Saturday, May 27, 2017

Too good to be true: Why those Rs12 air fares are only a flight of fantasy

Come June, the lean season for the airline industry takes off. The country’s largest carriers have begun to roll out their discounted ticket schemes, some announcing base fares as low as Rs11. But if these fares sound too good to be true, it’s because they are.

The actual ticket price depends on the fuel surcharge collected by the airline and the taxes collected on behalf of the government. However, airlines are not transparent about how they determine the fuel surcharge. As a result, a ticket with a base fare of Rs11 orRs12 could finally cost much more.

For example, SpiceJet currently has a five-day fare discount scheme to celebrate the airline’s 12th anniversary. It promises low base fares starting at Rs 12 on some sectors; the offer ends on midnight, May 28. Indigo has a six-day special sale, from May 23 till May 28, with a base fare of Rs11.

However, a Mumbai-Delhi one-way ticket for July 17, on Makemytrip, costs Rs2,183 on both airlines.

On SpiceJet’s Rs12 base fare, it adds on Rs2,171 as fees and surcharge. Indigo’s base fare is Rs312, but it comes with an additional Rs1,871 levey as fees and surcharge.

So why does the fuel surcharge differ on the same route? No one in the airline industry wants to talk about it.

Kapil Kaul, CEO (India and Middle East), CAPA India, an aviation advisory firm, said, “While the taxes are fixed, the fuel surcharge component is the airline’s prerogative. Ideally, this should be distance-based. The surcharge was introduced when crude oil prices were between $90-110 a barrel. With Brent Crude now at around $55, the surcharge does not seem logical.”

A Spicejet spokersperson said the airline has the “prerogative to fix the fuel surcharge, which may vary from flight to flight. By giving out a break-up of the base fare, fuel surcharge and taxes, SpiceJet is not only being transparent but is also... educating the customer on various charges that constitute his final ticket price.” A spokesperson for IndiGo said, “Our fares include base fare, fuel charge and the CUTE charge (applicable in few stations only). In our discounted (base) fares, the fuel surcharge remains the same as that of regular fares.”

Notably, discounted tariffs are available only on a limited number of seats, and those numbers are never disclosed.
27/05/17 Tanya Thomas/Business Line

Sukhoi-30 jet: China ready to help India search for missing pilots

Beijing:China said it is ready to help India if it asks for assistance in the search for the missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet and two pilots, even as the wreckage was found on Friday.

There was however no trace of the two Indian Air Force pilots who went down with the aircraft on Tuesday.

"So far, we have not received any request from the Indian government for assistance. If a request comes, China will offer assistance from a humanitarian perspective," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

"However, whatever we do, it does not change our position in the relevant sections of the India-China border," Lu added.

On Wednesday, China had reacted curtly when asked if it would provide help in searching for the aircraft, that went missing on Tuesday near the India-China border.
26/05/17 IANS/First Post

Kerala CM urges Jaitley’s to take steps to trace missing pilots

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today urged Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to do all that was possible to trace the two missing IAF pilots of Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Tejpur on Tuesday.
Chief minister made this request in a message to Jaitley.
Though the aircraft’s wreckage was found, there were no reports about the two pilots, one of whom Squadron leader Achudev is from Kerala.
On hearing about the mishap, his parents have left for Tejpur, Vijayan said and requested that all necessary help should be provided to them.
26/05/17 PTI/

Spot air fare rates up 30% as holidayers eye foreign shores

Making last-minute plans for an international holiday this summer will leave you sweating. Spot ticket prices to popular destinations have gone up by as much as 30% from last summer with London witnessing the highest jump in air fares.
But even these high spot fares are not deterring last-minute holidayers. For them, leaving on a plane this summer break is proving tough as visa processing is taking long at consulates of most 'hot' destinations owing to the rush. Indiver Rastogi, president of corporate travel at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, says bookings are witnessing a "surge of over 40%" over last year.
Tourism Australia recently sent a mail to travel agents about increased waiting periods to get visas due to a rise in applications. Advising that applications at the Australian High Commission be made four to six weeks before departure dates, its mail said: "With the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination, there has been a significant rise in demand for Australian visas. As an example, visitor visa applications received in New Delhi during the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 32%, when compared with last year, and the trend appears to be continuing...we acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration that longer processing times can cause..." Tourism Ireland is also seeing an "unprecedented" demand.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Four airstrips in Odisha to be developed for UDAN programme

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday decided to make four airstrips operational by September this year for regional air connectivity under the initiatives of Ude Desh Ka Amm Nagarik (UDAN).
Four airstrips at Utkela, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, and Rourkela would be developed for regional air connectivity, it was decided at the state-level monitoring committee meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi here.
Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar has also been included in the list for regional connectivity. The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.
The UDAN scheme, which is being implemented in Odisha in joint collaboration between state and central governments, would prioritise the unserved and underserved areas in the state, said an official.
26/05/17 IANS/

Was dust the devil behind Latur crash?

Mumbai: As the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) begins its probe into the helicopter mishap in Latur involving Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, there is speculation that the heavy blanket of dust that enveloped the aircraft may have led to the accident.

State government officials, who declined to be named, said the helipad hadn’t been watered properly to keep the dust from kicking up due to the wind from the helicopter’s main rotor. This, they said, could be due to the spotlight on the use of tankers to water down helipads for VVIP visits. Last year, Latur was among the drought-affected districts, and the State government had to send a water train to bring relief to people there.

The State government said it will wait for the DGCA’s inquiry report. “The DGCA report is likely to be submitted within a month. Action from our side shall be taken based on the report’s findings,” a senior government official said. He, however, claimed all security norms had been followed and the dust that covered the helicopter was not from the area around the helipad but from leftover construction material nearby. “The helipad was used three months ago. We don’t think there was any compromise on security.”

A Public Works Department (PWD) officer said, “We always read news stories about water tankers being used for VIP visits, which are exaggerated at times. The negative media coverage ultimately hampers work. I am not saying this is the case in this incident, but we cannot rule out the possibility.”
27/05/17 Alok Deshpande/The Hindu

Muslim scrap dealer was first to help Fadnavis out of crashed chopper

Latur (Maharashtra): When a chopper carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and five others came crashing down here on Thursday afternoon, the first person to rush to the rescue was small-time scrap dealer Irfan Shaikh, who shouted “Our king (CM) is trapped in the chopper”.
Seeing the chopper hurtle down, Shaikh ran the 100 metre distance to reach the copter in order to rescue those inside. But many others nearby bolted in the opposite direction, fearing the chopper might explode.
The chopper fell from a height of nearly 80 feet in a thick cloud of dust, accompanied by some flashes of light and a loud booming sound.
Unmindful of the risks, the 28-year-old Shaikh sprinted towards the craft.
“The copter door was jammed and could not be opened… I pulled it but it didn’t budge… The Chief Minister then responded by pushing it from inside… Then I managed to force it open from outside… I offered my hand to the CM and helped him step down,” Shaikh told a local media-person, Govind Ingle of Lokmat Group.
26/05/17 IANS/

Fadnavis' chopper crash: Evidence collected from site of accident, witnesses interviewed

Mumbai: A day after the government-owned helicopter carrying Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his team crashlanded in Nilanga in Latur district, a team of officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) collected evidence from the crash site. Detailed accounts of witnesses and all those on board the chopper were taken.
On Thursday afternoon, the chopper, carrying two pilots and four officials, along with Fadnavis, suffered damages after the crash. In its inspection, the team recorded the condition of the chopper and collected some of its parts, including the cockpit’s voice recorder box.
“We have investigated the site in detail. A detailed inquiry report of the same will be prepared soon,” said a senior DGCA official.
“The DGCA team took a first person account of the incident from us. They questioned us, especially on our need to call for an emergency landing and what exactly we observed inside the cockpit.”said the chief pilot in command, Sanjay Karve.
“The initial inquiry will be the responsibility of the western region of the DGCA office in Mumbai,” Karve added.
27/05/17 Indian Express

Fly High, But Lie low: The DGCA's new Civil Aviation Requirement

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation watchdog, recently issued a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) regarding handling of unruly/disruptive passengers. Issued under the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and framed in pursuance of the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, the CAR acknowledges that unruly behavior of any sort, on board an aircraft or during embarkation/disembarkation, interferes with the performance of crew members’ duties.

It also notes that such disruptive behavior jeopardizes the safety of the aircraft, the persons on board and most importantly, affects good order and discipline on a plane. Recognizing the potential harm, any kind of disruptive behavior is now likely to invite penal action in accordance with these proposed requirements.

The definition of “disruptive passenger” under the CAR is very wide and also somewhat vague to include any passenger who disturbs “good order” and “discipline”. These terms haven’t been defined in the proposed requirements, but include, inter-alia, individuals who illegally consume narcotics or cigarettes while on board, individuals who refuse to comply with safety instructions, any passenger who verbally or physically confronts a crew member or other passengers or threatens them which could affect the safety of the crew, other passengers and aircraft, or any individual who sexually abuses or harasses a member of the crew or another passenger.

The proposed requirements contain 3 levels of interference, level 1 (light), level 2 (moderate), level 3 (serious/flight decks), bringing the CAR in consonance with international industry recommendations.

The above noted CAR applies to all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services both on the domestic and international sector. They also apply to foreign carriers engaged in scheduled air transport operating to and from India, all airport operators within Indian territory, and all passengers during their air travel in India.
26/05/17 Satvik Varma/Vikrant Pachnanda/Bar & Bench

No-fly list effect: Cases of unruly passengers less now, says Aviation Min

New Delhi: Airlines are reporting lesser number of cases of unruly passengers following the government's decision to come out with a 'national no-fly list' to deal with such incidents, Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju said on Friday.

Raju said he had advised Air India to lift the ban imposed on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had claimed to have hit an Air India staffer, after the lawmaker assured that he would not repeat such a behaviour.

"Airlines are reporting lesser problems," Raju told NDTV when asked what impact has the proposed 'national no-fly list' had.

The minister added that Gaikwad had written to him saying he will behave himself and such a thing will not happen.

"I advised the airlines to withdraw the ban because the civil aviation requirement isn't in their favour till the government amends it (the rules)," Raju said.

27/05/17 PTI/Business Standard

Flying to cost more from Thiruvananthapuram airport

Thiruvananthapuram: Flying from Thiruvananthapuram will cost more from June with the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) set to give its nod for a proposal of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a steep hike in aeronautical tariff at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to enable the latter to recover its investments.

A User Development Fee (UDF) of ?450 each embarking passenger in the domestic sector has been proposed for the first time from June 1, 2017 to March 21, 2018. Those flying in international sector will have to pay?950 as UDF instead of the present ? 575.

The Passenger Service Fee (PSF)-Security proposed is ?130 each embarking passenger or $3.25 each international and domestic

passenger. In addition to the UDF, a Throughput charges of ?39.80, PSF Facilitation of ?77 and $1.93 from each domestic and international passenger is now being collected. But, the Authority has proposed to merge the UDF and PSF Facilitation charges and only UDF charges will be applicable to all passengers.

An increase of 4% per annum every subsequent year from 2018-19 financial year onwards in UDF each departing passenger has been proposed. The operating airlines will also have to pay more from next month for using the premier airport as a hike has been proposed in landing, parking, handling of aircraft and throughput charges, which are likely to be passed on to passengers.

For Throughput charges, the proposed rate is ?146.80 per kl. In the case of landing charges (international) the fee proposed is ? 300 a Metric Tonne (MT) up to 25 MT to ?82,250 an MT for above 200 MT and ?520 for every excess MT. In the case of domestic flights, it is ?60 an MT up to 25 MT to ?66,00 above 200 MT and ?440 for every excess MT.

Incentives have been proposed for domestic flight with 1% incentive for 75 landing a week, 2% for 125 landings, 3% for 175 landings, 4% for 225 landings and 5% for 225 landings per week.

No landing charge has been proposed for aircraft with a maximum certified capacity of less than 80 seats operated by domestic scheduled operators, helicopters of all types, approved flying school and Flying Training Institute aircraft.
26/05/17 S. Anil Radhakrishnan/The Hindu

Life after controversy: Atwater flight school rebuilding after ex-owner’s conviction

Leaders with the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Atwater are taking steps to leave financial troubles and legal battles behind and move toward a brighter future by improving education offered at the flight school and bringing in new investors.

Daniel Yoon is the former co-owner of the flight school who last month was sentenced to three years probation after accepting a plea deal to misdemeanor charges of forgery and falsifying documents in the name of his former business partner and current exclusive owner of the flight school and parent company, John Yoon.

Daniel Yoon and John Yoon are not related.

School officials did not mince words discussing their feeling over the departure of their former owner.

“Now that Mr. Dan Yoon is out of the picture, we can move forward with projects like acquiring aircraft, hiring instructors and bringing students back in,” said Bob Deklinsky, a business operations director at the academy.

The academy, also known as KS Aviation, specializes in training commercial pilots from Asia, particularly from China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The school, located at Castle Commerce Center, currently enrolls about 40 students.

The former business partners engaged in a court battle in which Daniel Yoon was accused of trying to seize control of the flight school while John Yoon recovered from injuries suffered in a 2013 motorcycle crash. The lawsuit is ongoing in Merced County Superior Court.

Efforts to contact Daniel Yoon were unsuccessful.

John Yoon placed much of the blame for the school’s recent troubles squarely on the shoulders of his former business partner.

The academy scrapped about two dozen aircraft that weren’t maintained properly while John Yoon was away from the company.

In January, employees received paychecks more than a week late while John Yoon waited for money from overseas, he said.

Now, the school is in the process of buying brand new planes, said Sanjay Akella, who was recently hired on as the academy’s chief flight instructor.

The school’s reputation with international airlines also sank, along with the quality of education students were receiving, school officials acknowledged.

“Our greatest frustration was we saw that resources and attention were not focused on the future of the school,” said Joshua Daniel, the human resources coordinator.

Hiring Akella demonstrates John Yoon’s focus on churning out quality pilots, he said. Since the beginning of the year, pass rates in classes have more than doubled.

“Sanjay is a really good pilot,” John Yoon said. “In all the world, you can’t find this kind of pilot.”

Daniel said the school received more than 30 letters of recommendation on behalf of Akella.
27/05/17 Brianna Calix/Merced Sun-Star

Reaching For the Skies: A Career in Air Force

No land battle can succeed without a strong and well-prepared Air Force. Whether it is to defend one’s own forces and vulnerable areas or to carry the war into enemy territory, the Air Force is indispensable for the country’s defence.

For all those nurturing their childhood dream of being a fighter pilot or an officer, the Indian Air Force (IAF) offers some excellent career opportunities.

The Flying Branch is the prime branch of the Air Force. As an officer of the Flying Branch, you may seek a career as a fighter pilot, a pilot for transport aircraft, helicopter, or as a navigator. As an Air Force pilot, you’ll be flying state-of-the-art aircrafts and will be trained for air fight, shooting down enemy aircraft, attacking ground targets and rescue and relief operations. The Air Force provides sophisticated training to youth who are totally inexperienced and takes them through various stages till they can fly the best aircraft in the world.
27/05/17 Northeast Today

First night flight takes off from Silchar

Silchar:  In a major development to the prolonged wait for night landing operations to begin at the Silchar airport, the ATR flight 9W 2878 of Jet Airways flew from the the airport for Guwahati at 8pm on Thursday, marking a historical beginning for commercial civil airlines from here.
According to Debashish Borthakur, station incharge of Jet Airways at Silchar, the flight flew with 60 passengers. “We are happy to witness this moment of history. Its a great feeling and hope that the much awaited night flight operations shall get regular in the coming days,” Borthakur told this correspondent. He informed that they took special permission for the day from the IAF to fly the aircraft at night.

On the other hand, Nand Kishore Deoli, airport director at Silchar said “we have been prepared for so long and it is good to see this development. Provided we get a proper schedule, Silchar airport is well-equipped for flight operations at night.”
26/05/17 Arindam Gupta/Assam Tribune

Naveen Patnaik demands Visa On Arrival facility at Bhubaneswar airport

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today demanded that steps should be initiated by the Centre to provide 'Visa on Arrival' facility at Bhubaneswar airport and include the capital city of Odisha as a stop Colombo-Varanasi flight started by Air India recently.

The chief minister made the requests in separate letters to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and civil aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju. "The state government has established international connectivity recently with Air Asia starting its operations between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur.

We had entered into an MoU with Air Asia in which the state government is providing viability gap funding to the international carrier for its operations," Naveen said in his letter to Swaraj. Stating that there has been a good response to this international connectivity with Indian citizens travelling abroad through Bhubaneswar, he said a sizeable number of foreign arrivals have also been noticed. "In order to facilitate the travel of arriving tourists, it is requested that Bhubaneswar be included as a 'Visa on Arrival' Station for citizens of the eligible nations as it would encourage people from countries connected by the recently launched international connectivity and boost tourist footfalls to our state," he said.
26/05/17 New Indian Express

Air Cargo Took Off Above The Himalayas

If you want to know exactly when the defining time occurred for air cargo in the 20th century, and what led to its development, just cast a line back seventy two years ago and you will discover that modern air cargo was born in India and China.
     Today, as air cargo’s future is increasingly connected to these two ancient countries, it can be said that what is old is new again.
Early in World War II, President Roosevelt asked Army Air Force General Hap Arnold to devise a method for supplying Chinese and American troops and aviators fighting against the Japanese in China.
Americans were aiding the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai Shek, while American aviators operating P40B fighter aircraft supplied by the USA were part of an all-volunteer group known as the AVG, under the command of Claire Chennault.
     Later, the world would come to know this pilot group as the legendary Flying Tigers.
     As the enemy closed in, military planners decided that an air route across some of the most rugged territory in the world—the Himalayan Mountains—would be sustainable in any event.
     The route quickly earned a name that has immortalized the effort and heroism of that first great air cargo movement, which kept freedom and hope alive for millions during the darkest days of the conflict: for succeeding generations, “The China-India-Burma Hump (CBI)” described a journey which created an aerial lifeline from the Assam Valley in India to Kunming, China.
     China-India-Burma Hump operations took off after the Japanese closed down the overland truck route, called The Burma Road, as Rangoon and the country fell in early 1942.
     To look at it today, that vaunted and somewhat mysterious Burma Road is/was little more than a mostly unimproved artery hacked out in serpentine form in the rugged mountains.
     But as breathtaking as the sheer cliffs were to passengers and drivers inching along the Burma Road, that experience was nothing compared to the adventure of take-off and landing first-generation, all-cargo aircraft operating back and forth between India and China.
     The Himalayas are rugged mountains, some as high as 14,000 feet, which lay square between the Assam Valley and Kunming.
     Since the Japanese controlled everything else, there was no right or left about it either.
     The only way between the two cities was the relatively short 500-air mile, truly hellish flight up over the mountains.
     Although today, aircraft routinely fly over the Himalayan Mountains, as World War II raged, the otherwise picturesque, snow-capped, remote peaks were a daunting challenge to airmen and their twin-engine aircraft.
     Flights from Assam to Kunming often took several hours.
26/05/17 Flying Typers

Capt Gopinath is sued by Patel Logistics for dues

Bengaluru: Even as he prepares to take to the skies once again through the government's Udan scheme to connect small towns, Captain G R Gopinath is being accused of failing to pay old dues. Mumbai-based Patel Integrated Logistics has sued Gopinath, alleging that his firm Deccan Cargo fraudulently and with malafide intention failed to settle its dues to them.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate Court has directed the police to investigate the allegations in the complaint under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Patel Integrated Logistics said that Deccan Cargo failed to settle dues of Rs 1.36 crore after it delivered certain cargo at various destinations at the behest of Deccan Cargo. Areef Patel, vice chairman of the company, said the police station has submitted a report to the Bandra court. "Captain Gopinath has resurfaced for the Udan project, but he has to first return our money. He has to call for a settlement, but he hasn't showed any intention to pay up.The act amounts to criminal breach of trust and cheating under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal code. The act and actions have caused a huge loss to our company," he said.
26/05/17 Shilpa Phadnis/Times of India

BCAS asks all airports to get floor plan of security restricted areas approved

New Delh: In an attempt to make airport terminals ready for any eventuality, aviation security regulator Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), has asked all airports to get the floor plan of security restricted area (SRA) approved.
This move will also help check encroachment of shops in the security area at airports in the country, which could have hampered safe evacuation of passengers in case of emergency.
“Each airport shall submit floor-wise plan of the SRA depicting the area earmarked for pre-embarkation security checks, adequate movement area for screened passengers and their baggage and evacuation route/passage area and area for business establishments to get one-time approval from BCAS,” said an order from the security regulator that was seen by ET.
Analysts feel that this would impact the revenues of airport companies. “Any reduction in retail area is set to impact non-aeronautical revenues of the airport companies, which would lead to spike in charges, as non-aeronautical revenues are used to cross subsidise airport charges,” said VP Agarwal, former chairman at Airports Authority of India.
27/05/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

HAL Flies A Second Light Utility Helicopter

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) flew a second prototype of its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) on May 22. The flight lasted approximately 22 minutes, said the government-owned manufacturer. HAL has an order for 187 LUHs from the Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force, to help replace the aging Cheetah (Alouette II) and Chetak (Alouette III) fleet.

The LUH design is derived from HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), and its single Safran Ardiden 1U turboshaft engine is derived from the Ardiden 1H, two of which power the ALH. Certification of the Ardiden 1U—named the Shakti in India—is planned for 2018. HAL said that the engine “has sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high-altitude missions.” Benoit Gadefait, vice president, Safran medium helicopter engines program, said: “The  LUH will benefit from robust support under a new joint venture, formed recently by Safran and HAL [Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt. Ltd], to provide MRO to engines installed on HAL-built helicopters,” The facility in Goa has the capacity to service 50 engines a year.

Compared with the first LUH, which made its maiden flight last September, the second one has a modified tailboom. HAL said it hopes to freeze the configuration by year-end.
26/05/17 Neelam Mathews/AINonline

Naveen wants Bhubaneswar on Air India's Varanasi-Colombo route

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has pitched for including Bhubaneswar in Air India's Varanasi-Colombo circuit. The step, Patnaik, feels would contribute to promoting Buddhist tourism and boost tourist footfalls.
In a letter to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, he said, "In the recently held International Buddhist Conclave and other discussions in different forums, the tour operators, academicians and revered monks from Sri Lanka have expresses strong desire to come to Odisha to explore the Buddhist heritage sites. However, as there is no direct connectivity, Sri Lankan tourists find it difficult to visit Odisha."
Inclusion of Bhubanewar as a stop in the Varanasi-Colombo route can help meet this unmet demand.
He hailed Air India's flight from Varanasi to Colombo as a welcome development, saying it will be useful in promotion of heritage tourism and in increasing the traffic from Sri Lanka to India.
26/05/17 Business Standard

DRDO’s aero test range to be inaugurated on Sunday

Challakere: Over a decade ago, when a new international airport for Bangalore was being planned at Devanahalli, its private developers feared that the new landing site and paths of its civil flights would clash with a World War II airfield, some 70 km away at Kolar. The Defence Research & Development Organisation was using the airfield to test its new projects.

To cut the story short, Bangalore (as it was then called) got a new civil airport in May 2008 and, in the bargain, the DRDO got a new flight testing place for itself — although much farther than Kolar.

The new Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) has been up and running for a few months. It will be formally inaugurated on May 28 by acting Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. The Hindu had a special preview of the range that nestles in an undulating, almost barren sprawl of shrubs and lined with hillock.

The ATR is a facility under the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which works on a range of UAVs (unmanned air vehicles). It will be an integrated test centre for the DRDO’s cluster of aeronautical laboratories, most of them based in Bengaluru, according to a few scientists.
26/05/17 Madhumathi D.S./The Hindu

4 Brits nabbed at Mumbai airport for human trafficking helped 5 Lankans fly to UK earlier: Chargesheet

Mumbai: The four UK nationals nabbed from Mumbai airport on March 10 for trafficking four Sri Lankans, had helped five others from the island nation fly to London, similarly, using fake Indian passports earlier this year, the chargesheet filed by Sahar police says.
On March 10, the eight foreign nationals were caught at the boarding gates of the international and domestic sections of Terminal 2, where the UK nationals gave their boarding passes for a London flight to the Sri Lankans, who, in turn, gave them their boarding passes for an Ahmedabad flight. "The chargesheet mentions that the Sri Lankans had got fake Indian passports in the name of the UK nationals, but with Chennai addresses," said an investigator. The 678-page chargesheet was filed in the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate Court on May 12.
"The racket was busted when immigration officials received a tip-off that a few foreigners had skipped immigration checks and they alerted all boarding gates," said a police officer. "The officials at Gate No. 78 in the international section stopped the Sri Lankans as the boarding passes they were carrying had British-sounding names."
27/05/17 Times of India

MIA parking contractor fined for fleecing public

Mangaluru: The Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) has cracked the whip on the parking contractor for violating contract conditions and fleecing the public who drop off and pick up passengers.
The MIA chose to monitor the parking services following several complaints from the public, especially about a parking fee being charged even though vehicles that came to drop or pick up passengers exited the airport premises within seven minutes. The MIA charges Rs 60 for vehicles that don't exit the premises within seven minutes of entry from the toll gate.
MIA airport director VV Rao said he set up a permanent committee to monitor deficiencies at the airport and suggest changes. On Thursday, a major glitch found was synchronization error of three minutes at the entry and exit clocks which meant that the parking contractor was charging vehicles for staying inside the premises for just four minutes.
The contractor has been heavily fined and warned that his contract would be recommended for cancellation if it occurred again.
26/05/17 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

Raj Thackeray steps back as flight bars armed guards

New Delhi: Air India's (AI) troubles with the Shiv Sena and its offshoots show no sign of ending. Now, MNS chief Raj Thackeray refused to board an AI subsidiary, Alliance Air's, flight earlier this week because the airline — as per rules — did not allow the firebrand leader's armed security men to board the aircraft with weapons.
Raj was supposed to fly an Alliance Air turboprop aircraft from Mumbai to Madhya Pradesh and reached the airport with his armed security personnel. "Weapons are not allowed to be carried on board the ATR aircraft," said an AI spokesman.
But unlike Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who beat up an AI employee on March 23 for being made to fly economy class, Raj Thackeray did not create much of a scene and is learnt to have returned home. "He was upset but there were no ugly scenes at the airport as he did not go to board the aircraft without his security personnel," said sources. Raj was reportedly headed to Gwalior. The airline's top management has reportedly not received any letter of protest from MNS on this episode. Only some top dignitaries, who have "very high threat perception" are allowed to fly with armed security personnel when flying commercial airlines. Other VVIPs' security team has to check in their weapons and ammunition and then get the same after landing at the destination.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Language: A No Barrier in Andhra Pradesh Airports

The famous proverb “Every two miles the water changes, every four miles the speech” is the best way to describe our country. India is a country so diverse, proved by the number of languages spoken by us. People are most comfortable when they communicate in their mother tongue. This is the reason that Visakhapatnam Airport will soon have all the public announcements in Telugu besides English and Hindi.

The same will be followed in all flights operated by various air lines and also at five other airports across Andhra Pradesh. The Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju stated that it is difficult to train the crew to make announcement in all regional languages, but none-the-less announcements will soon be made in Telugu in all the airports of Andhra Pradesh.
This year has been very crucial when one talks about the developments in Visakhapatnam airport. The much anticipated Sri Lankan airlines will kick-start its services from Vizag to Colombo from July 8 which would operate 4 times a week. The airlines will provide flights from Vizag to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Male, Seychelles, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Jeddah.

Meanwhile G Prakash Reddy took charge as the new director of Visakhapatnam Airport earlier this year. The airport will also soon be equipped with night parking bays for aircrafts that arrive in the evening, which will tend to increase the number of early morning flights to all over India and also the night landings in the city.

26/05/17 Yo! Vizag

Two held for smuggling gold worth Rs 80 lakh at IGI airport

New Delhi: Two men were arrested today for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing about Rs 80 lakh at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.

A passenger was intercepted by the customs officials after his arrival from riyadh. "This passenger had gone to washroom to handover 24 gold bars weighing 2.7 kgs to an employee working with a private firm engaged at the airport for work," a customs official said.

Both the accused -- the passenger and the employee of the private company -- were arrested, he said.
26/05/17 Outlook

Friday, May 26, 2017

Airfares soar as Indians pack bags for foreign holidays

New Delhi: Making last-minute plans for an international holiday this summer will leave you sweating.
Spot ticket prices to popular destinations have gone up by as much as 30% from last summer with London witnessing the fastest jump in airfares.
But even these high spot fares are not deterring last-minute holidayers.
Indiver Rastogi, president of corporate travel at Thomas Cook (India) Limited, says airline bookings are witnessing a "surge of over 40%" as compared with that in last year.
However, leaving on a jet plane this summer break is proving tough as visa processing at the consulates of the most popular destinations is taking a lot of time due to the rush.
Sample this: Tourism Australia recently sent a mail to travel agents about increased waiting periods to get visas due to increase in applications.
Advising them to file applications at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi four to six weeks before departure dates, its mail said: "Visitor visa applications received in New Delhi during the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 32%, when compared with last year, and the trend appears to be continuing...." VFS, which handles visa processing for most countries, says its application centres are seeing huge rush this summer due to increase in outbound travel from India.
26/05/17 Times of India

Aviation ministry to thrash out new bi-laterals policy not to clear any more requests from other countries, airlines

 New Delhi: The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) is in the process of devising a comprehensive, long term policy, which would guide the country’s bilateral agreements with other countries. No request from any country or airline for an increase in seats would be entertained till such a policy is in place, official sources told FE. The government’s civil aviation policy had skipped bilaterals in the absence of a wider consensus on the subject. This stand of the aviation ministry is significant since in recent times some of the Gulf states like Dubai and Qatar have sought increase in the existing number of seats by revising the existing bilateral agreements.
“Bilaterals are an important tool for the growth of civil aviation sector in India and we are going to use it wisely to ensure the growth for the sector in the country. We are trying to take a long term approach in the bilateral related issues and have to talk to the domestic airlines to formulate a long term policy on bilaterals,” a senior official in MoCA told FE. Going by the agreement with Qatar currently airlines on both sides have 24,292 seats and airlines from Qatar have utilised 80% of the deployed seats while the the Indian airlines haven’t.
26/05/17 Malyaban Ghosh/Financial Express

Wreckage of IAF’s missing Sukhoi-30 jet found; no information on pilots

New Delhi: The wreckage of the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi-30 fighter jet has been found close to the last known position of the aircraft, news agency ANI reported. The development comes after search operations continued for three consecutive days. However, there was no information on the missing two pilots. According to reports, debris was found in dense forest area near the China border. “Wreckage found. Close to the last known position of aircraft. As of now weather is bad and the place has dense foliage. Further update follows,” said the IAF in an official statement.
The Sukhoi jet had gone missing after taking off from the Tezpur Salonibari air force station in Assam on Tuesday on a routine training sortie. The aircraft had lost radar and radio contact near the China border within less than an hour of its take-off.
As part of the massive search operation, Su-30 and C-130 aircraft with electro-optical payload and ALH helicopters had been pressed into service. In addition, more personnel were also deployed to the existing four ground parties of IAF personnel, nine teams of the Indian Army and two teams of the state administration.
26/05/17 Indian Express

Indian carriers are against Qatar Airways' India plans and their points are valid; govt should take heed

New Delhi: India has removed or relaxed foreign investment caps in several sectors since last year and one such sector is domestic airlines. So as of today, a foreign airline can pick up 49 percent equity in an Indian carrier and then also collaborate with an investment firm from parent country to pick up the remaining 51 percent, effectively owning 100 percent of an airline in India. This proposal has been opposed tooth and nail by incumbent Indian airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo, Jet Airways and Go Air under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA).
This airline lobby group was also similarly opposed to the entry of Singapore Airlines and AirAsia BhD in India earlier – both forged separate partnerships with Tata Sons to set up two new airlines from scratch, when the FDI caps were relaxed in the first round in 2012. At that time, the FIA had used every available means to thwart the Tatas’ plans and though both airlines did eventually get established, the matter is still pending resolution in the courts.
Now, when Qatar Airways has been hinting at starting an airline from scratch in India by using the newly opened 100 percent FDI route (along with Qatar Investment Authority), the FIA has upped the ante again. This time, the FIA has raised some valid points and the government would do well to listen to what it has to say. Why allow a powerful global airline, with deep pockets and a vast network, to come to India and provide unnecessary competition to local airlines when the latter are already suffering in a high-cost and hostile operating environment?
Besides, there has been growing rivalry between the powerful Gulf airlines and those from Europe and the USA on global routes, with non-Gulf airlines closing ranks against the rapidly advancing Gulf carriers. Why should India open its arms to airlines from the Gulf?
In a fresh letter to the government, the FIA has raised some valid points against allowing 100 percent foreign investment in airlines.
25/05/17 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

Foreign players owning airlines in India can have security issues: FIA

Mumbai: Continuing its opposition to the government allowing foreign players to own an airline in India, the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) has said the move could have serious "security" implications besides other issues.

In a letter to the government recently, the FIA also said that the decision to allow foreign carriers owning an airline in the country will create a very inequitable competitive environment for them.

The letter comes against the backdrop of Qatar Airways announcing its plans to set up an airline in India with the Gulf nation's sovereign wealth fund, and the government recently saying that it is looking at bringing the rules and regulations regarding ownership and control of an airline in conformity with the new FDI norms. "By India permitting 100 per cent FDI in scheduled airlines, the Indian government will have no visibility on where control lies. Such a move could also have serious repercussions on India’s national security," the FIA said in the letter.

The FIA has four private airlines --IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir as its members. The four airlines together command around 75 per cent share of the total domestic air travel market. "Such foreign-owned and controlled Indian airlines will also gain unhindered access to defence airfields in India.
25/05/17 PTI/New Indian Express

SpiceJet, IndiGo and Jet Airways offer cheap airline tickets

Mumbai: India's aviation sector is seeing a competition of a whole new level- ruthless slashing of prices. Days after SpiceJet offered domestic as well as international flight tickets for Rs 12 (only base fare, excluding taxes and fees), other airlines like IndiGo and Jet Airways also offered discounts on airfare.

The sale period for the Spicejet offer is from 23rd – 28th May, 2017, while the travel period is from 26th June, 2017 – 24th March, 2018.

Starting May 23, IndiGo is offering a six-day sale till May 28 on select routes for a base rate of Rs 11 and an all-inclusive rate on select routes starting at Rs 899. This rate is applicable on one-way, non-stop flights that are booked at least 20 days before the trip. The time for travel should be between 26 June 2017 and 24 March 2018.

The special fares are available on first come-first serve basis and are not refundable. The offer is applicable from select locations such as Agartala, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kochi, Kolkata, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Port Blair, Pune, Srinagar, Varanasi, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam.

The details of this offer can be viewed on official website of IndiGo and other travel portals like ClearTrip and Yatra. Also, these special fares are not applicable on mass-bookings. Passengers can change the itinerary but after paying a stipulated change fees and fare difference.

With all the major airlines competing with each other, Jet Airways also announced special fares for select routes. The booking period is between May 24 to May 26 for travel between June 15, 2017 to September 20, 2017. The fare for the same is Rs 1,079 inclusive of all taxes.
25/05/17 DNA

Jet Airways Monsoon Sale: Now buy flight tickets starting at Rs 1079, offer valid till May 26

Mumbai: If you are planning for a monsoon getaway, here’s a chance!  Jet Airways, India’s full-service, the premier international airline has come up with a three-day sale from May 24 to May 26 2017. The sale provides guests with an opportunity to plan their monsoon gateways, in advance and avail attractive savings. Under the monsoon sale, Jet Airways has announced special all-inclusive Economy class fares on select domestic sectors under its three-day sale with starting price as low as Rs 1079 for selected domestic sectors.
As per details on the Jet Airways website, the limited period sale will allow guests to book tickets for as low as INR 1,079/- (all inclusive) on certain sectors. The special fares are applicable on tickets booked between May 24th to 26th, 2017, for select domestic routes, and valid for Economy class travel between June 15 and 20 September.
The special fare tickets, available on a first-come-first-served basis, will be valid for travel on direct flights for both one-way and return journeys. The booking under the sale started from Wednesday with a three-day window period. The passenger can avail of these special fares through the airline’s website, mobile app, the airline contact centre (city code) 39893333, as also through their nearest travel agent.
25/05/17 Sandhya Dangwal/

UDAN Indian aviation's biggest achievement in the past year: Jayant Sinha

New Delhi: Indian aviation has witnessed one of the fastest phases of its growth in the last three years. With the government’s policy reviving the regional aviation market,India has become the third-largest market globally in terms of domestic traffic. However, the market continues to face a massive infrastructure crunch. Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation, speaks to Arindam Majumder on a wide range of issues -- from regional aviation to infrastructure and bilateral rights. Edited excerpts of the interview:

I would begin with an anecdote. Close to your media address announcing the guidelines for the UDAN scheme, which aims to boost regional air connectivity, a regional airline was grounded. It is yet to get off the ground. Isn't there a dichotomy here?

This is about the airline business as a whole. I thought you wanted to know what we have done through Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme to make regional aviation successful, even as people had not succeeded in the past.

We have done four things to reduce the cost but make regional aviation profitable and attractive. One is through a cut in taxes on aviation turbine fuel from over 20 per cent to 3 per cent.

Two, we have eliminated all airport navigation and landing charges for Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) flights from both the origin and destination airports.

Three, we have given exclusivity for three years. For instance, Alliance Air won the bid for Delhi-Shimla. They will be the only one to operate on that route for three years.

And four, we have put in place a number of steps for lessors that makes it easier for them to repossess a plane if an airline defaults. As a result, leasing cost has come down. Lessors are now charging you less because their risks have come down.

Additionally, we are giving viability gap funding (VGF). The first three things are themselves so attractive that we have many routes awarded at zero VGF.

In the first round of bidding, we have put 1. 3 million seats into the regional aviation with a total subsidy of Rs 205 crore. That’s how well designed the scheme is, as this money will be recovered from passengers flying in national markets.
26/05/17 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

More regional centres on aviation map on the cards

New Delhi: Putting more regional centres on the aviation map and dealing with Air India stands high on the agenda of the Narendra Modi government, which is entering its fourth year.

The government will also come up with new regulations to deal with unruly passengers and improve infrastructure facilities for the ever-growing aviation market in the country.

After coming out with the first-ever national civil aviation policy last year and the launch of the regional connectivity scheme, the industry is waiting to see how the government takes the programmes forward.

The ministry of civil aviation has already showed its intent to expand the Udan scheme to unserved routes.

The first round of bidding for regional routes had resulted in adding 33 unserved and 12 underserved airports, besides 128 routes, to the aviation map of the country.
26/05/17 Shemin Joy/Deccan Herald

Tweak in UDAN to woo more airlines

New Delhi: The government is planning to allow relaxations under its Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme to boost air connectivity to underserved routes. It   hopes to attract more airlines to the loss-making regional aviation sector.
The Union ministry is likely to now allow an underserved route between two regular airports. For instance, Lucknow and Varanasi: these have regular connectivity to other centres but not between themselves.
Earlier, operators were allowed to bid for services only between two underserved airports.
“A number of stakeholders and airline operators have evinced interest in undertaking operations under the scheme,” said a ministry statement on Wednesday. “Learning from the experience of first round of bidding… (the ministry) is… taking stock of regional connectivity… [to make rules] simpler and attractive.”
The ministry is also thinking of allowing operators to bid for routes between two places separated by less than 150 km, such as Ahmedabad and Vadodara (114 km).
It is looking at a number of other proposals, such as tweaking the current norm of allowing a three-year exclusivity to an airline on a route; whether the number of seats on subsidy per flight can be increased; and more flexibility for the operation of helicopters, given the limited interest by airlines in the first round of bidding.
Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said in the first round of UDAN, 72 airports had been included. Of these, 27 were classified as ‘served’, 12 as ‘underserved’ and 33 as ‘completely underserved’.
25/05/17 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

MAHB gets nod to go international, eyes more airports in India

Sepang: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which is the third largest airport operator in the world by passenger size, plans to expand its presence abroad and may acquire some airports in India to ride on strong air travel demand in Asia.

Its managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said the board has approved its fourth pillar strategic plan to expand internationally by acquiring new airports as well as getting more services-related business.

"The strategy is to tap intra-Asia air travel market which currently generated the highest passenger traffic in the world.

"We are looking at a few opportunities. Sometimes it is not just about one-to-one airport but basket of airports... And acquiring airports is not going to be through the normal tendering process.

"It is about making representation of capabilities, synergies and value creation as well as whether we can work hand in hand with local partners," he told reporters here at the company's annual general meeting.

Badlisham said India's airport market is opening up and currently enticing investors to look at it.

"Last year, India announced 50 secondary airports to be put into the market. So now they are soliciting whether we should do a basket of airports. They are not sure and really asking how they should go about this.
25/05/17 Amir Hisyam Rasid/New Straits Times

Fadnavis chopper crash: Bought in 2011, was used for official trips of CM, Governor

Mumbai: The Sikorsky S76 C++, the helicopter that crash-landed in Nilanga, Latur, on Thursday undertook nearly 60 hours of flight every month, said senior officials from the operational team of the chopper at Juhu airport. The Sikorsky six-seater chopper, bought for Rs 52 crore by the state in December 2011, was exclusively used for official trips of the chief minster and Governor of Maharashtra.
The pilot of the twin-engine chopper took a call to make an “emergency landing” minutes after take-off on Thursday when he sensed a “loss of control”. “As the chopper had not attained much height, nobody received serious injuries. The chopper suffered substantial damage,” said a senior DGCA official.
The chopper was being used to its full capacity since the past six years, officials said. “It would do 60 hours of flying every month. It was next planned for use in the CM’s Gadchiroli tour on drought-relief measures,” said an official involved with its upkeep.
The chopper would be stationed at the government’s hangar in Juhu aerodrome. “So popular was it that even other cabinet ministers would covet to use it for their trips. They would require the prior permission of the CM, however,” the official said.
26/05/17 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

Aviation experts express concern post CM Fadnavis mishap

Mumbai: Questions are being raised about the safety of VIP flyers after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had a narrow escape from a helicopter accident on Thursday. Despite having a clearance certificate, the government owned Sikorsky (VT-CMM) helicopter met with an accident in Latur. Aviation experts feel the accident may have been caused due to variable wind direction and have called for the need of proper infrastructure.

Sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have termed the accident as ‘serious’. An official said that the chopper had DGCA clearance before flying and was very much in use by the state VIPs and the Chief Minister.

Hailing the pilot’s presence of mind in the situation, Mandar Bharde, MD of MAB Aviation, said, “The pilot showed exceptional skills and saved the travellers on board. There was a possibility of the rotor catching fire, which could have toppled the entire helicopter but the pilot avoided the situation. The Maharashtra Government should ensure proper infrastructure like helipads, for safe landing and take-offs.”

Mr Bharde shared that around 15 choppers take off and land in Maharashtra everyday but most of the accidents involve politicians, who are not provided proper logistic support. “The helipads are usually made overnight. Maharashtra should invest in proper infrastructure as the use of aircraft and choppers is increasing,” he said.
26/05/17 Shruti Ganapatye/Asian Age

Maharashtra CM's helicopter was well-maintained, claim officials

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) will investigate the crash-landing of the chopper that was carrying chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Nilanga on Thursday. But an official at the directorate of aviation has claimed that the chopper had no maintenance issues and all the parameters were followed.
Madhav Godbole, deputy director with the directorate, said, "The chopper is only meant to fly VVIPs, that is, the CM and governor. With the DGCA watching our backs, a strict maintenance schedule is followed. Though details of the schedule cannot be given, we can say for sure that all parameters to ensure safety of the chopper were followed religiously."
According to preliminary reports, when the chopper took off, a huge dust cloud was formed and the pilots, while trying to avoid it, few into cable wires.
However, aviation experts believe that the state needs to do much more to ensure proper maintenance of its existing fleet of aircraft and choppers.
Aviation expert and analyst Dhairyashil Vandekar said the state's aviation department's record of aircraft and helicopter maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. "Almost half of the state's fleet of helicopters and aircraft is grounded. Out of the two helicopters it has, a Dauphin chopper is grounded since almost five years and now, the other VT-CMM Sikorsky S76C helicopter has crash-landed," he said.
26/05/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Indian national charged as man behind LaGuardia Airport security breach

A hapless rookie security guard watched an equally clueless Indian national wander into an off-limits area in LaGuardia Airport, a video obtained by the Daily News showed.

Phani Kumar Varanasi, 41, was arrested Thursday, two days after the Tuesday security breach on a charge of criminal trespass after surrendering to Port Authority cops at the Queens airport, police said.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” a relative told the Daily News. “It was a mistake. He was just going on vacation. We are in a deep soup.”

Varanasi told police he was confused about where to go after exiting the plane, after flying in from Detroit, and he strayed into a “sterile area” of the terminal through a guarded exit.

The video captured him entering the forbidden zone through its exit as the Transportation Security Administration employee sits at a desk inside Terminal B.

The incident led to a partial evacuation of the terminal while causing travel problems for hundreds of passengers as authorities conducted a security sweep.

Varanasi spent five minutes wandering around the restricted area around before returning to the public space through the same exit and walking away, according to the TSA.

Port Authority cops were finally called, but Varanasi was already gone by then.

The bungling worker was “within the one-year probation period, and appropriate action will be taken,” the TSA said in a statement on Thursday.
25/05/17 Mary McDonnel/Thomas Tracy/Larry McShane/New York Daily News

NID to revamp the Ahmedabad airport, add ‘glocal’ touch

Ahmedabad: The National Institute of Design(NID)- Ahmedabad is all set to rejig Ahmedabad’s domestic and international terminals with state-of-art design intervention on visual ergonomics and aesthetic experiential appeal using its design competency to improve overall passenger experience. With the endeavour NID is going to empower the overall appeal of the domestic and international terminals of Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport.
NID Director Pradyumna Vyas along with faculty colleagues met Manoj Gangal, Director – SVPI and his team recently. NID and SVPI team visited both domestic and international terminal to workout a comprehensive ‘action plan’ and would be submitting it before the SVPI authorities in 10 working days.
The main objective of the project would be to add the traditional local flavour while enhancing and improving the segment of passenger amenities and overall experience of SVPI Airport. This will include enhancing of physical and visual components of comfort and overall ambience of the existing terminals in areas linked to parking, dropping, passenger corridors, arrival and departure enclosures, entry & exit enclosures, security, checking and hold areas, baggage dispose and claim areas, washrooms, refreshment, lobby and lounges, etc.
25/05/17 Indian Express

Aging chopper, airplane put Gujarat VIPs at risk

Aging aircraft - both helicopters and planes — used by chief ministers, ministers and senior officials in different states pose a risk to these VIPs. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had a narrow escape on Thursday when the chopper carrying him crash-landed at Latur.
On January 26 this year, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and Governor O P Kohli were luckier still when the helicopter carrying them failed to take off from Anand. Rupani and Kohli were returning to the state capital after Republic Day celebrations. They had to travel to Gandhinagar by road.
After the Anand incident, Rupani had to use private helicopters for a month as the state chopper was being repaired.
Officials say the Gujarat government helicopter is 10 years old (it was bought in 2007) while the fixed-wing plane, bought in 1999, is 18 years old.
26/05/17 Kapil Dave/Times of India

More international flights from Lohegaon airport in the offing

Pune: Doors to the Middle East are all set to widen for Pune-based travellers as at least two flights are expected from here to the United Arab Emirates soon.
The new flights will also give a boost to passenger traffic, besides attracting foreign tourists, airport sources told TOI.
"A private airline is set to start flight operations to Dubai from the Pune airport in three months. Air India will also start an international flight to Sharjah, the final plans are being chalked out," the official said.
At present, four international flights — two to Dubai (Air India and SpiceJet), one to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways) and one to Frankfurt (Lufthansa) — operate from the Pune airport.
26/05/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Behavior of Man Who Tried to Break Into American Airlines Cockpit Should've Raised 'Red Flags'

Los Angeles:  A man acted strangely long before he caused a disturbance on a plane that prompted fighter jets to accompany it to Hawaii, but a lack of communication and an airline's hesitancy to be caught on video booting a passenger could have played a role in allowing him to fly, experts say.
Anil Uskanli, 25, of Turkey, had purchased a ticket at an airline counter in the middle of the night with no luggage and had been arrested after opening a door to a restricted airfield at Los Angeles International Airport. Airport police did not notify the airline, but they said it isn't common practice.
After bizarre behavior on board Friday, including trying to get to the front of the jet, he was arrested by FBI agents and charged with interfering with a flight crew.
A federal judge on Monday ordered him to undergo a mental competency evaluation, which Uskanli's attorney said he requested based on conversations with his client that he would not detail.
The first alarm should have been Uskanli buying his ticket around midnight with no bags other than a laptop, a phone and items in his pocket, said Doron Pely, a director at TAL Global, an international security consulting firm focusing on aviation security.
"Right there, that's enough red flags to really look into this guy with curiosity," Pely said. "He had trouble written all over him."
25/05/17  Michael Balsamo/AP/Time

American Airlines’ Passenger, Anil Uskanli, Disrupts Hawaii Flight Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs

A man who disrupted a flight taking off from Los Angeles to Honolulu only had a laptop and didn’t have any luggage.  A wheelchair was needed for the man to get into the plane as he was either drunk or on drugs.

Anil Uskanli, who also has the Turkish nationally, didn’t check in or carry any luggage, a criminal filed complaint in federal court said.
Flying on Friday, It was an American Airlines flight. Uskanli, 25, boarded the plane only with laptop, phone as well as laptop charger and several unimportant items in his pockets.

The flight’s staff immediately thought that the Turkish man’s laptop may contain an explosive.

As well as his arrest in Honolulu, Uskanli was also charged with intervening with a flight attendant.

On Monday, the judge decided that Uskanli has to pass a mental evaluation. The Bureau of Prisons will decide where he will go for the examination.

Around midnight, Uskanli purchased his ticket.

At 2.45 a.m., he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport because he opened a door leading to an airfield ramp. Spokesperson Rob Pedregon said that Uskanli was only looking for food.

Uskanli smelled like alcohol but he was drunk enough to be held for public drunkenness so the police released him. Hence, his ticket was confiscated after taking him a public space in the airport.

Shortly after that, Uskanli got himself another boarding pass and passed by security screening again.

Police is obliged to let an airline know if someone opens a gate to a restricted area.

“If he was a danger, we would not have ever let him go,” he said.

He then entered the restricted area and insisted that he is on drugs or alcohol. Therefore, flight crew brought him a wheelchair to help him board the plane.

American Airlines’ spokesperson said that Uskanli specifically asked for the wheelchair at the ticket counter before going through security and then to the gate for the flight.
25/05/17 Selena Arias/Essentail Retailer

DC hands over land papers to AAI for passenger terminal at Adampur airport

Jalandhar: In a leap towards starting work on civil air terminal at Adampur airport near here, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma on Thursday handed over papers for transfer of land to the officers of Airport Authority of India (AAI). The Deputy Commissioner handed over papers for transfer of more than 36 acres of land to Simardeep Singh, manager (engineering) at AAI. The land was recently acquired by the state government at the rate of Rs 37 lakh per acre. Compensation to the tune of Rs 16 crore has already been disbursed to the owners of the land.
At present, the Adampur airport, which is used by the Indian Air Force, does not have any terminal for passenger airlines.
The DC said this project would act as a major catalyst for development of the Doaba region, besides helping NRIs stay connected with their roots. He said the Public Works Department (PWD) had also submitted a detailed proposal for widening and strengthening of the already existing dedicated approach road to the airport at a cost of Rs 33.85 lakh.
26/05/17 Financial Express

Mumbai airport refuses slot for flight linking Mumbai, Surat, Bhavnagar

Surat: In what has come as an upset for the Surti fliers, the Alliance Air, airline partner of Air India (AI), has been refused slot for its Mumbai-Surat-Bhavnagar daily flight services by the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL).
Sources said that the Alliance Air had submitted a proposal for providing slot at the Mumbai airport for operating its proposed daily flight between Mumbai-Surat-Bhavnagar. The MIAL vehemently denied the proposal, citing reasons about the heavy traffic and the unavailability of the slot at Mumbai airport.
This has upset the Surti fliers and the airport association is preparing to write a letter to the Prime Minister and Union minister of civil aviation against the MIAL ignoring air connectivity to Surat.
Social groups crusading for increased air connectivity have alleged that the MIAL is ignoring Surat airport, sensing its huge potential and the future threat.
26/05/17 Times of India

Karnataka’s UAV Test Zone Set for Take-Off

The country’s first of its kind Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) with a mega multi-agency complex for integrating and testing various Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) will be unveiled by Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday.The ATR built at a cost of `1,300 crore in Varavoo Kaval near Challakere in Chitradurga district will have technical infrastructure on 4,090 acres and transit and residential facilities on 200 acres. The facility will be housing multiple agencies .

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the Ministry of Defence has developed the ATR, whch has been partially operating since December 2010.

With the ATR’s inauguration, DRDO can start testing some of the indigenous products being developed, including the naval and trainer versions of the Light  Combat  Aircraft,  unmanned air vehicles Rustom 1 and 2; and the Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems meant for surveillance.
25/05/17  Kiran Parashar K M/New Indian Express

Telugu at Andhra Pradesh airports

Visakhapatnam: Civil Aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju promised that henceforth the public announcements would be made in Telugu language besides English and Hindi in all flights, operated by various airlines and also at five airports across Andhra Pradesh.

Responding to the letter of Andhra Pradesh Assembly deputy speaker  Mandali Buddha Prasad on February 16, 2017, the Civil Aviation minister released an official letter on Thursday announcing that the request would come into force soon.

Though it is very difficult to train the crew in making announcements in all regional languages (18 languages are recognised in the Constitution) in India, he promised that the announcement would be made in Telugu language in all airports of the state.
26/05/17 New Indian Express

Night parking facility at Visakhapatnam International Airport soon

Visakhapatnam: The Visakhapatnam International Airport will soon have night parking facility for the aircrafts arriving in the evening. The works at the airport for creation of six more parking bays is in full swing and the project will be completed in the last week of June.

The night parking facility will increase the number of early morning flights to several parts of the country from the city and also increase the night landing of flights in the airport.The Airport Authority of India officials said that the four airports in Andhra Pradesh have registered a robust growth in air passenger traffic during 2016-17 fiscal with Vizag Airport leading by handling an all-time high of 23.58 lakh passengers as against 18.04 lakh in 2015-16 by registering a growth of over 30 per cent.
26/05/17 Hans India

Customs official Sanjeev Kumar arrested for stealing 90 kg gold from Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a customs official who was posted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi for alleged pilferage of gold. Reports say that Sanjeev Kumar, a superintendent of customs department, allegedly stole around 90 kgs of gold from the customs store room at the IGI airport 14 years ago.
According to the CBI, Kumar was posted at the IGI Airport between 2002 and 2003 as custodian of the store room where the seized gold items were kept. It has been alleged that he replaced the gold items with duplicate metal. It is alleged that Kumar stole 90 kg gold and replaced it with duplicate metal.
Kumar is posted with Sonepat customs office as a superintendent at present. He has now been remanded to seven days’ police custody after the CBI told the court that he was required for the further interrogation.

10 kg narcotic drug haul at Bengaluru airport, one held

Bengaluru: A man was arrested after about 10 kg of narcotic drug valued at Rs 2 crore in the international market was seized from him at the city airport, an official said on Thursday.
“The contraband was found in 35 schoolbags of Mujibur Rahman, who tried to smuggle it to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia onboard a Malaysian Airlines aircraft,” Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sunil Kumar Sinha said in a statement here.
The airport police arrested Rahman, who flew into Bengaluru from Chennai on Wednesday night. He was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
“We intercepted the bags after Rahman checked them in with the airline,” Sinha said.
He said the accused confessed during preliminary questioning that he had been smuggling such narcotics to other countries, including Malaysia and Sri Lanka, for a hefty commission.
25/05/17 IANS/Mid Day

Air India brings 22 bodies, five injured to Indore

Indore: National carrier Air India on Thursday operated a special charter flight to ferry the bodies of 22 pilgrims, who died in a bus accident in Uttarakhand, to Indore. The special Air India flight, carrying 22 bodies and five injured persons, landed at Indore airport at 3.7 pm, an Air India official said. Under the supervision of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan the injured people were sent to MY Hospital and while bodies were dispatched to their native villages

For the first time, a chartered plane is used to ferry bodies of ordinary people to the city. Air India’s special flight Air Bus-319 took-off from Dehradun airport at around 1.27 pm with 22 bodies in coffins and five injured (two on stretcher), three doctors, five officials of district administration including SDM Sandeep Soni and Home Guard Commandant Saiyad Javed and nine officials and crew of Air India. It landed at the city airport at 3.07pm. The five injured were brought out of the flight first. Chouhan met them and inquired about their health before they were rushed to MY Hospital in an ambulance at 3.33 pm.
26/05/17 Free Press Journal