Thursday, February 23, 2017

MoD approves 18 acres of land for Pune airport's expansion

Pune: In another move as part of the expansion of Pune airport at Lohegaon, the defence ministry approved 18 acres of land, as announced by defence minister Manohar Parrikar at a meeting in Delhi on Wednesday.

Earlier, the MoD had approved 15.84 acres of land for expansion and this was handed over to airport authorities on May 15, 2016. According to sources at the Airports Authority of India (AAI), “It is the part of another 30-acre plot, which will constitute phase II. The meeting was held with AAI officials and the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 13.”

When contacted Ajay Kumar, director of Pune airport, said, “The 18 acres of land were allocated considering the traffic at the airport. The AAI has already approved Rs 408 crore for a new terminal building equipped with high-tech infrastructure, to be built in a 35,000 sq m space.”
23/02/17 Pune Mirror

Navi Mumbai Airport: Full-fledged construction to begin after monsoon

Mumbai: While the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) led by GVK has won the bid to build the Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai Airport project, sources said full fledged construction work will likely begin only after monsoon. Sources indicated that the bidder may need 4-5 months’ time to make financial arrangements for the project.
Abhay Chautala Detained, Says Leaders Opposing SYL Canal Won’t Be Allowed To Enter Haryana

Last week, the GVK, which operates the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, won the bid by offering 12.60 per cent of the annual gross revenue generated by the airport to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), higher than the 10.44 per cent offered by GMR Airports Limited, which operates the Delhi International Airport.
Officials from the CIDCO said the Cabinet will soon take a decision about awarding the project to the successful bidder. “Since the code of conduct is likely to get over on February 23, the cabinet decision will happen anytime before the budget session of the state assembly,” said an official.
The official added that the financial closure of the bidding process will happen within 180 days.
23/02/17 Vishwas Waghmode/Indian Express

ICPA demands removal of Air India operations head

New Delhi: Air India pilots' union ICPA today sought removal of Captain A K Kathpalia, whose flying licence has been suspended by DGCA, as head of operations of the national carrier.

Earlier this month, aviation regulator DGCA suspended Kathpalia's flying licence for three months for skipping compulsory pre-flight medical test on several occasions.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said Kathpalia should not continue as Executive Director (operations) at Air India.

"The ED (operations) is overall responsible for the security and safety of all flight operations activities. A person who had wilfully broken the law of the land... Has no moral and legal standing to occupy the seat of ED Operations," ICPA said in a letter to Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani.
When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said the airline is yet to receive any such letter from ICPA so far.
23/02/17 Outlook

Air Asia flight to Malaysia from Odisha capital gets cheaper, booking starts

Bhubaneswar: The long wait to fly to Malaysia from Odisha capital at lower price is over now, as the Air Asia started booking for the tickets from today.
Three years after getting the international status, the international flight from Biju Patnaik International Airport to Malaysia is set to be operated from April 26.

“All you need is 4 hours, RM99 & the passion for adventure! Cause we’re now flying to #Bhubaneswar! Book now @ http://bit.ly/Tw_BBI”, tweeted Air Asia today.

The Air Asia offers lowest fare for flight from Bhubaneswar to Malaysia at cost of Rs 999 (all inclusive fare). The flight between Bhubaneswar and Malaysia will be operated four days a week. It will take around 3 hours to reach the destination from Bhubaneswar, official sources said.

The Bhubaneswar airport authority has also provided the permissions following Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to Air Asia.
23/02/17 Odisha Sun Times

After Spicejet, Indigo launches Rs 777 offer

New Delhi: After SpiceJet on Wednesday announced flat fares of Rs 777 on the domestic sector to woo more flyers in the lean season, Indigo too came out with a similar offer.

Indigo, the country's biggest airline, has announced 'See something new at Rs 777' offer. The all-inclusive fare of Rs 777 is applicable for booking tickets till 25 February for travel till 27 April.

This offer is valid on select sectors and select flights only. The lowest fare is available on Agartala-Guwahati and Srinagar-Chandigarh flights. Another low-fare offer is for Chennai-Hyderabad flight at Rs 999.

The offer is valid on bookings made 19 days prior to travel.
23/02/17 Economic Times

Return flights to India from Australia for $311

We've seen some cheap flights to India recently, but these fares start at the cheapest price we've ever seen for this route.

Fly from Perth to Cochin (the best airport for visiting serene and hippy-cool Kerala - pictured) from $311 return; fly from Sydney $417 return; Melbourne from $418 and Gold Coast from $424.

Flights to Delhi are available from $422 return.

Travel from March to August 2017, with many of the cheapest dates in Australian winter (June and July).

As a low-cost carrier, this price does not include extras such as checked baggage, on-board meals and in-flight entertainment. These can be purchased during the booking process for an additional fee.

AirAsia charges a $10 processing fee per flight per person on credit and debit card purchases. You can avoid this by paying with PayPal.
23/02/17 finder.com.au

India has no grounds to extradite me over Kingfisher Airlines row: Vijay Mallya

London: Vijay Mallya, the one-time billionaire who co-owns the Force India Formula One team, said on Wednesday that Indian authorities had no grounds to extradite him from Britain and he would not be leaving.

India wants Mallya to face trial after the liquor and aviation tycoon was charged with conspiracy and fraud over a loan to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. It said this month that it had asked Britain to extradite him.

Mallya, who has a base in London as well as a country home bought from the father of triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, moved to Britain last March after banks sued to recover some $1.4 billion the Indian authorities say is owed by Kingfisher.

The government-owned banks are trying to hold me personally responsible for the failure of India’s largest airline and to repay their debts," Mallya told Reuters in an interview at the launch of his team's 2017 car.

"I have a counter claim on them as well. That is in the judicial system right now," Mallya said.

"Recovery of loans made to a PLC is a purely civil matter. The central bureau of investigation, at the behest of the government, converted it into a criminal matter. And then charges of defrauding banks and money-laundering appeared.
23/02/17 Reuters/New Indian Express

Air India Moves Supreme Court Seeking Cut in Delhi Airport Charges

New Delhi: State-owned Air India Ltd on 24 January moved the Supreme Court seeking reduction in charges at Delhi airport, court documents showed.

In its petition, Air India said Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), run by GMR Infrastructure Ltd, is recovering Rs300 crore every month through these charges, and at this rate, by March 2019, it would have collected a total of Rs17,157.15 crore against the originally targeted Rs7,709.61 crore. This would be an excess collection of Rs9,447.54 crore over and above the target revenue, Air India said in its petition seen by Mint.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which includes IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Jet Airways, and controls nearly 90% of the domestic market share may support Air India, a person aware of the matter said, asking not to be named.

"In a nutshell, the airlines as well as the users have been fastened with a massive liability which otherwise is unwarranted in law due to operating stay (by Delhi High Court), without being afforded even an opportunity to be heard," the airline said.

Delhi airport, which was modernized for nearly Rs13,000 crore in 2010, recoups part of this amount by charging passengers and airlines. Domestic passengers departing from DIAL are charged about Rs564 while international passengers are charged Rs1,301. Airlines pay their share through higher landing, parking and aircraft housing charges.
23/02/17 AviationPros

No stamping of hand bags at seven airports

New Delhi:  Air travellers will no longer need to get their hand bag stamped with "security checked" at seven major airports- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Cochin.
In a major relief to flyers, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) Thursday issued an order doing away with stamping hand bag tags with "immediate effect." Issued with approval of BCAS chief Rajesh Kumar Chandra, the aviation security circular (4/2017) says, "The present system of stamping hand baggage tags at pre-embarkation security check points for seven airports... shall be dispensed with immediate effect."
The BCAS and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had carried out non stamping at several airports+ for domestic flyers late last year. That trial was done successfully and a final decision was to be taken after Republic Day.
The aviation ministry is keen to extend no-stampimg to more airports. The aim then is to stop stamping boarding cards too and take the next step to introduce biometric boarding.
23/02/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Ownership and control of AirAsia with Indians: DGCA to Delhi HC

New Delhi: The ownership and control of AirAsia India would remain with Indian nationals under its Brand Licensing Agreement (BLA) with its parent company, Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad, aviation regulator DGCA said on Thursday. The submission by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) before the Delhi High Court was made in response to the allegation of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) that as per the BLA, the ownership and control of the airline was with the foreign entity.
On FIA’s plea, the court had on November 11 last year asked DGCA to peruse the BLA between AirAsia India and AirAsia Berhad to determine who controls the low-cost carrier. The DGCA report said “based on the review of BLA along with provisions of Aircraft Rules 1937 and definition of control as provided in FDI policy, I do not find that the terms and conditions laid down in BLA dilute the substantial ownership and effective control of AirAsia India vested with Indian nationals.”
It also said that the “status of issuance of air operator permit (or flying licence) to AirAsia India does not change”. Meanwhile, AirAsia India opposed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s application to make R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and a member of the Board of AirAsia India Pvt Ltd, a party in the case.
23/02/17 PTI/Indian Express

Don't shift India's aeroshow out of Bengaluru

Bengaluru: The Aero India show started in 1996 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station near Bengaluru. With the growth of Indian economy and India becoming one of the largest buyers of military hardware, and also the growth of civil aviation, Aero India slowly grew in stature and reputation and is now acknowledged as Asia's largest airshow for civil and military aircraft. Bengaluru, with its brand image and aided by salubrious climate and home to many aerospace establishments like HAL, BEL, Isro, NAL, IISc, has become a backend design hub for aerospace industries like Airbus, Bombardier, GE and other international companies. It was the right place to attract aerospace investors into India, both for software and manufacturing as well as civil and military aviation. In 2009, Aero India attracted 592 exhibitions for static display as well as many foreign firms displaying their military jets, including the IAF, in dazzling aerobatics.
Unfortunately, due to politics of rivalry and ego clash between the defence and civil aviation ministers and their ministries and shortsighted vision, a few years ago, the civil aviation ministry felt it must have its own airshow independent of Aero India conducted by the IAF under the aegis of the defence ministry and shifted the civil part to the Hyderabad International Airport and, eventually now to the Delhi International Airport, thereby taking away the sheen off Aero India built assiduously over the years and denting the economics of both Bengaluru and Delhi shows. Aircraft manufacturers, already fatigued with too many airshows worldwide, have now scaled back their participation from India as was evident in the just-concluded airshow. Apart from hundreds of major air shows in the US and Europe, there are prominent shows in Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Australia. Airshows cost large sums of money and are also environmentally disastrous. Companies like Airbus and Boeing build air-conditioned chalets which are like luxurious resorts with plush carpets and furniture where business meetings are held and VIP customers are entertained over wine and gourmet food. All chalets built for airshows are destroyed at the end of the show.
23/02/17 GR Gopinath/Times of India

Unauthorised drones keep cops on their toes

Chennai: The strictures imposed by the police on flying of drones do not seem to have had much of a deterring effect on enthusiasts, who continue to pursue their hobby in the city and suburbs.

In 2015, the police banned the flying of drones after a 29-year-old resident of Foreshore Estate was arrested. The drone he was operating was fitted with cameras and had fallen on the roof of a service apartment in MRC Nagar.

The police said that the Director General of Civil Aviation was in the process of framing guidelines for the use of drones / unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by civilians. The aviation regulator was to issue operator permits and unique identification numbers to drones to enable air traffic controllers (ATCs) to track and identify any device in the sky at a height of 200 ft or more. But those operating drones would still require police permission, the police mandated.

Despite these restrictions, only a few days ago, four young men were rounded up by the police after they flew drones fitted with cameras over the Cooum and Chintadripet without police authorisation. They were let off with a warning after they told police officers that the drone was being used for a project as part of their academics.

Meanwhile, drones have become increasingly popular in Chennai. The devices are frequently used for video coverage of marriages and in temple festivals. In the weddings, drones are deployed by videographers for capturing visuals of guests arriving and then to pan the camera to other points such as the wedding hall and dais.
23/02/17 R. Sivaraman/The Hindu

200-ft-high flag post sans aviation obstacle lights

Aurangabad: In a major violation of air traffic safety rules, the authorities concerned have not yet put aviation obstacle lights on a 200-foot-high flag post at the historic Kala Chabutra near Kranti chowk.
The district administration, in association with the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture (CMIA), Swami Ramanand Tirth Sanshodhan Sansthan, an NGO, and other leading bodies of traders and industrialists, is developing the spot at a cost of about Rs 3 crore .
The yet-to-be illuminated flag post — tallest man-made structure in the city — was built about three to four months ago and poses a serious threat to aircraft and helicopters that regularly fly over the city.
Gupreet Singh Bagga, CMIA president, said all the required permissions for the flag post have been availed and that the lamps will be illuminated soon after getting a power connection. "It will be a 24x7 illuminated structure, but right now we do not have power backup at the spot," he told TOI on Tuesday.
22/02/17 Niraj Chinchkhede/Times of India

Dabolim’s new encroachers are a stone’s throw away from landing planes

The picture tells its own story. In fact IS the story. Look at the plane flying so low over this sudden shanty right under the flight path. There are people who appear to be migrants who have set up camp there. There is cooking going on. And if the picture is zoomed, you see a bird flying, obviously drawn to this sudden activity and cooking
If the dangers of encroachment and the hazards of  this activity around the airport need any evidence, this is the signifying picture which speaks more than a million words
Herald visited the site where migrants have illegally encroached upon a private land and have erected their shanties right under the flight path. 30 odd migrants’ families had erected temporary huts using tarpaulin sheet and other cloth material. They were cooking their food in open and were disposing off their daily waste in same area which in turn was attracting birds in the air.
Surprisingly none of them were even carrying any identity proof with them but they were seen enjoying the view of landing aircrafts that were flying over their heads and very less distance from the ground.
This poses a serious threat since the aircraft can easily be targeted by flinging stones given the distance from the ground.
It was also brought to the notice of Herald that many of these labourers have been working as daily wagers, while few female members among them are involving in begging in Vasco town. Locals said that during the day time, these migrants partly dismantle their shanties and erect the same in the evening so that their presence does not catch the eyes of the concerned authorities.
Shockingly even the local elected representatives from the Chicalim Panchayat acknowledges the fact that the presence of migrants who have been illegally living under the flight path could be dangerous.
Panch member from Dabolim ward, Kamla Prasad Yadav claimed that the local Panchayat body has made some efforts to remove these hutments and had asked the police force to avoid law and order situation during removal of shanties. However, he said the police is yet to provide them support in resolving the issue. Similar concerns were even raised by the Chicalim Sarpanch Neelima Naik, who also assured that Panchayat would do everything to ensure that these encroachers are evacuated on priority.
23/02/17 Herald

Heavy fog leads to diversion of fighter aircrafts to Tiruchi airport

Heavy fog led to the diversion of four Sukhoi fighter aircrafts of the Indian Air Force to the Tiruchi international airport in the early hours on Wednesday.

The four fighter aircrafts was to have landed at the Thanjavur Air Force base when they were diverted to the Tiruchi international airport due to heavy fog on Wednesday. The aircrafts landed at around 1 a.m. one after the other.

After visibility became clear hours later, the four aircrafts left Tiruchi for Thanjavur Air Force base, the airport sources said.

Poor visibility at the Tiruchi airport also led to the delayed arrival of the Tiruchi-bound Sri Lankan Airlines flight from Colombo. The flight which was scheduled to land at Tiruchi at 8.55 a.m. arrived late by one-and-half-hours, the sources said. The aircraft landed here at around 10.35 a.m.
23/02/17 R. Rajaram/The Hindu

Centaur employees seek Jitendra Singh’s intervention

Centaur Hotel Employees’ Union, Srinagar today presented a memorandum to Union MoS Jitendra Singh seeking his intervention for redressal of their longstanding grievances regarding pay anomalies and working of the hotel setup.
A delegation of Srinagar Centaur Hotel employees, led by Peer M Ismaiel, General Secretary, Centaur Hotel Employees’ Union, today called on Singh at his New Delhi office, a spokesperson of the minister said.
The members of delegation pointed out that the revision of their wage structure had not taken place since 2002, after the 5th Central Pay Commission Report.
Jitendra Singh assured the delegation that he would take up the issue with the Union Ministry for Civil Aviation, because Hotel Centaur happens to be an Air India undertaking.
23/02/17 Greater Kashmir

Indian Aerospace Delegation to visit Australia

Kolkata: A 20-member Indian aerospace delegation are visiting Australia from February 28 to March 3.
The delegation comprising of senior executives from Indian aerospace components manufacturers, training providers and technology companies are participating at Avalon 2017 - The Australian International Airshow in Avalon, near Melbourne, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission sources here today said.

The delegation is organised by The Australian Trade and Investment Commission in partnership with the Aerospace Industry Development Association of Tamilnadu (AIDAT) and Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies and Industries (SIATI).

The delegation is visiting Australia to meet with Australian aerospace companies and service providers to access Australian technologies and expertise in aerospace manufacturing; maintenance; research and development and education and training.
23/02/17 Web India 123

Airport says bye to its canine copes

Mumbai: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) deployed at the Mumbai airport is bidding farewell this month to four highly-trained members who have rarely taken off days in their 10 years at the Bomb Disposal and Detection Solution Squad (BDDS). The retirees – Gold, Deena, Tyson and Lenovo, all Labradors – are part of the 12-member dog squad which are trained to detect explosives in baggage at the highsecurity airport.

“Some of them are very fit and active and can continue in service. But since government norms mandate that they retire when they turn 10, we have to let them go,” said a CISF official.

While Gold, a male Labrador retired on February 17, Deena, a female Labrador is retiring today. Tyson and Lenovo, both male Labradors will retire on March 1 and 2 respectively. CISF will induct four more dogs soon to maintain the strength of the dog squad.

The 12-member dog squad has four females and includes Labradors, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels, all brought in as sevenmonth-old pups. After induction, the dogs were assigned individual handlers, who raised the pups, trained them and have been accompanying them on duty since they turned one-and-a-half-years-old.
23/02/17 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Flier held with foreign currency at IGI airport

New Delhi: A flier bound for Dubai has been apprehended at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out foreign currency like Dirham, Rial and Dinar worth Rs 10.5 lakh.
Officials said the incident occurred yesterday noon when a man, identified as S Mohammed Firoz from Bihar’s Jamui district, entered the terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to board a flight to Dubai.
They said the CISF security personnel on-duty found his movements to be suspicious and asked him to undergo a second round of frisking along with his baggage.
“The passenger resisted the CISF move claiming his flight was about to depart.He was forced to break open his luggage lock from which an assortment of foreign currency like Dirhams, Rials and Dinars worth Rs 10.5 lakh was recovered,” they said.
23/02/17 India.com

Two Uzbek nationals held for smuggling gold worth Rs 44 lakh

New Delhi: Two Uzbek nationals have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing about Rs 44 lakh at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.
The accused were intercepted by customs officials after their arrival from Dubai on Tuesday.
“On personal and baggage search, 14 gold cut pieces total weighing 1.63 kg valued at Rs 44.36 lakh were recovered from the waist belt of the passengers,” a press release issued today by the customs said.
23/02/17 PTI/India.com

Flight services from Jaisalmer face clearance hurdle

Jaisalmer: The regular flight service in Jaisalmer, which was to start from February 20, has once again delayed due to dispute between airlines company and air force. The air force has refused to give clearance to the airlines company for not fulfilling the conditions of passengers' safety and prescribed standards.
The Supreme Airlines, on the contrary, has alleged that air force had not given clearance purposefully and has sought reply by sending notice to air force for delaying their scheduled flight operation from February 20. The airlines has threatened air force for taking legal action if the latter don't reply within 24 hours.
The Jaisalmer airport is lying ready for four years, and Supreme Airlines had announced to start air service between Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Jaipur from February 20 and even website bookings were also started for the said purpose.
Officers of airlines and airport author were talking about the first will reach Jaisalmer on Monday and tour operators and agents were excited to welcome passengers of the first flight. Even after waiting for hours, the flight, which was to land in Jaisalmer at 11.55pm from Jodhpur, didn't arrive and it was announced later that there was no flight on Monday.
23/02/17 Times of India

Air India vs SpiceJet: Airlines woo fliers with cheap fares, free tickets

Air India and SpiceJet came out with offers, including free tickets, to attract more fliers as the airlines look to increase seat occupancy amid stiff competition.

While Air India is giving one ticket free for every booking in First Class and Business Class, SpiceJet would be offering tickets priced as low as Rs 777 on select routes.

Amid the domestic aviation sector growing at over 20 percent for the past two years, airlines are working on ways to tap the demand, mainly by way of discounted tickets. Under the 'Buy One Fly Two' offer, national carrier Air India would give one ticket free on First Class and Business Class on non-metro routes in the domestic sector. Both bookings and travel would be valid till May 31, according to a release.
23/02/17 Business Standard

Vistara to launch Pune-Kolkata, Delhi-Port Blair flights soon

The full service airline Vistara will begin 'red-eye' flights between Pune and Kolkata in March and commence operations to Port Blair from New Delhi in April.
The airline, jointly owned by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, announced the launch of the two new flights as part of its summer schedule.
The flight services between Kolkata and Pune are scheduled to begin from March 26, while those to Port Blair from Delhi are set for launch from April 15, the airline said in a release.
The late-night departure from Kolkata to Pune will provide a convenient option for those wanting to catch a flight post dinner hours, while the early morning departure from Pune to Kolkata will allow a flyer avail full business hours on arrival in the city, it said.
A 'red-eye' flight departs late at night and arrives early morning.
23/02/17 PTI/Money Control

Chandigarh Now Has 15 Flights a Day for New Delhi

Chandigarh to New Delhi air route has become all the more busy as there are now 15 flights between the 2 destinations on a daily basis. This number is almost at par with Volvo buses between the two cities and much higher than the number of trains between Chandigarh & Delhi.
Earlier there were just 8 flights but from 20th Feb, 2017, the total number of flights have increased to 15. The 7 new flights between Chandigarh & New Delhi have been started by Jet Airways.
Many people used to travel to Delhi from Chandigarh for some of the either reasons, be it for business or to board an International flight from the Delhi International Airport. Taking it into consideration, different companies have proposed to fly more flights between both the cities.
23/02/17 Gurjit Kaur/Chandigarh Metro

Air India's future

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju is unsure about what would be the most desirable future for Air India.

Raju seems to be in a Catch-22 situation over the issue of Air India’s privatisation. Ironically, he seems to want to have the cake and eat it too, when he states that the Centre wanted Air India to “survive” but also argues that “taxpayers’ money could not sustain the airline forever”.

The editorial is justified in observing that Air India’s survival must be decided on the basis of passengers’ choice and market principle, failing which it will have the dubious distinction of being a white elephant that thrives at a huge cost to the Consolidated Fund of India.
22/02/17 Kumar Gupt/Business Standard

Jet Airways, HongKong Airlines ink codeshare agreement

Mumbai: Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, and Hong Kong Airlines, an internationally-acclaimed full-service airline, on Thursday announced it has entered into a codeshare partnership in a move that will help them significantly enhance connectivity between India and the Asia-Pacific region.
As part of the reciprocal agreement, Jet Airways will place its marketing code “9W” on Hong Kong Airlines’ flights operating between Hong Kong and Okinawa and Tokyo in Japan; Denpasar in Indonesia; Hanoi in Vietnam; Bangkok in Thailand; and Auckland in New Zealand.

Hong Kong Airlines in turn, will place its marketing code “HX” on Jet Airways’ flights between Hong Kong and Mumbai as well as Delhi in India.

The agreement will allow Hong Kong Airlines to offer its guests a daily service connecting the key business cities of Hong Kong, Mumbai and Delhi. The codeshare will provide opportunities for both airlines to expand their reach and cater to guests across the region.

It will also enhance connectivity for Jet Airways guests from Mumbai and Delhi via Hong Kong to multiple destinations in the Asia-Pacific region including to first time codeshare destinations - Okinawa in Japan and Auckland in New Zealand thus enhancing the proposition for travelers who are increasingly seeking newer and more varied travel experiences.Guest can also enjoy the multi-gateway travel flexibility of travelling to/from India to Hong Kong in one direction and via Bangkok in the other direction.

Additionally, Jet Airways’ Jet Privilege members will also be able to earn frequent flyer miles when they travel on Jet Airways marketed flights on these codeshare routes, which will not only be available for redemption but also count towards their tier status in the programme.
23/02/17 India Blooms

Madurai airport attracts more flights

Madurai airport will get three more services – two on Madurai-Chennai sector with one transit flight to Delhi and the third providing a direct connectivity between Madurai and Mumbai with onward flight to Delhi.

The new services will also see entry of a new airliner, Indigo, to set its foot in Madurai with two flights with effect from March 1.

The low-cost airline would operate a flight between Chennai and Madurai and tanother one between Madurai and Delhi with a touchdown in Chennai. The airline would operate a bigger aircraft, Airbus A320, with a capacity of 180 passengers.

“With availability of additional capacity on Chennai-Madurai sector, air fare is likely to fall down drastically,” said N. Sriram, a leading travel agent.

Though the minimum fare in the sector starts at ₹1,200-₹1,500, the average fare is about ₹4,000. “Still, the fare touches anywhere between ₹15,000 and ₹18,000. We hope this high fare will fall in the coming days,” he added.
23/02/17 S Sundar/The Hindu

Two flights at same level, scanner on airport near-miss

An air controller's split second delay in assessing a situation and giving clear instructions to pilots of three aircraft put passengers of two flights in peril this December.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is investigating the "serious incident" that took place this winter. Pending the report, the controller in question has been shunted out of the air traffic control (ATC) tower.
On the morning of December 11, the controller at the tower in Kolkata airport had three aircraft on his hands. An Emirates flight to Dubai and an IndiGo Airlines flight to Hyderabad were taxiing for take-off from the main runway while a SilkAir flight from Singapore was approaching to land at the airport.
A routine affair at that time of the day, the controller asked the Emirates aircraft to line up from Taxiway K and gave it clearance for take-off. The IndiGo flight was asked to queue up and was next in sequence to hit the runway and take off. The SilkAir flight was around 6 nautical miles from touch down and approaching the landing strip at 320 kmph.
For some reason that is cur rently being looked into, the Emirates flight stood at the Madhyamgram end of the runway for one minute and 15 seconds before starting its take-off run. The rapidly approaching SilkAir aircraft was now 2 nautical miles of touchdown.
23/02/17 Subhro Niyogi/The Times Of India

Spicejet crack puts travellers in a tizzy

A cracked windshield delayed a Delhi-bound SpiceJet flight from Pune by more than eight hours on Wednesday, with passengers being made to wait it out at the airport itself.

“The passengers were asked to board the plane despite the cracked windshield. The authorities should have known about the problem earlier. It is like playing with the lives of 189 passengers,” rued Satish Banwat, one of the travellers who was part of a 35- member team from the Pune Metal Finishers’ Association (PMFA), which was going to Delhi to attend a national- level Indian Surface Finishing (ISF-2017) conference and exhibition, scheduled to be held at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from Wednesday till Friday.

As many as 42 passengers had to cancel their tickets and were refunded by Spice Jet. The SpiceJet flight SG 184 arrived in Pune from Kochi and was converted into SG 999. Seventy five passengers, who were in hurry to reach Delhi, were asked to board the flight which left for Delhi at 4 pm. The morning flight, which had developed the problem, was finally sent to Delhi at 5 pm, with rest 72 of the passengers.

Naturally, everybody was livid by the constant rescheduling. PMFA member Nitin Kapre told Pune Mirror, “The original flight timing was 7.20 am, for which boarding was begun at 8 am. After 20 minutes, we were asked to deplane. We were informed that the flight will depart at 10.30 am. Later, after we asked the authorities, they said it has been rescheduled to 12.30 pm. Finally, SpiceJet said in a statement that the flight will depart at 4 pm.”
23/02/17 Pune Mirror

GIPL bags repeat order from Cochin Airport

New Delhi: Tech firm Ganges Internationale (GIPL) today said it has bagged the second project order of 11 MW module mounting structures from cochin Airport.

"GIPL is again selected to install a big project of capacity 11 MW module mounting structures by Cochin Airport. GIPL invested Rs 5 crore during manufacturing and installation of module mounting structures," a GIPL statement said.

According to the statement, while, 11 MW is a ground mount repeat order, the pilot tracking project is the first-of-its-kind to get installed at an Indian Airport.

Tracking systems (for sunshine) have been in the foray for a while, across all international airbases. It has slowly crept into the Indian Aviation environment through Cochin's interest in checking the feasibility of such system, to ensure a streamlined experience at the airport, it said.
23/02/17 Outlook

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Indian Aviation Industry’s Profitability At Risk, Pricing Holds The Key

A year after posting first profits in a decade, India’s aviation industry is expected to slip back into the red in the ongoing and the next fiscal.
Limited ability to hike fares, rising crude oil prices and aggressive borrowing plans to buy planes may eat into the profitability of Indian carriers in the financial years (FY) 2016-17 and 2017-18, a report by aviation adviser and researcher CAPA India said.
IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India Express are expected to remain profitable in FY17, but at a level lower than in FY16. Losses will increase at Air India, AirAsia India and Vistara, which is expected to pull the industry into the red with combined losses of $250-300 million, CAPA said.
The industry’s losses could widen to $380-450 million in FY18 with fuel prices estimated to be around $55-60 a barrel and exchange rate in range of Rs 73-75 a dollar, the report said.
Indian carriers have ordered 880 aircraft, of which 600-650 are expected to be delivered over the next 10 years. Financing these orders, which have an estimated value of $30 billion, may become challenging, according CAPA India’s outlook for financial year 2017-18.
The industry is scheduled to induct 60-65 narrow-body planes and 10-12 small aircraft in FY18, according to CAPA estimates.
The airlines are expected to raise close to $1 billion in FY18, led by Jet Airways at $300-400 million. Any delay in raising funds may cost Indian carriers and market conditions are “expected to turn” in the near term, the report said.
Fuel expenses are a substantial part of an airline’s operating costs. The sharp fall in global crude oil prices had resulted in steep cuts in airfares in FY16.
Crude prices have started rising again, helped by production cuts since January by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia. U.S. crude, or the generic WTI benchmark, has risen to $55 a barrel in February 2017 from below $30 a year ago.
There is uncertainty on where the fuel prices are headed. It largely depends on whether the OPEC bloc continues to cut production to boost prices.
22/02/17 Nickey Mirchandani/BloombergQuint

Jet airways mid-flight scare: Airline cautions pilots to stick to ATC norms, says report

New Delhi: A week after reports emerged that a Jet Airways Mumbai-London flight, carrying 330 passengers and 15 crew members, went off the radar for a brief period over Cologne, the airlines has reportedly sent a mail to its pilots reminding them of the radio communication guidelines. According to a report published by Times of India, the mail says, “Radio communication is a critical link in the pilot – ATC (air traffic control) communication system. However, it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results.” The Indian Express could not independently verify the same. As per the report, the mail also lists out a list of vital dos for the pilots as  “mandatory compliance”.
Jet Airways flight, 9A-118, last week, went off the radar and was reportedly out of contact for 15 minutes, causing a mid-flight scare. After repeated efforts to get in touch with the plane, the German Air Force had sent out two Eurofighter Typhoons planes to intercept the flight. But by the time the fighter jets took off, the contact was restored, the officials said. The reason behind the incident is still under investigation, however a recent report said one of the pilot was taking “controlled rest”, while another was on the wrong frequency.
22/02/17 Indian Express

Ask pilots to use minimum thrust reversal while landing: NGT

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today directed aviation regulator DGCA to issue advisory to pilots to use minimum thrust reversal while landing at airports in order to cause less noise pollution.
Thrust reversal, also called reverse thrust, is the temporary diversion of an aircraft engine’s exhaust so that it is directed forward, rather than backwards, thereby reducing noise.
“The use of thrust reversal by aircraft while landing is in no way unsafe. The airlines and pilots often use thrust reversal to reduce wear and tear of tyres.
“You have to strike a balance between economic motives and noise generated from aircraft. The pilots should use thrust reversal as necessity and not to save fuel. Why don’t you issue advisory to pilots in this regard,” a bench headed by NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The observation came after DGCA counsel told the bench that it was in the process of issuing advisory to pilots in this regard and apprised the NGT about the developments on the next date of hearing.
The green panel also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to develop green cover around the area and increase the height of the boundary wall of the airport to minimise sound pollution.
22/02/17 PTI/India.com

Airlines woo fliers with cheap fares, free tickets

New Delhi: Air India and SpiceJet on Wednesday came out with offers, including free tickets, to attract more fliers as the airlines look to increase seat occupancy amid stiff competition.
While Air India is giving one ticket free for every booking in First Class and Business Class, SpiceJet would be offering tickets priced as low as Rs 777 on select routes.
Amid the domestic aviation sector growing at over 20 per cent for the past two years, airlines are working on ways to tap the demand, mainly by way of discounted tickets.
Under the 'Buy One Fly Two' offer, national carrier Air India would give one ticket free on First Class and Business Class on non-metro routes in the domestic sector. Both bookings and travel would be valid till May 31, according to a release.
An official at Air India said the scheme is aimed at increasing the occupancy in these two classes where generally only around 50 per cent of the seats are filled.
The sale would be open till midnight of February 25 while people can book the tickets under this window for travel between March 9 and April 13.
The Rs 777 all inclusive fare is valid on various routes including Jammu-Srinagar and Agartala-Guwahati.
22/02/17 PTI/Times of India

Panel against auctioning of flying rights to neighbouring countries

New Delhi: A panel that includes India's top federal official did not favour a proposal that had sought auctioning of flying rights to airlines flying to the country from its immediate neighbourhood.

The Committee of Secretaries (CoS), which met in the second week of February, did not favour the Civil Aviation Ministry's proposal on the ground that bilateral flying rights are treaties signed between two countries on the basis of equality and are not candidates to go under the hammer. The Prime Minister's Office and the federal cabinet had asked the specially constituted CoS to examine the proposal made in June.
"Barring the aviation secretary, all other members, including the cabinet secretary, were of the view that bilateral entitlements are signed between two countries on the basis of equality and that auctioning them may not be the right idea," said a government official, who was aware of this issue. The aviation secretary, however, differed, citing European precedence to back the rights auction proposal.

The announcement was part of the civil aviation policy the Cabinet had cleared in June. It required designated carriers of countries within 5,000 km flying radius and seeking flying rights beyond those already agreed to bid for bilateral privileges. Both Indian and overseas carriers said the policy militates against universally-applied principles of bilateral entitlements. Aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and his then junior Mahesh Sharma had divergent views on the issue too.
22/02/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Government nod to air services pact with Greece, security MoU with Australia

New Delhi: The government today granted its approval to the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Greece which allows the airlines of the two countries to fly in each other's territory.

It also gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

The decisions were made by the Union Cabinet at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, an official release said.

India had signed an 'open skies' agreement with Greece in September 2016, after putting in place the new civil aviation policy in June the same year.
22/02/17 Economic Times

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security

Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.
The MoU will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their Australian counterparts and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India.
The MoU will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their Australian counterparts and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India.
22/02/17 Business Standard

Surge in Airfare: CCI to examine complaints of anti-competitive behaviour

Having received a number of complaints against sudden surge in fares on some routes, the Competition Commission of India ( CCI ) has taken suo moto cognisance of the issue to examine if there is any anti-competitive behaviour being followed by airlines in pricing tickets, an aviation ministry official said. “Depending upon the findings of its inquiry, the CCI may pass restraints against the airlines,” the official said, asking not to be named.
“The civil aviation ministry and the CCI are evaluating pricing of tickets in the Indian market to see how it compares with global practices. We have received a series of complaints on surge fares on certain routes. The government and the competition regulator is working to ensure that there is no predatory pricing or anti-competitive behaviour,” the official said.
On January 27, for instance, the cheapest ticket from Srinagar to Mumbai was going for Rs 73,647, higher than the cheapest fare of Rs 38,379 from New York to Mumbai on the following day. The fare on Srinagar-Mumbai route has now come down to around Rs 8,000. There have been instances of sudden spike in airfares on other routes too.
22/02/17 Indianexpress/Defence Aviation Post

AAI pays Rs 560 cr to govt as interim dividend

New Delhi: Airports Authority of India (AAI) today declared an interim dividend of Rs 560 crore for the fiscal year 2016-17.

The public sector undertaking had paid a dividend of Rs 482.21 crore to the government for the previous financial year and posted a net profit of Rs 2,537 crore.

An interim dividend amounting Rs 560 crore was presented to Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju by AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra today, an official release said.

The state-owned airport operator's topline had surged eight per cent to Rs 10,824 crore in FY16 on account of higher passenger traffic and aircraft movement.

AAI manages 125 airports in the country, including 11 international aerodromes, besides providing air navigation services.
22/02/17 PTI/Business Standard

AAI wants better upkeep of areas around airport to prevent bird hits

Madurai: With two incidents of bird hits reported at Madurai airport last year, Airports Authority of India has raised its concern over the poor upkeep of the area around the airport that attracts birds.

During Airport Environmental Management Committee meeting held at the airport on Tuesday, AAI officials pointed at dumping of garbage in Perungudi. The garbage is not often promptly removed, thus attracting birds.

In the process, the birds come close to the airport and result in bird hit. “Both bird hits occurred while the flights were landing and hence the aircraft did not face much damage,” Airport Director V.V. Rao told The Hindu.

Besides, the officials said burning of garbage on the southern side of the airport was also a matter of concern. The smoke emanating from the burning garbage also attracted birds, Mr. Rao said.
21/02/17 S. Sundar/The Hindu

Will Coimbatore ever get to fly high ?

A city that got an airport and air connectivity six decades ago and was connected to international destinations six years back now struggles with two issues that threatens to ground even its overall growth.

The two challenges are related to expansion of the existing airport and getting more number of direct flights to other countries, especially Dubai.

Coimbatore International Airport, which is now spread over 420 acres, needs another 627.89 acres for a wider and longer runway, new terminal building, etc.

Bottlenecks in the acquisition of the total additional land have crippled expansion plans of Coimbatore International Airport (CIA) for almost 10 years now. It still lacks the mandatory width for the runway based on which Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues licence to Airport Authority of India (AAI) to run an airport.

Airport Director G. Prakash Reddy told The Hindu that DGCA is extending the licence every two years for over the last 10 years though CIA is yet to meet DGCA requirement for basic strip, i.e., 150 metres on either side of the runway from the centre line. At present, it is just 75 metres wide on either side.

This is a basic safety requirement, he explains. The DGCA licence will expire in April this year though AAI hopes that it will be extended further not to affect operations at the airport.

Even if about 35 acres is made available in the first phase, the basic strip could be widened. Have a new and bigger building could be taken up in the next phase and in four or five years when it would be completed, the final expansion works could be taken up.
22/02/17 The Hindu

Agriculture from the air: Basant to Air Tractor

Bengaluru: Can Indian farmers ever afford to engage an aircraft to spray seeds and fertilisers? State-owned aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) thought so when it produced 39 Basant aircraft but stopped building them after 1980. Now, the Aussies want rich Indian farmers to check out the Air Tractor, a hit with farmers Down Under.

At the just concluded Aero India 2017 airshow at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, the Air Tractor lurked in a remote corner. The expectations of its promoters were modest. They were well aware that only state governments and farmers’ collectives could afford the aircraft. Even that would take at least another five years.

A few interested agriculturists stopped by as the promoters talked about the two-seater Air Tractor (AT-504). This aircraft could spray pesticides and seeds on vast fields, multi-task in fire-fighting and even transport fuel to remote locations. “We have been talking to the governments here. The response has been good,” said an Air Tractor spokesman.

But he knew despite the huge potential for growth, the concept was yet to take off in India. “There are 200 Air Tractors in Australia, engaged in farms, fire-fighting and other utilities. However, India is one of the few big countries without agricultural aircraft,” he informed.

India did have an Agriculture Aviation division in the 1960s, when HAL was tasked with designing the Basant. Designated as H-31 Mk II, the Basant had its maiden flight on March 30, 1972. It was a conventional braced low-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear. Powered by a 400 HP piston engine, Basant had a raised cockpit. This helped the pilot get a good all-round view of the area during spraying operations.

So how does the Air Tractor work on Australian farms? “Rich farmers/farmers collectives take the aircraft on lease or contract. But in many cases, the aircraft is hired. When a farmer calls and provides the map with areas to be covered, we load up the aircraft and cover up to 250 acres an hour. The AT-504 can carry up to 2,000 litres of pesticide and two tons of seeds.”
22/02/17 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

Indian Oil may regularly export jet fuel; offers rare cargo

New Delhi/Singapore:  Indian Oil Corp may regularly export jet fuel from its 300,000 barrel per day (bpd) Paradip refinery as the country's kerosene demand eases with the government's push to use of cooking gas.
India has halted imports of kerosene since July 2015. The government has been promoting the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by providing free connections to rural households.
Refiners adjust jet fuel and kerosene production depending on local demand. But jet fuel has more specifications than kerosene such as the smoke point, flash point, freeze point and cloud point.
"Kerosene demand is coming down so we will produce aviation fuel and a small quantity of kerosene to meet market demand," said an IOC official, who is not authorised to speak to media.
Paradip refinery on the east coast has offered up to 32,000 tonnes of aviation jet fuel for loading from Paradip in March in an unusual move, a tender document showed on Wednesday.
He said the latest tender was an ad hoc export and from April IOC may offer at least 15,000 tonnes of aviation fuel every month for export.
22/02/17 Times of India

Civil aviation minister Gajapathi Raju launches SKYREV360

The Airports Authority of India is looking beyond national boundaries and interests and is undertaking newer business initiatives by exploring global aviation markets for providing consultancy, construction, management services, export services and undertaking operations abroad in relation to airports, air-navigation services, ground aids and safety services beyond national borders.

AAI is venturing into unexplored business territories with an aim to generate more and better business opportunities and to maximise and enhance non-aeronautical revenues.

In one of its innovative business opportunities, the AAI in collaboration with IATA, came out with a unique comprehensive e-billing solution comprising of data gathering, invoicing and collection called SKYREV360.

This unique system is one of its kind and would help ANSP?s and Airport Operators world wide in avoiding revenue leakages, reducing redundancies, reduction in disputes, easy integration with all external systems and also help in curtailing the debt collection period to the minimum. The system is compatible to any of the radar systems in the world and can be hosted on cloud servers too.

The SKYREV360 was globally launched by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in the presence of R.N.Choubey, Secretary Civil Aviation, Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman AAI, S. Suresh, Member Finance, AAI and other senior officers and delegates from 19 countries.
22/02/17 ANI/DNA

IndiGo airlines to transport life-saving drugs to the state

Manipur: Budget passenger carrier IndiGo said that it will deliver medical aid, including insulin, vaccines, serum and hormones, on a priority basis to Manipur.

According to the low-cost carrier, the initiative will help those affected by an 80-day-old highway blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked state of Manipur.

Under the initiative, IndiGo will deliver the medicines “free of cost” for a month. The airline will also help the state government in logistical support and facilitation of drugs and other supplies.
22/02/17 North East Today

Trump-Iran Tensions Halt Indian Carrier’s Tehran Flight Plans

Air India Express, the low-cost unit of the South Asian nation’s flag carrier, has put on hold a plan to fly to Tehran amid renewed tensions between the U.S. and Iran after President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on the Persian Gulf country.

Since some of Air India Ltd.’s plane purchases were funded by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, it won’t be able to fly to places where the U.S. government imposes sanctions, K. Shyamsundar, the airline’s chief executive officer, told Rishaad Salamat in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore on Tuesday. The carrier may now fly to Bahrain via Doha instead, he said.

The U.S., pursuing a harder line on Iran, slapped penalties on a raft of individuals and companies in response to the country test-firing a ballistic rocket last month. While it isn’t clear if the U.S. will tighten the measures, Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday mocked being “put on notice” in a tweet by Trump.

Shyamsundar declined to comment further on the potential impact of Trump’s policies.
21/02/17 Anurah Kotoky/Bloomberg

Vizag airport records 2 million fliers in 2016

Visakhapatnam : Visakhapatnam Airport has crossed a major milestone by handling 2.1 million passengers including both domestic and international during the 2016 calendar year. The airport witnessed footfalls of 21.01 lakh in 2016 as compared to 14.7 lakh in 2015, registering a growth of around 42%. Incidentally, Visakhapatnam Airport witnessed more than 2 lakh footfalls in a single month four times in 2016 whereas it had touched a maximum of only 1.56 lakh passengers in a month in 2015.
Domestic traffic has continued to increase in 2016 even as international passenger traffic declined due to the pull out of Malindo Air, which was opera ting flights between Vizag and Kuala Lumpur, in February 2016. While domestic air traffic in 2016 was around 20 lakh as against 14 lakh in 2015, international air passengers at Vizag dropped from 1.1 lakh in 2015 to around 1 lakh in 2016. Vizag Airport handled around 50 flights on an average each day in 2016 as compared to around 40 flights on an average in 2015.
22/02/17 Times of India

Low airfare beckons: Flyers up 29.9% at Patna airport

Patna: The Jayaprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport, Patna, registered 29.9% growth in passenger flow between April and September last year, according to the latest Airports Authority of India (AAI) report.
As per the AAI figures, Patna airport handled 15,23,395 passengers between April and December, 2016 against 11,72,566 during the same period previous year. In terms of monthly passenger movement, it handled 1,86,704 flyers in December last year against 1,32,292 in the same month in 2015.
Senior Patna airport officials attribute the increase in passenger traffic to more flights and low airfare. "Around 10 flights operated from Patna airport in 2012-13. The number has now increased to 23 and is likely to reach 26 in March and 32 flights by June. The airfare on various sectors have also come down recently, making it well within the reach of flyers. Besides, a large chunk of floating population in Bihar keeps flying from Patna airport," JPNI Airport director Rajendra Singh Lahauria told TOI on Tuesday.
22/02/17 Times of India

AAI shines in Vadodara and Vijayawada with new activities

Airport Authority of India (AAI) inaugurated a new integrated terminal building at Vadodara airport, whereas at Vijayawada airport, there was a ceremony conducted for the runaway which is suppose to strengthen and extend runway there.

In Vijayawada airport, Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh; M Venkaiah Naidu, union minister of parliamentary affairs, urban development, housing & urban poverty alleviation; P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, union minister of civil aviation; Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister of State of Labour & Employment, were present on the occasion.

Others present on the occasion include Y S Chowdary, union minister of state for earth sciences, science & technology; R N Choubey, secretary (CA); Guruprasad Mohapatra, chairman, AAI and other dignitaries.
22/02/17 FreePressJournal

U.S. based Air Evac Lifeteam deploys Ramco Aviation Suite V5.7

Chennai: The United States’ largest independently owned and operated, membership-supported air medical service, Air Evac EMS, Inc., announced the successful implementation of Ramco Systems’ aviation software, Ramco Aviation V5.7, for its maintenance and engineering operations across 135 air bases.

Air Evac is a subsidiary of Air Medical Group Holdings, the world’s largest independent provider of air medical services and a Ramco Aviation customer. Air Evac’s 150+ helicopters operate across 15 states with 700+ active users, forming one of the largest fleets worldwide. The implementation of Ramco Aviation suite covers Line, Hangar & Shop Maintenance, Engineering Change Management, Technical Records, Inventory Management, Procurement Management, and Facility Management along with Advance Reporting tools. The upgrade also marks the migration of seven years of Air Evac’s data and 120+ customized reports into a multi-organizational unit platform that integrates with in-house systems for flight tracking.
22/02/17 AviationPros

Could Kannur eat into Mysuru’s tourism?

Stakeholders in the Mysuru tourism industry believe that some percentage of tourists may circumvent Mysuru and visit Kodagu in Karnataka, Wayanad in Kerala, and Ooty in Tamil Nadu — three of the main hill stations in South India — using an alternative route soon, with the Kannur International Airport, Kerala’s second greenfield airport, coming up under public-private partnership.

Kannur is around 80 km from Madikeri, which is a popular hill station with ample home stays for tourists to unwind.

According to tourism stakeholders, the road connectivity from Kannur to Madikeri is good and this may boost tourist arrivals to the ‘Land of Coffee’.

“The itinerary of tourists may change to some extent once the airport becomes operational. Mysuru may not be the base point for tourists as it was now for visiting Madikeri, Wayanad or Ooty. Tourists will get a new travelling route — fly to Kannur, travel by road to Madikeri, Wayanad and Ooty (via Gudulur),” says B.S. Prashanth, president of the Mysuru Travel Mart.

Mysuru has many tourist attractions but the city still needs something new that can draw tourists in all seasons and encourage them stay a couple of days. Evenings must have some events for keeping tourists busy and entertained, he said.
22/02/17 Shankar Bennur/The Hindu

Slight crack in windshield delays Spicejet’s Pune-Delhi flight

Pune: A Delhi-bound Spicejet flight from here was delayed for around nine hours after a “slight crack” was noticed on the pilot side windshield, which was replaced subsequently.
The flight which was originally scheduled for departure at 7.20 AM, ultimately took off at 4.25 PM from the international airport in Lohegaon.
“Flight SG 999 operating Pune to Delhi while preparing for departure noticed a slight crack on the pilot side windshield,” Spicejet said in a statement.
As a standard measure it was decided to replace the windscreen, it said.
“The men and material required to replace the windscreen were moved from Delhi and Chennai, but as the Pune runway was closed from 8 am to 10:30 am, the flight carrying spares landed at only 11:00 am,” reads the statement.
22/02/17 India.com

40 passengers stranded at airport

Pune: As many as 40 passengers were stranded for around eight hours at Pune airport after the windscreen of a SpiceJet flight was found broken.

According to Times Now, SpiceJet flight number 999 from Pune to Delhi which was scheduled to take off at 7:20am was delayed by eight hours.

Sources from SpiceJet told Times Now that there was a crack seen in the windscreen which is currently being repaired.

According to the latest report by ANI, the required spare parts have reached Pune and the replacement process is underway. The flight is expected to take off around 4pm.
22/02/17 Pune Mirror

Unhygienic toilets at Srinagar ‘international’ airport

Srinagar: With the unclean toilets, the Sheikh ul Alam International Airport here have come under severe criticism with the passengers alleging it to be a reason of immense hardships.
The travelers travelling via different airlines had accused the authorities of ignoring their plights and demand immediate redress of genuine grievances.
It is worth to mention here that Sheikh ul Alam International Airport is juggling the 2nd rank in the world having sophisticated and well-built Airport besides having all the necessities for travelers inside its auditorium.
The passengers said that the International airport is lacking basic facilities for those who had to wait to wait outside for their flight or the attendants who visit there to receive or see off them.
“The toilet in the Airport is very unclean thereby exposes the tall claims of the authorities,” Muhammad Majid, one of the traveler said, adding that “the airport is lacking the basic facilities as well,” he said.
He said that when he entered into the toilet to attend the nature’s call, there was no flusher point. “Besides, I found cigarette bits and other tobacco products in and around toilets making toilets useless and incommensurate for passengers and their attendant,” he said.
22/02/17 Kashmir Monitor

Afghan held for smuggling 114 kgs corals at IGI airport

New Delhi: An Afghan national has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle in 114 kgs of corals at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.
The accused was intercepted by customs officials after his arrival from Kabul on Monday.
“On personal and baggage search, organ pipe coral species weighing 114 kgs were recovered from the passenger,” a press release issued today by the customs department said.
Corals are prohibited goods as per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and under CITES — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Hence, its possession and trading is prohibited.
Corals are used for medicinal purposes and for making gems and jewellery — ‘moonga’ or coral stone, a senior customs official said.
22/02/17 PTI/India.com

DRI seizes foreign currency worth Rs 60 lakh at airport

Chennai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized foreign currency worth Rs 60 lakh from two passengers at Chennai Airport.
Two passengers Mohamed Riaz Deen and Abdul Basith were intercepted by the DRI agents at Chennai International Airport during the early hours of February 22.
The passengers were bound to board Thai Ariways flight TG 338. The DRI officials surrounded the passengers as they crossed the customs clearance desk and subjected their luggage to search once again, only to find undisclosed foreign currencies concealed within.
The passengers had discreetly placed the money with mobile phone boxes, power banks and shoes. A special cavity was also created in the hand bag to hide the money.
The two were carrying various denominations of US dollars, Euro and Pound equating to Rs 59,66,588.
The DRI seized the money under Customs Act, 1962 suspecting that the intent of the passengers was to smuggle the money out of the country.
22/02/17 Pramod Madhav/India Today

SpiceJet Offers Rs. 777 All-Inclusive Fares Under 'Lucky 7 Sale'

Budget carrier SpiceJet has unveiled a promotional scheme offering all-inclusive fares starting Rs. 777 on its domestic network. Under its "Lucky 7 Sale" offer, SpiceJet has put on offer a limited inventory available on a first-come, first-served basis, the airline said. Bookings to avail SpiceJet's "Lucky 7" scheme can be made till Saturday, February 25, 2017. This SpiceJet offer, which comes on the heels of discounted tariffs by rival airlines, covers a travel period from March 9, 2017 to April 13, 2017. "The discount will be applicable on one-way fares only," the airline - which competes with the likes of Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways and AirAsia India - further said on its website.

A search on the SpiceJet website showed a one-way ticket for flying from Delhi to Jaipur in mid-March was available for booking at Rs. 1,036.

Discounted fares from various airlines have spurred strong growth in air travel market in India. The country's domestic air passenger traffic zoomed 25.13 per cent to 95.79 lakh last month, data from aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) showed.

Rival airlines AirAsia India and Jet Airways announced discounted tariffs earlier this month. Jet Airways, in a promotional sale aimed at Valentine's Day celebrations, offered all-inclusive domestic fares from Rs. 999. Days after that, AirAsia India offered all-inclusive tickets starting Rs. 1,099 in a promotional scheme.
22/02/17 Sandeep Singh/NDTV

SpiceJet Says India's $85 Billion Plane Orders Still Not Enough

India’s airlines have ordered about 850 planes valued at about $85 billion in recent years. SpiceJet Ltd., a budget carrier, says that’s still not enough to meet demand.

SpiceJet, which last month ordered as many as 205 Boeing Co. jets worth $22 billion, is being rather conservative with its purchases, the carrier’s chairman Ajay Singh told Rishaad Salamat in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore on Wednesday. Demand will surge with more Indians starting to fly, fueled by economic growth in smaller towns, he said.

“With all the orders that all the Indian airlines have placed, counting for replacements, we will have 800 planes in 10 years from now,” Singh said. “That’s not a lot of planes. That’s the same number of planes that Southwest Airlines has today.”

India -- the world’s fastest growing major aviation market --is among battlegrounds in emerging markets for planemakers like Boeing and Airbus Group SE, as a rising middle class flies for the first time. The potential has made Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Bhd. set up local units that are grappling with poor infrastructure, cut-throat fare wars and taxes that make jet fuel the costliest in Asia.
“We have to keep on developing the infrastructure,” Singh said. “A lot of the growth in India is not happening in Mumbai and Delhi, it’s happening in tier-2, tier-3 towns.”
22/02/17 Anurag Kotoky/Bloomberg

IndiGo and SpiceJet square off in the OTP war

The past month has seen a war of words between IndiGo and SpiceJet on the issue of on-time performance, or OTP. On January 31, Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo said in an analysts conference call that “we suspect that the OTP statistics of some of our competitors in India is not quite correct.” He added that the airline had submitted evidence to industry regulator DGCA and had asked for a detailed investigation.

SpiceJet officials had earlier wondered why IndiGo had no problem with the methodology of data collection when it was on the top of the table.

DGCA’s data shows that in December last year, SpiceJet recorded a OTP of 70 per cent at the four metro airports while Jet Airways and JetLite reported an OTP of 64.3 per cent, Vistara 64.2 per cent, GoAir63.6 per cent, IndiGo 61.6 per cent and Air India brought in the rear with a performance of 59 per cent in its domestic flights.

While neither of the airlines has named each other and haven’t talked to the media, the DGCA too has kept mum. But the statements have continued.

Earlier this month, SpiceJet issued a statement quoting Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, saying “the airline had emerged as the most punctual airline for the fourth successive month.” Not everyone was amused.
21/02/17 Ashwini Phadnis/The Hindu Businessline

Hitting an air-pocket

The paradox is striking. On the one hand, more and more Indians are taking to the skies. But on the other, airlines’ bottom-lines are shrinking.

In the recent December quarter, domestic air passenger traffic grew 23 per cent y-o- y to 2.72 crore. But all the three listed carriers — IndiGo Airlines, Jet Airways and SpiceJet — saw their earnings dip in what is considered a seasonally strong quarter. The profit of IndiGo and SpiceJet fell about 25 per cent y-o- y, while that of Jet Airways saw a much steeper fall of about 70 per cent. What gives?

Two factors — rising costs, especially that of fuel, and lower ticket prices — took a toll. With crude oil staging a comeback the past few months, the cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) headed north. As a percentage of sales, the carriers spent about 4-7 percentage points more on fuel in the recent December quarter, compared with the year-ago period. But rather than increasing ticket prices to offset the impact, the carriers took sharp cuts. Yields in the quarter fell about 16 per cent y-o- y for IndiGo, 10 per cent for SpiceJet and 3 per cent for Jet Airways. Blame this on price wars in the intensely competitive Indian skies.

The problem got compounded by demonetisation during the quarter with airlines slashing fares to offset the impact of the high-value note ban on passenger traffic. So, despite high passenger numbers, airlines’ revenue growth lagged far behind costs.
21/02/17 Anand Kalyanaraman/The Hindu Business Line

Domestic airlines carry 25% more passengers in January

According to a report by The Hindu Business Line, the domestic airlines flew 95.79 lakh passengers in January this year registering a growth of 25.13%  over the 76.55 lakh passengers flown during the same period previously. The latest data released by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation shows that IndiGo carried the maximum number of passengers during the month at 38.09 lakh, followed by Jet Airways (14.84 lakhs) with Air India at the number three spot with 13.50 lakh passengers. SpiceJet flew 12.29 lakhs while GoAir carried (7.88 lakh), Vistara (3.03 lakh) and AirAsia2.86 lakh passengers during January this year.

SpiceJet, however, reported the highest Passenger Load Factor of 93.6% followed by GoAir (90.8%) and then IndiGo (90%). Passenger load factor shows how many of the total seats on offer by each airline are getting filled. SpiceJet also reported the highest On Time Performance at 71.6% followed by IndiGo at 71.2%  and GoAir at 60.6% at the four metro airports Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
21/02/17 Travel Biz Monitor

Air India is in a debt trap: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

The performance of Air India in recent times has gone up. It is a good airline but its finances are bad. Last year, it didn’t make an operating loss, but a profit that is probably worth not talking about. This year, it will make an operational profit again. But it’s in a kind of debt trap. The government had committed money and around ₹23,000 crore has been released. After that money comes in, what about its finances? It is still in a debt trap. So something has to be done. It’s a nice airline, and I have been saying that right from day one in office. Even in Parliament, I said that I will not do Air India bashing. We can’t commit the taxpayers’ money for eternity. If you leave it like this, there will be a downhill slide and one fine day it willAir India close shop. If some strategies come in, then it can survive and compete.

Is privatisation one of the strategies?

It has a big debt. You put the airline on the market and no one will buy it. What do you do? People who are well-versed with finances will have to start thinking on those lines.
21/02/17 Defence Aviation Post

Air India flight landing delayed at Tirupati

Due to a technical error, landing had been delayed for the Air India flight arriving from Hyderabad at Tirupati International Airport on Tuesday at 2.15 pm.

In this flight Secretary to Telangana CM Smitha Sabharwal and four security officials of the CM were also travelling.
22/02/17 The Hans India

Air India starts revamp of short-haul fleet

The new single-aisle jet is first of 14 aircraft being leased from Kuwait-based ALAFCO. The new fuel-efficient aircraft will join Air India’s existing fleet of 66 standard A320 series aircraft.

The new A320neos will come equipped with 162 seats in two cabins – 12 in business class and 150 in economy.

To-date, Airbus has delivered just over 70 A320neos, and 20 of these have gone to Indian carriers. IndiGo has received 14 of the aircraft, while GoAir has taken delivery of five, along with Air India’s first aircraft. AirAsia India is also expected to operate the model in future.
21/02/17 Mark Elliott/Travel Daily India

AI to operate additional flight to Leh today

Air India (AI) is operating additional flight to Leh tomorrow.
According to Station Manager, Air India, Mohammad Arif, Air India will operate additional flight to Leh tomorrow.
The departure of the additional flight AI 1450 is 1030 hours, Arif said, adding that stranded passengers of cancelled fight AI 450 have been requested to report airport at 0830 am sharp.
22/02/17 Daily Excelsior

India's Newest Airline Zoom Air Joins Bombardier's Worldwide Family of CRJ Series Aircraft Operators

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft today congratulated Zoom Air, India's newest airline, on the recent launch of CRJ200 regional jet service with aircraft acquired from a third party. The airline has joined Bombardier's family of more than 100 CRJ Series aircraft owners and operators.
The airline, which is based in Gurgaon, Haryana, will operate from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and will serve 16 destinations, connecting smaller cities and towns across the country.
"The CRJ200 aircraft greatly complement our business model and will help our growth strategy, while providing excellent operational flexibility and passenger comfort," said Koustav M. Dhar, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Zoom Air. "We are excited by the potential these aircraft offer in allowing us to access new routes and destinations that are currently underserved - connecting businesses and people across the country."
"We are pleased to welcome Zoom Air to the family of CRJ Series aircraft operators and wish the airline much success as it launches operations in one of the rapidly growing aviation markets in the world," said Francois Cognard, Vice President, Sales, South-east Asia and Australasia, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "The CRJ Series regional jets have revolutionized aviation with their proven efficiency, reliability and profitability and are a great choice for new and established operators as they look to change the passenger travel experience over the next few decades."
Bombardier's Q Series turboprops, CRJ Series regional jets and all-new C Series aircraft are well positioned to meet India's requirements for increased numbers of commercial aircraft in the 60- to 150-seat market segment.
Bombardier operates a Regional Support Office in Gurgaon, and GMR Aero Technic supports operators of Q400 aircraft from its Bombardier Authorized Service Facility in Hyderabad.
21/02/17 Market Wired

Snag forces AI flight to return to Dabolim

A Delhi-bound Air India plane, with 168 passengers on board, was forced to make an emergency landing at the Goa International Airport on Monday after the pilots detected a technical fault in the aircraft soon after take-off. The pilots immediately radioed the air traffic control (ATC) at the naval base at Dabolim, seeking priority landing due to the emergency.
"After take-off, the pilots found a technical malfunction on board the aircraft and returned to the airport," airport director Bhupesh Negi said.
Airport sources said flight AI 155, was scheduled to take off at 2.10pm from Goa airport for Delhi, but due to air traffic congestion, it was delayed for nearly two hours and was finally cleared for take-off at around 4pm.
21/02/17 The Times Of India

'Jet Airways plane lying from London lost contact due to frequency glitch'

The Jet Airways aircraft flying from London, which lost contact with the ATC over European airspace while on its way to Mumbai, was a training flight for the pilot-in-command at the time of the incident, sources said.
The incident happened on February 16 when the Mumbai- London flight 9W-118, carrying 330 passengers and 15 crew members, lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) reportedly for almost 33 minutes.

"It was a training flight for the pilot on the commander's seat when it lost contact with the ATC due to frequency goof- up. Though, the Czech aviation authorities tried contacting the pilot of the flight 9W-118 on emergency frequency, the pilot missed it due to howling noise," airline sources said.

A response from Jet Airways on the issue was awaited.

According to information, the flight remained out of touch of ATC for nearly 33 minutes when it was flying over Czech airspace. While flying from Bratislava to Prague, 9W-118 was on correct frequency (132.890MHz) as it transmitted and acknowledged the messages.ATC for nearly 33 minutes when it was flying over Czech airspace. While flying from Bratislava to Prague, 9W-118 was on correct frequency (132.890MHz) as it transmitted and acknowledged the messages.
21/02/17 PTI/Z News

Jet Airways’ Winter Bonanza presents exciting fares till Feb 24

Jet Airways, India’s full-service premiere international airline, has announced a Winter Bonanza offering special fares on select flights from Oman to India and beyond.

The special fare offer for both Economy and Premiere travel is applicable on tickets booked till February 24 for travel on any future date from Oman to India and beyond on Jet Airways’ international network, offering guests significant savings together with a world-class flying experience. The tickets, available on a first-come-first-serve basis, will be valid for both onwards and return journeys on the Jet Airways network.
21/02/17 Muscat Daily

Super six chooses the best eight

When IndiGo Airlines took wing in 2006, it redefined Indian aviation in many ways. In its decade of existence, the airline has proved that it is possible to make profits in the aviation business. IndiGo told Indians that there really was something called “on-time performance” and that flying can indeed be made a pleasurable experience. Interglobe Aviation, the company that flies IndiGo Airlines, came out with its initial public offering (IPO) in October 2015, and commands a market capitalisation of Rs 30,000 crore.

Eicher Motors Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Siddhartha Lal, after having taken the iconic Royal Enfield motorcycle to great heights in India, has moved to London as he wants to make a mark globally. At the age of 26, Lal became CEO of Royal Enfield in 2000, which was a struggling product.

Four years later, as chief operating officer of the company, Lal decided to divest 13 of the 15 businesses that Eicher was in and decided to put all the money and focus behind Royal Enfield and trucks, two businesses where he believed the group had a genuine shot at leadership. Lal’s bet paid off big time with Eicher becoming a grand success. Today, it has a market capitalisation of Rs 68,000 crore.
21/02/17 Defence Aviation India