Friday, November 27, 2015

India to be third largest aviation market by 2026: study

Mumbai: India will displace the United Kingdom as the third-largest market by 2026 by passenger traffic, a new study said.

India will also be the third fastest aviation market in terms of new passenger addition, behind only China and US, the report by The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said. India will have 275 million new passengers for a total of 378 million till 2034. China is expected to have 758 million new passengers for a total of 1.196 billion, while the US will have 523 million new passengers for a total of 1.156 billion.

In terms of routes, Asian, South American and African destinations will see the fastest growth, reflecting economic and demographic growth in those markets, the report said. Indonesia-East Timor will be the fastest growing route, at 13.9 per cent, followed by India-Hong Kong at 10.4 per cent.

“The demand for air transport continues to grow. There is much work to be done to prepare for the 7 billion passengers expected to take the skies in 2034,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
27/11/15 Business Line

Andhra MP fails to board flight on time, slaps Air India officer

New Delhi: In yet another case of VVIP misbehaviour, a member of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh allegedly slapped an Air India station manager at Tirupati airport on Thursday for refusing to accept him and his relatives on a flight for which boarding had been closed.

According to sources, a YSR Congress party MP reached the Tirupati airport about 20 to 25 minutes before flight departure time with some of his relatives to board AI 541 to Delhi (where Parliament is in session and MPs are supposed to be in attendance) via Hyderabad. Boarding counters for domestic flights close at least 45 minutes before departure time.

"Since the boarding counter had closed for the 2:30 pm flight when the MP and his entourage reached the airport, the VVIP asked the station manager to accommodate him and his relatives on board. Expressing his inability to do so as boarding had closed, the employee apologised to the MP. The politician flew into a rage and slapped the station manager," said a source.

The airline asked the employee to file a complaint against the MP. However given the clout that politician wields and given the fact that AI is a government organisation, the employee had till late on Thursday night not filed a police complaint. Highly placed sources said that the MP subsequently pacified the employee and the latter did not file a complaint.

The AI station manager was in the security hold area, supervising the flight's preparedness for take off as boarding counter had been closed. He was called out of the area to meet the MP, where he was slapped after refusing to accept the VVIP and his relatives on board.
27/11/15 Times of India

Andhra MP Mitun Reddy Booked for ‘Slapping’ Air India Official

Tirupati/New Delhi: YSR Congress MP Mithun Reddy was booked on Friday for allegedly slapping an Air India official at the Tirupati Airport after the latter refused to accept the MP and his relatives on the flight for which boarding had been closed.

Reddy, however, denied the charge and has instead accused the Air India official of misbehaving with him.

The incident occurred yesterday when Reddy reached the Tirupati airport about 20 to 25 minutes before flight’s departure time with some of his relatives to board a flight to Delhi. The official refused to allow the MP to board the flight as boarding counters for domestic flights close at least 45 minutes before departure time.

Following this, the MP reportedly ‘shouted’ at the manager before allegedly slapping him.
27/11/15 ANI/New Indian Express

AirAsia India loss widens to Rs 65 cr

Mumbai: AirAsia India loss widened 23% to Rs 65 crore in September-end quarter over the same period last year. In the same quarter last year the airline had made a loss of Rs 52 crore.

Revenue doubled to Rs 131 crore as against Rs 61 crore in same quarter last year with increase in aircraft and addition of new routes. In winter schedule it added flights between Delhi-Goa and Delhi-Guwahati.

However unlike its peers  the airline was unable to derive  substantial  benefit of lower fuel costs and made an operating loss of Rs 61 crore as against Rs 50 crore in same quarter last fiscal.
AirAsia India commenced operations last June and has six Airbus A320 aircraft. In October it had a market share of 2.1%.

“Our operations in India are geared to grow further after a year in service as we believe our low fares and excellent product appeals to travellers in  India who remain underserved by air travel,” AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said in a statement.
26/11/15 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Trujet seeks to tap potential pilgrimage areas across country

Trujet, the new entrant to the Indian aviation space, commenced its flights this July and offers services to Hyderabad, Chennai, Rajahmundry, Tirupati and Aurangabad. Its fleet consists of ATR 72-500 Aircraft, manufactured by Avions de transport regional. Owned by Turbo Megha Airways Pvt Ltd., Trujet is promoted by Vankayalapati Umesh (22% stake), Telugu actor Ram Charan (26% stake) and their friends.

When asked if Trujet was a conscious decision to tap the pilgrimage segment in India, Vankayalapati Umesh says: “Yes, we have a plan actually. Every airline will have a strategy to capture the market of the corporate, tourism or trade. Nobody has targeted so far in India. We are targeting the pilgrimage segment. Tirupati, Shirdi, Nanded. Lot of traffic is there on those routes by train and bus. So we thought of capturing these markets and offer convenient travel to pilgrims.”

He says the USP of the airline inlcudes many freebies like complimentary meals on board, surprise gifts through lucky draws and free shuttle on road on select routes. “Although our carrier is a low cost one, we are giving full scale services to our passengers. We offer complimentary meals depending on the time of the flight.” It has free shuttle services from certain points like Mangalore to Hubli and Manipal, Aurangabad to Shirdi, etc. Being a carrier operating on religious circuits, the airline also plans to offer flexibility to pilgrims in terms of relaxing their baggage allowances and the nature of items that can be carried with them. “We are planning to allow pilgrimage items - according to the security, of course, we cannot allow things like a knife,” says Umesh.
26/11/15 Voyagers World

Indian-American offloaded from international flight at Islamabad airport over 'bomb hoax'

An Indian-American man travelling to Washington via Doha was offloaded from a Qatar Airways flight at Islamabad airport on Friday after he claimed there was a bomb on the aircraft.

Ajit Vijay Joshi was offloaded at the Benazir International Airport around 3:00am in the morning after Qatar Airways refused to board him on its plane, claiming the said person raised a bomb threat which turned out to be a hoax, sources said.
Joshi was kept under detention by the airport security and was only released after the flight landed safely in Doha.

Last week, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) held a passenger at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport for trying to smuggle heroin. A news release said ANF officials, during routine patrolling, apprehended Khalid Mehmood, a resident of Gujrat. Mehmood confessed to having ingested heroin capsules. The suspected smuggler was intending to board a flight for Italy.
27/11/15 Mudassar Raja/The Express Tribune

Emirates Airlines flies 60,000 seats from India, wants more

New Delhi: After having exhausted additional allocation of 6,000 seats per week last year, Gulf carrier Emirates is vying for more as it tried to make a case for it by coming out with a study on the economic impact of its Indian operations along with National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The joint study works on two scenarios; one of an increase of 4,500 seats per week and the second of an addition of 13,849 seats per week by phasing out its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 classics and replacing them with B777-300ER.

The report showed that the economic gains accruing in the first case would be $47.5 million addition to Emirates's current contribution of $848.6 million to the GDP, taking it up to $896.1 million and creation 4,831 jobs. Emirates, today, employs 86,255 Indians for the 185 flights it operates to and from India every week. This would go up to 91,086 jobs. In the event of its seats going up by 13,849 per week, its contribution to GDP would jump by $139.2 million to $987.8 million from the current $848.6 million and offer employment to 14,150 more Indians. Besides impacting the national income and employment, more bilateral rights to Emirates would also positively impact government's foreign exchange earnings, which could climb from $1.7 billion per year at present to $1.8 billion per year for the first scenario, and to $2 billion per year for the second. Inbound tourists are projected to rise from 6.73 lakh per year to 7.11 lakh per years in case 4,500 seats are added and to 7.84 lakh per year with 13,849 more seats.
27/11/15 Praveena Sharma/Daily News & Analysis

Emirates aims 85 mn passenger traffic from India by 2020

With India set to grow in the aviation market, Gulf carrier Emirates is eyeing a greater pie in the international passenger traffic from here by flying 85 million travellers in and out of the country by 2020. According to a report released by the India Brand Equity Foundation earlier this year, India is expected to become the third-largest aviation market in the world by 2020 from the ninth-largest currently. "In the next five years, we are looking for 67 percent growth in the number of passengers flying to and from India. We are looking for a greater chunk in the segment we operate in," Emirates Airline vice president (India and Nepal), Essa Sulaiman Ahmad said. "We are looking for more investments in building our products to achieve the goal (of ferrying 85 million passengers)," he added. Ahmad was speaking on the sidelines of a report launch on Emirates' contribution to the Indian economy. In the previous fiscal, the airline had flown a total of 5.3 million passengers on its India network. Currently, Emirates Airline operates 183 weekly flights to nine Indian cities with its hubs at Mumbai and Delhi. Besides, Emirates also provides connections to 140 destinations across the globe though its Dubai gateway.
27/11/15 PTI/

Emirates says can support 14,000 more jobs in India

Dubai-based Emirate airline’s operations have contributed over $848 million (Dh3.11 billion) annually to India’s GDP, supporting over 86,000 Indian jobs and generating almost $1.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings, the airline said in a press statement on Thursday.

The study was conducted by the airline in cooperation with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in New Delhi.

With India’s aim to become the third-largest aviation market by 2020 and the largest by 2030, the study emphasises the important contribution that Emirates makes to India’s economy and aviation sector. The report also forecasts the increased contribution that Emirates would be able to make if capacity entitlements were expanded.

Adnan Kazim, Divisional Senior Vice President – Strategic Planning, Revenue Optimisation and Aeropolitical Affairs, Emirates Airline, said: “Emirates has been committed to India since we started operations in 1985. In the past 30 years, we have progressively grown our services to India by increasing capacity and opening new routes. Today we operate 183 weekly flights to nine points across India, offering our customers in India seamless connections to more than 140 destinations, and also facilitating inbound visitors from across our global network into India.
n February 2014, the aeronautical authorities of India and the UAE negotiated the first expansion of seat entitlements since 2008. As a result, Dubai-based carriers were awarded an additional 11,000 seats per week.
27/11/15 Emirates 24|7

AI Delhi-SFO non-stop flight tickets sold out for two months, despite higher fares

New Delhi: Air India may have at long last struck gold with its Delhi-San Francisco (SFO) nonstop connection that starts from next Wednesday. The airline says that this flight is nearly sold out on both the India-US and US-India routes for December and January -- despite the fact that its fare for the nonstop on this route is higher than the fare of popular foreign airlines flying one-stop on this route through their hubs in Gulf or Europe.

AI has been struggling for years to make its longhaul flights profitable and this is possibly the first time that a new launch has been sold out for next two months. "The yields have been much higher on this flight (which in common man language means fare are high). Our fares were a little more than competing foreign airlines. Still the response has been tremendous, proving that travellers want direct point-to-point connectivity instead of getting off planes at some intermediary hubs and then going through the hassle of security checks and boarding again," said a senior AI official.

For instance, a return ticket on this sector in last week of December was costing between Rs 83,000 and Rs 91,000 on some leading Southeast Asian, Gulf and European carriers. AI return fare for the nonstop was Rs 94,000. AI new chairman Ashwani Lohani is personally overseeing the revenue department of the airline and is trying to maximize earnings while trying to ensure that travellers get a premium feel.
27/11/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Thiruvananthapuram airport’s licence bid in trouble

Thiruvananthapuram: Securing an aerodrome licence for the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is going to be arduous as its runway lacks the mandatory basic strip as per the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) norms.

The 3,373-metre runway lacks the150-metre basic strip from the centre line on many stretches and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been securing the mandatory licence for the airport over the last 10 years by managing “temporary exemption” for non-compliance of the ICAO norms.

With the current aerodrome licence expiring in March next and the ICAO team flying down next month for an audit, the AAI officials are burning midnight oil to get 5.46 hectares from the State for creating the 150-metre basic strip on either side of the centre line of the runway.

Of the 5.46 hectares of land sought by the AAI for creating the basic strip, 1.39 hectares is on the Shanghumughom side, 0.40 hectares on Vallakadavu side and the remaining in between.

The laxity on the part of the State government in acquiring the required land, the reluctance of elected representatives to take up the issue with the government and the opposition raised by local people have upset the AAI officials.
27/11/15 S. Anil Radhakrishnan/The Hindu

Air India plans to neutralize carbon emission footprint by 2020

The national carrier Air India has asked the Airport Authority of India (AAI), which manages air traffic in India to allow it's aircraft to land with 'constant descent approach' at the runway, to let it save on fuel, which forms about 40 per cent of the airline's operating cost. At present, due to safety and global aviation regulatory compliance reasons, the aircraft descent is not in straight slant. Instead, during the descending process, the aircraft brings down its altitude by taking a small dip before flying straight for a while. The process continues in small cycles till the final landing is done on the runway.
Harpreet Singh, executive director, flight safety of Air India, while talking about the airline's environment conservation programme said, the initiative has been taken positively by the AAI. "If the idea gets implemented without compromising on any safety issues, then it will help us in saving lot of fuel, thereby helping us save not only on carbon footprint but also save crucial foreign exchange," Singh added.
27/11/15 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis

Air India to operate Delhi-Durgapur services from Dec 7

Kolkata: Come December and Eastern India’s first greenfield airport, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport, is all set to be connected to Delhi. National carrier, Air India, will commence three flights a week from Durgapur to Delhi.

The inaugural flight will take off on December 7 from the Dum Dum airport at 13.00 hours. It will fly from Kolkata to Durgapur and from there reach Delhi at around 17:45 hours.

From Delhi, the flight will take off at 18:15 hours and will reach Kolkata via Durgapur at 22:00 hours. It will reach Durgapur (from Delhi) at 20:45 hours.

Interestingly, Air India had been amongst the first airlines to start commercial operations from the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Durgapur. The inaugural flight was operated by Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, with a 48-seater ATR-42 aircraft.
27/11/15 Business Line

Pawan Hans crash: Black box will be opened only next month

Twenty-two days after a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the Arabian Sea near Bombay High, the black box of the Dauphin aircraft that was taken to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) headquarters in Delhi remains untouched.

The black box will now be read by a team from Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the helicopter, in the first week of December. Senior DGCA officials confirmed that the black box — which was initially to be decoded by the DGCA — is waiting be opened and read by the helicopter manufacturer’s team. This comes after the authorities noticed that the damage to the black box was major.
“The manufacturer was supposed to be present in Delhi a few days after the wreckage was located, but their arrival was reportedly delayed due to the Paris attacks,” said a senior DGCA official. However, speaking to mid-day, an official from the French Embassy said, “There has been a general precautionary advisory issued to people travelling worldwide, and it’s not specific to any country.”
27/11/15 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Three more aerospace, defence parks proposed around Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Telangana government is proposing to set up three more aerospace and defence parks on the outskirts of the city here over the next four years with an investment of Rs 2,500 crore and will shortly come out with a sector-specific policy, a senior official said today.

"In the next four-year timeline, depending on the requirement, we are planning to have three more aerospace and defence parks around Hyderabad.
"The idea is to make Telangana a hub of aerospace and defence where all activities, including R&D, manufacturing, incubation, will be provided at one place," Arvind Kumar, the Telangana Industries and Commerce Secretary told reporters.

"We are hoping that in the coming years, Hyderabad becomes the aerospace and defence hub. So, whatever is the land and manpower requirement, we will be able to provide. As of now, we are envisaging three more aerospace and defence parks. If that is not sufficient, we will expand further in terms of area and in terms of numbers," he added.
27/11/15 PTI/Business Standard

Jammu Airport"s plight poses threat to passengers: Harsh

Jammu: Expressing concern over the tragic chopper crash near Katra which claimed seven lives, Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and former Minister regretted that the govt. generally wakes up only after the catastrophe has struck. He said that it was reprehensible that the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated the Safety Audit of the Heli operations only after the occurrence of the tragedy that had left the people of Jammu shocked. Harsh Dev Singh expressed concern over hazardous plight of Jammu Airport whose short and rough runway is not only a nightmare for pilots but poses threat to lives of passengers. He said that the govt. had not only neglected long pending extension of the existing runway at the Jammu Airport from 6700 feet to 8000 feet as repeatedly warned by Aviation experts but also displayed criminal negligence in ensuring proper maintenance of the Airport thus putting the very lives of passengers to jeopardy. Expressing serious concern over the only recent reports of the Air officer commanding (AOC), who had expressed apprehensions of serious threats to the safety of aircrafts and passengers in view of shabby plight of Airport. He regretted that the much awaited expansion of Jammu Airport seemed to have gone in a limbo despite Rs. 70 crore having been sanctioned for the project in 2011 under PM"s Task Force recommendations.
26/11/15 The Northlines

Monsoon dhamaka: 14 lakh fly through Ahmedabad airport

Ahmedabad: Flash sales by airlines besides discount offers led to record movement of passengers through city airport during the monsoon season this year. The trend, which began with summer, continued in the monsoon season as more than 14 lakh flyers flew in and out of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport during July-August-September. The preceding three months of summer brought in more than 15 lakh flyers.

According to the latest data available from Airports Authority of India (AAI), movement of 14.30 lakh passengers, including 3.37 lakh international and 10.93 lakh domestic, was recorded in July-September 2015, an increase of 27% compared to the same period last year.

In the period from 2012 to 2014, movement of close to 11 lakh passengers was recorded at city airport in monsoon months due to economy slowdown and sluggish demand. But this year, the trend reversed partly due to positive sentiments and partly because of flash sales and discounts.
26/11/15 ANI/Times of India

Can Mufti free Srinagar Airport from IAF control?

Srinagar: The frequent disruption of flights at the Srinagar “International” Airport has once again given rise to the clamour of having a civil airport in the summer capital, with stakeholders asking the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to free the aerodrome from the direct control of the Indian Air Force.

President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mushtaq Ahmad, said the Chief Minister “should prioritize taking back the control of Srinagar Airport from IAF” and allow the Airports Authority of India (AAI) “to operate it like other airports.”

“We don’t have an airport in Srinagar. It’s an army air base used as an airport where tourists only feel insecure in presence of forces. The Chief Minister needs to act and ensure that it is made a civil airport run by the AAI,” he told Greater Kashmir.

He said the “occupation” of the place by the IAF “sends a wrong signal among tourists and investors visiting the place” and “thus acts as a big impediment to the Valley’s economic growth and prosperity.”

The Srinagar Airport is again in news for wrong reasons for the past three days when flights have failed to operate owing to absence of an advanced landing gear that could facilitate operation of flights in low-visibility conditions.
27/11/15 Mukeet Akmali/Greater Kashmir

Solar-run CIAL to double its power capacity

Kochi: The Cochin International Airport, the first airport in the world to operate completely on solar power, will double its capacity from present 13.1 MW.

A decision in this regard was taken at director board meeting of the CIAL chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here today.
Foreseeing that the power usage in the airport will be doubled with the completion of the new international terminal, the board decided to increase the solar electricity generation capacity.

A CIAL release said it would help the airport retain its tag as the fully solar-powered airport in the world.
27/11/15 PTI/Business Standard

Coastguard Plane Makes Emergency Landing

Kolkata: A Coastguard plane today made an emergency landing at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here due to a technical fault.

The pilot was safe, airport sources said.

The pilot of the aircraft, which was returning from reconnaissance duty to the airport where it is parked at night, noticed at 1.30 PM that a fan on the left airplane wing was not functioning, the sources said.
26/11/15 PTI/New Indian Express

Upgraded AN-32s delivered to India

A batch of five AN-32RE transport aircraft upgraded under a major Indian-Ukraine programme have been handed over to the Indian Ministry of Defence.

This is the eight batch of AN-32s to be upgraded to the AN-32RE model under the project, with a total of 40 aircraft now having undergone overhaul, modernisation and a service life extension of 15 years.

The prime contractor for the work was SpetsTechnoExport, the special exporter of state concern Ukroboronprom. The AN-32 original manufacturer, Antonov, was involved in the work as a sub-contractor.

A further 65 AN-32s will now be overhauled and re-equipped into the AN-32RE model at BRD-1 plant of Indian Air Force in Kanpur with participation of Ukrainian enterprises.
26/11/15 Shephard News

Bird hits flight

A Sri Lankan Airlines flight (UL131) from Colombo to Tiruchi suffered a bird hit while landing at the Tiruchi Airport this morning. The aircraft was grounded at the airport for more than seven hours.

According to sources, the bird hit was reported in the left engine of the aircraft while landing. The aircraft had a safe landing. The return flight (UL132), which was scheduled to leave at 9.40 a.m., was delayed. A team of engineers of the airlines arrived here by the afternoon flight from Colombo and rectified the problem. The flight left for Colombo by 5.20 p.m., the source said.
27/11/15 The Hindu

IGI gets elite unit to foil Paris-like strike

New Delhi: A team of commandos has been deployed around IGI airport in the wake of the Paris terror attack. Called anti-terrorist squad and trained by the NSG, these commandos are armed with assault rifles and advanced gadgets. And senior officials claim they will form an unbreakable security ring around the airport.

The team has undergone weeks of rigorous training at the Police Training College in Jharoda Kalan and is capable of handling all types of weapons for anti-terror and anti-hijack roles. They have been familiarised with the entire airport, including air traffic control, aircraft bays and even interiors of an aircraft so that in times of emergency, they can react quickly. They will be mainly posted at the outer level of the airport.

"Their training and combat skills are airport-centric. From getting into a highjacked aircraft without being visible to the enemy to eliminating the targets, and from rescuing the hostages to gathering intelligence, these men will proficiently deal with the situation," said Dinesh Kumar Gupta, DCP IGI.
26/11/15 Anvit Srivastava/Times of India

AAI takes over Defence land for Umroi Airport expansion

Shillong: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken possession of Defence land measuring 31.825 acres for the expansion of Umroi Airport according to the affidavit filed by Sanjay Tyagi, Airport Director, Shillong, as per the last order of the High Court on November 24.
After the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the Court referred to the affidavit which said that, the officials of the State Survey department on November 24 and 25 carried out survey and demarcation of 31.825 acres of Defence land at Umroi military station adjacent to Umroi Airport for handing over the same to the Airports Authority of India for expansion of Umroi Airport.
“After survey and demarcation, a memorandum has been prepared which has been duly countersigned by the officials from the local military authority, Defence Estate office, State Survey department, office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi, as well as officials of Airports Authority of India,” the affidavit said. The local military authorities have also issued a letter granting no-objection for commencement of construction by the Airports Authority of India.
27/11/15 Shillong Times

Why this Mumbai airport cafe fails to impress

Mumbai: What would you do, if you walk into a bar, and you’re refused a drink because you waited ‘four minutes’ longer? Worse, what if the manager refuses to acknowledge your request, and shows up 15 minutes later to tell you that they would have, but the bar closed 30 seconds ago? This is after you spend 20 minutes waiting for an attendant and another 15 minutes hoping to catch someone’s attention for a beer or a milkshake (yes, they refused that as well) in a beer café, with not more than 15 customers inside.
This is how we spent our first 35 minutes at the Beer Café’s new outlet near Terminal 2 at the international airport last Tuesday. We are told they have license to serve alcohol only till 11.30 pm (later changed to 12 midnight and then 12.15 am by the manager). There was no signboard either to inform the customers of the timings either on their website or at the restaurant.
So, what if no beer, we gulped down our pride, and took to one of the al-fresco tables at the café. The ambiance calmed us down (along with a few drags of cigarettes; yes you can smoke at the al fresco seating area). The lone factor that prepped our evening was the food. It impressed us with its variety of pastas, sandwiches, burgers, egg dishes, snacks and main course items. We settled for Sausage Omelette (Rs 245), Girlled Vegetables and Basil Pesto Sandwich (Rs 275), and Pasta in 3 Cheese Sauce (Rs 425).
27/11/15 Hassan M Kamal/Mid Day

500 gm gold seized at RGIA

Hyderabad: Customs officials at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport seized as much as 500 grams of gold moulded in the form of bars from an air passenger when he attempted to smuggle the yellow metal into the city on Thursday.

According to sources, the passenger arrived during early hours on Thursday in a flight from Bangkok. While exiting the airport, officials searched his baggage and found that the weight of the television stand that he was carrying was suspicious.

On thorough verification, the officials could identify gold bars hidden in the TV stand. The air passenger was detained immediately for questioning.
27/11/15 Hans India

IGI runway inspector held for theft

New Delhi: A runway inspector at the Indira Gandhi International airport was arrested on Tuesday for his involvement in the theft of 10 cellphones from the cargo terminal in April.

Thirty-four-year-old Rajat has been employed at the airport for the last three years. Police said the accused sold a few phones through e-commerce websites and some to his friends.

Police said that an FIR was registered in April based on the complaint by a logistics company. Employees at the cargo terminal were questioned and the phones were put on surveillance.

"We received information that the phones have been traced, after which Rajat was arrested. He has confessed to the crime and said that he is left with only four phones," said a senior officer.

Police suspect that more people in the airport may be involved in the theft.
26/11/15 Times of India

Thursday, November 26, 2015

‘Zero baggage’ fares may not fly

Mumbai:  Any drop in fare is generally welcomed whole-heartedly by travellers but the new hand luggage-only, or ‘zero baggage’, fares have neither airlines nor flyers excited.

At present, only budget carrier SpiceJet is offering zero baggage fares, wherein passengers get a ₹200 discount for not carrying check-in baggage. But does that really flying cheaper? Probably not.

“In the present context the zero baggage charge does not benefit the flyer. There are times when fares on carriers that allow free baggage are much cheaper than airlines that have a zero baggage charge,” said John Nair, Head - Corporate Travel, Cox & Kings. “It would only make a difference if the fares vary by a wide margin. A small drop in charges will not act as an incentive for customers to switch to airlines that have a zero baggage charge.”

At present all domestic airlines except national carrier Air India allow a flyer to carry up to 15 kg of check-in baggage without any cost — Air India allows up to 23 kg. In some cases, Air India still turns out cheaper than the zero baggage fares.

While allowing these fares, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) clarified that it has to be an opt-in facility, which means if a traveller doesn’t want to go for zero baggage, the regular fare, which will be only ₹200 more, will be available for him. Airlines can’t even fix the number of seats for zero-baggage flyers, limiting the impact of the new fares.
25/11/15 Varun Aggarwal/Business Line

Draft Civil Aviation Policy to Hit Ground Handling Agencies

Kochi: The new draft national civil aviation policy 2015 published by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation bodes ill for the ground handling agencies at airports across the country.

As per the new draft policy, the airport operator will ensure that there will be at least three ground handling agencies (GHA) including Air India’s subsidiary/JV at an airport to ensure fair competition.

There will be no upper limit on the number of GHAs at an airport.

Besides, the draft policy allows domestic airlines and charter operators to carry out self-handling themselves or through their own subsidiaries or to outsource the same to other airlines or to a GHA.

The ministry also will encourage rationalization of airport royalties and other additional charges levied on GHAs over and above a reasonable lease rental.
26/11/15 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express

Passengers removed from plane at BWI after woman reports 'dynamite' text

Four passengers were removed from a Chicago-bound flight at Baltimore's international airport last week after a fellow passenger said she saw one of them receive a text with the word "dynamite" and the code for an airport in India, according to a police report.

No such message was found by officers on the passenger's phone, First Sgt. Jonathan Green, spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said Wednesday.

The incident report, obtained by The Associated Press through a Maryland Public Information Act request, details the events of Nov. 17, when Spirit Airlines Flight 969 to Chicago was taxiing to the runway at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

A female passenger said she became alarmed when a male passenger made several phone calls in a language other than English and when she saw him receive a text message that read "BLR Dynamite," according to the report. BLR is the airport code for Bengaluru International Airport in Bangalore, India.

The female passenger notified the crew. She said the passenger on the phone was traveling with two other passengers, and talking with a fourth, according to the report.

The flight crew decided to return to the gate. All passengers were ordered off the plane, and the four passengers the woman pointed out, three men and a woman, were detained for investigation, the report said.

The four passengers were later released without charges.
25/11/15 Kasey Jones/AP/The Baltimore Sun

AAI recommends GAGAN receivers for all aircraft by 2017

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recommended to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure that the airlines install GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) receivers on all aircraft flying in Indian airspace from April 1, 2017. GAGAN has been jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the AAI.

P. Laxminarayana, Director, Research and Training Unit for Navigational Electronics, Osmania University, said that GAGAN has been certified and will make airline operations more efficient and reduce costs.

“The system is already being used by the Railways, Forest Department and other departments,” he said speaking at the Disha annual seminar organised by the CNS Engineers of Indian Air Navigation Service Provider here on Wednesday.
26/11/15 The Hindu

Scrap dealers rush to claim kingfisher plane parts in auction

Mumbai: When Kingfisher launched international operations in September 2008, the prevailing wags had it that the new Airbus A320s the airline had acquired would never traverse the distance between Bangalore and San Francisco. The joke was that the gleaming toilets, the culturally relevant in-flight amusements, the abundant bar, and even (or perhaps especially) the weighty baritone of its leonine owner Vijay Mallya issuing from the aircraft's speakers, welcoming flyers, rendered the airline too heavy for long distance journeys.

The quipsters were being silly, and prophetic. The aircraft did take off, but the airline didn't. Unable to withstand high operating costs and with demands from lenders mounting, Kingfisher grounded most of its planes by February 2012. State Bank of India, one of those lenders, declared Mallya a "wilful defaulter" on November 23.

These days, the only people who have professed interest in the fittings that lined the innards of those Airbus A320s are scrap dealers from Mumbai who've signed up to bid for what remains of the planes (and other material acquisitions of Kingfisher), the unmoving moveable assets that are being auctioned online by SBICAP Trustee Company Ltd, which is in possession of the 75 "items". The auction is now open for scrutiny with an inspection scheduled for Monday. It will be held on December 7.
26/11/15  Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Will the sky clear for Mallya?

Chennai: There finally seems to light at the end of the tunnel for Kingfisher Airlines.
Almost three years after the carrier stopped flying, and had its permit suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, its chairman Vijay Mallya, has offered banks to pay the principal amount that he owes.

However he has stated that he shall not be paying the interest component. Seeking a closure to this issue, Mallya has reportedly approached bankers for a meeting later this week. Sources say that the principal amount that the airlines owes to the banks is between Rs 4,500 crore to Rs 5,000 crore. But despite Mallya stating his inability to pay the interest, bankers might want him to pay at least a significant a part of the Rs 2,000 crore interest.
25/11/15 News Today

Air India to launch New Delhi-San Francisco direct flight from December 2

The San Francisco International Airport has announced a trivia contest on social media to mark the beginning of the first-ever non-stop flight from New Delhi to the popular tech city by Air India from December 2.
The contest, titled #NonstopAirIndia, invites participants to answer five trivia questions about Air India and their new service at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
“This new service is significant- the first nonstop flight from the West Coast of the US to India, saving hours off the journey time,” Charles Schuler, Director of Communications SFO said.
“We are excited to host this contest to welcome Air India to SFO,” he said.
With this contest, participants have a chance to win round-trip economy tickets on Air India to New Delhi, an SFO media release said yesterday. A number of officials from the US and India, including Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General of India, will attend a formal ribbon cutting ceremony on December 2 to mark the beginning of the services.
26/11/15 PTI/Indian Express

FinMin okays 2% fee on metro air routes for regional fund

The Ministry of Finance has given its nod for levying a two per cent fee on air tickets on metro routes and setting up a regional connectivity fund (RCF) to subsidise air travel between identified non-metro destinations.
The FinMin has also consented to waive central excise duty on jet fuel and service tax on tickets on regional routes to cap fares at about Rs 2500 per flying hour and give wing to the civil aviation ministry’s proposal to air link remote and regional areas under the revised regional connectivity scheme (RCS).
Sources in the ministry of civil aviation informed a charge of 2 per cent on all domestic and international flight tickets sold within the country is being considered for levy from Jan 1, 2016. The move will help generate around Rs 1,500 crore per annum in Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) and will be utilised to provide viability gap funding (VGF) to airlines for capping fares at about Rs 2,500 per flying hour between non-metro destinations come April 1, 2016.
26/11/15 Sharmistha Mukherjee/Indian Express

Questions raised over viability of Mysuru airport

Mysuru: While flight services to Mysuru continue to be in a state of suspended animation after Alliance Air — a subsidiary of Air India — discontinued the operations on termination of financial arrangement with the State government, questions have been raised on the viability of the city airport.

Social activist Maj.Gen (Retd.) Sudhir G. Vombatkere has questioned the wisdom of spending tax payers’ money in trying to revive the airport catering to a limited number of people.

He said there was little justification for the State government to insist on operating and perhaps also extending and upgrading the airport at enormous cost as it would become redundant when the doubled and electrified Bengaluru-Mysuru rail link can provide far better connectivity for passengers to Kempegowda Airport from Mysuru than Mandakalli can provide.

Mr. Vombatkere said dreams involving public money, must be backed by careful planning and understanding of economic realities, with public transparency. There are better ways to budget and spend public money for fuel-efficient, rapid and cheap transportation of large numbers of people between Mysore and Bengaluru, than to cater for expensive air transportation for limited numbers of people.
26/11/15 R. Krishna Kumar/The Hindu

Air traffic resumes at Srinagar airport

Srinagar: In a relief for stranded passengers, air traffic to and from Srinagar International Airport resumed Thursday after remaining suspended for the last three days due to foggy conditions.

"Air traffic resumed this afternoon. Two flights from Delhi have landed while one flight and a state aircraft carrying Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has also taken off from here," Director, Airport Authority of India, Srinagar, R K Shinde told PTI.

He said a SpiceJet flight was the first to land at the airport followed by Indigo and it was the first flight as well to take off from here in the last four days.

The Chief Minister also left in the state aircraft along with some of his cabinet ministers for Jammu, he said.

He said normal operations are expected with the improvement in the weather.

Some flights were delayed in the morning due to bad weather but no flight has been cancelled so far, Shinde said.
26/11/15 Zee News

Airline costs shooter shot at glory

New Delhi: Indian para shooter Rajeev Malik missed his chance at winning the competition in the IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, USA as his rifles and ammunition were misplaced by the airline. Even after a complaint filed with both the airline and Delhi Police, his weapons remain missing 21 days later.

Senior police officers said that they are gathering information from the airline.

Malik had left IGI Airport on November 4 to attend the championship scheduled two days later. He had booked two .22 rifles and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, each packed in separate boxes, but when he reached Atlanta airport the authorities failed to deliver it.

"At Atlanta, I scanned through my baggage but could not find my guns. I then approached the airport authorities who told me that they did not receive the rifles. They assured me that a search was being conducted and my rifles would be delivered at my hotel before the championship," said Rajeev Malik.

"After my complaint I was assured of full cooperation, but no information has been provided to me till date," he added.
26/11/15 Anvit Srivastava/Times of India

Peak-hour queues for security check rile air passengers

Ahmedabad: The increasing number of air travellers at Ahmedabad airport has not seen a proportionate upgradation in facilities. Inconvenienced passengers have voiced their concerns about the long queues and amount of time they spend at security check in after receiving their boarding pass. According to data released by Airport Authority of India, more than 50 lakh passengers used Ahmedabad airport to travel.

This is an increase of 10 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year. Keeping aside the queues passengers have to encounter while boarding the aircraft and while entering the airport gate, at times they have had to spend about 15 minutes for security checks at domestic terminal of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport. The reason may be few security personnel and fewer X-ray machines to scan hand baggage. The gradual rise in traffic at city airport coupled with taxi and parking issues inside the airport have only added to their woes. Big Boss season 6 fame and model of Kingfisher calendar fame Karishma Kotak recently tweeted, "Ahmedabad airport seems like a train station at#Organised chaos! Make your passengers wait 20mins for security."
26/11/15 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

AAI begins formalities to extend Raipur runway by 965 m

Raipur: The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which is vying for the ‘International Airport' tag, has commenced the process of taking up the runway extension project at Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur.

The current runway length is 2286 meters and would be extended by another 965 meters, Swami Vivekananda Airport Director Santosh Dhoke told The Pioneer.

Detailed estimate for taking up the extension work is under preparation for tender action, he said, adding, the entire tendering process would take place during the next two to three months and it would take another one or two months to award the work for execution of the project.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh is set to gain immensely from Centre’s recent proposed formulation of Regional Connectivity Scheme (“RCS ”) to promote regional air connectivity in Indian airports by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI.

Notably, the Chhattisgarh Government had been trying hard to get air connectivity for all its key cities, besides getting international flights operated from Raipur at the earliest.
26/11/15  Sumedha Chaudhury/Daily Pioneer

Mehbooba demands installation of advanced system at airport

Srinagar: Ruling Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti today expressed dismay over disruption of air traffic at Srinagar airport due to poor visibility and demanded immediate installation of advanced Instrumentation Landing System (ILS) to ensure uninterrupted flight operations even during minimum visibility.

Flight operation at the airport has been suspended here for the last two days due to the fog, with hundreds of passengers, including tourists stranded here.
"Despite having been declared an international airport almost a decade back, the technical facilities at Srinagar aerodrome continue to be outdated impeding the air traffic to and from Kashmir, especially during the winters.

"The technical facilities including ILS needs to be upgraded immediately at the aerodrome to avoid any inconvenience to the passengers," Mehbooba, also a Member of Parliament from south Kashmir's Anantnag, said here.
25/11/15 PTI/Business Standard

Pink Floyd helped me deal with the worst: Vistara's Sanjiv Kapoor

When Spicejet was in a tough spot last year, the airline's then COO Sanjiv Kapoor often recalled a line from one of John Lennon's tracks, "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." A Lennon fan, Kapoor and his team steered the airline out of trouble. In the process, Kapoor and his employees developed a bond, which only a crisis can bring about.

After further steadying Spicejet with two good quarters, Kapoor quit his job and joined the Indian airline industry's latest entrant, Vistara. Currently, he is on gardening leave, recharging his batteries before his new assignment. ETPanache caught up with the Delhi-based Kapoor when he was in Mumbai for a day. He flew to the city on Vistara.

"They (cabin and ground staff) treated me like I was family," Kapoor says. "I was pleasantly surprised because I didn't think they would know I was on board. They really made me feel warm and welcome." He was to return to Delhi on Spicejet, where he's still treated as one of their own. "I am grateful to have not just my family at home but two airlines out there who are both my families. I find that very nice. I will enjoy it as much as I can," says Kapoor, who grew up in Kolkata.
26/11/15 Rashmi Menon/Economic Times

AAP government seeks expense details from domestic airlines to check tax evasion

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has sought detailed information from all domestic airline companies –including government and private ones and helicopters –about the different expenditures incurred by them in their operation, as part of their efforts to check tax evasion.

The move to seek information from all scheduled and unscheduled airline companies spells fresh trouble for the cash-strapped aviation sector, given that it comes days after the Arvind Kejriwal government increased value added tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) by five per cent, totalling to 25 per cent, that might also increase air ticket prices.
26/11/15 Amrita Nayak Dutta/Daily News & Analysis

Rafale deal to be signed on eve of Hollande’s India visit

New Delhi: India and France are set to sign the deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft on the eve of French President François Hollande’s visit to India for the Republic Day celebrations. The draft contract, which envisages supply of the first fighter within 36 months of signing the deal, has been finalised.
The supply of full complement of 36 fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be completed within seven years of signing the deal.
The induction of the 36 fighters will add to the IAF squadron strength which is now down to 34. At least 44 fighter squadrons are needed to be comfortable against China and Pakistan.
The proposal for buying 36 Rafale fighters from France in a government-to-government deal was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in April.
26/11/15 Sushant Singh/Indian Express

Alert over bird trouble at race course helipad

Kolkata: The Katra chopper crash has raised the alarm in Bengal with the state administration realizing the need to review safety measures for helicopter rides by VIPs.

The Vaishno Devi crash claimed six pilgrims and the pilot after a bird hit the chopper's rear rotor blades. They then caught fire after the copter got entangled in electricity transmission lines while making an emergency landing.

The presence of a large number of birds in and around the race course in Kolkata, which is used as a helipad by VVIPs during trips within Bengal, has caught the attention of transport department officials and Pawan Hans management.

Mamata Banerjee uses it frequently to fly to various district headquarters. Even President Pranab Mukherjee uses it during his trips to his home in Birbhum.

The facility has also been used by Prime Ministers in the past, though Narendra Modi did not use it during his last visit. He travelled by car to Belur Math from where he took a chopper to Asansol.
26/11/15 Times of India

Now, airplanes will land, take off in low visibility at Amritsar

Amritsar: Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport in Amritsar is abuzz with activities as the authorities are busy in the installation of the advanced technical apparatus — instrument landing system (ILS) CAT II B — near the runway. ILS CAT II B will catapult the Amritsar airport to the elite club of world class airports in India. It will enable aircraft to land and take off in a low visibility of 50 metre. Presently, the runway at the Amritsar airport is equipped with CAT-II ILS system enabling aircraft landing and take-off in the visibility upto 350 metre.
The instrument landing system is a ground-based system that provides guidance to an aircraft in approaching and landing on a runway by a combination of radio signals and high-intensity lighting arrays. Runway lights, glide path and other relevant logistics are being installed at war footing along the tarmac in the airport.
Besides, the proposed consolidation of the 12,000 feet long runway at the airport is expected to take place at cost of over Rs 103 crore next year. The existing runway, which can cater to the largest aircraft available with the airlines operating in India, has started showing signs of aging, besides developing cracks at a few places over the years. The last re-carpeting of the runway was carried out in 2001-03.
25/11/15  Neeraj Bagga/Tribune

Jain family pays six times fare

Ahmedabad: Imagine you have confirmed air tickets before two months, but on the day of travel airline denies you boarding and you have to shell out six times more fare to reach your destination. Exactly , the same thing happened with Ahmedabad-based Maitry Jain and her family of eight last week.

After having enjoyed their vacation, the Jain family were flying from Bangkok to Ahmedabad via Mumbai. They landed at Mumbai international airport on November 17 at 10 pm via Thai airways flight and had a connecting flight to Ahmedabad at 1.45am via Air India flight AI-331.

"When we reached the Air India counter, the lady staff member denied us boarding giving reason that the flight was over booked, though we had confirmed tickets two months prior to the travel.There was a next scheduled Air India flight at 5.30 am to Ahmedabad but they denied the boarding in that too giving the same reason," said Jain.

Jain said that despite having tie-up with Jet Airways, the Air India personnel did not accommodate in Jet's flight too. She questioned, "Isn't it the airline's responsibility to give priority boarding in the very next flight to the off loaded passengers from the previous flight?" Ultimately the family had to pay Rs 17,000 per ticket for Ahmedabad and travel by another airline. While the Air India did issue them a receipt saying that they would get full refund."How does that make for Rs 14,000 fare difference that we had to pay despite having confirmed tickets," added Jain.

When contacted the Air India, it said it was still investigating the matter.
26/11/15 Piyush Mishra/Times of India

Hand-written passport becomes invalid for travelling abroad

Hand-written passports of Indian citizens are no longer valid as per government’s directive. The government had asked those having hand-written passports to get machine-readable ones having bar codes by November 24. The government had decided to discontinue hand-written passports in accordance with recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to incorporate biometric data in the machine readable travel documents.
26/11/15 PTI/Indian Express

Air travellers form new association

Visakhapatnam: A new air travellers’ association, christened ‘Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers Association (APATA)’ has been formed by dissolving the Visakhapatnam Air Travellers’ Association (VATA) and merging air travellers associations of Vijayawada and Tirupathi.

The objective of forming the new association is integrated development of Visakhapatnam International Airport along with the proposed international airports in Vijayawada and Tirupathi by leveraging on the strengths of Visakhapatnam, the principal city in AP, newly elected president Y. Sivasagar Rao, working president Ch. Ramakotaiah and vice-president O. Naresh Kumar told a media conference here.

Mr. Ramakotaiah said that APATA would strive for improving air connectivity in the new State. The competition in the skies has resulted in cheap air fares and sometimes flight tickets were cheaper than train fares. He recalled that Air India has recently introduced the Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada-Hyderabad flight following a representation made by him to Union Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
26/11/15 The Hindu

International flights nowhere in sight

Chandigarh: The wait of the city for being connected to international destinations such as Dubai and Bangkok seems to be getting endless. In spite of over two months since the international airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are no signs of the promised international connectivity.
Though the Punjab Government, reportedly on assurances given by the Government of India, had announced that the city would get its first international flight to Dubai on October 19, it now seems that the international connectivity for Chandigarh is not going to happen for at least another month. As a result, the airport continues to function like a domestic airport, with 16 flights operating in a day.
Though no official date has yet been announced for the flights to take off, at least one airline — Indigo — is expected to start its operations to Dubai by the end of December and thus try and attract the holiday crowd. Officials in the Punjab Civil Aviation Department told Chandigarh Tribune that another airline would be able to start its international flight only in early 2016 as it had a shortage of aircraft and new aircraft were to be added to its fleet only in early 2016.
25/11/15 Ruchika M Khanna/Tribune India

It's Up, Up and Away for CIAL Next Year

Kochi:  2016 will be a crucial year for Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), which has many firsts to its credit,  including being the pioneer in resorting to the PPP model in building an airport and becoming the first solar-powered airport in the world.

The airport is gearing up for a big leap in infrastructure next year by opening the second international terminal and introducing a second instrument landing system -  a first in the state - which will allow the aircraft to take off and touch down from both directions of the same runway at the airport.

Putting aside the flaws of the past, especially in connection with the ever-increasing smuggling cases through the airport, the state-of-the-art airport is on the path of steady growth. Last financial year, CIAL registered a record footfall of 64.5 lakh passengers, making it the first busiest terminal in the state and fourth busiest international terminal in the country.

Now, the airport is emerging as the third largest airport in the country in terms of international passenger handling when the statistics of the footfall of passengers in the first quarter of the fiscal have been announced.
Taking note of the huge leap in the volume of international traffic in recent years, CIAL has been constructing an additional international terminal at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. The civil work of the new facility has almost been completed.

The mechanical and interior works are being launched now with the awarding of tenders to major companies and the terminal is expected to be thrown open for traffic by May 25 next year, said CIAL authorities.
26/11/15 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express

Meghalaya offers land for Airport expansion

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Secretary, PBO Warjri has offered a fresh plot of land measuring 32 acres to the Defence authorities for the expansion of Umroi Airport.
In the High Court yesterday he stated that the State Government has identified another plot of land measuring 32 acres. However, this land has to be inspected first.

Warjri gave this information before a full bench of the High Court consisting Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice SR Sen and Justice T Nandakumar Singh.

According to Warjri, the new plot of land is such that it will be acceptable to the Defence authority.

The Defence authority is ready to hand over 32 acres in Umroi in exchange of similar plot of land from the State Government for the expansion of the Umroi project.

The Bench further stated that the Court may be constrained to initiate proceeding against anyone who interferes and tries to impede the progress of the project. During the last hearing, the Bench expressed disappointment on the State bureaucracy in handling the project.
25/11/5 Assam Tribune

Mittal, who revolutionised chopper service, dies at 79

Kathmandu: Industrialist Banwari Lal Mittal, best known for pioneering commercial helicopter services in Nepal, passed away at his residence in Gyaneshwor on Wednesday. He was 79.
Mittal had returned to Kathmandu on Monday following treatment at Medant Hospital, Gurgaon in India. He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
A leading figure in the Nepali chamber movement, Mittal’s business career started with his family-owned construction and textile businesses. However, it was the aviation sector in which he made a name for himself.
In the 1990s, Mittal ventured out of the family business and entered the aviation sector, establishing Air Ananya with a fully-owned fleet of five MI-17 helicopters when the government launched a liberal aviation policy.
Transporting cargo and essential items like food and medicines to remote areas that lack road transportation, the carrier quickly established itself in the domestic aviation market.
In the late 1990s, Mittal changed the company’s name to Shree Airlines and started helicopter pilgrimage tours in Manasarovar, Mount Kailash and Muktinath.
The aviation industry remembers Mittal for his contribution to commercialising helicopter services in the country.
People who knew Mittal closely remember him as a man of high moral integrity. “The calm, passionate and professional businessman took the helicopter industry in Nepal to a new high,” said Tri Ratna Manandhar, former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. “He had a vision for growth, and his managerial and visionary leadership helped his company gain exposure internationally and nationally.”
26/11/15 Sangam Prasain/Kathmandu Post

Sky is the limit for women, says British aviator Tracey Taylor

New Delhi: For contemporary women who want to achieve their dreams irrespective of their chosen vocation, the sky is the limit, according to British Aviator Tracey Curtis Taylor.

The female aviator from Britain was here as part of achieving a unique feat — completing a 13,000 mile journey from the United Kingdom to Australia over 23 countries in three months.

Flying the Boeing Stearman, an open-cockpit biplane, Taylor says she wants to not just replicate the inspiring story of legend Amy Jonson, who pioneered the first solo flight by a woman from Britain to Australia, but also engage with young women in the field of aviation and promote the achievements of women in all spheres of the world.

“The main ethos of my flight is to celebrate not only women’s achievements in aviation past, present and future, but also women’s roles in engineering and beyond. The sky holds no limit for women,” Taylor told PTI.

Emulating Amy Johnson’s aerial odyssey in a restored open-cockpit 1942 Boeing Stearman, christened ‘Spirit of Artemis’, Taylor is calling herself a ‘bird in a bi-plane’.

Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930 and prepared the way for air travel as we know it today.
26/11/15 Tribune

Abandoned bags put Mumbai airport on alert

Mumbai: A day before 26/11’s 7th anniversary, Mumbai airport was rattled by the presence of an abandoned bag near the departure gate no 1 of the domestic terminal. Authorities cordoned off the gate and called in the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS). The squad found only clothes in the bag and declared it a hoax.
Officials say that extra care and time was taken to handle the situation due to the high alert being followed at the airport after a threat call last Friday. After yesterday’s incident extra security personnel from various agencies have been deployed at the terminal. Meanwhile, passengers had to stand in long queues, as only departure gate 2 was made operational for 30 minutes. Although at 4.10, the BDDS had declared the abandoned bag to be safe after finding some clothes in it, another 30 minutes were taken to normalise the situation. “For safety and security reasons, we resumed passenger movement only after we received a clean chit from the BDDS. The passengers were not allowed to enter from gate 1 but the situation was handled within half an hour of the BDDS confirmation,” said an airport official.
26/11/15 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

CIAL Postpones Bidding

Kochi: The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) on Wednesday postponed the bidding for the appointment of the third ground handling agency at the airport. According to the spokesperson of the airport, the bidding for the appointment of the third ground handling agency has been postponed following a formal request from the side of agencies who had qualified for taking part in the bidding.

When pointed out about the displeasure of ground handling agencies in appointing one more agency in the airport, the CIAL authorities said that, as per the aviation policy, there is no policy restrictions for appointing another ground handling agency in the airport.
26/11/15 New Indian Express

CBI raid at Thiruvananthapuram airport; misappropriation of Rs 14 cr found

Thiruvananthapuram: The CBI conducted a raid at Airport Authority of India office at Thiruvananthapuram and is learnt to have detected misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 14 crore.

The raid which was held on Tuesday was kept as a top secret and he airport officials were not ready to divulge any details of the raid. The raid which began in the wee hours of Tuesday ended in the midnight and the CBI officials is learnt to have confiscated several records from the office.

The CBI sources said that it was closely monitoring activities of the Thiruvananthapuram airport and the raid was part of the evasion of payment of royalty to the Airport Authority of India by the agency which is handling the ground handling at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. The agencies are required to pay a certain percentage of their monthly gross turn over (GTO) as royalty charges to AAI.
25/11/15 G Rajiv/Times of India

Absence of adequate cops at airports encourages touts

New Delhi: A Delhi court had convicted an auto-rickshaw driver for touting and alluring a passenger outside the domestic airport here last year.

However, Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma let off Jitender Singh by imposing a fine of Rs.2,500 on him as he expressed remorse on his act and in view of his poor economic status.

The Domestic Airport police had lodged a case and arrested the driver on a complaint by the investigating officer in the matter under Section 4 of the Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Ordinance Act, 2010.

They had charged him with soliciting the passenger in the parking lot outside Terminal 1-B of the Domestic Airport by touching his luggage to provide him taxi and hotel accommodation at lower than the market rates and discounts on shopping.

The court also dismissed arguments by counsel for the accused that the complainant in the case could not be the investigating officer.
26/11/15 Nirnimesh Kumar/The Hindu