Sunday, May 28, 2017

Government Looking For Strategic Investors For Air India: Arun Jaitley

The Civil Aviation Ministry is considering all options for debt-laden Air India including strategic investors who will ensure that the airline is kept running and there are no job losses, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
At a time when more than 86 percent of the domestic civil aviation traffic is being handled by private players, there is no reason why the government should be running an airline, he said during a discussion with a panel of senior journalists on DD News to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s three years in office. The government can use that money for welfare services instead, he said.
Data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation shows that Air India has been steadily losing market share to private players like IndiGo, SpiceJet Ltd. and Jet Airways Ltd. The national air carrier has a debt of more than Rs 50,000 crore and has been grappling with losses for some time now. The final decision on investors will be taken by the Civil Aviation Ministry, Jaitley said.
28/05/17 Krupali Thakkar/Bloomberg Quint

Govt might soon exit Air India totally, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

The government is in favour of exiting Air India totally if a suitable investor is available, says finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley. “When 84 per cent of the aviation market can be run by private airlines there is no reason why it cannot go to 100 per cent”, the minister noted at Dialogue@DDNews, a series of interviews with the ministers of Narendra Modi-led government to mark the completion of its three years in office. The programme is expected to be aired today.

He said Air India has a thin market share but a massive debt overhang of Rs 50,000 crore. According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation, by December 2016, Air India’s domestic market share measured by the total number of passenger seats sold has dropped to 14.1 per cent, making it the third largest behind market leader Indigo at 39.8 and Jet Airways at 15.5 per cent.

“When I briefly worked as the minister for civil aviation in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, I had signed on Air India’s file asking for its total disinvestment”, he added. The government has no business to run an airline, according to the finance minister. He said the civil aviation ministry headed by P Ashok Gajapathi Raju will, however, have the right to decide on the future course for Air India and they are considering all options.
27/05/17 Subhomoy Bhattacharjee/Business Standard

'Planes must land at nearest airport in case of pilot incapacitation'

New Delhi: Airlines must divert aircraft to the nearest airport in case one of the pilots on a flight are incapacitated. And carriers should tell their crew what meals to avoid 24 hours before operating a flight to reduce the chances of falling sick in the cockpit while flying.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has made these recommendations to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its final investigation report in a case of pilot incapacitation on Jet Airways' Bangkok-Delhi flight of May 7, 2015.
The commander of Boeing 737 fell ill 1.5 hours after take off. But the flight still continued its journey to Delhi with the co-pilot flying the plane (VT-JFA) by taking the help of another Jet Airways commander of an Airbus A-330 who happened to be on board. The flight (9W-63) with 121 passengers and six crew members had landed safely in Delhi after declaring May Day.
"After 1.5 hours of flight, the pilot-in-command (PIC) was served salad, soup and curd. (Fifteen minutes after having this) he (PIC) started feeling uneasy," the AAIB report submitted to DGCA now says. The aircraft was in Kolkata airspace at this time. A Jet A-330 commander who was in the passenger cabin was asked to move to the cockpit.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Ground parties yet to reach Su-30 wreckage in Assam

New Delhi: A day after the missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet’s wreckage was found, efforts by search and rescue teams to reach the spot have been hampered by inclement weather, rugged terrain with a steep gradient and thick foliage, defence sources said on Saturday.
Indian Air Force (IAF) officials said the ground parties comprising IAF Special Force Garuds and Army’s Para Special Forces are however endeavouring to reach the crash site. The IAF has said the area is “totally inaccessible”.
“The progress is slow and painstaking, owing to the rugged terrain and thick undergrowth,” an IAF official said.
The wreckage of the Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, which went missing on May 23, was found on Friday during an aerial recce in a thick forest around 60 km from Tezpur in Assam.
A search for the flight data recorder and the two missing pilots will be conducted once the parties reach the spot.
27/05/17 Indileak

‘Sukhoi likely downed by cyber weapons’

Analysts based in the vicinity of New York and St Petersburg warn that the loss, days ago, of an advanced and mechanically certified as safe, Sukhoi 30 fighter aircraft, close to the border with China may be the result of “cyber-interference with the onboard computers” in the cockpit.
This may explain why even the pilots may have found it difficult to activate safety ejection mechanisms, once it became obvious that the aircraft was in serious trouble, as such mechanisms too could have been crippled by computer malfunctions induced from an outside source. They point to the apparent loss of five Army vehicles, “due (according to the authorities) to a misfired mortar strike” in the same zone, saying that a single mortar round would not have enough firepower to take out such a large number of vehicles. They add that the possibilities are that the damage may have been caused by a larger projectile guided by electronic systems that may have been interfered with during flight.
Given the range and complexity of cyber interference, the source of the attack could have been from thousands of kilometres or from only a few hundred metres away. These analysts warn that although India spends over Rs 200,000 crore on defence through the armed forces and another Rs 100,000 crore on security via police units, hardly Rs 4,700 crore gets spent on cyber capability. The analysts spoken to point out that almost all this gets expended on foreign vendors, rather than domestic producers. However, this reliance on foreign shores for defence and security is across the board, so far as capital expenditure is concerned, in contrast to China, which has almost entirely indigenised its capabilities over the past 15 years.
The international analysts spoken to, who are based in Russia and the United States, two of the four giants in the cyber field (the others being Israel and China), point to the devastating effect of the lightning shutdown of the Northern Power Grid on two separate occasions in August 2012. These were attributed by authorities to an “overdrawing” of power by Uttar Pradesh, omitting to consider the fact that such excess power consumption is routine, and that in the past, UP had withdrawn far more electricity from the grid than had been the case when it tripped. They say that it is probable that a cyber-related malfunction of a key gauge may have occurred, leading to the breakdown in supplies. It is pertinent to recall (to illustrate cyber capabilities) that it was at that time that the US and Israel introduced Stuxnet into even non-internet related control systems in the nuclear industry in Iran. As a consequence, the nuclear process gauges showed acceptable speeds, even while remote commands raised the speed of certain processes to unsafe levels, thereby leading to a shutdown in operations. Of course, they add that it is “next to impossible” that either the US or Israel were behind the Northern Grid power outage, although both have the capability to inflict such damage on essential civilian infrastructure, and that the Stuxnet example was only given as an illustration of the lethality of cyber weaponry.
27/05/17 Madhav Nalapat/Sunday Guardian Live

Commission should decide on Air India

The civil aviation minister has said that the government is open to all options on the future of Air India. Plans to restructure, refurbish or rebrand the national carrier have been in the air for a considerable period now, during which time its debt bloated to Rs 50,357 crores by the end of 2015-16, a mountain its chairman Ashwani Lohani thinks is “insurmountable and is at the root cause of all the problems that manifest as symptoms of all and sundry”. There were projections of a small operating profit for the last financial year, which may or not materialise. The question is what is to be done with an airline whose image of elegant service portrayed by a gracious maharajah is a relic of the past. The options are privatisation or disinvestment besides operational choices like leasing out its management. The problem is it is national property and, regardless of what is said by politicians and bureaucrats, the solution is going to be hard to find.
Privatisation has been suggested by several analysts as the only solution to an airline that has been mismanaged by bureaucrats even as politicians abused it for personal privileges. By throwing good money after bad in the form of a Rs  42,000 crore lifeline handed out five years ago by a government liberal with public money, the airline has been able to keep itself alive without going under like Swissair or similar epitome of efficiency and service pertinent to times when running airlines was profitable business. Hit by an illogical decision to merge Indian Airlines with Air India and make it a bigger behemoth of a mess and robbed of its returns from more profitable international routes by granting undue benefits to private airlines, Air India would have sunk without a trace had it been forced to repay even the interest on its debt like the private airline Kingfisher. Under the circumstances, disinvestment would be a bad idea as to thrust the shares on an unsuspecting public would be to tax people even more for sheer government inefficiency.
28/05/17 Deccan Chronicle

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's Chopper Makes Emergency Landing At Ahmedabad Airport

Ahmedabad: A helicopter carrying Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport due to overheating of engine, an airport source said.
The helicopter made the emergency landing at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the evening, the source said.
"The CM was on his way to Himmatnagar from Umargam when the helicopter's engine started generating heat, forcing the pilot to land at Ahmedabad, the nearest airport," he said.
The incident comes days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had a narrow escape when the helicopter carrying him crash landed in Latur.
28/05/17 PTI/NDTV

ELT in CM Fadnavis’ copter failed

Mumbai: Two days after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ helicopter crash-landed in Latur, it has emerged that the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT) — a device that transmits emergency messages to nearby Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers and satellites — had failed to activate.
In the chief minister’s case, the helicopter was landed in a populous area and hence Mr Fadnavis received help immediately. Terming the episode a ‘serious technical lapse’, experts in the aviation sector have said the ELT manufacturers should be held accountable and India should approach the International Court of Justice over the matter.
Sources in the Maharashtra civil aviation department confirmed that the ELT did not activate during the CM’s helicopter mishap. They added that it’s mandatory to have an ELT in every helicopter, but it the device had been dysfunctional in many instances off late.
Also, sources at the Pune ATC said that they did not receive any signal from the CM’s helicopter. Also, the nearest Aurangabad ATC did not receive any signal.
Aviation expert Mandar Bharde, the MD of MAB Aviation, said possible biases held by ELT manufacturing companies towards India could be at play. “Why did the ELT not activate in so many instances? Our civil aviation ministry should proactively question the manufacturers about this serious technical fault and make them answerable. The ministry should raise the issue in an international court and prevent the purchase of instruments from such irresponsible manufacturers. Will these manufacturers dare sell such equipment to other countries?” Bharde asked.    
28/05/17 Shruti Ganapatye/Asian Age

RGIA on high alert

Hyderabad: In the backdrop of central intelligence agencies' alert about possibility of Pakistani nationals sneaking into India to carry out subversive activities, major airports, including Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) has been put on a high alert.
Following this, the security staff at the airport is on the toes. While the internal security of the airport is take care of by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the external security is provided by Cyberabad police. Anti-terror commando force — OCTOPUS — has been deployed outside the airport for the past several months for any eventuality.
28/05/17 Times of India

Uncovering the Greatest Scandal in Aviation History

Three years ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 along with 239 passengers disappeared while flying above the South China Sea. It is widely believed that the aircraft crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, but there are is much evidence and analysis that does not lend itself to this established theory.

Early on 8 March 2014, Fight MH370 (Boeing 777-200ER), heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared. The incident has almost faded into oblivion as the unsuccessful search for the aircraft culminated in January of this year.
For people who lost family members in the incident, however, this case is far from closed.

There was a passenger on the MH370 named Chandrika Sharma from Chennai, India. She was an executive of the International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF), and was heading to Mongolia for a conference.

Until moments before departure Chandrika was talking with her husband Narendran about their plans to build a dream house in the Nilgiri Hills. They had also planned a family trip to Europe with their daughter upon Chandrika’s return.

“It has been 3 years since the incident, but the sorrow of my wife’s disappearance is still fresh in my mind,” Narendran told The Liberty. “Every day I feel the difficulties of facing reality. Victim’s families cannot move on without clear information on what exactly happened to the plane.”
Malaysian authorities explain that the flight made a sudden turn-around above the South China Sea and flew in the opposite direction from the planned route before crashing into the southern Indian Ocean. The search of the southern Indian Ocean was called off without any results.
Families responded at the March memorial gathering in Malaysia this year, demanding the recommencement of investigations. Later that month in South Carolina, U.S.A., families filed a lawsuit against the Malaysian government and Boeing.

More and more voices are demanding the truth behind the incident, while Malaysia Airlines and government authorities continue to refuse to disclose information regarding MH370.
27/05/17  The Liberty Web

SriLankan adds new routes in India, flies to Vietnam

Sri Lanka’s national carrier is planning to fly to more destinations in India, increase frequencies to Hong Kong and launch a new service to Vietnam.
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajit Dias told reporters, on the sidelines of the May 18-20 annual summit of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), that the debt-ridden airline is adding Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Cochin to its Indian sector eventually making it the largest foreign carrier into India with 13 destinations.
“We are also increasing the frequency to Hong Kong and launching a new service to Vietnam,” he said in Negombo where the PATA summit was held. “We are adding some smaller aircraft to our fleet for the increased frequencies while retiring the larger ones, as per original plans,” he added.
While battling huge debt left behind by the previous management under an earlier government, the airline is focusing on the India subcontinent and the Far East while slowing down on loss-making European routes.
28/05/17 Sunday Times

British Airways flights to and from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru cancelled after IT failure

New Delhi: British Airways (BA) on Saturday cancelled its flights from London to Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, following a massive IT failure at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Consequentially, the flights to London from these three south Indian metros that were scheduled to leave on Sunday morning have also been cancelled.
"The flights from London to Delhi and Mumbai took off on Saturday. We are expecting that these flights will leave from Delhi and Mumbai for London early on Sunday morning as scheduled. However, Saturday's flights from London to Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore and the return flights were cancelled," a BA official in Delhi said.
The British carrier flies to five Indian metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. While BA has double daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai to London, the other three cities have one daily flight each.
On Saturday, BA experienced major IT failure at Heathrow and Gatwick due to which it had to cancel all its flights from there. The airline reportedly suffered a global computer system outage that caused massive delays and left planes stuck on runways in London.
28/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

GHIAL starts exporting mangoes to South Korea

Hyderabad: GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), here today said it started exporting mangoes to South Korea.
According to a statement issued by GMR, it has exported an initial commercial consignment of 2.5 tons of Indian mangoes for the first time to South Korea through its cargo terminal, being operated by Hyderabad Menzies Air Cargo Pvt. Ltd (HMACPL).
In this regard, GHIAL and HMACPL teams has worked with the farmer community at Vizianagaram facility for developing a pack-house, creating markets, commissioning this project with requisite approvals from government and exporting Suvarnarekha variety of mangoes to South Korea, it said.
27/05/17 PTI/India Today

Forgotten laptops and fancy gadgets send airport officials into a tizzy

Pune:  Officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have said that they are constantly updating their system to ensure passengers who have forgotten their belongings inside the airport get it back immediately.
The Pune airport has witnessed many such cases, particularly related to passengers forgetting to collect their electronic items — especially laptops and mobile phones — after the security check.
Manjit Singh, a deputy commandant and the public relations officer with the CISF headquarters, said the forgetful attitude among passengers has increased.
"Last year, the CISF launched the 'lost and found' system, under which items left behind by travellers were uploaded on the website. Passengers can locate their items by selecting the airports," Singh told TOI from Delhi.
He added that a system had been developed to return forgotten luggage in the same airport. "We have started a system where if a passenger leaves the luggage, it immediately goes through a security check, and we try to return it to them while they are waiting in the airport lounge. CCTV cameras are used to identify the passenger. The system has been fruitful and is being improved further," he said.
28/05/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Gold seized from cargo consignment at airport

Mumbai: The Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Customs department has seized around 1.5 kg gold allegedly smuggled in as part of a consignment of electronics sent by air cargo from Dubai to Mumbai.

According to CIU officials, the agency had received a tip-off that some gold had been smuggled in through an import consignment that had landed at the cargo area of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport earlier this month. “The consignment was opened and examined, and we found 21 gold biscuits hidden in the cavity of an inverter’s transformer. The biscuits were concealed between the metallic strips inside the inverter. The gold weighed 1.5 kg, and is worth ₹40 lakh. It was seized on Thursday,” said a CIU officer.

The officer added that the consignment also had other contraband in it. “The Airway Bill of the consignment claimed that it contained hair creams, mouth fresheners and soap, along with the inverter. However, we also found 90 cartons of Gudang Garam cigarettes and 6,000 pouches of RMD brand gutka in the consignment, and these have been seized as well,” the officer said.
27/05/17 The Hindu

Cial duty-free sales increase over 7%

Kochi: One month into operations, Cial's new terminal (T3) has shown promise registering a 7% increase in revenues from duty-free sales.
The new duty-free facility, which is more than twice the size of the one which existed in Cial's terminal (T1) also recorded a 41% increase in footfall from April 18-May 18. Currently, the duty-free store, which is centrally-located at Cial, is a walk-through facility. Passengers exiting and entering the terminal have to pass through the store to reach the exit gates and the boarding gates, respectively.
The store has the combined area of 33,000 sq ft, with 25,000 sq ft allocated at arrival point and 8,000 sq ft at the departure point. The store in T1, had an area of 10, 000 sq ft and 4,000 sq ft at arrival and departure locations, respectively.
"Though we recorded daily sales worth over Rs 1 lakh, we expect it to increase during the peak season, which starts during June," said a Cial official.
He said the Cial would provide a range of offers during the period to attract more customers, including discounts on gold jewellery.
28/05/17 Vikram Vinod/Times of India

Chakeri airport closes for two months

With the only flight operating between Kanpur and Delhi being suspended for two months due to re-carpeting of the runway at the Chakeri airport, the business fraternity in Kanpur is a worried lot. Businessmen from the city, who had just started enjoying the ease of commuting between the national capital and Kanpur since last six months, say they are again forced to travel to Lucknow to take a flight to Delhi or travel by train.
For leather exporter Mohammad Shahid, travelling to Delhi for work every week was a given thing. Shahid would take the afternoon flight from Kanpur and return the next day after finishing work. "Catching a flight from Kanpur was very convenient. One didn't have to travel all the way to Lucknow for it. I would take the afternoon flight and finish my work in Delhi and come back the next day by afternoon. But now, I will once again have to go all the way to Lucknow to catch a flight to Delhi and then come back to Lucknow only or else I take a train. This way I will waste at least two days just in travelling which for a businessman like me is a lot," says Shahid, adding, "I wonder why the runway wasn't completed when the airport was made functional in December last year."
A sentiment shared by businessman Nitin Jain who also used to travel quite often to Delhi for work and had planned to fly with his family to Delhi and further for vacations.
28/05/17 Sumit Jha/Times of India

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Too good to be true: Why those Rs12 air fares are only a flight of fantasy

Come June, the lean season for the airline industry takes off. The country’s largest carriers have begun to roll out their discounted ticket schemes, some announcing base fares as low as Rs11. But if these fares sound too good to be true, it’s because they are.

The actual ticket price depends on the fuel surcharge collected by the airline and the taxes collected on behalf of the government. However, airlines are not transparent about how they determine the fuel surcharge. As a result, a ticket with a base fare of Rs11 orRs12 could finally cost much more.

For example, SpiceJet currently has a five-day fare discount scheme to celebrate the airline’s 12th anniversary. It promises low base fares starting at Rs 12 on some sectors; the offer ends on midnight, May 28. Indigo has a six-day special sale, from May 23 till May 28, with a base fare of Rs11.

However, a Mumbai-Delhi one-way ticket for July 17, on Makemytrip, costs Rs2,183 on both airlines.

On SpiceJet’s Rs12 base fare, it adds on Rs2,171 as fees and surcharge. Indigo’s base fare is Rs312, but it comes with an additional Rs1,871 levey as fees and surcharge.

So why does the fuel surcharge differ on the same route? No one in the airline industry wants to talk about it.

Kapil Kaul, CEO (India and Middle East), CAPA India, an aviation advisory firm, said, “While the taxes are fixed, the fuel surcharge component is the airline’s prerogative. Ideally, this should be distance-based. The surcharge was introduced when crude oil prices were between $90-110 a barrel. With Brent Crude now at around $55, the surcharge does not seem logical.”

A Spicejet spokersperson said the airline has the “prerogative to fix the fuel surcharge, which may vary from flight to flight. By giving out a break-up of the base fare, fuel surcharge and taxes, SpiceJet is not only being transparent but is also... educating the customer on various charges that constitute his final ticket price.” A spokesperson for IndiGo said, “Our fares include base fare, fuel charge and the CUTE charge (applicable in few stations only). In our discounted (base) fares, the fuel surcharge remains the same as that of regular fares.”

Notably, discounted tariffs are available only on a limited number of seats, and those numbers are never disclosed.
27/05/17 Tanya Thomas/Business Line

Sukhoi-30 jet: China ready to help India search for missing pilots

Beijing:China said it is ready to help India if it asks for assistance in the search for the missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet and two pilots, even as the wreckage was found on Friday.

There was however no trace of the two Indian Air Force pilots who went down with the aircraft on Tuesday.

"So far, we have not received any request from the Indian government for assistance. If a request comes, China will offer assistance from a humanitarian perspective," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

"However, whatever we do, it does not change our position in the relevant sections of the India-China border," Lu added.

On Wednesday, China had reacted curtly when asked if it would provide help in searching for the aircraft, that went missing on Tuesday near the India-China border.
26/05/17 IANS/First Post

Kerala CM urges Jaitley’s to take steps to trace missing pilots

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today urged Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to do all that was possible to trace the two missing IAF pilots of Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Tejpur on Tuesday.
Chief minister made this request in a message to Jaitley.
Though the aircraft’s wreckage was found, there were no reports about the two pilots, one of whom Squadron leader Achudev is from Kerala.
On hearing about the mishap, his parents have left for Tejpur, Vijayan said and requested that all necessary help should be provided to them.
26/05/17 PTI/India.com

Spot air fare rates up 30% as holidayers eye foreign shores

Making last-minute plans for an international holiday this summer will leave you sweating. Spot ticket prices to popular destinations have gone up by as much as 30% from last summer with London witnessing the highest jump in air fares.
But even these high spot fares are not deterring last-minute holidayers. For them, leaving on a plane this summer break is proving tough as visa processing is taking long at consulates of most 'hot' destinations owing to the rush. Indiver Rastogi, president of corporate travel at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, says bookings are witnessing a "surge of over 40%" over last year.
Tourism Australia recently sent a mail to travel agents about increased waiting periods to get visas due to a rise in applications. Advising that applications at the Australian High Commission be made four to six weeks before departure dates, its mail said: "With the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination, there has been a significant rise in demand for Australian visas. As an example, visitor visa applications received in New Delhi during the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 32%, when compared with last year, and the trend appears to be continuing...we acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration that longer processing times can cause..." Tourism Ireland is also seeing an "unprecedented" demand.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Four airstrips in Odisha to be developed for UDAN programme

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday decided to make four airstrips operational by September this year for regional air connectivity under the initiatives of Ude Desh Ka Amm Nagarik (UDAN).
Four airstrips at Utkela, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, and Rourkela would be developed for regional air connectivity, it was decided at the state-level monitoring committee meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi here.
Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar has also been included in the list for regional connectivity. The routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela were suggested for regional connectivity.
The UDAN scheme, which is being implemented in Odisha in joint collaboration between state and central governments, would prioritise the unserved and underserved areas in the state, said an official.
26/05/17 IANS/India.com

Was dust the devil behind Latur crash?

Mumbai: As the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) begins its probe into the helicopter mishap in Latur involving Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, there is speculation that the heavy blanket of dust that enveloped the aircraft may have led to the accident.

State government officials, who declined to be named, said the helipad hadn’t been watered properly to keep the dust from kicking up due to the wind from the helicopter’s main rotor. This, they said, could be due to the spotlight on the use of tankers to water down helipads for VVIP visits. Last year, Latur was among the drought-affected districts, and the State government had to send a water train to bring relief to people there.

The State government said it will wait for the DGCA’s inquiry report. “The DGCA report is likely to be submitted within a month. Action from our side shall be taken based on the report’s findings,” a senior government official said. He, however, claimed all security norms had been followed and the dust that covered the helicopter was not from the area around the helipad but from leftover construction material nearby. “The helipad was used three months ago. We don’t think there was any compromise on security.”

A Public Works Department (PWD) officer said, “We always read news stories about water tankers being used for VIP visits, which are exaggerated at times. The negative media coverage ultimately hampers work. I am not saying this is the case in this incident, but we cannot rule out the possibility.”
27/05/17 Alok Deshpande/The Hindu

Muslim scrap dealer was first to help Fadnavis out of crashed chopper

Latur (Maharashtra): When a chopper carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and five others came crashing down here on Thursday afternoon, the first person to rush to the rescue was small-time scrap dealer Irfan Shaikh, who shouted “Our king (CM) is trapped in the chopper”.
Seeing the chopper hurtle down, Shaikh ran the 100 metre distance to reach the copter in order to rescue those inside. But many others nearby bolted in the opposite direction, fearing the chopper might explode.
The chopper fell from a height of nearly 80 feet in a thick cloud of dust, accompanied by some flashes of light and a loud booming sound.
Unmindful of the risks, the 28-year-old Shaikh sprinted towards the craft.
“The copter door was jammed and could not be opened… I pulled it but it didn’t budge… The Chief Minister then responded by pushing it from inside… Then I managed to force it open from outside… I offered my hand to the CM and helped him step down,” Shaikh told a local media-person, Govind Ingle of Lokmat Group.
26/05/17 IANS/India.com

Fadnavis' chopper crash: Evidence collected from site of accident, witnesses interviewed

Mumbai: A day after the government-owned helicopter carrying Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his team crashlanded in Nilanga in Latur district, a team of officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) collected evidence from the crash site. Detailed accounts of witnesses and all those on board the chopper were taken.
On Thursday afternoon, the chopper, carrying two pilots and four officials, along with Fadnavis, suffered damages after the crash. In its inspection, the team recorded the condition of the chopper and collected some of its parts, including the cockpit’s voice recorder box.
“We have investigated the site in detail. A detailed inquiry report of the same will be prepared soon,” said a senior DGCA official.
“The DGCA team took a first person account of the incident from us. They questioned us, especially on our need to call for an emergency landing and what exactly we observed inside the cockpit.”said the chief pilot in command, Sanjay Karve.
“The initial inquiry will be the responsibility of the western region of the DGCA office in Mumbai,” Karve added.
27/05/17 Indian Express

Fly High, But Lie low: The DGCA's new Civil Aviation Requirement

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation watchdog, recently issued a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) regarding handling of unruly/disruptive passengers. Issued under the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and framed in pursuance of the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, the CAR acknowledges that unruly behavior of any sort, on board an aircraft or during embarkation/disembarkation, interferes with the performance of crew members’ duties.

It also notes that such disruptive behavior jeopardizes the safety of the aircraft, the persons on board and most importantly, affects good order and discipline on a plane. Recognizing the potential harm, any kind of disruptive behavior is now likely to invite penal action in accordance with these proposed requirements.

The definition of “disruptive passenger” under the CAR is very wide and also somewhat vague to include any passenger who disturbs “good order” and “discipline”. These terms haven’t been defined in the proposed requirements, but include, inter-alia, individuals who illegally consume narcotics or cigarettes while on board, individuals who refuse to comply with safety instructions, any passenger who verbally or physically confronts a crew member or other passengers or threatens them which could affect the safety of the crew, other passengers and aircraft, or any individual who sexually abuses or harasses a member of the crew or another passenger.

The proposed requirements contain 3 levels of interference, level 1 (light), level 2 (moderate), level 3 (serious/flight decks), bringing the CAR in consonance with international industry recommendations.

The above noted CAR applies to all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services both on the domestic and international sector. They also apply to foreign carriers engaged in scheduled air transport operating to and from India, all airport operators within Indian territory, and all passengers during their air travel in India.
26/05/17 Satvik Varma/Vikrant Pachnanda/Bar & Bench

No-fly list effect: Cases of unruly passengers less now, says Aviation Min

New Delhi: Airlines are reporting lesser number of cases of unruly passengers following the government's decision to come out with a 'national no-fly list' to deal with such incidents, Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju said on Friday.

Raju said he had advised Air India to lift the ban imposed on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had claimed to have hit an Air India staffer, after the lawmaker assured that he would not repeat such a behaviour.

"Airlines are reporting lesser problems," Raju told NDTV when asked what impact has the proposed 'national no-fly list' had.


The minister added that Gaikwad had written to him saying he will behave himself and such a thing will not happen.

"I advised the airlines to withdraw the ban because the civil aviation requirement isn't in their favour till the government amends it (the rules)," Raju said.

27/05/17 PTI/Business Standard

Flying to cost more from Thiruvananthapuram airport

Thiruvananthapuram: Flying from Thiruvananthapuram will cost more from June with the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) set to give its nod for a proposal of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a steep hike in aeronautical tariff at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to enable the latter to recover its investments.

A User Development Fee (UDF) of ?450 each embarking passenger in the domestic sector has been proposed for the first time from June 1, 2017 to March 21, 2018. Those flying in international sector will have to pay?950 as UDF instead of the present ? 575.

The Passenger Service Fee (PSF)-Security proposed is ?130 each embarking passenger or $3.25 each international and domestic

passenger. In addition to the UDF, a Throughput charges of ?39.80, PSF Facilitation of ?77 and $1.93 from each domestic and international passenger is now being collected. But, the Authority has proposed to merge the UDF and PSF Facilitation charges and only UDF charges will be applicable to all passengers.

An increase of 4% per annum every subsequent year from 2018-19 financial year onwards in UDF each departing passenger has been proposed. The operating airlines will also have to pay more from next month for using the premier airport as a hike has been proposed in landing, parking, handling of aircraft and throughput charges, which are likely to be passed on to passengers.

For Throughput charges, the proposed rate is ?146.80 per kl. In the case of landing charges (international) the fee proposed is ? 300 a Metric Tonne (MT) up to 25 MT to ?82,250 an MT for above 200 MT and ?520 for every excess MT. In the case of domestic flights, it is ?60 an MT up to 25 MT to ?66,00 above 200 MT and ?440 for every excess MT.

Incentives have been proposed for domestic flight with 1% incentive for 75 landing a week, 2% for 125 landings, 3% for 175 landings, 4% for 225 landings and 5% for 225 landings per week.

No landing charge has been proposed for aircraft with a maximum certified capacity of less than 80 seats operated by domestic scheduled operators, helicopters of all types, approved flying school and Flying Training Institute aircraft.
26/05/17 S. Anil Radhakrishnan/The Hindu

Life after controversy: Atwater flight school rebuilding after ex-owner’s conviction

Leaders with the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Atwater are taking steps to leave financial troubles and legal battles behind and move toward a brighter future by improving education offered at the flight school and bringing in new investors.

Daniel Yoon is the former co-owner of the flight school who last month was sentenced to three years probation after accepting a plea deal to misdemeanor charges of forgery and falsifying documents in the name of his former business partner and current exclusive owner of the flight school and parent company, John Yoon.

Daniel Yoon and John Yoon are not related.

School officials did not mince words discussing their feeling over the departure of their former owner.

“Now that Mr. Dan Yoon is out of the picture, we can move forward with projects like acquiring aircraft, hiring instructors and bringing students back in,” said Bob Deklinsky, a business operations director at the academy.

The academy, also known as KS Aviation, specializes in training commercial pilots from Asia, particularly from China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The school, located at Castle Commerce Center, currently enrolls about 40 students.

The former business partners engaged in a court battle in which Daniel Yoon was accused of trying to seize control of the flight school while John Yoon recovered from injuries suffered in a 2013 motorcycle crash. The lawsuit is ongoing in Merced County Superior Court.

Efforts to contact Daniel Yoon were unsuccessful.

John Yoon placed much of the blame for the school’s recent troubles squarely on the shoulders of his former business partner.

The academy scrapped about two dozen aircraft that weren’t maintained properly while John Yoon was away from the company.

In January, employees received paychecks more than a week late while John Yoon waited for money from overseas, he said.

Now, the school is in the process of buying brand new planes, said Sanjay Akella, who was recently hired on as the academy’s chief flight instructor.

The school’s reputation with international airlines also sank, along with the quality of education students were receiving, school officials acknowledged.

“Our greatest frustration was we saw that resources and attention were not focused on the future of the school,” said Joshua Daniel, the human resources coordinator.

Hiring Akella demonstrates John Yoon’s focus on churning out quality pilots, he said. Since the beginning of the year, pass rates in classes have more than doubled.

“Sanjay is a really good pilot,” John Yoon said. “In all the world, you can’t find this kind of pilot.”

Daniel said the school received more than 30 letters of recommendation on behalf of Akella.
27/05/17 Brianna Calix/Merced Sun-Star

Reaching For the Skies: A Career in Air Force

No land battle can succeed without a strong and well-prepared Air Force. Whether it is to defend one’s own forces and vulnerable areas or to carry the war into enemy territory, the Air Force is indispensable for the country’s defence.

For all those nurturing their childhood dream of being a fighter pilot or an officer, the Indian Air Force (IAF) offers some excellent career opportunities.

The Flying Branch is the prime branch of the Air Force. As an officer of the Flying Branch, you may seek a career as a fighter pilot, a pilot for transport aircraft, helicopter, or as a navigator. As an Air Force pilot, you’ll be flying state-of-the-art aircrafts and will be trained for air fight, shooting down enemy aircraft, attacking ground targets and rescue and relief operations. The Air Force provides sophisticated training to youth who are totally inexperienced and takes them through various stages till they can fly the best aircraft in the world.
27/05/17 Northeast Today

First night flight takes off from Silchar

Silchar:  In a major development to the prolonged wait for night landing operations to begin at the Silchar airport, the ATR flight 9W 2878 of Jet Airways flew from the the airport for Guwahati at 8pm on Thursday, marking a historical beginning for commercial civil airlines from here.
According to Debashish Borthakur, station incharge of Jet Airways at Silchar, the flight flew with 60 passengers. “We are happy to witness this moment of history. Its a great feeling and hope that the much awaited night flight operations shall get regular in the coming days,” Borthakur told this correspondent. He informed that they took special permission for the day from the IAF to fly the aircraft at night.

On the other hand, Nand Kishore Deoli, airport director at Silchar said “we have been prepared for so long and it is good to see this development. Provided we get a proper schedule, Silchar airport is well-equipped for flight operations at night.”
26/05/17 Arindam Gupta/Assam Tribune

Naveen Patnaik demands Visa On Arrival facility at Bhubaneswar airport

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today demanded that steps should be initiated by the Centre to provide 'Visa on Arrival' facility at Bhubaneswar airport and include the capital city of Odisha as a stop Colombo-Varanasi flight started by Air India recently.

The chief minister made the requests in separate letters to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and civil aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju. "The state government has established international connectivity recently with Air Asia starting its operations between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur.

We had entered into an MoU with Air Asia in which the state government is providing viability gap funding to the international carrier for its operations," Naveen said in his letter to Swaraj. Stating that there has been a good response to this international connectivity with Indian citizens travelling abroad through Bhubaneswar, he said a sizeable number of foreign arrivals have also been noticed. "In order to facilitate the travel of arriving tourists, it is requested that Bhubaneswar be included as a 'Visa on Arrival' Station for citizens of the eligible nations as it would encourage people from countries connected by the recently launched international connectivity and boost tourist footfalls to our state," he said.
26/05/17 New Indian Express

Air Cargo Took Off Above The Himalayas

If you want to know exactly when the defining time occurred for air cargo in the 20th century, and what led to its development, just cast a line back seventy two years ago and you will discover that modern air cargo was born in India and China.
     Today, as air cargo’s future is increasingly connected to these two ancient countries, it can be said that what is old is new again.
Early in World War II, President Roosevelt asked Army Air Force General Hap Arnold to devise a method for supplying Chinese and American troops and aviators fighting against the Japanese in China.
Americans were aiding the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai Shek, while American aviators operating P40B fighter aircraft supplied by the USA were part of an all-volunteer group known as the AVG, under the command of Claire Chennault.
     Later, the world would come to know this pilot group as the legendary Flying Tigers.
     As the enemy closed in, military planners decided that an air route across some of the most rugged territory in the world—the Himalayan Mountains—would be sustainable in any event.
     The route quickly earned a name that has immortalized the effort and heroism of that first great air cargo movement, which kept freedom and hope alive for millions during the darkest days of the conflict: for succeeding generations, “The China-India-Burma Hump (CBI)” described a journey which created an aerial lifeline from the Assam Valley in India to Kunming, China.
     China-India-Burma Hump operations took off after the Japanese closed down the overland truck route, called The Burma Road, as Rangoon and the country fell in early 1942.
     To look at it today, that vaunted and somewhat mysterious Burma Road is/was little more than a mostly unimproved artery hacked out in serpentine form in the rugged mountains.
     But as breathtaking as the sheer cliffs were to passengers and drivers inching along the Burma Road, that experience was nothing compared to the adventure of take-off and landing first-generation, all-cargo aircraft operating back and forth between India and China.
     The Himalayas are rugged mountains, some as high as 14,000 feet, which lay square between the Assam Valley and Kunming.
     Since the Japanese controlled everything else, there was no right or left about it either.
     The only way between the two cities was the relatively short 500-air mile, truly hellish flight up over the mountains.
     Although today, aircraft routinely fly over the Himalayan Mountains, as World War II raged, the otherwise picturesque, snow-capped, remote peaks were a daunting challenge to airmen and their twin-engine aircraft.
     Flights from Assam to Kunming often took several hours.
26/05/17 Flying Typers

Capt Gopinath is sued by Patel Logistics for dues

Bengaluru: Even as he prepares to take to the skies once again through the government's Udan scheme to connect small towns, Captain G R Gopinath is being accused of failing to pay old dues. Mumbai-based Patel Integrated Logistics has sued Gopinath, alleging that his firm Deccan Cargo fraudulently and with malafide intention failed to settle its dues to them.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate Court has directed the police to investigate the allegations in the complaint under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Patel Integrated Logistics said that Deccan Cargo failed to settle dues of Rs 1.36 crore after it delivered certain cargo at various destinations at the behest of Deccan Cargo. Areef Patel, vice chairman of the company, said the police station has submitted a report to the Bandra court. "Captain Gopinath has resurfaced for the Udan project, but he has to first return our money. He has to call for a settlement, but he hasn't showed any intention to pay up.The act amounts to criminal breach of trust and cheating under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal code. The act and actions have caused a huge loss to our company," he said.
26/05/17 Shilpa Phadnis/Times of India

BCAS asks all airports to get floor plan of security restricted areas approved

New Delh: In an attempt to make airport terminals ready for any eventuality, aviation security regulator Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), has asked all airports to get the floor plan of security restricted area (SRA) approved.
This move will also help check encroachment of shops in the security area at airports in the country, which could have hampered safe evacuation of passengers in case of emergency.
“Each airport shall submit floor-wise plan of the SRA depicting the area earmarked for pre-embarkation security checks, adequate movement area for screened passengers and their baggage and evacuation route/passage area and area for business establishments to get one-time approval from BCAS,” said an order from the security regulator that was seen by ET.
Analysts feel that this would impact the revenues of airport companies. “Any reduction in retail area is set to impact non-aeronautical revenues of the airport companies, which would lead to spike in charges, as non-aeronautical revenues are used to cross subsidise airport charges,” said VP Agarwal, former chairman at Airports Authority of India.
27/05/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

HAL Flies A Second Light Utility Helicopter

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) flew a second prototype of its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) on May 22. The flight lasted approximately 22 minutes, said the government-owned manufacturer. HAL has an order for 187 LUHs from the Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force, to help replace the aging Cheetah (Alouette II) and Chetak (Alouette III) fleet.

The LUH design is derived from HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), and its single Safran Ardiden 1U turboshaft engine is derived from the Ardiden 1H, two of which power the ALH. Certification of the Ardiden 1U—named the Shakti in India—is planned for 2018. HAL said that the engine “has sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high-altitude missions.” Benoit Gadefait, vice president, Safran medium helicopter engines program, said: “The  LUH will benefit from robust support under a new joint venture, formed recently by Safran and HAL [Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt. Ltd], to provide MRO to engines installed on HAL-built helicopters,” The facility in Goa has the capacity to service 50 engines a year.

Compared with the first LUH, which made its maiden flight last September, the second one has a modified tailboom. HAL said it hopes to freeze the configuration by year-end.
26/05/17 Neelam Mathews/AINonline

Naveen wants Bhubaneswar on Air India's Varanasi-Colombo route

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has pitched for including Bhubaneswar in Air India's Varanasi-Colombo circuit. The step, Patnaik, feels would contribute to promoting Buddhist tourism and boost tourist footfalls.
In a letter to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, he said, "In the recently held International Buddhist Conclave and other discussions in different forums, the tour operators, academicians and revered monks from Sri Lanka have expresses strong desire to come to Odisha to explore the Buddhist heritage sites. However, as there is no direct connectivity, Sri Lankan tourists find it difficult to visit Odisha."
Inclusion of Bhubanewar as a stop in the Varanasi-Colombo route can help meet this unmet demand.
He hailed Air India's flight from Varanasi to Colombo as a welcome development, saying it will be useful in promotion of heritage tourism and in increasing the traffic from Sri Lanka to India.
26/05/17 Business Standard

DRDO’s aero test range to be inaugurated on Sunday

Challakere: Over a decade ago, when a new international airport for Bangalore was being planned at Devanahalli, its private developers feared that the new landing site and paths of its civil flights would clash with a World War II airfield, some 70 km away at Kolar. The Defence Research & Development Organisation was using the airfield to test its new projects.

To cut the story short, Bangalore (as it was then called) got a new civil airport in May 2008 and, in the bargain, the DRDO got a new flight testing place for itself — although much farther than Kolar.

The new Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) has been up and running for a few months. It will be formally inaugurated on May 28 by acting Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. The Hindu had a special preview of the range that nestles in an undulating, almost barren sprawl of shrubs and lined with hillock.

The ATR is a facility under the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which works on a range of UAVs (unmanned air vehicles). It will be an integrated test centre for the DRDO’s cluster of aeronautical laboratories, most of them based in Bengaluru, according to a few scientists.
26/05/17 Madhumathi D.S./The Hindu

4 Brits nabbed at Mumbai airport for human trafficking helped 5 Lankans fly to UK earlier: Chargesheet

Mumbai: The four UK nationals nabbed from Mumbai airport on March 10 for trafficking four Sri Lankans, had helped five others from the island nation fly to London, similarly, using fake Indian passports earlier this year, the chargesheet filed by Sahar police says.
On March 10, the eight foreign nationals were caught at the boarding gates of the international and domestic sections of Terminal 2, where the UK nationals gave their boarding passes for a London flight to the Sri Lankans, who, in turn, gave them their boarding passes for an Ahmedabad flight. "The chargesheet mentions that the Sri Lankans had got fake Indian passports in the name of the UK nationals, but with Chennai addresses," said an investigator. The 678-page chargesheet was filed in the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate Court on May 12.
"The racket was busted when immigration officials received a tip-off that a few foreigners had skipped immigration checks and they alerted all boarding gates," said a police officer. "The officials at Gate No. 78 in the international section stopped the Sri Lankans as the boarding passes they were carrying had British-sounding names."
27/05/17 Times of India

MIA parking contractor fined for fleecing public

Mangaluru: The Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) has cracked the whip on the parking contractor for violating contract conditions and fleecing the public who drop off and pick up passengers.
The MIA chose to monitor the parking services following several complaints from the public, especially about a parking fee being charged even though vehicles that came to drop or pick up passengers exited the airport premises within seven minutes. The MIA charges Rs 60 for vehicles that don't exit the premises within seven minutes of entry from the toll gate.
MIA airport director VV Rao said he set up a permanent committee to monitor deficiencies at the airport and suggest changes. On Thursday, a major glitch found was synchronization error of three minutes at the entry and exit clocks which meant that the parking contractor was charging vehicles for staying inside the premises for just four minutes.
The contractor has been heavily fined and warned that his contract would be recommended for cancellation if it occurred again.
26/05/17 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

Raj Thackeray steps back as flight bars armed guards

New Delhi: Air India's (AI) troubles with the Shiv Sena and its offshoots show no sign of ending. Now, MNS chief Raj Thackeray refused to board an AI subsidiary, Alliance Air's, flight earlier this week because the airline — as per rules — did not allow the firebrand leader's armed security men to board the aircraft with weapons.
Raj was supposed to fly an Alliance Air turboprop aircraft from Mumbai to Madhya Pradesh and reached the airport with his armed security personnel. "Weapons are not allowed to be carried on board the ATR aircraft," said an AI spokesman.
But unlike Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who beat up an AI employee on March 23 for being made to fly economy class, Raj Thackeray did not create much of a scene and is learnt to have returned home. "He was upset but there were no ugly scenes at the airport as he did not go to board the aircraft without his security personnel," said sources. Raj was reportedly headed to Gwalior. The airline's top management has reportedly not received any letter of protest from MNS on this episode. Only some top dignitaries, who have "very high threat perception" are allowed to fly with armed security personnel when flying commercial airlines. Other VVIPs' security team has to check in their weapons and ammunition and then get the same after landing at the destination.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Language: A No Barrier in Andhra Pradesh Airports

The famous proverb “Every two miles the water changes, every four miles the speech” is the best way to describe our country. India is a country so diverse, proved by the number of languages spoken by us. People are most comfortable when they communicate in their mother tongue. This is the reason that Visakhapatnam Airport will soon have all the public announcements in Telugu besides English and Hindi.

The same will be followed in all flights operated by various air lines and also at five other airports across Andhra Pradesh. The Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju stated that it is difficult to train the crew to make announcement in all regional languages, but none-the-less announcements will soon be made in Telugu in all the airports of Andhra Pradesh.
This year has been very crucial when one talks about the developments in Visakhapatnam airport. The much anticipated Sri Lankan airlines will kick-start its services from Vizag to Colombo from July 8 which would operate 4 times a week. The airlines will provide flights from Vizag to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Male, Seychelles, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Jeddah.

Meanwhile G Prakash Reddy took charge as the new director of Visakhapatnam Airport earlier this year. The airport will also soon be equipped with night parking bays for aircrafts that arrive in the evening, which will tend to increase the number of early morning flights to all over India and also the night landings in the city.

26/05/17 Yo! Vizag

Two held for smuggling gold worth Rs 80 lakh at IGI airport

New Delhi: Two men were arrested today for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing about Rs 80 lakh at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.

A passenger was intercepted by the customs officials after his arrival from riyadh. "This passenger had gone to washroom to handover 24 gold bars weighing 2.7 kgs to an employee working with a private firm engaged at the airport for work," a customs official said.

Both the accused -- the passenger and the employee of the private company -- were arrested, he said.
26/05/17 Outlook