Saturday, August 27, 2016

Air Pegasus in talks to sell 30% stake

Air Pegasus Managing Director, Shyson Thomas, says talks are currently ongoing with an undisclosed Singaporean private-equity fund over the possible sale of a 30% stake in the struggling airline.

In an interview with The Economic Times, Thomas said he still expects the carrier, which is owned by Bangalore-based ground-handling services firm Decor Aviation, to resume operations in the coming weeks.

Talks with lessors Elix Aviation Capital and Nordic Aviation Capital have been on-going since the pair attempted to de-register their respective ATR72-500s after Air Pegasus failed to settle its leasing dues last month.

Grounded and unable to operate, Air Pegasus management have submitted a proposal to the two firms wherein they have pledged to pay off its dues with a 50% down payment with the remaining 50% to be paid off in monthly installments. The plan is currently under consideration.

Given its inactivity, the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set a September 1 deadline for Air Pegasus to resume commercial operations following which it risks regulatory sanctions.
27/08/16 ch-aviation

Air India plane wing nearly hits passenger coach at Jabalpur airport

New Delhi: Scores of passengers who had just deplaned a SpiceJet flight escaped unhurt at Jabalpur airport on Saturday when the wing of a taxiing Air India plane narrowly missed hitting the coach in which they were travelling. The incident happened when the coach carrying passengers, who landed from a Delhi flight (SG-2641) was preparing to move towards the terminal building.
There were no immediate comments from SpiceJet and Air India on the incident. Sources said around 30 passengers came out of the coach after one of them saw the wing of an Air India aircraft was close to hitting the coach. The engine of the SpiceJet was still on after landing when the Air India plane was taxiing towards the bay. The incident happened at around noon.
Air India plane’s wing had breached the stipulated safe distance that needs to be maintained from other objects and vehicles at the time of taxiing, sources said. According to them, there was no proper marshalling of the aircraft which resulted in the safety lapse. In aviation parlance, marshalling refers to visual signals used by the person on the ground and the pilot concerned for manouvering the aircraft at the time of take off and landing.
Sources said since there was no Air India technician at that particular time, someone else did the marshalling activity.
27/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

Indian civil aviation’s flight path

India’s civil aviation sector is one of the fastest growing market in the world. The sector grew 23.29% in terms of passenger traffic during January-April 2016 compared with the corresponding period a year ago.
With more people taking to air travel, the sector is set for an expansion.
According to International Air Transport Association, India’s air passenger traffic growth rate is over six times more than that of the US, which, with 4.1%, is the second fastest-growing market in the world.

India’s civil aviation sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and the number of air travellers will shortly reach 100 million.
27/08/16 VCCircle

Govt notifies 2% excise duty on jet fuel at airports under Regional Connectivity Scheme

New Delhi: Government today notified excise duty of 2 per cent for jet fuel purchased from airports that come under the regional connectivity scheme, which seeks to make flying more affordable.

The concessional excise duty rate would be applicable for airlines as well as cargo operators.

Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), announced as part of the new civil aviation policy, various financial incentives would be extended to airlines that would fly to unserved and underserved areas.

A basic excise duty at concessional rate of 2 per cent would be levied on "Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) drawn by operators or cargo operators from RCS airports for a period of three years," the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said in a notification.
The scheme would be for air services connecting "unserved and under-served routes" ranging from 200 to 800 kilometre, while there would be no lower limit for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions, as per the draft RCS which was unveiled in July.
26/08/16 PTI/Economic Times

Police register case against Air India pilot for flying drunk

Kozhikode: The police on Friday registered a case against an Air India pilot who was found drunk in the post- flight examination on arrival of the flight from Sharjah at the Karipur airport on August 10.
Karipur police identified the accused as co- pilot Rithesh Mathankar, 39 hailing from Maharashtra. He has been charged under sections 11 (Penalty for flying so as to cause danger) and 11 A ( failure to comply with directions) of Aircraft Act 1934.
Karipur sub inspector of police, Sadanandan P said that the case was registered on the basis of a complaint by Air India authorities.
The DGCA had suspended the pilot for four years and had asked the airline to register an FIR against the pilot. Air India had also launched an enquiry into the incident.
The AI flight from Sharjah had to operate in another sector from Karipur airport and with the pilot failing in the post- flight alcohol test, the airline had to divert another flight to Karipur with an additional pilot so that the aircraft could fly again.
27/08/16 KR Rajeev/Times of India

The story of an Air India emergency landing: Why the captain and crew deserves praise

New Delhi: A passenger who boarded the Mumbai-Newark flight Air India AI191 on Thursday, and ended up at a little known town in Kazakhstan due to an emergency landing, heaped praises on the airline’s crew. Especially the captain, for handling a tricky situation well, ensuring that each of the 303 passengers were taken care of, and most importantly, keeping each passenger well informed of the developments.

The passengers finally reached Newark On Friday afternoon, after an almost 18-hour grounding at Kazakhstan.
Not just the flight’s captain and crew, the concerned government functionaries were also kept busy in India through much of Thursday and Friday, trying to get stranded passengers out of Kazakhstan. Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju, his deputy Jayant Sinha and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were all answering queries on twitter regarding this flight.
There were assurances from each on quick solution to the passengers’ woes, with Swaraj also saying the Indian Ambassador to that country was engaged in helping passengers throughout.
This is what happened. Three hours into the flight from Mumbai, which had anyway taken off late, captain Arup Roychaudhary announced an emergency landing, saying this will be done in about 20-22 minutes and the passengers have no cause to worry. He did not immediately explain why an emergency landing was being done.
“The Captain was calm; he switched off the in-flight entertainment system immediately to bar access to GPS. This meant none of us knew where we were landing, preventing panic. Once the flight landed (in almost exactly the time he had indicated), the Captain told us it was Akobe in Kazakhstan,” said Ramanan Seshadri. Seshadri was on the flight with his wife and twin sons, on his way back to the US after a family holiday in India.
The Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft was almost full, even the first class was full, said an Air India official. Once the aircraft landed, passengers were deplaned in an orderly manner, with an efficient cabin crew providing assistance and ensuring that no personal belongings were taken by passengers.
The orderly de-boarding in this case assumes importance given the scenes witnessed during the recent emergency landing of Emirates flight EK521 at Dubai. Here, precious minutes were wasted as passengers tried to carry their personal belongings and hand luggage, because either the crew failed to emphasise that belongings be left behind or because they did not heed crew’s requests. This aircraft caught fire seconds after the last person had deboarded.
Seshadri said real trouble could have begun after the de-boarding, as passengers began filing in to the Akobe International Airport. Akobe is a small town and the airport there is not equipped to handle a large bird like the Boeing 777-300ER, which had disgorged so many passengers at one go. The airport opened its entire first floor for the passengers, got all the available toilets cleaned while the passengers tried to settle down and wait for further news.
Seshadri says Roychaudhry ensured that water and milk for children was made available first. He also spoke to passengers to explain that the emergency landing was necessitated due to a smoke alarm. Later, the captain would again explain that since the fire extinguisher in the cargo hold area had been used up, this aircraft could not now be used and a new one will have to be flown in from India to take the passengers onwards. Little did the passengers know that the substitute aircraft would take another almost 18 hours to arrive.
“The captain and his crew did a really commendable job. They not only took care of the passengers, they were forthcoming with information at each point, explaining things. This helped most of us keep calm. A few hours after landing, the captain ensured we got lunch etc. The same crew flew us back when the substitute aircraft arrived in the evening,” Seshadri said.
27/08/16 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

US-based couple spend Rs 3 lakh to ensure Mumbai stray dog flies with them

Three-legged Tyagi has found his forever home and two loving parents, Sushant and Sheetal, who spent an additional Rs 1.67 lakh to take him home to Philadelphia, after the previous carrier they were going in could not carry the pet on the 14-hour flight. The couple spent $4,500 (Rs 3 lakh) in total to carry the pet home.
The couple was booked on Air India’s AI 191 flight to Newark from Ahmedabad via Mumbai.
Since they were taking Tyagi with them, they inquired about the procedure to carry pets from the airline’s call centre and learnt that it allowed pets to fly as cargo.
Completing all the formalities, the couple, who were booked on a non-refundable ticket to Newark went to their office and faced a bout of bad news. They were informed that due to their operator’s fault, they had forgotten to mention that pets weren’t allowed on a long haul flight and could fly as cargo only if it was a hopping (with multiple layovers) or via flight. It takes 14 hours to land in Newark on a direct flight from Mumbai. It was then that the family tore off their Air India tickets, that cost them nothing less than $2,000 (Rs 1.34 lakh).
They later bought tickets for a Lufthansa flight that had transit at Frankfurt. Rinky Karmakar, trustee of NGO Save Our Strays (SOS), explained, “We were somewhere sure that they wouldn’t be able to fly Tyagi with them this time due to the last minute update from Air India. It was then that I sent emails to the Air India CMD requesting him to look into the matter and at least adjust them in another flight or even another airline instead of just doing nothing. However, I never received a reply. Tyagi was getting a home after a wait of 18 months and we didn’t want this last minute trouble to shatter his bright future. To our surprise, in order to fly with Tyagi, the couple decided to spend an additional $2500.”
27/08/16 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Air India flight AI 963 from Kochi to Jeddah grounded at Kochi airport due to technical glitch

Kochi: Air India’s flight AI 963 going from Kochi to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia was on Saturday grounded at Kochi International Airport, due to some technical glitch. The passengers aboard the flight were deplaned and were made to stay at hotels, with the Airlines saying that they have made alternate arrangements for them. More details about what caused the glitch and how long it will take the airlines to fix it and send the flight on its way, is awaited. Technical glitches are unsurprising to regular fliers, as they have to face them fairly regularly. Technical glitches continue to be the number one cause for flight delays.
Air India’s official Twitter on Saturday night tweeted the hold up, saying, “#AIUpdate: #AI963 COK-JED flt grounded due to operational reasons.Pax are being transferred to hotel.Alternative arrangements are being made.”

British passengers stage protest against Air India

Bengaluru: Four British citizens staged a protest in front of the Air India office at Unity Building on Friday night against the airline's move of “transferring” the reserved seats to other passengers.

The Britons - Nayeema, Manza, Ivan and Diya - said that they had come to the city on August 7. “We had paid Rs 2.5 lakh and reserved the onward journey to England on August 26. We went to the KIA at 5 am as the flight was to leave at 6.10 am. The Air India staff did not issue us boarding passes and sent us away,” alleged Nayeema.

All the four claimed that the Air India staff did not behave properly. “We learnt later in the evening that the Air India had allotted the seats to other passengers. Hence, we staged a protest," Nayeema added.
27/08/16 Deccan Herald

AAI: Surat airport capable of handling 40 flights a day

Surat: Airports Authority of India (AAI) in response to a petition filed in Gujarat high court by Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC) submitted that Surat airport is categorized as 4C licensed airport and is capable of handling about 40 flights, including that of Airbus-320 and Boeing 737-700 daily.
The high court had issued notices to AAI, Union civil aviation ministry, aviation department of Gujarat government, Air India (AI) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) subsequent to a writ petition filed by SAAC on the issue of Surat's air connectivity.
The high court had admitted the writ petition filed by Sanjay Ezhava, president of Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC), a public group crusading for improved air connectivity from Surat, against government authorities and Air India (AI) demanding equality for residents of Surat wanting to fly to various destinations from the city.
The petitioner submitted that the AI was provided bank guarantee, valid up to May 31, 2016, by way of security for an amount worth Rs 3 crore by Surat Flight Support Association (SFSA) for flying Airbus between Delhi and Surat. It was after the bank guarantee in October 2015 that the Air India started Airbus operations from Surat.
27/08/16 Times of India

Kashmir unrest aftermath: Airlines cut flights as visitors to Srinagar dip

New Delhi: This is the time of the year when flights to Srinagar used to go full. But the 50-day unrest in the valley has led to such a sharp fall in visitors to Srinagar — with hardly any tourists going there and only locals flying in and out for essential work — that airlines have started cutting down on flights to the city and deploying the freed up capacity on other routes.
A senior Airports Authority of India official said the Srinagar airport used to receive daily over 84 domestic flights — 42 arrivals and as many departures -in peak summer. Today , the number of schedule flights is closer to 70, a fall of almost 17%. The number of cancellations, say sources, could only grow if things don't improve fast. Of the six schedule airlines that operate to Srinagar, four have cut frequencies.
India's largest airline by domestic passenger carriage — IndiGo — has halved its daily flights to and from Srinagar in recent days due to the "current curfew situation and local unrest". SpiceJet used to fly to Srinagar from Delhi, Jammu, Amritsar and Chandigarh. "Post fall in demand we have withdrawn Chandigarh-Srinagar flights," a SpiceJet spokesman said.
GoAir used to have six daily flights between Delhi and Srinagar. "We now have four dailies on that route as two have been curtailed. In addition, the two dailies on MumbaiSrinagar route are continuing," said an airline official.
27/08/16 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Air connectivity to boost North East's economy: Assam CM

Dispur: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday said economic activities in the northeast will get a boost with the frequent air connectivity between the region and other parts of the country.

His remarks came as Spice Jet is set to launch new daily flights connecting Silchar with Kolkata, Guwahati and Guwahati with Aizawl from October 4.

"The decision to enhance air connectivity between northeast and other parts of the country will serve as a fillip to the tourism potential of Assam and other northeastern States," said Sonowal while expressing gratitude to the airline.

Commenting on this development, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said: "Feeder routes (or a hub and spoke model) can connect the citizens of many smaller cities nationally and globally. A key pillar of the New Civil Aviation policy is the enhancement of regional connectivity."
25/08/16 IANS Live

Flights to India affected by Colombo airport upgrade

Colombo: Sri Lankan Airlines has announced the cancellation of flights from Colombo to Chennai, Trichy, Cochin and Bangalore in southern India for three months from January due to runway repair works at the Bandaranaike International Airport. The Lankan national carrier has also cancelled flights flying to Singapore and Male.
The rescheduling of flights remain for three months from January 2017 due to runway repairs that will close the Colombo international airport during day time, the airline said in a statement.
The airport will remain closed from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm each day for runway maintenance work from January 6, 2017, to April 6, 2017, it said.
Flights from Colombo to Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Trivandrum, New Delhi, Karachi, London and Jeddah will be shifted to alternate times of the day, the statement said.
27/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

Vijay Mallya elusive for half-a-year now, no recovery from Kingfisher: A quiet defeat for govt?

Six months after liquor baron Vijay Mallya, whose grounded Kingfisher Airline owes Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks, left the country to the UK, the case hasn’t made any serious progress yet. This is despite several attempts by the bank consortium, the government and investigative agencies to nail Mallya to get him to repay the money and courts issuing warnings against Mallya. The case is pretty much at the point where it all started in 2012 when banks classified Kingfisher loan as a non-performing asset (NPA) and cried foul on Mallya’s financial conduct. Mallya has so far denied any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, banks yet again failed to find any takers for an auction that put Kingfisher brand logo (valued Rs 4,000 crore by consultancy Grant Thornton once),  and its once-famous tag-line 'Fly the Good Times' on the block besides some immovable assets of the grounded bird. The auction itself seemed like a desperate attempt with banks putting even some of the movable assets worth a mere Rs 13.70 lakh lying at the Kingfisher House up for auction including eight cars — Toyota Innova and Corolla, and Honda City and Civic among others, the reserve price of each car ranging from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2.50 lakh.
Remember, this is the second failed attempt to auction Kingfisher assets by banks. Early this month, banks had failed to get any bidders for the 17,000 square feet Kingfisher House in Mumbai. The reason for the failure isn’t hard to imagine—no one wants to try their luck in a case that is in a major mess and also considering the erosion in their value, leaving banks helpless in recovery.
26/08/16 Dinesh Unnikrishnan/First Post

Sonakshi Sinha Trolled a Pilot on Snapchat

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha recently trolled an Air India pilot en route to Lucknow. Sonakshi was on her way to Lucknow for the promotion of her upcoming action drama Akira when the pilot made a verbal blunder while making an announcement, reports Bollywood Life.

In a snapchat video, she says that when her flight landed in Lucknow, the captain instead of saying 'hawai adda' (airport ) said 'station'. This caught the 29-year-old actress' attention and she narrated the incident on Snapchat.
27/08/16 ANI/NDTV

2 crore worth of lost items at Delhi airport, phones top the list

New Delhi: The next time you are at the Delhi airport, make sure you don't leave your mobile phones behind at the baggage screening area or the waiting area. The number of mobile phones recovered from various spots at the Delhi airport by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials is very high - 895 mobile phones were left behind by passengers within a five-month period this year. Out of those, only 317 were returned to passengers, and 578 were deposited with airport authorities. "Mobile phones are the most common item left behind. Even last year, the number of mobile phones collected by CISF officials was 2,148. Out of that, only 734 were returned to their owners, and 1,414 were deposited with the airport's manager. The details of items, including laptops, cameras and passports collected from the airport, are also available online. Those who follow up with us and give us the required details get their lost items back, but such people are relatively few in number - there are a lot of lost and found items still deposited with airport authorities," says an official with the CISF.
After mobile phones, other items collected on a regular basis by the CISF staff include laptops, cameras, wrist watches, wallets, jewellery and even documents like passports and PAN cards. The approximate value of the various items that passengers forget at the airport (from January to May this year) is approximately `2 crore. Out of this, only goods worth `91 lakh were returned to passengers.
27/08/16 Divya Kaushik/Times of India

Para cyclist forced to take off prosthetic limb at KIA

Bengaluru: Aditya Mehta, silver medalist at Asian Para-Cycling Championship, claimed on Friday that he was forced to take off his prosthetic limb during security checks at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) here.

Airport officials, however, dismissed his charge, explaining that the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were only doing their duty as per the standard security procedure.

A KIA spokesperson clarified that every passenger is searched without exceptions at the KIA. “We have to do whatever has to be done to ensure that passengers feel safe and secure,” she said.
27/08/16 Deccan Herald

Hajis face slush test at Gujarat airport

Ahmedabad: Even as Gujarat is sending the highest ever 7,500 haj pilgrims to Mecca, the road to holy journey is laden with muck and slush for passengers arriving at Ahmedabad-based Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport.
Passengers are sending out pictures of the haj pilgrims, dressed in all whites, trudging their trolleys in deep slush. One of the haj pilgrims, Ahmed Patel, said that three to four pilgrims were injured after they fell down on the slippery soil near the terminal-3.
On August 21, Union minister of state for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had flagged off the first batch of 300 pilgrims.
The government and Gujarat Haj Committee are boasting about the fact that the highest number of pilgrims will fly from the state this year, but the mismanagement is causing hurdles to the pilgrims, said a relative of one of the pilgrims.
27/08/16 Times of India

Gold seized from air passengers

Kochi: The Customs air intelligence unit on Friday seized gold bars and jewellery, together weighing 832 gm and valued at Rs 26 lakh, from two Sri Lankan women passengers at the Cochin International Airport.

The passengers had arrived by Sri Lankan Airlines Flight No. UL165. Officers of the air intelligence unit intercepted the passengers at the exit gate of the arrival hall. The gold bars had been concealed in sandals kept in the baggage while the jewellery was on their person.
27/08/16 The Hindu

Friday, August 26, 2016

DGCA may ask airlines to clamp down on in-flight selfies

Worried about security risks arising out of in-flight selfies, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) may soon ask airlines to strictly enforce a ban on taking pictures inside cockpit and at other critical places, including by crew members.
While existing rules also put some restrictions on in-flight photography, the regulator will come out with a detailed set of guidelines in a few days in the wake of certain cases coming to the light about possible security risks from clicking cockpit selfies.
With increased use of smart devices, there have been many instances of travellers as well as crew members, including pilots, clicking photographs inside flights.
Against this backdrop, DGCA is working on guidelines for airlines that would cover various aspects of photography inside an aircraft including selfies.
A senior DGCA official on Friday said the regulator would be soon coming with a circular in this regard, mostly likely next week.
“It will be a safety circular for providing guidance to airlines,” the official said, even as he made it clear that there are already rules in place for “photograph at aerodromes or from aircraft in flight”.
According to the official, the circular would cover issues such as whether photography is permitted in cockpit including selfies.
26/08/16 PTI/VCCircle

AI flight delay forces China-bound medical students to return half-way

Thiruvananthapuram: Three medical students travelling from Thiruvananthapuram to China were forced to return, thanks to the callous attitude of Air India authorities. Aparna of Ottasekharamangalam, Keerthana of Paravur and Gopika of Kottarakara along with four other passengers missed their connection flight to Kolkata as the Air India staff failed to provide them alternative arrangement to reach their destination.

The flight from Thiruvananthapuram was delayed by one-and-a-half hours and by the time it landed in Chennai the connection flight to Kolkata had already left. The students had booked tickets by a Chinese airlines flight from Kolkata to China. Apart from denying an alternative arrangement to reach Kolkata the Air India authorities failed to provide accommodation for us, said Aparna.

The third year medical students of Dali University in China were made to spent an entire night at Chennai airport. According to Aparna the airline staff behaved rudely asking them to cancel their tickets to China. “They initially assured to refund tickets to Kolkata and provide return tickets to Thiruvananthapuram. But later they changed stance and we had to spent an additional Rs 3,500 to return home.” she rued. The trio landed in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday evening.
26/08/16 New Indian Express

GMR Infra to develop Mopa airport in Goa

Panaji: Bangaluru-based GMR Infrastructure has won the final financial bid for construction of the greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar announced here today. The claims of all bidders were opened today by a committee comprising senior government officials.
"GMR has won the financial bid and it has pledged 36.99 per cent revenue sharing with the state government after the airport becomes operational," the Chief Minister told reporters.
He said other bidders like Airport Authority of India and ESSEL Infra had quoted 32.31 per cent and 27 per cent as the revenue share from the project with state government, which will be operational on BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) basis.
The airport is planned in the Northernmost part of the state adjoining Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone for the project during second week of September.
26/08/16 PTI/India Today

Wadia group may field GoAir IPO by end 2017-18

Wadia Group-owned low-cost carrier GoAir’s initial public offering (IPO) is likely to happen by the end of FY17-18, while the airline is expected to finalise the global co-coordinators in the next three months.
Major domestic investment firms like SBI caps, Kotak Mahindra, Edelweiss and Motilal Oswal have pitched in for book-running lead managers for the issue, investment bankers privy to the development told FE. According to them, the timing of the IPO would depend mainly on the macro market conditions.
The company is looking at the stock performance of Indigo Airlines, whose shares underwent a major correction in the last few months due to concerns over delivery of aircraft from Airbus. Although the stock soared more than 80% in first three months of listing to hit a lifetime high of R1,395 in January 2016, it has slumped more than 60% from the peak. On Thursday, shares of IndiGo closed at R880.20 apiece on the BSE — 15% premium to the issue price of R765 apiece.
26/08/16 Financial Express

Air India pitches debt-to-equity deals to creditor firms

Air India has opened talks with creditor banks over the possible conversion of INR100 billion (USD1.49 billion) worth of debt to equity airline sources have told India's Economic Times.

In its report, the paper says Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani has been holding meetings with a 26-member consortium of lenders that includes the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, and the Central Bank of India.

The talks fall under the auspices of the Reserve Bank of India's Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) which gives financially distressed firms the option of debt-conversion deals with willing creditor firms.

"About INR20,000 crore (USD2.98 billion) of our loans have been found to be sustainable (which can be serviced through its cash flow) and about INR10,000 crore is (proposed) to be converted into equity," a source said.
25/08/16 ch-aviation

Government offers land in Palghar for 20-seater aircraft production

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has offered 157 acres of land in Palghar district near to a private company to produce its indigenously designed 20-seater commercial aircraft.
A 6-seater aircraft developed by Captain Amol Yadav on the terrace of his building in suburban Kandivali was the centre of attraction at the 'Make In India Week' held at the Bandra-Kurla Complex here in February.
The aircraft has been designed and developed by Thrust Aircraft Pvt Ltd floated by Yadav.
Speaking to reporters here, Managing Director of Thrust Aircraft Rashmikant Yadav claimed, "If I could get finance and land, I am ready to start (20-seater) aircraft manufacturing from November and in about year's time, by December 2018, we would be ready with four such aircraft."
The prototype would be ready in a year, he added.

A senior government official said the Palghar district collector's office had sent a report, recommending that Yadav be allotted 157 acres of land near Kelve station.
26/08/16 PTI/Economic Times

Laser light distracts Air India pilot near airport

New Delhi: A fight pilot from Air India complained of being distracted by a laser beam during landing at the Delhi airport on Tuesday. The pilot of Air India flight AI 047 (to Delhi) said he was distracted by a laser beam while he was preparing to land on runway 29, from the direction of National Highway 8, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
“The incident took place on Tuesday around 1am when the Air India flight was approaching the airport and had been cleared to land on runway 29. The pilot complained of some distraction and immediately informed the air traffic controller (ATC), who informed the manager on the ground,” said a senior airport official on condition of anonymity. “As per the communion made by the pilot of the said flight with ATC, he had spotted a green laser light close to runway 29 coming from the west side,” the official said.
26/08/16 Asian Age

Kalyan airstrip being looked at only for regional scheme: AAI

Mumbai: While an airstrip in Kalyan may be considered for the development of an airport under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) denied the possibility of considering an airport in Kalyan as an alternative to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, a project which has been stuck on account of hurdles in rehabilitation of the project-affected people.
“The work on Navi Mumbai airport is going on smoothly and there exists no possibility of any change. The Kalyan airstrip is being looked at for development under the RCS and we do not see any other reason,” confirmed an official from the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Speculation regarding the Kalyan airport peaked following an aerial survey of the Navi Mumbai site and the Kalyan airstrip by Union Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday.
State government officials, however, admitted there are problems with the rehabilitation of the project-affected people at the Navi Mumbai site. “The rehabilitation process has not stagnated but it faces issues. In the past, residents have expressed disinterest in the land allocated by CIDCO for rehabilitation. This could be a reason why residents are feeling a little hesitant about shifting,” said Prashant Thakur, BJP legislator from Panvel.
26/08/16 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

Indian firm said to be eyeing Iraklio airport

Indian airport operator and construction firm GMR Infrastructure is reportedly pondering an offer for the development of an airport in Kasteli, in the Iraklio prefecture of Crete.

The Bengaluru-based company already operates two of India’s busiest airports, in Delhi and Hyderabad, as well the Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Philippines.

India’s Hindustan Times on Friday cited sources as saying that GMR has already sought and received an “experience certificate” from the Indian Aviation Ministry to participate in the tender.

GoAir offloaded 13 passengers from Delhi-Srinagar flight

New Delhi: As many as 13 passengers were offloaded from a Srinagar-bound GoAir flight from the capital for creating ruckus soon after boarding the plane. The incident happened on July 1 soon after the aircraft doors were closed and the flight was set for departure, official sources said.
According to them, the passengers were apparently drunk and created ruckus causing inconvenience to others on the flight. They started shouting soon after boarding and also claimed that a few others from their group were not allowed to board. The passengers were purportedly on their way to Amarnath.
Incidentally, a senior official of aviation regulator DGCA who was on the flight asked the pilot to call in security and offload the unruly passengers, they said. The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) official was flying to Srinagar for some inspection work at Amarnath.
When contacted, a GoAir spokesperson confirmed the incident of offloading 13 passengers from the flight on July 1 but did not provide further details. Following the incident, the flight, which was scheduled to depart at around 0545 hours was delayed by more than an hour.
26/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

India's new air route to avoid Pakistani air space will cut emission and save fuel

New Delhi: In a bid to save fuel, cut emission and have better route utilisation, Indian carriers have suggested a new plan to the government that co-opts the air space controlled by the armed forces. It also calls for bypassing Pakistan while flying overseas to save navigation fees.

Called the Flexible Use of Airspace Initiative, under the larger aviation services management, it calls for: New, permanent routes for shorter navigation; grant of weekly permissions to operate shorter routes; and case-by-case approval by the defence Air Traffic Control to a pilot in air.

"If this is institutionalised, it will be a win-win-win for all: Less fuel use and lower emission -- which is good for the environment -- significant cut in fuel bills and shorter flying time for passengers," a top airline official said. "Avoiding Pakistani air space is part of the strategy."

The National Civil Aviation Policy that was unveiled in June also promises that the Ministry of Civil Aviation will strive to optimise the flexible use of airspace initiative in consultation with the Ministry of Defence.

Sources said the Airports Authority of India has constituted a separate Directorate under the Department of Air Navigation Service Providers to look into the optimisation of the entire Indian airspace in coordination with the Aviation Ministry.
26/08/16 IANS/Hans India

Lack of night landing at Juhu criticised at meeting

Mumbai: Various stakeholders criticised the country’s oldest aerodrome, the Juhu airport, along with officials of the Airports Authority of India and civil aviation ministry, during a meeting of the ministry’s standing committee held recently.
MP Shatrughan Sinha asked why — when there have been recent civil aviation policy talks about on-the-spot medical evacuation — did the Juhu aerodrome still not have night-landing facilities when it is already surrounded by a few big hospitals. According to sources, a need for a helipad in major hospitals was also pointed out during the meeting, in order to make medical evacuation smoother and ensure patients reach the operation theatre easily.
Talking to The Asian Age, a top official from one of the stakeholder companies of the aerodrome, said that for the past 30 years, helicopters are being forced to land at Santa Cruz airport due to the non-availability of night-landing facilities in Juhu. Also, due to air traffic congestion at the Mumbai airport, planes are sometimes forced to wait in the air for 20 to 40 minutes, which leads to a huge economic loss for the operator.
26/08/16  Ashita Dadheech/Asian Age

Now Air India planning direct flight to Singapore from Chandigarh

Chandigarh: After Sharjah, Air India is eying Singapore for a direct international flight from Chandigarh.
“I am happy to announce that our parent company is planning to start more international flights from Chandigarh. The date is not confirmed, but the intention to start the international flight is firm,” K Shyam Sundar, CEO, Air India Express, told the media on Thursday. “I believe they [Air India] are examining Singapore as the potential destination. This is something the CMD of Air India has told me to inform that Air India has plans to start operations from Chandigarh.”
Air India Express (AIE), the low-cost arm of national carrier Air India, has already announced its first international flight from Chandigarh airport to (SHJ) Sharjah International Airport on September 15.
Asserting that there had been demands to start international operations from Chandigarh, Sundar said that the airline chose Sharjah as they didn’t get suitable slots for Dubai. “They gave us a slot which didn’t work out for us,” he added.
He said that the first flight to Sharjah was already booked with 50 passengers and the airline was “hoping that it will do well”.
26/08/16 Indian Express

Supreme Court slams Air India for seeking repeated adjournments

The Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on national carrier Air India for repeatedly seeking adjournments in a case involving pay and related matters of pilots and cabin crew.
The apex court was angry after the lawyer representing the petitioners (pilots and cabin crew) said that Air India has sought 21 adjournments citing Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi's absence.
"Air India should not do this. They have taken twenty-one adjournments. They have taken adjournments in Mr. Rohatgi's name," the petitioners' lawyer said.
This prompted the court to strongly criticise the state-run carrier. "You say you don't want to delay the matter, but you are. If learned AG cannot appear, put your house in order," Justices Rohinton Nariman said, according to Bar and Bench.
The case is being heard by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman.
26/08/16 S V Krishnamachari/IBTimes

Rudy gives flyers behind-the-scene glimpse of the aviation industry

New Delhi: Behind the scene activities in the Indian aviation sector were brought out in the open late on Wednesday when Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, recalled that when he was the Civil Aviation Minister at the Centre in 2003, Jet Airways and Indian Airlines had approached him asking not to allow Air Deccan to fly in the Indian skies.

“Captain Gopinath (the promoter of Air Deccan) would huff and come to my room and Air India, Jet Airways and Sahara (would) collectively come to see that this airline did not exist. But that was the game. However, when he succeeded in getting a licence and started the airline the whole landscape, the eco-system of civil aviation changed. That trigged off what we see today,” said Rudy, who is currently Minister of State (Independent Charge), Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He was speaking at an awards function organised by the Air Passengers Association of India. The event was powered by BusinessLine and CNN News18 was the telecast partner.

Recalling his own experience as a passenger, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road, Transport, Highway and Shipping, recounted how he would often be told about an early morning flight being cancelled even as he was on the way to the airport. The Minister appealed to airlines to tell passengers well in advance if their flight was being cancelled.
25/08/16 Business Line

Airlines divided over implementing in-flight Wi-Fi

Mumbai/New Delhi: Full-service carriers were encouraged by the government’s decision to allow in-flight internet access, while low-cost carriers remained non-committal, citing pricing concerns.

While SpiceJet quoted expenses involved in upgrading the aircraft for Wi-Fi service, a senior IndiGo executive was sceptical about the viability of on-board Wi-Fi hotspots in domestic flights, given most routes are short haul. “If you ask me, I don’t think it will be sensible for an airline to invest in such facilities on routes of two-and-a-half hour duration,” said the IndiGo executive.
“In a budget airline environment, how this extra cost will affect ticket price is an aspect that needs to be looked into. This is a good initiative by the government but from the industry’s point of view, it is distant reality,” a SpiceJet spokesperson added.

A GoAir spokesperson said the airline would take a call on Wi-Fi after an evaluation.
Amongst domestic airlines, full-service carriers Vistara and Jet Airways made the first move for providing wireless streaming of entertainment content in aircraft. In February, Jet announced it would offer wireless streaming of movies and television shows on personal devices such as phones or tablets from the second quarter of this year. The service will be available on all its Boeing 737s. The airline said it would upgrade the streaming service to full broadband satellite connectivity upon receiving regulatory approvals.
26/08/16 Aneesh Phadnis & Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

Air India to operate B'luru flights four days a week

Hubballi: Air India has announced operations of its Hubballi-Bengaluru flights four days a week.
Starting September 1, the flights will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the flights will arrive at 5.05 pm and depart at 5.25pm. On Tuesday, the flights will arrive at 5.20pm and depart at 5.45pm, Manjunath, manager, Air India, Hubballi, told TOI.
Manjunath said that the decision was taken to meet increasing demand. He said that 90% of seats are occupied and if everything goes as per the plan, Air India may start operating daily flights from Hubballi airport in the days to come. Introduced a few days back, Air India is the only airlines in the Hubballi-Bengaluru route, operating thrice a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There was no operator in the route after Air Pegasus suspended its services. After the suspension of Air Pegasus services, the launch of Air India operation in the route came as relief for frequent travelers to the state capital.
26/08/16 Times of India

Soon, bunks for AI crew on long haul flights

New Delhi: Air India (AI) cabin crew on long haul flights will now get bunks to sleep on.
The airline has told the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that bunks will be provided on flights with a flying time of over 11hours. This includes mainly non-stops from India to US and, eventually , on India-Australia flights with the induction of new Dreamliners.
The importance of a rested and alert crew was highlighted in the recent crash-landing of the Emirates flight in Dubai when the crew ensured that all 300 people on board evacuated the aircraft in the stipulated 90 seconds.
For long flights, airlines need to take augmented crew so they can work and rest in rotation. Till now, AI crew rested on business class seats, subject to availability.
26/08/16 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Aerial help for flood-hit areas

Allahabad:  Flood victims have been receiving help through the air too, courtesy the Indian Air Force. One Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) has been pressed into service by IAF Bareilly and is operating from the Bamrauli Air Force Station to carry out flood relief operations.
The operations are being carried out in coordination with Head Quarters Central Air Command (CAC) and district magistrate Sanjay Kumar.
The ALH carried out aerial dropping of food packets to marooned people towards the south of Bamrauli airfield.
A total of four sorties have been carried out in the past two days during which 1,400 kgs of relief material was air-dropped.
The ALH has been carrying 100 food packets each weighing approximately 3-4 kgs in every sortie.
25/08/16 Times of India

China Airlines to resume cargo services to India

New Delhi: China Airlines , one of the leading international carriers in Taiwan, said that it will resume cargo services to India amid optimism toward the fast-growing South Asian economy.

Partnering with India-based Ascent Air, CAL is scheduled to relaunch the cargo service in the Indian market, starting from Aug. 28, after the Taiwanese carrier suspended its cargo flights to India four years ago.

In an initial phase, the two partners will operate one round-trip flight a week, carrying cargo from East Asia to India and then to Europe, and in turn, delivering cargo from Europe to India and then back to Taipei, CAL said.

Lin Hsiao-feng , a manager with CAL's cargo operations division, who is currently in India to supervise the resumption of the cargo service, said that the first flight on Aug. 28 is full.
25/08/16 Focus Taiwan

KFA brands fail to find buyers again despite lower reserve price

In a big disappointment for the lenders for the second time, auction of the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines' (KFA) trademarks and logo turned out to be damp squib once again despite having a lower reserve price.

Banks also had put on the block some of the moveable assets of the company worth Rs 13.70 lakh lying at the Kingfisher House, for which, too, no bidders came forward. In their second attempt, the 17-lender consortium led by State Bank of India had put the airline's trademarks including Kingfisher logo and the once-famous tag-line 'Fly the Good Times' on the block, to recover a part of their over Rs 9,000-crore loans from beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya and his grounded carrier. Banks had also put the Flying Models, Funliner, Fly Kingfisher and Flying Bird Device on the sale.

"I think the reserve price for the trademark was still found to be high by the bidders," a source said. Legal experts said the entire brand value of the Kingfisher brand has taken a beating and so bidders remained elusive. "Value of trademark of the entire group has gone down to almost nothing and nobody will like to buy it," said an expert dealing in intellectual property rights. In April, the banks had made a failed attempt to sell brands and trademarks of the airlines, owned by Mallya. The auction was unsuccessful as none of the bidders came forward due to the higher reserve price of Rs 366.70 crore.

In today's auction the reserve price was reduced by 10 per cent to Rs 330.03 crore, but still no bidders came forward.
25/08/16 PTI/DNA

State assures to clear AAI’s salary dues for city airport

Nagpur: A week before bids are to be invited for privatization of Nagpur airport, state government has cleared the issue of pending payments with Airports Authority of India (AAI). It has assured AAI that staffers' salary dues amounting to Rs62 crore will be cleared by December end. The first instalment of Rs25 crore will be paid within 15 days followed by the balance amount in December. A meeting between Maharasthra Airport Development Company (MADC) and AAI was held at chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's residence in Mumbai. Fadnavis as chief minister is also chairman of MADC.
The development was confirmed by vice-chairman-cum-managing director of MADC Vishwas Patil. The assurance removes a major roadblock towards airport privatization. AAI had earlier warned of taking back the airport's possession if the dues were not settled by August end. The bids are to be invited on August 29.
The salary dues pertain to the period after the airport was taken over by Mihan India Ltd (MIL) in August 2009. MIL is a joint venture between AAI and MADC. It was formed as a special purpose vehicle to develop the city airport into a multimodal international cargo hub for which now a private investor is being scouted for.
26/08/16 Times of India

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport voted “Best Metro Airport” by Air Passengers Association of India

Mumbai: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has been conferred with the award of “Best Metro Airport” in India. CSIA was voted as the best airport at the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) event held in the national capital on Wednesday. The award was presented to CSIA by Union Minister Smriti Irani. According to critics, the award was conferred upon CSIA as it offers best-in-class comfort and convenience to travellers among other airports in the league.
In a poll conducted by APAI, passengers from across the nation voted as CSIA as the most convenient airport to travel among others across the nation. The award is a recognition of the efforts taken by CSIA over the years to enhance customer experience and provide the best-in-class comfort through state-of-art infrastructure.

AAI, Pawan Hans, ONGC chiefs to look into Juhu airport’s problems

A committee consisting of the chairmen of the Airports Authority of India,Pawan Hans and ONGC will be formed to look into Juhu airport’s infrastructure problems. The decision was taken at a parliamentary committee meeting here on Tuesday during which AAI, which owns and operates the airport, once again came under attack from oil rig operators and helicopter companies for the poor state of its runways and lack of basic infrastructure.

“It was not the first time that these issues have been raised. But there has been no improvement in the state of Juhu airport,” a stakeholder said. The stakeholders alleged that AAI officials, in collusion with private builders, had kept the secondary runway non-operational. TOI had reported how AAI officials had flouted safety norms and issued no-objection certificates to builders to increase the height of buildings in the approach path of the secondary runway beyond the permissible limit. “The stakeholders questioned why the secondary runway has been deemed non-operational for over four years now,” an official said, adding that pressure from the builders’ lobby was cited as a reason.
25/08/16 Khabar India

Air India air hostess dies in road accident in Delhi

New Delhi: A 36-year-old air hostess, working with Air India, died in a road accident early today as her office cab rammed into another vehicle in a pile up on Rajokri flyover in south Delhi.
The deceased Shakambari Zutshi was travelling towards the airport from her home in Faridabad when her office cab met with an accident on NH-8 Rajokri flyover at around 4.30 am, police said.
The Indigo cab she was riding in rammed into an Innova that had further hit into a truck that had suddenly applied
brakes on the flyover leading to the accident.
"The incident happened between 4.30-5 am on the Rajokri flyover. The truck driver who was driving ahead of the two
cars - Innova and Indigo - suddenly applied the brakes causing the Innova to ram into the truck and the Indigo to ram into the Innova," said additional DCP-I (South) Nupur Prasad.
The impact of the accident was felt the most by Shakambari's car since it was completely damaged. She succumbed during treatment but her driver continues to be in a critical condition and under observation at the hospital.
The occupants of the Innova car - a driver and a lady are also being treated for injuries. The truck driver immediately fled the site and police are looking for him.
A case under Section 304(A) of IPC (causing death by negligence) has been registered at the Vasant Kunj (South)
police station.
Shakambari is survived by her husband and a child. The air hostess was supposed to take a flight to Kolkata.
Her husband Rajeev Dhar is suffering from cancer. The deceased was taking shorter duration flights from Delhi so
that she could spend maximum time with her sick husband, said her colleagues at Air India.
26/08/16 PTI/First Post

Air gun seized at Madurai airport

Madurai: In the second such incident this year, security personnel at Madurai Airport on Wednesday seized an air gun from a cargo consignment bound for Delhi. Tension prevailed at the airport terminal for some time as it was mistaken for a real pistol. It was later handed over to the Madurai Rural Police. The gun was found while the cargo was being screened minutes before it was to be loaded into a SpiceJet flight, a police officer told TOI. "The air gun belongs to Sathish from Erumbukkadu near Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district. As it was not working properly, he had sent it to the trader in Vishnu Garden in Delhi, from whom he had purchased it, to get it repaired," the officer said.
Perungudi police registered a case against Sathish under the Arms Act, 1959, based on a complaint from N Praveen Kumar, security supervisor of SpiceJet.
26/08/16 Times of India

Kerala man in soup for filming sleeping airhostess

Kochi: A man from Kerala faced legal action recently for filming and posting a video of an airhostess sleeping in mid-flight. KM Basheer from Kozhikode, also the chairman of the Malabar Development Forum, uploaded the video initially in English on July 31 and in Malayalam on Tuesday after which it went viral. The incident took place on March 27, on the Air India flight AI-998 from Sharjah to Calicut, when the man filmed the air hostess sleeping near the exit-door at the rear end, while the flight was on air.
According to reports, Basheer recorded the visuals on his mobile phone, identified the flight attendant and registered a complaint with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
But in a twist, the air hostess filed a complaint against Basheer for filming her without permission.
The Nadakkavu police registered a case on August 16. The case was transferred to Karipur police station and he was booked under KP Act 119 (punishment for atrocities against women, taking photos or videos affecting the reasonable privacy of women).
26/08/16 Sify