.

Fifty-four teams from top engineering colleges and universities in the country had participated in the Hackathon held in Allahabad.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) had asked the competing teams to develop a system to ensure the safety and security of airports from any unwanted drone intrusion. They were given 36 hours to achieve the task. The students are excited that AAI will now introduce the system for this security of airports and air space nearby.
26/04/17 Shihabudeen Kunju S/NDTV

Harbhajan Singh lashes out at 'racist' Jet Airways pilot

Veteran cricketer Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday lashed out at a Jet Airways pilot for racial discrimination against a fellow Indian passenger.

The Punjab tweaker, who is currently playing for the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians, took to Twitter to reveal that the pilot, named Bernd Hoesslin, "physically assaulted a lady and abused a physically challenged man" besides calling them "bloody Indians".

In a series of tweets, the off-spinner, popularly known as the 'Turbanator' hit out at the airline's pilot for disrespecting an Indian despite himself making his living on Indian soil.

"So called this Bernd Hoesslin a pilot with @jetairways called my fellow indian (u bloody indian get out of my flight) while he is earning here," Harbhajan wrote in his first tweet.

"Not only was he racist but physically assaulted a lady and abused a physically challenged man...absolutely disgraceful & shame on @jetairways."
26/04/17 The Hans India

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Brussels Airlines sees strong demand in Indian market

Sounding optimistic about the Indian market, Lufthansa group subsidiary Brussels Airlines today said it sees “strong” demand for its offering from here. Brussels Airlines, which is 100 per cent owned by the German airlines’ group Lufthansa, commenced its air services into India last month with a flight to Mumbai from Brussels. The airline currently operates five flight per week from Brussels airport to the Chhtrapati Shivaji International Airport here.
“The demand for direct flights for passengers as well as for cargo is high. With our new service, we offer the diamond and travel industry direct flights, which is an important investment in our network expansion, but also in the economic relations between India and Belgium,” Brussels Airlines Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Management Board Brussels Airlines, Bernard Gustin said during a media briefing.
He said that Brussels Airlines was very much “encouraged” by the strong presence of its parent Lufthansa in India, adding “Brussels is a very important catchment area and the capital city can’t be left unserved with India.”
Naresh Goyal-owned Jet Airways had made Brussels as its hub for the European operations in December 2007, making it the first Indian carrier to have full-scale operation in the European Union capital, but replaced it with Dutch capital Amsterdam last year, citing commercial reasons.
There was a high demand from various industries including pharmaceutical, diamond, maritime, among others, as well as from leisure travelers to reinstate a direct service.
25/04/17 PTI/Financial Express

New Delhi To Shimla Flight Will Cost You Less Than Rs. 2000

Good news for Delhi people who have an unconditional love for Shimla. The tourist Shimla was the summer capital of British India and is also the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

People of Delhi had to travel long distances to reach Shimla but now they will be able to travel in less than Rs. 2000 and also in one hour.

New Delhi to Shimla flight or vice versa will just cost Rs. 1920 and will just take one hour. Finally, after four and a half years, Shimla will be having an aerial connectivity.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Of India will be flagging off the inaugural flight on April 27, 2017. The flight will be flagged off from Jubbarhatti airport at around 11:45 am. There will be a flight daily from Delhi to Shimla and back (ATR-42) of Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India.

The Union Secretary (Civil Aviation) and Chief Managing Director of Air India flew down to the Jubbarhatti airport to have a look at the launch of the New Delhi-Shimla flight to be flagged by the Prime Minister.

There is also a possibility of another private airline starting from Shimla. No flights have been scheduled from Shimla since 2012. Only the chartered flights which include Army and Air Force land in Shimla.

The New Delhi-Shimla flight will cost Rs. 1920 and will only be 50% of the total seats. The other 50% of the seats would cost between Rs. 5000 – Rs. 20000 and the rates would fluctuate depending on the demand.
25/04/17 Tushar Pasrija/Chandigarh Metro

DGCA-AAI team to visit Karipur airport tomorrow

A joint team of Director General of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India will visit Karipur airport in north Kerala tomorrow.
They will inspect the feasibility of the airport runway for the landing of large aircrafts, according to a government release here.
J S Rawat, Joint Director, DGCA and J P Alex and S K Biswas of AAI would be among the official team visiting the airport, it said.
The Centre has decided to send the expert team based on the request of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathiraju on April 18 at New Delhi.
25/04/17 PTI/India

Qatar Airways to launch domestic airline in India, Bengaluru to likely serve as hub

Qatar Airways, a state-owned enterprise of the middle eastern nation, has decided to operate a domestic carrier in India. The airliner will be applying with the Qatar investment authority (QIA)  for an operating licence within the next few weeks.
The proposed domestic carrier would be owned majorly by the Qatar Investment Authority, with Qatar Airways have a minor share of 49 per cent. The fleet will consist of will consist of approximately 100 aircraft.
According to a report by Reuters, the airline’s Chief Executive, Akbar al-Baker, told reporters in Dubai that aircraft manufacturers like Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer would be welcome to bid for orders from the proposed Indian carrier.
In preparation for the launch, officials from Qatar have been scouting various airports across India. One airport will be selected to serve as the carrier’s hub. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has already conveyed this message to major airports in India, including Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi.
However, informal signals indicate that the airline has already zeroed in on Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport, to serve as its national hub. The successful launch of Qatar Airways’ domestic Indian carrier, would make it the first 100 per cent foreign owned airline in India.
25/04/17 Srividhya Iyer/India

Maharashtra Tourism Signs MoU with Etihad & Jet Airways to promote Tourism

Maharashtra Tourism signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Etihad and Jet Airways, aiming to boost tourism by attracting more visitors to the state and leveraging the airline’s expanding international network.

Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Maharashtra, signed MoU with Neerja Bhatia, Regional General Manager of Etihad Airways and Jayaraj Shanmugum, Chief Commercial Officer of Jet Airways in the presence of Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister; Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra , Dr. K.H. Govinda Raj, Managing Director of MTDC among others.

This partnership will mean cooperation in a number of marketing activities such as inflight magazine promotion, website promotion as well as advertising and digital campaigns to promote Maharashtra as a leisure destination. Both the aviation groups would also help provide information to its users on less-explored but high potential destinations in Maharashtra for a memorable travel experience. This association will help expose visitors to Maharashtra’s rich culture and will play a key role in highlighting Maharashtra Tourism’s efforts to diversify tourism products to cater to the passions of growing travelers.
26/04/17 Hospitality Biz India

DGCA grounds foreign pilot for fake medical record

In a possible first, an expat pilot working with an Indian charter company has been barred from flying in the country for allegedly fudging his medical tests. Pilots need to be healthy -both physically and mentally -and require valid medical certificates to prove their fitness and operate flights.
"The expat pilot flew without a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, regulator for US) approved medical.Then he flew without an Indian medical certificate for one month. He later got his medical done here by falsely claiming that he did not operate any flight during the period when his previous medical tests certificates had lapsed. Unfortunately, for him all the statements were contradicted by his flying record with the charter company which had employed him," said a senior official.
26/04/17 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India

AirAsia Offers All-Inclusive Tickets From Rs. 1,099 On Advance Booking

AirAsia India is offering all-inclusive tickets starting from Rs. 1,099 to destinations including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Goa, Hyderabad, Pune and Vizag. This AirAsia India scheme requires advance booking and fares are not available during embargo period, the carrier - which competes with the likes of Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways - said on its website. Bookings for the "cool fares" offer - which is applicable on travel from September 5 this year to February 8 next year - can be made till April 30, AirAsia India further said.

The lowest priced tickets, starting from Rs. 1,099, under the promotional scheme are available on the Bengaluru-Goa and Bengaluru-Hyderabad route. Some of the routes covered under the AirAsia India scheme include Kochi-Bengaluru, all-inclusive fares for which start from Rs. 1,299, Bengaluru-Pune (from Rs. 1,499), Srinagar-New Delhi (Rs. 1,699), Pune-Jaipur (Rs. 1,599) and Bengaluru-Guwahati (Rs. 2,899), as per the AirAsia website.

A search on the AirAsia India website showed that a few tickets were left at Rs. 1,100 for a flight from Hyderabad to Bengaluru on September 12, 2017.
25/04/17 Sandeep Singh/NDTV

Over dozen structures in flight path may be trimmed

Surat: More than a dozen residential and commercial buildings, which are coming in the way of aircraft taking off and landing at Surat airport, may be forced to reduce their height to avoid obstruction to flight movement.An obstacle survey was carried out in August 2016 by Airports Authority of India's (AAI) survey section. The report submitted in February 2017 identified around 15 buildings, which exceeded the permissible height to penetrate the approach surface of the aircraft taking off and landing at Surat airport.In the next few months, Surat airport is all set to witness increased flight movement following the launch of direct services to Goa, Hyderabad and Jaipur by SpiceJet and international operation by Air India Express to Dubai and Sharjah. Many private airline companies like Vistara, True Jet and Indigo are likely to announce launch of flight services from Surat soon.The first survey was conducted in 2007 and then there were less number of obstacles in the flight path.
25/04/17 NYOOOZ

At LGBI Airport Hand Baggage to Go ‘Tag Free’

Post Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and Ahmedabad airports, six more airports of India would soon do away with the practice of stamping passengers hand baggage tags, after few prominent ones ushered in the new system from April 1.
The trail for the same will start from Tuesday.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), tasked to guard 59 civil airports in the country, today initiated a week-long trial of the new system at the airports of Chennai, Patna, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur and Lucknow.
25/04/17 Northeast Today

Indian Air Force inducts new Su-30MKI fighter aircraft

The Indian Air Force's (IAF) 221 Squadron has inducted Su-30MKI fighter aircraft into service.

Also known as 'Valiants', the squadron will boost the offensive capabilities of the IAF in this sector, Indian Ministry of Defence stated.

The Valiants was formed as an offensive fighter squadron in 1963 at Barrackpore. It was then equipped with Vampires, Spitfire, Hurricane and Su-7 aircraft.

The Su-7 aircraft flew over East Pakistan in support of the Indian Army’s blitzkrieg advance in 1971.

The squadron flew Mig-23 aircraft until 2009.

Co-developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Su-30MKI is an all-weather multirole fighter aircraft that is capable of performing varied air combat and ground attack missions.

Based on the Su-30 fighter aircraft, the Su-30MKI is equipped with thrust-vectoring control and canards.
25/04/17 Air-Force Technology

Air India cruises on expansion mode

Air India, which is on a route network expansion mode, hopes to boost profit “significantly” this year after making a dramatic turnaround from losses in 2016. The airline, which for the first time in nearly a decade, reported an operating profit of Rs1.05 billion in 2015-16 fiscal, has been taking various steps such as rationalisation of certain loss-making routes, closure of overseas offline offices at certain locations, phasing out of old fleet and consequential reduction in maintenance costs to sustain profitability. The main factors that helped to turn around the airline were increased operational efficiency and reduced oil prices.

Plans for 2017-2018
Air India has a fleet of nearly 140 planes, and is expanding its domestic network to cater to the fast growing demand by adding new aircraft to its fleet and adding new International routes in 2017. Air India, which currently has 23 Dreamliners and 15 Boeing 777 in its fleet will be adding four B787 Draemliners by end of 2017 and 3 B777 – 300ERs in its fleet by mid of 2018. For domestic deployment, we have placed an order for 29 Airbus 320 aircraft on lease. The on-going expansion plan will see Air India adding more international destinations and increase frequencies on domestic routes like Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Leh.
Following the commencement of direct non-stop flights to San Francisco, Madrid, Vienna and Ahemdabad-Newark via London, Air India plans to start direct flight operations on Delhi-Washington-Delhi route in July 2017. This flight will be the fifth direct connection with the US and will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft.

Air India also plans to start services to Tel Aviv in May 2017. In order to establish connectivity with the Scandinavian countries Air India will commence a direct non-stop flight to Scandinavia in Aug/Sep 2017. This flight service will offer convenient onward connections to Scandinavia and other countries in the Nordic region.Currently, Air India’s regional arm, Alliance Air has eight ATRs in its fleet and 70 pilots who fly these small planes for short haul operations. We are in the process of recruiting at least 200 more pilots for ATR operations. We will be adding 20 more ATR planes by this year end. We are also planning to set up a simulator unit in the national capital by this year- end for training pilots for the ATR aircraft – largely meant to be deployed for short haul operations.
26/04/17 Anju Anna Alex/Voyager's World

NGT notice to govt on regulating choppers flying to Kedarnath

A plea seeking execution of the National Green Tribunal's order to frame an aviation policy for the eco-sensitive Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand today prompted the green panel to seek responses from the Environment Ministry and the state government.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Uttarakhand government, National Board of Wild Life and others on a plea raising concern over the looming threat to the flora and fauna due to regular operation of helicopters in the eco- sensitive zone in the state.

The wildlife preserve is known for its dense forests which has trees like oak, chir, pine, birch, alpine, besides rhododendron meadows and numerous flowering plants of Himalayas. It is also a home for endangered and rare species like Musk Deer and Himalayan Tahr (a type of wild goat).

A large number of pilgrims, intending to avoid the 16 km trek to visit the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, opt for the chopper services to reach the destination.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Kavita Ashok seeking execution of its December 10, 2015 order.

The NGT, in its order, had asked the state government to issue directions in consonance with the aviation policy with specific reference to the eco-sensitive zones at Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in relation to the height and level of noise that the helicopters should be permitted to generate.

The petitioner, who has also sought imposition of penalty for non-compliance of the order, contended that helicopter operations in this area for religious tourism has "seriously disturbed the eco-system and fauna of Kedarnath Sanctuary".
25/04/17 Press Trust Of India

Jet Airways fiasco: Criminal case filed by 32 passengers denied boarding; airline denies any wrong doing

A criminal case has been filed against Jet Airways for denying boarding passes to its 32 flyers. A group of BMC conservancy staff workers in December 2016 were denied boarding passes for a Delhi-Mumbai flight as they reported late at the airport check-in counter. The group of 32 flyers comprised of seven families who had purchased a flight ticket for the first time. The families claimed that Jet Airways issued boarding cards to other passengers who reported to the counter much later than them and alleged fraud and wrongful action by the airline’s staffers. However, Jet Airways has denied the allegations made in the FIR, a TOI report mentioned.
The 32 members of the group who had gone on a 7-day trip to Haridwar and Agrawere forced to purchase new tickets for Rs 3.16 lakh on evening flights. A month after 32 out of 35 members in the group missed their flight, the Tardeo police responded to a complaint sent by the group and filed a FIR on December 24, 2016 under Sections 406, 420, 507 and 34 (cheating and criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code. However, Jet denied the claims and said 32 of the group of 35 passengers were not given boarding cards as they didn’t report to the check-in counter on time.
The spokesperson of Jet Airlines was quoted by a report in TOI saying that since the flight was scheduled to depart at 10:45 am, the check-in counters were closed at 10am. “Check-in counters close 45 minutes before departure of a flight, and guests are to present themselves at the check-in counters on or before this time for getting their boarding passes issued and their baggage checked in. The spokesperson further added that the leader of the group,  Jayanti Rathod reported at the check-in counters around 10:08 am and informed the counter staff of the group of 35 that was to travel on 9W 358.
It was reported that the group had booked the 10.45am Delhi-Mumbai Jet flight 9W 358 on November 13. The FIR mentioned that the flyers reached the Jet counter at 9.52 am, but the Jet staffer said we had reported late and denied us boarding cards. “After an argument, she scribbled `R T (reporting time) 9.57′ on the tickets. Meanwhile, other passengers in the queue were being given boarding passes for the same flight”, the FIR stated.
In one of its kind incident, the group alleged that the Jet Airways staff told the group they would have to buy new tickets if they had to board the same flight, each costing Rs 27,300. The group approached the police and not the consumer court “so that action against the airline could be taken. Rathod, however, sent a complaint to the police and a month later where members of the group gave their statements.
26/04/17 Sandhya Dangwal/India

Domestic air passenger traffic dips to 15% in March

The Indian aviation industry has seen passenger traffic over the two successive months of February and March dip to 15 percent as compared to the earlier 20 percent-plus growth figures.

While February reported a year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 15.77 percent, the passenger traffic growth in March (y-o-y) was lower at 14.91 percent. In January, passenger traffic recorded a 25.13 percent growth which was a continuation of the 23 percent-plus growth rate that was reported in calendar year 2016.

A report by ICICISecurities points to the fact that domestic airlines might not be sacrificing their yields for higher passenger load factors (PLFs). “Total PLFs lowered to 82 percent, and after eight months, the capacity growth surpassed the passenger growth during March. The connecting underlining theme is that of a possible conscious choice of airlines to resist sacrifice in yields,” read the report.

The ongoing fourth quarter earnings season would indicate if airlines have chosen yields over passenger growth. While there is no empirical data on whether there has been a significant rise in air fares over the last two months, what is known is that the price of jet fuel has been on the rise as a consequence of the rise in global crude oil prices over the last 12 months.
26/04/17 Anshul Dhamija/Forbes India

Regional air services to take wing on five new routes at Karnataka

Air connectivity between Mysuru-Chennai and Bengaluru-Salem and also some other smaller towns could soon be a reality. As part of the Regional Connectivity Service (RCS), some airlines have come forward to operate on the two routes and the services are expected to start in the next few weeks.

Official sources in the Commerce and Industries Department said that as part of the RCS initiative, the state government is offering concessions to airlines operating on the RCS routes. This includes electricity, water and other utility services at concessional rates.

The government has also proposed to provide rail or Metro connectivity to RCS airports in coordination with the Centre. Security and fire services will be provided free of cost at government-run RCS airports. As for as private RCS airports, it will be examined on a case-to-case basis.

An official in the Industries Department said that five airlines have come forward to provide air connectivity between different cities and towns. “Five routes have been finalised in Karnataka and of them, two to three routes are expected to be operational in the next few weeks,’’ he said.

The official said services from Bengaluru and Mysuru will be operationalised soon. This includes Bengaluru-Salem and Mysuru-Chennai. The Bengaluru-Bidar route is also expected to operational in some time.

However, the Bengaluru-Vidyanagar (Ballari) route and also some other routes connecting Vidyanagar are being examined. “Since it is an unserved airport and owned by private firm, some security issues have not yet been cleared. It will take some time. This route will be operated by TruJet Airways,’’ the official said.
26/04/17 Ashwini M sripad/The New Indian Express

Cirrus Aircraft to sell its single engine planes in east

The world's largest manufacturer of single engine planes, Cirrus Aircraft, has taken on board a Kolkata-based automobile dealer to sell its planes in the east. The AKM Group owned by Amit Modi has multiple auto dealerships, including Skoda cars and Indian motorcycles.
AKM has partnered with Urban International Aviation Centre of Excellence (UI-ACE), a Kolkata-based company, to set up an assembly unit for the five-seater Cirrus luxury planes and a flight training institute at Andal airport in Durgapur.
According to Pinaki Roychowdhury, chairman of UI-ACE, the price of Cirrus planes that currently sell for Rs 5-9.5 crore will drop to Rs 3-5.5 crore once they are assembled locally. "A person can now own a plane at only Rs 5-6 lakh a month. We are also offering a scheme in which parking, maintenance, fuel, pilot and other liabilities are taken care by us to offer no-hassle ownership at Rs 25,000 per flying hour," he said.
26/04/17 Subhro Niyogi/The Times Of India

NFTI chopper crashes in Madhya Pradesh, kills trainee pilot and female co-pilot

Two trainee pilots including a female, from the Maharashtra's national flying institute (NFTI) of the aviation authority of India (AAI) died after their chopper hit a live electrical wire with its rotor during a low flying in maoist-infested Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh at around 10 am on Wednesday.
The chopper had tangled with a high tension wire in Lavni village panchayat around 10 am - around 70 km from the Balaghat district headquarters.
26/04/17 P Naveen/The Times Of India

Trujet services to Kadapa from Apr. 27

Trujet will launch flights on the Hyderabad-Kadapa, Hyderabad- Nanded and Nanded-Mumbai sectors from April 27. They are being launched under UDAN ( Ude desh ka aam naagrik ) Regional Connectivity Scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Trujet will be the only airline to operate services on these sectors, a release on Monday from the airline said. All the three services will be operated daily.

Promoted by Turbo Megha Airways Pvt. Ltd, the Hyderabad-headquartered regional airline, with a fleet of ATR-72 aircraft, currently operates flights to Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada and Tirupati.
26/04/17 The Hindu

Chandigarh International Airport: Last date for tender to set up two duty-free outlets extended to May 1

AFTER GETTING a poor response for a global tender to set up two duty-free outlets at the Chandigarh International Airport, the airport authorities have now extended the last date for tender submission. The last date for tender submission fixed earlier by the airport authorities was April 21. Now the new date is May 1.
A senior airport official told Chandigarh Newsline on Tuesday that the authorities didn’t receive the expected response. “We were expecting a huge response from different groups. But what has come up is not as per our expectation,” said the official.
Chandigarh International Airport Chief Executive Officer Sunil Dutt told Chandigarh Newsline that not many retailers came forward. “We always go for better bidding and want more parties. This is the reason why we have extended the last date for tender submission,” he said. He, however, didn’t disclose how many firms had shown interest in the project so far.
Recently, the airport authorities had floated a tender, two years after the new terminal of the airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015. The international flights, however, started last year only. Two international flights operate from the airport currently.
The airport authorities have been facing severe criticism due to lack of passenger-related facilities at the airport. The Punjab and Haryana High Court, too, has slammed the airport authorities for lack of passenger amenities at the airport.
26/04/17 Adil Akhzer/Indian Express

Bangalore Airport slashes carbon emissions by 57%, gets green award

In a big boost to the Kempegowda International Airport today, the Airports Council International on Friday accredited it with a certificate of Level 3 Plus Neutrality under the Airport Carbon Accreditation. According to a report by the Times of India, the Bangalore International Airport managed to upgrade the airport to Level 3 Plus Neutrality, the highest level of environmental certificate, that has been made available to airports. With this certificate, the Bangalore International Airport becomes the fourth such environment-friendly green airport in the Asia Pacific. The airport has managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 57% since 2008.
According to ToI, the state of carbon neutrality can be achieved when the net carbon emissions over an entire year are zero or if the airport has systems and mechanisms in place to absorb the same of amount of generated emissions. The BIAL is reported to have initiated a number of such initiatives over a period of time, which include energy conservation programmes, installing the onsite solar power generation, water management among other things. The Level 3 Plus certificate is a recognition of such activities by the Bangalore International Airport. The airport is reported to have set up a mechanism to monitor and measure the airport’s carbon footprint according to the standards set by Airport Carbon Accreditation.
25/04/17 Financial Express

First runway, terminal to be ready by Dec 2019: CIDCO

THE first runway and terminal building of the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) could be completed before the deadline of December 2019, said officials of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal agency for the proposed airport.
Major groundwork on the construction work for the airport, which received its Stage II environment clearance last week, could begin soon.
The proposed airport will take the load off the severely-congested Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, it is expected. The clearance was needed to commence major construction works in the forest areas of the site.
“With the environmental clearance received, we aim to begin the work at the earliest. We are hoping to complete the work of the first runway and the terminal building of the airport till the stated deadline. The work on the other runway could take time because major changes are required to clear its terrain in comparison to the first runway,”
said Bhushan Gagrani, MD, CIDCO.
The airport is expected to handle 10 million passengers annually upon its start and gradually, cater to 60 million passengers a year by 2030, when it will reach full capacity.
In February, GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd, which runs the Mumbai and Bengaluru airports, won the right to build the airport.
“As far as commercial operations are concerned, that will take another six to eight months to commence after the runway is made,” Gagrani said.
26/04/17 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

Two new flight parking bays commissioned at Mangaluru airport, to ease traffic

With a view to deliver the best of services to fliers, Mangalore International Airport (MIA) under the aegis of Airport Authority of India has undertaken several development works from the past 2-3 years. Infrastructure, efficiency of officials, safety, security and facilities for passengers have been given importance.

The most recent addition is the commissioning of two new flight parking bays recently. With this, eight flights can be now parked instead of six at MIA.

Speaking to daijiworld on the project, MIA director J T Radhakrishna said, "The two new parking bays which were completed in a period of six months were commissioned on April 21. The Airport Authority of India spent an amount of Rs 4 crore for the same. As eight flights can be parked now, flight traffic will be reduced. This will attract more airline companies to operate from here. Flights need not wait for other aircraft to take off. Also, it will lead to lesser fuel consumption as flights do not need to keep circling round the airport waiting for parking space.

"The new parking bays will also avoid delay in flights' departure and arrivals. Another four parking bays are being planned which we aim to complete by 2018. Once we provide enough parking space, automatically more flights will start to operate from here. The new bays will help in handling air traffic quite smoothly," he informed.

Answering a query on the other ongoing projects he said, "We have already commissioned phase I of parallel taxi track. The construction of 1,200-metre long parallel taxi track (phase-II) is in progress. Taxi track is the stretch connecting the runway with the parking stand for aircraft in the terminal building. An aircraft uses the taxi track for entry and exit from the parking stand to the runway. With construction of parallel taxi track, the aircraft could move from the parking stand, wait in the additional taxi track and enter the runway for take-off immediately after the plane that has landed exits the runway.
25/04/17 Daiji World

Despite laptop ban, Dubai still popular among Indians flyers

The impact of travel bans and electronic device restrictions has started showing on overall passenger traffic volumes at the Dubai airport as traffic to North America fell 4.3% during March compared to the same period last year.
In the last week of March, the US department of homeland security banned "all personal electronic devices larger than a cellphone or smartphone" from the carry-on bags of passengers who board direct flights to the US from the airports in Amman (Jordan), Cairo (Egypt), Istanbul (Turkey), Jeddah and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait, Doha (Qatar), Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The directive had hit passengers from India who fly to the West as one out of every two passengers who fly from India to the US transit through airports in the Middle East. Following the directive, they had check in all electronic devices before they could board the direct flight to the US from the transit airport.
26/04/17 Manju V/The Times Of India

Nitish Kumar faces ‘VIP culture’ protest at airport

Protesting what he called “VIP culture”, an angry passenger sat down on the front seat of the golf cart that carried Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at Terminal 3 at the Delhi airport on Saturday night. When he refused to move in spite of the security personnel asking him to get down, he was allowed to go in the cart till the immigration counter where he got down. Although there are walkalators and escalators at the airport, the T3 being long, VIPs are often taken in golf carts till immigration counters. There are 30 such battery operated carts available at the Delhi airport.

According to the sources, Mr Kumar faced the angry passenger while he was trying to avail buggy service meant for VIPs and the elderly at Terminal 3. As Mr Kumar sat in the cart after arriving from Mumbai, another passenger came and sat in the front seat and started shouting ‘No VIP culture’.

At this, the security personnel requested him to get down but he refused. The security staff did not say anything and allowed him to sit.

Mr Kumar, however, got down at the international lounge while the passenger went on till the immigration counter.
26/04/17 The Asian Age