Monday, August 22, 2016

India to have 50 more operational airports by 2019

Taking ahead the government's plan of ensuring regional connectivity throughout the country, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Sunday said about 50 more airports, including the existing inactive ones, will be activated in the next three years.
As many as 32 airports across the country are currently not in operational conditions. "The centre is trying to put all these non-performing assets (NPAs) into effective utilisation rather than investing afresh. Each airport would require at least Rs. 100 crore for construction." Raju said.
The civil aviation minister said he had written to chief ministers of all states, asking them to reduce VAT tax on jet fuel, which would provide an encouraging environment to all domestic carriers. The lack of unified rate of fuel tax in all the states across the country has caused a problem on cargo operations. "The major operational cost 45 percent is fuel and tax problem is there," [sic] Raju added.
Speaking about connectivity to West Asian countries, especially from Kerala, Raju said seats, which are reserved under bilateral agreements, remain under-utilised on various carriers. Such seats should be put to use better.
22/08/16 Kalyani Pandey/IBTimes

Air India in talks to recast Rs 10,000 crore debt

New Delhi: Air India is negotiating with lenders to convert Rs 10,000 crore of its debt into equity, a move that will substantially reduce the national carrier's interest burden but give the banks a major say in its functioning. Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani has already met a few bank heads to discuss the matter and will meet some more in the coming days, said a senior official at the state-run airline who is involved in the talks with the 19-member consortium of lenders.

The talks are being held under the Reserve Bank of India's Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets, or S4A, which gives struggling companies another chance at recovery.

Under this programme, unsustainable loans — the portion of the debt that can't be serviced through existing cash flow — can be converted into equity with the banks holding the stake. "About Rs 20,000 crore of our loans have been found to be sustainable (which can be serviced through its cash flow) and about Rs 10,000 crore is (proposed) to be converted into equity," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"SBI Caps is negotiating for us with the consortium of 19 banks." The national carrier pays Rs 4,000 crore of interest a year. "Once these loans are converted into equity, our annual interest payment outlay will reduce by Rs 1,000 crore," he said. A lower interest outgo will boost the airline's efforts to turn a profit.
22/08/16 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Air India tries to fight debt burden in profitablity chase

New Delhi: Air India’s plans of converting Rs 10,000 crore debts into equity will give a much needed push its ambitious turnaround plan of becoming profitable by FY2018.

On Monday, The Economic Times reported that the state-run carrier is looking to convert its debt into equity through the Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets or S4A scheme. The scheme permits lenders to determine and segregate debt into a 'sustainable debt' component (representing the loans which are capable of being serviced by the current cash flows of the company) and to restructure the balance into equity or quasi-equity instruments which are expected to provide an upside to the lenders in case of recovery.

Business Standard could not independently verify the report but a senior Air India official explained that the airline will need to significantly improve its financial metrics before the lenders are interested in such a proposal.

“There are several plans which include asking the banks to convert debt into equity but that will work out only when the airline is profitable,” said one official. He said that he was unaware of any restricting plans.
The airline's chairperson Ashwani Lohani has said that the national carrier is looking to clock net profit by FY18, two years earlier than what was originally envisioned in the Turn Around Plan (TAP) approved in 2012.
But Lohani has been categorical in pointing out that historical reasons have led to a huge debt burden which needs to be cleared. The airline has total debt of more than Rs 51,000 crore till March 31, 2015. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in Parliament in March that Air India's total debt burden of Rs 51, 367.07 crore includes Rs 22,574.09 crore outstanding on account of aircraft loans.
22/08/16 Arindam Majumdar/Business Standard

India highest growing aviation market, says Minister

Tiruchi: Aviation growth in India has gone up to 20 per cent as opposed to China’s nine per cent, making it the highest aviation growth market in the world, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said here on Sunday.

He was speaking to journalists after visiting the memorials of freedom fighters as part of the Centre’s ‘Freedom 70’ initiative.

Mr. Raju said that as the country was rapidly growing in the aviation sector, the Central government was keen on sustaining this pace and progress further.

To improve connectivity, the Union government had recently come up with the regional connectivity plan which envisaged viability gap funding, he said.

The plan was to connect airports. For this, the State government’s participation was necessary. The Centre, he said, had planned to convert 31 “inactive” airports across the country with no flight operations into performing assets besides setting up new airports. In the next two to three years, the Centre might set up around 50 new “no frills” airports to connect the geographically unconnected areas.

However, the Centre had not chosen the places for the new airports as yet.
22/08/16 The Hindu

How congestion is killing India's aviation growth story

New Delhi - India is the fastest growing aviation market across the world but also boasts of a creaky airport infrastructure. Though we have managed to build showpiece airports with the help of private developers in our major metros, there is a serious capacity constraint already at Mumbai and may soon also be seen at Chennai airport.
A country where majority of fights still originate in the metros and which is eyeing double-digit traffic growth in the months to come may be constrained by lack of capacity at its major airports unless urgent steps are taken to correct this anomaly.
Sample this: In July, GoAir created a record of sorts, by reporting on-time performance below 50 percent for flights from Mumbai airport. This means at least every second flight (sometimes more) of the airline from Mumbai was delayed during the month. This is the worst on-time performance of any major Indian airline in the recent memory.
But GoAir is not alone. Here's another statistic. According to DGCA data for July, the best OTP from Mumbai airport was clocked by SpiceJet at a mere 63%. So, the best a passenger can hope for, if she is taking a domestic flight to or from Mumbai, is this: only two in three flights will be on time, and sometimes not even every second flight will be on time.
How much of this is the fault of an individual airline is debatable but it is clear that airport infrastructure at Mumbai is bursting at the seams.
Air India managed OTP of just 56.7 percent from Mumbai in July, market leader IndiGo was lower with 55.7 percent and Jet Airways-JetLite combined were at 60.6 percent while Vistara was at 60.9 percent.
Compare this with operations of the same airlines from other metro airports: except Air India, every other domestic airline got over 80 percent OTP at Delhi. And except GoAir, every other airline had well over 80 percent on-time performance at Bangalore. At no other major airport in the country is a flight taking off on time such a difficult proposition - it becomes next to impossible at Mumbai.
22/08/16 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

SpiceJet starts flights to Aizawl, Silchar, Gorakhpur and other cities

SpiceJet introduced new flights with focus on the north-eastern states.
SpiceJet will deploy its propeller-driven Q400 small aircraft for the newly devised schedule.
Starting 4th October, it will add new markets like – Silchar, Gorakhpur and Aizawl.
The airline will operate new flights on sectors like Kolkata-Silchar-Guwahati; Kolkata-Aizawl-Guwahati and Kolkata-Gorakhpur-Delhi.
Kolkata-Visakhapatnam-Kolkata flights are effective from 1st November.
The aim is to penetrate the underserved markets within its domestic network and thereby aims to enhance regional connectivity, it said.
“The new schedule will also include additional frequencies with a direct flight on its existing routes of Kolkata-Bagdogra and Kolkata-Guwahati,” said Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP, Commercial, SpiceJet.
22/08/16 Harikrishnan B/RTN.Asia

Even foreign airlines are showing interest in our services: Air India Engineering Services CEO

Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for aircraft and was hived from the parent company Air India as part of turnaround plan. The construction work for its Nagpur MRO commenced in March 2011 and in December 2014, the facility was handed over to AIESL, which began its operations on August 27, 2015. The Air India subsidiary has now secured business from various Indian airlines including Jet Airways and SpiceJet. On AIESL's invitation, dna recently visited their MRO hub in Nagpur. AIESL also has MRO facilities in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata. HR Jagannath, CEO of AIESL, in a freewheeling chat with Shahkar Abidi, spoke about all the facilities offered by AIESL, how he plans to turn it into a self-sustained and profitable firm in next five years, among other things.

Q. You signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with low-cost carrier SpiceJet for its maintenance services. Prior to that, it was Jet Airways. Which other airlines are you planning to rope in as your customer?

A. SpiceJet, at present, has 42 aircraft and another 100 plus are expected to get added in the coming time, which is a very significant number. With SpiceJet, we recently signed a strategic partnership which will be mutually beneficial. Some time back, we did a major check for one of the planes of Jet Airways. We have provided such services in the past to GoAir which included an engine change and repair of landing gear, and we are looking forward to working with them again in future. This work is apart from servicing of planes of our parent company Air India and its other subsidiaries which have a large fleet together and are planning a further addition to it. Apart from Indian airlines, even the foreign carriers are showing a lot of interest in our services; considering the fact that we have a very large setup, best of facilities available in Asia and worldwide, plus at a very competitive cost. For example, recently we did the flap repair work of an airline after it was told by other MROs that it could not be repaired. So all in all, the response has been tremendous so far.
22/08/16 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

Airlines look for Kolkata connection

Kochi: The migrant workforce, particularly from East and North East parts of India, exploring the surging Kerala job market has opened up a possible business avenue for the airline companies - starting direct flight from Kochi to Kolkata. Kochi houses the largest concentration of migrant employees in the state.

Indigo Airlines has already conducted a feasibility study on the Kochi-Kolkata route. Other budget airlines are also exploring ways to tap the potential of Kerala’s growing expatriate market.
“We are the lone player in the sector which takes passengers to Kolkata from Kochi without changing the aircraft although there is a brief halt in Bengaluru. At present there is no direct non-stop flight to Kolkata. All the major players flying to Kolkata have a stopover at either Chennai, Bengaluru or Hyderabad. The passengers will have to board a connection flight at these airports,” a senior official with Indigo told Express. “Though we have conducted a feasibility study on the route and the passengers, we need to wait further to start direct flight services to Kolkata from Kochi. It is a long route. The time consumed to cover the stretch and the high fuel cost is the main stumbling blocks that prevent the airlines from launching direct flight services to Kolkata from here,” he said.
Binoy Peter, director of Centre for Migration and Exclusive Studies, said many migrants can afford taking the flight.

"Many are eager to fly to Kolkata. But the labyrinthine procedures at airports to catch the one-stop flight are forcing them to take the nearly four-day long train journey to north eastern states," said Peter.
22/08/16 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express

Regional connectivity scheme may be delayed

The National Democratic Alliance government’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme (RCS), planned to be operationalised by the year-end, has been delayed and is now expected to take off next year.
The government is currently working on framing a roadmap for the RCS that aims to connect remote areas by operationalising unserved and underserved airports. In the first phase, the government plans to make 60 airports operational over the next three years.
Of the 60 airports in the first phase, 10 are owned by the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and 50 are owned by state governments. Currently, 65% of India’s air traffic is handled through 12 metro airports.
A senior civil aviation ministry official, requesting anonymity, said the final RCS policy will be finalised by the end of this month, but it would take another month to formulate the roadmap for implementing the RCS project.
22/08/16 Sanjay Singh/VCCircle

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport: Employees of ground handler firm threaten fast-unto-death

Mumbai: At least 1,800 employees of Cambata Aviation Private Limited (CAPL), the country’s oldest private ground handler, have threatened a fast-unto-death on Monday at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, demanding payment of pending salaries and policy clearance.
This comes after the workers were almost rendered jobless, following the lack of business with the company. On August 9, the company’s Chief Operating Officer A P Casserly wrote to employees to not report to work, after it lost all the airline ground handling contracts to rivals Celebi and Bird Worldwide Flight Service (BWFS).
Last week, the workers complained against being denied entry inside the air-side premise by security forces after relevant orders from the management. “We have been demanding the payment of salaries, provident funds and policy clearance from the company for many months but the demands were not met. Last week, they even denied us entry inside the premise which indicates we no longer work. We have thus decided to protest and raise our voice,” said Anita C, a Cambata worker.
22/08/16 Indian Express

Tejas chief designer felicitated

Berhampur: Kota Harinarayana, the programme director and chief designer of India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, was accorded a civic reception in his hometown of Berhampur in Odisha on Sunday.

It was the first visit of Mr. Harinarayana to his home in Berhampur after Tejas got inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF). His childhood, schooling and college life was in Berhampur. The civic reception on Sunday in his honour had been jointly organised by former students’ association of City High School of Berhampur, where Mr. Harinarayana had studied, civic organisation Forum for Ganjam and Rotary Club of Behampur. Mr. Harinarayana along with his wife K. Nirmala attended the function. Some teachers of Mr. Harinarayana like M. Jagannath Rao were present on the occasion apart from local MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyaupatnaik, chairperson of Berhampur Development Authority Subash Moharana sub-collector and other dignitaries of the city.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Harinarayana said Indians living anywhere in the country including Berhampur should discard inferiority complex from their minds as they can achieve anything with proper perseverance. According to him Tejas was an example of this.

He reiterated that indigenous Tejas was at par or better than aircrafts of its category produced in any developed country. “It would be able to replace old fighter aircrafts of the country like the MIG”, he added. He hoped that in future light passenger aircrafts would enhance communication link in India.
22/08/16 The Hindu

Airport clearance for each pilgrim ‘takes 20 minutes’

Jeddah: The “electronic track” system at King Abdul Aziz International Airport is helping in the completion of procedures for each pilgrim in just about 18 to 20 minutes, said an official.

“It is not taking more than 20 minutes for each pilgrim from the moment he or she steps out of the aircraft until leaving the airport premises,” said Nabil Haddad, director of Haj and Umrah Affairs at the airport.

According to the performance indicators and evaluation criteria, the application of the electronic track system has achieved a quantum leap in providing services to the pilgrims, he told local media. “The airport has so far received more than 250,000 pilgrims from outside the Kingdom.”

Haddad gave a briefing on the program to welcome the pilgrims overseen by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. He said the program is being followed up under the directions of Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin, with the participation of the six Tawafa establishments.

“This is a kind of extension to what the mutawif used to do to celebrate the arrival of Hajis, receiving them and welcoming them,” he said.
22/08/16 Arab News/

CM’s stand on airport hailed

Pathanamthitta: The State government should write to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), clarifying its stand on the controversial airport project at Aranmula at the earliest, former State Planning Board member, Peelipose Thomas, has said.

He said the government should not make any further delay in cancelling the notification of 2011 declaring Aranmula and surrounding areas as industrial area.

In a statement here on Sunday, Mr. Thomas said the unequivocal stand made by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that the State government would not support the Aranmula airport project was a sigh of relief to the hapless villagers of Aranmula.
22/08/16 The Hindu

IGI not passive to radioactive threat

New Delhi: On May 29, 2015, the cargo terminal at Indira Gandhi International airport had its first radioactive scare. Even though the scare turned out to be false, sources said the first team of respondents arrived more than two-and-a-half-hours late.
This incident triggered a series of meetings and all authorities were roped in to fill in the gaps and ensure fool-proof operations in the future. The level of preparedness was heightened to tackle similar situations in a better manner.
A mock exercise on radiological emergency at IGI airport was planned in June this year by the disaster division of ministry of home affairs. The National Disaster Response Force was made the lead agency to assist district officials to coordinate with other authorities.
An advance coordination meeting in this regard was held at Indira Gandhi International airport on August 10 this year. The 20 stakeholder agencies that participated in the meeting included the district magistrate, Department of Atomic Energy, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, MHA and National Disaster Management Authority.
22/08/16 Times of India

'Name airport after Rani Abbakka'

Mangaluru: Abbakka Utsav Samithi president Dinkar Ullal submitted a representation to Shah urging the Union government to name Mangalore International Airport after Rani Abbakka. Also, at least one train starting from Mangaluru Railway Station should be named after Abbakka, the forum has requested the government in the memorandum.

The Samithi said one circle each in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mangaluru should be named after Abbakka. The life story of Abbakka should be included in primary and high school curriculum. A theme park on Abbakka should be set up on 10 acres of land at Ullal, the Samithi has demanded.

Earlier, Shah flagged off the Tiranga Yatre bike rally at Pumpwell Circle. He rode pillion with MP Nalin Kumar Kateel. About 400 bikes participated in the rally. The Yuva Morcha members from Mangaluru North and South constituencies participated in the  rally. Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and BJP State President B S Yeddyurappa also took part in the rally.

Shah also visited BJP district office in the city and planted a sapling on its premises. The party workers kept aside the BJP symbol and flag and held only national tri-colour flag throughout the programme.
22/08/16 Deccan Herald

Air Intelligence Unit recovers gold bars worth over Rs. 64 lakhs from woman passenger

New Delhi: Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officers on Monday confirmed that they had taken a woman passenger travelling from Dubai to New Delhi into their custody after they retrieved gold bars from her possession.

A statement issued by the AIU said that on the intervening night of August 21 and August 22, AIU officers, on suspicion, intercepted a lady passenger identified as Farhat Unnisa, a resident of Hyderabad holding Indian passport No. P 3040813 after she disembarked from Jet Airways Flight. No. 9W 543 from Dubai.

The AIU statement said that on examination of Unnisa, they recovered gold bars weighing two kilograms and 160 grams valued at Rs 64,38,960/-.

They said the gold bars were concealed inside the inner garments worn by the passenger.
22/08/16 ANI/Business Standard

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mid-air mishap averted after SpiceJet aircraft comes close to Emirates plane

New Delhi: A mid-air mishap was averted due to an auto generated warning after a SpiceJet aircraft came in close proximity of an overflying Emirates plane in the Indian airspace.
The incident which occurred on August 11, involving SpiceJet Hyderabad flight from Chennai (SG 511) and Emirates’ Dubai-bound Brisbane flight (EK 433), is currently being investigated by the aviation regulator, DGCA sources said.
Earlier this month, a mid-air collision between two IndiGo planes, carrying over 225 passengers and crew, was averted over Dhaka airspace after the pilot of one of the flights steered away his aircraft to a safe distance when they came close to each other.
According to sources, SpiceJet flight SG 511 was cleared for 34,000 ft and advised to standby to climb further.
“However, SG 511 climbed above the permitted level without clearance. It was then asked to maintain 35,000 ft but the aircraft overshot by a 1,000 ft, a level that EK 433 was maintaining,” they said.
This forced the Emirates flight to climb further and increase separation, with both the aircraft receiving TCAS alert, sources said.
“Emirates can confirm that flight EK433 Brisbane to Dubai on August 11, whilst in Indian airspace, received indications of proximity traffic. The flight crew correctly followed the on board system guidance to remain clear, following which they reported the occurrence to Air Traffic Control.
“At no time were passengers in any danger. The safety of our passengers and crew as always is our top priority,” Emirates said in a statement.
However, according to SpiceJet sources, the ATC instructed it to climb and maintain 36,000 ft due to traffic at 37,000 level but “while passing flight level 35,000, ATC instructed the pilot to stop climb. By that time the aircraft had climbed to 35,400 feet. Our flight descended back to 35,000, and during which SpiceJet aircraft got descend resolution advisory.”
21/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

Air India offers a chance to get back your expired miles

Air India has launched a new scheme to help passengers extend miles that have lapsed since 2008. The milies can be extended at a rate of Rs 0.60 per mile for a shelf life of six months from the date of extension.

“This scheme is effective for a window of two months only from August 2 till September 30,” said an AI official.

“Members may opt for extension of expired miles or part thereof that would be extended for a shelf life window of six months for a maximum validity of 31 Mar 2017 whichever falls earlier. If the member resides outside India, the calculated amount in Rupees shall be converted into local currency and payment obtained. Same may be reflected at the time of miles in the system page,” the airline said.
20/08/16  DefenceAviationPost

Deepika Padukone is now the face of Vistara!

Vistara, which is a joint venture between Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines, has announced Deepika Padukone as its brand ambassador. Vistara is all set to launch its new multimedia campaign on August 22, with Deepika as the face of the brand.

Deepika has already shot for the television commercial for three days and the airline has given some glimpses of the campaign with the hashtag #WhichStar on social media platforms. The TVC revolves around the feeling of joy and wonder that one feels on flying for the first time. Deepika will be showcasing the brand promise which talks about looking forward to flying again.

Speaking about her association with Vistara, Deepika Padukone said, “It is a matter of great pride for me to be associated with Vistara, a brand that is reliable, warm and friendly; a brand that carries the lineage of Tata and Singapore Airlines. Vistara actually makes me look forward to flying again, like I did when I was a child and every flight was a wonder. The new TVC aims to capture that feeling in a charming and evocative manner."

Through this campaign, Vistara wishes to reach out to its core audience and make the brand a household name. Mr. Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara said, “We believe the journey should be as enjoyable as the destination. Our new brand campaign with Deepika Padukone highlights the unique feeling of flying Vistara. Through this campaign, she has brought to life the special spark of happiness that people feel when they fly with Vistara."
21/08/16 DNA

Air Passengers Association of India: 25 years of service to customers

Chennai: Rewind to 24 December 1989, Mumbai. Several passengers waiting to board the Indian Airlines flight at Mumbai airport were informed that their flight to Chennai had been delayed. The crew told the passengers that the flight may not take off for a while owing to a technical snag.

The problem the passengers initially assumed would be resolved soon prolonged up to 27 hours. The harrowing experience prompted D. Sudhakara Reddy from Chennai to start the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI).

The association was started in November 1990 with an aim to protect passengers’ interests, redress their grievances and improve air connectivity. Today, the association celebrates 25 years of its existence.

“At that time, one of our priorities was to persuade the government to permit private enterprises to operate scheduled airlines. This was not only to ensure better fares for passengers were available to fly but also to have more options to fly. Unlike now, when there are so many flights on a given day to a city, back then, the options were limited,” Mr. Reddy said.

He recollects his meeting with former PM P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991 for submitting a memorandum on issues related to civil aviation.

For two decades now, the APAI intervened in various cases to help out passengers. “For instance, few years ago, the baggage of a family travelling from the U.S. to Chennai via Frankfurt was misplaced by a private airline. They were upset as it contained many valuables and jewellery.

“Not only did we intervene and help them get their baggage soon, we also got them a huge compensation from the airline and free business class tickets,” Mr. Reddy said.

In another case in Hyderabad eight years ago, when an Air India flight was delayed and passengers were not given food for hours, the APAI interfered and solved the issue. Since then, the APAI has also tried to push for passenger welfare schemes and oppose the ones that act against their interests.

“We have been persistently opposing the 5/20 rule [five years of domestic operations and 30 aircraft to fly in the international market] and also gave various recommendations for the new civil aviation policy,” Mr. Reddy said.
21/08/16 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

GoAir to hire 500 personnel, expand fleet to 26 planes

New Delhi: GoAir plans to hire 500 personnel, including pilots, in the coming months as the budget carrier prepares to expand its aircraft fleet and fly overseas next year.Gearing up to implement its ambitious expansion plans, the Wadia group carrier is looking to have 26 aircraft by end of March next year from the current fleet strength of 21, a senior official said.The airline's CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said plans are on for listing and it would happen at the "right time"."We will expand our fleet by up to 26 aircraft by the end of March next year. We need to build up for the expansion that we are going for. Every aircraft (inducted) needs 100 increase (in manpower) approximately. So we will naturally hire," he told PTI.
This would translate to hiring requirement of at least 500 personnel, including a significant number of pilots.
At present, GoAir's head count is around 2,300, Prock-Schauer said.
21/08/16 PTI/Times of India

Helicopter makes emergency landing after developing snag

Ghaziabad: A helicopter en route to Agra from Safdarjung airport in Delhi today made an emergency landing in the agricultural fields in Niwari village here due to a technical snag.
A chopper of Pawan Hans Limited today made an emergency landing in the fields of Firozpur Kaithwari at about 11.27 AM, Superintendent of Police (Rural) said, adding it was carrying staff members S K Sharma, Kirshna Kumar and Raj Kumar Jadhav.
The captain S Kumar observed some technical flaw in the chopper near Modinagar area and he immediately contacted the air traffic control and sought permission for emergency landing. After safe landing, engineers of the company reached the spot to repair the fault, he said.
20/08/16 PTI/India Today

TAL to serve Boeing and Airbus from Mihan

Nagpur: Tata Group's TAL Manufacturing Solutions, which started off as a unit to make floor beams for Boeing Dreamliners in Mihan, inaugurated a facility for making spares to be used in Airbus' aircraft, on Saturday.
The event coincided with a function to deliver the 5000th floor beam to Boeing. This makes TAL probably the only unit which is catering to both Boeing and Airbus, the two Aviation giants and also rivals, under a single roof. The supply to Airbus will be through Switzerland-based Ruag Aviation, a tier one supplier to the aircraft maker.
The ceremony was attended by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and union minister for surface transport as well as Member of Parliament (MP) from Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari.
TAL, which is a subsidiary of Tata Motors, eyes to take its turnover to Rs1,000 crore in the next five years as against the current Rs200 crore. A chunk of the business is expected from the Mihan plant.
21/08/16 Shishir Arya/Times of India

Andhra Pradesh to have first private sector Light Combat Aircraft manufacturing unit

In a first in the private sector, a weapons integration unit to manufacture Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will be set up in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. The unit is estimated to cost Rs. 2,135 crore.
UK-based Wem Technologies Private Limited has entered a partnership with Lockheed Martin — the largest defence, aerospace and security company in the US — to build the facility, said Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

"We have decided to allot 350 acres of land for this facility spread over Vatluru and Bhogapuram villages near Eluru in West Godavari district. In the first phase, they will invest Rs. 635 crore and provide employment to 650 persons. In all, 2,510 jobs will be created when the facility becomes fully operational," the CM said in a press conference.
Wem has gained orders valued at Rs. 560 crore, Naidu added.
21/08/16 PTI/IBTimes

Sonowal thanks SpiceJet for new flights

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today thanked SpiceJet for enhancing its air frequency to the state and Aizawl by starting new daily flights connecting the North Eastern region with Kolkata.
SpiceJet has decided to launch new daily flights connecting Silchar with Kolkata and Guwahati, and Guwahati with Aizawl from October 4, 2016.
"Your decision to enhance air connectivity between North East and other parts of the country will serve as a fillip to the tourism potential of Assam and other North Eastern States," Sonowal said in a message to SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.
20/08/16 PTI/India Today

Free air travel for Olympic winners PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik!

The Olympic bronze and silver medal winners have a lot to cheer. After the state governments announced cash rewards, Air India, too, has decided to give free business class air tickets to the silver medallist P V Sindhu and bronze medallist Sakshi Malik across its network. While Malik has got two business class tickets, Sindhu and her coach, Pullela Gopichand too have been given six-business class free travel.
In a letter, the National Carrier’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) not only congratulated Malik, but also stated that he was touched by the fact that she wanted to travel in a plane. The letter further stated, “As a mark of our recognition and gratitude to your outstanding achievement at the Rio Olympics, Air India is indeed proud to offer you (for you and your companion) return business class tickets between any two destinations on the entire Air India network, which will be valid for a year.”
Sindhu, who won the first silver medal for the country in badminton, was offered six business class tickets anywhere in the domestic sector. In both cases, the tickets will be valid for a year. The airline will be giving away these tickets to the players at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport once they return.
21/08/16 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Boeing, Tatas put Nagpur on global aviation map: CM Devendra Fadnavis

Nagpur: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said Nagpur is on the global map because of aviation company Boeing and the Tata Group.
“It is a proud moment for all of us that some key parts for a Boeing aircraft are manufactured in the city,” Fadnavis said, adding with the help of Tata Group, MIHAN has put the country on the global aviation map.
The chief minister dispatched the 5000th ‘beam’ from TAL Manufacturing Solutions to Boeing at a function at MIHAN Nagpur. TAL is a Tata Group entity.
“City-based based TAL is manufacturing major parts for Boeing aircraft and Airbus also. It shows that Nagpur and Vidarbha region has talent along with the best human resources,” Fadnavis said.
“When I was at Boeing’s headquarters in US, I was told that this part (beam) came from Nagpur. It was a proud moment for me. TAL would be the brand ambassador of the country in the aerospace sector,” he said.
He also announced that Nagpur will become a cargo logistic hub shortly and all the related processes will be completed by this month end.
20/08/16 PTI/Indian Express

Another daily flight from city to Dubai from October 30

Mangaluru: Bridging the gap between Dubai and Mangaluru further, another daily flight will be introduced between the two cities from October 30. It will be the fourth daily flight between the two. According to J.T. Radhakrishna, director, Mangaluru International Airport, SpiceJet will introduce the new flight.

It will depart Mangaluru daily at 12.20 a.m. The flight will arrive here at 6.15 p.m. on five days. On Mondays and Saturdays, it will arrive at 8.30 a.m. The private carrier has already begun the booking, he said.

Mr. Radhakrishna said that when the new flight services became operational the airport here would have eight daily flights with 16 operations in the international sector for different West Asian destinations. In addition, the airport now handled 15 daily domestic flights with 30 operations.
21/08/16 The Hindu

Minister for better facilities to flyers in airport

Pune: Civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha on Saturday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials to improve passenger facilities and operational capacity of the Lohegaon airport, handling close to 60 lakh flyers annually.
Sinha visited the airport to review various services and discussed scope for improvements, including the condition of airport washrooms, with the officials. MP Anil Shirole, heading the Pune Airport Advisory Committee, took the minister around the facility. Airport director Ajay Kumar and other officials accompanied them.
Sinha later tweeted, "Detailed review of #Pune airport - reviewed facilities for passengers and discussed scope for improvements."
Responding to specific complaints about the poor condition of toilets inside the airport highlighted by the social media users, Sinha retweeted, "I visited all the facilities, including the toilets. We have noted all the issues and will be following up."
Providing more details about the visit of the minister, airport director Ajay Kumar told TOI, "The minister expressed serious concern over the size of the airport and suggested short, medium and long-term actions to improve its operational capacity. He inspected all the facilities, including the toilets, personally and offered suggestions. We also took him for a review of the upcoming services and the site of the new airport."
21/08/16 Times of India

MCCIA raises a stink over airport toilets

As a defence airport, Pune International Airport has been the bane of air travellers passing through its cramped spaces and restricted timings. While travellers have resigned themselves to these quirks, they are, however, unable to accept the airport's inability to provide as basic an amenity as clean washrooms. Their angst has been registered at various forums, particularly social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. And now, the stench got so heavy that the city's Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), has felt compelled to intervene on the issue.

When the Pune Airport Co-ordination Committee, helmed by K Hemlata, regional executive director for Western Region, Airports Authority of India (AAI), met on Thursday, the chamber's director general, Anant Sardeshmukh, broached the issue with a certain vigour. "I brought into focus the stark difference in the maintenance of Terminals 1 and 2. While Terminal 1, since its makeover, has been getting some attention, the other terminal is being ignored and passengers have to suffer unclean toilets and other inadequate amenities, including seating," he informed.

With the number of flights in and out of the city rising, the airport has been seeing a rise in its footfall, which has gone up from 41.91 lakh per annum in 2014- 15 to 54.18 lakh in the last financial year. While these numbers are far lower than that of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, the amenities in this airport are already stretched and it is telling on the passenger experience.
21/08/16 Sushant Ranjan/Pune Mirror

Bomb scare at Ranchi airport

Ranchi: An unclaimed bag in the parking zone of Birsa Munda airport created panic among fliers and state police on Saturday morning. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials informed the district police who evacuated the parking area before cordoning it.
City SP Kaushal Kishore said a bomb detection and disposal squad of the Jharkhand Jaguar arrived on time and found that the bag contained some pieces of iron. "It seems to be the work of a mischief monger because the bag does not seem to belong to a flyer," said the city SP. The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) team conducted a preliminary reconnaissance of the situation and helped the bomb disposal team in its operations.
The airport security was already on alert because of Independence Day celebrations and disturbances in Kashmir.
The cordoned area attracted many onlookers who were interested to see the rescue operation. Many visitors idling around the visitors' lounge came outside to see what was going on. The people waiting outside the airport terminal building gave a hard time to the police who tried to control the crowd.
21/08/16 Alok K N Mishra/Times of India

Russia keen to tap India as Global Aeronautics manufacturing base

Russia is ready to tap India as a global aeronautics manufacturing base and is willing to partner local firms in developing their technological and production capabilities in the aviation sector, an official representing a delegation from the country said during bilateral talks held here.

India, on its part, expressed eagerness to jointly develop iron ore and coal mines in Russian territory and sought technical inputs on producing high-grade cold-rolled, grain-oriented steel, typically used in power transmission equipment.

Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion in the ministry of commerce and industry, led the bilateral talks held under the aegis of an India-Russia working group on modernization and industrial co-operation. The Russian delegation was headed by the deputy minister of industry and trade Alexander Potapov.
While both sides acknowledged their mutual interest in expanding bilateral cooperation between Russian and Indian companies in different sectors, more focused discussions were held on modernization, mining, fertilizers and civil aviation.
20/08/16 Northlines

Now an APP for air travellers grievances

New Delhi: There's good news for harried air travellers as they will soon be able to lodge complaints against airlines or airports on their mobile apps. Minister of state for aviation Jayant Sinha, who has resolved hundreds of flyer grievances by re-tweeting to airlines passenger complaints tweeted to him, is finalizing "air seva" portal for passengers.

Air travellers will be able to register their complaints on this portal. "A mobile app for `air seva' is also being developed and flyers will be able to register their complaints on the go. We will shortly launch this portal and mobile app. Ensuring passengers get the care they deserve as consumers is a key priority for us," Sinha told TOI.
20/08/16 Mumbai Mirror

AAI to offer space for opening branded stores at Raipur airport

Raipur: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will be providing space to private parties for opening up branded Electronics, Mobile and Pearl shops in the new integrated terminal building at the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur, officials informed.

Notably, in the month of June this year, Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand had also asked State's Civil Aviation officials to obtain a report from all the State's tour operators and send it to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to seek upgradation of the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur as a  ‘Customs Airport’

The move would help in getting  Charter aircraft services started from the airport, he had stated.
21/08/16 Daily Pioneer

8 airport loaders held for stealing from flyer luggage

Chennai: Eight loaders at the airport were arrested by police on Saturday for stealing money and valuables belonging to passengers.
Police said the gang would target pieces of luggage that could be opened easily or slit open bags and suitcases belonging to flyers who arrived at or departed from the international terminal.
Police were alerted by Central Industrial Security Force personnel of the gang comprising Jayaprakash, Rajesh, Mahesh, Naveen, Saravanan, Vadivelu, Ranjith and Elango. Police said the gang took advantage of the lack of security and CCTV cameras in some areas of the airport. Most of their loot - that they either shared or sold - included expensive watches, cameras, high-end mobile phones, laptops, perfumes and electrical appliances.
21/08/16 Times of India