Tuesday, November 24, 2015

AirAsia offers: Tickets priced at Rs 990 in airline’s ‘Big Sale’; international flights at Rs 3,699

AirAsia and AirAsia X offers in the form of ‘Big Sale’ are back with a bang, with all-inclusive ticket prices starting from Rs 990 to Pune, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati, Vizag and many more domestic destinations connected by AirAsia India and Rs 3,699 to international destinations like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur from India connected by the group airline. The AirAsia ‘Big Sale’ tickets are available for booking from, 23 November until 29 November 2015.
AirAsia X is also recommencing its direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from New Delhi and return with 4 weekly flights starting 3rd February, 2016 – all-in-fares start from Rs 7,990.
The travel period for the ‘Big Sale’ will be from 1 May 2016 until 5 February 2017, with priority redemption 24 hours ahead from 0001hrs – 2359hrs (GMT+8) on 22 November for AirAsia BIG members, AirAsiaGo users, BIG Prepaid MasterCard and AirAsia Citibank card members.
24/11/15 Financial Express

Discounts abound this winter from airlines for online

Mumbai: AirAsia India is offering all inclusive fares of Rs 990 to Pune, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati, Vizag among other destinations, while its parent is out with discounted fares as low as Rs 3,699 to destinations such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Seats are available for booking on the airline's website from November 23 till 29.

AirAsia X is also recommencing its direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from New Delhi and return with 4 weekly flights starting 3 February 2016. The airline announced promotional all-in-fares from only Rs 7990 one way. The travel period for the sale will be from 1 May 2016 until 5 February 2017.
Budget carrier Go Air Saturday announced special offers for winter travel.
Under one of the offers, air tickets start at a base fare of Rs 691. Booking is valid between till tomorrow 24 for travel between January and September 2016.
23/11/15 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Battle of Cheap Airfares: Now, All-Inclusive Tickets at Just Rs 799

Budget carrier AirAsia India is offering all-inclusive fares starting as low as Rs 799 on select routes. Under AirAsia India's latest promotional offer, all-inclusive tickets for travel between Imphal and Guwahati are priced at Rs 799 - the lowest under this scheme.

Among some of the other routes covered under this scheme, AirAsia India has priced Kochi-Bengaluru, Bengaluru-Visakhapatnam and New Delhi-Visakhapatnam tickets at Rs 999. It is also offering an all-inclusive fare of Rs 1,099 on Goa-Bengaluru and Pune-Bengaluru routes.

Bookings for AirAsia's 'Big Sale' offer - applicable on travel between May 1, 2016 and February 5, 2017 - can be made till November 29, 2015.

Last week, rival airline GoAir rolled out three promotional offers, including one in which it priced tickets starting from Rs 691 (excluding taxes). Bookings under GoAir's 'Go Explore' scheme can be made till November 24, 2015.

GoAir also relaunched its 'Happy Tuesdays' offer, offering a 20 per cent discount on base fares of flights booked between November 24 and December 15, 2015 for travel on Tuesdays.
23/11/15 NDTV

Air India introduces E-supersaver scheme for the NE

Imphal: Air India (AI) has introduced an e-SuperSaver North East Scheme for travel in Economy Class on Air India domestic sectors.

Valid for single users and for the North East sectors only, it is available for sale since November 19 onwards.

Air India has extended the benefits of its popular eSuperSaver scheme for travel on select sectors in the North East, providing its customers with an opportunity for big savings, said a press note issued by AI.

Applicable for travel in Economy Class for single user only, e-Supersaver scheme is available in two variants: a 4-coupon booklet with a value of Rs 160007 and an 8-coupon booklet value of Rs 300007.The booklet fare is inclusive of all surcharges, levies and fees.
24/11/15 E-Pao

All you wanted to know about: Fare unbundling

A couple of weeks ago, the aviation regulator, DGCA, allowed airlines to offer passengers ‘no check-in baggage/hand baggage only’ fares. This ‘zero-bag’ fare is just another step towards fare unbundling in India.
Fare unbundling lets airlines break up their total fare into various service components and charge separately for these services. The idea is that passengers should pay only for what they use. Picture this. Suppose an airline builds meal costs into its ticket price. Passenger A doesn’t want to order the sandwich on-board while Passenger B does. If both A and B are charged the same fares, A ends up subsidising B. Fare unbundling allows the airline to charge B more than A. Essentially, if you opt for a service, you pay, else you don’t.

Fare unbundling, common abroad, has been around in India for some years. But, what should passengers expect their basic fare to include and what can be ‘unbundled’? Until recently, the powers-that-be let airlines unbundle and charge separately for (deep breath): preferential seating, meals, snacks and drinks (except drinking water), use of airline lounges, check-in baggage above 15 kg, carriage of sports equipment, musical instruments, and other valuable baggage specially declared.

Now, with hand baggage only fares, airlines can also charge less from passengers who don’t carry any check-in baggage. What if you opt for the ‘hand baggage only’ fare while booking the ticket but turn up at the airline counter with check-in baggage? The airline can then recover from you the discount it had offered.
23/11/15 Anand Kalyanaraman/Business Line

No extra airport charges for fliers till February next year

Mumbai: The passengers flying out from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) will be spared from paying extra airport charges for the next three months as Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has deferred the decision to increase the charges till February next year.

The CSIA is considered as one of the busiest airports in the subcontinent, with over 36.63 million passengers moving around every year. The airport also sees about 694,261 tonnes of cargo in a year.

"Aeronautical tariff(s) approved by the authority vide order no. 32/2012-13 dated 15.01.2013 shall continue up to 28.02.2016 or until the final determination of the tariffs for the second control period (i.e, 2014-2019), whichever is earlier." AERA said in its order. "The revenue collected by the Airport Operator (MIAL) during the period shall be adjusted from Aggregate Revenue Requirement for the Second Control Period starting w.e.f, 01.04.2014," it said.
The user development fee (UDF), which is to be paid by passengers flying out of the airport, currently stands at Rs274 for domestic departures and Rs574 for international ones.
24/11/15 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis

Aviation sector dogfights to intensify as fuel prices remain low

Mumbai: Aviation stocks have zoomed since IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation) made its debut on the exchanges. However, both SpiceJet and Jet Airways were taxiing on the runway even as Indigo was preparing to come out with its initial offer. The listing gave a final boost to shares of airline companies as all three took off together.

While Indigo has stolen the limelight by gaining more than 50% from its offer price in eight trading days, other airline stock too have done a credible job, especially SpiceJet. From a low of Rs 11.25 on December 16, 2014 the stock currently trades at Rs 62.30, a nearly six-time gain in less than a year.

Jet Airways has moved from a low of Rs 203.50 on September 26, 2014, to Rs 458.30, more than double in fourteen months.
As can be seen, the rally in airline stocks started much before Indigo’s primary market issue. Aviation stocks have done well mainly on account of low fuel prices. Profitability of these companies is heavily dependent on aviation fuel prices, which account for almost half of operational expenses. A 20% increase in traffic in the first nine months of the current fiscal has also helped. Government policies, especially the draft aviation policy, has helped in improving sentiment for the sector, which been languishing for over a decade.
24/11/15 Shishir Asthana/Business Standard

Vaishno Devi helicopter crash: 6 pilgrims, pilot killed in Katra chopper accident

Jammu: Six Vaishno Devi pilgrims and a woman pilot were on Monday killed when the helicopter they were in crashed at the new bus stand ground in Jammu’s Katra town.
The victims included a newly married couple, identified as Arjun Singh Chib, 25, and his wife Vandana, 22, both residents of Gho Manasa near Jammu, their nephew Maheshawar Singh, 19, Sachin Solanki, 32, and his daughter Akshita, 6, from Rohini in Delhi. The sixth deceased was identified as Aryanjeet Singh, 52, of Trikuta Nagar, Jammu, and pilot Sunita Vijayn of Hyderabad.
Udhampur-Reasi range Deputy Inspector General of Police Surinder Gupta said the helicopter was on way from Katra to Sanji Chhat, which falls en route to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Trikuta Hills. He said the crash took place at 1.03 pm but the police are still ascertaining what led to the accident.
Sources, however, said the chopper had hit a bird while gaining height, making the pilot to crash-land in an open ground. However, in the process, the chopper’s router got entangled with a high tension wire, causing fire. Helicopter sorties between Katra and Sanji Chhat were suspended immediately after the crash but the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi shrine on foot and on ponies continued as usual.Senior officers from the Shrine Board, local police and civil administration rushed to the accident spot, from where the charred bodies of the victims were being taken to hospital. The victims were identified from their personal belongings, including mobile phones and clothes.
24/11/15 Arun Sharma/Indian Express

AAIB to probe chopper crash in J-K

New Delhi: The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will probe the chopper crash incident in Katra in which seven persons including a woman pilot were today killed.

The six pilgrims and the pilot were killed when the chopper crashed in Katra, the base camp of the Vaishsnodevi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district.
A senior official at aviation regulator DGCA said the AAIB would be looking into the crash and a two-member team would be going to the incident site.

AAIB, which was under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is now an independent body.
23/11/15 PTI/Business Standard

Govt revives bid to woo airlines

Puducherry: After Alliance Air withdrew flight services connecting Bengaluru last month over a subsidy dispute, the Government has revived its bid to woo airlines for operating services through the Puducherry airport.

Setting November 30 as a cut-off date, the Government has invited Expressions of Interest in Public-Private Partnership mode from airline/rotary aircraft.

It is understood that negotiations are under way with some operators, notably Air Costa and Pawan Hans. The Government expects at least a couple of more operators to submit EoIs before the November 30 deadline.

In the notification, the Government has asked operators to quantify the incentive subsidy in the EoI submissions.

“(The) Proposal should specifically indicate the quantum of incentive subsidy sought,” according to the notification.

This is in contrast to the scheme floated by the Government in October 2014.
24/11/15 M. Dinesh Varma/The Hindu

Removal of 5/25 rule to aid Vistara's expansion plans: SIA

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Singapore, CNBC-TV18’s Kritika Saxena caught up with Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airlines to discuss their India plans. Speaking on the 5/20 rule, Phong said it is an impediment to Vistara’s expansion plans. “We believe that the rule will unnecessarily constrain Vistaara from expanding and serving India. We would hope that the Prime Minister and his group will consider removing that rule altogether to allow the Indian base carriers to actually serve in a more comprehensive manner to the India population, as well as the people from international traffic," he said. Vistara is an Indian airline, which is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.
24/11/15 CNBC-TV18/moneycontrol.com

AAI, states to develop four airports in partnership

New Delhi: In a first, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has identified several airports it plans to develop through joint ventures with state governments.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed to develop the airports at Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh), Devgarh (Rajasthan), Jharsuguda (Odisha) and Shirdi (Maharashtra), with the respective state governments being equity partners.
"Airports can be developed through the SPV route rather than a stand-alone property of AAI, so that states also become a partner. We have identified a few places such as Kushinagar, Devgarh, Jharsuguda where we are exploring the possibility of an SPV. For Shirdi also, the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) is pending with the state government," AAI chairman R K Srivastava told Business Standard.
This is the first time AAI will enter into strategic partnerships with states to develop airports through SPVs. At present, states only provide land required for building or expansion of the airports, along with road and power connectivity to AAI. However, at a few as the newly-built Chandigarh International Airport, the Punjab government's Greater Mohali Area Development Authority and the Haryana Urban Development Authority are equity partners.
24/11/15 Somesh Jha/Business Standard

India's Air One defers scheduled debut over funding woes

Air One Aviation (Delhi Int'l) Director General Alok Sharma says the airline has deferred plans to enter the scheduled passenger market citing funding problems.

Speaking to The Hindu newspaper, Sharma said that while foreign investors have expressed an interest in partnering his airline, uncertainty over the future of India's 5/20 rule has scarred them off.

“No one has come to us with an investment proposal though we received NOC 16 months back," he said. "An opportunity exists for a full service carrier but because there is no clarity on Indian’s Aviation Policy more specifically on the 5/20 rule, investors are not willing to commit funding."
24/11/15 ch-aviation

AirAsia X to resume Delhi flights

AirAsia X will relaunch flights to Delhi in February 2016, four years after it suspended the service.

The Malaysian low-cost carrier has confirmed that it will start operating four weekly direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and India’s capital on 3 February.

Flights will depart KLIA every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 1900, arriving in Delhi at 2200. The return services will then leave the Indian capital at 2315, arriving back in KL at 0730 the next morning. The flight time is approximately five and a half hours.
23/11/15 Mark Elliot/Travel Daily India

AI to retain retired staff to vaert disruptions

Air India has offered a three-year work contract to its employees who are due to retire to ensure smooth functioning of its operations, especially maintenance of aircraft.

About 30 per cent of the national carrier's staff — including pilots, engineers who certify planes fit for flying, and flight despatchers — will retire over the next one year. The departure of so many employees can cripple what Air India calls its schedule of integrity, which includes pre-flight checks.

In a circular issued on November 6, Air India chairman and MD Ashwani Lohani has offered a three-year contract to former and soon-to-retire pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and other staff. The staff's pay will be based on their last drawn salary and Air India can renew their contract again after three years. Pilots' salaries will be calculated based on the number of flying hours.
24/11/15 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

India's Jet Airways to axe Brussels scissors hub in 1Q2016

Jet Airways (9W, Mumbai Int'l) will close its Brussels National scissors hub in late March of next year citing its unprofitability Belgium's Standaard newspaper has said. The report says the airline has already informed its thirty-three Brussels based staff (twenty-five Belgians and eight Indians) of the decision.

Established in 2007, Jet Airways uses Brussels to connect Delhi Int'l and Mumbai Int'l with Newark and Toronto Pearson. Sectors to Brussels from Bangalore Int'l and Chennai alongside those to New York JFK were terminated in 2012.
23/11/15 ch-aviation

Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI And Russian Su-35 nearly on par: Indian Aviation Expert

China’s recent agreement with Russia to acquire 24 Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft is of interest to New Delhi as it would face off against India’s Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter in any contingency planning by the air forces of the two countries.

The Su-30 was a top-line fighter aircraft when it was procured by India and will be beginning the season of upgrades soon. The brand new Su-35 may be a notch higher. Even though after its upgrade, the Su-30 MKI would have the specs of the next version of the Su-35, possibly a Su-36, aviation experts believe.

The similarities between the present Su-30 MKI and the Su-35 are they carry 12 hard-points, besides 8,000 kgs of external ordnance, pulling a maximum of 9G. They have the same air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons package; have thrust vectoring engines and can house external jammers of all varieties and all kinds of pods.
23/11/15 Pinaki Bhattacharya/Defenseworld.net

Intrastate flights try 4th takeoff

After a failed re-launch in January this year, Gujarat has taken up the challenge of reviving intrastate airlines services and floated a tender to invite bids for airlines operation. This will be the state's fourth attempt to relaunch the intrastate aviation services, with sources stating a new operator is likely to be announced soon. With the tender getting a positive response from aviation companies from across the country sending in bids, the state has opted to keep the tender open for a few more days.
Confirming this, State Finance Minister Saurabh Patel, who handles the civil aviation portfolio, told Mirror, "The concerned authorities have evaluated the bids that have come in. The decision will be announced after the election process is over." Sources in the aviation industry and offices have stated the bid will be granted to a Surat-based aviation company. However, officers and experts in the government corridors and aviation industry are questioning the sustainability of this concept in the state after three failed attempts.
In the news since the state first contemplated the idea of an interstate airline service, Gujarat awarded the tender to a Mumbai-based company in November 2014. Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (Mehair) had launched the first of its services in the state with much fanfare in January 2015, with the first flight being flagged off by Finance Minister Saurabh Patel, who also manages the civil aviation portfolio.
Contemplating on the reasons for the repeated failure of this aviation service, a government source told Mirror, "There were several factors that led to the downfall of this aviation service. One of the main reasons has been that the last operator lacked experience and did not have the correct strategy required to operate an airline. It is not possible to operate such a business with no marketing."
24/11/15  Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

AAI, states to develop four airports in partnership

New Delhi: In a first, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has identified several airports it plans to develop through joint ventures with state governments.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed to develop the airports at Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh), Devgarh (Rajasthan), Jharsuguda (Odisha) and Shirdi (Maharashtra), with the respective state governments being equity partners.
"Airports can be developed through the SPV route rather than a stand-alone property of AAI, so that states also become a partner. We have identified a few places such as Kushinagar, Devgarh, Jharsuguda where we are exploring the possibility of an SPV. For Shirdi also, the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) is pending with the state government," AAI chairman R K Srivastava told Business Standard.
This is the first time AAI will enter into strategic partnerships with states to develop airports through SPVs. At present, states only provide land required for building or expansion of the airports, along with road and power connectivity to AAI. However, at a few as the newly-built Chandigarh International Airport, the Punjab government's Greater Mohali Area Development Authority and the Haryana Urban Development Authority are equity partners.
24/11/15 Somesh Jha/Business Standard

Is your Indian passport among those to be declared invalid from November 25, 2015?

New Delhi: If you are planning to go on a vacation abroad, check your passports. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which India is part of, has announced that non-machine readable (handwritten) passports will not be deemed valid after November 24, 2015.

The countries under ICAO will not issue visa to persons holding passports that are handwritten or valid for 20 years.

The rule will be implemented from November 25, 2015, reports thelogicalindian.com.

Notably, in India, handwritten passports were issued before 2001, and are still in practice, says the report.
23/11/15 PTI/Zee News

This Is What Air India Flight Attendants Looked Like in 1946

Air India has the distinct honour of being the flagship carrier of the country, the first homegrown airline to cleave our skies. The airline gave us the iconic Maharaja, extended our native brand of hospitality, and remains the only airline that continues to give us free food even in Economy Class.

With some digging that took us back to 1946 we found beautifully preserved photographs in black and white, pictures of Air India flight attendants in sharp, smart dresses, carefully groomed, and anachronistically ahead of their time.
23/11/15 Catherine Rhea Roy/Scoop Whoop

Farmers want land acquisition for Trichy airport stopped

Trichy: At a time when steps are being initiated for the acquisition of 345.62 acres of land for the expansion of the Trichy airport, a group of farmers from the district handed over a petition to collector KS Palanisamy claiming that, if developed, the land would flood some parts of Trichy. Simultaneously, another group representing the Road, Airport and Railway Association submitted a petition to expedite the land acquisition.

On Monday, M. Sekaran, president, Air, Rail and Road Travellers Federation, who is also a member of the airport advisory committee, submitted the petition during the grievance meeting. It said the land acquisition had been pending for the past four years and it was high time steps were taken towards this for the development of the city and its surrounding districts. At a recent meeting held at the airport, it was learnt that the district administration had sent the land acquisition proposal to the government on 24 December 2014 for administrative sanction.

Sekaran said the runway expansion was essential to operate bigger aircraft to meet the steep rise in the number of passengers using the airport.
24/11/15 Times of India

GVK, Hindustan upbeat on Modi's infrastructure push

GV Sanjay Reddy, vice chairman of GVK Power & Infrastructure , has big ambitions for the company's airport business. He wants to be one of the largest players in the global airport sector, growing GVK's airport unit to be a 200 million-passenger-per-year business within five years. The company is involved in two airport projects in Indonesia, but the jewels in its crown are definitely in India, where GVK operates the airports in two of the biggest cities in the country: Mumbai and Bangalore. "Bangalore is the fastest growing airport in India, Mumbai is also growing at a very good pace," Reddy told CNBC. "The Civil Aviation Industry of India said the current passenger traffic in India is about 160, 170 million passengers, and that's expected to grow to about 500 million passengers in the next 10 to 12 years. So there's a huge potential upside for the business."
India is suffering from an infrastructure deficit. The World Bank estimates that the country will need to spend up to USD 1.7 trillion by the end of the decade to fix its crumbling infrastructure, and improve its roads, rail, ports and power utilities.
24/11/15 CNBC/moneycontrol.com

Axis Bank, Vistara to launch travel credit card

New Delhi: Private lender Axis Bank today said it has joined hands with Tata-SIA joint venture airline Vistara to launch a travel credit card next year under a strategic partnership.

The co-branded travel credit card, to be unveiled early next year, will offer a host of privileges and benefits to the business and leisure travellers of Vistara, Axis Bank said in a release today.

"The card will be unveiled early next year. The Axis Bank Vistara co-branded credit card will provide preferred privileges and benefits for business and leisure travellers under the carrier's Club Vistara frequent flyer program," it said.

The country's third full service airline after national carrier Air India and Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, Vistara last month for the first time breached the one lakh passengers mark since its launch in January this year.

Vistara, is a joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA) with Tata Sons holding the majority stake of 51 per cent in the company and SIA holding the remaining 49 per cent.
24/11/15 PTI

Dhar girls set to represent India in Australia fail to get flight tickets

Indore: Dreams of Dhar footballers Jyoti and Sarita to play their first international tournament came down crashing when on Saturday they could not board the flight from New Delhi as the School Games federation was unable to get the tickets for Australia.
Dhar girls, Jyoti Chauhan and Sarita Ninama selected for Indian football squad to participate in the under-18 Pacific International School Games at Adelaide, Australia that began on Sunday.
"We reached Delhi on November 18 and were told to board the flight on November 20 but on the last moment we were told to submit the death certificates of Jyoti and Sarita's fathers for visa clearance as both the girls are minors and needed consent from the head of the family. I somehow managed to submit the documents on time after which I was assured to get tickets for the next day that was November 21."
"When we reached the airport on Saturday early morning we were told that the organizing committee was unable to get the tickets for the connecting flight from Singapore so we had to come back to Dhar empty handed," said coach, Shailendra Pal.
23/11/15 Litha Thampy/Times of India

Airport terminal may not be ready for Krishna Pushkaram

Vijayawada: Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu advised the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to complete the construction of new terminal building by August 2016 to meet the rush of passengers during Krishna Pushkaram to be held next year. He made this suggestion after laying foundation stone for the terminal at Gannavaram airport last month.

But the AAI seems to be missing the deadline set by Mr. Naidu as works are likely to begin in December second week after necessary clearances come from the headquarters in New Delhi on the design of terminal building, said sources.

Contract has already been awarded for the Rs.137 crore project and design of the building was submitted to senior officials in New Delhi for approval.

“Once we get clearance from the headquarters, we will commence works from second week of December,” said a senior official. The new facility is coming up in 9,700 square metres land. “It is difficult to complete the work by August 2016 to meet the rush during Krishna Pushkaram due to various technical reasons,” an official said adding that the construction would be completed by December 2016.
24/11/15 M. Srinivas/The Hindu

Chequered aviation record

Puducherry’s air connectivity has a chequered history. It was with much fanfare that Puducherry joined the country’s air connectivity map when on January 17, 2013, Spicejet launched Puducherry-Bengaluru flights. Spicejet’s Bombardier Q 400 aircraft operated thrice a week flights connecting Puducherry and Bengaluru with a flying time of roughly 50 minutes.
SpiceJet gradually scaled up its services from thrice a week to four days a week after the1500-metre runway was certified as fit to handle flights with full passenger loads. However, barely a year later, the operator exited the scene citing poor passenger response.
In the months preceding the pull-out, the carrier was operating six days a week at ticket rates ranging between Rs. 2,000 and 2,500 while peak tariffs were in the Rs. 5,000-6,000 range.
After lying idle for almost a year, the Puducherry air terminal saw resumption of flight services on April 14, 2015 when Alliance Air stepped in.
24/11/15 The Hindu

DGCA had termed Ahmedabad airport 'worst affected' in 2014

Ahmedabad: The DGCA data shows that the combined 'wildlife strikes' - birds and animals hitting aircraft on roll at airports - have been steadily rising over the years, putting air travellers at great risk. In 2014, the DGCA had compiled a list of 18 airports where "wildlife hazard" is the worst, which include all the six metros. Among these 18, five were to found to be the worst affected - Udaipur, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Nagpur.
24/11/15 Times of India

Dense fog at Srinagar airport forces cancellation of flights

Srinagar: Air traffic was badly affected in Kashmir Valley on Monday due to inclement weather as dense fog forced cancellation of all flights to and from Srinagar Airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded, officials said.

"All flights for today have been cancelled due to bad weather as no airline could operate," an official of the Airport Authority of India said here.

She said 21 flights were scheduled at the airport for the day. "All 21 flights have been cancelled and passengers informed accordingly," she said.

The cancellation of flights left many passengers, including tourists, stranded.
24/11/15 Daily Kashmir Images

Camel milk chocolate at KIA now

Bangalore: While shopping for chocolates at the Kempegowda International Airport, travellers can now indulge in some camel milk chocolate. KIA becomes the first airport in India to introduce Al Nassma Chocolate, the UAE-based exclusive luxury chocolate brand.

Nuance, a Dufry company, which operates the core duty-free outlet at KIAB has brought the chocolate to its stands. The company is working towards bringing the best of brands from across the globe to their store. Dimantha Kinigama, general manager — India, Nuances, said, "Al Nassma, the latest addition in the confectionery category, is a testimonial to the fact that we will bring the best to travellers in Bengaluru."
Al Nassma feels its venture into India is going to help the company reach Indians who love indulging is something exotic and different. Patrick Dorais, director of sales, Al Nassma Chocolate, said, "This development is a tremendous success for us as a brand. The advancement of our collaboration with Dufry gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our brand internationally."
24/11/15 Bangalore Mirror

Airport staff held for smuggling gold

Kolkata:  In the third such incident this year, an airport ground handling staff was arrested while reportedly trying to smuggle gold from the city airport on Monday.

Three consecutive incidents of smuggling by ground handling staff in the past 10 months have left the security breaches at the airport wide open.

On Monday, Keshab Nayak, a staff with J P Aviation Services Pvt Ltd was intercepted by the air intelligence unit of the city customs that recovered 2kg gold bar, valued at Rs 52 lakh, hidden inside his shoes.

Nayak, who was already under the scanner of customs officials for his suspicious movements, was being tracked for some time. He came to work on Monday morning even though he did not have any scheduled duty. "Not all ground staff members can be roped in by smugglers. But with three consecutive incidents, it seems a sizeable section is involved in it. This is alarming as ground handling staff have access to every point in the airport," said a customs official.
24/11/15 Rohit Khanna/Times of India

Threat call to Air India call centre traced to Madhya Pradesh

Thane: A threat phone call made to a Thane call centre of the national carrier Air India last week, in which an anonymous person allegedly threatened to hijack one of the carrier's flight on November 28, has been traced to Madhya Pradesh.

Preliminary investigation, following an FIR lodged by the state-owned airline, reveals that the said call was received from Madhya Pradesh, Thane Police PRO Gajanan Kabdule today said, without divulging any further details.

No arrest in the case has so far been made, he said adding that the ATS and Mumbai Crime Branch are also carrying out their investigation along with the Thane Police Crime Branch.
According to the FIR filed by the national carrier with the Shrinagar Police station in Thane, on November 20 at about 2225 hours, an unknown person called on the toll-free number of the AI call centre, threatening to hijack an Air India flight on November 28.
23/11/15 PTI/Economic Times

Eight kilos of gold seized at Chennai airport

Chennai: Security officials at Chennai airport seized eight kilograms of gold on Tuesday.
During route screening of inbound passengers, they chanced upon 5.5 kgs of gold in a bag. While in the next bag on the carousel, they found 2.5 kgs of gold which the bag owner claimed he was not aware how the gold appeared in the bag.
The bag owner arrived on a flight from Bangkok. He has been taken into custody and a total of 8 kgs of gold was seized by the authorities.
24/11/15 Sakshipost

Airport insiders hand-in-glove with gold smugglers, Customs sleuths fazed

Hyderabad: Recruiting airport `insiders', hiding gold in aircraft toilets and seats - smugglers are coming up with craftier ways to hoodwink Customs sleuths.

In May 2014, Bhaskar Reddy and Rami Naidu, both GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) security wing employees, were caught red-handed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths while handing over 8 kg of smuggled gold to Gulbarga-based Mazhar Ali at the airport's parking lot.

This was the first time that the law enforcement agency busted a massive gold smuggling racket involving airport staffers.

Six months later, Hyderabad police nabbed four smugglers from Chandrayangutta with 4.19 kg gold in their possession. When the case was later handed over to the DRI, investigations once again pointed to the involvement of an `insider' working at the international facility in Shamshabad.
23/11/15 Mahesh Buddi/Times of India

Monday, November 23, 2015

DGCA allows Air India Dreamliners to land in dense fog this winter

New Delhi: Air India has some more good news from the Dreamliner front. This aircraft had started joining the airline from September, 2012. But it could not land in winter dense fog in either Delhi or the European cities it operates to for the last three winters. This time, however, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has certified AI's Boeing 787 to and in dense fog using instrument landing system (ILS). The aircraft can now land using up to category 3B of ILS, which means till visibility is about 100 metres.

A senior DGCA official said that the regulator has asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to implement its promise of converting three airports near Delhi — Jaipur, Lucknow and Amritsar — into Cat III airports so that planes can land there in dense fog. "AAI first said these airports will be ready for Cat III by October 30 and then said the work will happen by November 10. However, both these deadlines have passed and we have asked them to hurry us as fog season is not far off now," said the official.
22/11/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Boost to Air India as DGCA gives nod to run Dreamliners during fog season

In a boost to Air India, aviation regulator DGCA has given its go ahead to the government-owned airline to operate its Dreamliner fleet during the forthcoming fog season even as the regulator has called a meeting of all stakeholders including airlines and airport operators this week to take stock of their preparedness to deal with the fog-related problems.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed Air India to operate its Dreamliner B787-800 aircraft, using CAT III Instrumental Landing System during the thick fog, a senior DGCA official said.

Following the DGCA certification, these aircraft will be able to land even when visibility drops to below 100 meters.
Dense fog conditions generally hits most part of north India between mid-December and mid-February every year, which result in disruption of rail and air services.
23/11/15 PTI/Economic Times

State aid for Air India a ‘tragic waste of taxpayer funds’

Mumbai: Pressure is mounting on Air India to improve its financial performance.

India’s government in 2012 approved a turnaround plan for the airline, which aimed to restructure debt and improve the state-owned carrier’s operational efficiency. This included a government injection of 300 billion rupees (Dh16.69bn) to be drip-fed to the airline over eight years. The plan outlined that the airline would be able to achieve profitability in 10 to 15 years.

“The funding required by the carrier is even greater than projected in its turnaround plan,” according to the Capa Centre for Aviation. “For a government with so many other pressing economic and social priorities to address, subsidising an airline when there are so many capable private operators is a tragic waste of taxpayer funds.”

The airline’s debts amount to 360bn rupees and it has more than 20,000 permanent employees – one of the highest numbers of workers per aircraft of any airline in the world.

Air India in the last financial year posted a loss of 55bn rupees, which was an improvement on its loss of more than 75bn rupees in the financial year to the end of March 2012.
22/11/15 Rebecca Bundhun/National

9 Dreamliners fetch Air India Rs 7,000 crore

New Delhi: Adopting the sale and lease-back route, debt-ridden Air India has raised almost Rs 7,000 crore by selling nine of its 21 Dreamliners to a Singapore-based leasor and then leasing the planes from it. Earlier, AI had sold and leased back 12 Dreamliners.

About Rs 6,000 crore raised from this deal will be used to reduce the airline's aircraft purchase loans. AI has a combined aircraft purchase and working capital loan of Rs 40,000 crore, apart from accumulated losses of Rs 30,000 crore.

These nine planes had joined AI fleet between March 2014 and this June. AI had fixed a reserve price of not less than $123 million for planes acquired in 2015 and $120 million for the aircraft inducted in the fleet during 2014.
23/11/15 Times of India

SpiceJet registers highest passenger occupancy in October

Chennai: Low-cost airline SpiceJet achieved the highest passenger load factor (PLF) -- a measure of the total seats filled -- of 92.1% in October, according to data published by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The airline has been achieving over 90% load factor for six consecutive months. It is for the seventh successive months that SpiceJet is registering the highest load factor of all airlines in India.

The flight cancellations for the airline have also declined consistently in the past few months, with the rate of cancellation for October 2015 being just 0.13%, the lowest of all airlines in India, a note from the airline said.
23/11/15 Aparna Desikan/Times of India

Vijay Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines, UBL declared as wilful defaulters

After a protracted legal battle, State Bank of India (SBI) has declared industrialist Vijay Mallya a 'wilful defaulter' for defaults on nearly Rs 7,000 crore loans to the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines.
SBI has declared Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines and its holding company United Breweries Holdings as wilful defaulters, sources told PTI. The sources said after the Bombay High Court in August this year allowed Mallya to be represented by his legal counsels, SBI moved the Supreme Court challenging the HC order, saying that HC order violated the RBI rules on grievance redressal committee that allow only the borrower to be present his case in person.
However, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court verdict and asked SBI to consider this only as a one-off instance and allow Mallya's lawyers to represent him at the grievance reddressal committee meeting which was held recently. However, the lawyers could not satisfactorily present a case of genuine distress of Mallya and his companies in not paying the money they owe to the bankers. Following this, SBI declared them as wilful defaulters, the source added.
However, Mallya can still challenge the label in the apex court through review petitions, according to banking experts. Meanwhile, following the development, the 17 lenders to the airline has said they will e-auction the assets of the grounded airline, in their latest bid to part recover their dues of around Rs 7,000 crore and accrued interest on the principal, that not been serviced since January 2013.
23/11/15 PTI/Business Today

Bird Hit Caused Katra Chopper Crash That Killed Vaishno Devi Pilgrims

Jammu: A bird-hit soon after take-off downed the helicopter that killed six pilgrims from Vaishno Devi and a woman pilot in Jammu's Katra today. The aircraft -- which was returning from Sanji Chhat to Katra -- crashed and caught fire.

Eyewitnesses said the pilot, Sumeeta Vijayan, crashed while trying to land in an open space.

But the former Air Force pilot failed, as the tail rotor of the helicopter got damaged and the aircraft got out of control. The single-engine chopper was built in 2010.

"A bird was found dead near crashed helicopter. It seems the helicopter collided with bird that led to crash. We'll be inquiring further," said Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh.
The helicopter belonged to the privately-run Himalayan Heli Services, which also runs choppers for the Chardham Yatra.
23/11/15  Sheikh Zaffar Iqbal/Anindita Sanyal/NDTV

GoAir rolls out discounted fares starting at Rs 691

Mumbai: No-frills carrier GoAir has rolled out three discounted ticket schemes to its customers for a limited period including offering one-way fares starting as low as Rs 691 excluding taxes for travel between January 1 and September 30 next year.

The three offers -- Christmas Special, Go Explore and Happy Tuesday's -- are aimed at making air travel affordable for customers across its network, especially during the holiday season, the airline said.

The 'Christmas Special' offer, which is available for bookings from November 20 to November 22,  gives every 25th GoAir passenger a chance to win free tickets to any of the GoAir sectors for travel between December 1 and December 25, 2015, GoAir said in a release.

Similarly, under the 'Go Explore' scheme, ticket prices for GoAir flights starts at Rs 691 excluding of mandatory taxes and the travel period for this offer is between January 1 and September 30, 2016.
23/11/15 India TV News

San Francisco passengers on Air India to clear immigration, customs checks at Bengaluru

Bengaluru: Air India seems to have pulled off a coup of sorts like Etihad Airways did with the US immigration and customs officials. Etihad will now have a direct competition in Air India with the latter too introducing flight services from Bengaluru to San Francisco with the American officials offering immigration and custom clearance checks at the Bengaluru airport itself.

Air India is touting that their passengers will have huge benefits travelling to San Francisco as they will undergo immigration and customs at their boarding points itself and can have comfortable journey further. Air India will commence its services from Bengaluru to San Francisco via New Delhi on December 2.
It is to be seen how Bengalurueans will respond to the Air India's new offering as there is a Delhi stopover in between, and the flight from Delhi to San Francisco will be one of the longest. There is a huge traffic between Bengaluru and San Francisco as both cities are bonded by information technology, and have common offices. An estimated 1.5 million people working in the IT & BPO sectors in Bengaluru.
22/11/15 K R Balasubramanyam/Economic Times

AI faces tough on-time target

New Delhi: Air India needs to step up its efforts to meet the on-time-performance target of 90 per cent set by the government.

Last month, one in every four flights of the airline was late in reaching its destination, the aviation regulator has said in a report.

According to data revealed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India's average "on-time performance" in four metro cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - was 76.8 per cent for the six months ended October.

Vistara - the joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore Airlines - had the highest on-time-performance of 93.7 per cent on the same routes in October against Air India's 75.5 per cent.

Concerned over the dismal performance, the Centre had asked Air India to achieve higher operational efficiency and set a target of 90 per cent on-time performance for this month. "While the national carrier is taking steps to improve its performance, the ministry feels it needs to boost it further to make a faster turnaround given that new airlines have entered the market," an aviation ministry official said.
22/11/15 Jayati Ghose/Telegraph

Draft aviation policy favours regional airlines, MROS: Ind-Ra

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) believes that the draft aviation policy will benefit regional airlines, maintenance, and repair and overhaul (MRO) providers and air cargo players but falls short of addressing structural issues to ensure long-term viability of major players i.e. full service carriers (FSCs) and low cost carriers (LCCs).

Ind-Ra however believes that any significant improvement in the regional market will result in FSCs and LCCs entering aggressively into the segment, thereby putting pressure on the profitability of regional players.

The success of the policy is contingent on the support from states and while it entails significant impetus for development of regional airports and provides incentives for airlines to operate on regional routes availing viability gap funding (VGF), it fails to address structural issues such as air turbine fuel (ATF) taxation in the metros and provide clarity on the 5/20 rule for operating overseas. Ind-Ra therefore expects the private LCCs and FSCs such as Interglobe aviation (Indigo), Jet Airways India, Go Airlines India (Go Air) and Spice Jet to take a cautious stance to expand in the regional areas and to enter this arena only after assessing the performance and profitability of regional airlines. Consequently, capacity additions in the regional markets will initially remain limited and will pick up only once FSCs and LCCs have an opportunity to expand in this market.
23/11/15 my iris

Draft civil aviation policy fails to address structural issues: India Ratings

The Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju recently said that the new Civil Aviation policy will be out by year-end, which has sent discussions in the industry into full throttle.

The draft civil aviation policy unveiled earlier this month proposed that tax incentives for airlines, a 2% tax cess on air fare to help aid regional connectivity, doing away with the 5/20 rule, and more.

However, ratings agency, India Ratings has said that the draft civil aviation policy failed to address structural issues to ensure long-term viability of major players like full service carriers and low cost carriers.
The agency warned airliners like IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, GoAir to take a cautious stance while expanding in regional areas. They said, airlines should only enter regional areas after a thorough background research on the performance of regional airlines.
23/11/15 DNA

Air India to launch Bengaluru-San Francisco flight with custom checks in city

Bengaluru: Air India seems to have pulled off a coup of sorts akin to what Etihad Airways did with the US immigration and customs authorities.

Etihad will now have a direct competition in Air India with the latter too introducing flight services from Bengaluru to San Franci sco with the American officials offering immigration and custom clearance checks at the Bengaluru airport itself. Air India will commence its services from Bengaluru to San Francisco via New Delhi on December 2.

It is to be seen how Bengalureans will respond to the Air India's new offering as there is a Delhi stopover in between and the flight from Delhi to San Francisco will be one of the longest. There is a huge traffic between Bengaluru and San Francisco as they are bonded by information technology and have common offices. An estimated 1.5 million people are working in the IT & BPO sectors in Bengaluru.
In fact, Etihad Airways, UAE's national carrier, which connects Bengaluru with San Franciso via Abu Dhabi was the first to pull off such a coup with the US authorities by opening immigration and customs counters at the Abu Dhabi airport. The travel from Abu Dhabi and San Francisco on the Etihad flight feels like domestic journey as there are no formalities to complete on arrival at San Francisco.
23/11/15 Economic Times

Denied boarding by AI, two families forced to shell out Rs 1.25L for tickets

For two families returning from their dream holiday in Bangkok, the journey home quickly turned into a nightmare after Air India did not allow them to board their connecting flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, as it had allegedly been overbooked. Eventually, the family was forced to shell out Rs 1.25 lakh for tickets on another airline.
On November 17, Maitry Jain, her family and another family (also named Jain) arrived in Mumbai around 10 pm via a Thai Airways flight. They were to catch an Air India flight to Ahmedabad (AI 331, departing Mumbai at 1.45 am), but received a rude shock when the airline staff told them they couldn’t check in as the flight had been overbooked. “We had confirmed our tickets two months ago, but to our surprise, the staff didn’t let us board, saying the flight was overbooked. There was another Air India flight to Ahmedabad scheduled to take off at 5.30 am, but they didn’t let us board that either, giving the same reason of overbooking,” said Maitry, adding, “I am extremely disappointed with the national airline’s sloppiness and negligence towards customers. Isn’t it the airline’s responsibility to give priority boarding in the very next flight to the passengers denied boarding?” Senior officials informed them that Air India had a tie up with Jet Airways, and the eight passengers would be accommodated on a Jet flight. The Jains found out that there were business class seats available, but suddenly, Air India officials said they would not be able to book those seats. Frustrated, the Jains shelled out Rs 1.25 lakh for the tickets themselves, and flew home on Jet Airways flight 9W7065.
23/11/15 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Dazzling show on a breezy evening

Visakhapatnam: The stage erected on the beach-side lawns at The Park with the roar of the waves in the background and the chilly winter breeze presented the perfect setting for the 3rd anniversary celebrations of Silk Air here on Saturday evening.

Silk Air, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, was the first international airline to provide a direct flight from Visakhapatnam to Singapore, three years ago.

South African models Amy and Chelsea, of British origin, kicked off the celebrations with a fashion dance. Models enthralled the guests with their modern and traditional dances. Their ‘Samba’ and French dance with peacock wings were the highlights of their performance.

DTS Anand of Visakhapatnam held a sway over the audience by providing the digital music, for the breathless song of Shankar Mahadevan ‘Maha prana deepam… Sivam… Bhaje Manjunadham…,’ with his vocal chords. He also provided the music with his vocal chords as a co-artiste sang a few more songs on stage. DTS Anand can produce the sounds of 32 instruments with his vocal chords.
23/11/15 B. Madhu Gopal/The Hindu

Chopper med service for Himalayan Darshan tourists

Dehradun: The state government on Sunday announced that it would take steps to ensure that tourists taking the Himalayan Darshan flight to view the snow-capped mountains this winter would be given proper medical attention. An air medical service, 'Hawai Ambulance Seva', will soon be launched.

"We will introduce the Air Medical Service helicopters on the lines of the 108 medical service, just days after the Himalayan Darshan Yatra flights begin operations to show tourists snow-capped peaks of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas. Those flights are scheduled to begin from the first week of December," said a senior officer in the state civil aviation department.

At a meeting at Kaviltha village in Rudraprayag's Kalimath Valley, 175 km from Dehradun, chief minister Harish Rawat said on Sunday that he had asked officials at the civil aviation department to work out a plan to ascertain the exact number of medical service helicopters that will be required. The precise number of the medical helicopters would depend on the number of tourists arriving for the Himalayan Darshan flights, the CM said.
22/11/15 Darshan Kumar/Times of India

CM launches helicopter service to Gulmarg, Pahalgam from Srinagar

Srinagar:  Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today flagged off a helicopter service between the summer capital of the state and health resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam in the Valley.

"To boost the appetite for Kashmir’s exotic locales amongst affluent clientele, Sayeed flagged off the first-ever helicopter service to health resorts of Pahalgam and Gulmarg from Srinagar Airport," an official spokesman said.

The Chief Minister interacted with the first group of tourists before the chopper made its maiden sortie to signal a new phase in tourism promotion of the state, the spokesman said.

"Even though only a small fraction of travellers will take chopper rides initially, it is a big step towards positioning Kashmir as a high-end destination," Sayeed said.

Describing the launch of chopper service and air safaris as a big initiative, Sayeed hoped that the service will have a multiplier effect with more and more upmarket travelers preferring chopper travel directly from the airport to Valley’s premier tourist destinations like Gulmarg and Pahalgam to save on time.
23/11/15 Kashmir Images

Soon, heli taxi to connect pilgrimage sites in Kangra

Dharmashala: Soon, tourists may enjoy an aerial view of the majestic Dhauladhar range, if tourism players in the region have their way. The government is showing keen interest and a proposal is being made in this regard.

Kangra, Jawala Ji, Chintpurni, Naina Devi, Baijnath and Adi Himani Chamunda are expected to be connected. All these pilgrimages will be covered in one sortie. Urban development minister Sudhir Sharma said the proposal, hopefully, should not encounter any bottlenecks.

"One company is already operating heli taxi services in Kangra district and now the possibility of connecting the remaining pilgrimages has come to our knowledge. I think the proposal should not face an obstacle as it will boost tourism in the region," he said. The aviation company operating in the region also provides services at pilgrimages in Uttarakhand and J&K. Company authorities are optimistic about the scope of the service in Himachal. Jatinder Koul, chief coordinator of the aviation company said they would work out a route with maximum views of snow covered peaks, which would be a great experience for pilgrims coming here from across the world. "We are on the job to find places for helipad near pilgrimages. The possibility of cutting the time taken is also being worked out as passengers have to get back to base," he said.
23/11/15 Times of India

Security beefed up at airport after caller warns of plane hijack

Mumbai: Security at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has been beefed up after a threat call was received on Friday at the Air India (AI) call centre wherein the caller, who claimed to be an ISI member, threatened to hijack AI flight on November 28. The caller's location has been traced to Madhya Pradesh (MP).

According to the police sources, a call was received from an unknown number to the AI's call centre situated in Thane. "The caller claimed to be an ISI member and threatened to hijack an AI flight on November 28," said a crime branch officer, requesting anonymity.
Following this, a case was registered against an unknown person at Srinagar police station in Thane under section 505 of the Indian Penal Code for statements conducting to public mischief, police said.
23/11/15 Daily News & Analysis

British aviatrix on global expedition lands in Jaipur

Jaipur: Flying across 23 countries in a plane with an open cockpit, British aviatrix Tracey Curtis-Taylor has said her expedition is aimed at encouraging women in the aviation industry which faces global shortage of female engineers.
Taylor, who is flying in her open cockpit vintage biplane 'Spirit of Artemis' from Great Britain to Australia across 23 countries, said the expedition has been challenging and involved high risk yet she enjoyed and getting phenomenal support from the international community.
"Real purpose of my flight is to celebrate what Amy Johnson, first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia, achieved in 1930 and that not as a pilot but as an engineer," Taylor told an audience last night at the Rambagh Palace Hotel where she was felicitated by General Insurance Corporation of India for the feat said.
Aviatrix said, "India is at the heart of this expedition.
I am going to stay here few days and will be visiting Indian Air Force base along with few other places before flying to Bangladesh, then Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia to reach Australia".
"It's a tribute flight not aimed at breaking a record.
I am celebrating aviation and promoting female into aviation," the self-styled 'Bird in a Biplane", who began her estimated 14-week journey from the UK s Farnborough airport on October 1, said.
22/11/15 PTI/The Statesman

AIIMS in red states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha to have helipads for trauma patients

Raipur: : The two newly setup AIIMS hospitals in the capital cities of the red zone states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha are soon going to have helipad services, which would prove a boon to trauma patients, particularly the security personnel and the general public injured in Maoist related violence.

While the service, which is expected to take one year, would be available for ferrying trauma patients from the far flung areas of the state to this tertiary care hospital, security personnel, injured in Maoist encounters, are likely to be the most benefited, as speciality and super speciality care would be available for them. Since quality specialised medical facilities are not available in the far-flung areas of the state, patients are often sent to Raipur for treatment and valuable time is lost in travelling by roads, the facility could pave way for saving many valuable lives.

Talking to TOI, Deputy Director Administration (DDA) of AIIMS, Raipur, Niresh Sharma, said the proposal is finalised and the helipad would be constructed on the rooftop of A1 building once its construction is complete. The building is adjacent to the hospital's trauma ward.
22/11/15 Anuja Jaoswal/Times of India

BIAL Owes Us Rs 21.95 Crore in Taxes, Claims Anneshwara GP

Bengaluru: The Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) owes `21.95 crore in taxes to Anneshwara gram panchayat, according to the panchayat members. The airport is located close to the village in Devanahalli taluk.

Shivalingaiah, deputy secretary of Bengaluru Rural Zilla Panchayat, said, “They (BIAL) had an exemption for five years since 2005, when the construction of the airport was completed. However, since 2010, they have been dilly-dallying on payment of  the taxes.”

Shivalingaiah attributed the default due to a change in the BIAL’s management. “A new official who came in decided that the annual taxes were too exorbitant. Hence, BIAL approached the government, which directed it to pay the taxes as per the rules. This order was not obeyed. BIAL then approached the Bengaluru Rural ZP, which directed them to pay at least 50 per cent of the balance. However, this has not happened either,” he added.
Anneshwara GP members told Express that the airport had to pay an annual sum of `4.90 crore per year to the panchayat as taxes.

C Muniraju, a member, said, “It was after 2010 (after the end of the exemption period) that  the trouble started. When we asked them to pay the tax, they said  that they would speak to the government in this regard,” he said.
23/11/15 Akshay Prasad/New Indian Express

IGI gears up to join busy boys' league

New Delhi:  On November 6 this year, the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport witnessed the highest air traffic movement ever, which was recorded to be 1,082. With the airport gearing up to enter the league of top ten busiest airports in Asia in near future, DIAL is planning to expand its terminal 1D to cater to the increasing number of passengers.

As the capacity of the domestic terminal is expected to shoot up from the existing 13 million to 30 million after the expansion, the master plan for the airport also talks about a fourth terminal and a fourth runway, which DIAL said will be put in place to deal with the traffic as per future requirements.

Spread over 5,100 acres, the IGIA, at present, has three runways operating simultaneously. "We even have recorded handling of over 75 flight movements in an hour, and recently raced out the Mumbai airport in handling of large number of passengers and air traffic movements," said a DIAL spokesperson.
23/11/15 Anvit Srivastava/Times of India

SBICap arm to auction KFA’s Mumbai airport assets on Dec 7

Mumbai: The moveable assets of the beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines located at Mumbai’s international airport will be auctioned online by SBICap Trustee Company on December 7.

The exercise is aimed at partially recovering the ₹6,963 crore (excluding interest) that the airline owes a consortium of lenders.

According to a notice on the SBICap website, the assets that will be auctioned include forklifts, cranes, towing machines, tractors, tempoes, cars, trolleys, ladders and aircraft pullers.

The bid must be for all the assets collectively and the reserve price is ₹65 lakh. Bid applications should be submitted by December 2.
22/11/15 Business Line

Lucknow-Singapore flight from Dec 3

Lucknow: State capital will join the club of select few cities to have direct air connectivity to South East Asia on December 3 when Singapore-based Tiger Airways will begin direct flight operations between Lucknow and Singapore.

The airlines will operate three flights per week between Lucknow and Singapore—on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The flight will arrive from Singapore at 8pm and fly back at 9pm. Sources said the budget carrier will have executive as well as business class seats.

Lucknow Airport director Suresh Chandra Hota said the authorities have planned a grand welcome for the aircraft, an 180-seat Airbus 320 from Singapore on the day. Sources said when the aircraft touches down at Amausi airport, it would be given a 'water salute'—water fired at a great height from two sides at the landing aircraft. "It's been a practice we have been following for quite some time now," said Hota.

Internationally, state capital so far has direct air connectivity only to Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Oman.
23/11/15 Times of India

4 day ICAO Regional Aviation Training and TRAINAIR PLUS Symposium begins in New Delhi

New Delhi: The Fourth edition of ICAO Regional Aviation Training and TRAINAIR PLUS Symposium was organised in the national capital on Tuesday.  This four day event starting from 17th-20th November 2015 is being hosted by GMR Aviation Academy (AA) the aviation-skills development arm of GMR Group. The objective of the symposium is to provide ICAO member states international fora to share the latest trends, technologies and tools currently available world-wide. 200 delegates from nearly 40 countries gathered at this prestigious event.
 Shri Ashok Gajapati Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation was the Chief Guest for the event along with the Guest of Honour Shri R. N. Choubey, Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation. Shri Raju congratulated GMR Aviation Academy for taking aviation specialised training to new heights and forging ties with the ace institution for Aviation- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He also emphasized the need for making flying in India both accessible and affordable to common citizens.
 India is a fertile land for developing talents and has a rich tradition of supplying work-force to the many parts of the world. Central Government of India has taken the initiative to develop skills through various Skill Development Councils including Civil Aviation. The minister said this is the right time for organizing such Symposiums relating to skill building that might enable India very soon to attain the capability of supplying workforce to the entire world.
Mr Rajiv Nayan Choubey, explained several facets of the recently released draft National Civil Aviation Policy 2015. The Civil Aviation Secretary shared the government’s vision on the Policy.
23/11/15 Indai Education Diary

MH370 can be found soon: Boeing captain

Sydney: After 20 months of search operations, missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 could be found in a matter of months after the hunt switched to an area identified by a British Boeing 777 captain.Captain Simon Hardy’s theory, claimed as credible by Australian investigators, is based on the assumption that the MH370 made a controlled ditch into the sea after making a series of turns overlooking Penang Island, Xinhua reported on Monday.(Also Read: Malaysia probes report of possible MH370 debris in Philippines)
Australian authorities confirmed two search vessels had arrived in the area of Hardy’s proposed location last week, that is within the greater operations area, and will continue to search the area during the November-December period, News Corp reported on Monday.”I am fairly confident that wreckage will be found within the next four to eight weeks,” Hardy told News Corp.The March 2014 disappearance of MH370 while en-route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew has been puzzling the world’s aviation industry ever since.
23/11/15 IANS/India.com

China puts an extra $14.5 m into MH370 search fund

China will contribute AED 20 million (USD 14.5 million) to the hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the government reported on its website, the latest expansion of one of the costliest search missions in aviation history. Chinese premier Li Keqiang made the announcement at a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders on Saturday during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the statement said. "The Chinese side taking this action is in line with greatest respect for human beings," Li said. "We hope that Malaysia and Australia will continue the work of search and rescue and maintain productive communication with China." Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared in March last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. The search for the plane has involved more than two dozen countries contributing planes, ships, submarines and satellites.
23/11/15 CNBC/moneycontrol

Man held for smuggling red sander to Hong Kong

Chennai: Police arrested a man at Chennai airport on Saturday for attempting to smuggle red sanders worth 2.5 lakh to Hong Kong. He concealed the contraband in his suitcase.

Based on a tip, immigration officials at the airport intercepted the baggage of Kader Naina Hussain of Natchoor Patinam in Ramanathapuram district. The officials opened his baggage and found red sanders.

The officials said Hussain had packed the red sanders after cutting them into small pieces. He concealed them within his clothes. The red sanders weighed around 29 kg, worth Rs2.5 lakh in the international market.
23/11/15 Times of India