Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jet Airways to set up office at Ozar airport

Nashik: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has allotted space at its swanky airport in Ozar to the private airline operator Jet Airways to set up its office.
The airline is also in the process of finalising the staff and appointing a station manager.
The airline would kick off its Delhi-Nashik flights from June 15. The flight will operate thrice a week.
HAL sources said it has allotted space to Jet Airways to set up office space at Ozar airport, 20 kms from the city.
Jet Airways officials said that as HAL has allotted space at Ozar airport, the airline is in the process of establishing its new office.
“The airline is also in the process of finalising the staff for operations at the airport to man that office,” added the official.
Jet Airways will appoint a station manager at the airport from the first week of June.
In January, the union ministry of civil aviation announced the second phase of Udan, in which five airline operators, including Jet Airways won the bids for connecting to total seven cities- Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Goa, Bhopal and Hindan.
Jet Airways has already announced to launch of its Delhi-Nashik return flights from June 15. It has started bookings for the flights from May 14. The airline will deploy 168-seater aircraft Boeing 737-800 for the services from Nashik airport.
24/05/18 Tushar Pawar/Times of India

Vistara supports the citizen charter initiate; IndiGo to work with govt on it

New Delhi: A day after the the passenger citizen charter was unveiled, private carrier Vistara today supported the initiative and IndiGo said they are looking forward to work with the government on the proposals.

Vistara fully supports the initiative to bring more transparency, accountability, and customer convenience for air travellers, a spokesperson said.


"We already voluntarily provide several of the benefits, such as free change/cancel within 24 hours of booking if booking made on our website and app, free name changes for genuine mistakes, free accommodation in our next available flight if a customer misses his or her flight for reasons not in their control, compensation for the rare cases of overbooking - related denied boarding...etc," the spokesperson said.

The unveiling of the charter comes in the backdrop of the government's resolve to ensure a five-fold increase in passenger trips to one billion per annum in 15-20 years.

While the charter has proposed no cancellation charges if a booked ticket is cancelled within 24 hours, four days away from the departure time, it has also proposed a full refund if an airline informs passenger 24 hours before flight departure time about it being delayed by over four hours.

The rule will be applicable even if the ticket is booked through travel agents or airline portals.

IndiGo, in its reaction said, as the Indian aviation market is due to become the third largest in the world by 2024, it is important to constantly improve the flying experience of customers.

"IndiGo is already the most on-time airline in India, and we endeavour to provide our customers with every possible facility towards a courteous and hassle-free flying experience. We look forward to working with the government on the draft charter submitted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation," it said in a statement.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an airline official said they would raise some issues during the stakeholders consultation process, especially on the proposed entitlement to the passengers in case of flight delays as the subject required more clarity.
23/05/18 PTI/Business Standard

Air India Express commits to launching int'l Surat ops

Air India Express has committed to launching international services out of Surat in Gujarat in northern India within two months of the airport getting the customs notified status, The Times of India has reported.

"Air India Express is waiting for Central Government to approve the customs notified status for Surat airport. Within one month after the customs notified status is given to the airport, Air India Express will launch a Surat to Kochi Int'l flight and in two months from Surat to Sharjah," Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC) President Sanjay Ezhawa has said.

In February 2018, the Indian government allocated INR10 million rupee (USD146,500) in order to equip Surat airport with the necessary immigration facilities to allow international services out of the airport.
23/05/18 ch-aviation

Black to red: Jet loses Rs 1,040 crore in Q4 as rising oil, falling rupee bite Indian carriers

New Delhi: Rising jet fuel prices, a weakening rupee and inability to charge fares reflecting higher costs due to intense competition have begun taking a toll on the health of Indian carriers. Jet Airways Group on Wednesday declared Q4 FY 18 loss of Rs 1,040 crore as opposed to a profit of Rs 583 crore in same quarter of previous fiscal. For FY 2017-18, Jet reported a loss of 636 crore versus a profit of Rs 1,499 crore in FY 17.
Results of the two other listed airlines had also shown similar stress due to the worsening oil-rupee combine. IndiGo’s Q4 FY 18 net profit had fallen 73% from a year ago from Rs 440 crore to Rs 117.6 crore. IndiGo’s fuel cost during the January-March, 2018, quarter had risen to Rs 2,338 crore from Rs 1,751 crore a year ago. IndiGo’s profit for FY 2017-18 was Rs 2,242.4 crore, up 35% from Rs 1,659.2 crore in FY 2016-17.
SpiceJet had said that its bottomline was impacted by Rs 81.4 crore in the quarter ended March, 2018, due to the 12.7% hike in crude oil prices. The budget carrier saw its Q4 profit rise 10.8% to Rs 46.1 crore due to record load factors. SpiceJet’s consolidated net profit FY 2017-18 was Rs 557.2 crore, up from Rs 427.2 crore in FY 17.
Among listed carriers, Jet has seen maximum impact of the deteriorating oil-rupee factors. Jet’s CEO Vinay Dube said: “Financial performance during the quarter was weaker due to the continuing increase in the price of Brent fuel without a corresponding increase in air fares, as well as mark-to-market adjustments due to a weaker rupee.” The auditor’s report along with Jet’s result said: “The appropriateness of assumption of going concern is dependent upon realization of various initiatives undertaken by the holding company and/or the holding company's ability to raise requisite finance/generate cash flows in future to meet its obligations, including financial support to its subsidiary companies.”
23/05/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Air India divestment: Govt isn't sure if they can sell


The proposed disinvestment of Air India has not exactly gotten off to a flying start. First, it was the tepid response from potential bidders, with a prominent airline even walking out of the entire game early on. Next, the remaining bidders began clamouring for a tweaking of bid conditions, objecting to many of the basic premises that form the expression of interest (EoI) document.

There has been widespread scepticism about the government's toehold even after the disinvestment process is completed. The bidders' complaints were followed by a veiled threat by the powerful Sangh lobby against selling Air India to foreigners. Now, as the nation awaits some further developments on the sale with the 31 May deadline for submitting bids fast approaching, comes a statement which opens up the possibility of no sale.
The Air India disinvestment process began on 28 March this year and has been billed as the largest strategic disinvestment in independent India. So when Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said on Tuesday that the sale may not happen if the price is not right, it sure created a flutter. The Government proposes to offload a 76 percent stake in Air India, Air India Express and AISATS and has invited bids for the same.

"The Government retains the right to sell or not sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate," Choubey said. Of course, this is the established principle for any government sale, but the timing of this assertion assumes significance since the sale process has already seen bumps. Remember, Air India disinvestment is a big deal for the Modi government; an earlier attempt at selling off the loss laden airline was thwarted due to political machinations. It has been often said that if any government can take the bulls by its horns so to speak and disinvest Air India, it is the Modi government.

As this piece noted earlier in the week. There has been no privatisation of public sector companies worth the name in the four years of this government. Sure, a few strategic sales have happened, but these have not been significant ones. Air India is up for sale, yes, but the conditions set have put off buyers, and one can't help wondering if this was deliberate. Áfter Tuesday's warning on price adequacy, one can't help but wonder if the statement by the Secretary is also deliberate. After all, why speak of the option of not selling even before knowing the bids? Is it an indication of a long-drawn, much publicised process that could finally end in no sale at all? People close to the developments in the AI disinvestment process have been saying for long that the government will "go through the motions" but may not sell off the airline in the end.

Chaubey went on to say that a transaction advisor to the sale process is tasked with determining the enterprise value of Air India and an asset valuer will provide the value of assets. The inputs of both these advisors will be then taken to the Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism (AISAM), comprising minister of civil aviation, finance, and road transport & highways, for determining a floor price. This is the price below which Air India will not be sold.
23/05/18 Sinhu Bhattacharya/Forbes

Vistara offers a two-day window for booking special fares

New Delhi: If you have plans to travel in June, a discount offered by the Indian domestic airlines Vistara may just come in handy for you. But rush for the offer as it is for two days only starting Thursday.

Vistara is offering a limited period special special fares, starting at Rs. 1,299 (all inclusive), according to a tweet by the airlines on Thursday.

The sale period is from May 24-25, 2018 for travel between June 4 and 30, 2018.

The airlines is also offering an exclusive 10 per cent off with Vistara Student Discount.

Vistara, is a partnership between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.
24/05/18 India Blooms

AirAsia's Q1 net profit grew to record high at RM1.09b

Kuala Lumpur: AirAsia Bhd’s net profit surged 86.6 per cent to RM1.09 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 from RM584.25 million a year ago.

Its revenue increased 15 per cent year-on-year to RM2.56 billion from RM2.23 billion, supported by strong load factor of 87 per cent and 16 per cent increase in passengers carried to 10.65 million.

In a statement, AirAsia said revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) for the consolidated units of Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines recorded at 14.68 sen, down two per cent from 14.91 sen due to a 19 per cent increase in additional capacity.

It said average fare per passenger increased marginally to RM171 on the back of a strong load factor of 87 per cent.

It said the overall impact was cushioned by the 11 per cent increase in ancillary revenue from RM454.6 million to RM505.1 million for the consolidated group.

AirAsia Thailand posted Q1 revenue of 11.27 billion baht, up 23 per cent from 9.16 billion baht in the same quarter last year, surpassing the increased capacity of 15 per cent and a 16 per cent surge in passengers carried.

Net operating profit was reported at 1.89 billion baht up by 90 per cent year-on-year, alongside a 77 per cent increase in profit after tax to 1.83 billion baht, on strong tourism growth during the peak travel period in Q1.

AirAsia India recorded a 76 per cent increase in revenue to 4.83 billion Indian rupee in Q1 from 2.75 billion Indian rupee in the same quarter last year.

India reported a net operating loss of 970 million Indian rupee largely due to the increase in aircraft fuel expenses as well as aircraft maintenance. Despite the huge capacity added, RASK managed to grow slightly to 273 Indian rupee as compared to the same period in 2017.

“This quarter was a strong quarter for us, which shows a good start to a full year of positive results. We added 17 aircraft and an additional capacity of 19 per cent for our consolidated group in order to serve the strong demand for air travel in Q1 2018 as compared to Q1 2017.
24/05/18 Farah Adilla/New Straits Times

Book domestic Vistara flight tickets for as low as Rs 1,299

In a bid to woo customers in the summer holiday season, airline major Vistara airlines is offering domestic flight tickets for as low as Rs 1,299. “Fly the new feeling with special fares starting at Rs. 1,299 all inclusive,” Vistara said in a Twitter post. As per the details available in the post, the travel period must be between 4th June 2018 and 30th June 2018.

Further, in order for customers to avail the lucrative offer, the tickets will have to be booked between 24th and 25th May 2018. Notably, the airline is also offering a 10% discount for students. “We are delighted to offer Vistara Student Discount – an opportunity to get up to 10% off each time you choose to book an Economy Class flight with us via airvistara.com,” Vistara’s website said.
Under the latest scheme, flight ticket from Chennai to Kochi on 13th and 15th of June was seen priced at  Rs. 1,730 on Vistara’s website. Another attractively priced route was between Delhi to Chandigarh at Rs 2,058. To avail the student concession the customer must be studying in India and enrolled in a bonafide school or an educational establishment is eligible for this discount. “His/her age must be 12 years or above on the date of commencement of journey. This offer is applicable only for bookings made in India,” the terms and conditions on Vistara’s website read.

Apart from Vistara, India’s major airline operator, Jet Airways is offering fares starting for as low as Rs 967 under the Narendra Modi-led government’s regional air connectivity UDAN scheme. Th carrier has bagged four routes under the regional connectivity scheme. Jet Airways has announced the commencement of its operations under scheme, Udan, from June 14 onwards, with the first flight to be operated on the Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna sector.
24/05/18 Financial Express

Two aircraft delay at RGIA leads to passengers protest

Two aircrafts failed to take off as per the scheduled time from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad following which passengers registered their protest.

The two separate flights set to take off on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning failed to take off due to technical reasons.
The airline officials said that the authorities pressed into service, aircraft maintenance engineers and sorted out the issues.
The Saudia airlines flight bound to Jeddah was scheduled to depart from the Hyderabad airport at 12.50 pm on Tuesday but took off around 12 am on Wednesday. The other flight - SpiceJet SG 511 bound to Bangalore from Hyderabad was supposed to depart around 10.40 am on Wednesday but it took off at 2.55 pm.
22/05/18 ANI/Hans India

SpiceJet adds 10 new additional flights; to connect Chennai to Mangaluru directly from June

New Delhi: Budget airline SpiceJet has announced that it is adding 10 new flights and additional frequencies aimed at strengthening its south India network. The company also announced that it will launch flight services from Chennai to Mangaluru starting June, reported news agency PTI. This will not only help the airline expand its business but also offer more options to customers frequenting the route. According to information, the 10 new flights will be operated with regional Bombardier Q-400 regional jets, said the company in a release. A part of the expansion plan includes the introduction of direct flight services from Chennai-Mangaluru circle starting June. Meanwhile, the services on the Hyderabad-Rajahmundry services are also being enhanced as an extra flight in the evening from May 25. Besides, Chennai-Kozhikode and Bengaluru-Kozhikode would also get additional flights in the evening apart from a third Chennai-Hyderabad flight, starting June 16.  Services on the Hyderabad-Rajahmundry are being enhanced with an additional evening flight from May 25, while Chennai-Kozhikode and Bengaluru-Kozhikode would have an additional evening flight and a third on the Chennai-Hyderabad route, starting June 16, the airline said. 
24/05/18 ET Now News

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wants to establish a ‘Passenger Charter’ expect airlines to fight this tooth and nail.


DGCA’s plan to roll-out a passenger charter was borne out of ridiculous cancellation charges that airlines had begun to impose. In some circumstances, cancellation charges were so high that it left the passenger with under a hundred rupees back, so ridiculous in fact that it made no sense to cancel the ticket. The proposal to allow free cancellation within 24 hours of booking is therefore a smart one by the DGCA as well as forcing airlines to relook at their ridiculous cancellation policies. Many of the other proposals however will be fought by the airlines, such as the proposals for full refunds, because the airlines will (rightly) claim that in some circumstances such as the severe storms that afflicted Delhi, India’s busiest airport by far, recently the airlines can not be held responsible for an act of god.

And what if a four-hour delay is announced in advance because of a VIP movement, for example, in Delhi during rehersals for and during Republic Day airspace is routinely shut down as it is whenever the Prime Minister or President flies in? Should an airline be held responsible for that? Airlines should be held responsible for delays in their control, the cancellations and delays thanks to the Pratt and Whitney engines that impacted IndiGo and GoAir is a result of their commercial decisions and they should compensate passengers over there. Technical issues causing delays is an airlines fault and airlines should be allowed to classify these as an act of god. Other delays due to non-availability of staff at major is inexcusable, however staff clocking out of hours due to rolling delays should not be pegged on airlines.
24/05/28 Pioneer

Cancellation fee relief may raise airfares

On the face of it, the relief given to flyers in the draft air passenger charter on cancellation charges may seem to be in their favour. It may, however, work counter-productively if the airlines decide to restrict the number of lowest fares to ward off its revenue impact.

Roughly, airlines earn 2-3% of their total revenues from cancellation fees. This revenue serves as an insurance for the lowest fare they offer when a flight booking is opened. The fear is that if cancellation charges are done away with for 24 hours after a ticket is booked then the airlines may most likely have fewer lowest fares than they offer now.

Cancellation fee is typically a substantial source of income for the low-cost airlines. Full services carriers like Jet Airways, Vistara and Air India do not earn much from it.

Today, cancellation fee of domestic airlines range anywhere between Rs 2,500 and Rs 4,000 per ticket. This is likely to find its way into the fares in some or the other way.
24/05/18 DNA

‘BLR Airport Habba’ on May 26

Bengaluru: The Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year by organising a "BLR Airport Habba" on Saturday.

The event, which will begin at 2 pm at the Haj Terminal of the airport, will have performances by top artistes, music concerts and workshops, besides food and beverage stalls, flea market and a gamers' paradise. Playback singer Shaan, DJ Jasmeet, city-based musician Sagar Shastri and others will be performing.

In a first, employees of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) will also be performing. "Workshops such as lahe lahe, aero modelling, clay pot, Dream Catcher, Decode X&Y and paper marbling will also be part of the event which will continue until midnight," a statement from the airport authorities said.
The airport began operations in May 2008 and it is currently the busiest airport in south India and the third largest in the country. Last year, 25 million passengers used the KIA.
24/05/18 New Indian Express

Over 7 lakh foreign tourists visit India in April

Chennai: India continues to woo foreign tourists and this keeps increasing every year. According to Tourism Ministry, over seven lakh foreign tourists arrived in India in April 2018, registering a growth of 4.4 per cent over last year.

The Ministry compiles monthly Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and FTAs on e- Tourist Visa on the basis of information received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

“FTAs in April 2018 were 7,49,477 as compared to 7,17,899 in April 2017, registering a growth of 4.4 per cent,” a statement released by the Ministry said.

FTAs during January-April 2018 were 38,76,021 as compared to 34,98,969 in the same period last year, registering a growth of 10.8 per cent.

The percentage share of FTAs during April 2018 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (24.32 per cent) followed by the USA (11.21 per cent), the UK (9.14 per cent), Sri Lanka (3.48 per cent), Australia (3.33 per cent) and Malaysia (3.06 per cent).

The percentage share of FTAs in India during April 2018 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (28.75 per cent) followed by Mumbai Airport (14.46 per cent), Haridaspur Land Check Post (11.40 per cent) and Chennai Airport (7.44 per cent).
23/05/18 News Today

Govt plans to hand over O&M of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, three more airport terminals to private players

New Delhi: The aviation ministry is revising the terms of handing over operation and management (O & M) of airport terminals at Ahmedabad and Jaipur to private players after failing to do so under the old terms. Aviation secretary R N Choubey said earlier O & M of only the terminal and car parking was sought to be handed over to private player. Now, the management of airside and cargo is being added to the list. And on the same principle, O & M of three more airport terminals — which are yet to be decided — will be offered to private players.
“Under the revised terms, bids for Ahmedabad and Jaipur will be issued by June 15 and then by July-end, bids for three more airports will be floated,” Choubey said. Under the previous bid terms, Ahmedabad and Jaipur had got one valid bid. Being a single bid, the government had decided not to hand over the terminals to them.
“The ownership of these airports will remain with the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The revenue share model has also been tweaked from sharing gross revenue to a per passenger revenue now,” Choubey said. The government is tightlipped which are the three other airports terminals that would be bid out.
23/05/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Airport runway lights fail; flights diverted, delayed

Vasco: Few Goa-bound evening flights were either diverted or delayed following electrical faults in runway lights at Dabolim Airport, forcing Naval ATC to issue NOTAM to close the runway.

According to a senior AAI official at Dabolim International airport, the naval ATC issued NOTAM in evening stopping all landing at the airport till 10.30 pm. “They say that runway lights have been closed due to some electrical faults. I don’t know what the actual fault is, but flights are being diverted and delayed,” the officer said under the condition of anonymity.
24/05/18 Goacom

AAI to add new conditions in bids for Ahmedabad, Jaipur airports

New Delhi: The Airport Authority of India has decided to revise bid conditions for Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports to include airside operations and cargo business in its partial privatisation model, a senior government official said.

A fresh tender will be floated next month with these two new conditions as part of privatising operations and management of terminal building and parking side area at Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports. “Only GVK-MIAL was found to be a valid bid. To avoid a single-bid scenario, we have decided to re-tender operations and management of Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports. The tender document is likely to be issued by June 15,” civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said.

The modernisation process of these airports started in 2016 but failed to generate interest among large players. After several extension in deadlines, bid conditions were liberalised last year following which Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports received three and four bids, respectively.
24/05/18 Financial Express

Leh airport’s expansion

Leh airport, world’s unique airport in terms of its location at highest altitude, decidedly assumes much importance and its expansion and modernization is much required. The urge was felt and  an impulse got generated for its expansion several years back, looking to the increase in the passengers and the flights,  planned by the Union Government but strangely enough, became a victim of uncertainty of administrative clarity,  procedural wilderness and absence of decisions taking abilities. These all, pathetically have resulted in “no take -off” of the development and expansion of this airport. It sounds quite paradoxical that Airport Authority India’s local officers even feign innocence about the likely date of the work on this project getting started.
Existing passenger handling capacity being inadequate, no provision for new parking bays, absence of terminal building and associated dearth of facilities, necessitated start of the work on the project at an early date and with the requisite speed but nothing of the sort has taken place as yet. The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Develop-mental Council Leh and District Administration have expressed concern over the inordinate delay over the start of the project.
To start with,  a large chunk of land was required to be acquired and the process took a long time than required since the land, though belonging to the State Government, was under possession of the Indian Air Force. They could not part with the land unless alternate piece of land was provided to them as they had to shift their utilities before vacating it.  Could all this system of avoidable procedures not be evaded or circumvented? It is today’s reality that passengers do not mind paying extra, which they do , provided they get better facilities on airports including more flights to accommodate surge in the number of travelling people preferring to fly especially in the instant case.
24/05/18 Dailyexcelsior

Airport staff seek safe take-off, landing

Visakhapatnam: The Airfield Environment Management Committee meeting was chaired by Joint Collector G Srijana here on Wednesday. During the meeting, officials of the airport informed the issues in operating flights and asked the committee to take immediate steps for safe landing and take-off the flights.

The officials also brought to the notice of the committee that they are facing tough times due to various reasons to ensure safe landing and take-off the flights. Airport, INS Dega, Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam Port, GVMC, Irrigation, Police and Pollution Control Board officials were present at the meeting.
Responding on the issues, the Joint Collector directed the officials to clear all the issues raised by the airport administration. She directed the officials to clear the bushes, debris and garbage close to the airfield. Due to the garbage and other waste material being dumped close to the airport, eagles and birds flying close to the runway and creating troubles to the pilots.
The officials should conduct awareness camps to educate the residents in and around the areas of the airport, Srijana directed. While speaking about the flood waters from the Meghadrigedda reservoir and heavy rains, the waters entering the airport, the Joint Collector directed the irrigation officials that there is a need to construct permanent drainage system in and around airfield to divert the flood waters.
24/05/18 Hans India

Jet Airways' debt may rise in short term: Amit Agarwal

Mumbai: After posting a massive loss in the March uarter, private carrier Jet Airways today said it may see a rise in debt for the next one or two quarters.

"The (March) quarter had negative cash flow generation. May be for a quarter or two you would see the debt going up. There could be a short-term blip in terms of rise in the debt," Jet Airways chief financial officer and deputy chief executive officer Amit Agarwal said during a post-earnings analysts call.

He said the airline has already reduced its debt by Rs 3,000 crore over the last two-and-a-half year, adding that the overall strategy of reducing debt would continue on an ongoing basis.

As on March 31, 2018, the airline's gross debt stood at Rs 8,424 crore, of which Rs 2,054 crore was aircraft related, Agarwal said.

With Jet Airways incurring a huge fourth-quarter loss of Rs 1,036 crore on high oil prices and weaker rupee, its auditors have said the "appropriateness of assumption of going concern" for the company depends on its ability to raise necessary funds, among other factors.
24/05/18 PTI/Economic Times

F-16 fighter jets proposed to be manufactured in India; to give access to $165 billion fighter aircraft market

Washington: Global aerospace giant Lockheed Martin today said its proposal to manufacture custom-built F-16 fighter jets in India will make the country an export hub and give it access to an estimated $165 billion fighter aircraft market over the next few decades.

Eyeing India's lucrative defence market, the American aerospace major said F-16 production would place India at the centre of the world's largest fighter aircraft ecosystem, creating "unmatched" Make in India opportunities and export potential.

Vivek Lall, vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin, said F-16 Block 70 being proposed to India will be the most technologically advanced and capable F-16 fighter jet ever produced.

"F-16 exports could begin within five years of establishing production in India. Depending on when India makes its selection, more than 200 F-16s could be exported from India," said Lall.
24/05/18 Indian Defense News

UAE Consulate in Kerala issues advisory over Nipah outbreak

The UAE Consulate of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram has issued a warning on its official Twitter handle regarding the recent Nipah virus outbreak.

It reads: "Due to the outbreak of the rare Nipah virus in fruit bats in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in Kerala and South India advises its citizens to take precautionary measures and follow instructions issued by the concerned Indian authorities regarding their safety.
"Citizens can contact the consulate in the event of an emergency at 00919087777737 or the Foreign Ministry's call centre at 80044444 and register for the Tawajudi service."

While three members of a family at Perambara in Kozhikode died within weeks after what seemed to be common fever aggravated quickly, two more family members were being treated at the Medical College hospital and one of them has also tested positive.

A travel advisory was also issued by Bahrain.

"Due to the spread of the dangerous # NipahVirus in Kerala, South India, citizens are advised to be cautious, till situation is under control," a tweet from the consulate said.
24/05/18 Khaleej Times

Administration gears up for Bhuntar airstrip expansion

The district administration has initiated steps to submit a report related to the expansion of the Bhuntar airport runway. A team of officers reviewed the land around the airport to seek feasibility of its expansion.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, during his sojourn in Kullu and Manali, had talked about the proposal to expand the runway after which the administration has started its preparations for the feasibility report related to land acquisition for the expansion of the runway.
Kullu SDM Amit Guleria said the land required to expand the runway by 300 metres in the first phase of expansion was reviewed. The administration had started preparations to send its report to the state government and the airport authorities after selecting the land. He added that the land would also be marked on the banks of the Beas using modern machinery.
The airport authorities also conducted surveys through IIT-Roorkee for the expansion of the runway.
Kullu Airport Director AA Ansari said there was proposal to expand the runway by 660 metre as per the report of the IIT engineers. He said there was a proposal to increase the length of the runway from 1,052 metres to 1,712 metres. The course of the Beas would also have to be altered to acquire the land.
Due to the short runway, the 70-seat ATR-72 aircraft, being used by Air-India on the Kullu and Delhi route, is allowed to ferry around 20 passengers from Kullu due to load stipulation. The airlines, therefore, charges a hefty fare and the seats are not available during the peak summer season by even spending over Rs 20,000 for the one-way travel.
24/05/18 Abhinav Vashisht/Tribune

Leela Partners With Lufthansa For New In-Flight Menu

Lufthansa India this month unveiled a brand-new menu that has been curated in collaboration with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and its Master Chef Vinod Saini. The new menu offers a selection of nutritious meal options, based on innovative recipes but still use traditional ingredients and bring out authentic Indian flavours to spoil flyers.

Starting immediately, passengers travelling on Lufthansa German Airlines to/from India are able to order from an array of delectable meal options offering a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine. Featuring exquisite dishes from across the country that have been created using freshest seasonal ingredients involving modern food techniques, the in-flight menu ensures that passengers have access to a healthier and exclusive dining experience.

Commenting on the launch of the new menu, Master Chef Vinod Saini, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said:  “Exploring the world has led me to find my passion for being a chef. Working with Lufthansa means to explore the world further. To train chefs in India and Germany on such a high quality level has been very enriching for me too. Indian food is soul food! Yet, we have combined Indian culinary traditions with a creative approach to meet the needs of a modern traveller.”
24/05/18 T3

Wide-bodied aircraft may not return to Calicut

Kozhikode: The chances for Calicut International Airport to resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft in the near future look bleak, with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) disapproving the compatibility study report submitted by the Airports Authority of India on the operation of the modern versions of Boeing and Airbus at the airport.

A senior AAI official in New Delhi told The Hindu on Wednesday that the Director of Operations (Aero Standards), D.C. Sharma, had apprised the Calicut airport authorities that the compatibility study report on the operation of wide-bodied aircraft did not include mitigating measures to be taken by airline and airport operators in respect of non-compliance with the formal requirements.

This was after the Flights Standards Division of the DGCA examined the proposal to commence the operation of wide-bodied types — B-777 200 Extended Range; B777- 200 Longer Range; Boeing 787 - 800 (Dreamliner), which is long-haul and mid-size; Boeing 777- 300 Extended Range, and Airbus 330 — at the airport.
D
The official said the safety assessment done by airline companies was generic in nature, taking all aircraft into consideration, and the responsibility arising out of residual risk was not accepted by airline companies and the airport.

The DGCA decision comes even as airline companies such as Emirates, Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines), and Air India that served West Asia expressed willingness to operate wide-bodied aircraft.

The operation of wide-bodied aircraft under Code E was banned at the airport from May 2015 in the wake of a Court of Inquiry report on the Air India Express Boeing 737 crash in Mangaluru in May 2010.
24/05/18 Biju Govind/The Hindu

Who is Deepak Talwar? What is aviation scam?

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) reportedly conducted multiple raids in Delhi and Haryana in connection with the money laundering case against aviation consultant Deepak Talwar on Wednesday.

The agency raided at least nine premises in Delhi and Haryana after it registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on a CBI FIR of last year. These premises belong to Deepak Talwar and an NGO linked to him is one among them. The teams are looking to gather documents and evidence, ED officials told PTI.

Deepak Talwar had started with the public relations work of beverage companies like Coca-Cola. He became a familiar face in the circuit after liberalisation in 1991. He had the reputation of being the 'go-to man' for organising FDI clearances during UPA regime. But his fortunes changed following his association with Ranjan Bhattacharya, the foster son-in-law of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Later, he became a trusted confidante of former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and worked in allotment of most of the brand shops in airports. He was also instrumental in getting approvals for several foreign airlines. He came under the I-T scanner in 2017 after he and his family members allegedly received $100 million in individual and corporate bank accounts in various tax jurisdictions.

It was reported that Deepak Talwar was accused of siphoning off funds received in an India-based NGO Advantage India, run by his family. According to IT report, the bank statements of his companies show that $9.6 million was paid by Qatar Airways, $9.8 million by Air Arabia and $10.01 million by an individual named Abdul Rahim Al Ali.
23/05/18 Shekhar H Hooli/IBTimes

Srinagar International Airport, a cruel joke!

Srinagar: For a change, let us see how the airport is described in the famous online encyclopedia, Wikepedia. It says, “Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport (IATA: SXR, ICAO: VISR) also known as Srinagar Airport is an international airport that serves Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is owned by the Indian Air Force, and the Airports Authority of India operates a civil enclave at the airport. Although, designated an international airport in 2005, the Srinagar airport does not receive scheduled international flights as of April 2018, but has seen Hajj flights. It has an integrated terminal and one asphalt runway. The airport has bus and taxi service to the city of Srinagar, which lies 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) to the north”.
So, if one considers all aspects of the Airport, it appears to be an apology to a real International Airport in many respects. The Airport itself with its runway, control tower and other ancillary facilities is the property of the Indian Air Force who maintains it and controls all flying operations. The civilian side has only an enclave, an apron and outside parking area. Again, because of absence of any operations involving international flights, it is a misnomer to call it an international airport. Even the domestic flights are totally dependent upon the Air Traffic Control of the Indian Air Force unlike other civilian airports in the country. In spite of Precision Approach Radar and other sophisticated instrument landing facilities, the civilian flights get cancelled in poor visibility and fog, especially in winter.

One of the most important requirements for any tourist destination to attract high end foreign tourists is easy accessibility. The destination should be accessible to international airlines. As mentioned in Wikipedia, in 2005 Srinagar Airport was up graded and declared to be an “International” Airport. In fact, a Dubai-Srinagar flight was also started. However, the whole exercise turned out to be something in the name only and not with honest and sincere intentions. Firstly, the Airline, Air India Express which operated the flight was an Air India subsidiary meant for the labour class in the Gulf Region. It had all economy configurations with no in-flight facilities. One of the European groups which flew to Srinagar from Dubai in this flight swore never again to fly Air India! Secondly, Pakistan did not allow overflying to aircraft flying in or out of Srinagar which increased the flying time from 3 to 5 hours and made the flight uneconomical. The Pakistani objection could be overruled if the flight had an hour long stopover in Delhi ass flights from Jaipur and Amritsar have. Allegedly, even this namesake international flight was discontinued on the intervention of security agencies. Unfortunately, the “Democratic” India is suffering from a security phobia and every positive thing gets shelved for security reasons. They have the last word!
There is a way out to both maintain the name “International” and allow direct access to high end global tourists both leisure and adventure without any security apprehensions. Let International Charters from various foreign tourism markets be allowed to fly in direct to Srinagar. Pakistanis too will have to co-operate in allowing overflying to these International Charters coming from the west if they have any consideration for the well-being of Kashmiri people. The Charters from the South East Asia can come direct without any hindrance. Also Charters from Central Asia can come directly to Srinagar. Goa has a short season of about five months from November to March. It gets more than a 1000 charters from Russia, Central Asia, Europe and now even from Middle East. It is because of these Charters that the Tourism has received a tremendous boost. Why can’t we have a similar thing in Kashmir?
23/05/18 M.Ashraf/Greater Kashmir

Man held at Delhi airport for smuggling 1 kg gold by hiding it in rectum

New Delhi: A man was arrested at Delhi airport by customs officials for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country about one kilogram gold by hiding it in his rectum.

The accused was intercepted after his arrival from Bangkok on Wednesday.

"A detailed personal and baggage search of the passenger resulted in the recovery of 998 grams of gold, equivalent to Rs 31.04 lakh, which the passenger had concealed inside his rectum," a statement issued by the customs department on Thursday said. During questioning, the passenger admitted that he had smuggled three kilograms gold valued at approximately Rs 93.32 lakh during his past visits, it said.

"Thus, the passengers has been involved in illegal clearance of gold collectively weighing 3.9 kg, valued at approximately Rs 1.2 crore," the customs department said, adding the accused has been arrested and the gold seized.
24/05/18 Asian Age

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

‘Women candidates only apply’

One hundred high-stake positions at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions will have new faces. All through May, the company has been screening candidates to fill these positions, which is out of bounds for men.

Such instances of organisations seeking to increase women’s participation in the workforce are on the rise.

Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic will be increasing its workforce by 20% this year. Half the number of the new recruits will be women. DBS Bank has initiated two unique programmes: “Gift Her A Job”, a woman-centric referral programme; and “Hacker in Her”, a move to recruit women who could take care of the technological side of the business.

At Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), women account for 40% of the workforce. Last year, Avtar I-Win carried out recruitment drives for 20 companies, placing close to 10,000 women in different sectors.

In March, SpiceJet held a two-day drive to induct women as pilots.

Targeted recruitment drives help increase the number of women in organisations at a much higher pace than what the company could hope to achieve through regular hiring exercises, says Anjali Gulati, founder-director, People Konnect, a Mumbai-based HR solutions provider.

Some companies ensure greater representation of women in their workforce by giving hiring consultants an extra fee for bringing on board women candidates who fit the requirements of respective roles, she says.

Significantly, while hiring to fill roles set aside for women, some companies give preference for new mothers seeking to restart their careers.
23/05/18 Liffy Thomas/The Hindu

Air India divestment: Govt unsure if it can sell the ailing carrier; civil aviation secretary RN Choubey's take a case of sour grapes?

The proposed disinvestment of Air India has not exactly gotten off to a flying start. First, it was the tepid response from potential bidders, with a prominent airline even walking out of the entire game early on. Next, the remaining bidders began clamouring for a tweaking of bid conditions, objecting to many of the basic premises that form the expression of interest (EoI) document.

There has been widespread scepticism about the government’s toehold even after the disinvestment process is completed. The bidders’ complaints were followed by a veiled threat by the powerful Sangh lobby against selling Air India to foreigners. Now, as the nation awaits some further developments on the sale with the 31 May deadline for submitting bids fast approaching, comes a statement which opens up the possibility of no sale.

The Air India disinvestment process began on 28 March this year and has been billed as the largest strategic disinvestment in independent India. So when Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said on Tuesday that the sale may not happen if the price is not right, it sure created a flutter. The Government proposes to offload a 76 percent stake in Air India, Air India Express and AISATS and has invited bids for the same.

“The Government retains the right to sell or not sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” Choubey said. Of course, this is the established principle for any government sale, but the timing of this assertion assumes significance since the sale process has already seen bumps. Remember, Air India disinvestment is a big deal for the Modi government; an earlier attempt at selling off the loss laden airline was thwarted due to political machinations. It has been often said that if any government can take the bulls by its horns so to speak and disinvest Air India, it is the Modi government.

As this piece noted earlier in the week. There has been no privatisation of public sector companies worth the name in the four years of this government. Sure, a few strategic sales have happened, but these have not been significant ones. Air India is up for sale, yes, but the conditions set have put off buyers, and one can’t help wondering if this was deliberate. Áfter Tuesday's warning on price adequacy, one can’t help but wonder if the statement by the Secretary is also deliberate. After all, why speak of the option of not selling even before knowing the bids? Is it an indication of a long-drawn, much publicised process that could finally end in no sale at all? People close to the developments in the AI disinvestment process have been saying for long that the government will “go through the motions” but may not sell off the airline in the end.

Chaubey went on to say that a transaction advisor to the sale process is tasked with determining the enterprise value of Air India and an asset valuer will provide the value of assets. The inputs of both these advisors will be then taken to the Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism (AISAM), comprising minister of civil aviation, finance, and road transport & highways, for determining a floor price. This is the price below which Air India will not be sold.

“The inputs of the transaction advisor and the asset valuer will be considered but they will not be mandatory for AISAM for determining the floor price. These valuers will provide their inputs by August....if we don’t get the right price, we may not sell,” Chaubey said.

He also said that the highest bidder for AI should become clear by the end of August – this bidder will have to meet the ‘'substantial ownership and effective control' (SOEC) criteria and get security clearances before the stake sale takes place and will have time till December this year for getting these clearances. The SOEC criteria mandates that the airline remains in Indian hands, with majority Indian ownership and conducts business in India.
23/05/18  Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

Highest bidder for Air India to be known by Aug: Choubey

New Delhi: The highest bidder for Air India should become clear by the end of August, RN Choubey Secretary Civil Aviation said on Tuesday.

The highest bidder will have to meet Substantial Ownership and Effective Ownership criterion and get security clearances before the sale takes place.

“The Government retains the right to sell or not to sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” Choubey said

No domestic airline has shown an interest in Air India. However, Choubey said that there has been lots of interest in the airline. The government has said they will off load 76 per cent stake in Air India.
22/05/18 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

India has approved phone calls on planes. Welcome to your worst nightmare

Earlier this month, as we began our slow walk from the hell of the work week to the booze-soaked refuge of the weekend, we were blindsided by the warning of a tragedy about to befall us all. Apparently, the Telecom Commission had finally accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s proposal to give passengers on domestic and international flights in-flight access to their mobile phones’ voice and data services. This will start happening some time in the next three to four months.

To say that this is a preposterous proposal would be an understatement. Air travel in this country is already akin to visiting the ninth circle of hell. It is like one of those quests you read about in fantasy novels where the protagonist has to pass a bunch of obstacles to ward off an ancient curse and save the day.

If you manage to pass the ground staff without getting punched in the face, survive the long lines at the counter and the constant flight delays to finally get to your seat in the plane, your quest is just beginning. You have other indignities such as lack of leg room, forced yoga sessions and impromptu Sonu Nigam concerts to look forward to.

Now, they are adding phone calls and data services to the ordeal. Haven’t we suffered enough? Can you imagine being stuck in a large sardine can with a bunch of people who have never been introduced to the concept of using their inside voice while in public? Unless the callers are going to be stepping outside the plane to complete their phone calls, it does not sound like a good idea.

Let us take you a few months into the future to explain why we think so.
Imagine trying to catch a few winks of sleep while the inconsiderate individual next to you continues to babble into his phone. You might reach your destination tired and cranky, but at least being forced to overhear your co-passenger’s phone conversation made you privy to all the latest gossip about every member of the South Kanpur Rotary Club.

Have you ever been a third wheel on an outing with friends who are a couple and they suddenly start arguing in the middle of dinner? Everyone in the restaurant is looking at your table in disdain and all you want to do is run away from those two monsters. You send up a silent prayer asking for a meteor to strike the restaurant because you cannot handle the awkwardness. That is how every passenger in the plane feels like when the over-sharer three seats behind you decides to have a loud tiff over the phone with their significant other. No matter how uneasy you feel, all you can do is exchange tired shrugs with each other.
22/05/18 Overrated Outcast/Scroll

Navigation aid on holiday, 350 flights delayed

Mumbai: About 350 flights that operated into or out of Mumbai airport on Tuesday were delayed, with departures delayed by an average of 30 minutes and arrivals by 15 minutes. It’s the first time since the city airport began handling flights with only basic navigation aid last week that the quantum of delayed flights have gone below 500.
A total of 90 arrivals and 282 departures were reported to be delayed by flightradar24, a live-flight tracking app. With only basic navigation aid available for flights landing on main runway 27 between May 17 and June 5, the airport had witnessed severe flight delays in the initial days. On Monday, 159 arrivals and 322 departures were delayed.
23/05/18 Times of India

IIT-Madras, AAI in pact for research on navigation systems

Chennai: IIT-Madras has joined hands with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a collaborative research on Air Navigation Systems (ANS). This will support the AAI in addressing aviation infrastructure and air traffic management challenges to benefit all the 125 airports in the country.

An MoU was signed today between Ravindra Gettu, Dean, Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, IIT-Madras, and AK Dutta, Member (Air Navigation Services), AAI, a press release from the Institute said.

The MoU provides for transfer of knowledge and skill by IIT-Madras experts in mathematics, analytics, artificial intelligence, and data mining solutions essential to carry out research, the release said.
23/05/18 Business Line

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation expects 1bn Indian pax in next 15-20yrs

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation, via its official Twitter account, stated (22-May-2018) the expectations are for strong domestic passenger growth over the next 15 to 20 years. The Ministry tweeted: "The Indian air passenger traffic has grown at 19% p.a. over the last 4 years and is expected to grow to about 1 billion over the next 15-20 years".
23/05/18 CAPA

‘Full refund only if ticket booked on airline website, app’

Free cancellation of airline tickets within 24 hours of booking, as proposed by the government, will be possible only when they are booked directly through the airline website or app and not through travel agents or popular travel portals, stakeholders have pointed out.

Airlines sought to make things clear hours after the Ministry of Civil Aviation came out with a draft passenger charter that, among others, has this passenger-friendly proposal.

Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer said: “Only bookings made through our website and app get free 24 hours change-or-cancel benefit. The change-or-cancel must be made through the common service centre.”

Since agents go through the global distribution system (GDS), which charges airlines for booking changes and cancellations, the benefit cannot be offered for bookings made through them, Mr. Kapoor pointed out.

Interestingly, Vistara said it has been offering free cancellations within 24 hours for the past several months, something that not many seem to know. The airline is now planning to publicise it using social media.

Reji Philip of Mumbai-based travel agency Cosmos said that because bookings made by agents went through GDS, the airlines incurred high GDS fees for every booking, change, or cancellation.

“These fees are not refunded to the airline, and in fact it costs more if a ticket is changed or cancelled,” Mr. Philip said.

Travel agents said a possible way out could be the creation of specific travel agent websites by airlines for bookings to be effected without the use of GDS.

While the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said it welcomed the draft air passenger charter, private carriers said the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) would respond after studying the draft.
23/05/18 Aditya Anand/The Hindu

DIAT yet to seal deal with Dassault

Pune: More than two months after Pune-based Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) announced that it would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation on March 12, the proposed tie-up is yet to take place.
“There are certain constraints from both the sides which are being addressed,” officiating vice-chancellor, DIAT, Hina Gokhale said.
“A delegation from the French company is scheduled to visit our institute soon and we will have a detailed deliberation. We are confident of signing the MoU soon,” she said.
The proposed tie-up envisages a two-year training, including a year-long stint in France, for select DIAT students who will then join the Dassault-Reliance aerospace manufacturing facility coming up at the Mihan SEZ in Nagpur.
The facility, set up under a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure and Dassault Aviation, will manufacture several components of the offset obligation connected to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters from France.
23/05/18 Sandip Dighe/Times of India

Maharshtra government to deploy drones to spray insecticide on cotton crop

Pune: Taking a leaf out of the agricultural practices of developed nations, the state Agriculture Commissionerate, for the first time, is going to use drones to spray insecticide over cotton crop this year. The pilot experiment is being planned in Yavatmal district, said Subhash Nagare, joint director of agriculture, Amravati division.

Right now, officials of the Department of Agriculture, as well as the revenue department, were looking for a suitable plot for the project, he said. “The selected field should not have any high-tension electric poles or large trees,” said Nagare.

As permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is necessary to fly a drone, the necessary modalities are being worked out.

Commissioner of Agriculture, Sachindra Pratap Singh, said the experiment would be closely monitored to check whether it was feasible for other cotton fields. “A large number of permissions are necessary for operating drones and we are working on those,” he said. The Commissionerate will also check the economic viability of the project during the pilot experiment.
For the pilot project, the department will sign a MoU with a start-up, which had come up with this particular idea.

Last year, 18 agricultural labourers had died in Yavatmal after they accidentally inhaled fumes while spraying chemicals on the field. The incident had raised serious concerns, as the labourers reportedly didn’t have adequate safety gear, and some activists had even sought a ban on such chemicals.
23/05/18 Parthasarathi Biswas/Indian Express

After ICAO audit, DGCA tasked with licensing traffic control operators

New Delhi: Based on the audit of India’s air traffic control operations by the International Civil Aviation Organization in January, the civil aviation ministry has assigned the task of licensing air traffic control operators (ATCOs) to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is expected to firm up the processes to undertake the exercise by year-end. So far, the licensing and certification of ATCOs is done by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which handles the air navigation services.

“ICAO, after its audit, pointed out that the licensing of ATCOs should be done by an independent safety regulator and the civil aviation ministry has taken a view that it should be done by DGCA. The processes put in place by AAI are very efficient and we may simply adopt those but it might take till December for the regulator to start the exercise,” a senior DGCA official told The Indian Express, adding that the aviation watchdog will also be developing a surveillance system to oversee the almost 3,000 air traffic controllers in the country.

Post its full audit of the Indian civil aviation sector in November, the Montreal-based agency revised downwardly the effective implementation percentage of the ‘licensing’ aspect in India to 26.04 per cent, significantly lower than the global average of 72.88 per cent. However, in terms of air navigation services, the agency rated India’s effective implementation at 64 per cent, higher than the global 63.33 per cent.

ICAO conducted the full audit of India’s civil aviation sector in November, when it studied various aspects such as accident investigation, operations, airworthiness, air navigation, aerodromes, organisational structures, legislation, licensing patterns, policies for implementing laid down procedures, among others.

In response to an e-mail query sent by The Indian Express on the red-flags with ATCO licensing in the country, an ICAO spokesperson said: “The release of information pertaining to the outcomes of a safety oversight audit mission is governed by an agreement between ICAO and our 192 member States …”
23/05/18 Indian Express

SpiceJet Announces 10 New Domestic Flights, Routes

SpiceJet on Wednesday announced the launch of 10 new flights on domestic routes. The airline is all set to introduce daily direct flights on the Chennai-Mangaluru-Chennai sector starting June 16, 2018. SpiceJet will enhance its operations on the Hyderabad-Rajahmundry, Chennai-Kozhikode, Bengaluru-Kozhikode with an additional evening flight on each of these sectors and introduce its third flight on the Chennai-Hyderabad route, it said. Domestic airlines are vying for a bigger pie in the booming aviation sector, which registered a growth in passenger traffic by 28 per cent in the month of March over last year, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Details on new domestic flights of SpiceJet
Starting June 16, the new SpiceJet flights announced on the Chennai-Hyderabad and Chennai-Mangaluru sectors will be operational daily, the airline said in a statement. The frequencies introduced on Chennai-Kozhikode and Bengaluru-Kozhikode routes will be operational on all days except Tuesdays. The second frequency introduced on Hyderabad-Rajahmundry route, commencing operations on May 25, will be operational on all days except Saturdays.
Passengers from destinations like Rajahmundry can now also travel to a host of other cities both on SpiceJet's domestic as well as international network via multiple onward connections from Hyderabad, the airline said.

Passengers can book flight tickets from spicejet.com, SpiceJet's mobile app and through online travel portals and agents.

"SpiceJet is on the path of a major fleet expansion which means new routes and destinations for our customers. We have introduced evening flights on key sectors which will operate in addition to the existing morning flights and help business travelers conveniently plan same day trips," said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales & Revenue Officer - SpiceJet.
23/05/18 NDTV

ATF price hike may lead to increase in air fares: Experts

Mumbai: The nearly 30 per cent increase in aviation turbine fuel (ATF) over the last one year could compel domestic airlines to go for a upward fare revision to offset the increased cost of operations, according to experts.

Since the jet fuel accounts for 45 per cent of an airline's cost of operation, the carriers could think of hiking the prices by up to 15 per cent, the experts feel.

While the airlines refused to come on record on the issue, executives of some private carriers said a call on how to offset the increase in the ATF was yet to be taken even though the situation demands hiking of the fares.

The ATF price has witnessed an increase of nearly 30 per cent over the last one year and about 25 per cent in just last six months.

"There is an increase of 25 per cent in the jet fuel prices from last November till date and this definitely calls for an increase in ticket prices to meet some of the increased costs. But the question is who will bell the cat," said a private airline executive on condition of anonymity.
"We are in catch 22 situation as far as the issue of hiking fares is concerned. There is so much capacity in the market and then you have to fill the seats also," said a senior executive from another airline.
23/05/18 PTI/Economic times

Homage paid to Mangaluru air crash victims

Mangaluru:  The victims of Air India Express flight IX812, that crashed at Mangalore International Airport on May 22, 2010, were remembered at the memorial site here on Tuesday. A silent tribute was paid to all the 158 lives that were lost in the accident.The flight had originated from Dubai.

This year, a granite plaque resembling the tail portion of the ill-fated aircraft has been established at the memorial park, where 12 unidentified bodies of the crash were laid to rest. It was a low key-affair of silence and solitude as visitors observed one-minute of silence for the victims and offered floral tributes.
23/05/18 New Indian Express

Air India Express world's second cheapest airline; Indigo fifth, based on cost per kilometre

We may like to grumble about the cost of flights and the long distances we have to travel in order to get anywhere, but flying is pretty good value for money, new figures show.
The Global Flight Pricing report compiled by travel planning site Rome2Rio found that Australia's airlines are among the world's cheapest, based on price by distance travelled.

The world's cheapest international carriers

AirAsia X 0.07
Air India Express 0.08
Indonesia AirAsia 0.08
Primera Air 0.09
IndiGo Airlines 0.10
Etihad 0.10
Ryanair 0.10
Qantas 0.10
WOW air 0.10
Virgin Australia 0.10

Jetstar wasn't far behind Australia's Tigerair, coming at No. 4 in the global rankings at US9c per kilometre.
Air New Zealand comes in at US 13c per kilometre, along with the likes of Fiji Airways and Hawaiian Airlines.

When limited to international flights, AirAsia X came out on top, with an average cost of US 7c per kilometre. Surprisingly, Qantas was the top-ranking airline among international carriers, coming in at eighth place with an average cost of US 10c per kilometre, while Virgin Australia was 10th and Jetstar 22nd.

The cheapest full service airline turned out to be Etihad, with a cost of US 10c per kilometre. The airline flies from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth to Abu Dhabi, but will be ending its Perth flights in October.

Rome2Rio's study analysed more than 1.5 million economy-class prices from 200 airlines. The company issued a disclaimer, of course, pointing out that the cost of flights can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, such as when a booking is made and the popularity of particular routes.

Kirsteene Phelan, chief operating officer at Rome2rio said higher fuel prices had increased costs for airlines, forcing some carriers to find ways to save money.
Pity those looking to explore the spectacular mountains and culture of Nepal – they'll be faced with some of the most expensive flights on the planet. Of the 200 airlines covered by the study, the two most expensive commercial carriers were Buddha Air ($US1.18 per km) and Yeti Airlines ($US1.08 per km), both Nepal-based airlines.
Despite Australia's major carriers featuring heavily among the best-value flights, Australia only ranked as the 13th cheapest country on the list. The expense of regional flights by Regional Express (US59c) and JetGo (US46c) pushed the average prices up.
On this ranking, Chile was rated the world's cheapest country to fly in, followed by Indonesia, Turkey, India and Bulgaria.
23/05/18 Craig Platt/Stuff

AAIB to probe runway mishap at Shirdi airport

Mumbai: The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will be initiating a probe into the incident involving an Alliance Air aircraft, which ended up in the Runway Safety Area after overshooting the runway by 117 metres during landing at Shirdi airport on Monday.

Forty-two passengers on board the flight from Mumbai to Shirdi were declared safe after the incident. Officials said a preliminary probe revealed that the aircraft, an ATR turbo-prop, had encountered strong tail winds during landing and had a long float before touching down. “After touchdown there was less runway available and the aircraft overshot before coming to a halt in the gravel,” an official said.

Shirdi airport officials said that engineers of Air India arrived from Mumbai and retrieved the aircraft on Tuesday morning following which the airport was reopened to air traffic. The two pilots have been grounded pending investigation. An Alliance Air flight each from Mumbai and Hyderabad operated as usual on Tuesday.
22/05/18 The Hindu

Central team at Utkela airstrip

Bhawanipatna: A four-member team headed by joint secretary of the ministry of civil aviation Usha Padhi visited the Utkela airstrip in Kalahandi district on Monday to review the infrastructure in place there.

Utkela is among the airports that have been listed under the Ude Desh Ka Am Nagarik (Udan) scheme - a regional airport development and regional connectivity scheme of the Centre -with the objective of making air travel affordable and getting more people to fly.

If things go to plan, the airport can be operational with daily flights to Bhubaneshwar and Raipur in September by private air service provider Air Odisha.

The team, which included managing director of the Airports Authority of India Vineet Gulati and headed by the joint secretary of the ministry of civil aviation Usha Padhi, landed at the air field in Utkela and held a review meeting with Kalahandi district collector Anjan Kumar Manik, Kalahandi police superintendent Sandeep Madkar and executive engineer of the public works department Ajit Kumar Babu.
Padhi expressed satisfaction with the available infrastructure and progress of work at the airfield. Construction of the 918-metre runway has been completed and the airport is now an A-2 category one. Aircraft with 32 seats can now land here.

Padhi laid emphasis on construction of the airport terminal, fuel station, fire tender services and taxi stands.

Utkela airfield is spread over 31 acres. The airport needs another eight acres to make the airfield included under the Udan scheme.

District collector Anjan Kumar Manik said there would be no problems in the acquisition of the eight acres for the airfield.
23/05/18 Sudeep Kumar Guru/Telegraph

India proposes higher compensation for flight delays in efficiency push

New Delhi: Airlines in India may need to pay passengers higher compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled, according to rule changes proposed by the Civil Aviation Ministry aimed at raising efficiency in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market.
The proposals, made public late on Tuesday, also cap cancellation charges airlines can levy, and let passengers cancel or amend tickets without charge for up to 24 hours after booking. The ministry also proposed airlines should compensate passengers for any bodily injury sustained on board aircraft.

The proposals come after the government announced plans to invest millions of dollars to upgrade and build airports in a country where passenger traffic is rising 20 percent annually.

“Given this rapid growth, it is necessary to dramatically improve the efficiency and convenience of our aviation system to enhance the passenger air travel experience,” the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement accompanying the proposals.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year launched a scheme to get millions of Indians to fly by improving air connectivity in small towns and lowering fares, giving rise to start-up airlines and boosting growth prospects for existing carriers such as InterGlobe Aviation Ltd’s IndiGo Airlines, SpiceJet Ltd and Jet Airways Ltd.
23/05/18 Aditi Shah/Reuters

Suspended pilots undertook flight simulator training: Jet Airways to Delhi HC

New Delhi: Jet Airways on Tuesday admitted before the Delhi High Court that two of its pilots, suspended by the aviation regulator DGCA for allowing unauthorised entry into the cockpit during a flight, had taken simulator training and one of them also undertook flying duty on one occasion.

The admission on affidavit is contrary to the airline’s earlier oral denial of the allegation that its suspended pilots undertook flight training and duties during the suspension period. The airline, in its affidavit filed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, has said that the two pilots were allowed to take simulator training due to misinterpretation of an internal e-mail by the carrier’s Training and Planning Department.

One of the two pilots undertook flying duty also due to the misinterpretation of the e-mail. While taking on record the affidavit by Jet Airways, the court allowed the petitioner’s oral plea to make the two pilots and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) a party in the matter. The bench also directed the DGCA to indicate its stand on the issue and listed the matter for further hearing on August 29.

Jet’s reply came in response to an application by a journalist, Rajneesh Kapur, alleging that the airline had cleared the two suspended pilots for flight duties in contravention of the order of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The application was moved in Kapur’s main petition, filed through advocate Nikhil Borwankar, alleging that Jet Airways was flouting national and international flight safety regulations by allowing unauthorised persons to travel overseas by “masquerading” as crew on a “general declaration”.
22/05/18 PTI/Indian Express

Jet Airways Reports Surprise Loss In March Quarter

Jet Airways Ltd.’s posted an unexpected loss in the quarter ended March on account of higher fuel expenses and currency fluctuations.

The airline’s net loss stood at Rs 1,036 crore as compared with a profit of Rs 602.4 crore in the same quarter last year, it said in a stock exchange filing. That compares with the a Rs 20.57 crore profit estimate by analysts tracked by Bloomberg. The bottom line was hit by a 30.5 percent increase in fuel expenses to Rs 2,063 crore as international oil prices rallied.

“Financial performance during the quarter was weaker due to the continuing increase in the price of Brent fuel without a corresponding increase in air fares, as well as mark-to-market adjustments due to a weaker rupee,” Vinay Dube, chief executive officer at Jet Airways said in a separate media statement.

Besides, a one-time maintenance charge of Rs 253 crore weighed on the net profit. The airline also suffered an impairment loss of Rs 46.1 crore during the quarter on the loans advanced to subsidiary Jet Lite (India) Ltd.

Revenue increased 8.7 percent to Rs 5,925 crore as compared to the same quarter last year. This too fell short of the Rs 6,412 crore estimated.
Jet Airways’ net worth turned negative in March 2018 after it reported a quarterly loss for the first time in eleven quarters.

The company’s auditors said the financial statement was prepared on a “going concern basis” as they expect various initiatives – from cutting costs to enhancing ancillary revenues – to improve its operating performance.
23/05/18 Arundhati Sarkar/BloombergQuint

Flight Delays from Mumbai Airport Come Down to 30 Minutes

The congestion at the city airport was handled better on Day 5 of the maintenance and upgrade of the instrument landing system (ILS), with the average delay time of 500 flights to and from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) coming down to 30 minutes.

On Sunday, incoming flights were delayed by 30 minutes, while departing by 50 minutes. A senior airport official said on Monday all departing flights took off on time for a short duration in the afternoon, and arrivals were delayed by 12 minutes.

According to flightradar24, a Swedish internet-based service that gives real-time aircraft flight information on a map, the average delay in departing flights was 45 minutes and arrival delay was around 14 minutes around early evening.

"Increased supervision, innovative ideas and utilisation of air traffic flow management (ATFM) system to regulate arriving flights and airport collaborative decision making (ACDM) system to regulate departures led to reduced delays in flight operations," said a senior AAI official.

ILS maintenance work started on May 17 and will go on till June 5.

According to travel portals, the most affected routes were Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
According to airport authorities, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued to airlines as well as pilots in advance, implying they should have conveyed it to fliers. Sudhakar Reddy, president, Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), said, "Although the maintenance is crucial for safety of passengers, it is highly condemnable if passengers were not informed about the planned maintenance work in advance. As summer is the time when almost all flights are packed, opting for clubbing of passengers gets difficult owing to the load."
22/05/18 Neha LM Tripathi/Mcclatchy/AviationPros
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Here’s how you can get access to airport lounges in India for free!

India has witnessed some really good growth in people preferring flights over other conventionally preferred modes of transport. According to IATA, India is leading growth amongst markets in global passenger traffic by showing 41 consecutive months of double-digit increases.

With a rise in air traffic, air terminals have also faced problems like congestion and overcrowding. According to figures released by the Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), a whopping 34,000 passengers jostle for space in an acre at the International Airport! Overcrowding is also why airlines operating at Delhi International Airport’s Terminal 1 were asked to move their operations to T2.
Overcrowding at airports causes a lot of inconveniences. Unavailability of charging ports, lack of places to rest, queues at food stops and slow Wi-Fi connectivity are just amongst a few of the various problems faced by traveling passengers. Fortunately, airport lounges solve most of these problems. But airport lounges definitely don’t come cheap. Airport lounges in India charge for admission anywhere between INR 800 to INR 5,000 for just a couple of hours. But don’t worry, we have a way to dodge those expensive admission charges (not illegally of course) and get you in lounges all over India for INR 125 only! Yes, you heard it right! So how does it happen? Let’s get right into it.

To get access to airport lounges there are a lot of services that let you access lounges all over the world for a membership fee. Priority Pass is the most popular way to get access to over 1200 lounges all over the world. But the cheapest plan starts from $99 a year apart from a visit fee of $27 to each lounge. If you’re a frequent traveler around the globe and don’t mind shelling extra money for more comfort and convenience then getting a Priority Pass is a no-brainer for you. But for domestic travelers, the hack that we have might just make a lot of sense.

In India, Visa, Mastercard & Diners Club also give access to lounges as an added benefit on selected cards from their portfolio. But for ones who don’t have these cards getting a Paytm card will do the trick. Yes! Paytm’s Payments Bank offers its users a physical Rupay Platinum Debit card as an option. To get a physical debit card issued users have to pay a one-time fee of INR 125 and then a yearly subscription fee of INR 100 every year, thereafter.

Being a Rupay Platinum Debit card, the users are entitled to several benefits, of which, getting access to airport lounges in India is one. A Rupay Platinum Card will gain you access to 47 lounges all over India. These lounges include lounges at both, International & Domestic terminals. You can check the list of lounges involved in the program out here.
23/05/18 Prasham Parikh/Eoto

Australia investigators defend MH370 out-of-control scenario

Sydney: Australian investigators on Tuesday defended their findings that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was out of control when it plunged into the ocean, despite renewed theories that a rogue pilot ditched the plane.
The Boeing 777 -- which vanished in March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 passengers -- has not been found despite an extensive search led by Australia in the southern Indian Ocean and a continuing private search commissioned by Malaysia.
The failure to find the plane has fuelled theories which differ from the conclusions of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which led the first search, that the jet was making a high-speed out-of-control descent when it hit the water.
The theory that a rogue pilot deliberately ditched the jet -- landing it in a controlled way on the ocean surface -- was revived in a new book released this week by former Canadian air crash investigator Larry Vance.
Vance has also asserted that there were failures in the ATSB-led probe, leading to what he believed were the wrong conclusions about the end-of-flight scenarios.
The ATSB's chief technical officer Peter Foley, who was the MH370 search head, defended its conclusions, saying investigators had explored all the expert advice and analysis they were provided with.
"I can say with great confidence... that we considered every piece of evidence that we had at the time in an unbiased fashion," Foley told a parliamentary hearing in Canberra, adding that he had already read Vance's book.
"We have quite a bit of data to tell us that the aircraft, if it was being controlled at the end, it wasn't very successfully being controlled."         
Foley said a key piece of evidence was from the right outboard flap, which was found off Tanzania in June 2016. This showed the flap was mostly liked in a retracted position and therefore not configured for landing when it smashed into the ocean.
Analysis of MH370's last transmission by an Australian defence agency suggested that it was triggered by fuel exhaustion, a scenario that was less likely to have occurred if a pilot had planned to ditch the aircraft, Foley added.
22/05/18 Tribune

MH370 Search in Jeopardy Again as New PM Mahathir Cuts Costs

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is in peril once again as new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reins in government spending.

After several extensions of what began as a three-month “no cure, no fee” contract signed by U.S. exploration company Ocean Infinity in January, the government has given extra time until May 29 to wrap up the search for the jet missing since 2014, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook told reporters on Wednesday.
Malaysia agreed to pay the firm as much as $70 million if it solves what has become modern aviation’s biggest mystery.

Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor, has already scoured 86,000 square kilometers of seabed in the southern Indian Ocean without success, according to the latest weekly report on the operation. That area includes the patch that investigators identified as the aircraft’s most likely resting place before the search was abandoned in 2017.

“We are approaching the end of the current search, and the weather also soon becomes a limiting factor, but we’re currently maximizing our efforts whilst we can,” a representative for Ocean Infinity said in an email.
The contract to find the jet is under review, Mahathir said earlier in the day after his first cabinet meeting.

"We want to know what is the necessity for this, and if we find that it is not necessary, we will not renew," Mahathir, who returned to power in a shock election triumph this month, told reporters in Putrajaya. “We may terminate it if it’s not useful."
23/05/18 Angus Whitley/Anisah Shukry/BloombergQuint

Malaysia says search for Flight MH370 to end next week

Kuala Lumpur: The search for flight MH370 will end next week, Malaysia’s transport minister said today, more than four years after the plane disappeared and triggered one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished in March 2014 with 239 people — mostly from China — on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000 square kilometre sea search zone and the Australian-led hunt, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January last year. After pressure from family members, the former Malaysian government struck a deal with US exploration firm Ocean Infinity to restart the search on the condition it would only be paid if the jet or its black boxes were found.

The firm, which deployed hi-tech underwater drones in its hunt, stood to make up to $70 million if successful. Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke, part of the new government that came to power following May 9 elections, said the hunt was officially meant to finish in April but had been extended, and would come an end next week. “The search will continue until May 29,” he told reporters. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said earlier that the contract with Ocean Infinity was being reviewed.

Grace Nathan, a Malaysian lawyer whose mother Anne Daisy was on the plane, said the news was not a surprise but said the government should leave the “no find, no fee” offer on the table in case a company wants to take on the search in future. “We can’t tell (the government) what to do but for me and the families… finding the plane is important for many reasons,” she told AFP. The new hunt started late January in an area of about 25,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean, north of the former search area.

The ship conducting the hunt, Seabed Constructor, was a Norwegian research vessel carrying 65 crew, including two members of the Malaysian navy as the government’s representatives. It used eight autonomous drones, equipped with sonars and cameras, that scoured the waters for wreckage and can operate in depths up to 6,000 metres. However it did not find any sign of the jet. Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.
23/05/18 AFP/Financial Express

IIT-Kanpur signs Rs 15 crore deal to develop flying taxis in India

New Delhi: Researchers at IIT-Kanpur have signed a Rs 15-crore MoU with a private company to develop functional prototypes of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft, which have the potential to be used as flying taxis.

The deal, signed this month with VTOL Aviation India Pvt Ltd, will see the IIT-Kanpur researchers conduct a feasibility study before embarking on the project through which they hope to build a viable prototype within the next five years.

“We will establish proof of concept and identify the key technology areas,” said Ajoy Ghosh, who heads the Aerospace Engineering and the Flight Lab at the institute. “There will be over a 100 students working on this in the coming years,” he added.

The VTOL craft are being seen as the futuristic solution to ease traffic congestion in major cities. Owing to their immense flexibility of being able to take off and land on any terrain, they could potentially solve several civilian and military logistical problems of today.
VTOL craft are defined as those that can take off vertically, hover, and land much the same way. They are of two types — rotorcraft that have rotating blades such as helicopters, quadcopters, and drones, and the powered lift types that are eponymously powered by engines.

Though less common, the second type of powered lift craft also exist in militaries worldwide. Russia’s Yak-38 was one of the earlier VTOL versions until production was stopped in the early 80s. The US has in its force, the famous V-22 Osprey, an amalgamation of powered lift and rotary action, while the Harrier Jump Jet, is used by both Britain and the US.
Theoretically, VTOL craft have unending advantages: they can take off and land anywhere, on any terrain, in any part of the world. They can perform manoeuvres that are impossible with traditional aircraft — a big advantage for air combat and rescue. Powered engines can also be much more cost-effective than jet fuel and traditional automobile fuel.

However, developing VTOL craft has so far been confined to the military due to the cost required for development. Even then, the trade-off between the escalating costs and safety concerns have brought production of most models to an end.
23/05/18 Sandhya Ramesh/Print

IAF helicopter crash lands in Natha Top in Jammu, crew and passengers safe

A Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Air Force crash-landed in Natha Top in Jammu and Kashmir soon after it took off on a routine sortie today morning, official sources said here.

The two passengers and two crew members on board the military chopper were safe, they said.

The helicopter was on a routine sortie from Jammu when it crash-landed at the Natha Top helipad around 9.50 am, the sources said.

A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
23/05/18 Financial Express

Will Bengaluru, Kochi flights slam brakes on luxury bus operations?

Tiruchy: With Tiruchy airport likely to host services to Bengaluru and Kochi next month, several long-distance luxury bus operators in the city fear they would lose a chunk of their profits.

Currently, Tiruchy-Bengaluru is one of the most preferred destinations for the luxury bus operators. The poor connectivity by rail and air to the country’s IT hub augured well for the luxury bus operators operating in this route.

But, with IndiGo planning operations in Bengaluru and Kochi a major portion of the luxury bus users would prefer air route as there is only a marginal difference in ticket fare between the two. For instance, currently, the flight fare to Bengaluru from Tiruchy is Rs 1785 (*subject to change). Meanwhile, the luxury bus operator is charging around Rs 1400 for the journey to Bengaluru. Similarly, the air-ticket to Kochi is Rs 1593 (*subject to change) whereas luxury bus ticket rate is Rs 1130.

“One can reach Bengaluru by air in one hour and minutes. But, it would take minimum seven hours by road. Like Bengaluru, a trip to Kochi by road would take almost 8 hours while by air it takes only one hour.  So passenger who is willing to pay a bit extra would definitely prefer the flight. However, the flight rate would fluctuate and a booking done closer the time of journey would be expensive. This apart, the airline has only announced only two flights. So, it would not immediately make a big impact,” said R Ramesh, a city-based travel agent.
23/05/18 Jose K Joseph/New Indian Express

Air passenger charter a cosmetic courtesy that lets airlines off easy, offers customers cold comfort

At first flight, the offerings of the passenger charter offers a fresh wind beneath the wings of Indian aviation. My goodness, the government cares. But come a little closer and it is open to a not so buoyant scrutiny.
Before we get into the time window, what must be addressed is the fact that the non-refundable tickets are also the cheapest. Airlines can happily navigate this order by upping the rates, which they all do arbitrarily anyway under the canopy of yield whether it is seasonal, festive-oriented or natural tragedy. So the passenger will be the loser.
On that canvas, the deal to only give this concession to those who cancel inside 24 hours of booking a seat and have bought that ticket within 96 hours of estimated time of departure makes for cold comfort.
The airlines must be heaving a collective sigh of relief at this cosmetic courtesy because very few people book so late in the day and if they do succeed in ticking that four-day box, they are mostly the more affluent executives travelling on corporate work or business.
The large majority who book for families go as far back as 320 days with a mean time of 90 days before departure. According to an article in Forbes, 70 days is a good time for a deal while aviation website Cheapair puts it at 54 days.
There was a time not so long ago when booking closer to the flight got you the cheapest ticket and you could get red-eye flight and standby tickets. Those concepts are now fossilised. Then again, a very small number cancel within 24 hours and are more likely to make a change closer to a flight because of an emergency, good or bad or a change in plan necessitated by some unexpected development.
If the new command allows for the final 72 hours run-up to take off to be a no go, what’s the point of this break? Nobody wishes to cancel deliberately and no one can control or second guess negative situations. Consequently, after the initial excitement you notice that there isn’t much to cheer about in this announcement which is still open to ratification by the public.
22/05/18 Bikram Vohra/First Post

Alliance Air flight not the first commercial one in Arunachal

Itanagar: With the landing of the 42-seater ATR 42 fixed-wing Alliance Airline flight at Pasighat airport on 21 May, Arunachal witnessed the start of a new chapter of improved connectivity in the state.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu and several officials from the state and central governments were the first to board the aircraft which touched down at Pasighat in East Siang district around 2.15 pm after a 1.5-hour journey from the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport in Guwahati.
However, it is pertinent to mention here that it was not the first commercial flight which the state hosted.
The first fixed-wing commercial flight airline in the state began in the 1980s. It was Vayudoot regional airline, a joint-venture between the two state-owned carriers, Indian Airlines and Air India.
Under the Vayudoot scheme, Dornier aircraft were used for commercial flights to Pasighat, Aalo, Daporijo, Tezu, Ziro, and Vijaynagar. However, those flights were short and did not serve food as private flights do these days.
The then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, launched the scheme in 1981 to connect the Northeastern region by air. At least 15-20 flights began to operate under the then union civil aviation ministry’s Vayudoot scheme to various Northeastern states, including Arunachal.
22/05/18 Junroi Mamai/Arunachal Times

SIA flies to underperforming locations thru SilkAir merger

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is looking into the optimisation of its operations through its merger with regional wing, SilkAir. They do so by letting Silk Air take over underperforming trips to Kuala Lumpur and Penang that used to be too small for SIA's widebody flights.

SilkAir's fleet renewal started in 2014. As of now, additional planes have been used to launch new destinations, such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane (Laos), Fuzhou (China) in 2016 and Colombo (Sri Lanka) in 2017. SIA is also looking into transfering routes and aircrafts between different airlines within the SIA group. This is aside from the upgrades which are predicted to start by 2020.

CGS-CIMB analyst Raymond Yap compared the merger as “akin” to the Scoot-Tigerair merger that was completed in 2017. In the long term, Yap believes it will be positive for the SIA group as it will have Scoot as its low-cost carrier (LCC) brand, and SIA as its full service carrier (FSC) brand.

“It will save operating costs and merge the booking platforms, which are currently on two separate websites, as well as project a unified brand to customers,” Yap said.

The $100m merger requires SilkAir to make upgrades such as lie-flat seats in Business Class and install seatback in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems in both Business Class and Economy Class.
As SilkAir grows its network across Southeast Asia, India, and China, as well as ferries connecting passengers to longhaul SIA network, Yap thinks that it is critical and relevant for SIA’s FSC business to be offering a consistent product across the board.
22/05/18 Singapore Business Review

Night flights may soon be a reality in Kashmir

Srinagar: Night flights which has been a long pending dream for Kashmir may soon be a reality. The authorities at the Srinagar airport say they are working hard to build the infrastructure for it and the flights could land by August this year. The officials are building approach lights for night landing of the flights.

The moment we have proper set up in place the airlines will be sure that the infrastructure is ready, they will start evening flights. Work is on to make the night landing facility possible sooner within a few months, said an official at the Srinagar airport.

In Kashmir most people including tourism operators have been demanding that landing and takeoff facilities should be extended till night. At the moment the first flight operates at 6 am and the last flight operates at around 6:30 pm. As per the details once the infrastructure is available initially the flights will operate till 8 pm and then subsequently till 10 pm.
22/05/18 Shuja ul Haq/India Today