Wednesday, September 28, 2016

First flight under regional air connectivity likely in January, says Civil Aviation Minister

Government expects the first flight under the regional air connectivity scheme, which is in advanced stages of finalisation, to take off in early January 2017, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said.

The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which seeks to provide air services between un-served and under-served areas, is part of larger plans to boost the domestic aviation sector, which is clocking over 20 per cent passenger growth. Raju , under whose stewardship the civil aviation policy was announced in June, said work is at an advanced stage with respect to RCS.

"We expect the first flight under RCS to take off by the end of this year or early January 2017," he told PTI. The civil aviation ministry has already signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with various states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, for implementation of RCS. The scheme refers to operation of an air transport service between any two airports, of which at least one has been declared by the central government as un-served or under-served.

There are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports. Last week, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said as many as 20 un-utilised airports are ready to start operations for regional flights.

A slew of incentives are being proposed under RCS, including Rs 2,500 cap on airfare for one-hour flights. Airlines under RCS will be extended viability gap funding (VGF) while the states concerned are required to offer certain concessions such as providing police and fire services free of cost.
27/09/16 PTI/dna

Ex-Vayudoot MD plans franchise model airline

Want to own your own airline? Harshvardhan — former Vayudoot chief — might have a plan for you. Eager to start a second innings in the Indian skies, as an entrepreneur he is bringing the franchise model of ownership — typically followed by global QSR chains like Dominos and MacDonalds.

He is envisaging Star Air Consulting, his aviation consultancy firm, to become an umbrella organisation for number of regional airlines set up in small towns of India. The model unique to the Indian market will see Superfast Airlines as the holding company, under whose brand name the entrepreneurs can own their own airline.

"Aviation in India is a great but a tough market. Not many can crack it as it requires massive capital investment and business planning. We want to create one or two small aircraft operators. They will be the owner of that aircraft. We would help the contract for bulk orders and will be subleasing it to the individual operator," Vardhan said.

"We want to create a company where the risk profile for smaller players is very less and this form of pure franchise model is being tried for the first time in India," he added.

Vardhan's SuperFast Airlines will help the franchisee operators in functions like aircraft acquisition, technical and operational maintenance, crew training and marketing initiatives. "Post Kingfisher, it has become difficult for an Indian operator to lease aircraft, even more when you operate one or two aircrafts," Vardhan said.

It will also help in pilot training and is in talks with a third party MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) operator for providing technical services to the airlines. "Basically we would be providing all fundamental support including training and technical support. The idea is to create a a national organisation, so that the profile becomes better and the market acceptance of those individual operators becomes better among other stakeholders," Vardhan says.
28/09/16 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

No surge pricing, front-row seats: MPs seek preferential treatments while flying

The nation may be still mourning the Uri Attack in which 18 Indian soldiers were martyred, but for our members of Parliament it is business as usual. Forget National Security, their priority is clearly more perks like preferential treatments while flying.

After demanding a steep increase in salary, Monday's joint committee on salaries and allowances meeting was all about more facilities. The meeting was attended by top officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the aviation secretary and officials from different airlines such as Jet Airways and Vistara.
28/09/16 Anindya Banerjee/India Today

Russia to sign helicopter deal with India in 'near future'

Russia is preparing to sign a joint venture agreement to build multi-task Kamov-226 helicopters in India soon, the state-owned manufacturer Russian Helicopter told Reuters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to India in October for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Russian helicopters and state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport have been working with Indian state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for months to establish a joint venture to build the helicopters in India, the company said in emailed comments to Reuters.
"From our side, we are ready to sign the agreement in the near future," Russian Helicopters said. The company, which is a part of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, would not comment on the details or timings of the deal.
"It is a very important project for us, as we offer to our partners not only licensed assembly, but also unique technology transfer in the helicopter-building industry."
The Kamov-226 helicopters can be put to military and civilian use. The agreement will also allow Russia and India to create new aviation equipment for export to other countries, Russian helicopters said.
27/09/16 Reuters/The Times Of India

Cambodia-India Direct Air Route Opens

The Cambodia-India direct air route is now open for business and airline companies have been invited to file their applications to operate flights between the two countries, according to an official from Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).

“A meeting was held recently in New Delhi between SSCA and Indian aviation officials with both sides agreeing that airline companies in Cambodia and India could now file applications to run flights from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to New Delhi and other Indian cities,” said SSCA spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha.

Mr. Chansereyvuth revealed that there has been a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Cambodia and India for the direct flight route since 2002.

“With the MoU already in existence, it is easy for both Cambodia- and India-based airline companies to negotiate and file their applications to the relevant aviation authorities,” he said.

Ties between Cambodia and India go back to the first century AD when Hindu and Buddhist religious and cultural influences emanated out of India to various parts of Southeast Asia.

The pervading influence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Indian architecture are borne out by the magnificent structures at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Phrom and other religious and historical sites in Cambodia.
28/09/16 Chea Vannak/Khmer Times 

Don't leave plane before all passengers disembark, AI tells its pilots

Air India has asked its pilots to ensure that they stay on board after landing till all passengers have alighted from aircraft.
"It has been noticed time and again that after landing even before passengers deplane, the pilots immediately disembark and are also not available during the SAFA (safety assessment of foreign aircraft) inspection. While the SAFA inspection is in progress, the presence of pilots on board aircraft is vital to satisfactorily answer the queries of the inspectors to sort out issues there and then," a circular "availability of pilots in the cockpit after landing" issued last week by AI's executive director (operations), Captain Arvind Kathpalia, said.
27/09/16 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India

New Pune airport should take three years to complete but can’t give a definite deadline, says Ajay Kumar

Sunanda Mehta: Is Pune finally getting a new airport? After waiting for so many years, is it finally happening?
Pune badly needs an airport of its own. Technically, the Chief Minister and the Airports Authority of India has zeroed in on the land. Roughly, area will be 18 square kilometres. But the final site has to be decided by the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC). The area will certainly touch many villages and may also require rehabilitation. But from what I know, the selected site does not have much cultivation or high residential density.
Manoj More: Do you think it’s an appropriate site?
It’s basically appropriate from the construction point of view. It’s about 40-45 kms away from the Pune City. I can’t say right now when such a huge infrastructure is there, about new road and rail infrastructure. A new airport—being 40-odd kilometre away from the centre of the city-— it’s not a long distance. In fact, it’s a must because a lot of land is required for the development. Hence, the airports can’t be very close to the city.
Sunanda Mehta: The new airport has been delayed for so long. In the meantime, Pune has grown tremendously. So what is it that the city has lost during these years?
The growth of air traffic and the potential is phenomenal. Last year, we grew at the rate of 29 per cent. This year, we are growing at 25-per cent point. Thus we have seen a 65 per cent growth. Last year, we handled about 5.5 million passengers. This year, it might cross 6.6 million. That’s too great a growth for a city. This city has a great potential I would say.
Atikh Rashid: In last few months, the AAI and Civil Aviation Ministry has moved fast to increase the capacity of the Lohegaon Airport and the newly-acquired 15 acres of land. Will the latest announcement of finalisation of the site for the new airport slow down this development of the Lohegaon Airport?
No. Basically, the new airport is not a replacement for this airport. This development is to meet the short-term demands. Four new aircraft bays will come up of Code-C type on the additional land that we have got. Also, buildings of a volume 35,000 square metre will come up, which will also enhance the amenities at the airport.
Ajay Khape: What would be the difference between having an airport at the new proposed site in Purandar as opposed to the earlier location at Chakan?
I can’t compare these two locations. I have not seen the location (Chakan) at all. That site is not technically suitable. That was the only problem. They were not suitable from the aeronautical point of view.
28/09/16 The Indian Express

Air Canada Announces Toronto-Mumbai 787 Dreamliner Service

Air Canada today announced it is launching a new, three-times weekly service between Toronto and Mumbai, the largest city and financial capital of India.

The non-stop, year-round service will be operated starting July 1, 2017 using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

“Air Canada is pleased to offer customers this new, non-stop route between Toronto and Mumbai. This is Air Canada’s third route to India after Toronto-Delhi service that began last fall and our new seasonal Vancouver-Delhi service commencing next month. This will be the only non-stop service between Canada and Mumbai and with it Air Canada now offers the best coverage of any carrier operating in the Canada-India market,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

“The Canada-India Business Council welcomes Air Canada’s announcement today. The Canada-India corridor offers tremendous economic opportunities and our organization is working to promote trade and commerce between our two countries. Air linkages are essential to this, so having a non-stop flight between Canada’s and India’s financial and business centers should serve as a further catalyst to this rapidly developing trade relationship,” said Gary Comerford, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada-India Business Council.
28/09/16 Aviation Tribune

Air India signs codeshare with Air Austral

National carrier Air India and Air Austral have signed a free flow code share agreement. This agreement will enable Air India to code share on Air Austral operated flights on the Chennai-Reunion-Chennai sector as well as beyond Reunion to/from Johannesburg, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar. Reciprocally, Air Austral will put its marketing code on Air India operated flights beyond Chennai to/from Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi.

Air India, member of the Star Alliance, will offer its passengers flights departing from India to Saint-Denis de La RĂ©union via Chennai with the Chennai/Saint-Denis flight operated by Air Austral. The passengers of Air India will be able to connect in Saint-Denis on flights beyond to/from Johannesburg, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar operated by Air Austral.

Seema Srivastava, Executive Director - Strategy and Planning, Air India said, “As a National Carrier and Star Alliance member carrier, Air India feels honoured to enter into this code-share agreement with Air Austral. This agreement will enable Air India to reach out to destinations in the Indian Ocean and Africa. We look forward to expand our relationship with Air Austral in future. Air India already has code share partnerships with 14 other prestigious airlines across the globe and Air Austral will be the 15th code share partner of Air India.”
28/09/16 Travel Trends Today

Lawmakers Eye Quota On Private Carriers, Airlines Say No

At a time the aviation sector is struggling to cut down on losses, India's lawmakers, who enjoy quota in railways and travel like maharajas in the loss-making Air India, are eyeing reservation in private carriers.

The lawmakers say when parliament is in session, travelling by air is inconvenient, since seats are not always available. So on Monday, the committee on Salaries and Allowances -- a standing committee that deals with privileges for lawmakers - met the representatives of airlines to explore the possibility of reserving seats on private carriers.

"Some MPs had grievances that they couldn't find seats when they travelled. So they asked if they could be reserved during the session,'' said a lawmaker.

But the airlines turned down the request, saying blocking of seats was not possible. Seats, they said, were "perishable commodities'' and an empty seat would add to their loss.

Some lawmakers had also wanted the use of the electronic buggies since the Delhi airport's Terminal Three is a bit of a trek from the gates to the baggage pick-up area.
28/09/16 Sunetra Choudhury/NDTV

Questions galore over govt's nod for Mangalagiri airport

Even as the land acquisition process is going on for Gannavaran airport modernisation, the state government's approval for a greenfield airport at Mangalagiri, just 35 km away from it, has given rise to many apprehensions from various quarters. Experts, including those from the aviation sector, point out that a second airport in such close proximity will neither be feasible nor economically viable.
The state government, at its cabinet meeting last week, has cleared the proposal for construction of the airport in 5,000 acres at Mangalagiri. This has raised many an eyebrow as hundreds of crores of rupees are being spent on the Gannavaram airport for developing it in such a way that it can even handle international flight services.
M Subba Rao, former employee of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and now a resident of Gannavaram who had served as the director of various international airports at Calicut, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar, said that it is neither feasible nor viable to have both the airports. "It will not be viable as it is just 35 km away from the existing airport," he said.
He further said that there is no clarity over the issue as it is only in the preliminary stage wherein the state cabinet had taken a decision in this regard. "The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has to approve it. Then a team will study the topography of Mangalagiri. Only after a thorough study, a decision will be taken," he said.
However, the voices against the government's proposal are growing stronger as industry bodies and other experts point out that there is no need for a new airport in the capital region as the existing one at Gannavaram is not being used to its full capacity.
"The proposed greenfield airport at Mangalagiri will not be viable as there is no such demand. When the government is planning to connect the capital region with an outer ring road (ORR) of 210 km and when so much money is being spent on the existing airport, I don't understand the logic behind the decision," said Muthavarapu Murali Krishna, president of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation (APCCIF). He said that an airport of such capacity (in 5,000 acres) is not required at least in the next 20 to 30 years.
28/09/16 Jayanth P/The Times Of India

Rafale fighter jet deal to be sealed with France on Friday

While New Delhi made a decision to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets in 2012, it later scaled down its initial plans to acquire only 36, apparently because the jets were too expensive.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar signed an agreement with French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation SA that will give India an edge over Pakistan.

According to Dassault, Rafale - a twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft - equipped with a range of weapons is capable of carrying out all combat missions such as air supremacy, interdiction, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence deterrence.

On Friday in New Delhi, the Indian and French defense ministers signed a contract to purchase 36 Rafale jets from Paris-based Dassault Aviation SA.

Modi government had cleared the deal amid indications that the French government waived off the advance guarantee, allowing India to save 134 million euros. Its integration on the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India's territorial boundary.
28/09/16 Leory Wright/Cosumnes Connection

Delhi airport first carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific

The GMR consortium-AAI run Delhi Airport has become the first carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific following a series of measures taken by it to reduce carbon footprint, including setting up of a 7.84 MW solar power plant.
The announcement was made by the international body of aerodrome operators across the world, ACI during the Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate presentation ceremony in Montreal, Canada yesterday.
The Airport Carbon Accreditation has upgraded Delhi Airport to highest level of certification -- a level 3+ neutrality -- available to airports across the world, according to a release.
Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year are zero or when the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emission that was generated.
This achievement is accredited by ACI under Airport Carbon Accreditation that monitors the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.
"Achievement of the accreditation for carbon neutrality is indeed recognition of a great team work. With this achievement, we have set up new benchmark for other airports in this region to follow.
28/09/16 PTI/The Times Of India

Khadi showroom to open at Ranchi airport

Jharkhand Khadi Board Chairperson Sanjay Seth said on Wednesday a Khadi showroom will be opened at Birsa Munda Airport here in October, the birth month of Mahatma Gandhi.
"We have got permission to open Khadi showroom at Ranchi airport. This will be a modern showroom which would be opened in 1,500 sq feet and have all the facilities," Seth told IANS.
On the eve of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, the Jharkhand Khadi Board would organise a Khadi fair at Ranchi where Khadi products will be available at discounted rates.
"We are working for our Prime Minister's dream to make Khadi an attire of common people and generate employment to youth and rural people. Many programmes will be organised in Jharkhand this year to create awareness among youth," said Seth.
Seth took over as the chairperson of Jharkhand Khadi Board in July this year. After taking over, he has opened two new Khadi showrooms.
"By December, modern showrooms of Khadi will be opened in each of the 24 districts of the state. Sales boys and girls, fluent in the local, Hindi and English languages, would be appointed," said Seth.
28/09/16 The Times Of India

Foreign currencies worth Rs 25.6 lakh seized from man at Goa airport

Foreign currencies with a face value of Rs 25.6 lakh were seized from a passenger while he was about to fly to Dubai from the Dabolim airport in Goa on Wednesday, Customs officials said.

"The Air Intelligence Unit of Goa Customs this morning seized assorted foreign currencies, including Saudi and Qatar Riyals, Dirhams and US Dollars worth Rs 25.6 lakh," Customs spokesman said in a statement.

The currencies were recovered from Anwar Sadiq Bappaithotty Abdul Rahiman, a native of Kasaragod in Kerala, who was planning to board an Air Arabia flight from here going to Dubai via Sharjah.
28/09/16 PTI/dna

Air Carnival to start operations from Oct.30

Regional airline Air Carnival will start operations in the Chennai - Tiruchi – Chennai sector from October 30, Tiruchi Airport Director K. Gunasekaran said here on Tuesday.

A daily flight service would be operated by the regional airline in the morning, he said while speaking at the World Tourism Day event organised by the Tiruchi Travel Federation (TTF) here.

Stating that tourism played a vital role in development of the country, he said 34 airports across the country including Goa were mainly dependent on tourism. Heeding heavy demand from travellers for improving domestic connectivity to important destinations within the country from Tiruchi airport, he said the Airports Authority of India had taken up the issue with airlines for operating services to Mumbai and Bengaluru from here.

The Tiruchi airport had been witness to robust growth in passenger movements over the years, he said adding that funds to the tune of Rs. 749 crore had been approved for construction of a new international terminal building at Tiruchi airport. The construction of new terminal building would enable the airport to handle 1,500 passengers per day, he said.

Releasing the Tiruchi tourist map brought out by the TTF on the occasion, Regional Passport Officer, Tiruchi, S. Lingasamy said there was an increase in the issue of passports and its related services in the country in 2015 as compared to the previous year.
28/09/16 The Hindu

AirAsia Celebrates Inaugural Flights

AirAsia India, celebrated its inaugural flights to Guwahati and Hyderabad from Bengaluru and to Goa from Hyderabad with host of celebrations across the newly launched sectors.

At Guwahati, departure guests for the inaugural flight witnessed a traditional lamp lighting & ribbon cutting ceremony which was facilitated by Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and several other key personalities from the Guwahati Airport. Ankur Khanna, Chief Financial Officer, AirAsia India felicitated the dignitaries who were a part of the celebrations in Guwahati. On touchdown at Guwahati, the aircraft received a water canon salute to mark the landing of AirAsia India’s first flight connecting Bengaluru and Guwahati. Guests arriving into Guwahati from Bengaluru were also welcomed with a Bihu dance performance.
28/09/16 Northeast Today

Chandigarh: Airport facilities irk passengers as IndiGo starts flight to Dubai

A worker repairs the scanning machine installed at International Airport in Chandigarh Monday. Jasbir Malhi A worker repairs the scanning machine installed at International Airport in Chandigarh Monday. Jasbir Malhi The city may have added more flights to Dubai, however, passengers who landed in the airport are not too happy with the facilites available there. On Monday, IndiGo started its direct flight to Dubai, two weeks after Air India started operating its flights to Sharjah.
27/09/16 Nyoooz

Vistara delights frequent flyers with the all-new Club Vistara

Vistara, India’s fastest growing full service carrier, launched the all-new Club Vistara (CV) frequent flyer program, with inputs from its frequent flyers and those of other airlines forming the basis for the revamp.

With this, Club Vistara now becomes the fastest rewarding frequent flyer program in the aviation industry in India and is also the most generous and least restrictive of all. The all new Club Vistara frequent flyer program not only provides its members enhanced privileges but also offers the
fastest earn, redemption and faster elite tier upgrades.

CV members can accumulate CV points when flying with Vistara, engaging with co-brand and airline partners, and also by participating in various promotions.

In addition to the existing CV Gold and CV Silver membership tiers, the airline has introduced a Platinum membership as its highest tier, and has also introduced a two-track scheme for elite tier qualification, based on through points accrued or flights flown, whichever is quicker.

Club Vistara Silver, Gold, and Platinum level members receive a host of benefits like additional baggage allowance, priority check-in and baggage handling, priority boarding, complimentary upgrade vouchers and vouchers for guest lounge access, and no-fee rescheduling, depending on their tier status.
27/09/16 Defence Aviation Post

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

As talks for aviation climate deal begin, India holds out

Fast-growing aviation powerhouse India is not ready to join the world's first climate deal to curb pollution from commercial flights because it fears that talks beginning on Tuesday may not lead to a fair agreement, its civil aviation minister said.

The proposed landmark deal, backed by the United States and China, aims to limit rising airline pollution to 2020 levels after it takes effect in 2021, but has been watered down by being made voluntary for the first five years.

"(We'll decide) once the nuts and bolts become clearer," Ashok Gajapathi Raju told Reuters on the sidelines of an aviation forum. "Until then, our fears are that it is not equitable."

Countries with a high-growth aviation sector want more latitude to produce emissions than developed countries, which are growing more slowly but were responsible for generating the bulk of the industry's greenhouse gases.

If a country is not part of the deal, it will have a ripple effect as all foreign carriers on routes to and from that country – even ones from participating states – would be exempt from having to offset their emissions.

The United Nations-led talks run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal.
27/09/16 Allison Lampert/Reuters

Airlines reject demand for additional benefits, perks to MPs

Airline companies IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Go Air and Air India have grounded a demand for giving perks to members of parliament (MPs). These perks include quota of seats on flights, air travel facilities and assistance at airports to board/de-board a plane.
On Monday, senior executives of the five airlines attended a meeting called by the Joint Committee on salaries and allowances of members of parliament at the behest of the aviation ministry to discuss "issues" related to these perks, the Economic Times reported.
"We are private enterprises. We already pay taxes and should not be burdened with these additional costs," a senior executive of one of the airline was quoted as saying by the publication. Another airline executive (who attended the meeting) revealed that the MPs were also demanding free meals, creation of special counters at airports and access to lounges. "Everyone is informally being told to agree," he added.
27/09/16 Kalyani Pandey/International Business Times

No staff, but officials buying aircraft

Ludhiana Aviation Club (LAC) has not been functional for 10 years and the authorities have transferred the ground staff to other centres. But the Punjab civil aviation council is procuring training aircraft to start flying training here.
Though the club had staff for training pilots, it didn't function because of the absence of an aircraft since 2006. Sources at the Ludhiana airport, which houses the club, said the ground staff posted at the club has been transferred and services of one of the trainers may have been terminated. They added that a message was being given by the senior officials that the club would be closed forever as the aircraft and the staff had been moved to other centres, Patiala and Amritsar, respectively.
27/09/16 Shariq Majeed/The Times Of India

Civil aviation ministry to employ 50 engineering and management graduates

In an attempt to strengthen its talent pool, India’s civil aviation ministry is hiring technical and management professionals to tackle the challenges of the world’s ninth largest aviation market.
The move is also aimed at creating a data bank of India’s civil aviation sector, which is poised to be the third-largest growing market by 2020 after the US and China. According to the ministry’s estimates, the civil aviation sector will employ around a million personnel directly by 2035.
“We have already initiated to hire over 50 engineering and management graduates for our economic regulatory division, where the new recruits will prepare economic research papers including consultation papers, discussion papers on a given problem relating to the civil aviation sector, besides skill building,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official requesting anonymity.
This comes in the backdrop of the government anticipating rapid growth in aviation sector as it plans to roll-out regional connectivity scheme to connect unserved and underserved airports which number over 394 airstrips and airports. Of these only 77 airports have air operations.
“This exercise is being done to meet the goals associated with regional connectivity scheme and will also help the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) which will be heavily burdened with the growth happening in India’s aviation space,” said another government official who also didn’t want to be named.
27/09/16 Sanjay Singh/VCCircle

If all goes well, regular BSc students can learn aircraft maintenance

If everything goes well, regular BSc students—not specifically enrolled in aeronautics or aviation engineering courses—will soon be able to pick aircraft maintenance as one of their subjects in the country.
A committee of experts constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to look into the possibility of designing curricular structure for a bachelor-level degree programme in aeronautics has prepared a draft syllabus which has been sent to all universities for their comments and objections.
In a notice to the universities, UGC Secretary Jaspal S Sandhu says that the "idea was to address the shortage of skilled manpower in the burgeoning sector of aeronautics that requires techno-scientific expertise for successful operation."
Consultations and deliberations in the meetings by the experts revealed that the area of aircraft maintenance in the identified sector (aeronautics) is particularly affected by shortage of skilled human resources.
"Thus, it merits urgent attention of institutions of higher education, which is why the committee decided to design the template of syllabus for a BSc Honours (Aircraft Maintenance) as a way of encouraging universities to come forward and offer this programme under the choice-based credit system (CBCS) introduced by UGC," Sandhu said.
"There is a national need and it is a welcome. That said, they should not hurry into anything and compromise on the quality. Given that there is no aerospace degree programme in the country (there are engineering courses) this is better suited than a direct masters programme, which was also thought of earlier.," former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor MS Thimmappa said.
From aircraft structure and associated systems to flight navigation and from rotorcraft (helicopters) to gas turbine engine, the course will see over 17 chapters or sub-subjects that students will learn.
26/09/16 Chethan Kumar/The Times Of India

‘Civilian aircraft can use IAF airfields in northeast’

In a bid to boost connectivity in the northeastern region, the airstrips, airfields and Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) can now used by civilians commercial aircraft, an officer said on Tuesday.

“The airstrips, airfields and ALGs of the IAF in northeastern region can be used by the civil and commercial aircraft to facilitate connectivity in the mountainous region,” Shillong based Defence Ministry Spokesperson Group Captain Amit Mahajan told IANS on the phone.

“In the northeastern region, IAF airfields at Bagdogra (West Bengal), Tezpur, Jorhat and Kumbhirgram (all in Assam) are already supporting commercial connectivity. At Kumbhirgram, facilities like runway, airfield lighting and all critical navigation aids such as ILS, VOR and DME, are controlled by Airport Authority of India (AAI),” he added.

“The IAF is always willing to accommodate civil operations, even beyond its routine watch hours,” Mahajan said.

He said that many ALGs are either being revived or extended by the IAF in Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a 1,080 km border with China.

“ALGs at Zero, Pasighat, Along and Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh are ready for operations by IAF and civilian operators.”
27/09/16 India Live Today

Jet Airways, Air France-KLM JV plans to boost Schiphol airport's India traffic share

Schiphol airport, which competes with hubs in Europe and the Gulf, is set to garner a larger pie of India's international traffic as Jet Airways prepares to expand its commercial partnership with Air France-KLM.

Passenger traffic between India and Amsterdam grew 56 per cent in the first eight months of 2016 on a year-on-year basis and is expected to get a big boost with Jet Airways negotiating a joint-venture pact with the two European airlines.

"In 2015 the total traffic volume from Amsterdam to India was 247,000 passengers. In 2014, it was 366,000, but with Delta Air Lines stopping the Amsterdam-Mumbai route, total passenger numbers dropped in 2015," said a spokesperson of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

The airport did not disclose airline-specific passenger figures but said that in eight months till August, traffic to India rose 56 per cent to over 250,000 passengers. "For sure the total amount in 2016 will surpass previous years," the spokesperson said and added that growth of traffic from India was amongst the highest in comparison with other countries.
27/09/16 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

After lizard, now stale food puts Air India in a soup

After Air India reportedly served lizard to a flyer on one of its international flights last year, you would think serving stale food is still less cringeworthy. The country's apex consumer commission, however, doesn't think so. It has rapped the country's national carrier for its bad service, and has asked it to pay Rs 1 lakh (you heard it right) to a passenger who travelled in its Mumbai-New York flight.
A bench of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, headed by Justice Ajit Bharihoke, said the "nature of deficiency in service" could have affected the "health of several passengers". The Commission dismissed the revision petition filed by the airline and said, "We do not find any fault with the order of the State Commission enhancing compensation to Rs 1 lakh (from Rs 15,000)." It also upheld the award of Rs 10,000 as litigation cost by district forum.
Malti Madhukar Pahade had filed a complaint against the carrier for serving her stale food on her flight from Mumbai to New York. Pahade claimed that she also found a strand of hair in the rice bowl. The district forum had initially asked the airline to pay her a compensation of Rs 15,000.
However, a subsequent hearing by the Maharashtra State Consumer Commission saw the compensation amount getting revised to `1 lakh. The commision increased the compensation on the ground that the passenger could have gone without food during the entire journey, which is not advisable during a long flight.
27/09/16 Business Today

Vistara to operate 530 flights per week by year end

Domestic full service carrier Vistara on Tuesday said it plans to operate 530 flights per week by year end with the induction of its 13th aircraft, which is expected to be delivered to the airline next month.
The city-based airline, Vistara, in which Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines own 51 per cent and 49 per cent stake, respectively, currently operates 430 weekly flights to 17 destinations with a fleet of 12 Airbus A320 planes.
"We have inducted the 12th aircraft in the fleet last week, and the 13th aircraft will be delivered to us in the third week of October. With this, we will be operating 530 flight per week by this year end," Vistara Chief Strategy Commercial Officer Sanjiv Kapoor said.
As part of its fleet expansion plans, Vistara will induct 20 aircraft -- 13 Airbus A230 and another seven Airbus A320 (neo) by June 2018.
Launched in January 2015, the airline currently holds 2.4 per cent market share.
He said the airlines will also introduce its flight services to Port Blair from September 30, which would be the airlines 18th destination.
On the on-going low fare war, triggered by the national carrier Air India, which has dropped its last-minute ticket prices, airline chief executive officer Phee Teik Yeoh said that "such pricing is not sustainable."
27/09/16 PTI/Business Today

First flight under RCS likely in January: Civil Aviation Minister

Government expects the first flight under the regional air connectivity scheme, which is in advanced stages of finalisation, to take off in early January 2017, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said.
The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which seeks to provide air services between un-served and under-served areas, is part of larger plans to boost the domestic aviation sector, which is clocking over 20 per cent passenger growth.
Raju, under whose stewardship the civil aviation policy was announced in June, said work is at an advanced stage with respect to RCS.
"We expect the first flight under RCS to take off by the end of this year or early January 2017," he told PTI.
The civil aviation ministry has already signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with various states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, for implementation of RCS.
The scheme refers to operation of an air transport service between any two airports, of which at least one has been declared by the central government as un-served or under-served.
There are 394 un-served and 16 under-served airports.
Last week, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said as many as 20 un-utilised airports are ready to start operations for regional flights.
A slew of incentives are being proposed under RCS, including Rs 2,500 cap on airfare for one-hour flights.
27/09/16 PTI/Business Today

Kothagudem may get new Greenfield Airport

Here is more good news for the people of Kothagudem. After finding a place in the proposed new districts’ list, Kothagudem, may get a new Greenfield Airport as well.

The Steering Committee of Greenfield Airports gave clearance to Kothagudem Greenfield Airport along with three other airports. The committee headed by secretary, Civil Aviation (MOCA) in New Delhi considered the four new airports projects. “The committee recommended ‘in principle‘ approval to three projects in AP while recommended for ‘site clearence to the project of Kothagudem in Telangana,” an official release said. Kothagudem is the second Greenfield Airport after the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad which is 240 km away from Kothagudem. The district administration has aquired 1,500 acres land at Punuguduchelaka village in Kothagudem mandal for the airport.

Kothagudem airport will become viable as there is no airport close to Khammam. The famous Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple at Bhadrachalam considered next to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is thronged by tourists from north India. Also, the presence of SSCL, paper mills, heavy water plant and other industries will utilise the airport services. Proposal for establishing a Greenfield airport at Kothagudem got a fillip when the Telangana Government asked RITES Limited to undertake further stages of project.
27/09/16 The New Indian Express

Chandigarh: Airport facilities irk passengers as IndiGo starts flight to Dubai

The city may have added more flights to Dubai, however, passengers who landed in the airport are not too happy with the facilites available there.
On Monday, IndiGo started its direct flight to Dubai, two weeks after Air India started operating its flights to Sharjah. The IndiGo Dubai-Chandigarh-Dubai flight will operate daily.
The first IndiGo flight with 90 passengers from Dubai touched down at 10.40 am, 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled time, and left at 4.10 pm with 127 passengers on board.
A senior IndiGo official told Chandigarh Newsline that the overall response was good. “All the operating captains of the flight were from Chandigarh,” said an official.
But those who arrived said that the facilities at the airport needs to be upgraded.
“The flight landed much before the scheduled time. But, it took us one hour to come out of the airport as the transfer of baggage was very slow. I am happy that we have a direct flight. But, the facilities disappointed me,” said Darshan Singh, a resident of Chandigarh.
27/09/16 Adil Akhzer/The Indian Express

Articles worth Rs 2 crore seized at Kolkata airport

Customs authorities seized smuggled goods valued at around Rs 2 crore at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport in Kolkata, an official said on Tuesday.

On Monday, articles were intercepted from 15 passengers travelling from Bangkok, Dubai and Singapore to the city.
27/09/16 India Live Today

Singapore man detained at Chennai Airport with foreign currency

A Singapore-bound air passenger was detained here for allegedly trying to carry foreign currency worth about Rs 18 lakh, airport officials said today.
The passenger from Chennai was found carrying American and British currencies in his hand baggage by Customs last night, they said.
27/09/16 Avinash Nandakumar/India Live Today

CIAL meeting to consider payment of 25% dividend

The 22nd annual general body meeting of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), being held here on Tuesday, is expected to approve, among other things, the induction of new members of the Board of Directors as well as the proposal to pay 25 per cent dividend for the last financial year.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is the chairman of CIAL, will preside at the meeting scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the Fine Arts Society Hall.

There are 18,200 shareholders in CIAL in 36 countries. It is the first airport in the country to come up in the private-public partnership mode. The company achieved a profit of Rs.175 crore during the last financial year and the proposal is for dividend payment of 25 per cent. The company had a total turnover of Rs.524 crore during the last financial year. With the dividend of 25 per cent for the last fiscal, the total dividend payment from CIAL will stand at 153 per cent from 2003-04.
27/09/16 The Hindu

Trichy passengers held up for 12 hrs as flight develops snag

One hundred and twenty five passengers were stranded for more than 12 hours in Trichy in the early hours of Monday after an Air India Express flight developed a snag. The Singapore-bound passengers had to wait at the Trichy International Airport for many hours as the flight did not arrive at the scheduled time. Subsequently, they were accommodated in a private hotel in the city.
According to sources from the Trichy airport, the passengers were waiting to board the flight after completing customs and immigration procedures.
27/09/16 The Times Of India

Check-in counters inadequate at airport

The checking of vehicles after passing through the toll gate, single entry and the inadequate check-in counters at the Visakhapatnam International Airport are sometimes resulting in passengers missing their flights.

Many a time checking of vehicles is being done after the toll gate and this is taking around 15 minutes and passengers have to wait in queue at the entry gate for their turn to enter the airport for another 15 minutes. The check-in is taking a long time and many a time passengers are complaining of having missed their flights, says a travel agent.

Domestic passengers are asked to report 45 minutes before the departure of their flight and when 30 minutes is lost before the entry of the passenger into the airport, the anxiety of passenger can well be imagined. He calls for an increase in the check-in counters and taking steps to reduce the waiting time at the airport.

Manthri Radharani and her relatives waited at the Rajahmundry Railway Station a couple of weeks ago to return to Duvvada by the Simhadri Express, which was supposed to arrive at Rajahmundry at 1.15 p.m. The train was delayed by nearly one-and-a-half hours and they had no inkling about the reason for the delay.
27/09/16 The Hindu

Air India ups sourcing from KVIC, places order for khadi soaps

National carrier Air India continues to increase its sourcing from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), with the latest order coming in for supplying soaps, according to a commission statement.
Air India has placed a big order for supplying 5.75 lakh khadi soap cakes at a cost of Rs 45 lakh with the commission, KVIC said today, adding the latest order from the airline will generate around 20,000 extra man hours for the Khadi workers.
In June, Air India had placed an order worth Rs 8 crore with KVIC to source 1.85 lakh units of amenity kits which are distributed to the First and Business class passengers on the airlines’s international routes.
The kits includes Khadi hand sanitisers, moisturiser lotions, lemongrass, handmade soaps, lip balms, rose face wash, essential oils etc.
Earlier in December 2015, Air India placed a trial order worth Rs 1.21 crore from the KVIC to supply 25,000 units of amenity kits which was successfully supplied in a record time of 40 days.
26/09/16 PTI/The Financial Express

Jet Airways enhances connectivity to North America and Europe with new flight schendule to Paris

Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, will offer seamless connectivity to North America and Europe over Paris, as part of its revised winter schedule, along with its partners Air France and Delta Air Lines.

Effective October 30th, 2016, flight 9W 124 from Mumbai to Paris will depart at 0250 hrs IST and arrive at 0820hrs local time, while on the return leg, 9W 123, will depart Paris at 1130hrs local time and land in Mumbai at 0045 hrs IST the following day.

As a result of the revised timings, guests will now be able to connect to 25 European and more than 10 North American cities over Paris. Some of the popular destinations in Europe include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Nice, Oslo, Prague, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Zurich.
27/09/16 Theodore Koumelis/Travel Daily News

Finally, tricity connected to Dubai

With the taking off of the IndiGo Airlines 180-seater Airbus A-320 at its scheduled departure time, 4.05 pm from the international airport here, direct air connection with Dubai was established today.
The airbus, carrying 127 passengers on board, departed from here amidst much fanfare following a brief ceremony. The ceremony witnessed the lighting of a traditional lamp and cutting of cake by the IndiGo associate vice-president Vijay Matta and Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar. Some of the passengers were also offered rose buds by the IndiGo staff
The direct and non-stop flight took 3.30 hours to reach its destination at 7.35 pm (IST). Earlier, the same flight, which departed from Dubai this morning with 90 passengers on board, reached here at 11.10 am today. Then it left for New Delhi at 12 pm from here and returned at 2.45 pm.
26/09/16 The Tribune