Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Won't rule out fundraising to reduce cost of debt: Jet Airways

Jet Airways posted a muted quarter with the bottomline getting a boost from higher other income even as fuel, employee and other costs remain elevated.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Amit Agarwal, CFO, Jet Airways spoke about the latest happenings in his company and sector from the side-lines of the PhillipCapital Conference.

Jet Airwyas has been fundamentally focused on the domestic and international market. We have seen that the domestic market continue to improve whereas faced challenges in international market especially in Gulf area in terms of volumes and yields, he said.

Focus on primary growth in domestic market, he added.

We have increased our flights from Bengaluru-Amsterdam-Chennai and from Mumbai-London, said Agarwal.

Over the last two to two-and-a-half years, we have been able to reduce the debt by more than Rs 2,800 crore. That continues to be our focus, he said.
We could not pass the fuel increases to the customers in the Gulf region and we are working hard on the aspects of how to improvise on the revenue generating opportunities into Gulf market to stabilise further, he further mentioned.

He expects to see these movements but cannot give any guidance about the next quarter’s profitability.

On infrastructure growth, he said, “We believe very clearly that till such time the infrastructure development growth happens, it is very difficult to achieve that growth”.
19/09/17 moneycontrol

Jet Airways may find it tough to repay Rs 8000 cr debt, says Edelweiss, invokes Spicejet, Indigo profit

New Delhi: With lower revenue per available seat per kilometre (RASK) compared to its peers than cost incurred, along with stagnant revenue from international operations and likelihood of cost increase in future due to increase in the fleet size, Jet Airways may find it difficult to repay its huge debt of around Rs 8,000 crore and maintain profitability in coming quarters, brokerage firm Edelweiss said in its note on the company. “Owing to high cost structure (cost per ASK ex-fuel 60% higher than Indigo, 25% higher than SpiceJet), Jet Airways continued to clock negative unit cost (RASK-CASK) which is loss of Rs 0.1 per kilometre compared to the profit of Rs 0.6 per kilometre for IndiGo and Rs 0.3 per kilometre for SpiceJet. We believe, this significantly limits its ability to repay large debt Rs 8,100 crore,” Edelweiss noted in its report.
Almost 73% of the the total debt of the airline is dollar denominated. During April-June FY18, the airline reported an increase in total expenses due to rise in fuel bill and employee costs. This took a toll on the EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation, and restructuring or rent costs) which decreased by 2.14% y-o-y to Rs 1,005 crore. As a result of slower-than-expected growth in the international business, especially due to the subdued demand in the Gulf sector, the operating parameters also suffered during the quarter.
19/09/17 Malyaben Ghosh/Financial Express

India Needs Rs 3-4 Lakh Cr Investment In Aviation: Jayant Sinha

New Delhi: India would need Rs 3-4 lakh crore investment in aviation infrastructure in the next 10-15 years to reach 50 crore passenger trips, like China and the US, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Tuesday.

“We will need Rs 3-4 lakh crore investment in airports in the next 10-15 years. China today has got 50 crore passenger trips even if they have a high speed rail network. The US too has 90 crore passenger trips,” said Sinha at the unveiling of the Economic Times Infra Visionaries Coffee Table Book.

Stating that investments in the aviation sector had increased ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, Sinha said in the fiscal year 2014-15, 10 crore passengers travelled in planes, which increased to 16 crore in 2015-16.

“We have grown 16-17 per cent in the last three years. In 2017, we grew 15.6 per cent. India will continue to grow 15-16 per cent. We are doubling the total growth and expect to have 20 crore passengers in 2018,” said Sinha.
“We have a commercial flight order of 650. No other country has ordered more than India,” said Sinha.

He said during the previous governments, only one airport was added because of which India in its 70 years of independence had only 75 airports.
19/09/17 IANS/Odishatv.in

Airport Authority of India moots new international airport in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Keeping an eye on the rising air traffic in the country, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has proposed a new greenfield international airport in Odisha.

Due to certain limitations in the expansion of the Biju Patnaik International Airport, building a new airport is significant to handle the potential surge in air traffic in future.

The AAI has asked the state government to identify suitable land for the development of the new airport. The approximate land requirement for the new project is around 1,500-2,000 acres. The preferred location is in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar.

The airport proposed to be established within 20-30 km of Bhubaneswar, could be set up on the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

"After the state government identifies the land, we will do the technical feasibility study", said an AAI official.

The present airport has no scope for expanding the existing runway, stretching up to 2,742 meters. Wide-bodied planes are unable to land at the city airport. The new airport would be equipped to handle jumbo jets like Boeing 777 and Boeing 747," said the official.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has stepped up its efforts to locate a suitable site for the proposed project.

"Our first priority is to identify suitable land. AAI has not spelt out investment plans for the proposed airport. There is a possibility of developing it on the PPP mode. This would be the airport for the future, catering to the traffic requirement of the state for the next 15-20 years and beyond", said a senior government official.
19/091/7 Jayajit Dash & Niramalya Behera/Business Standard

Security scare at Palam airport

New Delhi: Security at the Palam airport, a high-security zone, went for a toss when a pilot of an aircraft complained of being distracted by a green coloured laser beam when he was in the process of landing the Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.

According to wing commander Ravi Abraham, the pilot of the aircraft from Chandigarh to Delhi, the IAF aircraft was carrying sophisticated equipment. He immediately complained to the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) that a beam was flashed for 10 to 15 seconds, which had distracted him.

The complaint was quickly circulated to the concerned agencies, who swung into action to find out the source of the laser light.

The pilot stated that the incident took place when the flight no AF-441 was about to land and reached a distance of 3.8 nautical miles before the runway no. 27 around 8.33 pm. Such incidents, if not checked, could lead to dangerous situations, resulting in endangering the safety and security of passenger/crew and the aircraft as well.

Talking to this newspaper, he said: “It was a routine flight and there was some sophisticated equipment in the flight. Such distractions could be dangerous; an unwanted situation can take place in such times.”
19/09/17 Sunil Thapliyal/Asian Age

Kerala's Kannur airport to be operational in September

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kannur International airport coming up at Mattanur in the northern part of the state would be ready for operation in September 2018, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said today.

Addressing the 8th general body meeting of the Kannur International Airport Ltd here, Vijayan said good progress has been made in the work of the airport, the fourth in the state.

International and domestic airline firms have expressed interest to operate from the airport, he said.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has accorded permission for Jet Airways to conduct a service to Abu Dhabi and Goair to Dammam, he said.

It has also decided to expand the length of runway to 4000 metres from 3050 metres and steps for acquiring land for the same was progressing, the chief minister said.
19/09/17 PTI

We Can't Believe Women Pilots Still Have to Deal with This Mad Men-Era Bulls***

Unless you happened to be flying on March 8, when several airlines — including Air India and EasyJet — operated all-female flight crews in token acknowledgement of International Women's Day, it's very likely that the last plane you were on was flown by a man. Worldwide, only three percent of pilots are women and only a total of 450 women are captains, a number that, as The Telegraph points out "could easily fit into an Airbus A380."

So why are so few women entering the profession? Could it be that they (and we) are conditioned to believe that flying a plane is a man's job?

In a 2014 poll of 2,000 women conducted by British Airways, 63 percent said that when they were growing up, they were put off the idea of becoming a pilot "for reasons including a lack of visible role models and being told it was a man’s job." That's according to the Guardian, which spoke to several pilots whose experiences support the poll's findings.

"Sabeena Yosuf, a captain for BMI, said her careers advisor told her to think about something else when she said she wanted to be a pilot." Easyjet captain Marnie Irwin-Munns added: “I went to give a talk at a school and the teacher said, ‘Oh the boys will love this.’ I said, ‘The girls will too!’”

Stories of discrimination aimed at the early female flight pioneers abound. Yvonne Pope Sintes, who became the U.K.'s first commercial pilot in 1972, told the BBC about the regressive attitudes she came up against when "one of the pilots said he would resign if a woman joined, but fortunately he didn't." Emily Howell Warner, who was told that "girls don’t fly jets," but the became first female captain in the U.S. in 1976, recalls an early moment in her career when a captain told her, "I’m flying today, so don’t touch anything on the airplane."

Things hadn't improved by 1978 when Air Canada's first female pilot was asked by a TV reporter: “How do you manage to fly despite the ravages of pre-menstrual tension?”

Unfortunately things haven't gotten a whole lot better since. An EasyJet pilot recently told the Telegraph,“I’ve been asked where the captain is. You’re looking at her, I say.”

Also witness, as you cringe, this Daily Mail op-ed in which the writer (a woman) divulges her prejudice against female pilots on the grounds that "strong men" make her feel safe. The writer evokes the old menstruation cliche and claims that women "are more prone to being flustered." With such sexist articles being published in widely read publications, it might make you wonder how gender stereotypes can ever be challenged.
18/09/17 Karen Gardner/Jet Set

New Delhi-bound Indigo flight makes ‘emergency return’ to Srinagar Airport

A flight of Indigo airlines on Monday had to make an emergency return to Srinagar International Airport soon after taking off due to “technical problem.”
Sources said the New Delhi bound Indigo flight 6E-694 made an emergency return to the minutes after it took off from the Srinagar Airport. However, authorities downplayed the issue claiming it was not an emergency situation but a precautionary measure due to some “technical issue.”
Soon after the Indigo flight took off, we were informed that the flight will make return to Srinagar Airport. We learnt the emergency return was made after pilot detected technical problem in the flight,” one of the passengers told Greater Kashmir.
He said most of the passengers onboard were in fear. “These were terrible moments. We were not sure if the flight would land safely,” said another passenger, who wished not to be named.
A group of passengers said that they had refused to again board the flight and requested authorities to arrange alternative flight. “However, the request was turned down. It is irresponsible and negligent behavior of the company. The safety of passengers must be its priority. How they had failed to check the quantity of fuel. We were lucky that the fuel didn’t exhaust mid air,” they said.  
19/09/17 Mudasir Yaqoob/Greater Kashmir

IndiGo breathes easy as Pratt & Whitney delivers 2 Neo engines for A320s

Mumbai: American engine-maker Pratt & Whitney has started supplying new engines to its largest customer in the country, IndiGo, helping it put back into operations some of the grounded A320 Neo planes.
The Gurgaon-based airline has taken off the ground two A320 Neos after it has received two new engines from P&W this month and more such grounded aircraft are expected to resume flying soon as it expects new engine deliveries to improve, official sources said.
Recurring engine glitches have forced the airline to ground nine of its A320 Neos and cancel over 600 flights between late June and early July. The airline currently has 140 A320s, of which 23 are P&W engine-powered A320 Neos.
"Pratt & Whitney (P&W) has supplied two new engines to IndiGo, following which two of its eight grounded A320 Noes have resumed flight," a source told here.
Queries sent to both IndiGo and P&W seeking confirmation on the issue remained un ..
Queries sent to both IndiGo and P&W seeking confirmation on the issue remained unanswered.
The largest airline had taken off nine A320 Neos from its fleet in the June quarter owing to engine issues. However, one of these planes was made operational later. As of today, only six A320 Neos are grounded, said another source in the civil aviation authority.
Indigo had cancelled 667 flights in 13 days between June 21 and July 3 due to grounding of some planes. While 504 flights were cancelled between June 21 and June 30, the remaining 163 were cancelled on the first three days of July.
19/09/17 PTI/Economic Times

KIA has an impressive 80% on-time reccord

Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) – the third-busiest airport in the country – had an impressive On-Time Performance (OTP) for the last eight months.

Apart from January and February, when fog plays a determining role in flight schedules, the OTP percentage as far as departures were concerned was in the mid-80s. While the departure OPT percentage during January and February was 70 and 77 per cent respectively, in the subsequent months, the percentage was in the mid-80s, as per Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) OTP reports. During June and August, the OTP reached a high of 86 per cent.

Similarly, the arrival OTP was 62 and 66 per cent respectively during the first two months of the year and the percentage gradually picked up in the subsequent months. During the last three months – June, July and August – the OTP arrival was 75, 74 and 77 per cent respectively.

Looking at the airline-wise departure OPT percentage during August, Indigo recorded the best OTP ranking among the eight domestic carriers with 92 per cent followed by AirAsia India with 91 per cent and GoAir with 90 per cent. Vistara, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Air India had a lower percentage.

According to the airline-wise departure OPT percentage for August, Truejet had the highest ranking followed by AirAsia India and Indigo.
19/09/17 Hemanth C S/Bangalore Mirror

Officials to Investigate Air India Plane's Collision With GSE

No one was injured when an Air India aircraft collided with a piece of ground support equipment at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to a report by India Today.

According to the report, the inbound plane from Vadodara landed in Delhi Friday and was taxiing toward a parking bay when the accident occurred. The report stated one of the plane's engines collided with a truck carrying a ground-based cooling unit.

The airline has constituted a two-member high-level committee to investigate the incident, according to the report, noting a similar incident occurred last month when one of the wings of Ethiopian Airlines hit an Air India flight.
19/09/17 India Today

AirAsia Launches New Routes; Tickets Starting At Rs 2,229

AirAsia India is set to launch daily direct flights connecting Ranchi. The airline will operate daily flights from Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad to Ranchi from October 7, 2017, according to AirAsia India's website "Launching daily direct flights! Fly from Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar & Hyderabad to Ranchi," AirAsia said. Flyers are required to make advance bookings for tickets of the new direct flights - Bengaluru-Ranchi, Bhubaneswar-Ranchi and Hyderabad-Ranchi, according to AirAsia India. In a limited-period promotional scheme, AirAsia India is offering all-inclusive tickets starting at Rs. 2,299 on its new direct flights connecting Ranchi, according to its website. The fares are applicable on travel between October 7, 2017 and November 21, 2018, AirAsia noted.

Under the scheme, AirAsia India is offering tickets starting at Rs. 2,299 on flights between Ranchi and Bhubaneswar. According to AirAsia's bookings portal, tickets for a Bhubaneswar-Ranchi flight on October 7 were available for bookings at Rs. 2,299 on Tuesday.
19/09/17 NDTV

President Kovind to inaugurate Shirdi airport on Oct. 1

Jamshedpur: Maharashtra government is trying its best have the Shirdi airport inaugurated by President Ramnath Kovind. According to sources, President Kovind will inaugurate the Sai Baba Samadhi Shatabdi Mahotsav on October 1 and the same day the airport will be opened. On the occasion chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will also be present.

MADC vice president and managing director Suresh Kakani said that we will get permission from civil aviation to start flight service in the next four to five days from the Shirdi airport. MADC has spent Rs 300 crore for the development of the airport for which Rs 50 crore has been provided by the Sai Baba Sasthan.
18/09/17 Avenue Mail

Bareilly may get ‘wings’ by year-end if project work is done’

Bareilly: Sounding optimistic at the pace of the much awaited civil enclave project, district magistrate RV Singh sounded confident that operation of flights would commence by the year- end. He asserted that flight operations could begin with the bare minimum infrastructure which would be upgraded in due time.
“As the airport is already operational under Indian Air Force, we need only a space where flyers can stay for their luggage scanning and to complete other necessary formalities. Construction of a boundary wall is in full swing already. Now, it is up to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) when they start work to construct a passengers’ lounge and VIP lounge over there. Once the structure is erected, from the very next day, commercial flights can take off from Bareilly,” the DM said.
City magistrate UP Singh said once the construction of passengers’ lounge starts, it would take barely two months to complete it.
“Last week, on September 13, special secretary, civil aviation, had visited the Trishul IAF base to take stock for commercial flight operation. Besides, operational manager of Jet Airways has also visited the airport. They were convinced that flights may be started from here as soon as the passengers’ lounge is completed,” the city magistrate said, who was in attendance at Trishul airbase during the visit of the special secretary and Jet Airways officials.
18/09/17 Pankul Sharma/Times of India

Aviation experts suggest components storage facility at Lohegaon airport

Pune: Flight delays caused by a sudden malfunction of a component have brought to fore the need for carriers to stock critical spares at the airport, aviation experts and analysts said.
Sources in different airlines operating from Pune said bigger centres like Mumbai, Delhi have such stores and with the expansion of the Pune airport a similar arrangement can be expected.
"Flights have been delayed due to technical glitches.In Pune, the current space doesn't allow for creation of proper stores in which some basic spare parts can be kept.However, with the airport expanding and plans to increase the size of the apron area on the anvil in addition to the construction of a new terminal building, provisions for the same might be made in the future," an airline official told TOI.
When contacted, Pune airport director Ajay Kumar said, "Aircraft maintenance is not dependent on spare space. One should contact the airlines," he replied in a WhatsApp message. Aviation expert Dhairyhil Vandekar, who has ser ashil Vandekar, who has served as the station manager of Air India in Pune airport, said he had raised the issue long ago and contacted Pune MP Anil Shirole about it.
19/09/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Panel set up to buy Jewar airport land

Greater Noida: An eight-member committee has been set up by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) to acquire land for the sanctioned international airport in Jewar. The Authority, which is the nodal agency for the project, is, meanwhile, awaiting a nod from the state government regarding the funds required for land acquisition. It needs at least Rs 3,000 crore for the first phase of the project.
Officials said the committee was formed by the Authority last week and it includes an officer on special duty, two tehsildars, a senior project manager, a senior planning manager, a revenue officer and two lekhpals. The panel will initiate acquisition of land for the project in three phases.
"The airport is to be developed in three phases across 3,000 hectares of land. In the first phase of the project, about 1,250 hectares of land will be required. To acquire this land, YEIDA will require about Rs 3,000 crore. This committee will do its homework to ensure the earmarked land is free from any dispute and can be acquired immediately without any delay as soon as we get a go-ahead from the state government," Amarnath Upadhyay, additional CEO (ACEO), YEIDA, told TOI.
YEIDA is, however, yet to get a final approval from the state government for the funds required for land acquisition. An in-principal approval has already been obtained from two central government agencies — Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) and NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) — for a loan towards the project.
19/09/17 Vandana Keelor/Times of India

AAI yet to allot slots for chartered flights at Goa airport

Panaji: With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) yet to decide on allotment of slots for the chartered flights at the Goa airport, the operators bringing in tourists for this beach destination are left in a quandary.
The tourist season in the coastal state is fast approaching and the first chartered flight carrying holiday- makers is expected to arrive in the first week of October.
“The season of chartered flights is supposed to start from the first week of October. However, the AAI is yet to allot them the slots for these flights,” Travel and Tourism Association of Goa President Savio Messiah told PTI.
He said in absence of dedicated slots, the flight operators are apprehensive about getting tickets booked by passengers.
Messiah said the slots were supposed to be allotted in the first week of September, but the chartered flight operators are still waiting to hear from the AAI in this regard.
19/09/17 PTI/India.com

CCI rejects complaint against air cargo agents' body

New Delhi:The Competition Commission has dismissed allegations of unfair business practices made against Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) and its office bearers with regard to implementation of Cargo Accounts Settlement System.

The complaint was filed by International Air Transport Association (IATA).

It was alleged that ACAAI and its office bearers (opposite parties) were colluding and collectively boycotting business with airlines that sought to implement Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS) -- a web-based online billing and settlement system -- in India.

It was further alleged that the conduct of the opposite parties limited the supply of air cargo transportation services in India in blatant contravention of Section 3 of the Competition Act.

Section 3 pertains to anti-competitive agreements.

Noting that IATA "has failed to furnish any material that could prima facie suggest an agreement" amongst the opposite parties, CCI said in an order, dated September 12, that no prima facie case of contravention of the provisions of Section 3 of the Act is made out against ACAAI and its office bearers.
19/09/17 Outlook

Shanties close to airport removed yet again

Vasco: After taking serious cognizance of the report appearing on Herald (published on August 30) on illegal shanties, located right under flight path(funnel zone), which pose high risk of bird hits and other security threats to aircraft at Dabolim Airport, the taluka administration have finally removed the shanties.
According to information, after the Herald report, the Deputy Collector Mormugao Mahadev Arondekar swung into action and issued directions to Mormugao Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu and Block Development Officer Mormugao to immediately act and remove the illegal shanties.
Following the memorandum issued by Deputy Collector, Prabhu directed the Chicalim talathi to inspect the site and inform on the status.  Later, a team of officials visited the site and warned migrants to remove the shanties on their own without any delay. On September 15, the talathi submitted his report to the higher-up authorities that the shanties were removed from the area.
Speaking to this correspondent, Arondekar said “as soon as the issue was brought to my notice by Herald, I issued directions to the Mamlatdar and BDO to act.”  He acknowledged that the shanties were removed and a vigil would be kept to see that it does not appear again. It may be recalled that on February 23, 2017, Herald first highlighted about the illegal shanties located right under flight path, following which the South District administration removed illegal shanties within 24 hours.
19/09/17 Herald

Heavy rains halt operations at Mumbai airport, many flights affected

Mumbai: Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were suspended for nearly half an hour as visibility dropped well below the required 550 meter-mark following heavy rains and lightning that lashed the metropolis this evening.

Around 20 flights were affected with seven of them being diverted to Hyderabad, Vadodara and Ahemedabad airports and the rest forced to 'go-around' (abort landing on final approach) when the only runway was closed in the evening, airport sources said.

The airport handles around 930 arrivals and departures a day, with 42 movements per hour on an average.

"The visibility dropped to 250 meters at around 1849 hrs (6:49 pm), forcing the airport authorities to shut operations.
19/09/17 PTI

Extension of metro to airport later, says CM

Kochi: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Monday that extending the Kochi metro to Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) at Nedumbassery could be considered only at a later stage. “Let the first phase be complete and then the government can think of extending the service to the airport,” said the Chief Minister, who is also the Chairman of CIAL, at its 23rd annual general meeting.

The demand for extending the metro rail service to the airport was raised by some of the shareholders who spoke at the meeting. The demands raised by the small shareholders included launch of the proposed Kerala Airways as well as a passenger shipping service under the aegis of CIAL. They also demanded special treatment for the shareholders, which, the Chief Minister said, might not be considered because of the practical difficulties involved and security factors.

CIAL has had a good 2016-17 with the airport company along with its subsidiary Cochin Dutyfree and Retail Services making a turnover of Rs. 669 crore. Of this, CIAL made a profit of Rs. 179.45 crore. The airport also handled a total of 89.4 lakh passengers during the last financial year. The number of passengers grew 15.06 per cent during the year.
19/09/17 The Hindu

Lucknow airport new terminal will handle 4k flyers at a time

Lucknow: From handling maximum 600 passengers at a time, Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport, Amausi will be able to cater to 4,000 passengers during peak hours once the proposed integrated terminal comes up on 1 lakh sqmt area, at a cost of Rs 1,230 crore. Making this announcement on Monday, Union ministry of civil aviation said need for an integrated terminal was felt considering steady increase in number of domestic as well as international flyers to and from Lucknow. The proposal for an integrated terminal has been pending for nearly two years.
The new terminal, to be constructed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), will handle more than 63 lakh passengers, annually. The AAI will also develop a new civil enclave at Allahabad's Bamrauli airport of the Indian Air Force. The proposed enclave will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 125.76 crore before Ardh Kumbh Mela in January 2019.
The authority will also help develop an airport in Deoghar in Jharkhand to facilitate joint use for civil operations of Airbus 320 and C-130 type aircraft of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The airport, proposed at an estimated cost of Rs 427.43 crore will be funded jointly by AAI, DRDO and the Jharkhand government.
19/09/17 Times of India

New taxiway helps decongest runway

The Chennai airport has increased flight movement from 32 per hour to 36 per hour to reduce congestion and prevent flight delay.

Officials said they have increased the capacity to ease congestion that has been growing for sometime now. “This means, every flight will vacate from the runway by around 70 seconds. Earlier, the time used be around 75 or even 80 seconds. We want to bring it down to 60 seconds. This enhancement of capacity was possible since the taxiway called ‘Mike’ was commissioned recently,” an official said.

This, officials claimed, was implemented after a detailed safety assessment.

They also plan to construct two rapid-exit taxiways (that allow aircraft to exit the runway with greater speed).

“These will be located between taxiways ‘Mike’ and ‘Delta.’ The construction work will start soon. There are some issues to be addressed and features to be put in place, which will be completed. Another safety assessment will be done before the construction work begins,” he added.

However, some sources said the construction and subsequent commissioning of two rapid-exit taxiways have to be done very carefully. “It is possible but precautions have to be taken before it is done,” a source said.

At present, the Chennai airport has 24 taxiways.

There are plans to straighten the ‘Bravo’ taxiway soon. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has put up a few queries. We are expecting an approval soon. Once it arrives, the work will be taken up in two phases,” he added.
19/09/17 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

India’s chopper fleet to get teeth with air-to-air missiles

The Indian chopper fleet is set to get teeth, with the defence ministry initiating the final process of ordering new missiles for the Rudra. Developers are also planning a live firing of the air-to-air missile on the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by the year-end.

India presently has two indigenous attack helicopter programs – the Rudra (a weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter) which joined service in 2013, and a LCH that is under development, and set to be in service with both the Army and Air Force. A total of 78 Rudras have been ordered, with 23 of them already in service.

The Rudra is currently armed with only a forward mounted machine gun and rockets, limiting its operational role in the battlefield. The helicopter will now be equipped with new anti-air missiles that will make it capable of taking down enemy choppers and UAVs.

The Indian Air Force—which is the lead agency for integrating these missiles on the Rudra—has called French missile manufacturer MBDA for final cost negotiations to supply the Mistral missile for the fleet.

“The contract negotiation committee will start in a few days. We had to do work on a few items before, which is now complete. We are fully compliant with the chopper,” Loic Piedevache, Country Head (India) of MBDA, said.

Little has been heard about the Rudra fleet in the past few years, but its presence at the Nalia airbase in Gujarat was revealed during Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s recent visit during which she inspected the helicopter.
19/07/17 Manu Pubby/The Print

Monday, September 18, 2017

India's domestic air passenger traffic up 16% in August: DGCA data

Domestic air passenger traffic rose to 96.90 lakh in August — up 15.63 per cent — from 83.81 lakh reported for the corresponding month of 2016, official data showed on Monday.

On a sequential basis, total domestic air passenger traffic had risen by 12.43 per cent to 95.65 lakh in July.

Data furnished by the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that passenger traffic during the January-August period grew by almost 17 per cent.

"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-August 2017 were 754.11 lakh as against 644.68 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 16.97 per cent," the DGCA said in its monthly domestic traffic report.

According to the data, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) — a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline — at 94.5 per cent during August.

SpiceJet was followed by budget passenger carriers AirAsia India with PLF at 85.8 per cent, GoAir at 85.4 per cent, IndiGo at 83.6 per cent and Vistara at 83.4 per cent.

"The passenger load factor in the month of August 2017 has shown increasing trend compared to previous month due to the beginning of the festive season," the monthly statistical analysis said.

The data noted that IndiGo led the industry with 86.6 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at four major airports of Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by SpiceJet (78.7), Vistara (74.5) and GoAir (74.2).

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for August 2017 stood at 0.83 per cent.

The data revealed that IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 38 per cent, followed by Jet Airways (15.9), SpiceJet (14), Air India (13.2), and GoAir (8).

AirAsia India had a market share of 4.3 per cent, followed by Vistara (3.7), JetLite (2.4) and Trujet (0.5).
18/09/17 IANS/Business Standard

‘No reason why Air India can’t run as a PSU’

Air India’s impending privatisation has not hit its expansion plans. While employees are naturally anxious about its implications, there is no sense of fear in the ranks, says the national carrier’s new CMD Rajiv Bansalin an interview on board the airline’s inaugural Delhi-Copenhagen flight. While Air India wants to maintain operational profit, it is also looking to raise fresh loans. Excerpts:

How does it feel to take charge after the government decided to privatise Air India?

Privatising is a different issue as it is for the shareholders to see. The shareholder is the Government of India and it is examining it. My job is to run the airline professionally and profitably. So I am channelling my energy into that.

Have you set goals for yourself, prior to privatisation?

My focus is not to enhance value for privatisation, which could be a side benefit. My focus is on running the airline. I have been here for about 25 days now and my only focus is to run the airline on time. I can’t monitor all the flights, so I’m monitoring the first flight of the day, inter-metro flights and five ultra long-haul flights.

How is the mood of employees ahead of privatisation?

Employees are naturally feeling [that] it’s an uncertain future. Any employee would; they have been in the airline for long and the government is now saying the carrier will be privatised. So, there is an apprehension and uncertainty. My feeling is that a lot of employees feel they are good at their job and they will continue to get employment under the new owners. So, they are not unduly worried. Another thing is that the average age of my employees is quite high — about 53-54, and the retirement age is 58. So, a large number of employees will retire in the next 3-4 years. The government has a reasonably good experience in privatising the Delhi and Mumbai airports where AAI employees were assured that they would continue to be in employment till superannuation and I hope that the government would give such an offer to my employees too. But on the whole, [there is] some uncertainty but no fear.

What progress have you made in on-time performance so far?

We pushed very hard. I roughly monitor around 30% of flights. There are about 20 inter-metro first flights of the day and there are about five ultra long haul flights. We have witnessed significant improvement in the on-time performance (OTP). There are some bad days but on some good days we have crossed 90%. My target is to consistently maintain 90% OTP and towards that end, we have improved our ground handling. We have looked at all points of delays and corrected them. We have also taken action against any shortcomings on the part of vendors or our own staff.

Can airlines be run as professionally under government control as private airlines?

There are some challenges and some opportunities also. Opportunity... in the sense that it’s a national carrier and I have a huge commitment from the government that all government officials will fly by Air India. It’s a big comfort for me. Running it as a government entity has other challenges as it’s not easy to operate a ‘hire and fire’ policy. It’s a matter of building processes, so if you do that you can work in the PSU environment also. I see no reason why we can’t run as a public sector airline.
18/09/17 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

Government to sell its properties leased to Air India

New Delhi: The government has decided to sell some of Air India’s real estate directly to expedite the state-owned carrier’s divestment. This follows the discovery that some of the assets are not owned by the carrier but on a 99-year lease from the government.

“Properties where the government has the ownership will go back to the government, which will sell it on behalf of Air India,” said a senior aviation ministry official who did not want to be named. Air India officials confirmed that two such properties in Delhi owned by the urban development ministry have already been identified.

“One is the 4-acre land at Baba Kharak Singh Marg near Connaught Place and the other is the residential colony in Vasant Vihar. These properties are on 99-year lease to Air India and the money earned through the sale of these assets would be used to clear debt,” said an Air India official requesting anonymity.

The plan for the Vasant Vihar residential colony is to hand it over to NBCC Ltd, which will redevelop it. The plan for the land near Connaught Place has not been decided yet. According to the turnaround plan approved by the Manmohan Singh government in 2012, Air India was to monetise its assets across the world and was estimated to earn about Rs 5,000 crore that would be used to repay debt.
18/09/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Airports checking: CISF proposes to do away with boarding pass

New Delhi:  After doing away with hand baggage tags at over a dozen airports, aviation security agencies are now planning to dump the boarding pass collection system and begin a regime of 'express check-in' aided by biometrics for smooth air travel.
The chief of the country's airport security force — the CISF — told PTI in an interview that they have begun "exploring" the technology that is required to usher in the boarding card-less system of air travel at the 59 airports that it guards at present and at the rest of such civil facilities that are going to come under its umbrella as part of a "unified command" in the future.
"We are working on two projects. The first is how to introduce integrated security solutions at airports. You need to connect all dots that exist within the security establishment. You have so many strategies to do it...you have the biometrics, video analytics and a very robust access control system.
"We will try to interconnect all these things in a very integrated fashion," CISF Director General OP Singh told the news agency.
17/09/17 PTI/Times of India

AI plans cost management blitz, aims to save around Rs 500 crore

Read more at: http://www.sify.com/finance/ai-plans-cost-management-blitz-aims-to-save-around-rs-500-crore-news-airlines-rjsoataaecedb.html
Copenhagen: National passenger carrier Air India plans to "re-negotiate" its agreements with vendors and suppliers to save operational costs of up to Rs 500 crore ($780 million) with in the shortest possible time period. The ambitious short-term target to be achieved in 12-weeks time has been set by the company's new Chairman and Managing Director, Rajiv Bansal. "There is always scope to cut and manage costs. My focus is to manage cost but not by inconveniencing the passengers in anyway," Bansal told IANS in an exclusive interaction soon after Air India's inaugural New Delhi-Copenhagen non-stop flight landed here.
"Internally, we are looking to optimise our leases with our vendors and services providers ... renegotiations might be needed to fully optimise our agreements," he said.
The mega cost saving plan envisages at least "one major initiative per week" to be taken on expenditure optimisation.
The cost savings measures which have been identified range from anywhere between Rs 10 crore and a maximum of Rs 50 crore per year.
"We must continue to chip away at the cost factor... My approach is to take one important initiative a week in this regard. It may be for as low as Rs 10-20 crore," Bansal explained.
18/09/17 IANS/Sify

​ ‘No-frills airports’ in 10 UP cities to boost infrastructure, air connectivity

Bareilly: To promote air connectivity across regions and in remote areas, airstrips in 10 cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Meerut, Moradabad, Saharanpur and Aligarh, are to be converted into ‘no-frills airports’.
Bareilly district magistrate (DM) RV Singh told TOI on returning from Lucknow that in a meeting about civil aviation related matters chaired by the state chief secretary, it was decided that all 18 divisional headquarters would be connected with the state capital by air. The director of civil aviation has been instructed to prepare an estimate of the budget required.
“No-frills airports are all set to become a reality in Uttar Pradesh as chief secretary Rajiv Kumar said in the meeting that 10 cities — Saharanpur, Meerut, Moradabad, Aligarh, Faizabad, Jhansi, Azamgarh, Sonbhadra, Shravasti and Chitrakoot — have been identified for this,” special secretary, aviation department in UP government, SP Gangwar told TOI.
“Functional airstrips will be developed into such airports under the regional connectivity scheme, once bidding is completed,” Gangwar added.
The locations were identified based on the criteria of population, availability of land and the potential for tourism and industry.
According to sources, without compromising safety and security, Airports Authority of India (AAI) will develop the no-frills airports. This will result in low cost of operation and provide infrastructure for airlines to run their services.
17/09/17 Pankul Sharma/Times of India

AAI to invest Rs 1,530 cr in development work of 3 airports

Mumbai: National airports operator AAI plans to invest Rs 1,530 crore in the development work of the existing airports in Lucknow and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Deoghar in Jharkhand to cater to the growing air traffic demand.
Besides, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will also develop a greenfield airport at Hirasar in the Rajkot district of Gujarat on build, operate and maintain basis.
According to a statement today, the AAI plans to construct new integrated passenger terminal building at Lucknows Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at an estimated cost of Rs 1,230 crore, which has seen significant traffic growth in the last five years.
Once completed, the new terminal building will have a capacity of 6.35 million passengers per annum and will be able to handle 4,000 passengers during the peak hour, the AAI said.
The AAI will also develop a new civil enclave at Allahabad ahead of the Ardh Kumbh Mela, to be held in January 2019, at an estimated cost of 125.76 crore.
The new terminal building will be made operational before January 2019, it said.
AAI said it also plans to develop the present Deoghar airport for carrying out operations of Airbus 320 and four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft C-130 types at an investment of Rs 401.34 crore at a fixed-cost and at Rs 427.43 crore on completion cost basis.
18/09/17 PTI/India Today

Google Flights ties up with Cleartrip to expand its flights reach in India

Google has tied up with travel portal Cleartrip to expand the reach of Google Flights in India, in what turns out to be the fourth such partnership by Google in the country after the launch of the application in 2015.

As per an Economic Times report, Google has been in such a partnership with Jet Airways, Vistara and travel portal Via.com already.

Google Flights is the sub-arm of the search giant which allows users to search for flights, compare prices and book them via the search engine on desktops, mobiles and tablets.

As per the report, head of air distribution at Cleartrip, Balu Ramachand had said that this would allow their flight prices to be accessible on the Google platform.

Now onwards, the Cleartrip flight inventory prices will be made available on the Google Flights search, added Ramachandran.

“For Google…this partnership with Cleartrip is important as it helps expand our offering and provides consumers with another way to conveniently plan and book their travel,” said Vikas Agnihotri, industry director, Google India.
A top executive whose company has partnered with Google said: "One advantage with Google Flights is that it allows the listed supplier to retain ownership of the customer. This means the supplier charges insurance tariffs, etc. and, more importantly, retains intelligence and data such as travel and booking patterns of the customer. This doesn't happen in case of booking through an OTA (online travel agency)."
nterestingly, according to a report in Medianama, chief marketing officer Subramanyam Sharma had previously pointed that Google Flights will have limited success in India due to homogenous consumer pricing.

In addition to searching for carriers, Google Flights can be used to book hotels as well.

One of the unique features Google Flights is the open-ended flight searches through which the user may select the destination and the application calculates every price for every day in the year, and display it like a graph or a table.
18/09/17 Moneycontrol 

Air India: ready for self-regulation?

As AI goes private, it will have to address ethics and corporate governance matters itself, unlike in a PSU.
With the privatisation of Air India, no doubt the government will get rid of its baggage and perhaps, in a few years, Air India might even start making profits, but what about larger issues of ethics and corporate governance in Air India and other public and private sector enterprises today? What about the values that every government must champion?

A private sector enterprise transcends these obligations by self-regulation. We have seen how the Infosys imbroglio panned out, with founder N R Narayana Murthy’s frequent utterances on transparency and corporate governance. In fact, stakeholders in most companies are now raising ethical concerns themselves to rapidly and radically reshape the environment in which these companies operate.

Reputation has become a precious asset, which not only dictates the economic success of a company but its very survival. It is not at all like the advice Britain’s Prince Harry got from his mother, the late Diana: “One of her mottos to me was: ‘you can be as naughty as you want, just don’t get caught’.”
18/09/17 Priyan R Naik/Deccan Herald

Helimission gets green light to operate in Himachal

Manali: The tough geographies and limited road connectivity in Himachal Pradesh will no longer be a reason behind people dying in the absence of any medical attention as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given a green light to Swiss foundation Helimission to provide its services in Himachal Pradesh. With this, the possibility of getting helicopter ambulance services has increased in the state.
Uptill now, efforts were being made to run helicopter ambulance in Himachal, especially in its remote areas, for the last four years.
"But now, DGCA has given its nod to the helicopter services. The process of signing memorandum of understanding between the company and the Himachal Pradesh government is underway," Helimission coordinator in the country Dr Bishan Shashni said.
"The dream will soon turn to reality. Our people will get high-end ambulance services," a retired government doctor said.
The company would be developing landing sites at Manali and Kullu. The air ambulance will provide relief in many parts of the state with its major focus on Lahau-Spiti, Kinnaur and other tribal areas that get disconnected by roads in winters.
18/09/17 Suresh Sharma/Times of India

Tracing India's aviation history

The first aviation museum of our country is in Bengaluru. It is not only a fact to be proud about but the destination is also a must-see for all Bengalureans. The HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum is entertaining, real and educative.
The museum inspires the younger generation to choose aviation as a career. Here they can learn about the basic principles involved in flying and also the history of navigation — from the days when there was no ground-based navigation for airplanes, to the present system in which automated instrument landing is used. One can also get an insight into the technology of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance and how it evolved over the last seven decades.
From gliders to supersonic jets, and from planes made of cloth to modern composites, the saga of transportation in space is brought alive through real aircraft, a breathtaking collection of photographs and models. It is an outstanding contribution to the rich scientific and cultural heritage of Bengaluru by HAL, one of the leading aerospace companies in Asia. The entire project is the brainchild of Padmashri Dr CG Krishnadas Nair, who was the chairman of HAL from August 1, 1997 to August 31, 2001.
Under his guidance, the heritage centre was brought to life by managing director Biharilal and executive director B Chatterjee.
18/09/17 Bangalore Mirror

Russia aviation firm MiG eyes deal to supply military jets to Indian Navy

New Delhi: Eyeing a multi-billion dollar contract from the Indian Navy for the supply of fighter aircraft, Russian military aviation firm MiG today said it was not averse to the transfer of technology and joint development of MiG-29 K jets with Indian companies. MiG CEO Ilya Tarasenko said his company would submit a detailed proposal to the Indian government shortly, detailing its readiness for the joint development of aircraft for the Navy to deepen its already close engagement with India. “We are considering various options for long-term and perspective cooperation, including those within the framework of the Make in India programme,” Tarasenko told PTI in a written interview.
In January, the Indian Navy had kick-started the process of procuring 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its carriers by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to leading military jet makers. Currently, six planes are compatible for the aircraft carrier — Rafale (Dassault, France), F-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MIG-29K (Russia), F-35B and F-35C (Lockheed Martin, US) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden). While F-18, Rafale and MIG-29K are twin-engine jets, the other three have a single engine.
Tarasenko said MiG had been working with Indian defence forces for more than 50 years, delivering planes and providing service. He said the company was eager to further strengthen its relationship with India. Russia has been one of India’s key suppliers of arms and ammunition. Then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had visited Russia in June during which the issue of transfer of technology and joint development of high-end military platforms and weapons systems were discussed at length.
17/09/17 PTI/Financial Express

Speeding car with security man on bonnet triggers panic at IGIA, cabbie held

New Delhi: The security agencies at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) were thrown in a tizzy on Sunday, after a rashly driven Swift Dzire car, with a DIAL security person clinging to its bonnet, was spotted outside the departure terminal.

Amid high drama, a Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF's ) chased and intercepted the vehicle. The security officer on the bonnet survived with minor injuries and the driver was arrested. It was later revealed that the accused driver, identified as Dev Narayan Singh, a resident of Sangam Vihar in southeast Delhi, had hit the security personnel by mistake, and panicking, had driven on.

The bizarre incident triggered panic related to vehicular terrorism, as frequent such cases involving vehicles have been reported all over the world in the recent past.

The incident was reported at 4.11 pm. Arun Kumar, an officer with DIAL's private security firm Raxa, spotted a Swift Dzire taxi, even though not authorised, trying to pick up customers from the airport. Kumar asked the driver to park in a corner.

"Afraid of being handed over to the police, instead of stopping, the driver accelerated and rammed the car into Kumar, who jumped up on the bonnet to save himself. As the car was in motion, Kumar held on to the wipers to avoid falling off it," a senior CISF officer said.

Seeing this, a QRT deployed nearby instantly flashed a message about the white-colour car headed towards the exit from the departure terminal opposite gate number 7, and started chasing the vehicle.

"Seeing armed commandos behind him and realising that there was no way to escape, the driver stopped the car and Kumar fell off. Commandos pulled the driver out and frisked him, following which police were called," the officer said.

Inquiry revealed that errant driver Singh worked for taxi aggregator Ola. "He revealed that he was trying to escape after being flagged by Kumar and unintentionally hit him. He was handed over to the Delhi police. Kumar was taken for treatment," the officer added.
18/09/17 Anvut Srivastava/DNA

Sky-high prices? Chennai airport gets cheap F&B outlets

Chennai: The next time you walk into the security hold area of Chennai airport, look for outlets that sell beverages and water at cheaper rates. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has opened two low cost tea and water outlets each inside the domestic and international terminals as part of its policy to provide affordable options to passengers.
As food and beverages sold at the security hold area where passengers wait for boarding calls are expensive, a few outlets where water bottles are sold at Rs 10 have been set up. The shops came up after there were complaints that water bottles, tea and coffee are expensive. Coffee and tea are priced at Rs 70 while water is sold for Rs 40 for a 500ml bottle at other food and beverages shops and restaurants inside the terminals. A senior official of AAI said that "We have introduced the shops because many people complain that prices are high inside the terminals. The regional connectivity scheme (Udan) is also expected to bring in more people who may not be happy spend on the expensive packaged food and beverages."
18/09/17 Times of India

IRCTC offers air tour packages

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has launched domestic and international air tour packages from the State. The Best of Bali package will depart from the Cochin international airport on October 15 and return on October 20.

The package, starting at Rs. 36,711, includes confirmed flight tickets in economy class for round trip, hotel accommodation with breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Indian restaurants, AC coach for transfers and sightseeing, services of IRCTC tour manager, English-speaking guide, entry tickets as per the tour itinerary, travel insurance and all taxes, a release said on Friday.

Those who look for an economic flight tour package within the country, the IRCTC has come up with Amazing Hyderabad flight package which departs from Cochin international airport on October 12 and returns on October 15. The package starts atRs. 16,362.

The Golden Triangle of Karnataka package departs from the Cochin airport on November 22 and returns on November 26.
The package price starts at Rs. 18,428.
18/09/17 The Hindu

At Rs 1,000 extra, IndiGo will let you take an early flight if you've reached airport before time

IndiGo has introduced ‘IndiGo Early’, a new offer that allows passengers to prepone their flights. The Gurgaon-based carrier group will now allow passengers who reach early at airports to reschedule their travel to an earlier flight for just Rs 1000.

As per IndiGo's website, the offer will be available to domestic fliers who want to prepone their journey by up to four hours. The offer will be available only to those passengers who are physically present at the airport.

The offer will allow the passenger to prepone to another flight whose time schedule is not more than four hours earlier than the booked flight. As per the website, this means that “….if the original flight booked is at 1600 hours, then this flight can be preponed to a flight which is departing at or after 1200 hrs. The basis to calculate the difference of four hours has to be between the departure time of the original flight and the desired flight and not on the basis of the passenger reporting time.”
There are also several other conditions that apply to the offer. The scheme will apply only when preponing the flight and not when postponing it. The service will not be applicable on international flights, whether in isolation or in connection to a domestic flight. It will also not be applied to tickets booked under group fares.

Similarly, unaccompanied minors are not allowed to avail the scheme unless the request is made at the origin station by their parents or guardians.
18/09/17 Moneycontrol 

MS Dhoni catches up on sleep at Chennai airport, Twitter is in love

New Delhi: Former Team India skipper MS Dhoni caught up on some sleep while Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and the rest of the Indian team appeared relaxed at the Chennai airport en route Kolkata on Monday.

On Sunday, Pandya and Dhoni were involved in a 118-run stand for the sixth wicket to bail India out of trouble and script a memorable win over Australia in the first ODI at Chennai's iconic Chepauk.

The BCCI took to Twitter and shared pictures of Virat Kohli's men while in transit and the fans could not help but notice how cool MSD is.
During India's 5th ODI in the 5-match limited overs series against Sri Lanka, the game was disrupted by the home team fans in Colombo.

Dhoni broke the Internet as he took a nap while the game was halted.
18/09/17 Zee Media

BMTC moots flight check-in on Vayu Vajra buses

Bengaluru: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is considering a proposal to facilitate check-in for air travellers during their transit to the airport on its shuttles. If implemented, passengers will get their boarding passes by the time they reach the airport 30 km away from the city .

It is learnt that the transport utility has had at least eight rounds of meetings with the officials of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) on this from June this year. "A private firm has demonstrated proof of concept on one of the Vayu Vajra buses," an official privy to the development told ET.

A kiosk, which will be installed inside the airport-bound BMTC bus, will have a touch screen with access to all airlines and a printer. This will also do away the need to wait at the counters in the airport.

Providing a kiosk for self check-in is one of BMTC's ambitious plan to improve airport services and optimise the revenue. Other air-conditioned services in the city are apparently making a loss.

"The discussion has already started and is at a preliminary stage. We are talking to the airport authorities. Along with the check-in facility, we are also planning to provide luggage handling service," managing director Ponnuraj V confirmed.
18/09/17 Naveen Menezes/Economic Times

Training programme for CBRN emergencies at Chennai Airport

Delhi: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a basic training programme to enhance the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers to respond to CBRN emergencies, encompassing threats emanating from the use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material at the airports.

The training programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS).

"It is one major step towards enhancing CBRN safety at our airports" said Shri R. K. Jain, Member, NDMA while highlighting the fact that handling CBRN emergencies need specialised skills and efforts.

The training programme, which started today at the Kamaraj Airport in Chennai, was inaugurated by Dr. S. Christopher, Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development and Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The programme consists of lectures as well as field training, including live demonstrations of detection and decontamination, including use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Apart from equipping the airport emergency handlers to handle CBRN emergencies, the training programme will also enable them to provide medical first aid and initial psycho-social support. A total of 200 personnel will be trained on various aspects of CBRN emergencies during the week-long training.
18/09/17 Business Standard

Should Air India Pay Sales Tax For Sale Of Rejected Aircrafts And Scrap Parts? Delhi HC Refers Question To Larger Bench

The Delhi High Court recently referred to a larger Bench the question: “Whether the sale of unserviceable (rejected) aircraft and unserviceable stores, scrap and spare parts by the Petitioner (Air India) are amenable to Sales Tax under the provisions of the Delhi Sales Tax Act, 1975?” The Bench comprising Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Pratibha M. Singh opined that the judgment in the case of Commissioner of Sales Tax v. DTC, 1996 III AD (Delhi) 462 needed reconsideration. The Court had in that case held that the sale of scrap by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) would not be amenable to sales tax, holding that the activity could not be said to be independent and unconnected with the main activities of the Corporation....
The Court was hearing a batch of Appeals filed by Air India, demanding a clarification on the need for payment of sales tax on sale of scrap, depleted parts and out-dated or unused aircrafts under the Act. In the same vein, another question posed before the Court was whether Air India was a ‘dealer’ which is ‘carrying on business of selling goods in Delhi’ in respect of the scrap. The Court noted that the cases cited before it dealt with different modes of transportation, namely, road, rail and air. “In respect of Railways, the consistent view of the Supreme Court as well as the laws of Bombay and Madhya Pradesh is that the Railways is amenable to tax on the sale of spares, scrap etc. The DTC (supra) decision of this Court takes a contrary view in respect of road transport following the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court while disagreeing with the views of the High Courts of Madras and Madhya Pradesh. In DTC (supra), this Court observed “We express our disagreement with the decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court”,” it noted.
18/09/17 Apoorva Mandhani/Live Law.in

Livewel Aviation shows interest in Air India's ground handling biz

Mumbai-headquartered Livewel Aviation has shown interest in acquiring the ground handling business of the debt-laden Air India, reports CNBC-TV18.

The company has written to Aviation Ministry in this regard.

Livewel Aviation is a family-owned business run by Manek Daver and Burzin Daver. The company provides ground handling and maintenance services to airlines.

So far, four companies have shown interest in the ground handling business of Air India including Bird Group and Celebi Aviation.

Last month, Bird Group had shown interest in acquiring debt-laden Air India's ground handling business. The company wrote a letter to the aviation ministry showing interest in investing in the national carrier, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Chaubey had said.

Earlier, IndiGo had expressed interest in taking over the carrier’s international operations.

Air India is reeling under debt of nearly Rs 52,000 crore. Of this, about Rs 28,000 crore is working capital debt and Rs 4,000 crore is interest. Despite receiving Rs 24,000 crore bailout package, the airline has failed to turn its fortune.
18/09/17 Moneycontrol 

Kolkata airport sees surge in domestic 'red-eye' flights

Kolkata: If you thought only international flights operated late at night from Kolkata, it's time for a reality check. A string of domestic flights are now either taking off or landing past midnight, ferrying bleary-eyed passengers to a host of Indian cities, both metros and non-metros.
"Red-eye flights on the domestic sector are a fairly recent phenomenon. With demand for air travel high and day-time slots choked in metros, airlines are scheduling flights at odd hours to meet the connectivity requirement.Passengers who want to return after a day's business in another city prefer the flights," said an airline official. Late night flights are called `red-eye' as travellers usually suffer from puffy eyes due to lack of sleep.
Another reason for scheduling the flights is the night parking of aircraft in Kolkata and some non-metros. With no parking slots in Mumbai or Delhi, airlines are forced to park the aircraft in other cities and consequently some of the late night flights.
Jet Airways is the latest to jump on the bandwagon with a flight between Kolkata and Pune that reaches Pune after midnight. The return flight takes off from Pune at 3.55am to reach Kolkata at 6.40am. The airline reasons that if someone from Pune has a day's work in Kolkata, the flight is perfect as it gives the traveller an entire day . Jet Airways has a similar flight to Mumbai that departs Kolkata at 1.45am and reaches Mumbai at 4.35am. According to the airline, it is handy for international travellers who have early morning flights out of Mumbai.
18/091/7 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Film producer accuses airlines of rude begaviour

A Dubai-based film producer and cast ing director who travelled by a Jet Airways Mumbai Chennai flight early Sunday morning has accused the airline staff of rude behaviour and not allowing her to board the flight as soon as boarding gates opened despite her plea that she had a severe back problem.
Dhanalakshmi Ranganathan, who is known in entertainment and media circles as Lakshmi R Iyer, filed a written complaint against Jet staffer Raunak Jayaraj who was at the departure gates at T2 at Mumbai airport when she was boarding Jet Airways flight 9W 291 to Chennai scheduled at 5.33 am.
"I flew in from Delhi last night, had a brief meeting in Mumbai and then I headed back to the airport to catch my flight to Chennai. I had a back issue and been undergoing physiotherapy. I was also on medical leave two weeks ago due to this problem. I was feeling sick, tired and exhausted, and when the boarding was announced, I requested the crew to allow me to board as I was not feeling well. Raunaq was extremely rude and refused in an insulting manner," says Ranganathan, who works as a marketing consultant for IBM Dubai, and is a coproducer and casting director for an under production film titled Solar Eclipse: The Depth of Darkness based on Mahatma Gandhi assassination. The film, now rechristened as The Gandhi Conspiracy, is directed by Algerian director Karim Traidia and stars Om Puri, Rajit Kapur, Avatar Gill along with Luke Pasqualino, Stephen Lang and others.
18/09/17 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

India’s First 19-seater aircraft may fly soon

Mumbai: A team of engineers is giving shape to what promises to be India’s first 19-seater indigenous passenger aircraft at a 3,000-sq feet terrace in Mumbai’s Borivili suburb, which has become a bustle of activity. Amol Yadav, a pilot with a private airline, is leading the initiative. 
TAC 005, as the aircraft is called, will be ready for flight in the next four months, and is likely to give shape to India’s dream of a homegrown passenger aircraft. 
Yadav said that he began work on the 19-seater aircraft to solve India’s regional connectivity issues. “In spite of having a number of private airlines, we are poor in regional connectivity. The smallest aircraft that private airlines in India have are 70-seaters, and they don’t find it cost-effective to fly them to smaller cities as they are never full.” 
Yadav said that he began work on the 19-seater aircraft to solve India’s regional connectivity issues. “In spite of having a number of private airlines, we are poor in regional connectivity. The smallest aircraft that private airlines in India have are 70-seaters, and they don’t find it cost-effective to fly them to smaller cities as they are never full.” 
Yadav’s 19-seater aircraft is likely to change that situation by giving airlines and people an option of flying in a smaller plane. India hasn’t been able to build its own passenger aircraft even 70 years after independence. The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) had tried to build Saras, a 14-seater aircraft, but the plan had to be abandoned after the prototype crashed in 2009. NAL has recently revived the programme. 
17/09/17 Krishna Kumar/Economic Times

Life after MH370 – A story of personal loss and survival of hope

Two hundred and thirty-nine families were grievously impacted when the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing mid-air before reaching Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Chennai-based management consultant KS Narendran’s wife Chandrika was among the people on board the flight whose fate remains largely a mystery till date barring a few evidence loosely suggesting it ended in the sea. Fifty-year-old Naren penned his ordeal, his tryst with grief, his learning and more in a recently published book Life After MH 370: Journeying Through a Void.

The book, a personal account, is an invitation for the reader to walk along with Naren as he recounts his journey since March 8, 2014, the day MH370 was heard of for the last time. “Two years since, by 2016, there were already books in the market written by aviation professionals and journalists, mostly based on speculation and theories.

These books dealt with fragments of information, hints that bungling may have resulted in losing track of the plane and its passengers, tales of unhelpful authorities, a bewildering array of international and diplomatic conventions and protocols, technical details that challenge the experts, and numerous conspiracy theories ranging from the imaginative and suspenseful to the macabre.

“However, there was no account of what an affected family had to endure over time – what it meant to deal with the turmoil and the trauma of loss and grief,” shares Naren about the ideation of the book.

Over the months since MH370 went missing, governments announced decisions for the suffering families. In this scenario, it became important for the public to see how the very families in whose name pronouncements were being made, were not engaged with – consulted or briefed. Furthermore, the governmental decisions, actions and inaction were, in fact, a source of agony to the 239 families. “It was easy to become a fused entity such as the ‘MH370 families’ or the ‘families of the people on board,” says Naren who had been publishing short pieces of writing that were primarily responses to events on MH370, as they emerged.

Speaking about the book, Naren shares, “Family members of passengers had on different occasions shared, that what I wrote mirrored their experience in coping with the loss and confronting realities. I was confident that my book would resonate with their struggle. I think the book gave me the ease of speaking of my encounter with the loss and my difficulties in sometimes even fathoming what was going on within me and around me.”
18/09/17 Indrojit D Chaudhuri/YourStory

Soon, airport trolleys from security check to boarding gates

New Delhi: Big airport operators and airlines will now have to provide small trolleys to carry hand bags from post security-check to distant boarding gates for all passengers. And they will have to provide golf carts free of cost to flyers who are unable to or find it difficult to walk to the boarding gates.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a series of passengerfriendly rules for airlines and airport operators to improve passenger experience at airports, apart from issuing a set of instructions to cut flight delays. DGCA chief B S Bhullar's order on "Facilities Courtesies to esteemed travelling public at airports" admits that passengers face difficulties and that these must be resolved.
"With the expansion of airports, distances to checkin counters, security hold area and boarding gate have increased manifold requiring passengers lugging their carry-on baggage to cover long distances... Most stakeholders involved in providing facilities to passengers at airports have resorted to outsourcing services to vendors having high attrition rate, resulting in inability to provide quality service to the passengers. Further, passengers remain mostly unattended after check-in till they arrive at the boarding point," Bhullar's order says.
18/09/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

400 gms gold seized from Jordanian student

Hyderabad:  A Jordanian student studying in Osmania University was caught with four gold bars (24-carat) totally weighing 400 gms and valued at Rs 12.16 lakhs on Sunday.

According to Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials, the accused was identified as Ibrahim S Ghazwi, who is residing at International Students Hostel in OU. He arrived on Sunday morning on an Emirates Airlines from Amman via Dubai.

The gold bars were concealed on body in the front side small pocket of his blazer and he crossed the exit gate with an intention to evade payment of customs duty. “Based on profiling by the Customs officers of the AIU, RGIA, the gold was seized from the foreign national.” Investigation is going on.
18/09/17 Hans India