Saturday, July 23, 2016

Air India set to start domestic 'same day return flights' for Rs 5000

New Delhi: National carrier Air India has announced that it will be providing "unbeatable metros fare" to domestic passengers willing to return the same day from Monday.

In aviation industry there is huge fare war and Air India wants to beat all airlines and attract passengers through lowest fares.


Speaking to ANI, S Venkat, Air India Finance Advisor, said, "We are going to introduce new scheme for our all passengers who want to return same day flights in metro cities. Fares will be minimum Rs 5,000 and maximum Rs 10,000."

"This is very attractive fare for all passengers. I am sure this scheme will attract the flyers as the fare is affordable. Earlier, we had launched "equal to Rajdhani fare" schem, which had received good response. Now, we are launching the special fare scheme," he added.
23/07/16 ANI/Business Standard

Government is attempting to take the fuss out of flying – but airlines won't let the plan take off

India might be the fastest developing economy in the world but 98% of the country’s citizens have never been inside an aircraft. The Narendra Modi government is trying to change that. Apart from connecting remote locations with aircrafts, the air travel regulator has been ushering new policies that will make it more attractive for travellers to fly.

These policies range from faster redressal of complaints to lower charges levied on excess baggage or cancellation. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation which acts as a regulator for the aviation sector in India recently introduced a new civil aviation policy and has mandated that airlines follow its new passenger-centric rules.

Behind these rules is the philosophy that airline operators shouldn’t harass or extort money from travellers in the name of extra charges – something that even the so-called budget airlines have resorted to do. DGCA has taken a stand and mandated that airlines will be charged harsher penalty than before on cancellation or delays of flights.

For instance, about 1% of all domestic flights in the country are cancelled each year, causing great inconvenience to customers and a financial drain for the operator. In 2015, Jet Airways paid Rs 3 crore in compensation to passengers while Air India ended up paying a hefty Rs 13 crore. Now, this amount will go up substantially.
Starting August 1, airlines will have to shell out upto Rs 10,000 per passenger on cancellation or delay in a flight beyond two hours. Moreover, carriers that deny boarding permission to passengers will have to pay Rs 20,000 in damages to the passenger.

These measures are not only aimed at providing customers with fair compensation but could also end up enforcing discipline amongst the carriers. Over the three month period between March to May, almost one in five domestic flights was delayed.

The ratio was even higher for state-owned operator Air India which saw 25% of its flights failing to reach on-time, according to data collected at the four metro airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
23/07/16 Scroll.in

Missing IAF AN-32: Air Sorties Called Off Due to Low Visibility

Aircraft & choppers launched for search and rescue(SAR) operations for the missing IAF AN-32 plane have returned to Tambaram air base, Chennai due to low visibility.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived in Chennai on Saturday to monitor search operations for the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft. He boarded an aircraft from Chennai’s Tambaram airport for an aerial survey of the operation.
He was briefed on the search operations at INS Rajali, the Naval Air station.
The search operations are still on but have yielded no result yet.
18 naval and Indian coast guard ships have also been deployed in respective search areas. Various aircrafts including P8I, C130 and Dorniers are attempting to locate the missing aircraft.
The aircraft went missing on Friday, en route from Chennai’s Tambaram airport to Port Blair. It was supposed to land at Port Blair at 11:30, but authorities reportedly lost contact with the aircraft at 8:46 am.
More than six aircrafts and 17 ships had been deployed on Friday for search and rescue operations. Among the 29 passengers on board were 11 navy personnel, three Air Force pilots, two pilots, a coast guard, and eight civilians from the Andaman Nicobar Command.
23/07/16 Suhasini Krishnan/The Quint

There’s still hope for those on missing AN-32

The disappearance of the IAF transport aircraft over the Bay of Bengal on a flight to the Andaman Islands could turn into a tragedy for the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard personnel on board if the rescue efforts do not bear fruit. With no debris in sight yet on Saturday, there was hope yet of miraculous survival and the search circle, involving planes, ships and a submarine, has been widened to cover parts of the Indian Ocean too. However, most recent experiences with aircraft going off the radar while flying over the sea have proved to be exasperating hunts for a needle in a haystack. In fact, the announcement that the three-nation (Malaysia, Australia and China) search for Flight MH370, which went mysteriously off course on March 8, 2014, has been virtually given up after scanning around 1,10,000 sq. km of ocean and spending around Rs 900 crore.

The Antonov-32 has been the workhorse of the IAF, serving in remote places and boasting a very good aviation record since this is only the third possible mishap reported in about 32 years of operations, the previous two having occurred seven years ago. This particular aircraft was, however, somewhat suspect as three faults had been reported in July alone. But, being an aircraft upgraded recently in trouble-torn Ukraine, which is in conflict with Russia, where planes of this “bullock cart” fleet have to go for refitting, the IAF may have been betting on its airworthiness to send it on the long haul to the Andamans, a strategic tri-services base of immense importance to India. Notwithstanding the financial difficulties of replacing ageing fleets and the bureaucratic tangles involved in selection, it stands to reason that the more remote the areas served, the more efficient must be the fleet.
23/07/16 Deccan Chronicle

The AN-32, and its history of accidents

New Delhi: An Antonov(AN)-32 plane belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF) went missing+ on Friday en route from Tambaram, near Chennai, to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Neither the aircraft - which had suffered three technical snags earlier in the month - nor the 29 people on board have been found yet. But if it has met with an accident, it won't have been the first time for the AN-32 model+ .

The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) lists 77 occurences in its accident list for the AN-32. Citing a number of sources including news reports, the ASN's website lists at least one accident in every year since 1986 except 1991, 2012 and 2013. 15 of the 77 accidents were suffered by aircraft operated by the IAF, with a total known casualty count of over 50.
The deadliest of these accidents happened in Delhi on March 1999, when an IAF Antonov plane crashed into a concrete water tank in Pappankalan while approaching the runway of Indira Gandhi International Airport. The crash killed the 18 passengers and 4 crew members as well as 3 people on the ground, and left the aircraft "damaged beyond repair", says the website.
More than a decade later, another IAF AN-32 crashed in the mountains near Rinchi village in Arunachal Pradesh, killing the seven IAF crew members and six Indian Army personnel on board, ASN adds.
ASN data show that other lethal accidents occured near Boothgarh in Ludhiana in 1992, in the Ponmudi mountain range in 1990, near Jamnagar in 1986, and near Jammu, also in 1986.
23/07/16 Ganesh Kumar Radha Udayakumar/Times of India

At Mumbai airport, flights rarely on time, Air India most delayed

Mumbai: Domestic airlines from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai clocked the worst on-time performance (OTP) in April and May in comparison to other metro airports in the country, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Air India suffered the most — less than 70 per cent in the OTP results for scheduled domestic airlines. According to DGCA data, as many as 43,827 affected passengers of Air India were compensated with Rs 72.58 lakh when domestic flights were delayed for more than two hours across the country.
A total of 3,143 passengers were affected due to Air India flight cancellations and 379 were denied boarding, the highest among domestic airlines.
Air India complies with the Route Dispersal Guidelines, which ensures there is no monopoly in popular sectors and encourages carriers to provide access to all parts of the country including the Northeast. According to the OTPs of scheduled domestic airlines complying with Route Dispersal Guidelines, Air India’s OTP was 66.5 per cent for May and 69.7 per cent for April. DGCA data indicated “reactionary” reasons relating to airport concerns, problems with the Air Traffic Control (ATC), weather, technical and passenger issues as reasons for the delays.
However, the data observed that infrastructure issues at the airport, in terms of parking and congestion, was the major reason causing the delays of Air India. “Air India was able to achieve a decent punctuality record of more than 75 per cent in all the other metro airports of the country. However, with CSIA, the infrastructure issues and limited parking slots are the major reasons for the delay caused. Also, we have to manage almost 50-60 flights on a daily basis from Mumbai. Thus, adjusting passengers to a big aircraft with more seating capacity also takes time,” said a spokesperson from Air India.
23/07/16 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express

Air India Jul 2016

Twenty-nine Air India employees, including six airhostesses, will soon join the national carrier in the cockpit as pilots. These employees, currently working as cabin crew, aircraft engineers and dispatchers have got the rare opportunity to fly aircraft thanks to Air India chairman Ashwini Lohani's idea of grooming in-house talent.

These 29 who will soon receive their letters of intent (LOI) and join as trainee pilots on a five-year contract, qualified the technical knowledge test held on July 2.

In a letter informing them of their successful selection, Vikas Gupta, senior manager (personnel), said that the candidates would now undergo an endorsement course before joining the cockpit.

Of the 29, eight are deputy chief cabin crew members, 14 are senior cabin crew members, one is a senior aircraft engineer and two are from flight dispatch. An assistant manager in the commercial department will also be joining the national carrier as a trainee pilot.

Air India officials informed that a similar practice of grooming employees like loaders, baggage handlers, and cabin crew to become pilots was initiated by Malaysiabased budget airline, AirAsia's Tony Fernandes.
23/07/16  Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror 

Aviation on cusp of vertical take-off

When real estate tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani of the Hiranandani Group was asked during a seminar organied by Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) four years back to talk on "what needs to be done to bailout the Indian aviation industry", the businessman was quick to reminisce his early days when he had to call someone in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) for cancelling and rescheduling of his air ticket.
"It used to be a huge task then for even trivial things like booking or cancelling an air ticket," Niranandani said.

"The industry has certainly come a long way since the pre-liberalisation days. I can recollect during those days people would literally beg for getting plane seats, especially during emergency situations," said Devesh Agarwal, a Bengaluru-based aviation expert and blogger.

Speaking to dna, Agarwal, a frequent flier, recounts as how when his grandfather took seriously ill during early 1990s, his father drove all the way to Chennai during the night (roughly about six hours) to catch flight next morning from Chennai.

"There were hardly three flights from Bangalore then." he said. "Also, these fares then used to cost a bomb as a result of which it was away from reach of common man."
Experts say the industry has since then come a long way with flights lined up every few hours on most major and non-major routes. With India's GDP forecast to grow at around 7.5% in FY2017, aviation industry consultant CAPA expects double-digit traffic growth of around 8-10% for international and close to 15% for domestic sectors. This would result in international traffic increasing to 54-55 million passengers and domestic traffic to around 80 million. Domestic traffic could rise higher if airlines engage in extended periods of aggressive pricing. The number of fliers was about 7.27 million passengers in 1994-95.
23/07/16 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

Make my trip asked to pay Rs 38k for booking wrong tickets by Bhopal consumer forum

Bhopal: Travel company, Make my trip slapped with fine of Rs 38, 054 for booking wrong tickets, Bhopal Consumer Dispute redressal forum. Incidentally, Bal Mukund Namdev and Shashikant Namdev were supposed to travel from Jammu to New Delhi, on March 10, 2011, but the company booked March 6, 2011, four days prior, tickets for them.
They had to sell their jewellery on spot to arrange the tickets in emergency.
Denying the offer of company to have a free air travel opportunity for two, as compensation, they choose to drag them to consumer court.
Namdevs have booked their ticket via company portal on February 2, 2011 from Bhopal to New Delhi and Delhi to Jammu for March 6, 2011, from Jet airways and returning tickets were scheduled for March 10, but when he reached the airport and presented tickets for boarding passes, then they were told that their name is not in the list of passengers and their returning ticket by the company was booked on March 6, 2011 with PNR number L69UHQ. They can be given tickets on spot if they can pay the amount of Rs 5,504.
After returning from journey with a horrible experience, they sent a notice to company on March 22, 2011 for mental harassment. Replying back on June 6, 2011, taking the notice lightly, they offered Namdevs a free trip for two. Ultimately they had to go to consumer court.
23/07/16 Aditi Gyanesh/Times of India

Air India told to pay Rs 2 lakh compensation to EOW chief

Mumbai: The state consumer grievance redressal forum on Thursday directed Air India (AI) to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to city economic offences wing (EOW) chief Pravin Salunke four years after he sued the national carrier for £50,000 (around Rs 39 lakh), accusing it of inhuman treatment, flying with an underqualified pilot and providing false information. On November 16, 2011, over 30 senior IPS officers boarded flight AI 131 to the UK for a two-week mid-career training, said Salunke, then DIG with CBI's anti-corruption wing, Mumbai region. Minutes before the plane was to land at Heathrow Airport, it was diverted to Gatwick; the pilot announced the diversion was due to bad weather. But Salunke said as one of the pilots did not have category-3 licence, Heathrow Airport authorities did not allow the flight to land and diverted it to Gatwick. "We was stranded for more than 12 hours at Gatwick," said the 1995-batch IPS officer, adding that he suffers from hypertension and has to take medicines, but he was forced to stay inside the plane along with other flyers, without food or water. Also, when they complained, the crew called the police. Salunke sued the airline in January 2012.
23/07/16 Mateen Hafeez/Times of India

Medical drill at RGIA

The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL) conducted its annual HAZMAT (Hazardous Material) emergency exercise at Cargo Apron of Hyderabad Airport in collaboration with Blue Dart, Apollo Hospitals, Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services Dept.

The session was simulated by using a live aircraft with dummy causalities. The exercise was a proactive preventive measure which is designed to help the Emergency Response team of the Airport practice handling of Hazardous Material incidents.
23/07/16 Hans India

Airport devpt: Collector seeks legal opinion on FRA certificate

Kolhapur: The district collector has sought the opinion of legal experts on whether a Forest Rights Act certificate (FRA) is necessary to acquire land for the airport's expansion.
The project office of the integrated tribal development agency had said that the FRA certification is not necessary for the pending airport proposal.
The airport needs some 10 hectares of forest land from Gadmudshingi village. Before its acquisition, a certificate is necessary to ascertain that no violations have been committed under the act. The agency had said that as there have been no such cases, the FRA certificate is not necessary.
District collector Amit Saini, who also heads the district aviation committee set up to clearing the pending issues of the airport, however has sought legal opinion to clarify the issue.
"I need legal opinion because it is a tricky issue and I need to check all sides before going ahead for commencement of the airport. Generally, the state commissioner for tribal development issues a certificate regarding Forest Rights Act violations. In Kolhapur's case, I need to check whether the certificate from the agency would be sufficient. If yes, then we can go ahead and speed up the procedure of land acquisition. If I need to obtain a certificate from the tribal commissioner, I will have to initiate communication accordingly," Saini said.
23/07/16 Nikhil Deshmukhi/Times of India

Kolkata AirPort App Introduced

Kolkata: As part of better air passenger facilities, the NSCB International airport has recently started Kolkata AirPort App which can be downloaded.

This App will help in providing the information about the following - Actual flight information, Transport facilities in airport, Lost and found item details, Duty free and Retail shopping information - an Airports Authority of India release said on Friday night.

The information will also be regarding cargo, immigration, customs and airport security.
23/07/16 PTI/NDTV

Ahmedabad airport runway likely to begin operation from Oct 5

Resurfacing work on the runway at the city airport, which started from April 16, is likely to be completed by September end and it will be thrown open for full utilization by October 5. The resurfacing work has limited the operation of the airport only in the mornings and evenings creating congestion and problems galore for passengers. At present, no flights are operated between 10 am and 6 pm.
Runway resurfacing work has been creating chaos and many problems for fliers, as limited flying hours lead to long queues at every check point so much so that there not even enough chairs for passengers in the departure lounge. It also leads to parking problems outside the airport. Airports Authority of India had taken permission to resurface the runway in a span of 12 months and the permission was granted and runway work started from April 16 2016. Airport director A K Sharma said, "We have completed at least 85% of work on 3.5 km runway and are ahead of schedule. It would be tough to give date as a lot of work depends on monsoon, But we will open runway much before deadline."
Ahmedabad airport handles over 90 scheduled flights every day. At present these are handled in 16 hours instead of 24. AAI is under pressure to start runway by October first week in time to meet peak traffic of Navratri and Diwali. October to December is also the period when several NRIs return home. This will be followed by Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017 in January.
23/07/16 Ahmedabad Mirror

MH370 pilot 'practised flying suicide mission on flight simulator weeks before the airliner disappeared on same route'

The captain of missing flight MH370 practised crashing into the Indian Ocean on a simulator weeks before his plane disappeared, confidential police documents reveal.
The documents show that captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah practised flying across remote sections of the ocean until his plane ran out of fuel.
It suggests the disappearance of MH370 was not an accident, but a mass suicide meticulously planned by the pilot, New York magazine reported.
The route he practised on the simulator took him out of Kuala Lumpur before heading south over the remote expanse of the Indian Ocean.
It is a route eerily similar to the one investigators believe the plane flew before it vanished in March 2014.
The simulator data was gleaned from a computer by the FBI and used by the Malaysian Police during their investigation into the incident.
However, the findings were withheld from the public when police released their latest official report last March.
Before the flight vanished it is understood Mr Shah had been distracted and withdrawn as he dealt with the break-up of his marriage.
Speaking in 2014 about the mystery, the wife and daughter of Mr Shah said the 53-year-old pilot had been desolate in the weeks before the aircraft's disappearance – and refused pleas to attend marriage counselling sessions.
Three weeks after they split the plane went missing, with some investigators suggesting it was a deliberate and desperate ploy by Mr Shah.
On Friday officials from Malaysia, China and Australia said the search would be suspended if the aircraft was not found by December.
In a joint statement released to next of kin, joint ministers from the three countries said hopes of finding the plane were fading.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said: 'In the absence of new evidence, Malaysia, Australia and China have collectively decided to suspend the search upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometer (46,332 sq mile) search area.
'Should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given in determining next steps.'
At the announcement ministers also downplayed claims they had been searching for the plane in the wrong area for the past two years.
Investigators at a Dutch company leading the underwater hunt have said they believed the plane may have glided down with a pilot at the controls rather than dived in its final moments.
If this were the case, it would drastically alter the position where the aircraft is predicated to have landed in the ocean.
23/07/16 Steven Trask/Daily Mail

Anti-hijacking mock drill conducted at city airport

Patna: A full scale anti-hijacking mock drill was conducted at the Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport here on Saturday.
Airport director Rajendar Singh Lahauria said the air traffic control (ATC) raised an alarm of hijacking around 10:45am after which state's principal secretary (home) Amir Subhani and other senior government officials were informed and they rushed to the airport soon.
He said IG (special branch) J S Gangwar, IG (Patna zone) Naiyar Husnain Khan, IG (ATS) Sunil Kumar Jha, DIG (central range) Shalin, SSP (Patna) Manu Maharaaj, CISF commandant (airport) Dharmaveer Yadav and several other state government officials were inside the anti-hijacking control room of the airport to deal with the situation.
CISF commandant Yadav said it was for the first time that linguists and psychiatrists were also called in the control room as a mandatory part of the airport committee which get activated with the presence of state home secretary and other officials at the anti-hijacking control room which also contains a hotline. "Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Tamil, French and some other linguists were part of the committee for the first time," said Yadav, adding that altogether seven linguists were present during Saturday's drill to communicate with hijackers.
23/07/16 Debashish Karmakar/Times of India

2 cleaners arrested for theft on IndiGo flight

New Delhi: After a complaint filed by the IndiGo Air, the Delhi police arrested two cleaners who allegedly stole valuable merchandise from a flight that landed at Delhi’s IGI Airport on Tuesday morning.
“IndiGo Flight 6E-728 arrived from Ahmedabad to Delhi at 8 am on Thursday at Bay 2. After immediate disembarkation of the arrival passengers, the cleaners went inside for cleaning purposes. However, the airline security official who was present in the flight noticed their suspicious activities,” said an airport official. “Later during their frisking it was found that the accused, Nihal Kumar, and his cleaner supervisor Rohit Kumar Gupta possessed stolen merchandise hidden in a blue garbage bag,” said the official.
The flight trolley, which should have had the seized merchandise items, was immediately checked by the security staff and its seal was found broken and the items were missing. The missing items were found in the garbage bag in possession of the two accused.
The security staff later handed over both the accused to the Delhi police for further investigation. The police has filed a case against the two cleaners under Sections 379/411/134 IPC.
23/07/16 Asian Age

Friday, July 22, 2016

Now pay Rs.300 extra per kg for excess baggage on flights

Following the central government's directive to rationalise excess baggage, three domestic carriers namely Indigo, GoAir and AirAsia India have raised the excess baggage fee rate for passengers.
The three airlines will now charge Rs. 300/kg extra for carrying excess baggage over and above the 20kg baggage allowance, The Hindu reported. Earlier, these carriers were charging Rs. 250 per kg for extra baggage. Most of the domestic airlines allow passengers to carry 15-kg of check-in baggage free of cost. However, government-owned Air India however, allows passengers to check-in with 25 kgs.
"Passengers carrying more than 20 kg bags will have to bear the burden of those carrying less than 20 kg. The airlines have been forced to cross subsidise due to the government's regulation," Dr. Anurag Jain, an aviation consultant said.
At present most of the domestic airlines in India allow passengers to carry 15 kgs of check-in luggage and addition seven kgs as hand baggage (women can additionally carry a purse). Some of the airlines also offer passengers the choice of buying additional baggage, while booking their air tickets.
For example GoAir allows passengers to pre-book up to 10 kgs extra baggage (over and above the 15kg) by paying Rs. 2,000. However if the same passenger checked in 10 kgs extra at the check-in counter at the airport then the passenger would have shell out Rs. 3,000.
22/07/16 Kalyani Pandey/IBTimes

Surtis hope private airlines to be positive about city's air links

Surat: High-flying Surtis are pinning their hopes on private airlines to give a positive feedback by July 29 on their future plans on connecting Surat airport with other destinations in the country.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation had convened a meeting of private airlines, citizen groups from Surat and Members of Parliament from Navsari and Surat to discuss the air connectivity issue on Wednesday.
Usha Padhee, joint secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, asked the airlines to submit their views on Surat and their plans for starting flight operations from the city during the meeting held in New Delhi.
'Member of We Want Working Airport at Surat' (WWWAS) Sanjay Jain, who was present in the meeting, said, "The meeting ended on a positive note with the joint secretary appealing to the private airlines to do whatever they can to provide air connectivity to the vibrant city of Surat. The private airlines have been asked to submit their views in writing by July 29."
22/07/16 Times of India

Jet Airways and YouTooCanRun partner to promote running events across India

Mumbai: Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline along with YouTooCanRun Sports Management Pvt Ltd, the nation’s premier ‘mass participation endurance events’ service provider, announced their partnership to promote fitness through running events across India.

YouTooCanRun, as part of its RACES offering, provides a fully featured workflow and back office support solution. As part of the partnership, Jet Airways will offer registered participants the best fares for that sector, when they sign up for events hosted on the YouTooCanRun RACES platform.

Jet Airways offers this privilege to athletes travelling by air to the race destination, valid from two days preceding and until two days following, the event date. This special fare structure is available to runners immediately after registering for the endurance event on YouTooCanRun platform.

This partnership with YouTooCanRun will ensure that Jet Airways is established as the official ‘Airline Partner’, amongst race organisers, at the former’s running events. This will benefit Race organisers from increased participation in their events. Similarly, registered runners will benefit by getting to participate in more events, while enjoying a five day window at the race destination.
22/07/16 India Infoline

Air India to make Pune as its base to ramp up Maharashtra connectivity

Mumbai: According to a report by Shahkar Abidi, in The DNA, the non-availability of slots at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) may prompt Air India to use Pune as its base to ramp up the regional connectivity in Maharashtra, linking regions like Nanded, Amravati, Nashik and Shirdi. As part of its plan to develop civil aviation infrastructure in the state, the government has been holding meetings with the scheduled and unscheduled airlines. It has even envisaged a blueprint for the same, which is along the lines of the one recently released by the Central government.

“We may connect these cities may be by using Pune as our base and connecting it once with Mumbai. There is a severe shortage of slots availability at CSIA,” said Mukesh Bhatia, Regional Director (western region), Air India. Mumbai’s CSIA has almost reached its saturation level. The state has 28 airports and airstrips, of which four are under construction or proposed, two are private and one is not in use.
22/07/16 TravelBizMonitor

AAI to hold talks with State govt. on greenfield airport

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been taking steps to revive the plan for implementing Sriperumbudur Greenfield airport for the city.

Airport director Deepak Shastri said, “We have been trying to approach the State government and plan to hold talks in this regard. The sooner the project starts, the better it is for the city. We really need this airport as the phase II too will become saturated in a few years. If we start making preparatory work for this project now, it will be convenient to manage the air traffic by the time it is complete.”

But sources say it may be difficult to implement it since many of the plots around the site have been de-notified now. This airport will span over 4,800 acres and is estimated to cost Rs. 20,000 crore.

At present, the city airport handles about 400 aircraft movements a day and this will substantially increase by 2020, say sources. Same is the case with the air traffic too. Unless the Greenfield project is implemented soon, it may be quite difficult to handle the fast growing traffic, AAI sources said.
22/07/16 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Flocks of birds near RGIA pose threat to flights

Hyderabad: Are heaps of garbage dumped in the vicinity of Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad posing a threat to aviation safety? Airport authorities have expressed concern over the dumping of waste around the airstrip, which has been attracting scavenging birds. Flocks of birds flying around the airport pose serious threat to flight operations as they can hit the engine and damage the blades.

Airport officials had in a recent meeting urged government officials to remove garbage dumps near the airport.

In fact, an inspection revealed that a dumping site was situated close to the airport.
22/07/16 New Indian Express

IAF’s Tejas fails to reach Bhopal due to bad weather

Indian Air Force’s HAL Tejas, also known as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), could not land at Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal from Bengaluru due to bad weather conditions there. It was supposed to land here on Thursday. Tejas had to be sent to Leh airbase through Bhopal.

Bhopal Airport Director Akashdeep Mathur said, “Just because of bad weather, Indian Air Force Tejas could not take off from Bengaluru and it was to land in Bhopal today. Now situation will be clear within next couple of days and most probably, by Saturday.”

Tejas, India’s first home-grown fighter, has so far clocked well over 3,050 flight tests since its first prototype took to the skies in January 2001. Tejas, with a limited reach of just about 400 km, strikes deep into enemy territory. It will basically be used for “air defense” to take on incoming enemy fighters or “close air-to-ground” operations to support the Army.
22/07/16 Hitavada

IAF transport aircraft with 29 persons missing, search continues

Chennai/New Delhi: An AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 29 people on board went missing on Friday over the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast, and remained untraceable till evening despite a full-scale search and rescue mission.

Those on board included six crew members, 15 personnel from the IAF, army, navy and Coast Guard, and eight civilians who were family members of the personnel.

Eight of the passengers were employees of Naval Armament Depot (NAD) in Visakkhapatnam. Their families were worried over the fate of their loved ones and were anxiously waiting for some information from the ongoing search operations.

The aircraft, an upgraded AN-32 belonging to 33 Squadron, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 a.m., and was expected to land at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 11.30 a.m., officials said, describing it as a "routine sortie".

According to a report submitted to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, according to the recorded transcript of Chennai air traffic radar, last pickup was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai, when the aircraft was observed to have carried out a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.
22/07/16 IANS/Business Standard

IAF's AN-32 aircraft plunged from 23,000 feet before vanishing from radar, massive search on

New Delhi: A massive search and rescue operation is currently on in the Bay of Bengal to locate an Indian Air Force's AN-32 aircraft which went missing today morning with 29 people on board. The plane was on a routine weekly flight from Chennai to Port Blair.
According to reports, the missing AN-32 abruptly turned and plunged from 23,000 feet approximately 280-km out at sea from Chennai.
The plane took off from Chennai's Tambaram aircraft at about 8:00 am and was scheduled to land at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar islands at around 11:20 am. The plane's last known contact with the ground control was at 8:46 am after which it vanished from the radar screens.
The Indian Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard have launched a full scale search and rescue operation to locate the missing aircraft. The air force has deployed three aircraft, including a C-130J Super Hercules and four ships while the Navy has pressed several of its vessels into service. INS Karmukh, Gharial, Jyoti, Kuthar, Sahyadri, Rajput, Ranvijay, Kamorta, Kirch etc. are scanning the aircraft's flight route
22/07/16 Manjeet Singh Negi/India Today

Missing IAF An-32 aircraft: ‘Airforce must ground these 35 year old planes’

An Indian Air Force plane carrying 29 personnel, including six crew members, on board went missing Friday while making its way back to Port Blair from Chennai. The AN-32 aircraft was on a routine courier-run, and its Expected Time of Arrival at Port Blair was 11.30 am.
The AN-32 is a twin-engine aircraft and is primarily used as a cargo flight. In this case, tough, it had 29 people on board. It was reportedly on a routine weekly flight for Air Force personnel.
The aircraft reportedly went missing at 23,000 ft at 9.15 am. The plane was last spotted at 8.46 am according to Chennai ATC officials. The Indian Coast Guard, Navy and the IAF have launched an operation in the Bay of Bengal to locate the missing plane.
The Navy has involved a P8 I, and a Dornier aircraft as well as four ships — Karmukh, Gharial, Jyoti and Kuthar, that have been diverted to the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) at full speed.
Twitter reactions ranged from expressing sorrow over the news to lamenting the continued usage of AN-32 aircraft despite it being outdated.
22/07/16 Indian Express

Indian Air Force's AN-32 Missing: What May Have Gone Wrong

New Delhi: What went wrong with Indian Air Force's AN-32 on Friday that it suddenly dropped off the sky over the Bay of Bengal on its way to Port Blair from Chennai.
Sources said the plane was flying at a height of 23,000 feet - forty minutes after it took off from the Tamabaram airport at 8.30 am - when it took a sharp left turn and suddenly lost altitude. The last blip on the radar was at 9:12 am.
Experts told CNN-News18 that there were three possibilities, two of them not very likely.
Engine Failure: The AN-32 is a robust, twin engine aircraft, which can fly back to base if an engine fails. Even if both engines fail, it can glide and land on water giving the pilot enough time to send a distress call. So the possibility of an engine failure, according to experts, is unlikely.
Bad Weather: This too is unlikely as the weather around the area when the plane took off was not really bad. And even if the pilots suddenly ran into rough weather on their way, they coukd have send out a Mayday Call.
Techinical Failure: The most likely case, feel experts, is technical failure like the locking of control surface - rudder, ailerons, elevator- which would send the aircraft into an uncontrollable tailspin. Such a situation Would not allow any time for the pilot to send a distress call.
And there is another reason this could be the case - the missing AN-32 plane had reported at least three technical snags in the recent past.
On July 2, the plane reported sluggish throttle movement. On July 7, there was a hydraulic leak from the port wing. And on July 14, a pressure leak was reported from the port door. These problems were soon taken care of.
23/07/16 Karma Paljor/News18