Monday, January 22, 2018

IndiGo, Singapore Airlines combo ideal buyer for Air India, says value investor Mohnish Pabrai

With the government taking quick steps for divesting its stake in Air India, Mohnish Pabrai, a leading US based value investor says that a combination of IndiGo and Singapore Airlines would be ideal buyer for the state-run carrier. “In my opinion, the ideal buyer for Air India is a combo of Singapore Airlines and Indigo. I do not know of any operator in India who is as good as Indigo on the domestic front and internationally, there are very few carriers as good as Singapore Airlines. An entity like Singapore Airlines coupled with people like Rakesh Gangwal who used to run United Airlines, used to run Air France and now is the promoter of IndiGo, should be brought together and the magic will happen,” Mohnish Pabrai told ET Now. Last week, Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said that the government is looking to close the stake sale by 2018-end.

Sharing his viewpoint on the government’s decision to cap foreign investment into Air India, Mohnish Pabrai said, “I would make it that even a foreign entity can come in and buy 100% of Air India without any issues. I would focus on other pieces which are more important and which is taking care of the people, thus creating an entity that has a strong viable future. It can go head to head with Emirates, head to head with others — the best in the world and beat them at that game that is what I would focus on.”

Interestingly, while the Union Cabinet allowed 100% foreign direct investment into Indian airline operators under the automatic route, it has different rules for state-run Air India and allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under the approval route, subject to the conditions that: (i) Foreign investment(s) in Air India, including that of foreign Airline(s), shall not exceed 49 per cent either directly or indirectly ensuring that substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian National.
22/01/18 Financial Express

Despite 'deserted' airports, Mamata Banarjee plans to revive WWII airbase

Kolkata:  Even as the future of the two revamped airports in West Bengal remains uncertain, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is planning to renovate a World War II United States Air Force airbase at Charra in Purulia district into a full-fledged airport.

The move to reopen the airbase — built in 1942 to fortify India against the Japanese in erstwhile Burma — has raised eyebrows due to the inconsistent running of operations at the Kazi Nazul Islam Airport in Andal located at the western part of the state and Coochbehar airport in north Bengal over the past few years.

Andal airport, the state’s first greenfield airport, is located between Asansol and Durgapur cities and was inaugurated in May 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, operations at the airport dwindled after lone airliner Air India withdrew its tri-weekly service to Delhi in June 2016 citing lack of passengers.

Private airliner ZoomAir started operations in July 2016 but wrapped up operations within a month. Now, Air Deccan plans to begin operations at the end of the month.
The story is similar to the Coochbehar airport where flights to Kolkata started after 23 years in September 2011 but closed down soon after. Again, Air Deccan plans to restart operations there from mid-February.

Buoyed by these proposed re-openings, the chief minister has directed PWD additional chief secretary Indevar Pandey to visit Charra airfield and prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR).

The decision was taken after a meeting called by state chief secretary Malay Kumar De with top bureaucrats where Purulia district magistrate Alokesh Ray presented a report stating that the 272 acres of land at Charra airfield is free of encroachments and there is no need for land acquisition.

Sources in state secretariat Nabanna said Mamata Banerjee would visit the airfield after submission of the DPR.
21/01/18 Aishik Chanda/New Indian Express

Flexibility needed if Modi wants to get Air India & its debt off its back: Mohnish Pabrai

Renowned US-based value investor Mohnish Pabrai says the Modi government will have to be a lot more flexible if it is serious about getting Air India and its huge debt burden off its back.

The government needs to find the best long-term solution for Air India. It would be better off without the debt woes of Air India, he told ETNow's Tanvir Gill in an interview.

Air India has a total debt of around Rs 52000 crore over its head, which includes Rs 22,000 crore aircraft loan and the rest in working capital loan and other liabilities.

"The government has to be flexible in Air India sale price, structure and employee management plan," Pabrai said. A free market-determined approach for AI's staff would be better that absorbing them in the PSU.

The government aims to complete the sale process by the end of 2018, Junior Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said in an interview on Monday.
22/01/18 Economic Times

Air Deccan: Back in the skies

On December 23, 2017, Captain Gorur R Iyengar Gopinath re-entered India’s commercial aviation market, a decade after he had exited from it. With the launch of three flights from Mumbai—to Nashik, Pune and Jalgaon—Gopinath, fondly known as Captain or Gopi, and his airline entity Air Deccan, which made budget air travel in India a reality back in 2003, were back in the game.

Budget airlines or low-cost carriers (LCCs), which charge for traditional services such as food and seat allocation and offer low fares, function on a different revenue model as compared to traditional airlines. In 2003, when Gopinath had launched Air Deccan, there were only four airlines—Jet Airways, Air Sahara (which was bought by the former), Air India and Indian Airlines (the latter two have merged since then)—and all were, and continue to be, traditional full-service airlines. Today, LCCs command a 65 percent share of India’s domestic air passenger traffic.

Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at KPMG, points out that Captain Gopinath “is the pioneer of the LCC concept in India”. “He provided regional connectivity when the term was not a buzzword,” says Dubey.

It’s a different story though how another budget carrier IndiGo, which launched operations three years after Air Deccan, has become India’s largest and most profitable airline with a 40 percent share of the domestic air passenger traffic while Air Deccan bowed out in 2007. This despite having scaled and achieved over 20 percent market share in four years. The airline was making huge losses and early investors of Air Deccan were pressuring Gopinath for an exit. “Air Deccan succeeded, it did not fail. It sold to [Vijay Mallya’s] Kingfisher [Airlines] because of investor pressure,” says Gopinath, adding, “And everybody who invested made huge returns.”
22/01/18 Anshul Dhamija/Forbes

Manipur CM‘s flight hit by hen in Guwahati

Guwahati: A flight from New Delhi to Imphal via Guwahati, with Manipur Chief Minister on board, had a close shave on Friday when it was reportedly hit by a bird during its descent at Guwahati.
The incident happened at around 4.10pm. Though the flight successfully landed at , it could not fly to Imphal because of the damage caused.

“Our Air India flight was hit by a flying bird and airplane landed safely in Guwahati today,” Biren tweeted on Friday.

“The impact was so powerful that it could make a hole. It (the bird hit) occurred when the aircraft was on descend and wheels unfolded,” he said in the same tweet.

An Air India spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the flight carrying 160 passengers was grounded for inspection by a team of engineers.

The Manipur chief minister, however, in another tweet pulled up Air India for the “poor and inefficient” management at the Guwahati airport.
“Air India management in Guwahati Airport is so poor and inefficient. Till now, many passengers are inside the aircraft without food and accommodation,” he tweeted.

“Only three AI staff seen there. Extra flight also not possible till tomorrow afternoon, as per AI authority,” Biren said in the tweet.

In response, the Air India spokesperson said the airlines did its best to take care of the stranded passengers.

“After the aircraft landed in Guwahati, the airport staff found it was a bird hit so the plane was grounded for further inspection. We did our utmost to take care of the stranded passengers,” the spokesperson said.
21/01/18 Luxora Leader

Telcos oppose new licensees for in-flight services

Indian mobile operators have opposed the telecom regulator's recommendations for creation of a separate licensee category for offering in-flight communication services, saying mobile phone operators are best placed to provide them.

"We do not support any separate category of IFC service provider," said Rajan Mathews, director general at Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents all major telcos, even as he welcomed the move to allow internet and mobile services in flights.
COAI said in-flight connectivity (IFC) should only be permitted over licensed spectrum, or bandwidth which is currently being used for mobile phone services, thus also opposing the regulator's suggestions to use airwaves being currently used for satellite services.
"We have on ground spectrum licences and they are sufficient for providing in-flight connectivity," Mathews told ET.

"We have on ground spectrum licences and they are sufficient for providing in-flight connectivity," Mathews told ET.

He said IFC will significantly improve passenger experience, enhance tourism and bolster non-aeronautical revenues for the airline industry.
21/01/18 Devina Sengupta/Economic Times

Why passport changes in India are unnecessary; colour coding discriminatory even

The changes that to the passport that the government is proposing are, confusing, at best, and at the worst, misguided and even discriminatory. One of the changes being suggested is that the passport’s last page, that has details like the holder’s address, her/his parents’ name, etc, will be dropped. The reason forwarded, as per a press note from the ministry of external affairs (MEA), is that the it is being done to keep up with changed and emerging social norms. The press note says a committee of government officials, examining instances from the past in which the applicant had either insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in his/her passport or in her child’s passport, had suggested dropping the page, and the recommendation was accepted. This also resolves the issue of children of single parents applying for passports.

The intention is laudable. However, as the e-form for passport application—last updated on December 15, 2017—shows, the government is going to collect these particulars nevertheless. And this not just for passports, but for many other government documents. The logic therefore is unclear. Even if the form is modified on a later date, those who apply in the interim must submit these details. In any case, the decision to drop the page summarily seems confusing since the passport application form clearly states that mentioning only one, from a choice of father’s/mother’s/legal guardian’s name, is necessary. What’s worse, the government is planning to colour-code passports, with blue passports for those who don’t need emigration clearance and orange for the ‘emigration check required’ (ECR) grouping.
The idea, as per the government, is to identify emigrating labourers faster to be able to better protect them from exploitation when they take up jobs outside India. As per the Emigration Act, certain holders of Indian passports—in the current context, those who are not educated till the 10th standard—must get emigration clearance. Again, the intent is laudable. But, it will also leave such passport-holders vulnerable to discrimination—by airlines, service providers at airports and abroad, too. The passport is universally recognised as certifying citizenship of a country. It should not make a person feel like a second-class citizen.
22/01/18 Financial Express

FSTC sets up simulation services centre in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Aviation services trainer Flight Simulation Technique Centre (FSTC) has set up a simulation services centre in Hyderabad. This comes after its flagship centre in Gurugram.

The Hyderabad facility is planned to ease out operations for the airlines and aviation community based in South India. It will be equipped with modern facilities and brand new simulators.

The eight-bay facility will be holding different genre of brand new simulation machines of Boeing, Airbus, ATR and DASH 8 (Q-400). The new facility will offer five simulators in first phase and three in second phase, respectively for Level D simulator services.

FSTC is the country's first registered standalone approved training organisation by DGCA, and has recently secured the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved ATO qualification.
22/01/18 Business Line

U.S. Government Shutdown Could Affect Indian Exports

The Engineering Exports Promotion Council of India Jan. 20 said the shutdown of the United States Federal government will hit exports to the country, which is among the largest destinations for Indian exports.

The U.S. government began shutting down Jan. 20 for the first time in more than four years after Senate Democrats blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.

"The shutdown of the U.S. Federal government is certainly bad news for the Indian exporters since the American economy is among the largest destinations for exports,” EEPC India chairman Ravi P. Sehgal said.

He further reiterated that for the engineering sector the "U.S. is the number one export destination, giving a robust growth in the current financial year.”

Between April-December period of the current fiscal year, engineering exports to the U.S. grew by over 50 percent to $7.5 billion, Sehgal said.

"With as many as 60,000 employees of the U.S. Commerce and Transportation departments being furloughed, the port operations as well as the clearing would be hit," he noted with concern.

Despite the ripple effect of the United States shutdown across the world, no flights from India to America had been cancelled, according to sources.

Though travelers were not impacted immediately, industry players said that if the government shutdown was prolonged, it would have an effect in the near future.
"The U.S. government shutdown will have no impact on those traveling from India. Airlines are functioning as per their schedules, the air traffic control, immigration and customs services which are deemed as essential services, are not covered by the shutdown," said Karan Anand, head of Relationships at Cox & Kings.
21/01/18 IANS/India West

Are airlines making Trump's 'sh**hole countries' a 'literal' reality?

When US President Donald Trump used a scatalogical adjective to describe his least favourite nations, he presumably was not alluding to those places being regular recipients of celestial "blue ice"—frozen contents of aircraft lavatories allegedly dumped mid-air.

Indeed, it is well established that all precipitation is not rain these days and those who live along airport flight paths have been complaining about passenger poop pellets for years. Airlines have predictably dismissed claims of dumped sewage as a load of c**p, insisting that toilet tanks can only be emptied by special units from the outside, not ejected by the push of a button. But, as Forrest Gump memorably said, "**it happens".
Yet, the National Green Tribunal's December 2016 order (reiterated last week) directing the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ensure planes don't dump human waste during flights has apparently fallen on deaf ears. What was initially cited as a meteor crash in a wheat field in Haryana last weekend is now suspected to be blue ice. While a final verdict is awaited pending analysis of the melted meteor—one usual suspicion is frozen bird droppings—it is not surprising that the villagers who had pilfered shards to store in their refrigerators smelling a business opportunity, have decided to disinfect their appliances instead.
22/01/18 Economic Times

SpiceJet launches 'Great Republic Day Sale' with fares starting at Rs 769

New Delhi: Ahead of the Republic Day 2018, budget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Monday has launched its "Great Republic Day Sale" with one-way fares starting as low as Rs 769 and Rs 2,469 for travel to select destinations on its domestic and international network respectively.
According to the airline, the four-day sale launched on Monday would be open till January 25 while the travel period covered would be until December 12.

Customers can also avail additional discounts by downloading the Spicejet mobile app and using promo code REP69.
Spicejet, the third largest airline in the country, operates 402 daily flights to 51 destinations including international destinations.
22/01/18 IANS/Business Standard

Two K.M.V Students place in Vistara Airlines

Jalandhar: Kanya Maha Vidyalaya-The Heritage and Autonomous Institution, Jalandhar placement cell which always puts great efforts in placing the college students in various companies for job opportunities, organized a placement drive of Vistara Airlines. Five students participated in the first introduction round in which four were selected for the next group discussion round.

This round was qualified by four students who were sent to third round personal interview.
21/01/18 Punjab News Express

SIA and Vistara consider anti-trust immunity pact

Singapore Airlines says it will consider applying for antitrust immunity with Vistara, as part of expanding the areas of cooperation between the two carriers.

In a statement to FlightGlobal, SIA adds that there are no concrete updates as yet.

An official at the company's India office was recently quoted in Indian media as saying that they and its joint venture unit are "in (the) initial stages" of working out an antitrust immunity pact for the latter's impending international operations.

Should it come to fruition, such an agreement would allow both SIA and Vistara access to each other's ticket booking systems, and enable them to build connections and align networks.

"We already have co-operation with Vistara in many areas including codesharing and frequent flyer programme ties. We naturally are working on more potential areas of co-operation, and should it be necessary we will consider applying for antitrust immunity with the relevant authorities," says SIA.

SIA had previously said that Vistara plans to launch international operations in the second half of 2018 - three months earlier than its previous forecast.

Vistara is also scheduled to receive its 20th aircraft by the end of the current financial year, which ends on 31 March. The carrier will then receive two more aircraft in mid-2018, which will be mainly put on international services.

Vistara has made its aspiration to fly overseas well known since its launch in 2015. The relaxation of the "5/20 rule" in 2016, which previously permitted Indian carriers to fly internationally only after having a five-year operating history and a fleet of 20 aircraft, will allow Vistara to start international flights earlier.
22/01/18 Aaron Ching/Flight Global

AirAsia India hires Sunmuga Kanaratnam as Head of Engineering

AirAsia India on Monday announced the appointment of Sunmuga Kanaratnam to its senior management team.

Kanaratnam, who has joined as the Head of Engineering replacing Nantha Kumar, is an industry veteran with over three decades of rich knowledge and experience in engineering, mechanical, avionics and aircraft management.

In the past, he has worked with some of the best players in the industry, viz. British Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Monarch Aircraft Engineering, Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company, among others.

At AirAsia he will be leading the engineering department's strategic business objectives and will be responsible for safe operations, establishment, and enforcement of ethical standards and conduct.
22/01/18 ANI/Business Standard

Surat airport to get modular cargo terminal by December

Surat: The Diamond City is all set to get a modular cargo terminal at Surat airport by December 2018.
The groundbreaking ceremony was performed for the construction of modular cargo terminal at the airport premises on Tuesday. The construction of the terminal is likely to be completed by December 2018, official sources said. Airports Authority of India had invited proposals from engineering firms across the country for setting up a state-of-the-art cargo terminal. In October 2016, the AAI had given administrative approval for setting up the modular cargo terminal. AAI sources said administrative approval and expenditure sanction (AAES) have been accorded and that the tender was issued at a cost of Rs 8 crore.

The modular cargo terminal will be a steel-based structure to be constructed on the land between the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the terminal building. The ground base of the cargo will be 1,000 square metre and the first floor will have the same size. The cargo terminal will have a cold storage facility for export of perishable items.

“The cargo terminal will go a long way in expanding the cargo business in south Gujarat, including Surat, due to huge potential of valuable cargo, perishable cargo and regular cargo. The groundbreaking ceremony has been performed and the construction work started,” an officer at Surat airport said.
21/01/18 Luxora Leader

AP cancels tender process for Bhogapuram airport project

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Government has cancelled the entire tender process in which the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had emerged as the winner for the proposed Bhogapuram Aerotropolis project in Vizianagaram district last year.

The State Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu late last night, took the decision to develop the new greenfield airport under the public-private partnership mode.

“Across 2,703 acres, the scope of Bhogapuram airport will be expanded from a mere airport to an integrated airport with Aerocity, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), Aviation Academy, etc,” an official release said today.

Besides AAI, GMR Group was the only other contender for the airport project.

GMR had offered a revenue share of 21.6 per cent.

Asked why the tenders were cancelled after the AAI emerged as the winner in August 2017, offering 30.2 per cent revenue share to the State Government, Principal Secretary (Energy, Infrastructure and Investment) Ajay Jain told PTI they wanted to go for development of an “integrated airport”.
21/01/18 PTI/Busimess Line

‘Wide-body aircraft services will resume soon’

Malappuram: If everything goes as expected, wide-body aircraft services will be resumed at Calicut International Airport with authorities submitting a report citing the airport is fit for wide-body aircraft service.

“We have submitted a report to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) informing them wide-body aircraft can be operated with the present runway. The report has recommended restoration of wide-body aircraft,” said airport director J T Radhakrishna. The 71-page report was prepared after a meeting of AAI officers and representatives of various flight companies. The meeting which was held at Karipur in November was also attended by top officers of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). 

The airport director said the report will be forwarded to the DCGA. “Services can be resumed only after getting approval from the DGCA,” he said. The meeting had cited the airport was compatible for the operation of wide-bodied Boeing 777-200 flights which will bring an increase in the number of flights.
22/01/18 New Indian Express

Chennai airport to get better maintenance, feedback system

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will step up its maintenance and feedback system following instructions from Union minister of state Jayant Sinha. The minister inspected toilets and a part of the domestic terminal as he passed through the airport on his way to attend a function at IIT-M recently.
Sources said the authority would step up its maintenance of terminals and passenger amenities like toilets at the airport after the minister urged the AAI to improve services and aim to augment the passenger capacity of Chennai airport.
Sources said he inspected the toilets to find out if they were being maintained as the ministry received complaints about cleanliness. He appreciated the responses given by authorities on passenger complaints on social media, but urged authorities to offer specific responses pertaining to the complaints.
AAI had awarded a tender to a company to maintain the terminals and toilets, and another firm had been roped in to keep the toilets functional. However, a flaw in the construction has prevented the authorities in keeping the toilets clean. If two to three cubicles are used by passengers, the flush water spreads on the floor and the toilet has to be cordoned off until it is cleaned.
22/01/18 Times of India

Local shopkeepers at Srinagar airport shown the door

Srinagar: The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has asked all the local shopkeepers at the Srinagar airport to vacate the shops within three to six months, including those whose contract is still valid for next two years.
The move comes, as AAI plans to handover all the shopping spots in the airport to a master franchisee – a non-state subject.
The enraged shopkeepers, who received the eviction notices, say the move hits the livelihood of at least 100 people.
“The livelihood of around 100 people is dependent on the shops housed at Srinagar airport,” Adil Hussain Khan, who owns handicrafts shop at the airport told Kashmir Reader.
“Now the airport authority has told us to evict the shops and served us notices. It will render persons working there jobless”.
Khan, who is also the vice president of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHARA), said the airport authority at Srinagar served eviction notices even to those shop owners whose contracts were valid for the next two years.
The airport houses food joints, handicrafts and flower shops which were so far owned by Kashmiris, he said.
22/01/18 Reuters/Kashmir Reader

Before Chennai airport becomes Changi, time to get the basics in place!

Chennai airport has been in the news for quite some time now. For those of us who regularly come through its portals, some of the news sounds almost comic.

One of the articles in the dailies says Chennai airport is soon going to see Phase II of expansion, after which it will be like Singapore’s Changi airport. Another said that there will be a tunnel to connect the passenger and cargo terminals that are proposed in Phase II.  The third report said that the airport is attempting a 10-day trial of operating the cross runway in order to increase the number of flights per hour.

So much in the works, and yet, no one is talking of improving the passenger experience.

Phase I of the airport’s expansion was ‘completed’ five years ago, and parts of the airport were opened to the public. There were of course the infamous incidents of false ceiling panels falling on passengers and glass cracking within a few months, but by and large, the passengers have learned to adjust.

Never mind that it is the only ‘modernised’ airport in the country that does not have inline scanning of bags when you check in for domestic flights. Never mind that they still have one, or at the most two, machines and booths for screening women passengers, as opposed to four or five for men, even though women account for much more than one fifth of the travelling public, especially in the holiday season. Little kids, boys and girls, invariably go with Mom, so the two women’s lines are always backed up. Sometimes, if you politely make a request, the CISF staff will agree to start a third line (they have the space to do it – inside a little alcove).

G Chandramouli, Director, Chennai airport told Citizen Matters Chennai, “There is a shortage in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) staff in Chennai airport. This is the reason for not being able to open all the gates for security. A manpower study conducted at the airport proposes to increase the CISF strength from the existing 1,200 members to 1,600. The proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Home for final sanction and approval. ”
22/01/18 Meenakshi Ramesh/Chennai CItizen Matters

City airport to get a restaurant, lounge in both terminals

Ahmedabad: Soon, Amdavadis flying out of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPI) will be served piping hot food at each terminal. Filling the long pending requirement, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to bring a restaurant and a business lounge, at both terminals.

Confirming the same, Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI said, "There was no restaurant at Ahmedabad airport serving hot food and we have been getting requests for quite some time. Hence, we decided to bring a restaurant and a business lounge at both terminals – international and domestic this year. We will be soon issuing the bidding process and have decided to restrict the bidding to only local vendors due to pending partial privatisation."

A source from airline said, "We have been writing to the airport operator for the need of a business lounge. Gujarat is a business hub and we have many business class passengers flying in and out of Ahmedabad, especially during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Business class passengers are charged more than economy and if they do not get that feeling at the terminal, it is of no use. We are glad that finally such a decision is being taken."

Another source from the airport said, "Business class lounge was long pending. It was kept on hold due to pending partial privatisation tender. Since the partial privatisation involved only the operations and management to be with a private operator and the rest with the AAI, it was unclear whether business lounge will come under AAI or private operator. The bidding process has already been delayed for quite some time so this decision is welcomed."
22/01/18 Tanushree Bhatia/DNA

Pune airport will soon get liquor outlet for domestic flyers

Pune:  Domestic passengers at the Pune airport will soon have access to a liquor shop.
"The outlet will be on the ground floor of the terminal building, at the arrival area. Spread across an area of 27.77 sq mt, it will be a duty paid shop for domestic passengers at the Pune airport. The tender for the same has been floated," said an airport official. He added the idea was to give passengers many options.
"We have started many new facilities at the airport. Several new food outlets have come up on the airport premises and recently, we even started an outlet selling South Indian food at affordable prices. Some other projects will also be completed this year. Once the new liquor shop opens, hopefully within a month or so, the passengers will have many options. Moreover, it will also generate revenue for the Airport Authority of India (AAI)," another official said.
When asked about the liquor pricing at the shop, Ajay Kumar, the Pune airport director, said, "Liquor pricing is an issue governed by the seller. However, the shop will have to follow the state's excise rules."
Last year, two duty-free shops, one at the arrival and the other at the departure, were opened for international passengers. Called Plus Max Duty Free, headquartered in Coimbatore and Malaysia, the shops sell liquor among others things. Sources said both the shops have been doing steady business. "Currently, we have just one outlet in the departure area that serves beer. A decision will soon be taken on whether to open outlets selling hard liquor in the departure area and the lounge. Mumbai and Delhi airports have such outlets where passengers waiting for flights can grab a quick drink," the official told TOI.
22/01/18 Times of India

Over 200 smartphones stolen from parcels at airport in 2017

Pune:  The Pune police have booked an employee of an e-commerce company for stealing brand new smartphones worth Rs51.11 lakh from the parcels sent at the Lohegaon airport.
The suspect had stolen as many as 232 smartphones between April and October last year.
The company's security manager Pranav Borale lodged a complaint with the airport police on Saturday after the theft came to light.
"The Pune crime branch has detained one employee of the company under suspicion," said an airport police officer.
A senior crime branch officer said, " We suspect that more than one employee was involved in the thefts. We are interrogating one of the employees of the e-commerce firm."
Probe revealed that the suspects used to steal smartphones from the parcels that were sent to the airport for urgent deliveries.
"On reaching the airport, the suspect would collect these parcels and take them to the designated spot provided to the company within the airport premises," the officer said.
The suspects would then open the sealed parcels and steal one or two smartphones each time. "The suspects would then seal the parcels again," the police officer said.
22/01/18 Times of India

Over 200 smartphones stolen from parcels at airport in 2017

Pune: The Pune police have booked an employee of an e-commerce company for stealing brand new smartphones worth Rs51.11 lakh from the parcels sent at the Lohegaon airport.
The suspect had stolen as many as 232 smartphones between April and October last year.
The company's security manager Pranav Borale lodged a complaint with the airport police on Saturday after the theft came to light.
"The Pune crime branch has detained one employee of the company under suspicion," said an airport police officer.
A senior crime branch officer said, " We suspect that more than one employee was involved in the thefts. We are interrogating one of the employees of the e-commerce firm."
Probe revealed that the suspects used to steal smartphones from the parcels that were sent to the airport for urgent deliveries.
"On reaching the airport, the suspect would collect these parcels and take them to the designated spot provided to the company within the airport premises," the officer said.
22/01/18 Times of India

Student with live bullet arrested at airport

Hyderabad: The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) police on Saturday arrested a city-based student pursuing his masters in Oakland, California, for allegedly carrying a live bullet in his baggage.

Central Industrial Security Force personnel at the airport found a bullet in Mahender Kumar Chowdhary’s baggage during the security check, while he was flying back to the US on Saturday. He was handed over to RGIA police for investigation.

“During interrogation, Chowdhary, a resident of Secunderabad, confessed that two years ago, a friend presented him the bullet in the US to wear it as a locket and he was not aware that it was live,” said Ch. Dhanunjaya, SI, RGIA police. A case was registered against Chowdhary, who was later released on bail.
21/01/18 The Hindu

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lack of clearance delays intra-state Udan

Ahmedabad: The wait just grew longer for people who had hoped to fly within the state to cut down on travel time. The intra-state flights to Diu, Dwarka, Jamnagar and Mundra that were to start on January 23 under regional connectivity scheme Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) has been delayed for a week, according to aviation sources. The buzz is that the service which was to be launched by Air Odisha is yet to get certain clearances which has resulted in the delay. Director (Civil Aviation), State government, Ajay Chauhan confirmed the delay.
The state’s intra-state flight service is a jinxed one with several past attempts to launch it proving unsuccessful. This is the fourth time that an attempt is being made to start the intra- state routes, after three previous attempts met with failure. Director, Gujarat State Export Corporation (GSEC), the strategic partner of Air Odisha, Shaishav Shah confirmed the development. He said, “There has been a delay in starting the intra-state flight service as requisite clearances from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are still pending.
Now, the tentative date for launch of service has been shifted to February 1. We expect that all clearances will come through by then. Other formalities at the city airport are complete.” Arpit Chhaya, a finance specialist with a city-based corporate, was looking forward to use the service. He said, “I was really excited about the routes and rates that were announced. The rates are well within budget and I had plans to take a trip to Diu in the weekend. I guess the trip will have to wait for a bit. I just hope that the service launches.”
According to officials, as per earlier plan, the flight to each destination was to be available once a day, except Sunday. The same flight was to return to Ahmedabad to leave for another city. The fare for these flights range between Rs 1,420 for Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar and Rs 2,170 for Ahmedabad- Dwarka route. The Ahmedabad-Diu fare has been fixed at Rs 2,000 while an Ahmedabad-Mundra flight will cost Rs 1,830 and Ahmedabad-Jamnagar travel will cost Rs 1,750. The flight between Bhavnagar and Surat will cost Rs 2,000 each way. Gujarat attempted to launch its first intra-state air service in 2007.
21/01/18 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

Aviation ministry's UDAN panel ignores tourism department staff

The Centre's air connectivity programme, the UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) has ruffled the feathers of another department the wrong way. A committee formed under the civil aviation ministry to monitor and coordinate the programme has left out officials from the tourism ministry from co-opting into it. This despite a directive from the cabinet secretary, who sent the directive as part of another committee, a department-related one, of the tourism ministry of which both the ministries are a part.

The civil aviation ministry formed the Inter-Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee on April 4, 2017 to look after the implementation of the UDAN scheme. The committee had representations from the ministries of finance, defence, home, petroleum and natural gas. Apart from that, the chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) and officials of airlines and states concerned are also part of the panel. As per the notification announcing the committee, it was further decided that civil aviation secretary can co-opt any officer or expert.

However, officials of both the ministries meet as part of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee on Tourism Sector (IMCCTS), which meets periodically to irons out issues relating to tourism. The committee, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, has the secretaries of home affairs, external affairs, civil aviation, environment, forests & climate change, urban development, culture, AYUSH, textiles, road transport & highways, information & broadcasting, DONER, with the secretary of the ministry of tourism being the member convener.

During the meeting of the 6th IMCCTS meeting, it was decided that the tourism ministry will be co-opted as a member to "provide inputs about tourist destinations". The tourism ministry contended that since it is in the process of developing a pan-India thematic circuits, the regional connectivity scheme could benefit from it.
21/01/18 Amrita Madhukalya/DNA

Narendra Modi’s recent sea plane ride turns SpiceJet, Zoom Air’s eyes towards West Bengal

Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent ride on a single engine sea plane from Sabarmati in Ahmedabad to Dharoi Dam in Mehsana of Gujarat, during the Gujarat Assembly polls, might just have given a big boost to the prospect of sea planes in the country. Potential sea plane operators such as SpiceJet and Zoom Air are betting big on West Bengal to make it a successful venture. Modi broke his safety protocol by choosing to ride a single engine sea plane instead of a double or multiple engine air craft, while campaigning for the polls. Sea planes are an advantage and a viable option for the Indian aviation industry since it doesn’t require the construction airports. Although Modi gave a push to this possibility by boarding his sea plane from the Sabarmati river, Zoom Air owner, Koustav M Dhar feels the feasibility of a water runway lies more on the river Hoogly.

The calmness of the Hooghly river and its 260 kilometres long stretch from Farakka in Murshidabad district up to the Bay of Bengal in the south 24 parganas district can be used as ideal runway for sea planes. This can provide connectivity to places of tourist interest such as the Sunderbans, Gangasagar and Murshidabad, where easy access is still an issue, feels Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, Spice Jet as well as Zoom Air’s Dhar.

While West Bengal has an eye on tourism for economic growth, sea planes can make a huge value addition in the entire value chain. Not only providing connectivity, but sea planes can be a product of added attraction to generate more tourists as well. State tourism minister Gautam Dev said tourists foot fall in the state has grown at a CAGR of 26.5% between 2011 and 2016 against a CAGR of 14.5% between 2001 and 2010. 500,000 jobs have been generated from this sector between FY11 and FY16 and this has happened since the state laid emphasis in creating tourism infrastructure.

While SpiceJet’s Singh said he was keen to make West Bengal the hub of sea planes and that manufacturing sea planes from the state was of immense opportunity during the recently-concluded Bengal Global Business Summit, Zoom Air’s Dhar, who is in a spree of providing air connectivity between Delhi, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Bagdogra and various destinations of Northeast with his fleet of five 50-seater Bombardier CRJ200/700 LR aircrafts, (two more of such aircrafts to be added shortly), said he would look into the issues of regulatory framework.
21/01/18 Indronil Roychowdhury/Financial Express

Not Sure Of Travel Plans? Air India's Fly For Sure Offer Now Allows Flight Change Facility

Air India's 'Fly for Sure Offer' allows flexibility of one-time flight change facility on same day for passengers who are concerned their travel plans may change. Air India's 'Fly for Sure offer' is applicable only on domestic flight tickets. Passengers who are uncertain about their plans can pay extra Rs. 2,000 plus GST charges (5 per cent for economy class and 12 per cent for business class) while booking the ticket and they can board any Air India flight on the same day and same sector, said Air India on its official

Air India's 'Fly for Sure offer' is applicable for passengers wanting to prepone or postpone their original booked flights to an alternate flight of Air India operating on the same day. Air India's offer on domestic flight tickets also includes domestic leg of the international flights before closing of check-in counter, said Air India. 'Fly for Sure offer' of Air India is applicable only on sector where alternate flights are available on the same day. Passengers can easily visit the airlines ticketing office, city ticketing office or call centre and prepone/postpone their original flights to alternate flights of Air India.

Restrictions on Air India's 'Fly for Sure Offer':

1.    Air India's 'Fly for Sure offer' is valid only for Air India operated flights.

2.    Air India's flight change is not applicable for Alliance Air and Code Share flights, sad Air India.

3.    Air India's flight change is not applicable for redemption/award tickets.

4.    Flight change is not applicable for passengers travelling on group bookings as also unaccompanied minors, Air India noted on its website.
21/01/18 NDTV

Air India Aircraft To Be Used By Home Ministry To Ferry Security Forces

New Delhi: Air India aircraft will be hired by the home ministry to facilitate travel of personnel of central armed police forces, Intelligence Bureau and the NDRF serving in remote areas of the northeast, and Jammu and Kashmir from home and place of postings, an official said.

An amount of Rs. 109.84 crore has been sanctioned by the ministry to offer the air services to the security personnel during the first seven months of 2018 by hiring the Air India planes.

Priority will be given to those personnel availing the facility for the first, second and third time respectively and those going on temporary duties, subject to availability of seats, a home ministry official told news agency PTI.

Air services were introduced a few years ago by the ministry for limited sectors but the scheme has now been expanded with new sectors, enhanced frequency and aircraft with more seats.

Air India is expected to deploy its narrow-body jet Airbus A319 which has around 144 all-economy seats.

The sectors in which the air service will be available are: Delhi-Leh-Delhi, Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi, Delhi-Dibrugarh-Guwahati-Delhi, Kolkata-Imphal-Kolkata, Kolkata-Agartala-Kolkata, Kolkata-Aizwal-Kolkata and KolkataSilchar-Kolkata.

The service will end a major grievance of the personnel of the CAPF like CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB etc, Intelligence Bureau and National Disaster Response Force deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast as they have to spend at least six days of their leave only in travelling, another ministry official said.
21/01/18 PTI/NDTV

Indian pilot Anny Divya claims to have become the youngest woman in the world to captain a Boeing 777.

The 30-year-old's achievement has been widely reported in India, where she flies for commercial airline Air India.

"From a child, I always wanted to be a pilot, although I didn’t have much guidance on how to become a pilot," she told Indian news show Mirror Now.

"My parents have always been very supportive even though there were people telling them not to send me to flying lessons and the fees were a lot for them to pay at that time, but they managed."

She revealed in the interview that before taking command of the 777, she had the opportunity to captain a 737, but decided to wait a while to achieve her dream of commanding the bigger jet.
A Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, while the 737 is a short to medium range twin-jet narrow-body airline.

Divya completed her pilot training at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, aged just 19 years old. She soon earned a job at Air India in 2006, according to Business Standard. She regularly flies to New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

In response to queries from hopeful young female pilots, she posted advice on how to become a commercial pilot on her Facebook page on Tuesday.
21/01/18 Rosie Fitzmaurice/Indpendent

Why Pawan Hans, India’s national carrier, has a disastrous safety record

There are only two reasons, reckons a former captain who flew choppers of the Indian Air Force, that any investigation into a helicopter crash in the country can come up with: pilot error or bad weather.

"90% of the time, the hapless pilot is crucified," says Sharma (name changed on request). "It's amusing to know that this time a 'sabotage' balloon is being floated," he fumes, alluding to the crash involving an ill-fated chopper of Pawan Hans off the coast of Mumbai on January 13, killing all seven on board.

Though preliminary investigation hint at sabotage — the possibility of flammable material in the cargo — nothing tangible is likely to come of it. Reason: 16 of the 21 crashes of the national carrier have been attributed to pilot error and the rest to bad weather.

"Blood is on their hands," alleges Sharma, who worked for 16 years in India's biggest helicopter company, Pawan Hans, in which the government owns 51% and the rest held by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
21/01/18 Rajiv Singh/Economic Times

‘Meteor’ alert by villagers turns out to be human waste from sky

Residents of Gurgaon’s Fazilpuir Badli village recently claimed human waste, discarded mid-air by a passing aircraft, as a meteor that “came shooting out of the sky”. The confusion, drama and comedy created around the human waste that landed with a big thud and managed to deceive the villagers. The commotion finally ended when a team of scientists who were rushed to inspect the “foreign object” confirmed it to be nothing more than a heap of faeces, according to The Indian Express. The incident occurred 10 days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to issue circulars to all airlines restating its December 20, 2016, order. The order stated that airlines will have to pay a hefty fine of Rs 50,000 if they discard human waste or empty their sewage tanks mid-air. The restating of the order came after NGT agreed to a plea filed by a south Delhi man. The man had alleged that a passing aircraft that was about to land at the Delhi airport had splattered his house with faeces – aircraft crew tend to clear waste mid-air before landing.

In this case, owner of the land, Balwan, heard a crashing sound around 8 in the morning. Balwan called the sarpanch, Govind Singh, and when crowd started to gather, someone alerted the police in Farrukhnagar. The police hearing the complaint of a huge chunk of ‘ice’ landing on the field immediately rushed to the spot and also alerted the higher officials. The police also called in a crime team and a senior medical officer’s team to investigate. Soon, a team of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reached the place.

The ‘meteor’ was soon after ascertained as nothing more than a heap of human faeces that became solidified in the form of ice while falling from a great height due to low temperatures.
21/01/18 Financial Express

SpiceJet delays maiden Adampur ops over row with Delhi

SpiceJet has indefinitely postponed the launch of a maiden scheduled passenger service to Adampur as the airline is locked in an argument with the operator of Delhi Int'l airport over forced terminal reallocation, The Tribune has reported.

The capital airport ordered the airline to operate the new route to Adampur, as well as around a third of its current network from Delhi, from Terminal 2 due to the congestion of the main domestic Terminal 1. SpiceJet has defied this order and as of now still operates all its Delhi flights from Terminal 1, the ch-aviation schedules module shows.

IndiGo Airlines, which has received a similar order from the Delhi airport authorities, has challenged it in a court. Pending the appeal, the Delhi High Court confirmed the airport's decision, giving the airline until mid-February to partially switch terminals. GoAir moved its operations at the Indian capital to Terminal 2 in Autumn last year.
20/01/18 ch-aviation

Doon-Pantnagar flight from Feb

Dehradun:  The Centre’s Udan scheme will finally become a reality in Uttarakhand with Air Deccan starting services in February between Dehradun and Pantnagar with an 18 seater aircraft.
With the start of the service, the common man will fly on subsidised rates and tourists keen on visiting the hilly terrain too will be able to travel in less time to far-flung places.
“We will start the services in the last week of February and the DGCA has already given its approval,” said TS Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand.
An air fuel station (AFS) will also be established at Pantnagar. Further, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) also has to install the Instrument Landing System (ILS) which will allow night landing and landing in low visibility conditions.
20/01/18 Neena Sharma/Tribune

IndiGo commences Colombo operations

New Delhi: In its endeavour to strengthen its growing network, IndiGo, India’s largest and fastest growing carrier on Saturday commenced its operations in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
With touch-down of 6E-1202 (Chennai-Colombo) on Saturday, January 20th at Bandaranaike International Airport; Colombo became its 8th international and 49th overall destination on IndiGo’s ever growing network.
According to a press release issued by the Airlines, both corporate and leisure passengers travelling to and from Colombo will get the opportunity to experience on-time, affordable and a hassle-free travel experience that IndiGo is synonymous with.
These new flights will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India with over 150 Airbus A320 and three ATR aircraft strong fleet, operating over 1000 daily flights, connecting 49 destinations.
Commenting on the launch, Capt Ashim Mittra, VP Flight Operations, IndiGo said, “IndiGo is delighted to commence its new daily services to and from Colombo. These new connections will not only boost corporate and leisure travel but will also contribute to significant growth in cross border trade and commerce. We are hopeful that these new flights will provide affordable and unmatchable travel experience to our passengers across the country and beyond.”
20/01/18 UNI

Entry for visitors barred for 10 days at city airport

Amritsar: In the wake of heightened threat perception to the civil aviation sector ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, entry for the visitors, except passengers, at the Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport (SGRJIA) was banned from today.
As per the alert issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCA), visitors’ entry will be banned till January 30.
SGRJIA Director Manoj Chansoria said, “As per the alert issued by BCA’s Director General, the sale of visitors entry tickets has been stopped.”
It has been learnt that even movement of vehicles has been restricted while the CISF has deployed more combatants.
Security has been beefed up in and around the airport and the passengers have been informed to reach the airport well before their scheduled flight time as the intense security checks may consume time.
21/01/18 Tribune 

Airlines continue to operate on load penalty at Surat airport

Surat: The airlines will continue operations at Surat airport with load penalty as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is yet to submit documents for the commissioning approval of second phase of runway to the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
This has been revealed in a reply to one of the members of 'We Work for Working Airport' by DGCA on the Airsewa portal. The member sought the reply on the status of DGCA approval for repaired portion of 2,905 metres of runway at Surat airport, whether requisite documentation has been submitted by the airport director at Surat, timeline for the approval and any civil work pending at the airport runway extension etc.
In its reply, DGCA stated that the AAI has executed the work for extension and strengthening of runway in two phases and submitted documents requesting commissioning approval for phase-I work of the runway extension in April 2017. However, AAI is yet to submit documents for commissioning of phase-II of the project for strengthening of the runway for approval.
At present, the airlines are operating the flights on load penalty as they are unable to use the full-length runway of 2,905 metre. Against the aircraft capacity of 185 passengers, the airlines have to accommodate only 140 passengers due to the load penalty.
The expansion of 2,905 metre of runway and the 185 metre strengthening work was expected to be over by March 2017. However, the work was delayed for almost six months. The strengthening of 185 metre runway patch was stopped due to heavy rains and the want of dry days to complete the work in August.
21/01/18 Times of India

Home Ministry to hire Air India planes to ferry security men deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, North-east

New Delhi: Air India aircraft will be hired by the home ministry to facilitate travel of personnel of central armed police forces, Intelligence Bureau and the NDRF serving in remote areas of the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir from home and place of postings, an official said. An amount of Rs 109.84 crore has been sanctioned by the ministry to offer the air services to the security personnel during the first seven months of 2018 by hiring the Air India planes. Priority will be given to those personnel availing the facility for the first, second and third time respectively and those going on temporary duties, subject to availability of seats, a home ministry official told PTI. Air services were introduced a few years ago by the ministry for limited sectors but the scheme has now been expanded with new sectors, enhanced frequency and aircraft with more seats. The Air India is expected to deploy its narrow-body jet Airbus A319 which has around 144 all-economy seats.
The sectors in which the air service will be available are: Delhi-Leh-Delhi, Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi, Delhi-Dibrugarh-Guwahati-Delhi, Kolkata-Imphal-Kolkata, Kolkata-Agartala-Kolkata, Kolkata-Aizwal-Kolkata and Kolkata-Silchar-Kolkata. The service will end a major grievance of the personnel of the CAPF like CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB etc, Intelligence Bureau and National Disaster Response Force deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as they have to spend at least six days of their leave only in travelling, another ministry official said.
The official said though the scheme has been approved until July 31, it will be further extended for the whole year and subsequent years too.
21/01/18 PTI/Financial Express

Airports Authority of India to raise funds to meet capital expenditure requirements

New Delhi: For the first time, Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to raise funds through various means, including loans, to meet its capital expenditure needs in the next fiscal, a senior official said.
The state-owned airports operator is preparing to develop more number of aerodromes in different parts of the country, including as part of the ambitious regional air connectivity scheme.
"AAI enjoys a very good credit rating and like any other organisation is planning to leverage debt and raise funds through loans, borrowings, debts...," its Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told PTI in a recent interview.

He noted that efforts would also be made to raise funds by way of internal resources, budgetary support or grants from the central government to meet the capital expenditure requirements.
21/01/18 PTI/Economic Times

Lufthansa to offer Wi-Fi on flights bound for India

New Delhi: : A day after India allowed in flight connectivity (IFC) in its skies, German major Lufthansa has announced it will offer Wi-Fi on its flights to, from and over India the moment "it is allowed to". Lufthansa Group South Asia head Wolfgang Will told that the airline offers Wi-Fi on all its longhaul flights. "Till now we had to switch off the service on entering Indian airspace. Now as soon as we get all the regulatory clearances, we will provide this service on our flights to, from and over India," Will said.

This will mean flyers taking off, headed for and overflying India will get the paid-Internet Lufthansa offers on its long haul flights. TRAI has said airlines can provide this service the moment a plane starts taxiing and personal electronic devices are put on flight mode. "We offer Internet packages, Flynet, starting at Euro 9 and going to Euro 17 depending on the duration it is bought for ranging from an hour to 24 hours," Wills, Lufthansa's south Asia senior director, said.

He added that the group has consciously decided not to allow mobile services on its flights. "We don't know if someone decides to entertain other sitting nearby when they want to sit. The Internet we offer is fast enough to download and stream. Whatsapp, social media can easily be done with that," Wills said.
21/01/18 Saurabh Sinha/Economic Times

Airline Boarding Pass Can Get You 20% Discount On Hotel Stay

Those who travel by GoAir are entitled to get 20% discount for hotel stays at Treebo Hotels. To be able to access the discount, one can use promo code TRBFLY on the best available. One needs to only present the boarding pass at a hotel to be able to avail the discount.
It often happens that we place the hotel bookings at the last minute and miss out on hotel discounts on hotel aggregators' websites. But in case we manage to do so, it is a great blessing for those who miss out on discounts in the last minute rush.

All you need to do is to present the GoAir boarding pass at the hotel reception (only Treebo hotels). This is irrespective of any discount that you might have availed from the budget airlines.
Apart from Treebo Hotels, GoAir also has partnered with several other hotel and recreational chains such as Tattva Spa, Keys Hotel, Beguine and The Lalit.

Treebo is a popular budget hotel chain based out of Bengaluru. The company that boasts of 250 plus hotels in 50 plus locations was co-founded by Rahul Chaudhary, Sidharth Gupta and Kadam Jeet Jain.

Besides this, GoAir currently offers Rs. 500 off for making bookings on weekends. This offer is valid only for passengers who make bookings during weekend and book the round trip tickets.
21/01/18 NDTV

IndiGo fights Delhi terminal relocation order in court

IndiGo Airlines appealed last week against the Delhi High Court ruling which confirmed that the Delhi Int'l airport was at liberty to order the airline to partially relocate to another terminal due to congestion, The Hindustan Times reported.

Delhi's airport operator ordered IndiGo in October 2017 to relocate its flights out of the Indian capital to Mumbai Int'l, Bangalore Int'l, and Kolkata Int'l from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 due to the congestion of the former. The decision was supposed to enter into force on January 4, 2018. A similar order was given to GoAir (G8, Mumbai Int'l) and SpiceJet.

The High Court ruling confirmed the airport operator's decision but extended the deadline for the airlines to partially relocate until February 15.

IndiGo argues in its appeal that a partial shift of operations to another terminal will constitute an obstacle to its transfer passengers, while the Delhi airport operator points out that without the partial relocation, Terminal 1 will soon be overcrowded.
20/01/18 ch-aviation

IndiGo sends man's corpse to wrong city

In a case of gross negligence by Indigo airlines, the body of a Karauli man was flown from Kochi airport and was taken to Chennai, whereas it was scheduled to go to Jaipur.

The incident happened with the body of one Raees Khan who had died in Kerala three days ago. Khan's elder brother and one friend was bringing his body from Kochi to Jaipur and were on the same flight. After reaching Jaipur, they did not get any information about the body. Khan's relatives demanded that the airline officials tell them about the whereabouts of the body and showed them the documents.

Airlines officials, after realising the mistake, assured the family that the body will be flown to Jaipur soon.
21/01/18 Abhisjek Tiwari/DNA

2 flights cancelled, eight delayed

Mohali: Flight operations at the Chandigarh International Airport continued to be disrupted as two flights were cancelled and eight flights delayed due to dense fog at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi and the NOTAM (notice to airmen) for airspace restriction over Delhi for Republic Day rehearsals.
Vistara’s flight to Delhi (UK 732) and Jet Airways (9W 2665/2666) were grounded due to NOTAM, according to which no commercial flight is allowed to take off or land at the Delhi Airport between 10.35 am and 12.15 pm till January 26.
Eight flights were delayed at the airport with maximum delay time close to two hours. IndiGo’s flight arrived late (6E 464/463) by 1 hour 50 minutes due to congestion at Mumbai airport.
Sources said that over 150 flights were delayed from Delhi airport as visibility dropped to 200 metres.
Deepesh Joshi, PRO, Chandigarh International Airports Limited (CHIAL), in a statement, said: “Two flights were cancelled due to NOTAM and over 8 flights were delayed due to inclement weather at Delhi airport.”
21/01/18 Tribune

Gold worth 10 lakh seized at Cial

Koochi: Air intelligence unit of customs seized 349.90g of gold valued at 10.54 lakh from a passenger at Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) on Saturday.
The passenger, a native of Kozhikode, had arrived from Abu Dhabi. He was searched upon suspicion. Officials found crude gold chain, which was concealed in the inner wear of the passenger. Officials said that 5.83kg of gold valued approximately Rs 1.70 crore was seized at Cial by the customs air intelligence unit so far this year. On Thursday, the customs department had foiled three bids to smuggle gold into the city. Gold, weighing 350.40g and valued at Rs 10.92 lakh, was seized. Customs had seized gold from two more passengers, who are nationals of Sri Lanka, on the same day.
Mother, daughter drugged & robbed: A mother and daughter lost their gold ornaments and cash to miscreants, who offered them drug-laced tea on board the Sabari Express on Saturday.
21/01/18 Times of India