Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fresh bid to revive Air India

New Delhi: Union minister Arun Jaitley along with his senior ministerial colleagues and officials on Monday discussed the future course of action for debt-laden Air India, weeks after its strategic disinvestment proposal failed to attract any bidders, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Piyush Goyal, who has been temporarily given the charge of finance ministry, civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu, transport minister Nitin Gadkari and other senior officials.

According to the sources, the meeting, chaired by Jaitley by video-conference, took stock of the developments related to the ailing national carrier. The report prepared by consultancy EY, the transaction adviser for Air India's strategic disinvestment, was discussed.

The report has listed out the reasons for the disinvestment failing to elicit any initial bids as the deadline ended on May 31. Last week, a source had said the government was considering the listing of the troubled airline after the proposal for a 76 per cent strategic stake sale failed to attract any bidders.

When asked about the meeting and whether any decision was taken with respect to Air India, civil aviation secretary R.N. Choubey said the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam) would issue a statement on the matter.

The government reportedly was even willing to write off part if Air India's huge loan to make the carrier attractive. The BJP-led NDA is under pressure from the Swadeshi Jagran Manch to drop the divestment proposal, with the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
19/06/18 Telegraph

Government opts to go slow on Air India sell-off

New Delhi: With no suitors for Air India, the government is likely to go slow on a strategic sale of the national carrier till oil prices soften, and will instead focus on improving its operating efficiency.
At a meeting of the group of ministers with Union minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, the view was that the elevated prices of crude had resulted in no airline, including some of the stronger players such as Emirates and Qatar Airways, responding to even the expression of interest. As a result, sources suggested that the much-discussed disinvestment plan may be put on the backburner till global oil prices come down.
The group of ministers met to discuss the airline's future after the failed divestment bid where it decided to offload the government's stake in the Maharaja in small batches, while constantly trying to make it more attractive for potential bidders. "Oil prices are climbing up and, at such a time, trying to offload a stake in an airline is not easy. The focus now will be on making AI more efficient and ensure that it does not lose its market share. While doing so, we will slowly offload stake in the airline," said a source.
An official said with no takers for the airline, the option before the government was to go for a distress sale, which was not advisable.
The postponement of the sale plan also means that the government, which has less than a year to go, will have to pump capital into the airline, which is saddled with loans of over Rs 50,000 crore, leaving a big hole in its accounts due to interest outgo.
19/06/18 Saurabh Sinha and Sidhartha/Times of India

Government puts off Air India stake sale for now

The government has decided not to go ahead with Air India stake sale in an election year and will provide required funds for its operations, a senior official said today.

The decision comes less than 3 weeks after the proposed 76 per cent strategic stake sale in debt laden national carrier failed to attract any bidder.

Air India will very soon get funds from the government for its day to day operations and will even place orders for a couple of aircraft, the government official said,
The decision was taken at the high level meeting convened by Union Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday. The meeting was attended by Piyush Goyal, who has been temporarily given the charge of finance ministry, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and other senior officials of finance and civil aviation ministries.

"The airline is posting operational profits. None of the flights go empty. With all the cost efficient mechanism in place, we will continue improving its operational efficiency. There is no need to rush in for disinvestment as of now," the official told PTI.

The government is looking at turning around the company to ensure that it makes profits on overall basis before going in for listing.
"Certain conditions have to be met before listing a company. Once Air India fulfils those, we will go in for an initial public offering and subsequent listing," the source said.
19/06/18 PTI/Economic Times

Revealed: How technology innovation is helping Vistara outfly competition

In an interview with ETCIO.COM, Ravinder Pal Singh, Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Tata Singapore Airlines ( Vistara) lays bare the IT route map of Vistara.

You are the first Chief Information and Innovation Officer of Vistara. Can you reflect on the beginning of your tenure at the new airlines? What were some of the things you did in the early days to set it on the right course?

In my early days at Vistara, I spent much time understanding the complexities of setting up of an airline business and its dependence on technology. The initial thrust was to build a strong foundational IT organization which can hold a growing world class airline now and in future. I have surrounded myself with people who complement my experience and expertise. My direct reportees are leaders and experts in their own right. I work with people who are better than me, hence I’m as good as they are. In my professional life as a technologist, I have always taken assignments where there is a true opportunity to create body of work.

In my current karmic endeavor, we have built the end-to-end IT infrastructure of Vistara on Cloud, which arguably makes it the world’s first such airline.

Our enterprise portfolio and its architecture is a mix of strong, core world-class platforms which are complimented by a growing portfolio of Robotics, AI and Big Data, which are solving simple and complex problems ranging from different attributes of the customer experience, aircraft and its engineering, optimized operations and connected employees. We are working on various initiatives which maybe be first in the history of aviation. But there is still a lot to be done and achieved.

Can you give us an overview of your role as the Chief Information and Innovation Officer of Vistara? What is your vision for the IT organization at Vistara?

The core values of Vistara are thoughtfulness and innovation. It’s a brave organization which has attempted a distinctive product-mix in Indian airline space. IT has played a strategic role in the overall success of Vistara so far.

My role in Vistara is to carve its future digital strategy, maximize its digital investments and take bold IT decisions, play a foundational role in running of the organization from a technology standpoint, create a sustainable organization with a strong digital portfolio, and seed robust future digital leadership. As Chief Innovation Officer, I want to induce a culture of creativity with courage; evangelize ideation to solve simple problems and predict future differentiators.

How are you setting the digital agenda of Vistara to drive innovation?

The central idea is to deliver an unmatched travel experience to our customers and to optimize processes and operations. We are continuing to invest in cutting-edge technology, mainly in three areas - AI, Robotics and Data Science - with a significant emphasis on customers. In parallel, we’re also using these technologies to enhance our operational efficiency by way of adopting more intelligent, sustainable and cost-effective ways of doing routine jobs, thereby also elevating our workplace.

Cutting-edge technologies, especially which are in commodity zone, play an important role in defining our digital agenda. As a startup airline and organization, we are laying a strong foundation for our future. Hence, we keep things simple and our enterprise architecture is clean, as it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees without a comprehensive view of what the proverbial forest looks like.
19/06/18 Sneha Jha/ETCIO.com

Air Odisha BBSR-Raipur flight from Tuesday

Bhubaneswar: Flight services on the Bhubaneswar-Raipur route are scheduled to begin from June 19 as regional airline Air Odisha has started advance booking of tickets for the purpose.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has granted permission in this regard.

As per the schedule, Air Odisha flight number 6X 115 will leave Bhubaneswar at 06:10 pm and reach Raipur at 07:40 pm.

Similarly, Air Odisha flight number 6X 120 will leave Raipur at 12:15 pm and reach Bhubaneswar at 01:45 pm.
19/06/18 Daily Pioneer

Indian aviation hits a snag: Parking space, flight slots are scarce across airports

The Indian aviation industry has hit a snag, the airports are running out of preferred slots and parking space. The lack of flying slots and spaces to park aircrafts is due to the the fact that the airports are super busy and working overtime. What this has lead to, besides flight operators having to fight out for slots and space, is a bottleneck for the country’s growth in aviation.

And this issue is mostly affecting newer airline carriers like Vistara and AirAsia which are rapidly expanding its business but have to deal with ‘undesirable’ slots for their operations.

Since its inception Indian aviation industry has grown significantly. From 381 airplanes in 2008 to approximately 480 in 2017 along with plans to buy more aircrafts to deal with increasing flight demands, the industry’s growth in on an upward curve.
The country is looking at nearly 1080 aeroplanes, out of which, more than 700 are scheduled for delivery within the next decade, and 400 within the next five years. As of June last year, a total of 880 aircrafts were on order, with most of them being placed by low-cost carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet. And this bulk demand as left airport authorities concerned.
19/06/18 Business Insider

Why Patna airport is a disaster waiting to happen

New Delhi: Two planes of SpiceJet and Indigo suffered bird hits during landing at Patna’s Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport last Saturday, and both had to cancel their onwards journey.

The incident, though, is nothing out of the ordinary for the Patna airport. There are several factors that contribute to make the airport one of the most dangerous in the country.

Inadequate runway
With a runway length of just 2,072 metres — of which 1,938 metres is for landing from the east and 1,677 metres for landing from the west— the Patna airport is prone to air disasters.

As per data from the Federal Aviation Administration, US, the adequate runway length required for a safe landing of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s is 2,300 metres. These are the two major types of passenger planes that usually fly in and out of Patna airport.

Middle of the city
Unlike other cities where airports are located on the outskirts, Patna has its airport right in the middle. This makes the residential population extremely vulnerable.

Runway expansion too is impossible as the airport is sandwiched between the Patna Zoo and the Phulwari Sharif railway station. The trees in the zoo even act as a potential obstacle for aircrafts. Moreover, due to the surrounding trees, lots of birds fly near the airport. A clock tower with a height of 333 feet, a part of the Patna Secretariat, is another obstacle for planes during landing at the airport.

The airport handled 2,273 flights in April 2018, a considerable rise of 37.9 per cent over 1,648 flights for the same month in 2017.

The number of passengers has also increased. The airport handled more than 3.3 lakh passengers in April 2018, compared to 2.2 lakh in April 2017. In March this year, the airport was given the green light to function round the clock.

An operation-in-charge at the Patna airport told ThePrint that “new parking space, fire station, and cargo complex will be built in the upcoming months to cater to the increasing population.”

In July 2000, Alliance Air Flight 7412 had crashed in a residential area in Patna resulting in the death of 51 passengers and crew members. Four people on the ground too were killed. The flight, incoming from Kolkata, scrapped through a few trees before crashing to the ground.
19/06/18 Ratnadeep Choudhury and Gaurav Singh/Print

Ex-CEO Mittu Chandilya challenges AirAsia brand-licensing deal

New Delhi: Even as a meeting of the Air Asia India board is expected on Tuesday, lawyers of former Air Asia India Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mittu Chandilya say the brand-licensing agreement signed between Air Asia Berhad group CEO Tony Fernandes, representing the Indian joint venture, and T Kanagalingam, who was then chief operating officer of Air Asia Berhad, represents a “conflict of interest” because both held top positions in the same airline.

The lawyers say Air Asia India needs to revoke the licensing agreement so that management control moves from Malaysia to India, as required by FDI guidelines. Under the FDI rules for aviation, while foreign carriers can hold up to 49 per cent in a joint venture, the management of the firm has to be in Indian hands.
Srinivas Mohanty, Chandilya’s lawyer, points out: “There is a conflict of interest in the licensing agreement as the two signatories of the document are both from the same company — Air Asia Berhad. Both of them have become judges in their own cause. So any change in management control from Malaysia to India would require a revocation of this agreement. We will take up this matter up in court.”

Emails to Air Asia Berhad and Air Asia India did not elicit any response. However, the board meeting is expected to discuss restructuring the management. The company has to appoint a CEO.

Mohanty says based on the brand-licensing contract, signed in April 2013, the licensee (Air Asia India) had to observe and comply with the requirements to be determined by Air Asia in virtually all key areas.
19/06/18 Surajeet Dasgupta/Business Standard

Tamil Nadu plans second airport 100km south of Chennai

Chennai: The scenic East Coast Road (ECR) may emerge as the gateway to the city’s second airport, as the Tamil Nadu government is considering Cheyyur, about 100km south of Chennai, for the facility which would handle international flights.
Sources told TOI that the Kancheepuram district administration has collected details of 2,000 acres in three villages of Cheyyur taluk and two hamlets in the neighbouring Madurantakam taluk for the second airport.
This is the third location under consideration to decongest the city airport. Earlier, the authorities had looked at a 1,500-acre land parcel at Madurantakam and Uthiramerur, after the government dropped its plan to build an airport in Sriperumpudur. Another 1,250-acre land pocket near Gummidipoondi bordering Andhra Pradesh in Tiruvallur district is also being considered.
“The list of villages include Arappedu and Ayankunnam in Cheyyur taluk and Thozhupedu of Madurantakam taluk,” said a revenue department official. The distance, however, will be a concern for flyers as it may take up to two hours to travel from city centre to Cheyyur.
A revenue department official told TOI,“The field measurement book (FMB) of these villages totalling around 2,000 acres has been given to the district administration”.
FMB is an important component of land record available with revenue department, which is a sketch of demarcated borders of each survey number in a village. The identified land pocket comprises both patta and government land, sources said.
Cheyyur is considered primarily for its access to two major highways— GST and ECR. The drawback would be the distance.
Tamil Nadu plans second airport 100km south of Chennai
19/06/18 Yogesh Kabidoss/Times of India

UAE lifts Nipah travel advisory to Kerala

Duibai: The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has lifted the travel advisory to Kerala it had issued in mid-May where a Nipah (NiV) outbreak has claimed over 17 lives.

With summer holidays around the corner, the ministry, however, has asked residents to take all precautions.

In a statement sent to Khaleej Times, the ministry said, "According to the latest report received from the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease has been controlled and there are no travel barriers to Kerala."

"The ministry does not prohibit the public from travelling to Kerala but precautions should be taken by travellers to any area suffering from endemic diseases," read the statement.

"We recommend travelers to any destination in the world to visit Mohap traveler's clinics to consult our doctors before travel for an adequate period of 4-6 weeks for the following reasons," the statement added.

To assess the health risks associated with travel and health status, it said, adding that it was also recommended to conduct some necessary tests if required as well as to introduce the traveller to various types of vaccinations that may be needed for the destination.
19/06/18 Asma Ali Zain/Khaleej Times

Kempegowda International Airport users ask for zero UDF. Will it fly?

Bengaluru: The cost of flying out of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) could decrease significantly for passengers as the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA), which is responsible for regulating tariffs, is set to pass its order regarding tariffs and charges at the KIA by the end of this month or early July.

On Monday, AERA officials held a stakeholder consultation meeting in the city, in which various representatives of airlines, passengers as well as representatives of the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) were present. The meeting, which the media was not allowed to attend, was about a consultation paper released by AERA which discusses financials of the KIA and also includes proposals made by the Bangalore International Airport Limited for tariffs and charges till 2021.

In the new proposal, the User Development Fee (UDF) is likely to be slashed from Rs 1,226 to Rs 316.8 for international flights and from 306 to 79.2 Rs for domestic flights for the next year with a marginal increase every year till 2021.

However, Monday’s meeting also led to stakeholders arguing for the waiving of UDF completely, a move that the BIAL opposed. In their presentation, the BIAL justified the collection of UDF from passengers on the lines of a multi-year tariff in which the UDF collected will rise marginally till 2021.
19/06/18 New Indian Express

Collective demand for reduced UDF at AERA meet

Bengaluru: Multiple stakeholders of the Kempegowda International Airport here collectively made a pitch for a drastic reduction in the User Development Fee (UDF), levied on embarking passengers by the airport operators.
This was a key demand submitted to the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) at a stakeholder consultation meet here on Monday.
AERA had released a consultation paper in May 2018 to determine tariffs at KIA till 2021. The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) had proposed a 74% cut in UDF rates.Monday's meet also discussed landing, parking and housing charges imposed by BIAL on airlines. AERA had proposed a drastic reduction of these rates.
The Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) submitted that the AERA's final order had decided to determine aeronautical tariffs for the next control period based on actual growth during the control period 2011-2016. But BIAL “is currently operating with unchanged tariffsl, even after the completion of the first control period (2011-2016),” it noted.
AERA, through interim orders, had allowed BIAL to continue to levy higher existing tariffs for the past 25 months into the second control period (2016-17 to 2020-21). “Since the current control period began in 2016, we request AERA to direct KIAL to furnish the actual passenger numbers and the air traffic for the FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18,” submitted BPAC.
19/06/18 Deccan Herald

Central aviation team to visit Nagaland

Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on Monday has assured Neiphiu Rio that centre will send a technical team to survey and carry out all necessary assessment for the final approval of the green-field airport at Ciethu Kohima.
This was conveyed to Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio when the latter called on Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu at his office. 
According to Public Relations Officer Nagaland House, Delhi, both Rio and Prabhu also discussed various issues regarding civil aviation and air connectivity in the state besides discussion about finalizing the green-field airport project.
19/06/18 Nagaland Post

Shimla to Chandigarh heli-taxi service, with travel time of 20 minutes, to now ply three times a week

Shimla: The to and fro heli-taxi service between this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort and Chandigarh will now ply thrice a week, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday. Also, the chopper will now land at the Annandale ground, the picturesque flat highland just three kilometres from Shimla's Ridge, but will take off from Shimla airport at Jubbarhatti, 22 km from here."Seeing the response of the tourists, we have decided to ply the heli-taxi service on every alternate day in a week -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday," Thakur told reporters here. Earlier, it was operated twice a week -- every Monday and Friday.
The Chief Minister said the defence authorities have given permission to the state to use its Annandale ground for the heli-taxi's landing. A prime chunk of land surrounded by thick forests, the Annandale ground has been under the Army's control since World War II.Thakur said the state is awaiting permission from the Central government to start a mountain ride between Manali and the majestic Rohtang Pass, which remained marooned in snowfall almost round the year. Officials told IANS that for boarding the chopper in Shimla, one has to go to the Jubbarhatti airport, which is an hour-long travel from here.It will land and take off from the Chandigarh International Airport, some 18 km from Chandigarh.
With the launch of the heli-taxi service on June 4, the travel distance between Shimla and Chandigarh was reduced to just 20 minutes. The Chief Minister has offered his official helicopter on the Shimla-Chandigarh route. The state government in association with helicopter service operator Pawan Hans Ltd launched this service, cutting down the earlier four hours' travel time.
19/06/18 Times Now

AirAsia monsoon offer: Tickets start from Rs 1,399

New Delhi: No-frills carrier AirAsia India offering special fares starting at Rs 1,299 on selected routes this monsoon. Tickets under AirAsia India's latest offer can be booked till June 24, 2018 for travel till January 31, 2019. The discounted fares are applicable on routes like Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar to Kolkata, Ranchi to Bengaluru, Ranchi to New Delhi, Kochi to Bengaluru, Kochi to Hyderabad etc.As per the carrier's official website -- airasia.com -- flight tickets from Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru is available from Rs 2,499 onwards; tickets from Ranchi-New Delhi is priced at Rs 2,999 while Chandigarh to Bengaluru flight will cost you Rs 4,699.The lowest fare of Rs 1,399 under this AirAsia offer is applicable for routes like Guwahati-Imphal, Imphal-Guwahati and Chennai-Bengaluru.
19/06/18 ET Now

Are you suffering from jet lag? An Indian Air Force officer gives tips to deal with it

India Today Education contacted Group Captain Saumitra. Chaturvedi, a senior meteorologist with Indian Air Force who told us more about what jet lag means and how they are caused.

"Jet lag is a physiological condition which results in disruption of body clock of a person which is generally associated with a person travelling through various time zones in quick succession, usually in a jet plane, so that is why this term is known as Jet Lag." says Chaturvedi.

"As prevention is better than cure, there are certain things to be kept in mind for the people going for long flights which will help them reduce the effect of jet lag and thus result in faster recovery or the cure," the meteorologist explains.

A study by World Health Organisation suggests that consuming alcohol and caffeine in large quantity before or during a flight can really aggravate the effects of jet lag. So, it must be either totally avoided or may be taken in moderation, Chaturvedi says.
Here are a few tips from Saumitra Chaturvedi to reduce or avoid jet lag:

People who travel regularly should get regular exercise and keep a good health on arrival after a long travel
Heavy meals or strainers exercise should be avoided
If possible, people should spend time in sunlight
They should also try to sleep at a normal time for the time zone where the passenger arrives
"The body clock adapts to the new environment as soon as the person adapts to the local timetable," he adds.
19/06/18 Saloni Bhatia/India Today

Airport mulls plan B for satellite terminal minus tunnel

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is considering a backup plan for the proposed satellite terminal at Chennai airport in case the tunnel linking it to the main terminal building cannot be built in time.
At a review meeting, the AAI chairman told engineers to look at alternative ways to ferry passengers and baggage in buses to the main building from the satellite terminal that will be built in the space between the runways.
The move comes after it was found that the tunnel may take time to bore and the integrated terminal being built at the spot of the old domestic and international terminals may take four years to complete. AAI wants the satellite terminal also to be ready in four years or before to handle the rising passenger traffic, especially because of regional connectivity flights.
Officials said AAI wanted to keep an alternative plan ready if the tunnel cannot be readied in time. The tunnel is not included in the Rs 2,476crore phase 2 expansion which includes demolishing the old domestic and international terminals and building an integrated terminal. Only an interface or link for the tunnel with the integrated terminal has been included in the project.
“If the tunnel is not ready in time, the satellite terminal may be used for domestic arrivals. Passengers can pick up their bags and board shuttle buses which will drop them to the main arrival terminal. It may be a long drive but the terminal can be used for this purpose.”
19/06/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

CMRL, AAI clash over forex, food counters at airport metro station

Chennai: The Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) are at loggerheads over who should set up stalls at the airport metro station. Metro rail officials feel that they have the right to set up shops because the station is managed by them, whereas AAI feels that they should have a say because the building is on its campus.
As the station is managed by CMRL, they floated tender and installed stalls including an ATM and forex counter, while AAI has moved one of its canteens to the ground floor of the station. Sources said the forex counter installed by CMRL took the airport authorities by surprise, and that it was the main reason for a discussion to be initiated between the agencies to work out a modality to use the commercial space in the station.
However, CMRL’s eagerness to make the most of commercial space at the station has come as a blessing to air passengers. The forex counter offers foreign currencies at a cheaper rate than the ones in the airport. “The counter at the metro station is able to offer cheaper rates because the rent charged is not as high as the license fee charged by the airport,” said an official.
Airport metro station is close to the terminals, and there is a view that businesses inside the station should not be in conflict with the ones in the airport.
19/06/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Activist opposing greenfield project held

Salem: The Deevattipatty police arrested activist Piyush Manush in the city on Monday evening for his alleged hate speech against the proposed Salem-Chennai Greenfield Corridor project.
A police officer said Piyush Manush is accused number one and actor Mansoor Ali Khan accused number two in the case.
Salem Citizen’s Forum (SCF), an NGO run by Piyush Manush, recently organized a meeting with actor Mansoor Ali Khan in Salem. The actor visited Kannankuruchi and Kumaragiri – both waterbodies maintained by SCF. Later, he told reporters that he would not hesitate to kill at least eight people if the eight-lane green corridor project was initiated between Salem and Chennai. The actor also said he would participate in all the protests pertaining to the project and Salem airport expansion project.
19/06/18 Times of India

Soon, breeze past security check at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi: In a bid to make the airport more user-friendly, a new Automated Tray Return System (ATRS) will be implemented, as per a report by The Times of India. The new system, which will lower the time spent at the airport security check, was successfully tested on a pilot basis at T3 last year and will soon be implemented in a phased manner by the end of this year.In the new ATRS, trays will be taken through a security check on automated rollers that would require minimal human interaction. The trays will return to the starting point once passengers pick up their items, as per the report by The Times of India. “We successfully tested the technology for eight days at T3 last year and it reduced both the waiting time and the cluster that is created in a manual system. We now plan to implement it at the airport by the end of the year in a phased manner,” a source was quoted as saying in The Times of India.The current manual security clearance system processes about 180 passengers per hour. However, the new system will be able to process as many as 350 to 500 passengers in one hour, as per the report.
19/06/18 Times Now

Tunnel route proposed to enter Bengaluru Airport

Bengaluru: To ease commuting to Kempegowda International Airport for the nearly 65 million passengers who are expected when the second terminal is commissioned, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) has submitted a proposal to the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India to have a tunnel route to the airport.

The 300m tunnel route along with a 2.4km subway will particularly benefit those coming from Eastern Bengaluru. The tunnel will run in the mid portion beneath the first and second runways.According to the proposal, the tunnel will be linked with the upcoming Eastern Connectivity Road from Hoskote. This road will link the proposed Maintenance, Repair and Cargo facility.

BMRCL has two entry points at present. The trumpet interchange which was launched on airport road in 2008 when the airport commenced operations and an alternative road through Hennur Main Road and Thannisandra Main Road which was launched this March.
19/06/18 New Indian Express

Bengaluru airport could switch to total solar power by 2020

Bengaluru: The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has set itself an ambitious target of running Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) completely on solar power by 2020.
Currently, power demand at KIA is 11MW per day and airport authorities estimate it to increase to about 20MW after completion of the second terminal. The airport now generates 3.44MW from solar energy daily and the proposed capacity enhancement project will add another 8.35 MW in two phases, taking the total to about 12MW. While the 12MW would be from on-site energy generation, BIAL plans to source another 8MW of solar energy from off-site.
“Currently, solar energy is harnessed from both roof-top and ground-mounted panels. Our aim is to make the airport 100% renewable-energy powered by 2020. We also plan to increase our consumption through on-site and off-site solar power purchase agreements,” said S Lakshminarayanan, vice president (engineering & maintenance), BIAL.
He said BIAL plans to install a solar power plant with a total capacity of 12MW, of which work has begun on installation of a 3.35MW capacity plant. The other plant with 5MW capacity is in the planning stage.
Authorities at Cochin International Airport Limited, Kerala has set up a 12MW solar power project within the airport complex to cater to power requirements.
19/06/18 Times of India

Gannavaram airport to start Cargo services

Vijayawada: Gannavaram airport is set to start its cargo services with 15 metric tonne of cargo load every day, from Tuesday onwards. The much awaited project recently received all clearances from the centre. Though the airport authorities had readied the terminal for cargo services in 2017, they got postponed due to delay in getting the permission of Airport Authority of India (AAI).

Soon, the 15 metric tonnes will be increased to 30 metric tonnes. A proposal for a cold storage has also been made, but it is yet to be processed.

Speaking to Express, G Madhusudhan Rao, Airport director, said, “The cargo services are sure to attract large crowd of businessmen and industrialists who wants to export or import goods. A lot of the seafood, agricultural produce is exported  from this region.
19/06/18 New Indian Express

AirAsia Group refutes allegations against Fernandes

AirAsia Group Bhd (AAGB) has refuted allegations contained in a report to India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the group, its group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and deputy group CEO Bo Lingam.

The low-cost carrier said on Tuesday the allegations in the first information report (FIR), which was also against AirAsia Bhd and AirAsia India Pte Ltd, was based on information from an unnamed “reliable source.”  The allegations were carried in the media in India.

In a strong-worded statement issued via Bursa Malaysia, the board of directors of AAGB “refutes strongly all the allegations made in the FIR as baseless, unsupported and unjustified and will vigorously challenge these allegations".

“We question the motives of the unnamed person, persons or organisation that lodged this FIR but we will co-operate fully with the Indian authorities in accordance with due process provided in law,” it said.

AAGB said an FIR is a written document prepared by police organisations in India when they receive information about the commission of a cognisable offence.

It pointed out that “anyone can make such a report either orally or in writing to the police and investigations by police begin after an FIR is recorded”.

Once an FIR is registered, police are duty-bound to investigate the case, record statements of all witnesses, and file a final report.
19/06/18 The Star

Nirav Modi travelled to 6 countries on revoked passport, reveals Interpol

New Delhi: First he looted Indian banks to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, then he fled the country just days before an FIR was lodged and now he roams freely from one country to another on an Indian passport which was revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in February.

The mastermind of India's biggest bank fraud Nirav Modi seems unstoppable for Indian agencies. Does India really want to catch Nirav Modi? If yes, who is responsible for the free run he is privy to?

On February 16, the MEA issued a statement saying, "On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the MEA today suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr Mehul Chinubhai Choksi."

Modi's passport was revoked a week later. However, what shocked everyone was India Today's expose on June 13. India Today accessed details of an Interpol report dated June 5, 2018 which suggested Nirav Modi is still travelling on his Indian Passport.

Since the time his passport was revoked as claimed by the MEA, Nirav Modi has travelled to at least 6 countries which includes UK, UAE, Hong Kong, France and Germany. According to sources Nirav Modi travelled between the US, UK, Hong Kong and France on his Indian passport.

He travelled on March 15, March 28, March 30 and March 31. Nirav Modi travelled on February 10 and landed at London Heathrow Airport in UK from John F Kennedy Airport in USA .

On February 15 he took a flight from Hong Kong for Heathrow Airport, London. On 15 March, he left London Heathrow Airport to returned to Hong Kong.

Again on March 28, Modi's travel details suggests his trip from USA to London. On March 31, after staying at Mayfair Hotel in London, he took a flight Charels De Gaulle Airport, Paris.
19/06/18 Munish Pandey/India Today

Late for flight, Choreographer makes a hoax bomb call to Indigo call centre

Jaipur: A man was detained today for allegedly making a hoax bomb call after missing a Jaipur-Mumbai Indigo flight, an official said.
Mohit Kumar Tank (24), a choreographer with a dance reality show, made the call to Indigo's call centre in Gurgaon claiming that a bomb has been planted on Indigo flight 6E218, CISF commandant at Jaipur International Airport Y P Singh told PTI.
He said the flight's departure time was 5 am but it took off at 4.52 am.
"Since Tank could not reach the airport on time, he made a call to the Indigo call centre at 5.30 am. We traced the accused and handed over him to Sanganer police, the official said.
ACP East Ashok Chauhan said the accused has been detained, booked and further investigation into the incident was underway.
By the time Tank made the hoax bomb call, the flight was about to land in Mumbai. Upon landing, security agencies took about three hours to clear the aircraft for further schedule operations. IndiGo also issued a statement confirming the incident.
19/06/18 PTI/India TV

Monday, June 18, 2018

‘flydubai keen to invest in UDAN, greenfield airports in India’

Sudhir Sreedharan, flydubai’s Senior Vice-President-Commercial Operations (GCC, Africa and Indian Subcontinent), is optimistic about the potential for a slew of collaborative initiatives in India, despite the current investment challenges in the industry.

Speaking to BusinessLine at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai recently, he said flydubai would love to invest in the low-cost greenfield airports that India is planning. It is also interested in participating in the UDAN regional connectivity programme.

“Unfortunately, we’re not able to participate in any of these initiatives,” he said. “Incredible India is a fantastic initiative, but there aren’t even enough seats for Indians to go back home during festivals. So, how does one bring tourists into the country to enjoy the festivities?” said Sreedharan.

He said the airline could work with the authorities to develop secondary or tertiary airports and help drive theme-based tourism. He added: “We are completely open to working with the Tourism Ministry and other authorities to develop any economic zone, if we have access to land there. When more flights land at an airport, more jobs are generated. ”
“We’ve offered to pick up any theme the Indian authorities want us to develop. The health and spa industry, for instance. People from Dubai spend over two billion dirhams a year on health treatments in Thailand. Emiratis are allowed visas on arrival in India, but such experiences need to be promoted,” he said.
Data from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, especially over the last 14 months, show that the maximum number of visitors to Dubai are from India. Sreedharan said Indian carriers have a 90-95 per cent load factor. “There is no need to worry about opportunity loss if Indian skies are opened up further to flights from West Asia. Expanding the possibilities depends entirely on the policy stance of the Indian authorities.”
17/06/18 Parimala S Rao/Business Line

Air India flight coming to Delhi lands in Udaipur after air pressure dips

New Delhi: An Air India aircraft cruising from Rajkot to Delhi with over 100 people on board on Saturday got a de-pressurisation warning mid-air when the Airbus A-319 was at an altitude of about 10km or 33,000 feet.
On getting the cabin de-pressurisation failure warning, the flight captain Priya Chauhan immediately initiated emergency descent and brought the plane to a lower altitude of about 10,000 feet at which all on board could breathe without supplementary oxygen. The aircraft was about 90 km from Udaipur when this happened and the pilot landed the aircraft safely there.
According to sources, the problem happened after the rubber seal of the cargo compartment broke mid-air. The aircraft had 98 passengers and six crew members on board.
A senior AI official said: "This happened before actual de-pressurisation, with warning only. Oxygen masks were not deployed in the cabin. The airline's flight safety department has begun a probe."
Sources said that passengers were sent to Delhi from Udaipur on another AI aircraft as the airline technicians repaired the A-319. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will probe this case. "Sometimes, while loading baggage on aircraft, loaders inadvertently and unintentionally cut the rubber seal on the cargo door. At a higher altitude, the cut may expand and lead to de-pressurisation in the cabin," said a senior pilot.
18/06/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

SpiceJet to launch 14 new flights

Chennai: SpiceJet has announced launch of 14 new domestic flights starting July 1. The airline will introduce new direct flights on the Pune-Patna, Chennai-Rajahmundry, Hyderabad-Calicut and Bengaluru-Tuticorin sectors.
The airline will enhance its operations on the Delhi-Patna (second frequency), Bengaluru-Rajahmundry (second frequency) and Mumbai-Bengaluru (fifth frequency) sectors with non-stop additional frequencies.
The new flights introduced on the Delhi-Patna, Mumbai-Bengaluru and Chennai-Rajahmundry sectors will be operational daily.
The frequencies introduced on the Hyderabad-Calicut, Bengaluru-Tuticorin and Bengaluru-Rajahmundry routes will be operational on all days except Tuesdays.
Patna-Pune will be operational on all days except Saturday.
SpiceJet chief sales and revenue officer Shilpa Bhatia said, “We are rapidly expanding our fleet with new Boeing 737 aircraft and Q400 regional turboprops. This means addition of new routes and destinations for our customers with non-stop flights."
18/06/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

India's Vistara outlines early int'l plans, mulls order

Vistara is planning to start international flight operations later this year having recently surpassed the 20-aircraft threshold. Indian law requires airlines looking to operate flights abroad to have at least 20 aircraft in their fleet.

Government sources told India's Business Standard that Vistara has already filed an application for slots at Delhi Int'l airport for flights to Colombo Int'l (Sri Lanka), Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (Thailand), and Malé (Maldvies) starting this 2018/19 winter season. The full-service carrier may also run Kolkata Int'l-Bangkok flights.

Vistara currently operates thirteen A320ceo and eight A320neo on scheduled flights spanning 22 destinations across India. Ahead of its international expansion, it has been linked to an order with Boeing for up to ten widebody jets.
18/06/18 ch-aviation

Threat to ATF monopoly

New Delhi: State-owned firms may lose their monopoly to sell aviation turbine fuel (ATF) at the Mumbai airport if the oil sector regulator has its way on allowing competition, which would reduce the operating cost of airlines and bring down fares.

India's busiest airport accounts for about 20 per cent of ATF consumed in the country, while fuel makes up 40 per cent of the operating cost of the airlines.

The Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has suggested the HPCL and BPCL pipelines be connected to the Mumbai airport storage terminal as a common carrier and be regulated by the PNGRB.

The PNGRB has sought comments on its proposal from all stakeholders.

As expected, the state-owned firms have opposed the move, but airlines, logistic firms and private refiners have welcomed the exercise.

The development will help to offer better fuel prices to the airlines and subsequently benefit the fliers and the cargo business.

At present, ATF is supplied by HPCL and BPCL refineries, while IOC is a party to use the pipeline.
18/06/18 R Suryamurthy/Telegraph

Navi Mumbai runway development to take off soon

Navi Mumbai: Simultaneous runway development along with ongoing Ulwe hill operation will take off soon for developing the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).
Cidco joint MD, Prajakta Lavangre Verma told TOI, "The runway on the south side can be developed as 260 hectares of land has been levelled at 5.5 meter. The remaining 2.5 meters levelling for 8 meters as under the airport development plan will be done by the strategic partner. The operator will do the next level land filling of 2.5 meter for developing the runways, taxiways, terminal building for the airport complex. The villages along the runway will be vacated soon as most have shfted."
The airport will be at almost double the height of the 4.5m flood line. The first phase of Rs 5,514 crore of the Rs 16,000 crore airport will be commissioned (scheduled December 2019 end) with the south runway of 3.7 km and partial development of the H shaped terminal. The north runway will be developed later as per traffic growth and requirement.
The concession agreement signed by Cidco, the nodal airport development authority and Mumbai international airport (MIAL) requires transferring of the 1160 hectares of core area of the airport, but it also envisages for simultaneous operations and therefore the runway development can start.
18/06/18 Sanjay Banerjee/Times of India

Sebi rejects Air India's proposal seeking change in listing norms

The listing plan of Air India (AI) has suffered a setback, after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) denied the state-owned carrier exemption from a rule which makes net profit for the past three years mandatory for this.

The government has been mulling an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of equity for AI among options for its future course, after its proposed part-divestment found no investor interest. A government official said the aviation ministry had explored the idea of listing the airline.
18/06/18 Business Standard

The Air India building at Marine Drive is keeping the broke national carrier afloat

At a time when Air India is struggling to pay salaries and has floated a tender for a Rs 1,000-crore short-term loan, the national carrier’s iconic 23-storey building on Marine Drive is doing its bit to keep the airline operational.
The airline offi- cials said the Air India tower – India’s first structure with an escalator – is earning an annual rent of Rs 100 crore, most of which is spent on the staff’s salaries.
Five years after Air India moved out of the Marine Drive building and shifted its headquarters to New Delhi, all floors of the building have been leased out barring a portion of the ground floor, which fell vacant in January this year, when the Bharatiya Mahila Bank moved out of the premises.
Each of the Air India tower’s 23 floors are spread over a carpet area of 10,000 sq ft, and the lease rate in the area is around Rs 350 per sq ft, which means a single floor is earning the airline at least Rs 35 lakh. While the airline has retained a portion of the ground floor, the three floors above it (first, second, and third), and the top three floors, the sources said that airline could consider leasing out portions of some of these floors.
“The Marine Drive building is Air India’s cash cow. It earns the airline Rs 100 crore. However, the total salary bill of its nearly 21,000 employees comes to around Rs 200 crore a month,” an airline source said.
The government is banking on disinvestment to pull Air India out of the financial mess, but its proposed 76% strategic stake sale failed to elicit initial bids as the deadline ended on May 31. The airline’s debt burden stood at Rs 50,000 crore at the end of March 2017. It is still staying afloat on over Rs 30,000-crore bailout package extended by the Manmohan Singh government in 2012.
Acknowledging the Marine Drive tower’s contribution in keeping the national carrier afloat, Air India’s chief managing director, Pradeep Singh Kharola, said: “Nearly 17 floors are on rent. It contributes to some extent when the finances are bad.”
18/06/18 Yogesh Naik/Mumbai Mirror

Arun Jaitley convenes meeting on the road ahead for Air India

New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday convened an unofficial meeting at his residence on the way ahead for Air India.

Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, R.N. Choubey told reporters that the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) will issue a statement on the decision taken in the meeting.

The last day for submission of expression of interest for privatisation of Air India was May 31. However, the government did not receive any response from private players for the stake sale, dealing a blow to it’s plan to revive the debt-laden national carrier.

Mr. Jaitley, who underwent a kidney transplant recently, held the meeting via video conference at his residence.
18/06/18 The Hindu


Jet Airways connects domestic dots

Mumbai: India’s Jet Airways started its regional connectivity expansion under the government’s UDAN scheme linking the holy city of Allahabad with the state capitals of Lucknow and Patna.

Seven routes have been awarded to the airline in the second bidding phase under the government’s UDAN scheme that attempts to improve air connectivity countrywide.

The airline launched five effective 14 June. They are: Lucknow-Allahabad-Lucknow; Patna-Allahabad-Patna; Nagpur-Allahabad-Nagpur; Indore-Allahabad-Indore and Delhi–Nashik-Delhi.

The other two pending routes are Lucknow–Bareilly–Lucknow and Delhi-Bareilly-Delhi.

They should be launched this week beginning, 18 June, once necessary clearances and approvals have been received at Bareilly airport.
Jet Airways will deploy its 72-seat, ATR-72 aircraft on all seven routes that connect Allahabad with various other destinations in its network.

Operating three flights to each destination, the new routes will expand connectivity from the city on six days instead of previously just three days.
17/06/18 TTR Weekly

Snag hits another IndiGo A320 neo plane

New Delhi: An A320 neo aircraft of IndiGo experienced engine issues on Sunday, forcing the airline to ground the plane at the airport here, industry sources said.

IndiGo, the country's largest airline, has been grappling with issues related to Pratt & Whitney engines powering its A320 neo planes. In the last few weeks, at least five of its aircraft have experienced engine glitches.

"An IndiGo flight 6E-6616 operating from Kolkata to Delhi on June 17 was held at the Delhi airport for maintenance after our pilot observed a snag on arrival," an airline spokesperson said.

Another aircraft was provided immediately to avoid any disruption or customer inconvenience, the spokesperson said but did not provide an update about the status of the grounded plane.

Sources said there were oil chip issues with the plane's engine due to which it was grounded on Sunday.

Details about the number of people on board the Kolkata-Delhi flight could not be immediately ascertained.
18/06/18 Times of India

Indigo’s plan to launch cheap international flight opens up new prospects

It was a piece of news that sent the spirits of the budget traveller soaring. In May this year, Icelandic carrier WoW Air announced the launch of long-haul low-cost (LHLC) services from New Delhi to US, at just Rs 13,499 for a one-way journey. Indian carriers have since joined the race, with market leader IndiGo unveiling plans to fly to long-haul markets in Europe and, at a later date, to US, and budget carrier SpiceJet following suit. After budget carriers revolutionising domestic aviation, it may now be the turn of international flying to go democratic. In fact, the global aviation industry has earmarked 2018 as the year of LHLC flights. For those who didn’t know, LHLC flights entail seven-eight or more hours of flying at eye-popping fares, sometimes even 50% lower than those charged by full service carriers (FSCs). A CAPA report of March, 2018, revealed that on average three LHLC airline launches have taken place every year since 2012, the most prominent among them being of Norwegian Air.
If there are concerns over the plans of Indian carriers, these have to do with viability. In 2013, a McKinsey & Co report said the cost advantages that had enabled LCCs to continuously under-price mainstream airlines and build a loyal customer base were difficult to replicate on long-haul routes — for instance, Norwegian Air, the pioneer in the field, has been facing mounting losses. Experts point out that with fuel constituting a larger share of total costs, the cost gap between low-cost and full service operators narrows on long routes, though new generation aircraft like A320Neo and Boeing 737 Max which are more fuel-efficient would aid LHLC operations. The critical component for Indian LHLC carriers if they are to succeed would be feed. Experts say that without a network, it would be difficult to stick to point-to-point flying (without stopover) and remain profitable.
18/06/18 Financial Express

The human cost of expanding the Salem airport

On a hot summer day in May, the dimly lit shed in Rajendran’s two-room house reverberates with the clattering of the powerloom that he is cautiously watching over. As his burly hands pick away delicately at the stray golden lint, the razor-sharp needles of the machine swallow up row after row of neatly lined threads. Gradually, the coil of yarn bunched atop the loom transforms into a soft, red silk saree.

Rajendran is one of 500 weavers in the Omalur taluk who stand to lose everything if the airport in Salem district, Tamil Nadu, is expanded any further. The airport, located in the Kamalapuram village, borders 570 acres of fertile agricultural land that the state government is now hoping to acquire.

The people of the four villages that are affected by the proposed takeover – Sikkanampatti, Thumbipadi, Pottiyapuram and Kamalapuram – are now engaged in a fight for survival with the government. Even as they have been slapped with one notice after another on the expansion, the villagers are bearing the daily legal, physical and emotional costs of an excruciating struggle for their right over their own land.
The existing airport in the ‘Steel City’ was closed on account of poor patronage. Between its construction in 1993 to as late as 2018, the fully functional airport was lying in disuse for over two decades. Land for the existing airport was initially acquired in 1989 from the parents and grandparents of those protesting its expansion today.

Upon its construction in 1993, the airport operated for three months between April and June, before it was shut. The residents were dissatisfied with the private airliner that flew two-and-a-half hours to Chennai via Coimbatore, while a morning train from the city would promptly drop them off at Chennai in five hours, at well less than the Rs 1,350 being charged by the airline.
18/06/18 Manasa Rao/News Minute

India And Nepal To Have Four New Air Gateways

New Delhi: India has agreed to open four new air entry points to Nepal in the eastern and western parts of the country.

This aims at facilitating movement of international traffic.

Two vital entry points, however, are still on hold.

The four routes that India agreed to make two-way are Kathmandu-Biratnagar-Dhaka, Kathmandu-Janakpur-Kolkata, and Kathmandu-Janakpur-Patna in the eastern part of Nepal and Kathmandu-Mahendranagar-Delhi (L626) in the west, Kathmandu Post reported.

India will provide an entry on the L626 route for aircraft flying at the heights between 15,000ft and 24,000ft (low-level flights). This way, Buddha Air and other Nepali private carriers will connect New Delhi with Nepalgunj.

On June 16, the technical team from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) signed an accord to jointly conduct a safety assessment of these routes.
18/06/18 NDTV

Ethiopian Airlines to Expand Operations in India

As the leading and most profitable airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines has been a pioneer in African aviation. The carrier has been spearheading aviation technology in the continent for decades, since the first jet service in Africa in 1962. It now contains one of the youngest and most modern civil aeronautics fleets in the world, with an average age of fewer than five years and with examples such as Boeing 787-900 and Airbus A350, the first African B787 Dreamliner and is leading the way again by providing the first African A350 XWB.

Recently, Ethiopian Airlines received its 100th aircraft, to become the first airline to operate that amount of aeroplanes in the history of the continent. “The milestone is a continuation of our historical leadership role in the sector,” said Tilahun. Implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading airline group in Africa with seven strategic business units, the airline has registered an average growth of 25% per annum for the past 10 years.

“India and Ethiopia allow carriers to operate 35 services per week between them. While Ethiopian Airlines are using all of it and offer 11,172 seats per week, we will launch our passenger service in Bengaluru or Ahmedabad later this year,” said Tilahun.
18/06/18  Vaishali Dar/Business World

How Lucrative Will India Be for In-Flight Wi-Fi Providers?

At the start of 2018, if you were to book a flight on a randomly selected airline and route anywhere in the world, your likelihood of having access to in-flight Wi-Fi stood at 43 percent, according to a report by Routehappy. If you boarded a domestic flight within India, the odds fell to zero.

But change is in the air. India’s Telecom Commission recently approved of a recommendation issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that airlines flying within and through the country be allowed to offer in-flight connectivity, on the condition the services be provided by Indian or other approved satellites.

What’s been the hold up? According to Anand Chari, Gogo’s strategic technology advisor, the country’s hesitance has always been related to national security concerns. “India has always been very cautious about satellite communications, even on the ground. It’s one of the most highly regulated markets anywhere in the world,” he says.

The other delay, Chari says, was bureaucracy. “There’s the Department of Telecommunications, the Ministry of Home Affairs and other government bodies that are all involved in setting the rules and regulations and going through the approval process. Traditionally, satellite communications had a lot of regulations around it.”

Speaking at this year’s APEX Asia event in Shanghai, APEX CEO Joe Leader said he was optimistic that Wi-Fi could appear over Indian airspace soon. “We are definitively convinced that India will open Wi-Fi over its airspace this year,” he said during a presentation. We believe it will happen in Q2 or Q3,” he said during a presentation.

APEX members are among those playing a role in helping to bring this to fruition. Gogo participated in several meetings with Indian government officials and made several technical and policy contributions, Chari says. “We have been very active. The TRAI’s recommendations incorporate some of Gogo’s proposals,” he notes. “We have been participating in this regulatory rule-making process for nearly three years, with people flying to India and being physically present in meetings.”

Dave Shiff, vice-president, North America Enterprise Sales, of broadband satellite systems provider Hughes, says his company’s staff in India has also been actively engaged in the topic. “We think that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the regulatory environment. Once the regulatory hurdle is cleared, we will be working with our service provider partners to get the infrastructure in place. From a business and regulatory standpoint, we’re optimistic that the business opportunity could open up possibly before the end of this year, or certainly during the next year.”
18/06/18 Ari Magnusson/apex

Top Indian-origin hotelier Surinder Arora in UK in legal battle with Britain’s Heathrow Airport

An Indian-origin hotelier, Surinder Arora, is taking legal action against Britain’s Heathrow Airport for his right to build a nine-storey car park at one of the world’s biggest airport hubs. Arora has issued a UK High Court claim against the west London airport over his plans to build a 2,077-space nine-storey car park on a land he owns at Heathrow. While Heathrow Airport Limited claims it alone is entitled to build these spaces, Arora has challenged that claim, The Sunday Times reported. Under local planning rules, a maximum of 42,000 car parking spaces are allowed at the airport. Arora believes the 42,000 cap refers to the airport site as a whole, of which his land is a part and therefore should allow him the right to build car-park spaces too.

A planning application has been pending with Hillingdon Council since 2015. Unable to secure approval for his multi-storey car park, Arora was allowed to build a smaller version with 1,000 spaces and five storeys on the site, which opened last year. However, the 59-year-old Punjab-born entrepreneur behind a chain of hotels in the UK wants to add another four floors and undercut parking charges at Heathrow – which are among the most expensive in the world.

But the newspaper notes that Heathrow guards its car parking rights “jealously”. As well as earning money from drivers, they allow it to reap returns from airline passengers by adding the value of the car parks to its asset base, currently worth 15.8 billion pounds. The newspaper also claims that the current row is about more than just car parking. It is a proxy for Arora’s broader battle with the airport on whether competition should be allowed.

The businessman wants the right to build a third runway at the airport, and has backing from airlines including British Airways for his cut-price plan. Heathrow, however, claims the right to develop the runway is its alone.
18/06/18 PTI/Financial Express

Good News For Indian Travellers, Soon They'll Get Free 48-Hr Transit Visa For Dubai, Abu Dhabi

People flying between India and the rest of the world through United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) mega hubs like Dubai and Abu Dhabi will soon be able to get a free transit visa to spend up to two days there.

The UAE government has decided that to grant free transit visas for first 48 hours to transit passengers and this visa can be extended for up to 96 hours by paying 50 Dirham (about Rs 930).

The date from which this will be allowed is yet to be announced, say Indian travel industry majors.

UAE is already the single biggest international destination for Indian travellers. Almost a quarter of all international travel to and from India happens on mega UAE carriers like Emirates, flyDubai and Etihad. Jet Airways, in which Etihad has a 24% stake, also serves as a feeder to Etihad’s long haul flights to Abu Dhabi.
18/06/18 Saurabh Sinha/India Times

Jet Airways Offer: Upto Rs 2,500 off on Air Tickets

Jet Airways Offers Flight Tickets For Rs. 967 For Udan Flights Aviation Ministry Denies Merger Proposal Of Jet Airways With Jet Lite Interglobe Aviation Shares Decline After 73% Fall In Profit For Q4FY18 How To Treat Women Little Kanisri’s Weak Heart Defect Makes Her Turn Blue From Pain Jet Airways is currently offering a discount of Rs 1,000 on economy class and Rs 2,500 on premium class under its "Your Next Vacation Awaits" Scheme. To avail the offer, you must make a booking at least 21 days before the date of journey. The tickets have to be booked either through Jet Airways' official website or through their smartphone app. The offer ends on July 31.
18/06/18 Olga Robert/Good Returns

Malfunctioning sensor another 'snag' for Trudeau’s aging plane

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s flight to India in February was delayed due to a malfunctioning engine light, raising more questions about the government’s aging executive aircraft.

Emails obtained by CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson through an access to information request show that a gauge designed to monitor engine temperature began "fluctuating randomly" during the Feb. 16 flight to New Delhi, and that a ground crew at a scheduled refueling stop in Rome found “a few loose wires.”

The internal Air Force emails state that the “snag” caused a delay on the ground, and that although the problem seemed to be fixed before takeoff, the “snag came back” hours after the plane was back in the air.
17/06/18 CTV News

Logistics player Blue Dart opens aviation hub in Chennai

Chennai: Blue Dart, a leading logistics services provider and a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has launched an aviation hub in Chennai.

The new facility will also house the headquarters of Blue Dart Aviation, India’s only commercial cargo airline, which has a dedicated fleet of six B757-200 freighters and a capacity of 500 tonnes every night, operating across 73 flight sectors daily.

The hub boasts of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security-approved security screening with its own X-Ray machines, equipment and dedicated manpower, said a company press release. The hub is located at the Blue Dart Aviation Terminal at Chennai’s old international airport with both air and land side access. It is equipped to carry out inhouse engineering line maintenance for its fleet of aircraft, and has regulatory approval for security screening. It also has dedicated manpower and parking space for its own freighters.
18/06/18 The Hindu

AAI mulls ban on plastic at all airports across country

Pune:  Airports run and managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) across the country could see a blanket ban on the use of any kind of plastic on their premises by the end of 2018.
With the focus mainly on stopping edibles such as sandwiches, which are wrapped or packed in plastic, sources said discussions are being held on the ban since earlier this month and other departments in the government will be consulted towards finding alternatives.
"Though it is premature to put in a concrete comment on the issue, there have been initial discussions on it. However, the AAI is determined to stop all kinds of plastic use on the airport premises by the end of the year. More discussions will be held and a decision on the alternative packaging product will be taken," an official said.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) currently manages 125 airports. The Pune airport has around 13 food outlets inside the terminal building and they mainly sells snacks.
"There are several outlets, including duty free shops, inside the terminal buildings and on the airport premises, selling a variety of products. Food is one of the primary products. Ready-to-eat food items come wrapped in thin plastic covers generally. The focus is on stopping the use of any kind of plastic mainly related to packing or serving food," the official said.
The sources added that the talks had focused on using alternatives like bagasse. "The final regulations will be drawn out and implemented by the year-end," the official said.
18/06/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

China building three airports near India border

New Delhi: China is building three big airports in close proximity to the Indian border. While the airports are civilian ones, the move is expected to bolster China’s air power against India substantially as Chinese airports are equipped with dual use capability, allowing both civilian and military operations.

On June 8, the Tibet Civil Aviation Administration took the decision to build three airports in Lhunze, Shigatse, and in Burang. The three airports are to be completed before 2022.

The airports can aid the Chinese military by acting as launch bases for support of troops as well as replenishment of supplies, very critical in the backdrop of operational limitations due to high-altitude in Tibet.

It is difficult for aircraft to take off from the 4 km high Tibetan plateau because of the rarefied atmospheric conditions due to which aircraft cannot acquire full thrust resulting in payload limitations.

Comparatively, it is easier for Indian Air Force (IAF) planes to operate as the Indian side is much lower in height than the Chinese side.
18/06/18 Sanjib KR Baruah/Asian Age

Gir at airport: Lions roar when provoked!

Ahmedabad: Flyers at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in the city will soon hear the roar of lions amid the roar of jet engines.
Ahmedabad airport authorities have recreated Gir jungle in the area between the arrival and departure zones of the airport. Models of Asiatic lions, deer, leopard, and birds have been installed in the airport jungle. The display also features chital and blackbuck. A pride of lions drinks from a waterhole.
Manoj Gangal, the airport director, said that the display is interactive. If visitors gesture at these lions, they roar while one can hear the cries of other Gir dwellers. The Gir jungle has been planned on the lines of the butterfly park at the Singapore airport, where the butterflies are real.
18/06/18 Times of India

International cargo hub at Pune airport’s trans-shipment facility gains pace

Pune:  There’s finally some progress at Pune airport’s trans-shipment facility, which became operational from March 31.
“From today (Thursday), we are ready with our international cargo exports and we will be exporting cargo to Dubai on Air India flight. We will use the trans-shipment facility to transport cargo to other international destinations. Exporters may call 020-26684877/9823166983 for more information,” Suhas Jadhav, station manager of Air India in Pune, told TOI.
Sources in the Pune customs said that the service, which did not have any takers initially, was now generating interest. “We have learnt that Jet Airways will soon start international cargo exports through the trans-shipment facility,” an official said on condition of anonymity. Jet did not respond to queries sent by this reporter.
Senior customs officials added that trans-shipment facility had opened vast business opportunities. “This has opened opportunities for Pune-based exporters who may now clear air shipments bound for Europe, Africa and the US. It has also helped in overcoming limitations of export destinations due to limited number of outbound international flights from Pune,” Pune customs commissioner MVS Choudary said.
“Air India has been asked to take permission for transshipment facility immediately as they have the permission to start international cargo exports. The advantage with Air India is that they have connectivity with many international destinations,” a customs official pointed out.
18/06/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Chennai airport manager offices become accessible to visitors too

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has opened airport manager offices on the city-side of domestic and international departure terminals here for the benefit of passengers and visitors.
The manager offices of the international and domestic terminals were earlier inside the terminal buildings and could be accessible only to passengers.
The AAI hopes that the new facilities will reduce public inconvenience and help people meet managers (domestic and international) on duty in case of emergencies -- to enquire about lost and found items or for lodging complaints.
18/06/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Air India renews contract for Khadi amenity kits for premium international flyers

New Delhi: First and business class passengers on Air India flights will continue getting amenity kits with herbal products. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Monday said it has, for the third successive time, received an order of Rs 8 crore from AI for supply of these kits consisting of khadi herbal beauty care products for its international passengers.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said AI has placed an order for 1.85 lakh amenity kits worth Rs 8 crore with KVIC for getting 1.85 lakh units of amenity kits for its first and business class international passengers to promote the use of the indigenous fabric. “It is a matter of pride and privilege for the KVIC for being able to bag the repeat order for the amenity kits successfully for the third time. The intimation in this connection has been received from AI for extension of the contract for a period of one year from June 12, 2018,” Saxena said.
18/06/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Halcon’s air cargo exports up 44%

Nashik: Halcon, a joint venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Container Corporation of India (Concor) has registered 44% rise in exports by air during 2017-18.
The company exported 5,500 tonne goods by air during 2017-18, compared to around 3,800 tonne in the previous year.
Of the total exports, 2,000 tonne was perishable goods like vegetables and fruits and the rest was general goods, along with live goats and sheep.
In 2016-17, the exports consisted of 2,500 tonne perishable goods and 1,300 tonne other goods.
While Halcon exports most of the goods by air via Mumbai, it is exporting sheep and goats directly from Ozar to Sharjah for the past few years. Last year, over 54,000 sheep and goats were exported through 34 cargo flights.
The company has set up an inland container depot (ICD) and air cargo complex near Ozar, 18km from the city.
Halcon is exporting goods by sea also. Around 14,000 twenty-feet equivalent units (TEUs) were exported from the ICD here during 2017-18, of which 3,600 TEUs were grapes and 2,700 TEUs were onions.
18/06/18 Tushar Pawar/Times of India

More individuals under CBI lens for AirAsia lobbying

Investigative agencies are examining involvement of more “players” in facilitating relaxation of the 5/20 aviation rule by lobbying officials at the behest of AirAsia, said people with knowledge of the matter.

These individuals are in addition to Sunil Kapur, Deepak Talwar and Rajender Dubey who figure as accused in the criminal case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation . According to the agency, the three acted as “lobbyists” for AirAsia.

These individuals were allegedly engaged by Kapur and Talwar to “reach out” to politicians and officials. Under the 5/20 rule, carriers needed to have been operational for five years and have 20 planes to be eligible to fly overseas. The five-year norm was scrapped in June 2016.
17/06/18 Raghav Ohri/Economic Times

Innovative ways to smuggle

Bhubaneswar: Smuggling of gold through Biju Patnaik International Airport here continues with two more such cases being detected this week.

More than 6kg of smuggled gold have been seized from passengers from the airport so far.

On Saturday, officers of the customs' air intelligence unit intercepted one passenger hailing from Mohali in Punjab who arrived from Bangkok by an Air India flight and seized gold weighing 243 grams. The seized gold had a market value of Rs 7.91 lakh.

Similarly, the unit on Thursday seized gold bars weighing 355.12 grams from a passenger at the airport. The market value of the gold bars was Rs 11.37 lakh. Custom officials said the passenger hailing from Kozhikode in Kerala had reached the airport from Bangkok on another Air India and concealed the metal in powdered form inside his rectum.

"This is a new trend as the metal was being smuggled in the form of powder. We have to sent it to a laboratory to convert it into metal. Several innovative methods are being adopted to conceal the metal, including concealing the metal in body parts. Sometimes, the metal is also smuggled in shoes and other luggage. But the method of smuggling gold in powdered from is a new trend," said a customs sleuth.
18/06/18 Telegraph

Man arrested at Mumbai airport with two Dubai visas

Mumbai: A Worli man, Amit Gamare (35), was nabbed at Sahar airport while trying to fly to Dubai. He was holding two visas-work and tourist. The incident took place on Friday when Gamare tried to clear immigration check using a tourist visa. On scrutiny, immigration officials found that his passport was in the "emigration check required (ECR)" category.
In case of ECR, a person has to get a certificate from the Protector of Emigrants (PoE). "Instead of getting a PoE certificate-a time-consuming process, people working in the Gulf fly on a tourist visa," said an officer. "We found an appointment letter but no PoE certificate," said the police. Gamare has been booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a genuine as forged document or electronic record). -V Narayan
18/06/18 V Narayan/Times of India

Air India Grounds 3 Crews For Sneaking In Items From US

New Delhi: Air India today grounded three cabin crews of a Chicago-Delhi flight for sneaking in some "commercial items" without undergoing mandatory custom clearance at the IGI Airport here.

The trio were grounded after they were found in possession of the "commercial items" during their checking by an Air India security team on their arrival at New Delhi from Chicago on flight AI 126, an AI spokesperson said.

The crews, hired on contract, have been grounded pending completion of the investigation, the spokesperson said.

He said the airline's CMD Pradeep Singh Kharola, taking serious cognisance of the matter, has made it clear to the staff  that no "indiscipline" would be tolerated in such cases.

"During the check, they were found to be in possession of commercial items," the spokesperson said but did not disclose the nature of the items, saying an investigation was on.
18/06/18 PTI/NDTV