Saturday, February 13, 2016

After Mittu Chandilya's rumoured exit from AirAsia India, promoter Arun Bhatia may be next to go

As the buzz of budget carrier AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya's exit gripped the aviation market, sources told dna that next to walk out could be the third promoter of the airline – Telestra Tradeplace's Arun Bhatia, who currently owns 10% stake.
"Next (after Chandilya), Arun Bhatia could move out. They (other promoters) are in the process of negotiating (buying out his stake) with him," a source who did not want to be named, claimed. Calls to Bhatia were unanswered.
On Friday, the market was abuzz with rumours that the hand-picked chief of the joint venture low-fare airline of Tatas, Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd would not be renewing his contract that expires in March.
Though, there was no official confirmation on the same. Chandilya's mobile phone was unreachable when dna tried to contact him. A text message sent to his phone was unanswered.
The company's spokesperson also said they would not "deny or confirm" the speculation that has gripped the aviation market.
"We have no official information on it (Chandilya's exit). I'm neither denying nor confirming it," she said.
13/02/16 Daily News & Analysis

Has Tony Fernandes put India on the back-burner?

The recent reports that AirAsia India CEO & MD Mittu Chandilya is quitting the airline brings to light what many aviation analysts have been talking about behind closed doors: that AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes has put India on the back-burner.

Such murmurings have been around for sometime now, despite what Fernandes has been saying that the Indian market is key “to AirAsia's long term growth”.

An individual, who has worked closely with the airline from the outside, believes that if Tony Fernandes had taken a more hands-on approach in the operations, the AirAsia India story would have been a lot different.

To begin with, it was an open secret that Fernandes would be calling the shots in the AirAsia India joint venture, in which AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia has a 49 percent stake. The remaining 51 percent is split among the Indian partners Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace.

Despite that, there seems to have been no tangible impact on the operations of AirAsia India. The airline had a market share of just 1.7 percent as off December last year.
12/02/16 Anshul Dhamija/Forbes India

Scheme for regional air connectivity to be launched in a fortnight, says Sharma

Union MoS for civil aviation and art and culture Mahesh Chandra Sharma said the Centre's regional air connectivity scheme will be launched in the next 15 days. Under this, cheap air service to Jaisalmer will not just start in the city, it will be possible at a price of Rs 2,500. Apart from this, the Centre recently started the Desert Circuit scheme for which Rs 170 crore has been reserved, as part of which Jaisalmer has been included in the first phase, Sharma told the media while inspecting the civil airport at Jaisalmer. Sonar MP, Ram Choudhary was also with him.
He said now Jaisalmer will soon boast of air service throughout the year and tourists will be able to fly in all 12 months. Here, along with tourism there is a treasure of art and culture, and, therefore, Jaisalmer can be developed as a major tourist hub. It is for this that the facility of regional air service is being started. Sharma said Jaisalmer comes under tier-II city, and hence tourists to this city will be able to avail cheap air service.
Considering the number of temples in the city and to boost religious tourism, Centre has also reserved a package under the Prasad (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) scheme. Shrinath temple, Mehandipur Balaji and Khatushyamji have already been included in this scheme.
13/02/16 Vimal Bhatia/Times of India

Kerala budget revives Air Kerala project

Trivandrum: The Kerala government has sought to revive its low-fare international airline project, Air Kerala, by earmarking Rs1 billion for the same in the state budget for 2016-17 fiscal.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who presented the budget in the assembly on Friday, said that the amount would be spent for starting service to the Gulf region, if permission from the government of India is obtained.

The state government, which proposed the project in 2006 to make air travel affordable to the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) in the Middle East, is pinning its hope on the national civil aviation policy under the consideration of the federal government. The draft policy released in October last year favours scrapping of the 5/20 rule that bars Indian carriers from flying abroad until they complete five years of domestic service and have a fleet of 20 aircraft.

The project may take off if the rule is completely abolished. It also provides the option of retaining the rule as such or replaces it with Domestic Flying Credits (DFC).

The project has been caught in turbulence ever since Chandy first mooted it during his first tenure as chief minister (2004-06).

The project envisages to help Keralites who are fleeced by airline companies for travelling to their state from different Middle-East countries.
13/02/16 T K Devasia/Khallej Times

GoAir announces limited period 'zero cancellation fee' offer

Mumbai: Budget carrier GoAir on Saturday offered zero cancellation charges to its customers for flight bookings across its network for a limited period.
Under the offer, customers booking tickets between on Saturday and February 16 for journey beyond June 1 will not have to pay any cancellation charges if they decide not to travel.
The offer is valid across all GoAir flights booked between February 13-16 for travel between June 1 and December 15, 2016, the airline said in a statement.
As per the scheme, passengers will not have to bear flight cancellation costs if tickets are cancelled 30 days prior to departure, it said.
13/02/16 PTI/Times of India

Jet, Etihad ride on tie-up, become fastest growing airlines in India

New Delhi:  UAE national carrier Etihad and Jet Airways have emerged as the fastest growing airlines in India, thanks to their partnership which has allowed these two airlines to collectively use Abu Dhabi as a hub for Indian globetrotters to travel between their country and the rest of the world.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation data on international traffic for calendar year 2015 shows that the top 10 airlines in terms of flying passengers in and out of India remained largely the same as the previous year (see graphic) but for one exception. Etihad entered the list at number five position by flying 21.4 lakh passengers in and out of India. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier was at number 16 in 2014 with a traffic of under 10 lakh in and out of India.
And, its partner Jet Airways - which remained the single largest airline here in terms of international passenger carriage - carried 70.7 lakh flyers in and out of India in 2015 - up 27% from previous year's figure of 55.6 lakh. While Etihad's over 100% growth in India is mainly attributed to its competitive pricing, Jet is witnessing a surge in international passengers as it feeds into Etihad's hub at Abu Dhabi from 10 Indian cities - a number that will rise to 23.
13/02/16 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Air India Express to Start Flights to Ras al-Khaimah International Airport

Ras al-Khaimah: Ras al-Khaimah International Airport has announced that Air India Express, India’s leading low cost carrier, will start flights to the northern UAE emirate from March this year.

Air India Express will start with four flights per week to Kozhikode (Calicut), starting on March 28, and is looking to expand to a daily service in near future to cater to the growing Indian expatriate community in the Northern Emirates.

The WAM news agency quoted Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK Airport and Department of Civil Aviation, as saying, "I am delighted to welcome Air India Express to Ras al-Khaimah. There was much need for this connectivity, but we also believe that this route may require more than a daily frequency to satisfy the growing demand. We would therefore urge the authorities to consider the needs of the passengers and increase seat allocations for high demand sectors."

He assured Air India Express of full support from RAK Airport.
13/02/16 ANI/New Indian Express

Meet Abhishek Roy, the Indian designer who is giving wings to Charles Bombardier’s Antipode project

Abhishek Roy tries ridiculously hard to underplay his achievements. Roy is part of Canadian engineer-inventor-investor Charles Bombardier's Antipode project, which seeks to develop a luxury aircraft that can fly from New York to Dubai in 22 minutes, or do a transatlantic flight in half that time, cruising at 24 times the speed of sound. The 27-year-old is the only designer in the team.

"The design that you see of the plane - I drew them. It's a very 'dumb blonde' sort of an input," Roy said of his contribution to the project. "You take it to an aircraft engineer, he may crumple and throw it away."

The hypersonic aircraft that Bombardier is imagining to make will be launched by reusable rocket boosters. Counter-flowing jets of air on its leading edges will reduce heat and the sonic boom - the enormous amont of sound energy created by objects travelling faster than sound. The concept on many accounts is an improvement on the Skreemr, another hypersonic aircraft project Bombardier announced just last year. The Skreemr could do Mach 10, or ten times the speed of sound. The maximum speed of the Concorde, the supersonic airliner that was discontinued in 2003, was Mach 2.
13/02/16 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Plane put together on a charkop terrace features in Make in India

Mumbai: Among a plethora of innovation marvels at the Make in India Week, commencing this evening at the Bandra Kurla Complex, is a six-seater aircraft entirely assembled in a three-BHK flat in Charkop, Kandivali (W).

That the product is no fly-by-night enterprise is certified by none other than the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which has given the plane the display space alongside some of its own flying machines at Narendra Modi's pet event that is hoping to earn investment to the tune of Rs 4.6 lakh crore.

The plane's maker is Amol Yadav, a 40-year-old deputy chief pilot with Jet Airways, whose obsession with aircraft began in school, found wings during a year-long flying training course in the US, and materialised piece-bypiece over a period of six years in his home in Sukant Society, which he shares with 19 of his family members.

"The terrace attached to our flat is spread over 1,600 sq ft, and has been my workshop. I have been living on the terrace for the last six years," he said. Yadav, an alumni of Patkar College in Goregaon, was inspired to try his hand at assembling planes after he saw flying enthusiasts in the US purchasing phased-out planes and turning them into customised six or 12-seater flying machines.

"I went to the US for training in 1995, and saw a lot of people in the US, middleclass families, assembling used planes to create customised flying machines. I was inspired to do the same in India, and the more I struggled, the more I got obsessed with singlehandedly assembling a plane right here in my home," he said.
13/02/16 Alka Dhupkar/Mumbai Mirror

Lodge FIRs against aviation officials, court tells cops

Mumbai: An Andheri metropolitan court has asked the local police to register an FIR against the top officials of Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and to start investigation in to the alleged illegalities surrounding the multi-level car parking (MLCP) at Terminal 2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). The MIAL has not commented on the issue.
Vishwas Bhamburkar, the complainant in the case, has alleged that while BCAS norms clearly state that there should be a distance of at least 100m between the terminal building and parking area, the rule has been violated during the development of the new terminal building. He said MLCP is a part of the terminal building, and that such a glaring security lapse was not only allowed at the time of construction, but commercial operations were started despite the MLCP not having any security clearance from BCAS.
13/02/16 Daily News & Analysis

Airport Authority of India hosts western region CSR meeting in Surat

Surat: The Airport Authority of India (AAI) selected the Diamond City to host its annual western region workshop on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on Friday.
Senior AAI officials from all the airports falling under the western region including Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat had participated in the workshop to discuss the CSR activities and way forward. The workshop has come at the time when the Surat airport is struggling to find increased air connectivity. At present, the airport caters to only three scheduled operation between Delhi-Surat and Surat-Mumbai with a total of five landing and five take-offs per day.
Sources said that most of the AAI officials had to come either via train or by road to reach Surat and attend the workshop. The officials from Mumbai were lucky enough to arrive at Surat through the Air India (AI) flight in the morning from Mumbai to Surat.
13/02/16 Times of India

Sahara sells choppers, vacate Juhu hangar

Mumbai: The cash-strapped Sahara India has sold off two of its three choppers stationed in Mumbai and vacated a hangar at the Juhu airport that was in the company's possession for nearly two decades.

Along with the hangar, Sahara, which is struggling to raise Rs 24,000 crore it has been directed by the Supreme Court to refund to its depositors, has also shut a maintenance and repairs wing and transferred the staff to the company that has bought its choppers.

Airports Authority of India sources said the company vacated half of the hangar six months ago but continued to default on the payment of the rent for the other half. Following repeated reminders from the Airports Authority of India, they finally moved out of the hangar entirely on January 31.

The only chopper in Mumbai in Sahara's possession now - an Ecureuil AS355N registered in the name of Sahara Prime City - is now parked in the airport's apron area and is overflowing files removed from the hangar. The twin-engine helicopter can seat five passengers.

Two other two Sahara choppers, bought by a non-scheduled private operator, are also currently parked along the apron.
13/02/16 Yogesh Naik & Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Ethiopian Airlines to Start Double Flights Daily to Delhi

Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would start daily flights twice a day to Delhi as of March 26, 2016, Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, stated that they were pleased to offer their customers a double daily service to Delhi. India, being one of the strongest economic muscles zooming into the global economic picture, availing more flights would catalyze the channeling of investors from both countries and facilitate business.

The CEO also stated that these flights would have a paramount significance in strengthening the growing economic, political, and social relationship of the two countries in particular and the two continents in general. He added their customers would be able to make an immediate connection to cities like Hargiesa, Khartoum, Nairobi and some southern African flights.
13/02/16 2Merkato.com

Plane sale to Pak: India unhappy with US

Washington/ New Delhi: The Obama Administration said it has decided to sell eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets worth nearly USD 700 million to Pakistan, a proposal that is likely the face stiff resistance in the Republican- controlled Congress.

India today summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma and conveyed its "displeasure and disappointment" over Obama administration's decision.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Verma to the South Block and told him about India's concerns over US military aid to Pakistan which New Delhi believes goes into anti-India activities.

External Affairs Ministry also issued a strong statement expressing its disappointment over the US decision. It also said that it disagrees with the rationale that these arms transfer to Pakistan will help in combating terrorism.

"We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself," the MEA statement said.
14/02/16 PTI/News Today

MH370 never crashed say passengers' families – is this why wreckage never been found?

They believe they may be held captive and said they were willing to offer an amnesty to the kidnappers.

The fate of MH370 has become a massive aviation mystery since it vanished half an hour after taking off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur heading for Beijing.

Many theories have been offered to explain what happened to the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, its 227 passengers and 12 crew.

There was speculation the pilot wanted to commit suicide, like the pilot of a German plane that crashed in the Alps last year, that the plane had secretly landed in Pakistan or Kazakhstan and even that it was being stored by terrorists to use in a future 9/11 style attack.

The last words heard from the plane was the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, or co-pilot saying: "Good night Malaysian three seven zero".

A few minutes later, the plane's transponder, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down as the aircraft crossed into Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.

But it was detected on Malaysian military radar changing course and flying west over the Andaman Sea, heading towards India.

The Malaysians then said Inmarsat satellite data suggested the plane had come down in the middle of the Indian Ocean, far to the west of Australia.
In September last year debris was found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion which French investigators said was definitely part of the wing from MH370.

Last month more wreckage was found in Thailand but it has since been ruled out as being from MH370.

But the families of the 153 Chinese passengers are having none of it.

They say the lack of evidence and the ineptitude of the Malaysian authorities have convinced them it never crashed in the first place.
13/02/16 Chris Summers/Daily Star

India's Open Skies policy matter of concern: UAE minister

Mumbai: India's latest Open Skies policy to countries that are 5,000km away is a matter of concern for the UAE, said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy. "We feel that together, India and UAE should be united to create a fantastic hub. From our side, there are millions coming to India as tourists, and so there is a direct benefit to the Indian economy."

Al Mansouri said the UAE is looking to invest in civil aviation, infrastructure and airlines.

"So this is quite an important subject for us in the next few months and so we would like the Indian government to look into this. We have talked to them about it and they understand and they will come back to us with answers."

While in India, Al Mansouri held talks with the Indian ministers of trade, civil aviation and finance to streamline the bilateral process and open opportunities for investments.
13/02/16 Sunita Menon/Khaleej Times

CISF wants more staff and cameras for Nagpur airport

Nagpur: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is learnt to have sent a proposal to Mihan India Ltd (MIL) asking for 72 additional personnel to strengthen security at city airport. These personnel will be distributed over three shifts. The move is following heightened threat perception from terror outfits like Islamic States (IS) and Naxals. The demand of CISF has been already ratified by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security but has been stuck with MIL for want of funds.
Sources in airport administration claimed that apart from additional manpower CISF had also made a request for 49 more closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the airport. At present, there are around 50 CCTV cameras. CISF, which already has four sniffer dogs, has asked for two more for their bomb detection and disposal unit.
At present, CISF has around 250 personnel deployed at the airport in three shifts. It is learnt that deployment in night shift is less, leaving certain gaps in security cover. CISF top brass is keen to bring the strength of the night shift at par with the other two shifts.
13/02/16 Soumittra S Bose/Times of India

SBI Cap All Set to Auction Kingfisher HQ

Bengaluru: SBICAP Trustee Co Ltd, a subsidiary of investment bank SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBI Cap), has initiated the process to sell Kingfisher House, the headquarters of grounded airline Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, as part of its efforts to recover loans from its promoter Vijay Mallya.

SBI Cap, a unit of public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI), on Friday published a public notice for auctioning the Kingfisher House near Mumbai’s domestic airport through an e-auction under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (Sarfaesi), 2002, to recover its dues.

SBI has the maximum exposure to Kingfisher in the consortium at Rs 1,600 crore. The overall exposure of lenders is Rs 6,360 crore, which has risen to over Rs 6,963 crore, adding unapplied interest.
13/02/16 New Indian Express

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rot in AirAsia India runs deep; to survive it needs funds, focus

New Delhi: AirAsia India is again in the news, with reports now suggesting its CEO and MD Mittu Chandilya has resigned. Just a few days back, the airline made headlines for a different reason - when Tata Sons picked up additional equity stake to finally own about 41% share in the airline. Though both these developments are significant, what needs to be highlighted is the deeper rot within the airline.
APAP
AirAsia India needs renewed commitment from its shareholders, an urgent funds' infusion and a clear operational strategy to survive in a tough-as-nails Indian aviation market. India is unlike most other markets where airlines pile up losses but rarely folds up, making life quite tough for new entrants.
Vijay Mallya finally ended his airline dream after sinking millions of dollars in the business in Kingfisher Airlines, Air India continues on government dole despite massive accumulated losses, SpiceJet was very close to shutting down before former promoter Ajay Singh rescued it last January and Jet Airways is only now starting to make a turnaround.
What AirAsia India needs the most is commitment from its shareholders towards recapitalization and then a capable management team to steer it. Besides, the airline must be run from India, by a strong management team aware of market realities and clued into the dynamics here instead of being driven from the Malaysian parent's headquarters.
12/02/16 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

AirAsia India chief Mittu Chandilya likely to quit in March

Mumbai: Mittu Chandilya, the model turned-headhunter picked by AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes to run its India joint venture, is likely to quit in March when his current two-year contract with the airline ends. Amar Abrol, chief of AirAsia Bhd's insurance arm Tune Money, is the frontrunner among three executives being considered to replace Chandilya as AirAsia India chief executive, people with knowledge of the development said.
The matter will likely come up for approval at the airline's next board meeting, expected by the end of this month. The airline has probably also selected a new chief financial officer, the people said. Chandilya's likely exit brings to a head a top-level exodus at the Indian airline, partly due to disagreements with the Malaysian parent and differences among the shareholders - AirAsia Bhd, Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace of Arun Bhatia.
Since it began operations less than two years ago, AirAsia India has lost or replaced about ten top executives. The list includes chief financial officer Vijay Gopalan and commercial director Gaurav Rathore, apart from the heads of flight operations, operations control, HR, cabin crew, security, group operations and corporate quality.
12/02/16 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

NHRC notice to Centre over no basic service by IndiGo

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Centre for an action-taken report (ATR) within four weeks over denial of basic services and violation of United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights committed by IndiGo airlines.

Acting on a petition filed by Bhubaneswar-based rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the apex human rights watchdog called the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation for action taken report within four weeks.

Mohapatra alleged, ‘Many passengers of Indigo Airline were denied basic services at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. The airlines did not comply with Civil Aviation guidelines; even no complaint book was available for the aggrieved passengers.’

He added, “Passengers are entitled to breakfast if the flight is more than two hours late in the morning or lunch or dinner as the case may be. Unfortunately, the airline doesn’t provide any service though there are frequent delays for than two hours.”
11/02/16 Prameya News7

Small cities to be linked with air services: Sharma

Jaisalmer: Small cities, including Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, will be linked with air services in the near future and the Centre is working on a policy to this effect, Union minister Mahesh Sharma has said.

In the first phase, operations will be started in Jaisalmer and Jodhpur airports in Rajasthan, the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Civil Aviation said here yesterday.

The new aviation policy to bring small cities on the aviation map will be announced soon, he said. The fare will not be very high and it can go up to Rs 2,500 and such a journey will take around one hour.

Noting that Jaisalmer has got a huge potential in tourism, art and culture, the minister said it would be developed as a tourism hub.
12/02/16 PTI/Business Standard

Jet Airways offers free tickets daily

Chennai: Jet Airways has announced an offer ‘Luck-E-Ticket’ giving its passengers an opportunity to win two free return tickets daily.

As part of the offer, passengers booking tickets in First Class, Premiere or Economy on jetairways.com or the Jet Airways mobile app stand a chance to win two free return tickets in Economy every day.

The offer is open to guests booking tickets up to 1 March, 2016.
12/02/16 News Today

Vistara launches Valentine's Day offer with base fares starting at Rs 999

New Delhi: In a first discount offering by Vistara, the airline has launched a Valentine's Day offer that offers base fares starting from Rs 999 but surcharges extra.

The airline announced it on Twitter and said that the discounts tickets can be booked on the airline's website between February 12, 2016 and February 14, 2016. The travel period for the discounted fares will be between February 15, 2016 and April 15, 2016.

This will be the first discount offering by Vistara - a Tata Group and Singapore International Airlines promoted airline. The premium airline, which claims to work with a motto of best-ever premium flying experience, has stayed away from any discounts till now.
12/02/16 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Dedicated terminal for private jets

New Delhi: Aviation services provider Bird Group which is setting up country's first dedicated terminal for private jets in collaboration with Swiss firm ExecuJet Aviation here is expected to invite bids soon for appointing a consultant to design terminal building.

The proposed facility would come up at an investment of USD 20 million and is expected to be up and will be functional in the next three years, sources close to development said.

The proposed terminal is part of the Zurich-headquartered global general aviation leader ExecuJet Aviation's plans to establish maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and providing Fixed-Based Operation (FBO) services at Delhi airport along with its Indian partner Bird Group.

A fixed-base operator (FBO) is a commercial business granted the right by an airport to operate there and provide aeronautical services such as fuelling, hungering, parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, among others. MRO refers to maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Sources said that as much as 3.30 acres of land has been acquired at the Delhi airport for the entire project including construction of the dedicated terminal.
12/02/16 PTI

Air India refancies Toronto flights

New Delhi: Government-owned Air India is mulling whether to resume non-stop flights between here and Toronto, Canada, a route it shut down in 2012 due to losses.

According to a senior AI official, it is considering the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for the route.

“We are looking at new routes where Dreamliners can be inducted. Toronto is one destination we are considering seriously,” said the official. “It’s yet to be decided whether we will fly a Boeing 787 or 777-300 ER. Depending upon feasibility study, we will take a final call but with fuel consumption being lower in the Boeing 787 than other aircraft, induction of this on many of our routes has brought economic benefit.”

While a 787 Dreamliner has 18 business class and 238 economy seats, a 777-300 ER has 35 business class and 303 economy seats.

Air Canada operates four weekly non-stop flights between Delhi and Toronto. “Air Canada is operating a 787-9. So, we see good potential in operating the 787,” the official said.
11/02/16 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

Technical snag delays departure of five flights from Mumbai's T2

A technical snag delayed the departure of five flights at Mumbai’s Terminal 2 (International terminal) in the wee hours of Thursday. These flights were three international and a domestic flight over System International Telecommunication Aeronautics network failure. The flights delayed included Emirates, Etihad, Ethopian, Air India and Qatar Airways. "The flights were delayed for around half an hour but there wasn’t a major impact on the operations as the system was then worked upon and was then rectified,” said a Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) official.
International as well as domestic departures to Dubai, Addis Ababa, Abu Dhabi and Doha were affected for an average of 30 minutes. Emirate Airways EK 501 (Mumbai- Dubai) that was to depart at 4.15 am started taxing only after 5.25 am. Etihad Airway’s EY 205 (Mumbai- Abu Dhabi) scheduled departure at 4.20 am but could push back only by 4.55 am. Ethopian Airlines Addis Ababa bound ET 611 that was scheduled to depart at 5.15 am but due to SITA failure pushed back only by at 6.01 am. AI 083 (Mumbai- Goa) scheduled to depart at 5.20 am but departed after 5.45 am. Qatar Airways Doha bound QR 557 was also one of the flight that witnessed delay in departure as the aircraft could push back for taxing only by 5.39 am when it’s scheduled departure was at 4 am.
11/02/16 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

CIAL moots new design for canal-top solar project

Kochi: After being the first fully solar energy-powered airport in the world, the airport company will soon roll out an innovative and cost-effective design for its proposed 3.5 km-long canal-top solar project. The design envisages construction of mounting racks with Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) instead of steel or aluminium, used elsewhere in the country.

“After due consultations with structural engineering experts, we have finalised this plan to mount these glittering panels on concrete structures. The cost details are yet to be worked out but initial assessments show that this will help us save around Rs.1 crore per megawatt on a year-on-year basis,” said V.J. Kurien, Managing Director, CIAL.

The project, to be launched here on a pilot basis, could be expanded to other parts of the State based on the rate of its success rate. “For instance, the Palakkad district alone boasts a canal network of around 1800 km and if found successful, we can replicate this model there,” said the official, who is also the Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Water Resources.
19/02/16 Hiran Unnikrishnan/The Hindu

Runway Expansion: Major headway as Gaya DM offers possession of 100 acres land to Civil Aviation deptt

Gaya: The much delayed project to expand the Gaya airport runway from the existing 2286 metres to 2886 metres got a major boost as the Gaya DM Kumar Ravi, in an official communication addressed to the Director (Operations) Civil Aviation Deptt has offered 100 acres of land for the runway expansion and allied developmental plans. The DM has requested the Aviation Deptt Director to authorise some official to take possession of the land on the deptt's behalf.
As per the contents of the DM's letter, the 100 acres are spread over four different villages adjoining the airport boundary. As of now, Gaya airport is spread over 971 acres and with another 100 acres available on both the eastern and western sides of the runway, bigger planes with about 300 passenger capacity would land and take off from the airport.
As of now, planes bigger in size than Airbus 320 with an all economy class passenger capacity of 180 can not be handled by the airport. As the A320 fleet of Air India has grown old with most of the planes older than 25 years, the planes suffering from metal fatigue and other operational hazards,generally carry a lower than permissible load.
12/02/16 Abdul Qadir/Times of India

Vistara appoints new executives


Indian full-service carrier Vistara has replaced its previous chairman, Prasad Menon, with consumer goods executive Bhaskar Bhat. The move took place just over a year since the joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Group began operations.

Vistara has also appointed Sanjiv Kapur as its chief strategy and commercial officer to replace previous COO Giam Ming Toh.  Kapur was previously COO at competing Indian carrier SpiceJet.

Retiring chairman Menon said Bhat would bring “an ideal blend of business building, marketing and sales expertise” to the venture. Bhat, who was a founder of Titan Watch Co., takes over from Menon as the airline is facing strong competition from Indian low-cost carriers (LCCs) and startups.

Vistara competes with LCCs such as IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet and AirAsia India. It has registered an average load factor of under 70%; IndiGo saw around 80% and SpiceJet over 90% in 2015.
11/02/16 Jeremy Torr/ATW

Renewed efforts for air connectivity to Mysuru

Mysuru: Stakeholders from the chamber of commerce, industry, hospitality and tourism sector will meet various players in the aviation sector in a renewed effort seeking restoration of air connectivity to Mysuru.

A “pressure group” has been constituted to influence policymakers and airline operators demanding flight operations based on data pertaining to air passenger traffic originating from Mysuru. This was decided at a stakeholders’ meet at Mysuru airport on Thursday in which nearly 50 representatives from the Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, FKCCI, Builders Association of India, Mysore Industries Association, Hotel Owners Association, CREDAI, Granite Traders Association, representatives of industries from Kadakola, and KASSIA participated.

Though Mysuru airport was upgraded and inaugurated in 2010, connectivity was irregular with three operators terminating services during the last six years. At present, there are no commercial flights from Mysuru. The opinion aired by stakeholders was that the city’s growth was impeded due to lack of air connectivity and fresh investments were slow to come by as investors dreaded the 5-hour travel from Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, to Mysuru.
12/02/16 R. Krishna Kumar/The Hindu

A long wait - AAI upgrades tech to make flying easier, but airlines fail to catch up

Over the past few years, Airports Authority of India has been on a path to modernise its technology. But airlines have been posing a stumbling block to AAI's endeavour to install a state-of-the-art system. From installing technology to track flights and eliminate traffic decongestion near airports, the communication and navigation wing of AAI has modernised air traffic control systems and networked radar across the country. It has also introduced satellite-based tracking of cruising flights over the ocean, started trials on a satellite-based system to guide aircraft for landing and take-off in a bid to replace conventional instrument system. Apart from these, AAI is working on its prestigious project `Gagan' that aims to make air traffic control fully satellite based.Because of the unenthusiastic cooperation from airlines, passengers have been bearing the brunt. They get held up at airports, reach their destinations late, and miss connecting flights when air congestion throws flight schedules out of gear. Though Chennai has installed ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) system that allows satellite surveillance of planes that fly over the Bay of Bengal, many air Indian lines do not have quality receivers on their aircraft. This has affected implementation of the system. ADS-B also serves as a backup for radars.
11/02/16 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Boeing Gives More Work to India

Boeing and India’s Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) recently announced a joint venture that will manufacture aerostructures–initially for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. This followed a promise made by Boeing Chairman James McNerney when he visited India last summer. He spoke of partnerships and wanting to keep the initiative of manufacturing in India to continue, with Boeing as an involved partner. “I want to play,” he said.

In July, the two companies announced a strategic aerospace partnership to support the “Make in India” movement and collaborate on integrated systems-development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles. The facility will be located at Hyderabad where TASL already has a components factory, and another facility where it manufactures cabins for Sikorsky’s S-92 helicopters. An industry official said that with 110 of the cabins delivered, Tier 1 supplier TASL is expected to draw on its experience as it works to supply materials for Boeing fuselages.

McNerney said Boeing was “much closer to having final assembly [of] Apache or Chinook helicopters [in India],” and AIN has found that India is likely to get some contracts for the Chinooks as well as Boeing’s MD helicopters division.
12/02/16 Neelam Mathews/AINonline

'Smart' Surat's not so smart air connectivity defies logic

Surat: Though Surat has made it to the list of 20 smart cities announced by the central government, it's lagging behind when it comes to number of aircrafts landings and take-offs from the airports in other cities. While other cities selected under the smart cities project are enjoying good air connectivity, Surat has just five take-offs and landings per day.
Even smaller cities like Coimbatore having population of just 10.61 lakh, Bhubaneshwar with 8.38 lakh have more than 40 landings and take-offs per days. Cities like Jaipur, Indore, Pune, Bhopal have around 25 to 111 flight landing and take-offs per day. Spread in over 326 square kilometers of area, Surat is the eighth largest city in India with population of approximately 50 lakh.
It has the highest per capita income of Rs 4.5 lakh per household. The GDP was $40 billion in 2010-11 and it is expected to cross $57 billion by 2020.
12/02/16 Melvyn Thomas/Times of India

Snowfall hampers flight operations at Srinagar Airport

The flight operations at the Srinagar Airport were hampered this morning due to fresh snowfall in the region.

Several flights, including one Indigo Airlines flight and one Jet Airways flight, were delayed leaving the passengers stranded at the airport.

Many areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir, including Gulmarg and Pahalgam, received fresh snowfall while the plains of the Valley experienced rains yesterday.
12/02/16 IBC World News

GoAir appoints Goldman Sachs, BofA-ML and Kotak Mahindra Bank to manage its $150 million IPO

Mumbai: Go Air is appointing Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Kotak Mahindra bank for managing its planned $150 million (Rs 1,026 crore) IPO, three people in the know said.

"Just the final agreement remains to be signed," said one of them, insisting anonymity.

Once they are on board, the bankers will work with the Go Air management in preparing the draft red herring prospectus, the pre-IPO document which will subsequently be submitted to the capital markets regulator SEBI.

If Go Air plans to offload 24% of its stake for that amount, its total valuation would come to over Rs 4,000 crore.
12/02/16 Anirban Chowdhury & Baiju Kalesh/Economic Times

GMR Infra net loss narrows to Rs 379 cr in Q3

New Delhi: GMR Infrastructure today reported narrowing of its consolidated net loss to Rs 379.38 crore for the December quarter on the back of resolution of regulatory bottlenecks and better operating margins from power plants.

The company's consolidated net loss after tax, minority interest and shares of loss of associates in the corresponding quarter in the previous fiscal was Rs 638.33 crore, it said in a BSE filing.

Consolidated total income from operations rose to Rs 3,564.25 crore during the quarter from Rs 2,761.30 crore in the year-ago period.

"Resolution of regulatory bottlenecks, better operating margins from power plants and robust traffic growth in airports have contributed to reduction in losses," the company said in a statement.
11/02/16 Business Standard

Mumbai to get 65 new ATCs in March

Mumbai: Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs), manning the 2.8-million sq nautical mile airspace, which extends from Kuala Lumpur and Yangon in the East to Pakistan and Muscat in the West, are going to be less-burdened with around 200 new personnel joining the rank from next month.

These 200 ATCs are in the final leg of their training and expected to join duties from March, a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said. The induction of these ATC personnel is part of the AAI plans to induct 600 ATCs by this fiscal to meet the shortage of manpower in critical areas such as air traffic management, he said.

"As many as 200 ATCs have almost completed training and will be put on duty from March. Besides, 400 more personnel will be recruited shortly," the official said. "Mumbai, which has acute shortage of ATC personnel will get 65 traffic controllers out of the 200, while the remaining 135 will be deployed on other airports to meet the shortage," the official said.
12/02/16 Mumbai Mirror

Govt seeks views on skill development in acviation sector

The Civil Aviation Ministry has sought views from stakeholders on the recommendations of a detailed study that focused on skill development in the aviation sector, which is projected to create millions of jobs in the coming years.The study, instituted by the Ministry, also comes at a time when the government is in advanced stages of finalising the much-awaited civil aviation policy.

Last year, ICRA Management Consultancy Services Ltd (IMaCS) was asked to carry out a comprehensive study on skill gap analysis in the civil aviation sector and also formulate future road map in this regard.

IMaCS, which conducted the study during August–December 2015, has made a slew of recommendations to bolster skill development in various segments of the country’s fast growing aviation sector.

The study has identified possible skill requirements in various segments, including airport, airline, MRO, cargo and ground handling.
11/02/16 Awazedost.com

Why Is India Drugging Its Air Force Pilots?

The term “flying high” takes on a whole new meaning for the Indian Air Force pilots who reportedly regularly consume uppers and downers with the government’s blessing. Confused?
In tough times, when the enemy rears its head, our Air Force pilots turn to a potent weapon: a little orange pill. The enemy is fatigue and insomnia, a nemesis which claims more lives than combat duty. So that’s where Dexedrine or Modafinil, or the ‘go pill’ (an ‘upper’), comes in to spike adrenaline levels, slay fatigue, enhance alertness and let the pilots stay awake in long, wartime sorties. This sudden rise rush of adrenaline in pilots is countered by the ‘no-go’ pill, (a ‘downer’) which has a calming, sedating effect.
Performance-enhancing drugs in military aviation are used extensively in the United States and the United Kingdom but we are only beginning to fully understand their effects and questioning the safety of these elixirs in the cockpit.
11/02/16 Nikita Mishra/The Quint

AI employee stuck in airport wash room rescued

Trichy: An Air India staff member got stuck in the wash room of the Trichy International Airport until she was rescued by the ground staff.
According to sources at the airport, the woman had gone to the wash room in the terminal around 11 am on Thursday. Finding the lock on the door twisted and stuck, and she is said to have banged the door several times. A passenger who was to board the Air India Express flight in the afternoon heard the banging and alerted the security.
12/02/16 Times of India

Airports Advisory Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of MP PK Patasani

Bhubaneswar: Airports Advisory Committee (AAC) meeting was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Sh Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of Tourism, Govt of Odisha on 12.02.2016, in the conference hall of New Domestic Terminal Building (T1) at B.P.I.Airport, Bhubaneswar.  The meeting is attended by the ex-officio members comprising the representatives from various departments like Odisha Tourism, IPICOL,  CISF, Air India, Indigo, Go Air, Vistara, Dist Collectorate,  HRAO,  Utkal Chamber of Commerce  and the prominent citizens from social/ cultural/ welfare group. Sh. Sharad Kumar Airport Director welcomed the Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Hon’ble Minister and other members of the Airport Advisory Committee with flower bouquets. Airport Director made a presentation regarding the present Airport Traffic, Passenger facilitations, various development works and passenger facilities under planning.
12/02/16 Pravu Prasad/Orrisadiary.com

TV Screens in Airport Vanish as AAI Conducts Probe

Chennai: Passengers visiting Chennai Airport will now be deprived of information about flight details and status as Airport Authority of India has removed all the TV screens as a precautionary measure.
AAI director Deepak Shahstri said this was done after one of the screens collapsed in the terminal. No one was injured in the incident but AAI is leaving no stone unturned to ensure safety of passengers.
“We have ordered an enquiry into the incident. We wanted to ascertain whether it is a freak incident or not,” Shastri said.
He said the TV screen fell down in the terminal because the plastic became brittle due to the heat.
Airport sources told Express that a total of 16 TV screens were removed inside the terminal and four on the entrance gates.
11/02/16 New Indian Express

One arrested at Mumbai airport for smuggling gold

Based on specific information, a domestic air passenger was caught by the Mumbai airport customs for smuggling gold on the Delhi-Mumbai sector.

Wasim Lakadawala who was travelling by Air India flight AI 865, to Mumbai on Thursday was intercepted and his personal search resulted in the recovery of cut pieces of gold bars with foreign markings totally weighing 3.116 kg valued at Rs 75.2 lakhs concealed inside his shoes.

Lakadawala in his confessional statement admitted that he had retrieved the gold from the lifejacket located underneath the
12/02/16 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Two held for trying to fly to China on fake tickets

Kolkata: Two persons were arrested at the city airport today for allegedly trying to board a China-bound flight on fake tickets, while customs officials seized 500 gm gold from a passenger from Bangkok.
Airport officials said two persons, residents of Iqbalpur area in the city, sought to board a flight for Kunming in China but their tickets raised suspicion in the mind of CISF personnel in-charge of security at the NSCBI Airport.
Following checking and questioning of the two passengers - Md Ishan and Mustaq Alam - the security men were sure that their tickets were fake.
The two were then arrested, the officials said.
12/02/16 PTI/IBN Live

Rs 1 cr. worth banned narcotic substance seized at Chennai airport

Airport security personnel seized as many as 11,200 tablets of thebanned narcotic substance Alprazolam,valued at Rs 1 crore, from a passenger from Sivaganga District in Tamil Nadu when he was about to board an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia early this morning. The passenger, Liyakhat Ali, aged 35, hailed from Illayankudi village in the aforesaid districtand was acting as a courier taking the narcotic substance to some unidentified smgulers in the Malaysian capital, airport police said. T The security staff, while checking Liyakhat Ali's hand baggage, found it unusual that he was carrying so many tablets. When quetioned, he informed them that they were ordinary tablets to treat fever and headache.
12/02/16 Web India123