Saturday, April 22, 2017

Civil Aviation Ministry to check overbooking by airlines

The Civil Aviation Ministry has swung into action to crack down on the incidence of overbooking on domestic flights which rose by more than 60% in the last eight months despite stiff compensation rules for airlines.

Such overbooking has resulted in thousands of passengers being denied boarding despite holding a ticket.

“We may issue clear guidelines for airlines to follow in case they deny boarding to passengers on overbooked flights,” said a senior ministry official.

Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey has called a meeting with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief B.S. Bhullar and other officials from the DGCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry to discuss the rising number of boarding denial cases in 2016-17.

While an outright ban on the practice of airlines overbooking flights is not being considered yet, the Ministry may issue fresh guidelines for domestic airlines on overbooked flights.

Many airlines in India as well as abroad tend to issue confirmed bookings to more passengers than the number of seats available on a flight in anticipation of a few ticket cancellations and to reduce the possibility of departing with empty seats.

Airlines may deny boarding even in cases when passengers may be holding confirmed bookings for travel on a flight.
22/04/17 Somesh Jha/The Hindu

Rolls-Royce Opens Defence Service Delivery Centre in India

Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc on Thursday opened a new defence service delivery centre (SDC) in Bengaluru, the first outside the US and UK, to provide localized engineering support and solutions and reduce turnaround time for the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Rolls-Royce is looking to improve capability and provide faster front-line support for over 750 engines in a range of aircraft used by the defence as well as commercial aircraft such as the C-130J, Hawk advanced jet, Embraer and Jaguar, among others.

Shaun Agle, vice-president (customer services), India defence, said the new service delivery centre will be able to deliver real-time solutions through MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul), provide first and second line of support, have field service representatives, manage the health of the fleet, manage supply chains and collaborate with the armed forces.
21/04/17 Sharan Poovanna/Aviation Pros

SriLankan to expand India network

Encouraged by the growth in India, SriLankan Airlines has decided to increase its footprint in India market. “We have seen substantial growth in traffic from India to Sri Lanka in last one year and vice versa. As a result, we are going to increase frequency. We currently operate 107 frequencies in a week and we will be increasing that to 130 by middle of this year. We are adding three destinations; Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Coimbatore by July this year. Moreover, we are also increasing frequencies to Mumbai and Delhi and considering increasing frequency to Kolkata as well,” Siva Ramachandran, Chief Commercial Officer, SriLankan Airlines, said in New Delhi on the sidelines of a function organised by the national carrier of Sri Lanka to honour trade partners in India. Elaborating further, he said that the carrier currently has seven frequencies from Mumbai and Delhi which will eventually be increased to 14. “There is going to be huge growth in the India market. Our overall load factor on India routes is close to 80 per cent. While some destinations are witnessing 90 per cent load factor, it is not less than 70 per cent on any routes,” he informed.

To support this expansion, Sri Lankan is also taking delivery of new aircraft. Talking about the fleet acquisition he said that the carrier has taken delivery of the first A320 neo early March and the next one is arriving at the end of the March. “We also have two more A321 neos slated for delivery in July and that’s when we start our expansion programme. We are expected to take delivery of two more aircraft by the end of this year. We are also looking to flying to Melbourne by end of 2017 which will also help connectivity to most of the Indian points,” he revealed. SriLankan has already expanded its operations in China and Far East market. Speaking on making India as a catchment market, he said that Colombo is a mini hub. “We do not have a big airport but our terminal is going to expand soon. All the 107 flights from India have connectivity to Maldives, Seychelles and Far East destinations,” he said.
21/04/17 Murari Mohan Jha/Travel Trends Today

Heritage Aviation gets two H130 helicopters

The two single-engine aircraft will join Heritage Aviation's existing fleet of two H125 helicopters which were inducted in 2015. They will be deployed in a range of missions, including passenger transportation missions including heli-pilgrimage, aerial work and VIP transportation missions in India.

The helicopters will be delivered with seven passenger seats, and one of the aircraft will be equipped with cargo swing equipment to carry external load for aerial work missions.
21/04/17 Shephard

Jewar International Airport project: UP government seeks fresh technical evaluation; five facts to know

On Thursday UP government sought a fresh “technical evaluation” for the propsed international airport at Jewar in the state. Air passenger traffic has been rising rapidly and against the backdrop of this there have been discussions for setting up a second airport in the National Capital Region (NCR). The proposal for technical evaluation for Jewar airport has been made by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government which came to power last month. “The current BJP government (in Uttar Pradesh) has requested us for a technical evaluation because the previous technical evaluation for Jewar airport was done many years ago. So we are doing that,” MoS Aviation Jayant Sinha said. Here are five facts that you would like to know about the airport:
1) The Jewar International Airport project in Gautam Budh Nagar was first conceived during the regime of Rajnath Singh as chief minister in 2001 and given shape in 2002 by the next CM Mayawati. Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP government at the Centre gave the project a green signal.
2) In 2003, SP, led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, came to power, and shelved it along with the ‘Taj Expressway’ project, which was later renamed ‘Yamuna Expressway’.
3) In 2007, the Mayawati-led BSP government revived the Jewar project after coming to power. It was proposed alongwith the Yamuna Expressway and named the ‘Taj International Aviation Hub’. The BSP government started pursuing it with UPA, which was in power at the Centre.
4) The hurdle for the airport was that it would fall within a 150 km radius of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, thus contradicting an agreement signed with GMR-led consortium Delhi International Airport Private Limited.
5) In 2012, the new Akhilesh-led SP government came up with a fresh proposal for a ‘Taj International Airport’ in Agra instead. However, when the defence ministry opposed the move as the air force had an airbase in Kheria area of Agra, the state tweaked its proposal and wrote to the Centre proposing that the location be shifted to Firozabad or Akhilesh’s village Saifai. It was during the last phase of his government that Akhilesh relented and expressed his willingness for two international airports, one in Jewar and the other in Agra.
21/04/17 Financial Express

Seamless airport operation to cut flight delays, up efficiency

For some months now, the Kolkata airport has been experiencing congestion due to closure of the primary runway for repairs. This has led to increase in flight time from 2 hours on the Delhi-Kolkata sector to at times 2 hours 30 minutes. The additional 30 minutes of circling over the city has meant additional emission from burning of aviation fuel, which has made the sky more polluted than it would otherwise have been.
Now, the sector is getting ready to address the issue through central air traffic flow management (C-AFTM) that will manage flights in such a manner that they are not held up in the air on reaching destinations. This will mean sharing of precise information between various operations at an airport, including air traffic control, airport operator and airlines, and between airports so that a flight gets its landing slot on arrival even before it takes off from the departing airport.
"It makes more sense to keep the aircraft on the ground for 30 additional minutes in Delhi than waste fuel circling for 30 minutes over Kolkata," said Sarvesh Gupta, chairman of the airlines operators' committee at Kolkata airport.
To make that happen, Kolkata airport is putting in place airport collaborative decision making (A-CDM), a system similar to Eurocontrol in Europe, where key stakeholders — Airports Authority of India, ATC, airlines and ground handling agencies — share information and collaborate for better operational efficiency by reducing delays and optimising utilization of resources.
22/04/17 The Times Of India

456 city structures in flight paths to be trimmed, orders HC

Several buildings in the suburbs will soon get trimmed. The Bombay High Court has ordered the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to act on the two lists of structures that come in the way of flights taking off from Mumbai airport.

While one list, compiled in 2010-11, has 137 structures, another one from 2015-16 has 319 structures. The lists were recently submitted by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to the HC.

The lists include structures like Kalpataru Aura in Ghatkopar, Phoenix Market City in Kurla, Surya Hospital in Santacruz, Kingfisher House in Andheri and Swastik Solitaire in Chembur, among others. According to MIAL, which compiled the lists after detailed surveys along with the BMC, part of these structures come in the flight path and need to be razed.

MIAL’s general manager, legal, Raghava M told the HC that the two lists are ready and that they have done their bit. He gave details of how much each structure needs to be trimmed so that it does not come in the way of the flight path.

“An obstacle survey of Mumbai Airport was carried out in the year 2010-11by Airport Authority of India. By the said survey a list of all structures/buildings which exceeded the permissible height granted to them and penetrated the Approach Surface of the aircrafts taking off and landing at the Mumbai Airport came to be prepared,” Raghava’s affidavit in court stated. It added that after the survey, several letters were written to all concerned agencies to demolish a portion of these structures, but to no avail.
22/04/17 Yogesh Sadhwani/Mumbai Mirror

Airfare Alerts: How To Know When Flight Prices Drop

Travel search marketplace Ixigo has introduced a flight booking feature, called "fare intelligence", which enables its users to find the best possible prices. Ixigo monitors price drops and past trends to notify users whether to book a flight or wait, the portal said in a press release on Thursday. "Now know when to book a flight at the cheapest price with fare prediction & alerts," said Ixigo. The new feature is available on Ixigo's website and app, it noted.

Citing a study, Ixigo noted that the chances of the current flight fare being the best on first search are generally about one-third. In the other two-third cases, users would have benefited by waiting to book, it added.

The company has come up with the fare prediction feature which derives the best future date for one to book their flight. "For instance, if there are chances for a flight's fare to go down by say Rs. 950 over the next 3 days, Ixigo will prompt the user to wait," the travel search marketplace further said in its statement.

A double-digit growth seen in air passenger traffic over the past few months has led to increased competition among airlines.
21/04/17 Sandeep Singh/NDTV

Airline told to compensate flyers for delay SpiceJet

Airline company SpiceJet Ltd will have to pay Rs 15,000 to each of its Goa-bound passengers who had to wait for close to four hours without any refreshments, due to a flight delay following a technical snag at the Ahmedabad airport.
However, there was some relief for the aviation company as Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission halved the compensation originally awarded by a consumer forum. The Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad City (additional) had asked the company to pay Rs 30,000 to each passenger. The commission felt the amount was on the higher side.
According to the case details, five persons from Vadodara - Chandrika Patel, Jaswant Vyas, Khushman Pandya, Kanu Pandya and Jyoti Vyas - had booked tickets from Ahmedabad to Goa with SpiceJet on March 22, 2013. The scheduled departure was 6.45pm. The passengers reached the airport in time and waited for nearly two hours. After they boarded, it did not take off for one hour.
The flight finally took off at 10 pm. On their return, the passengers sued the aviation company and demanded compensation for the delay and for keeping them hungry for so long, because after they boarded the flight, their movements were also restricted.
22/04/17 The Times Of India

SpiceJet announces its 2nd daily direct flight for Kolkata – Dhaka sector

SpiceJet, the country’s low-cost carrier, has launched its second daily direct flight on the Kolkata-Dhaka route thus enhancing its global footprint. The airline which now operates to 7 international destinations is the only low cost carrier to operate flights on the Kolkata – Dhaka sector. The new flight will be operational starting from 16th May 2017. Bookings for the route are currently open.

Dhaka is the second international destination after Bangkok that the airline will be serving with a daily direct flight from Kolkata.

The new flight schedule has been so planned that will open convenient travel options for business and leisure travelers and will allow corporate travelers with an option for a convenient return flight the same day. As per the schedule starting 16th May 2017, the flight SG 76 will depart from Kolkata at16:05 to arrive at Dhaka at 17:45. The return flight SG 77 will depart from Dhaka at 18:30 to reach Kolkata at 19:00
21/04/17 Defence Aviation Post

3 years after Flight 370 missing, Malaysia Airlines to track flights with satellites

One of the greatest mysterious in modern aviation is about the sudden vanishing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2017. The flight took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 people on board never made it to China. With year long search operations and after spending millions on it, the aircraft is not located prompting several theories about its disappearances. Three years after the tragic incident, Malaysia Airlines on April 20 announced that it will use a real-time satellite tracking system to monitor its flights around the world and it will be the first airlines to do so.
21/04/17 Sonali Pimputkar/The Free Press Journal

Jayant Sinha steps in to speed up Navi Mumbai airport

The Maharashtra government roped Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha earlier this week to speed up environment-related approvals for the construction of the new airport at Navi Mumbai.
According to sources at the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), which administers Navi Mumbai, the state government got Sinha to pay a visit to the site of the proposed airport and push for the relevant clearances at the Union Environment Ministry.
“The minister undertook an aerial survey earlier this week and by Friday, the Stage 2 clearance from the Union Environment Ministry was received,” a CIDCO official told this reporter. The permission from the Centre was required to flatten the Ulwe hill and divert the river of the same name before the land for the airport is handed over to the contractor who won the bid to construct the new facility.
CIDCO officials say work on the hill cutting and filling of land to divert the Ulwe river will start right away and be completed in 18-24 months. Construction of the runways, buildings and other supporting infrastructure will begin sumultaneously so that the airport is ready by the December 2019 deadline, CIDCO officials said.
22/04/17 Shiv Kumar/The Tribune

Cargo import facility opens at Trichy airport

A dedicated cargo import facility at the Trichy airport was inaugurated on Friday. The much awaited facility was set up on 190 sqm at a cost of Rs20 lakh, keeping in mind future imports through the airport.
The airport has handled 7,000 tonnes of export cargo during 2016-17, while imports have been grossly neglected despite having potential. As of now, Trichy airport receives an average 4 tonnes of cargo per month whereas the total import for 2016-17 stands at 52 tonnes.
The initiative has been widely praised, but observers who point on the pivotal role of customs department in encouraging imports.
Saying that imports were not promoted all these years from Trichy airport, H Ubaidullah, honorary member of Trichy intra-city development endeavour (Tides),said, "It is now in the hands of customs to encourage imports which will generate revenue to both the customs department and the airport."
"Moreover, imports and exports are done manually at Trichy airport in the absence of electric data interface (EDI). Efforts should be made to ensure EDI in Trichy," he said.
Meanwhile, steps are likely to be taken to begin courier operations from Trichy airport. An important announcement is likely to be made in a couple of weeks. Additional Commissioner of Customs Trichy V Siva Kumar while inaugurating the import facility told airport officials that the much awaited courier operation would be notified by the customs department.
22/04/17 The Times Of India

Two airports in TN receive 6% of foreign tourists using e-tourist visas

Chennai and Trichy airports in Tamil Nadu collectively received 6% of international tourists, who flew to India on e-tourist visas in March.
The Union ministry of tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) & FTAs on e- tourist visa on the basis of nationality-wise, port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).
According to an official statement, New Delhi international airport recorded the highest number of e-tourist visa arrivals with 46.5%. It is followed by Mumbai airport and Dabolim airport in Goa with 17.1% and 13.8% respectively.
21/04/17 Yogesh Kabirdoss/The Times Of India

‘Hope Kalaburagi airport opens by 2018’

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that he is hopeful of the Kalaburagi airport being operational by next March.

During his visit to the proposed Greenfield Airport site, near Srinivas Saradagi village on the outskirts of the city on Friday, he said that works under Phase-II and Phase-III will be taken up simultaneously.

“The Union Cabinet has approved revised project costs of Rs. 28.27 crore for the Phase-II works and another Rs. 15.15 crore for the Phase-III works. Subsequently, tenders have been floated. I hope that we will finish all the works by January 2018 and apply for technical approval. I am hopeful that the airport would be operational by March, 2018,” Mr. Kharge said. An official said that the Phase-I works, taken up at a cost of Rs. 85.46 crore, were ahead of schedule by recording 35% financial progress and 40% physical progress.
22/04/17 The Hindu

Now, toilet trouble on United Airlines' NY-Mumbai non-stop flight

United Airlines, which was at the receiving end recently for forcibly offloading a flyer from due to overbooking on a US flight, has run into troubled waters again. Flyers on the airline's Newark-Mumbai non-stop flight on Thursday complained that some toilets on board were "clogged" and hence, not usable.
A passenger on that flight, who requested anonymity , said, "Two lavatories in the economy class were shut, leaving only two toilets for the 100-odd passengers in that section. One of the four lavatories in the business class too was shut.There were long queues outside toilets in the economy class and many flyers tried to used the lavatories in the business section. When we asked the crew why the toilets were closed, they said flush systems were not wor king in those lavatories."
The flight is over 14 hours long with full meals, snacks and drinks served.
A United Airlines spokesperson told TOI: "We apologise to customers of flight UA 48 from New YorkNewark to Mumbai on April 19 for the inconvenience they experienced with the on board lavatories during their flight. While other on board facilities were functioning properly , this falls short of the service our customers expect from us. Our maintenance team inspected the facilities upon arrival and worked to resolve the issue."
22/04/17 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India

Hefty Air India fines for misbehaving passengers who delay flights

Fliers who behave badly and cause flight delays will face hefty fines when flying Air India.

After one too many incidents involving belligerent customers — who also happened to be members of parliament — Air India announced that unruly passengers who cause a flight delay of up to one hour will be slapped with a hefty five lakh in rupees (RM33,936) fine.

That doubles to 10 lakh rupees for delays between one and two hours, and an eye-watering 15 lakh rupees for delays longer than two hours, reported The Times of India.

The decision to impose hefty fines follows a spate of incidents involving aggressive and combative passengers against airport staff, three of which involved high-ranking politicians.

Last month, a member of parliament was charged with assaulting a 60-year-old airline staffer with his slippers during an altercation that delayed an Air India flight. The politician was downgraded from business to economy class.
22/04/17 Malaymail Online

Friday, April 21, 2017

Air Passenger Traffic Up 15%, SpiceJet Tops Load Factor

New Delhi: India's domestic air passenger traffic rose 14.91 per cent last month to 90.45 lakh, official data showed on Thursday. "Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-March 2017 were 272.79 lakh as against 230.03 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 18.59 per cent," aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) said in its statistical analysis. According to the previous data furnished by DGCA, domestic air passenger traffic had increased 15.77 per cent in February to 86.55 lakh from 74.76 lakh during the corresponding month last year.

The data showed that low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) during the month under review at 91.4 per cent.

In terms of PLF, SpiceJet was followed by budget passenger carriers AirAsia India, (87.8 per cent) and GoAir (84.8 per cent).

Also, the data showed that IndiGo led the industry with 88 per cent punctuality rate at four major airports of Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

It was followed by SpiceJet (85.7 per cent), Vistara (85.1 per cent), GoAir (81.8 per cent), Jet Airways and JetLite (80.7 per cent), and Air India (79.7 per cent) on schedule.

In contrast, the overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for March 2017 stood at 0.41 per cent.
21/04/17 IANS/NDTV

India's civil aviation market slows down after a period of hyper growth

Civil aviation, one of the happening sectors in India that skipped demonetisation blues, is showing signs of slowing down. The domestic air traffic growth came in at 14.91 percent for March, down from 15.77 percent in February and 25.13 percent in January. The weak data did not stop SpiceJet shares from hitting a new 52-week high of Rs 107.40 on BSE on Friday.
In the last three months of calendar year 2016, the growth rate was high at 23.9 percent (December), 22.45 percent (November) and 23.2 percent (October).
Twelve Indian carriers flew 90.45 lakh (9.04 million) passengers last month, a growth of 14.9 percent from 78.72 lakh (7.87 million) in March 2016, according to DGCA data released Thursday.
The quarterly (January-March 2017) data showed that the 12 airlines carried 272.79 lakh (27.27 million) passengers, marking a growth of 18.59 percent from the corresponding period last year.
Budget carrier IndiGo maintained its position as the biggest in terms of volumes, carrying 36.11 lakh passengers, a market share of 39.9 percent, in March 2017.
Jet Airways's market share was 15.4 percent while state carrier Air India ended with 13 percent. Budget carriers SpiceJet and GoAir's share stood at 13.2 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively.
21/04/17 SV Krishnamachari/IBTimes

IC 814 hijacking: Convict Abdul Momin challenges life term in Supreme Court

New Delhi: Abdul Latif Adam Momin alias Abdul Rehman, one of the convicts in the 1999 IC 814 hijacking case, has challenged the life term awarded to him by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Supreme Court. Â
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman agreed to hear the appeal in July.

Three persons involved in the hijack of the Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandahar in Afghanistan in December 1999 were convicted and sentenced to life on charges including murder and conspiracy on February, 2008.
Abdul Latif Adam Momin alias Abdul Rehman alias Patel, Yusuf Nepali and Dalip Bhujail were awarded life sentence by a special court. They were charged under provisions of anti-hijacking law of the Indian Penal Code. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had demanded the capital punishment for Latif.
The ill-fated IC-814 was hijacked on December 24, 1999, when it was on its way to Delhi from Kathmandu. The three were accused of helping the hijackers by arranging their stay, passport, tickets and with arms and ammunition.
During a week of suspense, five hijackers Ibrahim Athar (brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar), Sunny Ahmed Qazi, S A Sayed alias Doctor, Z I Mistri alias Bhola and R G Verma alias Shakir - who commandeered the aircraft to Kandahar, negotiated with Indian officials and successfully got Azhar and two other dreaded terrorists released from jails in India in exchange for releasing the passengers.
The defence counsel contended that the three have been made a scapegoat. While Nepali allegedly handed over passport and tickets to the hijackers, the CBI alleged that Bhujbal had provided them with arms and ammunition.
The CBI had charged 10 people, out of which seven, including the five hijackers, who are believed to be in Pakistan.
The IC-814 Airbus A300 flight, with 189 passengers, including the crew, was hijacked by five men after it took off from the Tribhuvan Nath International Airport in Kathmandu on December 24, 1999 for New Delhi.
Rupen Katyal, 25, who was returning from his honeymoon in Kathmandu, was killed in the hijacking while others were released after a seven-day ordeal at Kandahar.
21/04/17 India Today

MH370 'mostly likely' lies north of search zone: Australian scientists

Missing flight MH370 "most likely" lies north of a former search zone in the remote Indian Ocean, Australian authorities said on Friday, in a new report that offers hope the plane may one day be found.

A vast underwater hunt for the Malaysia Airlines jet off Australia's west coast was halted in January when no trace was found of the plane, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing three years ago carrying 239 people.

The Australian-led undersea search -- the most expensive ever of its kind -- operated on the assumption that MH370 went down somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, based on satellite data.

But relatives pleaded for the search to be extended following analysis by Australian and international experts released in December that concluded the aircraft was not in the search zone but may be further north.

Three fragments were also recovered from the plane outside the official search zone on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon found on La Reunion island.

The new report by Australia's national science body CSIRO supported the northern theory using data and analysis from ocean testing of an actual Boeing 777 flaperon.
As part of the test, the wing part was cut down to match photographs of MH370's flaperon and then placed in waters near Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, an island state south of Australia's mainland.

"The arrival of MH370's flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes perfect sense," said CSIRO scientist David Griffin, adding that how the flaperon responded to wind, waves and ocean currents was crucial.

He said testing with an actual flaperon "added an extra level of assurance" to the findings from earlier drift modelling work.

"We add both (wind and waves) together in our model to simulate the drift across the ocean, then compare the results with observations of where debris was and wasn't found, in order to deduce the location of the aircraft.

"We cannot be absolutely certain, but that is where all the evidence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more confident in our findings."
21/04/17 PTI/DNA

Turning a company around and flying high

How do you turn around a business that incurs a loss of ₹3 crore a day, into one that makes a profit of ₹1 crore, every single day? Well, this is no fairy tale but a reality and the story of Ajay Singh, CEO of SpiceJet.

With absolutely no background in the aviation industry, how did he turn the company, that even Lufthansa airlines failed to run, from near bankruptcy to one of the most profitable airlines in India? “Well, we were all young and foolish, and at that point, you feel like you can do anything,” he laughs, adding, “But I did fundamentally believe that there was a market and there was talent to run a business of this sort.”

Ajay was also the brain behind Narendra Modi’s election-winning slogan, ‘Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkar’. In this week’s podcast, he speaks about how he got into the industry, how he managed to turn the company around, and more.
21/04/17 Kiruba Shankar/Business Line

Explosive growth of Delhi's air traffic could prepone construction of IGI Airport's Terminal 4

New Delhi: The explosive growth of air traffic in Delhi could prepone construction of IGI Airport's Terminal 4.Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said on Thursday that the government, in consultation with stakeholders, would decide in the next two months whether T2 should immediately go to make way for T4. The other solution is to shift some budget airline flights from T1 to T2 to allow expansion of T1 and then demolish T2 to make way for T4.
Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd's (DIAL) master plan proposes the second option that says T2 should remain in use till 2020 -by when T1 expansion would be completed, including addition of the fourth runway -and T4 construction should start after that. But none of the three low-cost carriers (LCCs) -IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir -operating all their domestic flights from T1 are keen to shift to T2 for just three years and then return to T1, forcing the government to step in.
"UK-based NATS (ATC specialist) has said IGI's three runways can handle up to 95 flights an hour in three years, up from current 67 (62 schedule and five charters, VVIP or defence flights). By this winter, the hourly flight handling capacity can rise to 73. We will have to synchronise the increase in the runways' flight-handling with the terminals' passenger-hand ling capacities. A decision on T1T2T4 will be taken in a month or two so that we are able to accordingly finalise the flight schedule or the coming winter in Delhi," Sinha said.
21/04/17 Saurabh Sinha/Economic Times

Terminal -1D expansion plan hits hurdle

Delhi airport’s plan to expand Terminal-1D seems to have hit a fresh hurdle after the Central government failed to convince domestic airlines to shift their flight operations to Terminal-2 to begin expansion work at the overcrowded Terminal-1D.
“We need to have a clear understanding of the [plane] slots availability before we make a significant decision related to T-1,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said at a press conference here on Thursday.

He said the current master plan of the Delhi airport had envisaged reducing T-1’s annual capacity from 20 million passengers to 10-15 million passengers by asking airlines to move to T-2 while expanding T-1’s capacity.

“Another way of doing it prudentially is to build Terminal-4 very quickly, expand capacity in T-3 and move everyone [all airlines] to T-4 at once,” Mr. Sinha said.

The Minister acknowledged that Delhi T-1 was overcrowded with the terminal handling 24 million passengers against its capacity of 20 million passengers annually. “In peak hours, there is overcrowding in T-1 and we do recognise that,” Mr. Sinha added.
21/04/17 The Hindu

Authorities plan to increase aircraft movement by 40 percent at Delhi airport

New Delhi: Authorities at the international airport in New Delhi have planned to increase the number of aircraft movements by over 40 per cent to 95 movements per hour in three years seeing the increasing passenger traffic at the airport.

After detailed discussions with stakeholders concerned on increasing the overall capacity at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Union Minister Jayant Sinha on Thursday said there is a “strong working hypothesis” to increase the aircraft movements at the aerodrome.

A takeoff or landing is considered as one aircraft movement.

Besides, a flight operations committee would be set up to look into various issues related to the airport and the panel would hold meeting every month.
Noting that the master plan for the Delhi airport is being re-evaluated, Sinha said UK-based NATS has been examining on how to increase airside capacity in the next two to three years.

Generally, airside capacity refers to takeoffs and landings that an airport can handle.

NATS provides air traffic control services.

Currently, there are around 67 aircraft movements per hour at the airport under the summer schedule. This number is proposed to be increased to 95.

“We can expand it (aircraft movements) to 95 movements per hour in next two to three years… We think it is entirely feasible,” Sinha said, adding that it can be done only with very close collaboration between all the stakeholders, including air traffic controllers, airport and airlines.
21/04/17 Siasat

Bengaluru-Mumbai Is One Of The Most Profitable Routes For Indian Airlines

Bengaluru-Mumbai may be one of the most lucrative routes for domestic airlines in India. The latest data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the month of March shows passengers booked their tickets on this route at peak prices.
Three out of the seven commercial passenger airlines, including the country's largest private air carrier InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. (IndiGo) sold the maximum number of tickets on this route when prices were at its peak. AirAsia India is not present in Mumbai and Vistara has no direct flight between these two cities.
IndiGo operates the maximum number of flights on the Bengaluru-Mumbai route.
This trend among fliers could be the result of the partial shutdown of Bengaluru airport runaway for repairs, which in turn would have driven up prices, Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at KPMG told BloombergQuint in an email.
The monthly growth in domestic passenger traffic fell to 15 percent in March this year compared to 25 percent in the same period last year. March is generally a lean month for airlines in India.
"While global oil prices are under control and the U.S. dollar has depreciated against the rupee, non-fuel expenses like crew cost, training, spares and maintenance, ATC charges, airport levies and other overheads etc are on the rise. This coupled with capacity constraints at major airports may bump up airfares and dampen traffic growth," Dubey said.
21/04/17 Krupali Thakkar/Bloomberg Quint

Enforcement Directorate issues second summons to AirAsia India's ex-CEO Mittu Chandilya in FEMA case

The Mumbai Zonal Office of Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued second summons to Mittu Chandilya, former CEO and Managing Director of AirAsia India. The first summons had returned back to ED due to Chandilya's non-availability at the given address.

"This time, the summons has been sent on his personal email id, under FEMA. He is outside India. Till today, there is no response from Chandilya whether he would be coming to India and face the investigation", a source from the agency said.

The ED is investigating the allegations made by the former Chairman of Tata Group Cyrus Mistry that fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore were carried out by the airline.

It has also been alleged that out of Rs 22 crore, a transaction of Rs 12 crore were made to a Singapore firm, which needs to be probed.

Beside remaining present before the Mumbai office, the agency has also sought case related documents, bank account details of last five years, details of personal finance and others, from Chandilya.
20/04/17 India Today

Virgin Atlantic and Jet Airways extend codeshare agreement

Virgin Atlantic and Jet Airways have announced they are expanding their codeshare agreement between India and the US, providing greater choice and enhanced connectivity via London Heathrow.
The new agreement will make it even easier for guests to tailor their perfect trip, combining flights from Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines in a single booking.
Jet Airways guests travelling between India and the US can now connect through London Heathrow on to nine US destinations operated by Virgin Atlantic: Atlanta, Boston, Newark, Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Seattle.
“We’re really pleased to extend our agreement with Jet Airways to offer customers even more choice when travelling between India and the US, via London Heathrow,” Shai Weiss, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, said. “From this week customers of both airlines can travel from five destinations across India with Jet Airways, and connect via London Heathrow to nine US destinations with Virgin Atlantic including Boston and Los Angeles, as well as many more US destinations with transatlantic partner Delta Air Lines via key hubs such as New York and Atlanta.
20/04/17 Iullia Tore/RusTourismNews

Air India revises senior citizen age from 63 to 60

In a major bonanza, the Air India has revised the minimum age limit for senior citizens to avail discounted tickets from existing 63 to 60 years, official sources said.

The revised age limit has been implemented with immediate effect for all domestic sectors, just as the summer holiday season rush has begun.

As per the revised rules, any senior citizen who is an Indian national, permanently resident in India and has attained the age of 60 on the date of commencement of journey, shall be entitled to a 50 per cent discounted ticket in economy class on the basic RBD (reservation booking designators) fare.
20/04/17 PTI/Economic Times

KIA trains cabbies, cargo loaders on fire safety

Bengaluru: The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) recently held its annual fire prevention week. This week-long campaign started on April 13 and concluded on April 20 in the airport premises.
The aim was to raise awareness on fire safety, with the theme being "Firemen - your partner to save life and property". As part of the commemoration, BIAL conducted awareness campaigns throughout the week.
These included training activities to equip taxi drivers, loaders, cargo partners and other stakeholders at airport to operate basic firefighting equipment. Fire safety education was also given to the neighboring communities.
20/04/17 Aparajita Ray/Times of India

New airport difrector vows to wow fliers

Ahmedabad: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport has a new pilot at the helm. Manoj Gangal will take over from A K Sharma as the new director on Monday. His focus is to amp the airport’s WOW factor. And Gangal, who has worked at several airports across the country, believes that the only way to woo passengers is by ensuring their comfort. “The airport should reflect the ethos of Gujarat as well as attract citizens to visit us again and again. My priority is to revamp the airport to ensure that travellers have a pleasant experience here,” said Gangal, who has worked as airport director in Pune, Port Blair and Chennai.
He has also been associated with administrative and quality control work at Airports Authority of India headquarters. Referring to Pune airport which is small compared to Ahmedabad but handles an equal amount of traffic, Gangal says, “Ahmedabad has great scope. It can become better and more competitive than it is now. I also plan to revamp Terminal 3 that is currently being used for Haj passengers currently.”
Passengers frequently complain of facing a harrowing time at the airport due to a myriad of problems ranging from lack of seats to lack of toilets, from baggage thefts to shortage of aerobridges, and from lack of eateries at the terinals to animals on the runway. Gangal said, “My highest priority is to fix the toilet issue, then revamp the building to make it more attractive. Anyone arriving here should leave with a good impression of the airport and its infrastructure.”
20/04/17 Ahmedabad Mirror

Married man sends hijack hoax email to avoid trip with girlfriend

Love can be tricky, especially when you're a married man with a child and you've got an online girlfriend who wants to go on vacation.
Police in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad arrested 32-year-old Motaparthi Vamshi Krishna on Thursday for allegedly sending a hoax email about an aircraft hijack plot.
According to a statement by Hyderabad police, in the email, which was sent to Mumbai police on Saturday, Krishna claimed to be a woman who had overheard six men plotting to hijack planes in the cities of Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai the next day.
Mumbai police then alerted the security agencies, resulting in beefed up security at the concerned airports.
Investigators traced the IP address to an internet cafe called E Netzone in Hyderabad and were able to narrow down the email to eight people.
After examining CCTV footage from the area, police zeroed in on Krishna.
Police said Krishna confessed during questioning. He told them he had an online girlfriend in Chennai who wanted to take their relationship to the next level and had proposed a trip to Mumbai and Goa.
The problem was, he didn't have enough money, and despite mentioning this to her, she really wanted to go.
So, Krishna, a travel agent, came up with a plan. He created a fake ticket from Chennai to Mumbai for his girlfriend.
After sending her the ticket, he created a fake email address and sent the hoax email to the police.
Reddy told CNN that Krishna is married and has a child, adding that he is active on social media.
Krishna has been arrested on four charges, including impersonation and providing false information.
21/04/17 Manveena Suri/CNN

Fire scare leads to panic on SpiceJet flight

Pune: Passengers on Kochi-Pune SpiceJet flight went through anxious moments on Thursday due to a fire scare.
Flight number SG-184, which comes from Kochi to Pune and then proceeds to Delhi, landed much before schedule at the Pune airport. As the passengers were disembarking, the crew made a sudden announcement asking them to immediately get back to their seats and wait.
When the passengers wanted to know why, the crew told them there could be a fire. The SpiceJet passengers who spent anxious moments after the crew pressed the panic button over a fire scare said the flight landed at the Pune airport from Kochi a good 25 minutes earlier than schedule.
Passengers began disembarking when the doors opened. However, panic soon broke out when the crew suddenly told the passengers to hurry up and disembark. "The crew looked a bit worried. A while later, they changed tack and told the passengers to get back to their seats. One of the crew members then said something about a fire. A little later, the disembarking resumed from the front door, and then from both doors," the passenger said. Another passenger said he saw a tinge of smoke coming out of one engine.
21/04/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Pratt & Whitney announces DGCA certification for customer training center

A division of United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney has announced today the certification of its customer training center in Hyderabad by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is the Indian civil aviation regulator.

This is a major milestone for United Technologies Corporation India Private Limited (?Pratt & Whitney Customer Training Center India?), as it allows the company to provide DGCA CAR147-approved training to aircraft engineers and technicians from Pratt & Whitney?s airline customers in the region.

This Pratt & Whitney training center, established to enhance the skills of the work force in India?s aviation industry, is only the third such Pratt & Whitney facility in the world.

The certification means that the training center is now fully approved to offer DGCA-approved training sessions on V2500-A5 engines. It is expected to soon also offer courses on PW1100G-JM and other models from the PurePower? Geared Turbofan? (GTF) family of engines.

?With the Hyderabad training center, we bring world-class aerospace training closer to our customers in this high-growth region,? said general manager customer training Pratt & Whitney, Bruce Hall.

?We are proud to deliver training programs that will help create a more skilled local aviation talent pool and support India in becoming a leader in the global aviation industry,? added Hall.
21/04/17 ANI/DNA

75gm gold seized from air passenger

Air intelligence wing of customs, Trichy, seized 75 grams of gold from Bahrudeen of Trichy when he landed at Trichy airport from Kuala lumpur on Wednesday evening. He concealed the gold worth Rs2.27 lakh in his rectum. The wing also seized 160 grams of gold worth Rs4.85 lakh from Rajadurai of Salem and Pandiaraj of Sivaganga after they landed at Trichy airport from Singapore on Tuesday. They concealed the gold in their inner wear. They also caught the receiver of the gold, Pandian from Pudukkottai.
Development works worth Rs398 cr carried out: Trichy district collector KS Palanisamy has stated that 3,13,250 development works were carried out at a total cost of Rs398 crore in rural parts of the district through the district rural development agency (DRDA) between 2011 and 2017. The schemes included green house, individual toilets, integrated school buildings and few other projects.
21/07/17 Times of India

Second airport in Jewar may take wing as IGIA bursts with capacity

The Uttar Pradesh government is pushing for a new airport at Jewar, in the same district as Noida and about 100 km from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.

The state government feels Delhi will require a second airport in a few years and this is an opportunity. The GMR Group manages Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL).

The state appears to have already sent a proposal for the Jewar airport to the Union aviation ministry, asking for a technical evaluation of the site.

The Jewar proposal is not a new one. In 2001, Rajnath Singh, now the Union home minister and then the UP chief minister, first proposed an airport there. So did Mayawati after she became CM in 2007. Her proposal did not make progress because of a clause in the agreement with GMR for DIAL, preventing the establishment of a new airport within 150 km of IGIA. However, Union minister of state for civil aviation, Jayant Sinha said, “within a few years, we will be using all of the capacity (at Delhi). It is necessary for us to build a new airport”. Sinha said on Thursday that planning for increasing of capacity at the Delhi airport terminals would depend on improvement in airside capacity. DIAL wishes to take steps to increase the airside movement from 67 to 95 an hour. UK-based NATS has been asked to help.

“What we agree on is that airside movement will have a bearing on the building of a new terminal. With Delhi having three runways, it gives us significant capacity to increase the airside movement,” Sinha said. According to the minister, the improvement in airside capacity would lead to the addition of around 70 flights. And, IGIA's passenger handling capacity would increase to around 90 million annually, from the current 62 mn, in the next two to three years.

DIAL wishes airlines operating from its T1 terminal shift to T2, as it wishes to redo the former. “Airlines are demanding new slots if they shift to (the) T2 (terminal). The airport authority is unable to give them that, as Delhi is already congested. The airlines have also asked for significant reduction in airport charges, which the airport has not agreed to,” said a senior ministry official.
21/04/17 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

Work on IGI airport’s Terminal 4 may start earlier than planned

The explosive growth of air traffic in Delhi could prepone construction of IGI Airport's Terminal 4. Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said on Thursday that the government, in consultation with stakeholders, would decide in the next two months whether T2 should immediately go to make way for T4. The other solution is to shift some budget airline flights from T1 to T2 to allow expansion of T1 and then demolish T2 to make way for T4.
Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd's (DIAL) master plan proposes the second option that says T2 should remain in use till 2020 — by when T1 expansion would be completed, including addition of the fourth runway — and T4 construction should start after that. But none of the three low-cost carriers (LCCs) — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — operating all their domestic flights from T1 are keen to shift to T2 for just three years and then return to T1, forcing the government to step in.
"UK-based NATS (ATC specialist) has said IGI's three runways can handle up to 95 flights an hour in three years, up from current 67 (62 schedule and five charters, VVIP or defence flights). By this winter, the hourly flight handling capacity can rise to 73. We will have to synchronise the increase in the runways' flight-handling with the terminals' passenger-handling capacities. A decision on T1/T2/T4 will be taken in a month or two so that we are able to accordingly finalise the flight schedule for the coming winter in Delhi," Sinha said.
Admitting the congestion in T1 — which has an annual passenger handling capacity of 2 crore but handled 2.4 crore last year, Sinha said, "In peak hours, there is overcrowding here. The terminal has 15 departure gates and can, therefore, handle a maximum of 30 departures an hour as one flight boarding from terminal gate to buses (that ferry flyers to aircraft) takes about half an hour. If some airlines are shifted to T2, space can be created here to start expansion work and take T1 capacity to 3 crore annually by adding infrastructure like more departure gates."
21/04/17 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India

Shiv Sena MP gifts no-fly list excuse to Centre

In the backdrop of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulting an Air India staffer, the Centre is actively working on creating a ‘no-fly’ list in a bid to curb incidents of unruly and disruptive behaviour of air passengers,

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, on Thursday said the government is in discussions with stakeholders on finding the “right way” to have a ‘no-fly’ list to deal with unruly air passengers.
21/04/17 DNA

Mysuru, Bidar, Ballari airports selected in first phase of UDAN bidding

Three airports in the State — Mysuru, Bidar and Vidyanagar (Ballari) — have been selected in the first phase of bidding for the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).

While air connectivity to Vidyanagar airport will commence next month, in Mysuru and Bidar it will be from September.

The all-inclusive airfare under RCS is ₹2,500, and the airfare cap will be indexed to inflation and revised quarterly.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the scheme from Shimla airport on April 27. A total of 45 airports have been selected in the first round of bidding, said Rajiv Nayan Chaube, Joint Secretary of Civil Aviation.

The Airports Authority of India, an implementing agency for RCS, will hold the second round of bidding, for providing air services to 400 unserved airports, in the next two months. The RCS is a demand-driven scheme in which airline operators bid for routes; the State can suggest any airport to be included in the unserved list.

The State government and the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding on air connectivity to three airports. The UDAN scheme intends to enable air services on unserved routes connecting regional areas, promote balanced regional growth, and make flying affordable for the masses.

According to the agreement, the Union and State governments bear the cost of viability gap funding in the ratio of 80:20. The State government will provide concessions to airlines operating under the RCS routes.

Among the concessions offered to airlines operating on the RCS routes is reduced sales tax of 1% or lower cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) at RCS airports and for RCS flights from other airports in the State for a period of 10 years. The concessions also include provision of minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development and expansion of RCS airports; provision of free security and fire services; and making electricity, water and other utility services available at concessional rates.
20/04/17 Nagesh Prabhu/The Hindu

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad boards first Air India flight after ban

Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad today boarded an Air India flight from Hyderabad to Delhi, his first on the state carrier since he was banned from flying for slapping an airlines employee.
Gaikwad boarded the flight at 4.15 pm today after reports of several attempts of booking an Air India ticket were allegedly made by him under various identities. Most of his travel to Delhi and other places in the last month were through trains.
On March 23, Gaikwad had assaulted Air India staffer, duty manager R Sukumar, 60, inside an aircraft at the Delhi airport. The national carrier as well as other domestic airlines then barred him from taking their flights.
Earlier this month, the ban was revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing regret over the incident. Delhi Police is still probing the incident.
Following the incident, two FIRs were filed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station for assault and delaying the plane.
20/04/17 Dianne Nongrum/India Today

Kinetic WW launches Aviator to grab Rs 900 cr aviation advertising market

Kinetic WW India has announced the launch of OOH planning tool—Aureus and airport division—Aviator. Aureus is a unique OOH planning software with an end-to-end solution right from the brief to the estimate; while Aviator is a specialized division designed for planning and buying of airport media.

Of the two tools launched, Aureus is designed to work seamlessly amongst all partners in the OOH media value chain including business associates, agency buyers and planners, and clients to deliver smarter OOH media planning for every campaign.

Aviator, on the other hand, is a tool that has been used by Kinetic globally to great effect. In fact, over the years, it has been also applied to bus and train systems. Suresh Balakrishna, CEO South Asia & Middle East of Kinetic, told exchange4media that it would not be long before we see a similar application in India.

"Aviator can go across to railways, bus travel, and more. In India, we have launched it this year only for airports but the natural progression, which is happening abroad is that it will go to railways and bus too," said Balakrishna.

Speaking to exchange4media, Balakrishna said that the airport advertising market would be about 20 per cent of the total advertising market; bringing it to around Rs 800–900 crore. To ensure the most effective functioning of Aviator, Kinetic has partnered with media owners like JCDecaux, Times OOH, and TDI. Currently, APEX, which is the primary database used by Kinetic, has access to traffic data for 91 airports, with inventory mapping completed for eight of the top airports in India.
21/04/17 Exchange4Media

Shimla airport set to be on aviation circuit again

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Shimla may bring back Shimla Airport on the commercial aviation circuit once again.

The scheduled flights may start taking off from Shimla Airport at Jubbarhatti after the PM’s arrival here on April 27. Sources in the State Government here said that Modi is likely to re-launch operations of scheduled flights from Shimla Airport.

Flights from the airport were suspended in September 2012, in the wake of soil erosion around the airport, due to which the runway had got compressed to 3,800 feet from 4,100 feet.

Former Chief Minister and now Leader of Opposition,  Prem Kumar Dhumal, who met Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday gave ample indication of the launch of commercial flights from the airport.

Modi is scheduled to land at Jubbarhatti Airport on April 27, for his one day visit to the erstwhile summer capital of British India. He is expected to come to Shimla by Helicopter from Jubberhati Airport to Shimla.

Dhumal claimed that airlines would start the subsidised flights to Shimla airport after a gap of more than four years as regular flights from the airport had come to a halt after the Kingfisher Airlines stopped its flights from the airport in September 2012.
21/04/17 Kamal Joshi/The Pioneer

No salary hike for senior Jet Airways employees this year to ‘stabilise employee cost’

In a move that would discourage its employees, one of the major carriers in India, Jet Airways has decided to freeze annual salary hikes of its senior employees this financial year. This move is expected at the end of the April-March fiscal for at least a quarter. The salary freeze is applicable to all employees in manager grades M3 and above and will be effective from April 1, 2017. As India has become the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world, there is fierce competition among the various airlines like Indigo, SpiceJet, Air India, Vistara, etc. that compete in the aviation space.
The move comes in the backdrop of the stressed financial position of the airline. The freeze on the hike has however been opposed by pilots. The National Aviators’ Guild (NAG), Jet pilots’ association had held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 29 and decided to find ways to protest on the issue. The NAG in a letter said that the pilots of Jet Airways were briefed on the salary increment freeze applicable from April 1, 2017, for a period of three months, after which there will be a review by the management. “The pilots expressed dismay at the anticipated loss of income especially in the current tax environment and the utter disregard of a hard-fought agreement,” a letter sent by NAG was quoted by Economic Times.
The airlines said that the decision of freezing the salaries has been taken as there is an immediate need to stabilise the employee cost. It is applicable to all employees in manager grades M3 and above and will be effective April 1, 2017. “We understand that these measures are difficult and unsettling, but are unavoidable”, the airline’s mail was quoted by TOI.
21/04/17 Sandhya Dangwal/India

Kannur airport works gain momentum

Even as the construction works of the Kannur international airport are progressing, efforts to get the sanction of the director general of civil aviation and other agencies have gained momentum.
As part of the licensing process, the security vetting committee of the CISF , customs and the bureau of civil aviation security (BCAS) visited the site and evaluated the security system on Thursday .
The committee, led by BCAS southern regional director Sanjay Sharma, held meetings with the senior officials.The inspection would continue on Friday .
"After the site visit and eval uation, the committee would recommend its suggestions and after implementing it, they would evaluate once again before giving the licence prior to commissioning of the airport," said an official with Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL).
The airport is expected to be inaugurated in September this year. The inspection pertained to the security aspect, including national security , and the team would examine the equipment.
The official also said the work of the airport was progressing and almost 95% of the runway has been completed, while the terminal building was 86% complete.
"The work is in the final stage and our target is to complete it by May-end so that the finishing works could be completed during the monsoon," said the official.
21/04/17 The Times Of India

SpiceJet joins hands with Lufthansa Systems to offer in-flight entertainment and e-commerce

SpiceJet, India’s budget airline is all set to now offer in-flight entertainment (IFE) and e-commerce, soon.

SpiceJet has joined hands with Lufthansa Systems to equip its whole fleet with BoardConnect Portable offered by the latter. The new service will allow SpiceJet passengers to do shopping, stream movies, cricket and other content from select platforms offered by the airline.

The airline signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Lufthansa Systems to this effect after the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. SpiceJet passengers will be able to avail the new offer this year.

“Enhancing customer experience and comfort on-board has always been our prime focus at SpiceJet. SpiceJet expects to be the first LCC in India to provide this unique entertainment and shopping experience to its customers. This is yet another step towards ensuring a Red, Hot and Spicy experience for our customers every time they step into a SpiceJet flight,” said Ajay Singh – CMD, SpiceJet.

“We are proud that with SpiceJet, an extraordinary innovative low-cost airline from India has chosen our award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect Portable,” said Norbert Mueller – Senior Vice President BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems.

“We are looking forward to team up with SpiceJet for a fast and smooth roll-out project.” he further added.

BoardConnect Portable is an all-in-one solution combining all of the technical components needed for an IFE system – such as a server and access points – in a single device, the Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU).
20/04/17 Defence Abiation Post

New path to Pawan Hans under way

Mumbai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has begun the construction of roads connecting to Pawan Hans, with an aim to commence operations from AAI’s gate thereby closing the Pawan Hans gate by June. According to AAI officials, the work will be completed before monsoon sets in.

The AAI has initiated road-widening work from its entrance gate with an aim to have better connectivity for the Pawan Hans employees towards its hanger. According to an aerodrome official, the current way leads to the Pawan Hans taxiway. Though it is an accessible route, the AAI is coming up with a new road that will be made accessible to their officials by June. The existing road will hence be shut. The road widening work from its main gate will offer better connectivity, also avoiding congestion of vehicles thus avoiding any security concern.

This step was taken after the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) on the first week of March decided that there would be only one gate for the aerodrome — the main gate, which will bear the AAI’s name. Currently, the AAI does not have control over the Pawan Hans gate and does not have access to the records of visitors at Pawan Hans, which creates a security threat. To stop this, the government decided to close the Pawan Hans gate, from where the aerodrome got its name.
21/04/17 The Asian Age

Jet Airways to Introduce New Services to Europe from Chennai and Bengaluru

Jet Airways announced the launch of two new flights directly connecting Chennai with Paris and Bengaluru with Amsterdam.

The launch of these new routes will enable guests to travel to destinations in Europe and North America with its codeshare partners Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Commencing October 29, 2017, Jet Airways 9W 236 will depart from Bengaluru at 02:25 hrs and arrive in Amsterdam at 08:35 hrs. On the return leg, Jet Airways 9W 235 will depart from Amsterdam at 10:50 hrs and arrive at Bengaluru at 00:40 hrs. These flights will be operated in conjunction with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines, with each airline placing their respective codes on the service.

On the same day, Jet Airways 9W 128 will depart from Chennai at 01:45 hrs and will arrive into Paris at 08:10 hrs. Departing from Paris at 10:10 hrs, Jet Airways 9W 127 will return to Chennai at 00:15 hrs. Both Air France and Delta Air Lines will be codeshare partners on these flights.

Jet Airways will operate a daily service between Bengaluru-Amsterdam, while the flight between Chennai-Paris will be operated five days a week. These new flights will complement the airline’s existing direct operations from Delhi & Mumbai to Amsterdam and onwards to Toronto as well as direct flights from Mumbai to Paris.

The addition of the Bengaluru and Chennai flights will make Jet Airways the only airline to offer direct nonstop services between these cities and will offer its guests the unique option of travel to Europe and North America through 3 (three) European gateways enabling business and leisure travelers to travel through one gateway and return via another.
20/04/17 Aviation Tribune

Surat airport ready for full-fledged flight ops

Come June, Surtis could hope for better air connectivity from the airport.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given the approval for the use of the newly constructed 655 m of runway and the isolation bay at the airport. With this, the runway size at Surat has been increased from 2,250 m to 2,905 m. Also, the second phase of the re-carpeting of 185 m existing runway will begin from April 24, which is expected to be completed by the mid of June-2017.
Official sources said that the first phase of the runway re-carpeting and extension work, which includes re-carpeting of 2,065 m and expansion of 655 meters, has been completed. However, 2,720 m runway will be operational for the landing and take offs of the aircrafts. By June, the airport will have a total of 2,905 m, of runway ready for use.
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is spending Rs 66 crore for the re-carpeting and construction of the new 655 m of the runway expansion.
21/04/17 The Times Of India

Aviation Ministry works on increasing capacity of Delhi Airport

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is working with stakeholders on a roadmap to increase Airside Capacity of Delhi Airport from the current 67 movements per hour to 95 movements per hour at peak time in the next three years. By the end of 2017 the Airside Capacity is expected to rise by 10 percent, with around 72 to 73 movements per hour. Briefing media persons in New Delhi today, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that with the increase in airside capacity it is expected that the passenger movement at Delhi airport would also rise from the current 60 million passengers to about 90 million passengers annually. Sinha said that the Ministry will soon put in place a Master Plan for expansion of Airside Capacity and Terminal Capacity at the airport to accommodate the increase in passenger volume.
20/04/17 Travel Trends Today

India becomes fourth largest aviation market in the world

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), India has moved up two places to become the fourth largest aviation market in terms of passenger number. India saw the fourth highest number of passengers taking off in 2016, up two places from the previous year overtaking the UK and Brazil. The top three markets – the US, China and Japan – remain unchanged.
Last year, India’s aviation industry had 131 million passengers taking off – including domestic, international and connecting. During this period, IATA data shows that 3.8 billion passengers took off (50 pc domestic, 35 pc international and 15 pc connecting) across the globe, up from 3.5 billion in the previous year.
According to IATA, the big movers on this year’s rankings are the key emerging markets of India and Indonesia. India has jumped up two places to fourth, with a growth of 20 pc year-on-year. India continues to close in fast on Japan. India held the eighth position three years ago.
21/04/17 Gopanjali Roy/MIG

Air Passenger Traffic Up 15%, SpiceJet Tops Load Factor

India's domestic air passenger traffic rose 14.91 per cent last month to 90.45 lakh, official data showed on Thursday. "Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-March 2017 were 272.79 lakh as against 230.03 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 18.59 per cent," aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) said in its statistical analysis. According to the previous data furnished by DGCA, domestic air passenger traffic had increased 15.77 per cent in February to 86.55 lakh from 74.76 lakh during the corresponding month last year.

The data showed that low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) during the month under review at 91.4 per cent.

In terms of PLF, SpiceJet was followed by budget passenger carriers AirAsia India, (87.8 per cent) and GoAir (84.8 per cent).

Also, the data showed that IndiGo led the industry with 88 per cent punctuality rate at four major airports of Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

It was followed by SpiceJet (85.7 per cent), Vistara (85.1 per cent), GoAir (81.8 per cent), Jet Airways and JetLite (80.7 per cent), and Air India (79.7 per cent) on schedule.

In contrast, the overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for March 2017 stood at 0.41 per cent.
21/04/17 NDTV

Govt in discussions with stakeholders on no-fly list: Sinha

The government is in discussions with stakeholders on finding the "right way" to have a no-fly list to deal with unruly air passengers, close on the heels of a parliamentarian assaulting an Air India staffer.
Noting that there has been an increase in incidents of unruly and disruptive behaviour of air passengers, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Thursday said the question now is what can be done "pro-actively and preemptively".
"We are considering and discussing with all stakeholders as to what is the right way to have a national no-fly list with respect to unruly and disruptive behaviour," he said.
21/04/17 Millennium Post

British Airways deploys B787-9 Dreamliner on Mumbai- London route

British Airways has deployed the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between London and Mumbai route. Earlier the carrier used to fly a Boeing 777. With this new deployment the Airline has invested more in the premium products between London and Mumbai. The new aircraft features a brand new First cabin.

Speaking about the new deployment Robert Williams, Head of Sales - Asia Pacific and the Middle East, British Airways said, “India is a very important market for us, we are investing a lot in this market. Earlier we had introduced a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between New Delhi- London which has been successful. We have been hearing a lot of positive feedback from our Delhi travellers who have flown the 787-9. The new aircraft will feature a total of eight first class seats, 42 ClubWorld seats, 39 World Traveller Plus premium economy seats, 172 economy seats. So the new aircraft is longer than the B787-8, we have invested in first class cabin. It’s an improved customer proposition.”

Speaking about the demand for premium products from the India market Williams said that British Airways aircrafts have a significant number of premium cabin seats. We still maintain a first class in many of our aircrafts. There is a huge demand for premium cabin seats from India to London, hence we have invested.

Recently, the US government has announced restrictions on the type of electronic items that may be carried onboard flights to the US from certain Middle-Eastern airports, majority of Indian travellers flying to US transit through these Airports.
21/04/17 Akshay Kumar/Travel Trends Today

UP exploring air connectivity to tourist spots

The Uttar Pradesh government is exploring air connectivity to major religious tourist places in the state, an official said on Friday.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked the tourism department officials to work out an action plan to connect religious hot spots including, Lucknow, Mathura, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Allahabad, Vindhaychal, Naimisharanya, Kushinagar, Varanasi and Chitrakoot through helicopter services.
21/04/17 Daiji World

Rs 81 lakh in US, Indian currency seized at Kolkata airport

The air intelligence unit officers of customs seized US dollars and Indian currency notes collectively amounting to about Rs 81 lakh from a passenger at the city airport, an official said on Thursday.
"In the intervening night of April 19 and April 20, air intelligence unit officers detained one passenger named Pradip Kumar Mustafi of Behala in Kolkata from the departure area of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport and seized 1,24,000 US dollars and Indian currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination, collectively amounting to Rs 81 lakh (approx)," an official statement said.
20/04/17 Web India 123

Man held smuggling gold worth Rs 10 lakh at Mangaluru airport

A man was arrested at Mangaluru airport for trying to smuggle gold worth around Rs 10 lakh hidden in his rectum on Wednesday.

Acting on a tip-off, officers of the Mangaluru unit of directorate of revenue Intelligence (DRI) intercepted Chattanchal Abdul Razak from Kasargod in Kerala as soon as he arrived at Mangaluru International Airport from Dubai on a Spice Jet flight at around 6.30 pm.

Vinayak Bhat, deputy director, DRI Mangaluru, said a thorough interrogation and examination of the passenger revealed that he had hidden four gold bars inside his rectum; they were safely removed after professional medical advice.
21/04/17 Bangalore Mirror

Women held with 2kg gold at Hyderabad airport

Two women who attempted to smuggle in gold at the RGI Airport were nabbed by customs officials on Wednesday night. They recovered gold bars weighing 2.3 kg from their possession.
The customs officials said the women came to Hyderabad from Jeddah on a Saudi Airlines flight (SV 754). The passengers were carrying gold bars concealed in their garments. The value of the seized gold could be Rs 70.98 lakh, customs officials said.
21/04/17 The Times Of India