Friday, September 22, 2017

Ministerial group discusses Air India disinvestment

New Delhi: A group of ministers, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, discussed in details the modalities for the strategic disinvestment of Air India, according to sources.

Second in less than a month, the meeting came a week after the government invited applications from entities to act as advisers for the stake sale process.
Loss-making Air India is staying afloat on taxpayers' funds and to revive the carrier, the government decided on strategic disinvestment in June.

The group of ministers' meeting on Thursday went on for nearly an hour and was attended by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, among others.
Official sources said the discussions would continue and "nothing concrete has been finalised" by the panel.

For cargo handling business of Air India, at least two proposals have come in, they added.

According to them, one of the proposals has come from Tushar Jani Group. Tushar Jani was the founder of courier company Blue Dart Express Ltd, which has been part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group since March 2005. DHL Express (Singapore) Pte Ltd has 75 per cent stake in Blue Dart.
22/09/17 PTI/Business Standard

Government invites proposals to appoint asset valuer for Air India

New Delhi: The government has invited proposals to appoint an "Asset Valuer" for national passenger carrier Air India, its subsidiaries and joint ventures (JVs).

According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the "asset valuer" will carry out valuation of land and buildings, aircraft including airframes and engines, spare engines, maintenance repair and overhaul facilities, among others.

"The government of India (GoI) has 'in-principle' decided to consider the disinvestment of the AI group as a whole or its constituents fully or part thereof through strategic sale with transfer of management control," a "Request for Proposal" document issued on Thursday by the ministry said.

"For this purpose, Ministry of Civil Aviation on behalf of Government of India, requires the services of reputed asset valuer to carry out the valuation."

In an unrelated development, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management on September 14, 2017, had invited bids from firms to appoint advisers to guide the government on financial and legal issues associated with the strategic disinvestment.

Earlier, a ministerial group was formed to look into the disinvestment modalities.
The group -- Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism -- headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is mandated to guide the divestment process and to decide on key issues such as treatment of AI's debt and hiving-off of its assets.
22/09/17 IANS/Business Standard

Pune-bound GoAir plane diverted to Mumbai after technical snag

Mumbai: A Pune-bound GoAir Airbus A320 Neo plane with 180 passengers on board from New Delhi was diverted to the city airport on Thursday. The GoAir flight G8175 which was scheduled to land in Pune from New Delhi was diverted to Mumbai after the pilot reported a technical snag in the A320 neo plane, the airline said.
“G8 175 DEL-PNQ (Delhi-Pune) with 180 pax was diverted to Mumbai due to a suspected technical snag,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.
The flight had a normal landing and all the passengers have been accommodated on an alternate GoAir flight to Pune immediately via ramp to ramp transfer, the statement said.
As many as nine planes of both IndiGo and GoAir are grounded currently due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues.
22/09/17 Indian Express

Delhi Airport allows UDAN flight operations from Hindon airbase

GMR Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport has accepted the Centre's request to allow low-cost, regional flights to operate from Ghaziabad's Hindon Airforce Station from the coming winter season.

Civil Aviation Ministry earlier requested the "capacity-constrained" Delhi Airport to permit alternative airports for hosting UDAN-backed flights.

However, operating commercial flights within a 150-km radius of Delhi Airport is prohibited under a 2006 privatization agreement.
22/09/17 Ramya Patelkhana/NewsBytes

Two TN airports contribute 11% of foreign tourist arrivals in August

Chennai: While Chennai ranked third among the airports in the country in attracting the highest number of foreign tourists, the airport in Trichy also figured on the list with nearly 2%.
The Union tourism ministry compiles the monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and international travellers visiting India through e-tourist visa with data received from the Bureau of Immigration.
According to an official statement, the airport in New Delhi topped the list with 26.99%, followed by Mumbai airport with 15.49%.
The statement further said that Chennai airport recorded arrival of 8.9% of foreign travellers on e-tourist visa in August.
22/09/17 Yogesh Kabirdoss/Times of India

Location hunt for new airport near Odisha capital begins

Bhubaneswar: With Airports Authority of India (AAI) proposing for a greenfield international airport near Bhubaneswar, Odisha government has initiated the process for identifying 1500-2000 acres of land near Khordha.

The General Administration (GA) department of the State government has written to Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) and Vice Chairman Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to identify 1500-2000 acres for the purpose near Khordha.

“The AAI have proposed for construction of new greenfield airport since the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA), Bhubaneswar is not suitable for further expansion as per their requirement. The approximate land requirement for new international airport will be about 1500-2000 acres and preferably not far away from the main city (Bhubaneswar),” the G A department’s letter addressed to IDCO CMD and BDA Vice Chairman said.

The GA department has asked IDCO and BDA to intimate about the availability of land for the purpose.

“……..requested to kindly intimate the availability of land, if any, for such an airport in Greater Bhubaneswar Master Plan beyond Khordha. The details of the background of such proposal, if any, with the present status, may please be furnished for consideration of government,” the letter further said.
22/09/17 Odisha Sun Times

SpiceJet mishap: Travellers suffer as Mumbai airport crawls

Mumbai: A day after the removal of a Spicejet aircraft stuck on its main runway, Mumbai airport continued to report delays and rescheduled flights as it gradually limped back to normal operations.
On a day the aviation regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded two Spicejet pilots of the Boeing 737 aircraft pending enquiry, Flightradar24.com, a website monitoring live air traffic at global airports, listed Mumbai airport as the second airport with worst delays after Shenzhen airport in China. The website was reporting an average delay of 17 minutes for arrivals, and 49 minutes for departures. It also reported 230 flights delayed and 24 cancelled flights.

Passengers of Air India flight AI-695 complained that the airline management had left their aircraft on the tarmac for close to three hours. A passenger, Ram Mohan Pathak told Mumbai Mirror from the flight: "First they merged a Mumbai-Lucknow flight with Mumbai-Benares flight and the flight scheduled to leave at 10.20 am on Thursday was delayed. After boarding, it wasn't taking off. First the flight crew said the delay was due to baggage of eight passengers. Later, they said the delay was because of the pilot leaving as he had done his overtime. They just made us sit in the plane without food or water."

Pathak said that through some friends, he managed to contact the new Air India managing director Rajiv Bansal's office, and that's when things began to move. "After we contacted the new CMD's office, a new pilot has been brought in and the flight is taking off," he said at around 3 pm. When contacted, the Air India spokesperson did not answer calls.
22/09/17  Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

SpiceJet announces 2nd direct flight between Jaipur and Udaipur

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today announced the launch of a second direct flight between Udaipur and Jaipur starting October 13.

The airline will deploy its 78-seater Bombardier Q400 aircraft on this route.

The new flight will take off from Jaipur at 6.35 pm and reach Udaipur at 7.45 pm. The return flight will leave at 8.05 pm and reach the Rajasthan capital at 8.55 pm, the airline said in a statement.

Ticket bookings for the new flight are now open, SpiceJet said.

SpiceJet has a fleet of 35 Boeing 737NG and 20 Bombardier Q-400s aircraft. It operates 380 average daily flights to 50 destinations, including seven international ones.
23/09/17 ZeeBiz

Bengaluru, Delhi top air traffic growth in 2016

Mumbai: Airports in Bengaluru and Delhi showed the fastest growth in passenger traffic in 2016 among global peers, aided by a surge in domestic air travel and  introduction of new routes.

With a 22.5 per cent growth, the Bengaluru airport was ranked first among airports handling 15-million-plus passengers annually. Delhi, which recorded 21 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth, bagged the first position ahead of Incheon (South Korea) and Kunming (China), among airports handling 40-million-plus passengers a year. The slot constrained Mumbai airport, which registered a growth of 9.9 per cent and took the fifth position.

Bengaluru and Delhi handed 22.2 million and 55.6 million passengers, respectively, in 2016.

The ranking was released earlier this week in a report by the Airports Council International, a trade association of world airports. Delhi continues to show highest growth in the current year, and has recorded 14.9 per cent growth in the first eight months.

Domestic air traffic rose 23 per cent y-o-y to 99.8 million, making India the fastest-growing air travel market in 2016. In the first eight months of 2017, traffic rose nearly 17 per cent, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

“Slots are not available at the Mumbai airport, and airlines have added new flights from Delhi and Bengaluru. On domestic routes, IndiGo and Vistara have led capacity expansion, while Air India introduced new international flights from Delhi to San Francisco and Madrid in end-2015 and -2016, respectively,” said Ameya Joshi, founder of aviation blog Network Thoughts.
22/09/17 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Ballari-Hyderabad flight service takes off

Torangal (Bellari): he first flight service between Vijayanagar (Toranagal) and Hyderabad was flagged off by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, as part of the UDAN (Ude Desh Ke Aam Nagarik) initiative, from Jindal airport here on Thursday.

The inaugural flight, operated daily by the Hyderabad-based TruJet, took off from Hyderabad at 6.25 a.m. and landed in Jindal airport at 7.31 a.m. Around 30 passengers alighted. In the return direction, the 72-seater plane, with around 40 passengers on board, took off at 8.01 a.m.

Mr. Sinha said efforts were on to extend UDAN scheme to many more tier II cities in the country to give a boost to tourism, economy, trade and commerce, besides enabling the common man to fly at affordable rates.

“Our policy package under UDAN has been made very attractive and we have ensured that both operator and passenger benefit. This policy of our government has enabled private operators to come forward to provide regional connectivity. Accordingly, with 30 more airports added, economic growth of the regions and tourism will be boosted,” he said.

Mr. Sinha said flight services are already available in Belagavi, Hubballi, Mysuru and Ballari in in Karnataka, and a few more places would be added to this list. “TruJet has promised to introduce flight services between Vijayanagar and Bengaluru very soon. We are also planning to link Vijayanagar with Goa in order to attract tourists to Hampi,” he said. He said the question of increasing the number of flight services depended on the demand.
21/09/17 The Hindu

AI cancels bird-hit flight’s return journey to Chandigarh

Pune: An Air India flight was grounded on Thursday afternoon after the airline's technical team noticed a glitch in its engine due to a bird-hit, within a fortnight of a similar incident.
The glitch was detected when the Pune-Chandigarh flight (AI-813) was under inspection after landing in Pune with 122 passengers on board around 1.20pm. The return flight to Chandigarh (AI-814) scheduled at 2pm was cancelled.
"It seems the flight from Chandigarh to Pune was hit by a bird while landing. All passengers are safe," an Air India official told TOI. "After the flight landed, an engineering team was checking all the components to get it ready for the next flight. The ground staff was alerted immediately after the glitch was noticed," he said.
"The engineers checked the aircraft thoroughly and the flight had to be cancelled as the damage was heavy. The passengers were informed and their proper care was taken. While some were provided hotel accommodation, local people went home. Air India will be arranging another flight for them," he said.
22/09/17 Times of India

Pilots didn’t protect cockpit voice recorder data: Probe

Mumbai: Investigations into a Jet Airways tail strike and hard landing that took place in Dhaka this year have revealed that the pilots involved did not protect the cockpit voice recorder data. The investigation was carried out without this crucial evidence. In its report, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau iterated the responsibility of engineering and maintenance personnel to preserve such crucial data.
A Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 with 160 passengers and eight crew had taken off from Mumbai at 9.15am on January 22 and did an eventful landing in Dhaka around noon, local time. The weather, visibility and wind speed/direction were fine for a normal touchdown, the report said.
The co-pilot was at the controls, with the commander monitoring. The Boeing 737 was overhead the runway for the landing flare phase, the few seconds when the descent rate is cut and the aircraft floats almost parallel to the runway before it is eased into a touchdown. For a smooth touchdown, the Jet training manual instructs pilots to retard the thrust lever to idle. But the copilot forgot to do that, the commander failed to pick up that omission and the aircraft did a hard landing.
The report said that on initial touchdown the aircraft bounced with its nose turned up at an angle higher than normal. "Thereafter, the commander took over controls and the aircraft touched down in second attempt,'' it said. "During the post-flight walk around inspection at Dhaka, rubbing marks were observed on the tail skid and underbelly of the aircraft,'' the report said, adding that the aircraft had internal damage too.
22/09/17 Times of India

Cargo Service Centre looks to buy Air India ground-handling arm

New Delhi: Airport services provider Cargo Service Centre has written to the government expressing interest in acquiring Air India’s ground-handling arm AIATSL, civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said today. This is the third company after Turkish firm Celebi and Indian conglomerate Bird Group to show interest in buying the profit-making subsidiary of the national carrier — Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL).
Low-cost carrier IndiGo had earlier written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation expressing interest in international flight operations of Air India as well as its subsidiary, Air India Express. “Cargo Service Centre has written to us for ground handling services of Air India,” Choubey told reporters at an event here.
Cargo Service Centre provides cargo services at Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai airports, according to its website.
Air India has several subsidiaries including AIATSL, Air India Charters Limited, IAL Airport Services Limited, Airline Allied Services Limited and Air India Engineering Services Limited."
21/09/17 PTI/Financial Express

Airlines Eye to Tap Diwali Rush of Passengers, Propose to Add New Flights to Patna in Winter

To tap the huge rush of fliers during the festive season, Jet Airways and GoAir will operate three flights from Patna -- one each to Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

The airlines are eyeing to tap the post-Dussehra and pre-Diwali and Chhath festival rush of passengers. While Jet will operate two flights -- one each to Delhi and Bengaluru -- GoAir will add an additional flight to Mumbai.

The Delhi-Patna-Delhi Jet flight (9W-711/ 9W-710) will be operational from October 1 to 28. The flight will leave Delhi at 6.35am and reach here at 8.05am. On its return, it will leave Patna at 8.35am and reach the national capital at 10.05am.

Till last year, the Jet used to have a morning connection between Delhi and Patna until it was discontinued due to operational reasons.

Jet's Bengaluru-Patna-Bengaluru flight (9W-959/ 9W-960) will leave the Silicon Valley of India at 5.50am and reach Patna at 8.40am. On its return, it will leave Patna at 9.10am and reach Bengaluru at 11.55am.

Tickets for both the Jet flights were open for sale, said an executive of the airline.
22/09/17 Ruchir Kumar/Mcclatchy/Aviation Pros

AirAsia Launches Special Meal for Children

AirAsia has launched a new inflight meal, Lil’ Star Combo, specially created to suit the taste buds of young flyers.

To celebrate the launch, all children aged 2 to 12 flying with AirAsia on 28 September 2017 will receive a complimentary Lil’ Star Combo meal, while stocks last.

Guests travelling with their little ones on other dates are able to pre-book the meal for only RM10 on AirAsia's website.

The combo meal comprises of a mini chicken pizza smothered in rich tomato sauce and chicken slices, topped with creamy mozzarella and cheddar cheese. The meal comes with a drink and a special snack box filled with treats. The Lil’ Star Combo meal is also available in a vegetarian version on AirAsia India flights.
23/09/17 Travel News Asia

Bengaluru gets new Boeing engineering centre

New Delhi: Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha inaugurated Boeing's additional new facility at the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Center (BIETC) in Bengaluru on Friday. This facility will enable Boeing to focus on state-of-the-art technology areas such as data analytics, internet-of-things, avionics, aerospace design, manufacturing, testing and research, to support Boeing products and systems. The centre also includes laboratories for research to support next-gen innovations in aerospace.
"Boeing's commitment to growth of capability and capacity in the Indian aerospace sector is commendable. I congratulate the team on this brand new addition to the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre and am proud that Boeing is leveraging India's engineering talent and its expertise for some of the most advanced aerospace products in the world, and developing complex solutions for the world," said Jayant Sinha.
This expansion comes soon after Boeing opened its engineering centre in January 2017. "As a source for innovative and cutting-edge engineering, India offers us tremendous growth potential. This is a winning formula for India and our own global growth strategy for improved productivity, enhanced engineering efficiency and cost advantage, while focusing on quality," said Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India.
22/09/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Demands for Mohali Airport is being worked upon: Jayant Sinha

Chandigarh: MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, on Friday, said that the long pending demands for more flights in the Mohali Airport are being worked upon.

"All flights, required from Mohali, are going to be added. That will be a function of what the airlines want. As airlines mount these flights, they are going to require additional services. We will provide them with all the facilities that they need to be able to fly from Mohali to any destination," he said.

He also said that, along with Mohali, all the other airports in the region, are being upgraded.

"We are continuously upgrading our airports. Wherever we feel there is a necessity. Mohali has got a new terminal, it has been reconstructed, it is a world class terminal. Similarly, across all the regions our work for airports is in full swing," he said.
22/09/17 ANI/Hans India

Noise and fury at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: The Kolkata airport is a silent airport, and hence no boarding announcements will be made. One had barely finished reading the message, sent repeatedly by all the airlines to their passengers waiting for the boarding to start, there was a huge uproar at one end of the airport. It was followed by a lot of people running in one particular direction, screaming and shouting all along. It created some scare and panic among the passengers seated away from that noisy end, not knowing what exactly had caused the pandemonium. And then, all of a sudden, everything became crystal clear — the shrill screams of ‘Virat’, ‘Dhoni’ rang out to every corner of the airport. Alarmed passengers took a deep sigh of relief and sat down on their chairs; but a majority of them fished out their mobile phones and started running towards the scene of action. A few security persons and airport officials, perhaps realising that too much crowd had built up around the cricketers, made a dash to disperse it. Or so we thought! All of them ended up joining the maddening crowd, jostling and elbowing each other to get closer, and at least get a glimpse of the cricketers stuck somewhere in the middle.
22/09/17 Subhash Rajta/Tribune

Prospects for air traffic control privatization appear slim

President Donald Trump has made airlines’ longtime goal of privatizing air traffic control a key part of his agenda to boost America’s infrastructure. But his prospects for closing the deal with Congress appear slim.
A House bill that would put the aviation industry in charge of air traffic control has repeatedly stalled and prospects appear even worse in the Senate, where there has been no effort to take up the issue. While the White House and airline lobbyists have pushed for privatization, there has been fierce opposition from private pilots, corporate aircraft owners and others who fear they will have to pay more to use the system and would lose access to busy airports.
Airlines have pushed for getting the government out of air traffic operations for decades and seemed to have the brightest prospects after meeting with Trump early this year. Trump embraced the idea as part of his overall plan to boost infrastructure — a big part of his campaign promise to create jobs. While Trump has offered few other specifics about his overall infrastructure plans, he put the spotlight on air-traffic privatization at a White House infrastructure event in June.
Three weeks later, the House transportation committee approved a bill by its chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under the authority of a private, non-profit corporation run by aviation interests, including airlines.
But the bill still hasn’t come to the House floor. Trump’s special assistant for infrastructure policy, D.J. Gribbin, told an airline industry conference last week that House leaders are planning a vote in early October. But the bill’s supporters acknowledge the vote would have already happened if there was enough support to pass it.
21/09/17 New Delhi Times

A week of ‘smiles’ at Trichy airport

Trichy: Service providers around the world are striving hard to delight their customers and Trichy international airport is not wasting any time either. Trichy airport began its celebrations for 'Smile Week' at the new terminal building here on Thursday. As part of the celebrations, the airport authorities have organised various programmes and events at the airport which would culminate on September 25.
With a focus on improving passenger service excellence, operational efficiency and to realise greater revenue growth, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) launched project Disha (Delivery-Improvement- Service-Hospitality at the airport). After launching the project at Chennai and Coimbatore airports, where the total passenger traffic is above 15 lakh, the project has been launched at 12 airports including Trichy.
District collector K Rajamani, inaugurated the programme and week-long events including distribution of chocolates to passengers, soft skill training for CISF personnel, health awareness programme to staff handling baggage and trolley, taxi drivers and talk by renowned personalities.
"In the process of satisfying passengers, airport authorities at Trichy have started to focus on improving toilet facilities, terminal up-keeping, trolley services, check-in facilities, efficiency of security, immigration and customs and customer delight. These critical areas were identified under Disha would be constantly monitored," said airport director K Gunasekaran.
22/09/17 Times of India

Mangaluru INC wants airport upgraded

The Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has asked the state government to develop Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) by initiating a series of urgent measures.

Jeevan Saldanha, president, KCCI, has demanded the government to provide Runway End Safety Area (RESA) by constructing an additional 60 m of runway. Extension of runway length of MIA from 2,450 m to 3,050 m can take place by acquiring 62 acres of land with a project cost of Rs 600-700 crore. KCCI has also requested the government to provide bilateral agreement/ air traffic rights to allow airlines to fly to Mangaluru. KCCI has sent letters demanding the same to the prime minister, chairman, Airports Authority of India, chief secretary, state government and ministers concerned from the State and Union government and elected representatives.

KCCI president Jeevan Saldanha told Bangalore Mirror, “MIA is one of the fastest-growing airports in South India and the airport has witnessed phenomenal growth in both domestic and International sectors in the last five years. Now, there are around 56 operations daily from this airport (28 arrivals and 28 departures). It is handling 328 aircraft movements per week (International - 108, Domestic – 256, with 9 international flights connecting to eight Gulf cities. There has been a significant increase in the number of passengers traveling from Mangaluru in the last few years, and for FY 2015-16, Mangaluru has seen overall growth of 28 per cent in passengers, with 40 per cent increase in international and 21 per cent increase in domestic passengers.”
22/09/17 Bangalore Mirror

Flying over Bay of Bengal to be safer as AAI to bifurcate oceanic for better monitoring of aircraft

Chennai: Flying over the Bay of Bengal is going to be safer as Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to bifurcate airspace over the ocean for better monitoring of planes that fly in the area where several international and domestic routes crisscross.
The move is planned because the airspace that is spread over the ocean between Chennai and Port Blair is 1,200miles long and is a vital link for flights connecting south East Asia to the Middle East and Europe. More than 340 international flights fly daily along 26 international routes that crisscross domestic routes.
"The airspace will be vertically bifurcated and a separate team of air traffic controllers will monitor the two sections so that there is efficient monitoring," said Pradeep Kandoth, general manager air traffic management, Chennai, while talking on oceanic air traffic management at a function organised by Public Relations Society of India on Friday.
He said the bifurcation which would come into force in a few months would reduce the workload of the controllers and also would help minimise air traffic control incidents over the ocean.
22/09/17 Times of India

Jet Airways becomes first Indian airline to offer online pre-order service

Jet Airways has redefined its onboard shopping experience ‘JetBoutique’ by taking it online, becoming the first Indian airline to offer a pre-order duty free service.

Passengers with confirmed bookings on select international flights will now be to pre-order from a range of international brands at the airline’s website (www.jetairways.com) for delivery onboard.

Jet Airways’ new service aims to “offer exceptional value to its guests”, particularly millennial travellers, providing the convenience of online shopping to help travellers save time at the airport.

In celebration of the launch, passengers shopping on JetBoutique are offered an introductory 10% discount on orders.
21/09/17 Kapila Ireland/The Moodie Davitt Report

Bhopals Raja Bhoj Airport will soon go solar

Bhopal:  Bhopals Raja Bhoj Airport will soon switch over to solar energy.
The power will be sourced from a plant whose foundation stone was laid today.
The plant will have capacity to generate one megawatt (MW) power and it will help the airport save around Rs 80 lakh every year on its electricity cost.
While laying the foundation stone for the solar plant, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also hoisted the national flag on the newly installed 100-feet high mast, which will remain illuminated for 24-hours, in the campus of Raja Bhoj Airport.
"Airports Authority of India (AAI) is going to install the solar plant with the help of Madhya Pradesh Energy Development Corporation.
"This will generate 1 MW of electricity. Use of renewable solar energy will save our environment. This will also cut the annual electricity cost of the airport by around Rs 80 lakh," Chouhan said while addressing the programme.
Chouhan also expressed happiness over installation of 100-feet tall mast for national flag.
"National flag signifies a sense of patriotism and self-respect. The tricolour reminds us of our revolutionaries, who sacrificed their lives for a free country," he added.
22/09/17 PTI/India Today

Pool resources to have disabled airport recovery kits at major airports, AAI tells airlines

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to ask airlines to pool in resources and have disabled aircraft recovery kits at major airports to minimise the type of disruptions that Mumbai has faced twice in just over a decade for this reason. At present, only Air India has this kit in India.
AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told TOI: "It (removing disabled aircraft from runways) is airlines' responsibility. I have been pursuing a model where all airlines hire a common agency on cost sharing basis to have such facilities at some major airports. But airlines so far are not willing. We will pursue this."
Agencies are clearly worried as the growing air traffic now does not allow an aircraft to keep a runway occupied for several hours and disrupt aerial connectivity to and from that city. "In 2005 when an Air Sahara plane got stuck on a Mumbai runway, the kit was sent by road from Ahmedabad. That time it took two to three days and even this time it took more than a day despite super human efforts by the AI aircraft removal team. The response time has to change and for that it is a must that airlines join forces, share expenses, to have disabled recovery kits at al major airports," said a senior official.
A senior aviation source said "piloting skills" are being looked at for the recent skidding of a SpiceJet plane in Mumbai. "The runway was subjected to friction tests before it was reopened for operations as per protocol," the official said.
In fact, Indian Air Force (IAF) had earlier this year asked airlines to station aircraft removal kits and trained personnel to operate them at its airports as sensitive defence airstrips are often blocked by schedule carriers' planes that get stuck there due to technical reasons for several hours there. IAF had warned that if airlines fail to do so their permission to operate flights to IAF airports like Jammu, Srinagar, Pune and Chandigarh could be cancelled.
22/09/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Activists threaten indefinite strike for customs airport

Surat: Activists crusading for increased air connectivity have threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike to demand an international airport and customs notified status for Surat airport from October 1.
Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC) has threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike at the airport demanding international airport from October 1. Earlier, in February-2017, the SAAC office-bearers had announced their plan to launch an indefinite hunger strike by giving an ultimatum to the central government.
Letters sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju by SAAC sought starting of international operations from Surat airport before Gujarat assembly elections or else people will be forced to begin an indefinite hunger strike from October 1.
SAAC president Sanjay Ezhawa shared the official documents gathered from central and state governments regarding development works carried out at Surat airport.
Ezhawa stated the PMO office accepted that Gujarat government had proposed development of Surat and Vadodara airports. However, there was no mention in the documents gathered from the meeting held at Gandhinagar regarding Gujarat's civil aviation sector development in January 2015.
Sources said Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is yet to approve the customs notified status for Surat airport. Airports Authority of India (AAI) had sent the customs airport proposal to CBEC seven months ago.
22/09/17 Times of India

Sri Lankan media team visits RGIA

Hyderabad: GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) led Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad has been chosen by the External Publicity and Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, as one of the national assets to be showcased to the Sri Lankan media. The airport turned a host to the 17 journalists from Sri Lanka, who landed at the airport on Thursday. As part of the Media Outreach Programme being conducted by the External Affairs Ministry, a battery of high-profile media professionals has come to the city to witness its various signature institutions.
22/09/17 Hans India

Test flight conducted in Tezu Airport

Tezu: A test flight on the runway of Tezu Airport, the only civilian airport in Arunachal Pradesh, was conducted successfully on Friday.
The fixed-wing aircraft successfully executed test landing on the runway of the airport in presence of officials of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and district administration, including Deputy Commissioner (in-charge) Kajol Karmakar.
The District Administration is extending all possible cooperation to the AAI to make the airport operationalize as early as possible.
22/09/17 Arunachal Times

Mumbai Airport to have half a million-tonne capacity pharma terminal

As the dynamic growth of Indian pharma industry positions it as the third largest pharmaceuticals market in the world in terms of value and eleventh largest in terms of volume, the healthcare cold chain logistics market is being analyzed to exhibit lucrative opportunities. Needless to say, the criticality of the lifesaving products is indisputable and customers are increasingly demanding risk lane assessments. So when Mumbai International Airport became the first Indian airport to join the Pharma.Aero initiative in early 2017, it came as a breadth of fresh air to pharma stakeholders. Pharma.Aero is the cross industry collaboration for pharma shippers, CEIV certified cargo communities, airport operators and other air cargo industry stakeholders that focuses on improving pharma handling and quality in the air cargo industry.
22/09/17 Shreya Bhattacharya/Stat Trade Times

Man held for smuggling gold through Madurai airport

Madurai: Sleuths of the directorate of revenue intelligence, seized 1380g of gold valued at Rs 38.62 lakh being smuggled by a passenger at the Madurai International Airport on Wednesday, based on specific intelligence.
They busted a novel modus operandi, where the gold was concealed in pens, baby sandals/shoes, key rings, toy cars, watches and paper clips in the check-in baggage of a passenger. The accused was identified as Ahamed Ismail, 37 of Chennai, who landed by a SpiceJet flight, SG 24 on Septemeber 20, at the Madurai airport from Dubai. During questioning, the man said that the items were purchased in Dubai.
Scanning of the articles revealed that they had suspected material concealed in them and a detailed examination was done and they were subjected to assay. The assay showed that 182 metal pieces were made of gold 24 carat purity weighing 1380g valued at Rs 38,62,584 after removing the nickel coating.
22/09/17 Times of India

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Suspicious mobile phone leads to emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi

An Indian-flagged Jet Airways plane made an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday night after two passengers spotted an unattended mobile phone displaying the message "do not turn off".

The discovery was reported to the captain of flight 9W 66, who took it for a bomb threat and immediately informed the control tower at Suvarnabhumi airport.

The plane had departed from New Delhi airport with 153 passengers onboard and was due to land at Suvarnabhumi at 8.37pm.

Suvarnabhumi airport director Sirote Duangratana said after receiving the captain's report it was decided to implement the "emergency plan to deal with a bomb threat".

The airplane was directed to an isolated parking bay after landing. The passengers and eight crew members were subject to strict examination and all luggage was checked thoroughly by the airport's security and officials from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

An Indian couple later told police they had found a phone showing a "do not turn off" message on one of the passenger seats, and asked a flight attendant to locate its owner. The phone was taken to the captain, who reportedly feared turning it off might detonate a bomb.

Pol Maj Gen Surawhet Hakphan, commander of the Patrol and Special Operation unit, said the incident had not been taken lightly. A full search had found no suspicious objects.

He said the couple had acted correctly, with good intentions, and were not suspects.
21/09/17 Terry Fredrickson/Bangkok Post

Air India JV tagged as 'shell' company by CBI

The war against black money has touched the ailing national carrier Air India. The Central Bureau of Investigation, while scrutinising a ground-handling joint venture of Air India named SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AI-SATS), has traced certain unusual business activities and has included it in a 'Confirmed List' of shell companies.

The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Union Ministry of Finance, a specialised unit that monitors suspicious cash transactions, has been forwarded this 'Confirmed List' — adding up to 16,794 entities, including AI-SATS.

Finance ministry sources told DNA that there were "four instances of cash deposits through PAN associated with AI-SATS during demonetisation". In the set of alleged 'confirmed' shell companies list, 14,246 have been identified by the I-T department, 2,015 by SFIO, the CBI has named 482 (including AI-SATS) and ED 51 companies.

This list has been updated with PAN records data as on June 1, 2017.

AI-SATS is a 50:50 JV between Air India Limited and Singapore Airport Terminal Services (now known as SATS Ltd) formed in 2010, when the UPA government was in power. It provides ground-handling services across airports in Delhi, Hyderabad, Trivandrum and Banguluru. AI-SATS had been in mired in controversy since its formation over allegations that it caused huge losses to the national exchequer. Air Corporations Employees' Union, in a letter to the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, alleged that while SATS was supposed to invest Rs 400 crores, hardly a fraction of the amount actually came in.
21/09/17 DNA

Aviation body wants NIA, IB probe after 2 incidents involving suspicious power banks

New Delhi: Two separate incidents at Delhi and Mangalore airports involving suspicious power banks this week have prompted the aviation security regulator to write to NIA and Intelligence Bureau to carry out an investigation.
A suspicious power bank inside a cargo consignment today sent security agencies at Delhi airport into a tizzy. An x-ray examination of a mail bag of India Post meant to be flown to Dibrugarh as a cargo item on IndiGo alerted security officials this morning.
When the airport personnel opened the power bank they found "clay-like substance" inside it, according to a source. However, after another test, it was found that it did not contain any explosive material.

The incident came just two days after a power bank in the checked-in baggage of a passenger travelling from Mangalore to Dubai on IndiGo was found having a "clay-like substance".
While the gadget was found to be free of any explosive material, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) asked the airline to file an FIR.
Electronic gadgets such as laptops and power banks are not allowed to be carried as checked-in baggage.
"We have written to NIA (National Investigation Agency) and IB (Intelligence Bureau) because there is a need to probe the matter further," a senior official said on condition of anonymity.
21/09/17 PTI/Economic Times

Mangaluru: Air India Express flight to Doha suffers engine failure mid-air, returns to airport

Mangaluru: In a mid-air scare, a flight from here to Doha on Thursday September 21 evening developed engine failure within 45 minutes of its take-off and had to return to the Mangaluru airport.

The flight Air India Express IX 821 was carrying over 170 passengers to Doha.

Confirming the incident, Mangaluru airport director V V Rao said that one engine of the aircraft failed a little half an hour after departure at 5.35 pm, due to which it had to be flown back. The flight landed safely, he said.
He also said that alternate arrangements are being made for the passengers on the flight.

A passenger who was aboard speaking to daijiworld said that when the engine failed, there was a 'loud bang' and the passengers panicked.

"Exactly 45 minutes after take-off, the engine failed and the flight came plunged down with speed. If we had flown another five or ten minutes we would not have survived. Some of us thought the flight exploded."

Another passenger said, "A little after half an hour of take-off, there was a loud sound. At first we thought it was thunder, but came to know it was engine failure. Thereafter the flight turned around and we landed safely at Mangaluru airport."

Sources said after the engine failed, the aircraft lost its height and balance all of a sudden, and was vibrating throughout on its return journey till it landed. Most of the passengers were too shaken to narrate the experience in detail. "We are grateful to the pilot that we survived," they said.
21/09/17 Daijiworld

More airlines to participate in second round of regional connectivity scheme: Jayant Sinha

Chennai: Regular airlines like IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet will aggressively participate in the second round of regional connectivity scheme Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), under which fares are capped at ?2,500 for one-hour flights, according to Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“The scheme has been so successful that IndiGo, which did not participate in round one of UDAN, is determined to participate in round two. It had placed an order for 50 ATRs for ?10,000 crore to participate in second round,” he told newspersons at the Chennai airport.

SpiceJet has placed an order for 50 Q400 from Bombardier to participate more aggressively in round two. Jet Airways has also said that it would participate in the second round, he said.
SpiceJet has placed an order for 50 Q400 from Bombardier to participate more aggressively in round two. Jet Airways has also said that it would participate in the second round, he said.
India has around 400 airstrips, and after the first round of UDAN only 100 are to be operational. “We have a long way to go to connect the remaining 300 airstrips. In the second round, the Ministry has taken special consideration for priority areas, including the North-East and island regions like Andamans & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep to provide special concessions to operate helicopters and smaller aircraft, he said.
20/09/17 Business Line

Chennai to get new world-class airport in five years and a fancy aero-city around it

Chennai: Chennai is all set to go hip, with a new Greenfield world-class airport, and a Gurgaon like aero-city developed around it.  All this in just five years, according to plans revealed by the Centre.

The Centre on Wednesday said it was working with the state government on firming up plans for a second airport in Chennai and creating urban development around it.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters that efforts were on to acquire 1,000 to 2,000 acres of land to develop a world-class airport from scratch, and make Chennai a global hub for aviation.

The minister said the aero-city would be developed on the lines of Gurgaon with globally-advanced facilities. He also said the new airport would be built within next five years as Chennai airport would have attained saturation by then.

What happens then to existing plans for expanding the present Arignar Anna International Terminal? Asked about this, the minister said work was progressing and bids for building new terminals as part of Phase II expansion of Chennai airport will be floated in January next year.
20/09/17 New Indian Express

IndiGo only company to show official interest in Air India

India’s largest airline IndiGo which had expressed its interest in buying an equity stake in the international operations of troubled national carrier, is the only company to show official interest in Air India, ET Now reported, citing the Civil Aviation Secretary.
Earlier, Bird Group, which provides various aviation services such as aircraft navigation, ground handling, customer management and logistics had formally written to the Civil Aviation Ministry expressing its interest in the debt-ridden Air India for its ground handling business, according to CNBC TV18. Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey, confirming the development had told reporters that the group has sent an expression of interest (EoI) for the same.
Earlier, IndiGo said that it is  interested in buying Air India’s international operations. Given IndiGo’s leadership in the domestic market with a whopping 41% share and its aggressive plans to expand overseas, it augurs well for the company. Air India is a distant third largest player in the Indian civil aviation market with a paltry 14% share. While that revenue would be a welcome addition to IndiGo’s kitty, it is Air India’s leadership in overseas passenger traffic with 17% of the international skies in its portfolio which is the main attraction for IndiGo, which itself has major ambition to quickly start adding international destinations to its network.
Taking forward the process for Air India divestment, the government had invited applications from investment bankers, law firms and other entities to act as advisers for strategic stake sale of the flag carrier, as per PTI reports. The Finance Ministry said in an official release last week, “The Government of India has in-principle decided to consider the disinvestment of the AI Group as a whole or its constituents fully or part thereof through strategic sale with transfer of management control.”
21/09/17 Financial Express

Stranded SpiceJet aircraft retrieved after 23 hrs

After nearly 23 hrs an Air India technical team managed to retrieve a SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft which was stuck in the mud at Mumbai Airport late on Tuesday, an official said here late on Wednesday.

The aircraft had skidded off the main runway while landing and got stuck in the soft wet mud, blocking the main runway 09/27.

It had arrived as SpiceJet Varanasi-Mumbai flight SG-703 with 183 passengers.

During landing the aircraft overshot the runway and skidded off into the unpaved surface due to wet runway conditions caused due to heavy rains.

However, all passengers deplaned safely with the help of chutes and were taken to the arrival hall.

Later on Wednesday, an Air India technical team launched a massive exercise to retrieve the stranded aircraft which compelled suspension of all operations on the main runway.
21/09/17 IANS/Moneylife

SpiceJet flight mishap: Accident can happen anytime at Mumbai airport, claims AAI official

Mumbai: Hours after the SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft which overshot a wet runway while landing at the airport in rain-hit Mumbai and got stuck in the mud, a senior airport official claimed that safety measures were not upto the mark at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) airport.

While making the sensational revelation, S Mangala, DGM (Aviation Safety), said that if the SpiceJet Varanasi-Mumbai flight SG-703 with 183 passengers had landed from the opposite direction and overrun the runway, it would have hit the non-frangible JBS (Jet Blast Shield) and gone up in flames as there is no soft RESA (muddy area meant to stop an aircraft) beyond the runway on that side.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) official claimed to have repeatedly warned and written to DGCA the Chairman of AAI, all the airlines and the ATCOs (Air Traffic Controllers) that such an accident can happen any time.

"Please keep it in mind that if there is an accident of an aircraft with foreign passengers on board, the State of India/GOI, as a single entity, will be held accountable/liable in the International Court of Justice," Mangala said in her email to authorities.

However, an airport official rubbished Mangala's claims saying saftey measures at the Mumbai airport were according to DGCA and AAI standards.

A Spicejet plane carrying 183 people had skidded off the main runway while landing and got stuck in the soft wet mud, blocking the main runway 09/27 on Tuesday.
21/09/17 Zee News

Mumbai rains: Right landing direction saved SpiceJet craft

Hours after the SpiceJet plane skidded off the slippery runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Tuesday night, a senior whistle blower from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has written to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) flagging off a potential hazard.

S.Mangala, DGM (Aviation Safety), says that if the aircraft had landed from the opposite direction and overrun the runway, it would have hit the non-frangible JBS (Jet Blast Shield) and gone up in flames as there is no soft RESA (muddy area meant to stop an aircraft) beyond the runway on that side.

An airport official rubbished the claims, saying that everything at the airport and on air side is as per the specifications of the safety regulator at DGCA and AAI. "The regulator, after careful examination and certification, gives the go-ahead for any development," the official said.

Mangala says she has been writing to the authorities repeatedly for five years.She has told the DGCA, the Chairman of AAI, all the airlines and the ATCOs (Air Traffic Controllers) that such an accident can happen any time, which would result in a loss of lakhs of lives because ground causalities will be far more.

"Please keep it in mind that if there is an accident of an aircraft with foreign passengers on board, the State of India/GOI, as a single entity, will be held accountable/liable in the International Court of Justice," Mangala said in her email to authorities.

A SpiceJet aircraft SG703 overshot the runway upon landing, during the incessant rains on Tuesday, and got stuck in the mud. All 183 passengers were safely deplaned, but the craft remained stuck for around 24 hours, shutting the primary runway and affected hundreds of flights.
21/09/17 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

How Air India engineers braved the rain to restart Mumbai airport in 24 hrs

New Delhi: More than 90 people worked for 24 hours in incessant rains to pull out the SpiceJet aircraft weighing 41 tonnes that kept the primary runway of Mumbai airport shut and disrupted operations at the country’s second busiest airport.
“The advantage was that our aircraft recovery kit is based in Mumbai itself, so our men were on the ground quickly,” said H R Jagannath, chief executive of Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), which carried out the operation.
It was not a new incident for the team as AIESL has carried out similar operations, including retrieving a Turkish Airlines A-330 which kept the Kathmandu Airport shut for more than 48 hours.
“Air India is the custodian for the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and a small section of the Gulf for the International Airlines Technical Pool, known as IATP. Member airlines pay us for carrying out such operations,” Jagannath said.
IATP is a convention of airlines started 59 years ago to promote safety in the skies. It is a not-for-profit, independent and non-political global organisation. Among the 101 international airlines members which pay a premium to IATP are Jet Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and, of course, Air India.
But Mumbai rains worsened the condition.
Before work could start on the site, it had to be ensured that the condition of the ground is such that it is able to withstand the weight of the aircraft. “In Mumbai, incessant rains made the job more challenging as it was making the ground softer, we had to ensure ground was levelled using gravel, stones and sand,” he said.
This was simultaneously being carried out along with developing the recovery plan. Aircraft Recovery Plan (ARP) is developed based on the local conditions, along with discussions with the airport operator and the airline operator. An airport operator would want the aircraft to be removed as soon as possible to normalise operation but the airline’s concern will be to minimise the damage to the aircraft. Airports like Mumbai which operate with a single runway are faced with the difficult challenge of obtaining equipment via ground transportation, which significantly delays the receipt of the critically needed equipment and causes longer runway closure times.
"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 INR10-20 crore (USD1.5 – 3 million)," Bansal said. The Chairman is also confident of securing government-backed short-term loans of INR30 billion (USD466 million) to settle outstanding bills and put the carrier in a position to renegotiate terms.
Bansal did however rule out selling off Air India's slots. "Slots are our biggest assets. We don't want to surrender any slots," he said.
21/09/17 Arndam Majumder/Business Standard

Air India plans to rationalise routes & contracts

Air India's new chairman and managing director, Rajiv Bansal, has outlined his plans to help turn the national airline around ahead of its planned privatisation. Speaking with The Press Trust of India, Bansal has said that routes operated by the carrier and its subsidiaries – Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int'l) and Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai Int'l) – will be rationalised, to avoid competition within the group and cut costs.

"We have to ensure that we don't compete which means that it is not that Air India or Air India Express withdraws but we can work with the timings. Wherever the passenger loads are not justified, either Air India or its subsidiaries can withdraw," Bansal said.

He noted that particularly for short-haul flights, Air India should "concede space to Alliance Air".

In a separate interview with the Financial Express, Bansal said that he is also looking to optimise contracts with vendors and suppliers. Bansal's focus is on small but steady progress, with savings to be pursued no matter how small.
21/09/17 ch-aviation

Air India Express’s Dubai flight to operate in winter

Pune: Air India Express, a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, would continue with its direct flight between Pune and Dubai in winter.
An airline official said on Wednesday that the flight would operate through the entire winter schedule until March. It would also start international cargo export within a fortnight from the Pune facility.
A top official of the company told TOI last week that the flight was making losses, triggering speculations over its discontinuation.
Suhas Jadhav, the station manager of Air India in Pune, told TOI, "The flight will continue operations for the whole winter schedule and the bookings have been opened until March. It should be good news for passengers in two minds about the flight."
Confirming that the flight would start international cargo export in a fortnight, he said, "The clearance has been given by the Pune customs. We are thankful to them for expediting the process."
Terming the development good news, aviation expert and analyst Dhairyashil Vandekar said, "Less number of international flights from Pune has been a concern. With the Air India Express' Dubai flight to continue operations, the passengers will benefit."
21/09/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Shirdi Airport gets DGCA licence, flights soon

New Delhi: You will soon be able to fly to Shirdi for the darshan of Shri Sai Baba. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday issued the licence to Shirdi Airport which has a runway long enough for Airbus A-320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. A senior DGCA official said, the regulator "has issued the Aerodrome Licence to Shirdi Airport for public use for day operations after ensuring compliance of all relevant standards."
21/09/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Delay in salvaging stranded plane gives Mumbai airport a bad name

Mumbai: Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Hyderabad as the SpiceJet flight overshooting the runway at the city airport on Tuesday night had a cascading effect across the country. A common grouse among passengers was lack of information on flight status. Airline call centres were difficult to get through. Airlines and passengers took to social media to share information. Passengers whose flights managed to land in Mumbai were left waiting for their luggage for hours.
Till 5pm on Wednesday, JetAirways had taken the worst beating, with 63 flight cancellations, followed by IndiGo (8), SpiceJet (3), Air India (2) and GoAir (1). Trouble began in the early hours of Wednesday, with strong, gusting tailwinds whipping the operational, shorter secondary runway. Even as narrow-body aircraft landed onto the wet runway, the big birds were diverted to the safer runways of Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The worst-hit were passengers onboard wide-bodied aircraft (of both Indian and foreign airlines) scheduled for early Wednesday arrivals to Mumbai after long-haul flights from Europe and the US.
21/09/17 Manju V/Times of India

Soon, all airports in India to become tag-free

New Delhi: In a bid to make airports in India more passengers friendly, Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday said that they will soon become tag-free.

The move has been aimed at enhancing passenger experience and hassle free security environment to them.

From April this year, stamping of passengers' hand baggage at seven major airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Cochin and Ahmedabad were done away with.

High definition CCTV cameras have been deployed at these airports and the length of rollers at the baggage checking x-ray machines has been increased so that all the bags are thoroughly cleared and doubtful ones are segregated by security personnel.
21/09/17 Zee News

Indian-origin UK MP lobbying for direct flights between Amritsar and UK

Jalandhar: After raising the issue of resumption of direct flights between Amritsar and UK with ministers in the Indian government and Punjab government, Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi is now lobbying with airlines in UK and urging them to start the direct flights. During his meetings with the senior officials of the airlines, he also quoted Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal's assurance that if any international airlines wished to resume flights from Amritsar, the state government would consider forgoing the state aviation tax.
In the last few days, Dhesi has met Virgin Atlantic and Air India senior officials in UK and buttressed his argument with facts and figures about the commercial potential in case they would start direct flights between Amritsar and UK. Speaking to TOI on Sunday from UK, Dhesi confirmed that he was citing Manpreet Badal's offer to consider the waiver if international airlines would come up with proposal to resume the direct flights from Amritsar. "I shall meet officials of other airlines also in the next few days," he said.
"As I met Virgin Atlantic's Senior Manager External Affairs and soon-to-be Head of India Operations David Hodges, I presented various facts and figures about the potential of a very lucrative route to the global tourist capital Amritsar, visited by millions each year. I also highlighted the incentives being offered by the Punjab government and the overwhelming wishes of the Punjabi diaspora within my Slough constituency, Britain and beyond," Dhesi said.
He also held an hour long meeting with Tara Naidu, Head of Europe Operations, Air India. "I proposed that even if additional slots can't be procured, Air India is currently operating three daily flights from Heathrow Airport to India of which two are to Delhi and one to another destination and one of those could be used for Amritsar," he revealed.
20/09/17 IP Singh/Times of India

Are Bengaluru’s sparrows migrating to its international airport?

The sparrows at Bengaluru’s international airport almost made Mohammed Dilawar miss his flight. Early one morning, he was waiting to board a connecting flight to Mengaluru, but as he watched the birds flitting in and out of shops and feeding on crumbs left on the grey tiled floor, he nearly forgot there was a plane to catch.

Dilawar, who is the president of the Nature Forever Society, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of house sparrows, tries to get to the airport at least two hours before his flight to watch house sparrows living in their glass-and-steel habitat. A pair of binoculars and a pen in hand, he has even had to ask airport security for permission to watch the birds, lest he seem suspicious.

To Dilawar, and others like him, the seemingly large population of the house sparrow or Passer domesticus at the Kempegowda International Airport is beguiling, not least because of reports that the bird’s population has dwindled in the city centre over the past several years.

“All their ecological needs are met at Bangalore airport,” he said.

Driving up to Bengaluru’s international airport, you’ll first notice its curved glass fa├žade, interrupted by angled pillars that keep the structure grounded. Inside the airport, small crevices are formed on top of beams, around pillars and between slats of skylights that bring natural light into the cavernous space. These nooks, experts say, are ideal for birds like house sparrows, or even crows, to build nests. And although the sparrow population may not be immediately apparent when you walk into the airport, take a moment to listen carefully. Over the low thrum of passengers talking and luggage wheels scraping against the floor, the sound of birds chirping has become an unmistakeable part of the airport’s ambient soundtrack.
21/09/17 Scroll.in

Mumbai airport having no Twitter handle is absurd: Mahesh Bhupathi

India’s legendary tennis professional Mahesh Bhupathi expressed disappointment after he realised that the Mumbai airport — Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport — has no official Twitter handle to disseminate information in such an advanced era.

Calling it ‘absurd’, the 43-year-old tweeted: “Why in this day and age does #mumbaiairport not have a Twitter handle with information? Absurd …”
Bhupathi was the first Indian to win a Grand Slam tournament after he clinched the French Open mixed doubles title with Rika Hiraki in 1997. He’s currently serving as India’s non-playing Davis Cup captain.

Currently, the Mumbai airport is facing troubles due to heavy showers. As many as 56 flights were diverted to different airports till Wednesday morning as the main runway remained affected for the second consecutive day following the heavy rains pouring in the city.
20/09/17 Statesman

2,000 flyers stranded at RGIA after 16 Mum flights diverted

Hyderabad: Over 2,000 passengers were left stranded at the city's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Tuesday night -many without food and accommodation -after 16 flights to Mumbai were diverted to the Shamshabad facility on account of unfavourable weather conditions in the Maharashtra capital.
In fact, hundreds of them were forced to stay put at the airport till late on Wednesday afternoon, with many airlines failing to accommodate them on earlier flights.
While a bulk of the diverted aircrafts belonged to Jet Airways - servicing both domestic and international circuit - the list included Air India, Swissair, Malaysian Airlines and Air Canada carriers.
The air traffic disruptions led to massive chaos at the Hyderabad airport, as hapless passengers lashed out at airline authorities for their apathy and demanded alternative arrangements.
Angry outbursts over poor communication from airline staffers and lack of basic facilities flooded social media platforms, even as operators made attempts at pacifying their guests. "The diversion wasn't in the airline's control, so we cannot complain. But what transpired later could have been managed better," said Sandeep Sharma who was on board Jet Airways' flight from Kolkata to Mumbai.
21/09/17 Times of India

Flights normalised, now Mumbai airport clear

Mumbai: Aircraft movements at the main runway of the Mumbai airport was restored last night after the airport operator removed the SpiceJet aircraft which had skidded after landing amid heavy rains on Tuesday.

The operations at runway 09/27 resumed at around 11:30pm after SpiceJet Boeing 737 was moved to the paved area and subsequently to a hanger, a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) official said.
The problems of airline travellers flying in and out of Mumbai just multiplied from Tuesday night. The flight operations were completely suspended between 6:50pm and 7:10pm at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) as the visibility dropped to 400 metres due to heavy rains on Tuesday. This was followed by the SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 183 people overshot a wet runway while landing at the airport. All passengers were safely evacuated. However, this catapulated into a major chaos and cancellation of flights in and out of Mumbai.

Nearly 108 flights were cancelled on Wednesday and 56 flights were diverted to different airports till Wednesday morning. Among those cancelled, 63 Jet Airways, 8 IndiGo, 3 SpiceJet and 1 GoAir flights were cancelled due to bad weather at Mumbai airport. Hundreds of passengers were stranded overnight and the Mumbai airport resembled a sleep over camp.

Amrita Kaur who was stranded at the CSIA, while flying out to Bhutan tweeted, @AmritaOfLife Bhutan I’m going to see you soon So much drama has happened in last 20 hours thanks to beautiful rains.
21/09/17  Neeta Kolhatkar/Free Press Journal

InterGlobe Aviation to raise Rs 2,530 cr by selling shares to institutions

InterGlobe Aviation, the company that operates the country’s largest airline Indigo said the company would raise Rs 2,530 cr by issuing fresh shares.
At the same time, existing shareholders of the company would raise Rs 1,265 cr by selling some of their shares as well, the company said.
The total size of the offering would be around 3,780 cr. The shares would be sold to institutional investors.
A total of 33.58 mln shares would be sold at a price of Rs 1,130 each. Two thirds of the shares are fresh issue, while one third will come from existing shareholders.
It is not clear who the selling shareholders are.
Indigo is considered a model airline due to its enormous success in both growing its revenue as well as remaining profitable even during periods of poor growth in the airline industry.
21/09/17 Trisha Thomas/Ultra

Chennai flies on 'friendly' fare to Mysuru, Salem, Hosur

Chennai: Less than four months after the ministry of civil aviation signed an MoU with the state government, the first daily flight between Chennai and Mysuru was inaugurated by minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha on Wednesday.
More routes are set to be launched from Chennai under the Udan scheme in the coming weeks. Hyderabad based regional airline Trujet, which has bagged 18 regional routes in the first phase of bidding, will start daily flights from Chennai to Salem and Kadapa in the first week of November.
"We will be flying a 70-seater ATR plane daily from Chennai to Mysuru and back. We have a fleet of four planes and one more will be added this year. Three more planes will be added subsequently, "said Trujet's ma naging director V Umesh.
The airline will also fly to Tuticorin from Chennai, which will not be part of the Udan scheme. "There is good patronage for the Mysuru flight owing to demand from business travellers, leisure travellers and those who travel on social visits, "said Umesh. There is a cap on fare and prices go up after the booking of 35 seats but the maximum fare will not exceed Rs 3,000, he added.
Neyveli, Salem and Hosur are also part of the regional connectivity scheme. Sinha said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was taking steps to operate flights to Hosur airport under the scheme. "Discussions are taking place on some of the nitty gritties of operating the airport, "he added. The GVK-run Bengaluru airport has not given an NoC for operating flights at Hosur citing its proximity to the Bengaluru airport.
21/09/17 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Greenfield airport in five years: Minister

Chennai: The Centre and the State are working together to firm up plans on setting up a second airport, a greenfield facility, and developing an aerocity around it. Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters that efforts were on to acquire 1,000 to 2,000 acres of land to develop a world class greenfield aerocity on the lines of the Gurgaon model. The new airport, he added, would be built within next five years as Chennai airport would attain saturation by then.

To a query whether the plans to expand the present airport would be hit by the proposal to go in for a greenfield airport, the minister said work was progressing in this regard and the bids for building new terminals as part of phase-II expansion of Chennai airport would be floated in January next year.
“From the date of bidding, it will take 24 to 36 months to complete the entire second phase of Chennai airport expansion,” he said.

The expansion work is likely to cost more than `2,000 crore along with a walkator in front of the terminal building and some airside work. The minister, who was here to inaugurate the opening of air services from Chennai to Mysuru, said the first phase of regional connectivity scheme has been a success with bigger players like Indigo, Jet Airways and Spicejet wanting to take part in the bids under the second phase. “There are 400 airstrips in India and under the fisrt phase we are planning to open 100 of them,” he said.
The minister added that he was looking into suggestions of having more international flights to Coimbatore and Tiruchy, and better service to Madurai.
21/09/17 New Indian Express

GoAir’s flight late by 4 hrs for Mum runway closure

Pune: A total of 178 passengers travelling to Bengaluru on a GoAir flight from the city encountered a tough time on Wednesday evening with the plane getting delayed by over four hours because of cascading effect of heavy rain across the state.
With heavy rain lashing Mumbai, a total of 108 flights were cancelled and 51 were diverted from the state capital after a SpiceJet flight overshot the main runway and got stuck in the mud. GoAir officials cited these as reasons for the flight delay.
The passengers claimed that the airline officials did not inform them about the delay until late and only reacted after some of them had a heated argument with the ground staffers at the airport.
"The flight was scheduled to take off from Pune at 6.40pm. I reached the airport by 4.35pm and got inside as the rain was not stopping. They (airline officials) kept on saying that the boarding would begin soon. But after 7.30pm, many passengers lost patience and surrounded a GoAir counter to get answers. We were then told that the flight had not even arrived. I don't understand why airlines tend to hide things? They should inform people immediately," a passenger told TOI, requesting anonymity.
"The Pune airport needs to do something better when it comes to its waiting areas. Many flights take off in the evening. Once a flight gets delayed, there is a chaos. I saw many passengers cursing and abusing as they were stressed out. It is utterly frustrating to keep on sitting at the airport with nothing to do. Everyone, including me, was frustrated," he said.
Another passenger, identified as Jamshed Wadia, ranted on Twitter, "Very poor service. All airlines flying, except GoAir."
20/091/7 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

TruJet to connect more cities from Chennai

Chennai: Regional carrier TruJet planned to launch flights to Salem and Kadapah from Chennai in the next two months, a top company official said here today.
The airliner today launched Chennai-Mysuru service under the Centre's ambitious UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
"We are starting Chennai-Mysuru service from today. We are also starting service in the Hyderabad-Bellary route. Chennai-Mysuru service will be everyday", TruJet, promoted by Turbo Megha Airways, Managing Director, V Umesh said.
He said the company would start services to Salem and Kadapah by November first week. It was awaiting permission for operating services to Hosur from here, he added.
To a query on when the services were expected to begin in he said "By November first week,".
On expansion of fleet size, he said the company would add one more aircraft taking the total to five (from current four) and another two over the next few months.
20/09/17 Economic Times

Chennai needs a greenfield airport at the earliest, Jayant Sinha

Chennai: With air travel growing rapidly at 15 to 20%, Chennai airport needs a greenfield airport at the earliest, said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

After inaugurating the first flight service between Chennai and Mysuru, as part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) here, he said the city’s airport will soon have exhausted its capacity in a few years, even with the modernised terminals in place.

“At least in about five to six years, we need to build a new greenfield airport for the city, for which about 1,000 to 2,000 acres of land are required. We are in discussions with the State government in this regard,” he said.

The greenfield airport will be like a global hub for the State with a capacity to serve for another 30 to 40 years. “It will become a tremendous driver for economic growth and will have [infrastructure] development around it, like for instance, hospitality and tourism,” he said.
Mr. Sinha said that the second round of bidding of RCS will begin next week. “Of the 400 airstrips in the country, 100 have become operational now and we have a long way to go. Airlines such as IndiGo which did not participate in the first round of RCS bidding have now purchased order for 50 ATR aircraft for ?10,000 crore. We want to even connect Andaman and Nicobar islands, northeast and hilly areas with smaller planes or even helicopters,” he said.
21/09/17 The Hindu

Centre mulls Helitaxi from Bengaluru to Mysuru

Mysuru: Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayanth Sinha said that central government is contemplating on introducing helitaxi from Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru to Mysuru Airport.
Speaking after launching the airline operation from Chennai - Mysuru - Chennai route at Mysuru Airport on Wednesday, Sinha said that they are working on helitaxi service from Bengaluru airport to Mysuru.
"We have recently announced helitaxi services in Bengaluru. Bengaluru will soon have helicopter shuttle from Electronic City to KIA. The price will be closed to the price cost charged by car taxi.
You can check in Electronic City, from there fly to KIA and from there fly to anywhere else in the world. That connection will benefit the people of electronic city," he said.
He said that the authorities of KIA are willing to extend that helitaxi service to Mysuru aswell. "But for that they need 10 to 15 travellers daily flying from KIA to Mysuru Aiport and back to KIA. If that much demand is generated in Mysuru, helicopter shuttle will be very started as early as possible. The Electronic city to BIAL will start within in few days," he said.
20/091/7 Lakshmikantha BK/Times of India

India emerges as top destination for travellers in Changi Airport during August

Changi Airport of Singapore saw an increase in the number of passengers in August 2017 compared to last year, with India emerging as the topmost destination for travellers at the airport. There was an increase of 18 per cent in the number of passengers travelling between India and Singapore during August.
The release issued by Changi Airport Group said, “The airport registered 5.27 million passenger movements last month, a 7.0 per cent increase compared to August last year.”
However, it was lower than the 5.42 million passengers that passed through Singapore in July.
India came out on top, showing a strong performance with an 18 per cent increase followed by China (11 per cent) and Malaysia (11 per cent). India achieved double-digit growth for the eighth consecutive month.
Passenger traffic for the month was supported by growth across all regions, with air travel to and from South Asia, Africa and the Americas. Among its top 20 business routes, the fastest-growing were Guangzhou, Penang and Taipei.
Aircraft movements rose 4.9 per cent to 31,750 landings and takeoffs compared to the same period last year, while airfreight throughput grew 10.7 per cent to reach 180,590 tonnes.
21/09/17 Connected to India

Mock drill staged at Kochi airport

Kochi: As part of checking the preparedness to face an emergency situation, a mock drill was conducted at the Cochin International Airport in Nedumbassery on Wednesday.

The mock drill was conducted by creating a situation akin to a plane accident. Around 30 agencies associated with the airport such as hospitals, disaster management team, district administration, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the Airports Authority of India took part.

The mock drill began with the captain of Alfa Delta Airline plane (imaginary) passing a  message of fire in the flight just before take-off at 2.30 pm.

A full emergency was declared at the airport and Fire and Rescue Services personnel headed by ARFF senior manager Sojan Koshy swung into action. A moving command control headed by airport director A C K Nair also became operational. Indian Navy’s helicopter ambulance was in position for take-off.
21/09/17 New Indian Express

Egyptian held for smuggling in over 10 kg gold at IGI airport

New Delhi: An Egyptian man was arrested at the New Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle over 10 kg of gold worth Rs 3.03 crore in specially designed pockets of his pants, the Customs Department said on Wednesday.
The department said in a statement that it is one of the largest seizures of gold at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in recent times.
It said the 39-year-old man was intercepted after he arrived from Dubai on Tuesday night. He had concealed the gold in specially designed pockets of his trouser, a senior customs official said.
20/09/17 Tribune