Monday, August 29, 2016

DGCA may double 6-month notice period for pilots

New Delhi: A bitter fight has broken out among Indian carriers over the issue of 'old' airlines trying to retain their prized pilots and 'new' airlines aiming to poach them for their expanding fleets. Things have come to such a pass that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is reviewing its over a decade-old rule of having six months' notice period for pilots. The old and established airlines have sought doubling of pilots' notice period to a year.
The DGCA has now sought individual views of all airlines. Highly placed sources say established airlines like Air India and IndiGo are in favour of one-year notice period, while 'new' airlines from the Tata Group like Vistara are against raising the notice period. Even some old airlines which are now going to expand their fleet are against the proposal for a year's notice period.
"There is differed opinion among airlines on this issue. Unfortunately nobody looks at this issue on the basis of legality. A final call will be taken after due dilligence by current DG B S Bhullar. His predecessors were not in favour of extending the notice period," said a highly placed source.
29/08/16 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Government Recommends CBI Probe Into 80Kg Of Missing Gold From Delhi Airport

New Delhi: Gold worth at least Rs. 25 crore seized from smugglers has mysteriously disappeared from customs vaults at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, prompting the authorities to order a CBI probe.

A huge haul of over 80 kg gold, both in form of bullion and jewellery, has gone missing in the last over four years from the customs warehouse. In all the cases, it was replaced with non-precious yellow-coloured metal, official sources said.

The seized gold was valued at Rs. 25 crore as per current market rates, they said.

The cases of disappearance of gold had earlier been reported to Delhi Police. As the pilferage continued, the Finance Ministry decided to recommend a CBI probe following approval of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the sources said.

The CBI has been asked to register a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into the matter and find out as to how the gold was replaced with the non-precious metal inside the heavily guarded vault, they said. The cases of missing gold related to period between 2012 and June this year.
28/08/16 PTI/NDTV

About 2.5 kg gold hidden in Air India flight toilet seized at Goa airport

Panaji: Nearly 2.5 kg of gold jewellery concealed in a toilet of an Air India flight, which on Sunday arrived at Goa airport from Dubai, was seized by the Customs and Central Excise officials.
“The gold was hidden in the toilet on the flight which arrived here this morning. We found 2.5 kg of unclaimed gold worth Rs 70 lakh,” a Customs spokesman told PTI.
The airlines staff is under the scanner, he said, adding that investigators are also going through the list of passengers who flew in the flight.
This is the third such instance of unclaimed gold being found in Air India flight which arrived from Dubai to Goa this year, he said.
29/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

AirAsia India Q2 loss narrows to Rs 21 crore

New Delhi: AirAsia India saw its net loss narrow to Rs 20.36 crore in the three months ended June amid the no-frills carrier raked in higher revenues during the same period.

It had a net loss of little over Rs 44 crore in the 2015 June quarter.

The airline is a joint venture between Tatas, which own 51 per cent stake, and Malaysia's AirAsia Berhad.

AirAsia India recorded a 73 per cent increase in revenue at Rs 189 crore in the latest June quarter, the Malaysian carrier said in a release today. The Indian carrier also carried more number of passengers in the same period compared to the three months ended June 2015.

"During the quarter (ended June 2016), AirAsia India posted a smaller net loss of Rs 203.63 million (narrowed by 56 per cent Year-on-Year)," the release said.
AirAsia's Group CEO Tony Fernandes said India is progressing very well in the past few quarters.
29/08/16 PTI/Business Standard

AirAsia India set for expansion to go abroad

Kuala Lumpur: AirAsia India CEO Amar Abrol, who assumed his post in April after Mittu Chandilya quit, said the airline expects “multiples of million dollars” from promoters for an expansion drive, said livemint.com in a report.
The airline plans to expand its fleet and fly abroad. Tata Sons holds 51 per cent in AirAsia India while AirAsia Bhd holds the rest.
“It’s the start of our next chapter in India,” said Abrol in an interview. “We have been very categorical in stating that we get new aircraft as soon as possible.”
He added that it’s a natural fit for the airline to look towards Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. “We may fly to other destinations as well. AirAsia India will determine where we fly.”
“We will be taking advantage of the AirAsia network.”
Abrol thinks that he has joined the company at the most opportune time. “We have in India, for the first time, a civil aviation policy,” he continued.
29/08/16 Free Malaysia Today

Australia looks to increase direct flights from India

Chennai: Enthused by increasing number of tourists from India, Tourism Australia has intensified its marketing campaign in metro cities. It is planning to increase direct flights to the country from major Indian cities.
Now, travellers fly via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. In spite of the lengthy journey, number of tourists from Chennai and other major cities has increased. Tamil Nadu comes fourth, when it comes to Australia-bound tourists. The first three states are Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan said, "Australia will lobby for more flights connecting India. The promotion with regard to India will be focused on three points - lobbying for more flights, designing tourism products that will give more value for the tourists and to integrate content of promotion by adding local flavor."
Flying to Australia is expensive and cumbersome because there are no direct flights from Chennai. Scoot Airlines, which offers competitive fares and quick connection from Singapore, has eased the travel woes a bit. This has also increased the volume of tourists in recent months. However, there is very little scope to increase flights via Singapore, because Singapore Airlines has almost exhausted their quota of flights into India.
29/08/16 Times of India

Big fight over flight emission norms

New Delhi: India is likely to join forces with China to lobby for changes - and even partially block - in a UN-brokered global deal to freeze carbon emissions by the aviation industry at 2020 levels.

The United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will meet next month to finalise the deal that could slow down aviation growth in Asia, besides imposing a carbon emission fee on airlines.
The deal, backed by US negotiators, is being reluctantly supported by the European Union (EU), which at one stage wanted even tougher measures, including punitive taxes on airlines flying to Europe.

Officials said New Delhi had made it clear that it would not agree to the move, which seeks to oblige airlines with international flights to neutralise their emissions through the purchase of offset credits.

India and China also have misgivings about efforts to freeze emissions by 2020 through a structured process, which ICAO sources say will stretch till 2026.

"Ours are developing markets which are still growing at a phenomenal rate. The European and American markets are mature with little scope for growth. They can cap their carbon emissions anytime. If we do, we will be depriving our people from accessing airlines... we need more time for a cap to come in place," said top officials involved in the negotiations.

In June, passenger traffic grew 17 per cent in India and 14 per cent in China, according to the Airports Council International.

A draft proposal has differentiated the cost of capping carbon emissions between developed and developing nations, but not to the satisfaction of emerging aviation powers such as China, India, Brazil or even Korea.
28/08/16 Jayanta Roy Chowdhury/Telegraph

Apathy of Punjab Government towards Amritsar airport irks residents

Amritsar: Amritsar Vikas Manch has expressed sorrow over the step motherly attitude of the Punjab government towards Amritsar airport.
Manch patron Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala has reacted to the statement of Vishavjit Khanna, Secy Civil Aviation Punjab in which he has said that the Punjab government is trying its best to increase the length of Chandigarh airport runway to 10500 ft. so that long haul flights to U.K may be started for the people in Punjab.
The Manch patron has expressed surprise that the Punjab government is so worried to start U.K. flights from Chandigarh, but it never ever thought of restarting the withdrawn Amritsar – London – Toronto flights of Air India.
It's irony that the Punjab government doesn't know that Amritsar airport has the longest runway of 12000 ft. equal to Delhi airport. There is no technical problem of starting direct Amritsar – London – Toronto flight, which was withdrawn by Air India in 2010 after successful operation for 5 years, only to benefit GMR of Delhi airport. Then why the Punjab government is not following the policy of one in hand is better than the two in bush. It is a matter of great regret that the Punjab government deliberately did not put in efforts to restart the flight from Amritsar for the last six years, despite having the coalition government at the centre. It never raised the matter with Prime Minister, Civil Aviation Minister. The Punjab government never owned Amritsar airport and never took interest to start more international flights from Amritsar to London, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, etc for the reasons best known to it. It is very much evident from the biased attitude of the Punjab Government towards Amritsar Airport, it seems as if Amritsar airport does not exist in Punjab.
29/08/16 Punjab News Express

Scoot keen to utilize untapped opportunities in Indian aviation

Scoot which launched its services from Singapore to Amritsar and Chennai in May, intends to offer Indians the option to fly internationally at affordable fares with superior product offerings.Citing the largely untapped with promising growth opportunities, backed by a strong GDP growth, a burgeoning young population and the rising affluence of the middle class,Bharat Mahadevan, the Country Head of Scoot-India, believes that with its services to Chennai, Amritsar and Jaipur, India will become the number two market for the Singapore Airlines group in terms of the destinations after China. For Scoot alone , India will become the third market after China and Australia.

We have received positive response from Indian guests and are experiencing strong load factors since our launch. Scoot’s travel proposition combining affordable value airfares with superior product offerings, along with a stringent focus on safety, is resonating strongly with our Indian guests.
We have received positive responses from Indian guests and are seeing strong load factors since our launch. Scoot’s travel proposition combining affordable value airfares with superior product offerings, along with a stringent focus on safety, is resonating strongly with our Indian guests.
We focus on the leisure market and our strategy includes targeting both independent and group travellers, depending on the originating market.
29/08/16 Voyager's World

JK Tyre is looking to enter aviation market

JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, part of the Rs 28,000 crore JK Group last week rolled out its 10 millionth radial tyre from its Vikrant plant at Mysuru in Karnataka. The company, which ranks amongst the top 25 tyre manufacturers in the world and has a wide range of products catering to diverse business segments in the automobile industry, at present operates 12 plants - nine in India and three in Mexico. It recently announced integrating its Research and Development centres (R&D) spread across different locations in the country into one by setting up a Rs 100 crore centre in Mysuru.

Raghupati Singhania, chairman and managing director, JK Tyre, in an interview with Shahkar Abidi, speaks about a wide range of topics and challenges, including the threat from the dumping of Chinese products in the Indian market. He also talked about the company's interest in getting into the civil aviation sector which provides huge scope for growth as India is amongst the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world.

Q. A lot of Indian companies are getting into the aviation market by offering to supply parts to aircraft manufacturers. Does JK Tyre have any plans to get into the aviation segment?

A. Yes, we are working towards that direction as it's a very lucrative segment. Though at present I cannot comment more on it as plans are still being worked out and things are still taking shape. But one thing is sure - we cannot ignore the segment as its going very strong and offers a lot of opportunity for growth.
29/08/16 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

A long ride to Kannur airport

Kannur: The laborious task of transporting the aerobridges for the Kannur International Airport being developed near Mattannur here in hydraulic axle trailers has turned out to be much slower than expected because of difficulties to negotiate curves and of other obstacles.

The transportation of the components of the passenger boarding bridges for the airport under construction began at the Azhikkal port at around 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Three hydraulic axle trailers started the trip with the components for installation from the port with a plan to reach Mele Chovva near here in the early hours.

The night time was chosen for the transportation to avoid traffic problems the movement of the huge trailers might cause. The components of the aerobridge being transported to the airport site have a length of 66 feet and height of 17 feet.

The components had reached the port on August 10. The scheduled transportation time was delayed because of the slow movement of the trailers.
29/08/16 The Hindu

New civilian terminal to soon come up at Agra airport: min

Agra: A new civilian terminal will soon come up at the Kheria air force base here to provide international facilities to passengers visiting the Taj city.

This was stated by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma who inaugurated a private IVF centre here yesterday.

The Kheria airport is at present under the control of Indian Air Force which allows one of its air strips to be used for civilian flights.

After a meeting with the district officials, Sharma said Rs 100 crore has already been sanctioned for upgrading the Kheria Airport and construction of the civilian terminal, for which about 50 acres of land has already been acquired.

The proposed Jewar international airport in adjoining Gautam Buddha Nagar would serve the needs of the national capital region (NCR), while the one in Agra would primarily cater to the tourists visiting the Taj Mahal, he said.
29/08/16 Business Standard

Agra will get its airport, but Jewar Airport stays, says Union minister Mahesh Sharma

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his first pre-electoral speech in Agra in November 2013, he had made some very ambitious promises to Agra, including that of an international airport and barrage on Yamuna. However, in barely 3 years, his own ministers have reneged on Modi's promises and the people of the city are not very pleased with the BJP at this hour.
According to Anil Sharma, coordinator of the local civil society, Union Tourism MoS (IC) Mahesh Sharma has played a very shrewd game with the people of Agra by snatching away AgraĆ¢€™s international airport in order to benefit his own constituency in Jewar (Noida), when he was also holding the charge of MoS of Civil Aviation.
The local civil society had raised this issue before the prime minister and the minister of civil aviation. Though, Mahesh Sharma has been removed from the civil aviation portfolio, the international airport is still being built in Jewar and not in Agra. This made it clear that Agra ranks very low on PM ModiĆ¢€™s priorities these days, in sharp contrast to the Modi Agra heard in November 2013, who appeared to be fully aware of each and every woe of the city.
29/08/16 Siraj Qureshi/India Today

Locals unhappy with aerial survey of air strip at Nevali village, claim ground condition not feasible

Thane: An aerial survey of Nevali village and Malangad mountain stretch in Kalyan carried out by aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju earlier this week as a possible alternate site for an international airport has led to stiff protests from locals. They claim that the airport construction is not feasible due to the ground conditions.
Nevali area used to be a busy airbase of the British during World War II. It had a concrete runway for take-offs and landings of war planes by the British and its allies. The runway is now in a sorry state and has been abandoned.
Meanwhile, locals whose land was taken for the construction of the runway at that time do not have any documents to prove that the acquisition of their farm lands in Nevali was done by following the law. They have now demanded that their land be returned to them.
27/08/16 Nishikant Karlikar/Times of India

KIA's three-lane taxiway system sees its green quotient soar

Bengaluru: The Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru, has brought down carbon emissions by a whopping 3,384.94 metric tonnes, thanks to the three-way taxi system. It is said to be the first and only Indian airport to have adopted the system.
To put that number in perspective, it is the rough equivalent of the energy expended on supplying continuous electricity for an entire year to 500 houses or equal to growing 87,726 seedlings for a decade!
A taxiway is a path used by aircraft to navigate between the runway and aprons, hangars and terminals. "Unlike other airports that have a one-lane taxiway system, leading to planes queuing behind one another to enter the runway for take-off, KIA allows two aircraft to proceed towards the runway simultaneously," sources in Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the consortium that runs KIA, told TOI.
29/08/16 Rakesh Prakash/Times of India

Moody's downgrades Delhi airport credit rating

Mumbai: Moody's has downgraded Delhi International Airport Limited's (DIAL) credit rating to Ba2 from Ba1 in view of expected reduction in cash flow due to new tariff order by the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). The rating outlook remains stable, Moody's Investor Service said on Monday.

Last December, the AERA reduced user charges by 89 per cent but its implementation has been stayed because of pending disposal of challenges against previous tariff orders.

"The downgrade reflects continued concerns about the level of cash flow generation following the regulator's order, which will see regulated revenues reduce materially over the 2015-2019 regulatory period to levels which were not incorporated in our previous expectation," said Abhishek Tyagi, Moody's vice president and senior analyst.

The rating downgrade takes in account Delhi airport's new expansion plans planned over next 3-5 years, which will put further pressure on financial metrics, Moody's said.

According to Moody's, implementation of the order will lead to a reduction in the airport's annual aeronautical revenue by around Rs 2000 crore from the financial year 2017-18.
29/08/16 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

A taxiway on KIA could foil plans to implement alternative route to airport

Bengaluru: Traffic gridlocks on Ballari Road - the only approach to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) from the city - having turned into a recurrent nightmare, Bengaluru traffic police have identified an alternative route to the airport to reduce the burden on the arterial road. However, the proposal's fate hinges on the readiness of the aerodrome authorities to accordingly modify KIA's expansion plans to accommodate a taxiway bridge.
Aimed at providing an alternative route for people in east and southeast Bengaluru such as Koramangala, Sarjapura Road, Electronics City, Whitefield, Mahadevapura, KR Puram among other localities, the road will lead to the rear side of the airport.
With the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the consortium that runs KIA, planning to open a cargo terminal towards the airport's southeast side near Bettakote Lake, traffic police has reason to hope that the alternative route will solve the city's congestion woes. In order to facilitate truck movement to the cargo terminal, BIAL has planned a new entrance near the lake. Police are asking the consortium to also allow other airport users to utilise this entrance.
29/08/16 Arun Dev/Times of India

Rs.65 lakh gold seized at Goa airport

Panaji: The Air Intelligence Unit(AIU) of Dabolim International Airport in South Goa on Monday ,on profiling of Air India Flight AI-994(Dubai-Goa-Bangalore) rummaged the aircraft on arrival and during a search seized three black plastic bundles in its rear toilet, containing assorted golden jewellery and three gold bars totally weighing 2.532 kg. valued at Rs.65 lakhs.
Despite inquiries with transit passengers and crew or ground staff of the Airlines, owners was not found.
29/08/16 The Hindu

Woman cheated of Rs 2.5L with job promise

Navi Mumbai: A woman was allegedly cheated by three persons, including two women, to the tune of Rs 2.5 lakh at Kharghar recently. The victim was befriended by the accused in 2015. They had promised to provide her with a job of a public relations officer at the Mumbai airport. They also gave her a fake appointment letter.
The accused have been identified as Ashwini Jagtap, Sarabjit Singh and Manjeet Singh Pelia. In her statment the complainant, Gayatri Nadkarni, stated that the trio had promised her with a job at the airport. They also made her go for French classes. Later, the trio claimed that there were many vacancies at the airport and the appointments were being carried out by their recruitment agency. Between January and February 2016, the victim paid them Rs 2.5 lakh.
The trio told her that there were more vacancies and she could refer her friends and family. Without smelling a rat, Nadkarni asked her acquaintances to apply for the jobs. As many as 21 shelled out around Rs 2 to 3 lakh. The accused collected Rs 40 lakh collectively. They handed over appointment letters to them as well. However, eight months later when Nadkarni did not receive any call from AAI nor the trio, she found something fishy. She then tried calling the accused, but in vain.
28/08/16 George Mendonca/Times of India

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fearing collision with AI plane, 30 passengers jump out of bus on runway

Bhopal/Jabalpur/Delhi: : Thirty terrified passengers on a SpiceJet coach at Jabalpur airport on Saturday reportedly jumped off their bus as an Air India aircraft came too close and they feared getting hit by the same. Luckily for them, the AI subsidiary alliance air's plane wing passed very close to the stationary bus without hitting it.
The aviation regulator has issued a warning to Air India as the ATR-72 aircraft was allegedly not being marshalled to the parking bay by a trained personnel but by a helper.
The unprecedented sight of flyers fleeing from a bus to avoid being hit by a plane was witnessed at Jabalpur's Dumna airport when an Alliance Air (AA) ATR landed into the city 15 minutes ahead of the schedule time and was taxiing to its parking bay. At the same time, SpiceJet passengers had flown in from Delhi on another turboprop (Q-400) and were boarding a coach to be taken to the terminal.
"At 11.58 am, SpiceJet ramp staff noticed that AI flight is passing by our coach without maintaining standard distance. Ramp staff tried to seek attention of AI captain (but plane kept proceeding)... One of our passengers saw this and started rushing from the coach, followed by all passengers coming down from coach," said the incident report filed by SpiceJet.
Dumna airport director Ramtanu Saha said SpiceJet has lodged a complaint which is being probed and the report would be sent to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"As per protocol, AI pilots should have reported the matter to ATC officials. We have got a written submission from SpiceJet station manager and drivers," Saha told TOI.
An Air India official said: "There was safe distance between our aircraft and SpiceJet Q400. However, after parking the SpiceJet captain got physically abusive with our technician. A CCTV footage is available with ATC."
28/08/16 Times of India

Aviation fuel demand rebounds

Mumbai: State-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) are seeing a rebound in demand for aviation turbine fuel (ATF), with airline companies flying high on improved operations and profitability.
Data on ATF consumption with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the government show a jump of nine per cent in 2015-16 to 6.2 million tonnes. In the four years between FY12 and FY15, the consumption had an annual compound growth of only one per cent. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) saw a six to seven per cent rise in FY16, said a company official. It is the largest ATF supplier. Consumption and sales volumes for oil companies might differ slightly, due to imported ATF volumes; also, the data for FY16 is provisional.
In recent years, airlines had scaled down operations. In October 2012, Kingfisher Airlines stopped plying. Financial woes also forced SpiceJet to scale down  between 2014 and 2015, before a new investor stepped in and improved both operations and performance.
“The improvement in FY16 was due to SpiceJet scaling up operations and the entry of new airlines AirAsia and Vistara,” the IOC official said.  “We expect the volumes to grow at six-seven per cent for the next two to three years.”
28/08/16 Amritha Pillay/Business Standard

ATF — cheaper but still dear

Earlier this year, in March, the country’s leading private sector airlines — IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir — accused the public sector oil marketing companies — Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL — of profiteering on aviation turbine fuel (ATF). These oil companies supply about 95 per cent of the ATF across India’s airports and reset the fuel’s price on the first day of each month.

Urging disclosure of the “ambiguous” and opaque price discovery mechanism for ATF, the airlines alleged that the benefit of the sharp fall in crude oil prices since 2014 had not been passed on. The 12 per cent hike in ATF price in March was being paid under protest, the airlines said. Indian Oil, the largest ATF supplier, was quick to refute the allegations. There was no monopolistic situation in ATF supply and pricing, the oil major said, adding that airlines were free to import the product, and that it is inappropriate to compare ATF price in an oil importing country such as India with that in oil exporters. ATF price had reduced sharply since 2014, Indian Oil said, asking for good measure whether airfares had reduced commensurately.

While the argument continues, the truth, as always, seems to lie somewhere in the middle. ATF prices have evidently come down over the past two years. At about ₹47,200 a kilolitre in Delhi, the fuel is today about 32 per cent cheaper than it was in end June 2014 (about ₹69,800). But the drop is much lower than the 60 per cent dip in the cost of the Indian crude oil basket over the same period — from $109 to $43.5 a barrel. Three factors account for this — the pricing mechanism, taxes and exchange rates.
28/08/16 Anand Kalyanaraman/Business Line

DGCA approves Air India's proposal of flying over Pacific ocean for San Francisco bound flights

New Delhi: Saving significant fuel costs and time, Air India will soon start flying over the Pacific Ocean region for its lucrative direct services to San Francisco from New Delhi with aviation regulator DGCA approving the new route.
The regulatory nod comes as a boost for the national carrier, which would be doubling the frequency of its Delhi-San Francisco direct flights to six per week from November.
Air India would also be the first Indian carrier to operate on the Pacific region route where weather conditions and speed of winds would help the airline in reducing fuel burn and the overall journey time.
Officials said the route would be a "win-win situation" for the carrier as well as passengers as it would save crores of rupees worth of fuel costs and also reduce the flying time by up to three hours.
Approving the request from Air India for services through the new route, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a detailed operational circular.
28/08/16 PTI/First Post

Not overlooking aircraft maintenance: Centre to High Court

New Delhi: The Centre has refuted in Delhi High Court the claim that civil aviation authorities are overlooking the alleged violation of aircraft maintenance schedules by airlines, endangering passenger safety.
The Civil Aviation Ministry and the Director General for Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) denied that various private airlines operating in the country were “violating/circumventing the mandatory provisions for airworthiness and air safety”.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal during hearing of a PIL alleging that aviation authorities were overlooking the prescribed maintenance schedules and sought directions to them to ensure safety of passengers on aircraft flying in and out India.
The counsel for the ministry submitted that till date they have not received any complaint regarding any deficiency in aircraft services.
It further said that the petitioner, advocate Alok Kumar, was a frequent flyer, yet he was alleging there were no safety measures in the flights.
The bench then asked the petitioner to give suggestions with regard to safety requirements in aircraft and listed the matter for further hearing on October 19.
28/08/16 PTI/Financial Express

Without runway expansion, no direct Haj flights from Karipur

Kozhikode: For the second year running, there are no direct Haj flights from the Calicut International Airport as the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation is firm that no wide-bodied aircraft will touch down here till the runway is expanded and safeguards are in place.

The situation looks set to continue next year also, though Calicut airport expansion campaigners believe that at least after runway renovation in February 2017, exemption would be given for Haj flights.

The flights were shifted to the Cochin International Airport when runway renovation works began last May.

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has said that the Calicut airport, with a mere tabletop runway, was never suitable for large aircraft. An exemption for Haj flights somewhere in the early 90s was conveniently converted into a permanent schedule. Therefore, exemption will not be given anymore.

Calicut Airport Director K. Janardhanan said priority was only for safety. On runway expansion, he said, “The situation is evolving. Let us wait.”
28/08/16 KV Prasad/The Hindu

GMR's massive debts fail to rankle Goa government

Panaji: The debt-riddled balance sheet of the GMR Group has failed to rankle the Goa government which is convinced that the group's subsidiary, GMR Infrastructure will deliver the Rs 3300 crore Mopa airport. The GMR Group, with interests in airports, energy and infrastructure, reportedly has a consolidated debt of Rs 39,154 crore and was featured in the Credit Suisse Group's House of Debtreport 2015 as one of the top 10 indebted corporate entities in the country.
Following years of rapid expansion on the back of heavy borrowing, the group has spent the last few years trimming down its debt through divestment, debt restructuring and overseas funding. A company official said that since the bidding process had just been completed, it was too early to divulge details about joint partnerships but added that financing the project would not be an issue.
"We have gone into the financials of the company and examined this. Any infrastructure company that comes in to build such a massive project, they have to do it through debt. GMR has not defaulted even once, not to banks and not to the operator," director of Goa civil aviation Suresh Shanbhogue said.
28/08/16 Newton Sequeira/Times of India

Chopper service between Delhi, Agra to begin soon: Minister

Agra: Tourists will very soon be able to travel from Delhi to cities such as Agra, Mathura, Ayodhya, Alwar among others by helicopter. The Union tourism ministry plans to start a chopper service as part of its plans to increase the tourism infrastructure in these cities.
Union minister for culture and tourism, Mahesh Sharma, who was in the city on Sunday, made this announcement, adding that the service would start under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) and the ticket price would not be more than Rs 5,000 for a one-hour flight.
Sharma had first made the announcement of starting the helicopter service in October last year. "The initial plan was to fly helicopters from the Delhi airport, but it was found that in such a scenario it would take the same time to reach these tourist destinations as by normal flight. This resulted in a delay in starting the service. Now, Pawan Hans helicopters will use the helipad near Akshardham temple in Delhi, which was built during the Commonwealth Games, to run the service," the minister said.
28/08/16 Aditya Dev/Times of India

Punjab government’s move to increase length of Chandigarh airport runway draws a flak

Amritsar: Residents and city-based NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch have criticised the Punjab government’s decision to increase the length of Chandigarh airport runway to accommodate flights to the United Kingdom (UK).
They were reacting to the statement of Vishavjit Khanna, secretary, Civil Aviation, Punjab, in which he stated that the government was trying its best to increase the length of the runway of Chandigarh airport to 10,500 feet so that long haul flights to destinations like UK may be started for the people of the state.
A city resident Manmohan Singh said the SAD-BJP coalition government never evinced similar keenness to restart the withdrawn Amritsar – London – Toronto flights of Air India from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport.
Amritsar airport is catering to international flights since 1960. At present five international airlines — Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Malindo of Malaysia and Scoot of Singapore — are operating 42 international flights per week, along with Air India Express and Spice Jet, which have flights for Dubai from the holy city.
Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that even now Air Inida’s Amritsar– Delhi – London indirect hub and spoke flight has won the distinction of being number one among its all international flights operating from Delhi in 2015-16.
28/08/16 Tribune

Pawan Hans helicopter caught in bad weather

Mumbai: A Pawan Hans helicopter did a precautionary landing in Palghar on Saturday afternoon due to poor weather conditions enroute. All passengers on board the chopper are safe.
The 5-seater, Ecureuil B3 helicopter was operating a charter flight for Gas Authority of India when it encountered inclement weather in Palghar around 2pm, said a source.
Since continuing the flight would have been unsafe, the pilot chose to carry out a precautionary landing.
27/08/16 Times of India

CISF gears up to thwart terror strikes at Indian airports

Hyderabad: The Central Industrial Task Force has deployed quick reaction teams (QRTs) at airports, trained its personnel and strengthened its capability to counter terror strikes. “We are gearing up to counter any attack in the manner of Istanbul or Brussels (terror attacks). Our people are already trained. We have deployed QRTs behind bullet-resistant (bullet-proof) ‘morchas’, so that if terror elements fire they will not be able to get us,” a senior CISF official said.
After the Istanbul and Brussels incidents, the CISF has formulated strategies to thwart such attacks at Indian airports guarded by it. “With the recent attacks in Brussels and Istanbul, attacks from the city-side have become more prominent. So, we are devising ways and means to counter such attacks,” the official told PTI.
“We have started checking at the ‘nakas’ now. Any suspicious vehicle going to airport will be stopped and checked with the help of sniffer dogs and electronic explosive detectors,” he said. In addition, QRTs have been deployed at the arrival and departure side of airports.
“If they (QRTs) find any suspicious person coming out with weapon or attempting to fire, our teams have been instructed to fire back to counter the terrorist attack. We have the capability to fire back at them and neutralise them. We are going into that mode now,” he said.
28/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

Delhi's Safdarjung Airport To Have Full Armed Security Cover

New Delhi:  The Safdarjung Airport in the national capital would soon be safeguarded by an armed security cover provided by a central paramilitary force in view of potential threats to the facility used primarily for flying VVIP helicopter sorties.

Official sources said a full-fledged security audit of the air facility located in the high-profile location of central Delhi has been ordered after central security agencies recommended the same and after a preliminary report was prepared about possible threats and vulnerabilities to it.

The over 200-acre airport is presently provided security by troops of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) drawn from North East states and they largely look after access-control duties through official entry/exit gates.

The facility is operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and apart from conducting regular administrative operations, the airport also houses the hangar for the Mi-17 series of choppers of the Border Security Force and is used to fly VVIPs using these or by the helicopters of the Indian Air Force.

Sources said post the security audit, the task to fully secure the facility could be handed over to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is the mandated agency to guard major civilian airports in the country.
28/08/16 PTI/NDTV

The cashier who made India fly- the story of the founder of Jet Airways

‘From street to sky’ is a good way to summarise the story of India’s sixteenth richest person. Naresh Goyal was only 12 when his family went bankrupt and everything they owned was auctioned. “I had no money to eat, no money to educate myself, and no place to stay,” Naresh told CNBC TV18 – Moneycontrol in an interview.
Naresh was born into a prosperous jewelers’ family in Sangrur, Punjab. After going bankrupt, he and his family moved to live with his mother’s uncle. Insistent on studying further, Naresh, with no electricity at home, would sit under the streetlight and weave the future that was to come.
He wanted to become a Chartered Accountant, but was forced into doing a B. Com due to financial constraints. After his graduation in 1967, he joined his uncle’s travel agency as a cashier. He earned Rs 300 per month.
His dedication and hard work soon paid off, and in 1969, he was appointed as the Public Relations manager of Iraqi Airways. Between 1971 and 1974, he served ALIA, Royal Jordanian Airlines as a Regional Manager. During these years, he travelled overseas and underwent extensive training in the travel business.
In 1974, Naresh decided to start up. He borrowed some money from his mother and formed his own travel agency – Jetair. His agency represented the likes of Air France, Austrian Airlines and Cathay Pacific in sales and marketing.
1991 witnessed the boom of India's aviation sector, an opportunity which Naresh didn't miss out on. His travel agency was now transformed into Jet Airways, an airline company. Jet Airways started operating as an air taxi operator in 1993, and added international flights in 2004.
In 2007, Jet Airways acquired Air Sahara and went on to become the largest air carrier in the country by 2010, a position which has been held by IndiGo since 2012.
Naresh has had his ups and downs. Having lived through the nationwide aviation crisis and fare-wars between airlines, he has been continuously transforming his business in a constantly changing market. Jet Airways continues to be India's second largest airline in India with an over 21 percent passenger market share.
28/08/16 Your Story

Air India Grounds Kochi-Jeddah Due To Technical Issues

Kochi:  Air India today grounded its flight to Jeddah due to technical issues leaving many passengers stranded at the international airport in Kochi.

The Boeing 747-400 aircraft was scheduled to leave Kochi at around 2000 hours.

An Air India spokesperson said the plane has been grounded on account of some "technical issues" and would now depart tomorrow morning. The passengers are being accommodated in hotel.

Specific details, including the number of passengers who were to travel in the flight could not be immediately ascertained.
27/08/16 PTI/NDTV

India fails to discard the ‘Viceroy Territory’ tag from its aircraft codes, again

New Delhi: Even after seven decades of Independence and several attempts by the government, including a recent initiative in May, India has failed to drop VT—it stands for Viceroy Territory—from its aircraft registration codes.
These codes are stamped prominently on the side of all civilian aircraft to indicate their nationalities and models.
As per international aviation rules, every civilian aircraft must have this call sign—an alpha-numeric code containing one or two letters (country code), followed by a series of numbers (carrier code) chosen by the airliner. India got its country code VT back in 1929, a mark of the British Raj that has not changed in all these years.
According to a senior civil aviation ministry official, who requested anonymity, the National Democratic Alliance government did try again to find a suitable code that will corroborate with the country’s name, but the negotiations had to be shelved as there is no code available that can be distinctly identified with India. Interestingly, British planes fly under codes beginning with ‘G’, referring to Great Britain.
The country codes were modelled after a radio call system set up in 1912 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which governs global use of the radio airwaves. Under the ITU system, countries, regions or colonies were then allocated specific letters that they could employ to label radio users in their territories. Changing the country code means seeking fresh approval from the ITU for a new radio-call range.
28/08/16 Sanjay Singh/VCCircle

Kingfisher Airlines case: Ex-chiefs of banks get summons from SFIO

Mumbai: The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has summoned all former chairpersons and managing directors (CMDs) of the 14 public sector banks which disbursed loans to Vijay Mallya’s now defunct Kingfisher Airlines as a part of its ongoing probe into loan default, two sources familiar with the development have told The Sunday Express.
The SFIO, according to sources, has already examined at least three former CMDs and recorded their statements. They are being questioned to ascertain the rationale behind extending loans to Kingfisher Airlines even when the company performed poorly and on the due diligence done by the banks before lending.
“It is necessary for the agency to examine the officials who were at the helm of affairs at the banks during the time the loans were extended to the company. The agency needs to ascertain if there were lapses in due diligence by the lenders,” an official said.
A multi-disciplinary organisation, SFIO probes cases of financial frauds that are referred to it by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
28/08/16 Khushboo Narayan/Indian Express

India grounds Air Arabia’s designated airline status plea

New Delhi: India has declined a request, for a second time, from the United Arab Emirates’ Ras Al Khaimah to grant flying rights for Air Arabia to connect with Indian cities as its designated carrier.

“Air Arabia didn’t meet the air services’ agreement requirements,” R.N. Choubey, Civil Aviation Secretary, said in an interview. “How can an airline be a designated carrier for two emirates?”The Indian authorities have said that Air Arabia already operates flights to Indian cities from its hub in Sharjah and the same airline cannot be granted flying rights to India from another emirate.

Airlines from India and Ras Al Khaimah are entitled to fly 1,428 seats each week from each side at present, as per the air services agreement.

Countries sign air service agreements through bilateral negotiations to decide the number of flights airlines can fly into each other’s territory. Then, the governments distribute the allocated seats to the respective designated airlines. However, in the case of UAE, India has signed separate bilateral air traffic agreements with seven emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah.
27/08/16 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

After employee's death, Air India makes use of seat belts mandatory for staff

Soon after one of its employee, a 36-year-old air hostess Shakambari Zutshi succumbed to injuries post a deadly accident on her way to Delhi's Terminal 3, Air India has issued a circular to ask its employees particularly the in-flight service department urging them to use the seat belt in the car.
The circular that was issued by Captain Sameer and has been obtained by India Today says it is meant not only for regular employees but also those who are on contract with the carrier. The circular makes it mandatory for all using office cabs to use seat belts.
This decision has come after a 36-year-old air hostess, working with Air India, died in a road accident on Friday as her office cab rammed into another vehicle in a pile up on Rajokri flyover in the southern part of the national capital.
Shakambari Zutshi was travelling towards the IGI airport from her residence in Faridabad when her office cab met with an accident on NH-8 in the wee hours.
27/08/16 Anindya Banerjee/India Today

Wife of diplomat intercepted at IGIA

New Delhi: Wife of a Korean diplomat posted here was today intercepted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) for entering the terminal by allegedly using a special pass issued to the spouse of another senior official from the same embassy, police said.

The incident occurred at 2:00 AM today after CISF and immigration officials detected that the Korean lady, wife of a diplomat posted at the Korean Embassy here, had entered the terminal-III of IGIA using a Airport Entry Pass (AEP) which was issued in the name of another lady, wife of a senior diplomat from the same Embassy, officials said.

The officials and police refused to divulge to which embassy the North Korean or South Korean embassy the husband of the lady belonged.

After preliminary probe, it was found that both the ladies bore resemblance and hence after the first got inside the terminal area, she reportedly sent her personal AEP outside the airport through someone, using which the other lady came inside the arrival area, they said.
28/08/16 PTI

Lankan Tamil couple arrested for forging documents

Coimbatore: A Sri Lankan Tamil couple was arrested by the Tirupur city police on Thursday for obtaining Indian passports and ration card by forging documents. Police sources said that the couple and their two children planned to go to Sri Lanka from Madurai airport in April 2016. However, the immigration officials managed to trace the identity of the couple and informed the ministry of external affairs who conducted a detailed inquiry and finally lodged a police complaint on Thursday.
The arrested couple was identified as K Thiyagarajan, 29, and T Menaka, 27, both hailing from GN Balan Nagar at Neruperichal in Tirupur. The couple has a son and a daughter. Their daughter studies in a private school and stays in a hostel. She got permission from the judicial magistrate court to keep her infant under her care in the jail.
Police said Thiyagarajan and Menaka hailed from Thillaiyadi village in Puttalam district in Sri Lanka. They came to Trichy on tourist visa in 2011 and did not return to Sri Lanka. The couple took a rented house at Udumalpet in Tirupur district and were engaged in cloth business. Later, the couple moved to Chennai where they stayed for one year.
27/08/16 Times of India

Afghan lady held at IGIA for trying to smuggle imported cigarettes

New Delhi: An Afghan woman has been apprehended at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here for allegedly smuggling in five bags of imported cigarettes.

The incident was reported on Friday when intelligence sleuths of CISF in civil clothes spotted the suspicious behaviour of the woman, identified as A Khanjari, arriving from Kabul.

The woman was seen carrying five big bags and soon after landing she entered the washroom in the arrival terminal and came out after changing her clothes, a senior official said.

She was apprehended on suspicion, he said, and later on during frisking, five bags full of foreign brand cigarettes were recovered from her.
28/08/16 PTI/Business Standard

Israeli man arrested for entering IGIA illegally

New Delhi: An Israeli national has been arrested for illegally entering the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in an apparent bid to see off his wife to Tashkent.

The incident was reported at 10:30 AM yesterday when the Israeli man, identified as A Halbani, gained entry into the terminal area after furnishing a ticket at the entry gate to travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. But he had cancelled the ticket earlier.

CISF personnel later found that the man was not proceeding for boarding but trying to find an exit from the terminal area in a suspicious manner and apprehended him.

He told them, sources said, that he first booked an e-ticket for yesterday to travel to Tashkent but cancelled it and re-booked his ticket for September 12.
28/08/16 PTI

Mans second bid to smuggle tortoises too foiled

Chennai: Weeks after his failed bid to smuggle green tortoises, a man today made a second attempt to bring those from Malaysia but customs officials at the airport here foiled his attempt and sent back the live cargo.
Abdul Nissar of Ramanathapuram, who arrived here last night by a Malaysian Airlines flight, was found carrying around 4,000 vasthu tortoises, which are tiny, airport officials said.
Since import of tortoises is banned, immigration officials sent back the tortoises by a flight this morning, they said.
28/08/16 PTI/India Today

4 held for smuggling Rs 1.34 crore foreign currency

Chennai: Four people were detained by customs and DRI officials from Chennai and Tiruchy airports with foreign currencies valued Rs 1.32 crore while they trying to smuggle out suspected hawala money on Saturday morning to Singapore.

Three passengers travelling with Singapore tourist visa in Jet Airways flight to Singapore from Chennai were found carrying Rs 42 lakh worth foreign currency  hidden in folded clothes in their baggage. There were bundles of US dollars, Euro and Saudi Riyals, airport sources said.

Meanwhile, DRI sleuths caught another passenger in Tiruchy airport who was to fly to Singapore early Saturday morning in IA express Chennai– Tiruchy– Singapore flight.
28/08/16 Deccan Chronicle