Sunday, January 20, 2019

Jet's lenders awaiting Sebi decision on exemptions to Etihad: SBI chairman

Gandhinagar: The State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders has not rejected Etihad Airways’ bailout offer for financially stressed Jet Airways and is waiting for the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi’s) decision on granting exemptions to the foreign player, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Saturday.

Etihad, which holds a 24 per cent stake in India’s second-largest airline, has made an offer to invest only at Rs 150 per share, which is 53 per cent of Jet’s closing price of Rs 281.35 on Friday. The UAE-based carrier is also seeking an exemption from Sebi on preference pricing and open offer guidelines to invest more for the bailout.

“We are nobody to reject anybody’s resolution plan. We are saying that there is a regulation governed by Sebi. What we have to see is that what Sebi says,” Kumar said on the sidelines of an event at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar. “If no regulatory exemption is required, then it is easier (to resolve). If a regulatory exemption is required, then they have to approach the regulator and we need to know the regulator’s view," he added.
Jet owes over Rs 8,000 crore to the SBI-led consortium. The lenders are now wary of a Kingfisher-like situation, after the airline defaulted on loan repayments in December. Etihad’s offer comes with riders, that Jet’s founder and chairman, Naresh Goyal, who holds a 51 per cent stake, give up the board seat and reduce his stake to 22 per cent, and that the debt is not allowed to be converted into equity.
19/01/19 Vinay Umarji/Business Standard

P and W says engine meets safety standards, but backs DGCA order

New Delhi : A day after the aviation regulator restricted the Airbus A320 Neo aircraft powered by Pratt and Whitney (P and W) engines from flying to Port Blair, among other directives, P and W said it "fully supports" the order and emphasised that its engine meets all safety standards.

 The aviation engine maker also described its meeting with the Civil Aviation Ministry and airlines on January 8 as productive.

"The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) directive mandates some specific actions for our operators whom Pratt iamp; Whitney will fully support.

The 'PW1100G-JM' engine continues to be certified to all of the industry's safety standards, and maintains unrestricted 180 minute Extended Range Operations for aircraft powered by these engines, while providing significant fuel efficiency, noise and emission reductions," it said.
18/01/19 IANS/

Fly Jet Airways sans Naresh Goyal

Jet Airways is on a downward trajectory, and much of it is of its own making. The company’s chairman Naresh Goyal is trying to put together the pieces, but the only chance of survival is if the blundering promoters exit and make way for a new, professional management.

The fact sheet of the airline reads like a riot report. Jet suffered three massive back-to-back quarterly losses — Rs 1,045 crore in the January-March 2018 quarter; then Rs 1,323 crore in the April-June quarter and finally, Rs 1,298 crore for the July-September quarter. By September 30 last year, the airline was groaning under the weight of a Rs 8,052-crore debt. Payments to pilots and staff are being delayed. Many domestic and Gulf destinations have been suspended to conserve cash and fresh delivery of aircraft has been stopped. The crisis hit the roof when the airline defaulted on its repayment and interest due on December 31.
The default has now set off a merry tug-of-war between the promoters, investors and lenders, State Bank of India and others. Sensing an opportunity, Gulf carrier and 24 per cent stakeholder in Jet, Etihad Airways, says it will infuse fresh capital; but will buy the shares at a discount, and on condition that Naresh Goyal, who owns 51 per cent, dilute and exit. The SBI-led consortium is not happy with Etihad taking over, and is willing to throw a further lifeline to Goyal.

The failures of the Naresh Goyal management have to be seen against the backdrop of a free run Jet Airways has had from May 1993, when it first began operations, to the launch of competition in the form of SpiceJet and IndiGo airlines in 2005 and 2006, respectively. After private airlines were allowed in 1992, and after the initial start-ups East West Airlines and Damania Airways collapsed, Jet Air has had a virtual monopoly over Indian skies for nearly 2 decades — an opportunity it has squandered.

As budget airlines, IndiGo and the others only began making an impact around 2010-12. The undercutting in ticket prices was never an issue for years. Why was Jet not able to exploit its first-mover advantage and build a robust financial business?
Naresh Goyal has had all the political patronage he could hope for. The one significant challenger that could have emerged — the proposed Tatas-Singapore Airlines venture — was nixed in the bud in 1997, when then aviation minister C M Ibrahim shot down the proposal. Subsequent aviation ministers, especially Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party, also backed Jet Airways, and insidiously hobbled state-run Air India.
20/01/19 Gurbir Singh/New Indian Express

India to make air travel affordable: Suresh Prabhu

Mumbai: The first-ever two-day Global Aviation Summit was organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here earlier this week, with the theme “Flying for all”, to ride the exponential growth India has been witnessing in the aviation sector over the last four years.

The event saw the participation of 83 different countries with more than 1,000 delegates visiting from these countries. The event was also attended by Transport and Aviation ministers from countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Japan, Qatar, Poland, Georgia, Nigeria, among many others.

Apart from this, aviation regulators and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) of several countries were also part of the event. The event was also supported and attended by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), IATA (International Air Transport Association), ACI (Airports Council International), and CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation).

The summit also witnessed the presence of several CEOs and Managing Directors of top players in the aviation industry from across the world, including Ajay Singh, CMD SpiceJet, Palash Roy Chowdhury, MD India, Pratt & Whitney, Svilen Rangelov, Co-Founder and CEO, Dronamics, Adel Abdullah Ali, CEO, Air Arabia, Anand E. Stanley, President & MD, Airbus India, Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways, among many others.
19/01/19 Dibyendu Mondal/SundayGuardianLive

International corporate rivalry behind Rafale storm: Sitharaman

New Delhi: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday suggested "an international corporate rivalry" could be behind the "artificial storm" being unleashed against the Rafale deal despite the Supreme Court not finding anything adverse in it and the government repeatedly answering all questions.

"None of us should become part of an international corporate warfare... Is India's interests on the top of your agenda or becoming pawns of corporate rivalries?" she said, obliquely attacking Congress while delivering a lecture on "India's strategic interests in context of the Rafale deal".

Though she did not name any company, Eurofighter Typhoon manufacturer EADS had offered a 20% discount on its earlier bid after the French Dassault Aviation, which makes Rafales, was declared the (lowest bidder) in the original medium multi-role combat aircraft project for 126 jets under UPA in 2012.
The UPA government had rejected the EADS offer as it violated provisions of the Defence Procurement Procedure and Central Vigilance Commission guidelines. The defence ministry, incidentally, on Friday had also said, "It's a corporate battle that has been going on since 2012 and has adversely affected the capabilities of the IAF. The controversy should be put to rest in the interest of national security."
20/01/19 Times of India

The skyrocketing of flight rates!

Imagine that you have to shell out Rs. 10767 for Srinagar-Jammu flight on a day when you will be charged around Rs. 4800 for Delhi-Bangalore flight. Now, the same day you get a ticket for Delhi-Dubai on the same date at Rs 10800 only- isn’t it astounding? What kind of pricing is this, one may respectfully ask.

Imagine the level of prices; we are being made to pay at a hike which is more than 2000%  and it can never be justified, or can it? Every year, especially with the onset of winters here, this skyrocketing of fares becomes a routine and we, being helpless, are forced to buy the tickets on such exorbitant rates. We all know the condition of our ‘’strategic’’ national highway.

Is Srinagar ‘’International’’ airport the only airport in the world which is located in snowy terrain? Is Kashmir the only place on earth that faces a snowy winter season? With around 20 airlines, both private and government competing in the market, I think Kashmir is the softest target for all to exploit the travelers. With practically no regulations or regulators for pricing of tickets and even no intervention from the government too, it seems that the airlines have taken customers absolutely for granted. In case of an extreme contingency, one is forced to pay 2000% more for a flight. Imagine the state of affairs.

We have been hearing of ‘night landings’ here at our airport for a long time now but the claims are just only and precisely ‘claims’- nothing more nothing less! The lame and dumb reasons for the same are being given time and again. It might have helped the in bringing down the flight rates, but there is no sign of practically implementing any such design by the concerned authorities.
20/01/19 Nazim Humayoon/Kashmir Images

NRIs miss flight to Australia

The joy of visiting their families in Ahmedabad dissipated into thin air when the Shahs entered the airport and saw the board display their worst fear: they had missed their flight to Australia.
Chaos at the Ahmedabad airport due to the Vibrant Gujarat rush saw their flight from Ahmedabad depart three hours late, causing them to miss their connecting flight from Delhi to Sydney. For the past 24 hours, Kanan Shah, her husband and her two children have been stuck in a hotel room in Delhi waiting for the next connecting flight which, according to the airlines, will be available only on Monday.
This means Kanan and her husband will be late for work by two days and lose their pay over this. The 49-year-old Sydney resident, who was returning after a monthlong stay here, told Mirror, “It was chaos at Ahmedabad airport. Flights were getting delayed due to VIP movement. I had a connecting China Air flight from Delhi to Sydney which I missed because my Air India flight from Ahmedabad to Delhi was late by three hours.”
Ahmedabad airport was swamped on Thursday and Friday as it handled over 30 non-scheduled flight
movements due to the Vibrant Gujarat summit. To add to the bedlam, more than 600 VIP delegates arrived and departed from the airport during these days. The passengers’ ordeal worsened when more than 30 flights were delayed due to bad weather in Delhi and Bangalore on Friday.
Kanan, who works as a pharmacist and runs a dance school, said, “We had booked a 6.50 pm flight from Ahmedabad to Delhi. It was pandemonium at the airport and my flight got delayed.
“Once we reached Delhi and missed our flight, the airlines promised to accommodate us on one of the other flights. We saw three flights to Australia leave before our eyes but nothing was done to seat us. The airport staff at Delhi were insensitive. They did not let us move around. My daughter fell ill and I could not even get her medicines. Can you imagine the plight of my children?”
The Shahs were stuck at Delhi airport for 11 hours before they were given hotel accommodation. “Till Saturday afternoon, they kept saying that they were trying to book us on another flight. Then, suddenly, the staff asked us to book a flight on our expense and claim the money from the airline later. Then they stopped responding to our calls.
20/01/19 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

MoUs inked for airports at Dholera, Ankleshwar

Ahmedabad: In a major boost to air connectivity out of Gujarat, Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government, for the construction of airports at Ankleshwar and Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR). The MoU was signed on the second day of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2019, as part of which two greenfield airports will come up in the state.

According to state government officials, the airport at Dholera SIR will be constructed at the cost of Rs 1,500 crore, which is likely to be operational by 2020.

"I am pleased to announce that by 2022, a new international airport will be operational at Dholera SIR.
20/01/19 Times of India

What led to chaos at Delhi airport? Officials revealed this

After the year's worst spell of fog on Friday morning, at least 600 flights were held up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The restrictions on the flight operations during peak hours for Republic Day rehearsals also worsened the scenario. According to air traffic officials, the airlines did not prioritise their flights' departures after the visibility improved which led to every pilot calling the Air Traffic Control for permission to take off. This commotion lasted for around 7-8 hours, disrupting the schedules of the flight departures. According to officials, as cited by Hindustan Times (HT), lack of coordination worsened delays and forced many passengers to wait inside aircraft.
Normally, the process to clear backlog involves airlines communicating to airport authorities which of their flights must be sequenced first. “For instance, if five different airlines had 10 flights each to depart and there were only four slots, they were unable to tell us which four will go first. Passengers of all 10 flights were asked to board instead,” an (ATC) official, not authorised to speak to the media, said, as cited by HT.
Although most of the airlines are equipped with systems and pilots for handling low visibility using the CAT3B technology, the take-offs and landings of the aircraft are normally suspended when the visibility drops below 75 metre.
“The visibility between 5:30 am and 9:30 am was below 75 metre but once it improved, we didn’t receive any sequence and every pilot was calling us, requesting to depart. By the time things were sorted, restrictions for R-Day began. The airlines should prepare a list of flights they want to depart first, in advance,” a second ATC official said, HT reported. Restrictions for R-Day rehearsals were from 10:35am to 12:15pm.
20/01/19 ZeeBusiness

Watch hours at Jammu Airport to be extended

Jammu: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to extend watch hours at the Jammu Airport, an official spokesman said on Saturday.

"The AAI has decided to extend the watch hours up to 9 pm at the Jammu Airport. This decision will provide a much-needed boost to various sectors particularly tourism. Pilgrims to the famous shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi would be benefited," the spokesman said. Presently, the runway watch hours at the airport are from 8 am to 5 pm.

Watch hours in aviation refers to the operational period for flight services at an airport.

In a communique to the state government, the AAI has conveyed its preparedness to handle extended watch hours at the Jammu Airport, the spokesman said.

"As and when the airlines submit their flight schedule, the AAI will permit these operations," the spokesman said. He said the extension in the watch hours would enable flights to take off and land at the Jammu Airport during the late evening hours, thereby increasing the number of flights moving in and out from Jammu.

The state government has been repeatedly requesting the central government, Ministry of Defence and the AAI to extend the watch hours' at the Srinagar and Jammu Airports to enable late evening flights, the official said.
19/01/19 ZeeNews

Fog affects trains and air traffic again, 29 flights delayed at Delhi Airport

New Delhi: The MeT department on Sunday said that the Western Disturbance is likely to effect heavy snowfall and rainfall in Himalayan and adjacent states. The department has predicted snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand. It said that regions in Punjab, Haryana, north Rajasthan and west Uttar Pradesh may receive rain in coming days.

Foggy conditions were prevalent in Tripura, Delhi, UP, Andhra and Odisha. The fog affected train and flight traffic. 29 flights were delayed at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI). 25 long-distance trains have been cancelled. Almost all of them were scheduled to travel across northern states of the country.
20/01/19 India Today

Lounge at Vizag airport to be developed with high-end facilities

The Executive Business Lounge at Vizag airport will soon be equipped with “high-end” facilities, the Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers Association (APATA) informed.

The lounge is expected to feature facilities such as a restaurant, WiFi of international standards after being worked up by a contracted agency.

“Contract awarded for execution of Executive Business Lounge with International standards with high – end facilities like Restaurant, Wifi etc. The facility is expected to be ready in next three months (sic),” APATA said in a press release.

It has also been mentioned that Vizag airport witnessed growth in cargo and passenger traffic in the bygone months. “There is a 21.3% growth in the passenger traffic for the first three quarters for FY 2018-19. About  21.44 Lakhs passengers travelled from Visakhapatnam Airport from 1-4-2018 to 31-12-2018, whereas the passengers travelled during the corresponding period of the  FY 2017-18 is 18.09 Lakhs,” APATA said in a press release.
20/01/19 Yo!Vizag

AirAsia Cancels Flight Operation From Srinagar

Srinagar:  Authorities at the Srinagar airport on Friday cancelled the flights to New Delhi following bad weather and low visibility in the Indian capital city.

An official of the airport said that due to bad weather in Delhi Indigo 6E2187/2148; Spicejet SG 160/161; AirAsia I5 715/716; Vistara UK611 flights have been cancelled.

One report said AirAsia has cancelled its all flights from Srinagar International Airport from 18th Jan to 26th Jan excepted 19th Jan and 25th January, an official tweeted.
18/01/19 Kashmir Observer

Flyers fume as ‘bad weather’ continues to disrupt flights

Hyderabad: Flight disruptions to and from the city’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) continued on Saturday with at least three flights to Hyderabad being cancelled and nine delayed. Similarly, the departure schedule displayed two cancellations – both to Bengaluru --and over six delays. One Indi-Go flight – 6E 2376 from Delhi to Bengaluru — was also diverted to Hyderabad after it failed to land at the Kempegowda International Airport.
While airline operators maintained that the irregularities were solely due to “bad weather conditions” prevailing in New Delhi and Bengaluru, their explanation failed to pacify passengers. Fliers insisted that the carriers were using fog as an excuse to evade the hefty penalty that they are compelled to pay – in case of delays and cancellations – as per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) norms.
Apart from Bengaluru, the other sectors that were adversely affected on Saturday were: Chennai, Kolkata, Patna, Rajahmundry, Mumbai, Bhopal, Goa, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam among others. “What is happening is ridiculous. For weeks now, flights are being randomly cancelled – five-six hours prior to its time of departure – leaving regular passengers like us extremely inconvenienced,” said a frequent flier whose flight from Bengaluru to Hyderabad was taken off the charts at the last minute on Friday evening. “I refuse to believe that weather is the only reason for these disruptions. The airlines are certainly going through a bigger operational crisis that they aren’t revealing,” he alleged.
While some fliers claimed that a Hyderabad-Tirupati SpiceJet flight was delayed on Saturday morning owing to a serious technical glitch, the carrier denied it. The flight “departed after a mere 25-minute delay. There was no technical or engine issue,” the spokesperson said.
20/01/19 Times of India

Trying for Centre’s nod to operate more flights from Kannur: CM

Kannur: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the State government is expediting steps to secure the Central government’s permits for operating more international and domestic services from the Kannur International Airport.

Addressing the ninth annual general meeting of Kannur International Airport Ltd. (KIAL) here on Saturday, the Chief Minister, who is also chairman of KIAL, said that more international airline services should be started from the new airport for maximum utilisation of its state-of-the-art facilities.

He said more domestic services should also be started from the airport. At present, international services were being operated only by the Air India Express. While GoAir was operating domestic services, IndiGo would start domestic services from here soon.

Mr. Vijayan said that while GoAir and IndiGo were ready to start international services, Air India and SpiceJet were conducting preliminary studies required for starting international services. Services of international airlines should be essential considering the conveyance requirements of non-resident Keralites, export potential of the region and parts of neighbouring States, he said. The State government was exerting pressure on the Centre for this to happen, he said.
19/01/19 The Hindu

Amritsar to Doon flight from today

With the commencement of the daily Amritsar-Dehradun flight by SpiceJet from Sunday, domestic connectivity from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport is all set to increase.

This flight will depart from Dehradun at 11.55 am and will arrive at 12.35 pm. Its return flight will leave Amritsar at 12.55 pm and reach Dehradun at 1.35 pm. The total duration of the flight will be 40 minutes with an aircraft capacity of 78 passengers.
Airport Director Manoj Chansoria said the airport would connect the ninth domestic destination with this flight.

It is already handling 11 daily flights to Delhi, three flights to Mumbai, two to Bangalore, a flight each to Srinagar, Hyderabad, Goa and Guwahati. Efforts are underway to increase frequency of Amritsar to Nanded flight from twice a week to three times.
20/01/19 Tribune

Jet Airways cancels 9W677; angry passengers create scene at Airport

Raipur: As many as 140 passengers from the Capital City, bound for New Delhi, were left stranded and frustrated at Swami Vivekananda Airport after Jet Airways cancelled its 9W677 flight on Saturday late evening at the nick of hour.

In obvious fallout of the situation, angry scenes were witnessed at the Customers Assistance Counter of the Jet Airways where passengers made heated exchanges with the staff present inside. The passengers were furious over the airlines staff for providing late information to them even all of them had already reached the airport with the luggage to board the Delhi-bound Boeing 737 (700) aircraft.

“In usual circumstances, the airline operators are bound to inform the passengers as well as Airports Authority of India (AAI) regarding the cancellation of any flight 3 hours well in advance. Pre-intimation of flight cancellation and delays are part of civil aviation Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). However, the Jet Airways today informed the AAI about the flight cancellation on a very short notice.

At around 1840 hours, a Whatsapp message confirming the cancellation of the flight was received by us. Sometime after which the passenger information billboard inside the airport terminal building also lighted up reading the cancellation of Jet Airways 9W677 flight, whose Schedule Time of Departure (STD) reads 1955 hours. The airways cited operation reasons behind the cancellation of the flight,” Raipur Airport Director Rakesh R Sahay told The Hitavada over phone.
20/01/19 The Hitavada 

‘SkyFit’ yoga will help aviation officials deal with stress

Mumbai: To counter the immense stress that officials at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and pilots go through during their working hours, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has launched a specially designed yoga drill known as “SkyFit” to help aviation professionals deal with stress.

“SkyFit” is a module especially designed for aviation professionals. It is a modern scientific technique infused with ancient yogic breathing practices and focuses on breathing exercises for self-healing and taking control of the body and mind.

The “SkyFit” mobile-based application was launched here by Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Wednesday on the occasion of the Global Aviation summit held here earlier this week.

This module of “SkyFit” has already trained 300 aviation professionals in Chennai and Delhi through several workshops that were conducted in these two cities by the AAI to train them into practising “SkyFit” yoga.

Dr Ashok Bhatt, who designed the “SkyFit” yoga drill, told The Sunday Guardian: “SkyFit consists of breathing techniques based on yogic traditions which we have especially designed to take care of stress and manage the stress which ATC officials and pilots go through as they work in a closed and cramped space and pilots have long flying hours without any breaks. We have tried to connect medical science with yogic science, where the most important thing is the correct way of breathing. Most of us are chest breathers which is not the right way.”
19/01/19 Dibyendu Mondal/SundayGuardianLive

Bhubaneswar Airport Granted e-Visa Facility

Bhubaneswar: In a development which would give a big boost to international tourist arrivals to Odisha, the Biju Patnaik International Airport here has been granted the much-awaited e-visa facility. The e-visa counter has also started operating at the airport from January 16, Airport director Suresh Chandra Hota told Odisha Bytes.

The approval came through the Centre’s notification on December 31, 2018. Bhubaneswar airport now joins 28 other airports in the country having this facility.

The main advantage of e-visa is that the travellers no longer need to come to the embassy or consulate of the destination country, in this case India. The application for the visa can be completed online. The Indian e-Visa allows for double entry, with a maximum stay of 60 days per entry.

Upbeat over the development, the travel and tourism industry in the State exuded confidence of a significant jump in international tourist arrivals, especially from south east Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
20/01/19 Samiran Sarangi/

IndiGo to begin daily flights from Doha to the newest airport in India

Doha: IndiGo, an Indian low-cost carrier, has added its ninth destination from Qatar to India. It will start one daily non-stop flight to and from Kannur Airport in Kerala, a southern Indian state, from March 15, 2019.

Kannur, the newest and fourth international airport of Kerala had begun its commercial operations on December 9, 2018.

As of now, Air India Express, a subsidiary of India’s flag carrier airline Air India is operating three weekly services in Doha-Kannur sector. 

IndiGo will be operating a daily flight 6E 1716 leaving Doha at 10:05 pm (Doha time) and reaching Kannur at 4:55 am (local time), while the return service. 6E 1715. will be depart Kannur at 7:05 pm (local time) to arrive in Doha at 9:05 pm (Doha time).
19/01/19 Peninsula Online

Get alternative road to Bengaluru airport ready: Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar

Bengaluru: Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar on Saturday asked the Public Works Department (PWD), Forest Department, BESCOM and Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) to conduct a joint inspection and work in unison to ensure that an alternative road to the airport is in perfect shape before the Aero India show.

Speaking to The New Indian Express about the co-ordination committee meeting held at Vidhana Soudha, the Chief Secretary said, “I have asked the four agencies to conduct a joint inspection and sort out any problems before the next meeting. The road needs to be fully ready before the Aero show begins.” The five-day event will commence on February 20.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said the road via Begur, Hennur, Bagalur and Mylenahalli has to be fixed with street lights and widened. “Up to Bagalur, this road falls under BBMP limits and the road is good till there. Beyond that, the road will be taken care of by the PWD department. Two trees need to be cut along the road to lay cables for which the Forest Department permission was required,” he said. Some land needs to be acquired in connection with the road widening from Begur and Mylenahalli and hence KIADB was involved, he added.
20/01/19 New Indian Express

ED attaches assets worth Rs 26 cr of journalist

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has attached properties worth Rs 26.65 crore of senior journalist Upenra Rai in connection with its ongoing probe into a money laundering case.

An ED official told IANS that the attached assets includes a building in south Delhi's Greater Kailash 1 area and a flat on Hailey Road in the heart of Delhi.

The ED also attached a flat and a penthouse of Rai in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddha Nagar and a flat each in Gomatinagar and Gokhale Marg in Lucknow.

The agency also attached investment worth Rs 5.62 crore in bank fixed deposits and mutual funds and three luxury cars.

The ED earlier filed a charge sheet in the case alleging that Rai laundered over Rs 29.58 crore by adopting different modus operandi and was involved in "extortion of the huge amount from different companies and corporate houses".
The agency alleged that Rai took "undue advantage of his connections with several government officials" to gain access to confidential information about the penal proceedings contemplated against various defaulters.

According to the ED, Rai entered into agreement for consultancy services and issued false invoices to give genuine and legal shape to those transactions.

He allegedly received huge amounts of money from shell companies. The individuals and shell companies existed only on paper.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in July arrested a Bureau of Civil Aviation Security official, Rahul Rathore, and the Chairman and Managing Director of aviation firm Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, Alok Sharma, after it found out about their involvement in the commission of crime committed by Rai, currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail.
20/01/19 IANS/IndiaTV

Over Rs 66 lakh worth gold seized at Hyderabad airport

The Hyderabad unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Sunday (January 20) recovered gold worth more than Rs 66 lakh after intercepting a passenger at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.

According to DRI officials, the passenger arrived in the city at 12:40 am on Sunday on a flight from Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

DRI officials had received a tip-off, based on which the officials intercepted the passenger.

Officials recovered two foreign-marked gold bars from him. The gold weighed a total of 1996.70 grams and was valued at Rs 66.27 lakh.

He had concealed the gold bars in his shoes, DRI officials said.
20/01/19 Ashish Pandey/India Today

4 Sri Lankans held for smuggling gold in rectum

Bengaluru: In the second case of smugglers concealing gold in their bodies within a week at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru customs sleuths on Saturday nabbed four Sri Lankan nationals who had hidden gold paste worth Rs 44 lakh in their rectum.
Sources with the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Bengaluru customs said the four men arrived in KIA at 3.21am via a Sri Lankan Airlines flight (UL 173) from Colombo.
After passenger profiling, the sleuths officials suspected something amiss about the activities of the four Sri Lankan men and intercepted them. On questioning, they revealed the gold was beaten to paste and mixed with chemicals. They had sealed it with black tape and turned in into a capsule before inserting two pieces each into their bodies. The smugglers assumed the scanning devices at the airport would not detect the metal.
Investigating officers examined eight capsules in possession of the suspects and found 2.3kg of gold paste. Melting the contents revealed 1.4kg of gold estimated to be worth Rs 44 lakh in the market, sources added.
20/01/19 Petlee Peter/Times of India

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Revival plan for Air India has been completed, says Union Minister Jayant Sinha

The government has finalised a revival plan and a financial package for struggling Air India, which includes shedding of about Rs 29,000 crore of debt, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told CNBC-TV18 on Thursday.

“The revival plan for Air India has been completed. We have discussed it in parliament, we have discussed it in the media as well. There are multiple steps that we are taking but the first and most important thing that we are doing for Air India is a financial package which includes shedding of about Rs 29,000 crore of debt which goes to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), leaving the airline with about Rs 25,000 crore of debt. We have also pumped in a lot more equity into Air India, which has happened through the supplementary in the budget, which should be coming into Air India right now. And of course with oil prices having come down, Air India once again at an operating level continues to do we well," Sinha said at the CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Leader Awards on Thursday.

But challenges still remain for the debt-ridden carrier.

"The challenge for us in Air India has continued to be the legacy burden – the debt that was accumulated in the past because of all the mistakes and all of the calamities that really were foisted on to Air India and made things very difficult for Air India, I think those are behind us now. At an operating level, we will continue to strengthen and improve Air India with best in class business processes, world class professional management and also doing whatever we can to motivate and improve working conditions for the workforce,” he said.

Speaking about debt reduction target specifically, Sinha said, “That is an ongoing process. The important part of it in the revival plan was to be able to shed Rs 29,000 crore through the SPV. We will of course refinance Rs 25,000 crore that has left in more advantageous ways and we will continue to work at it so that we can restore Air India financially to the best possible situation that we can do and of course, there is further disinvestment that is required. We are looking at the subsidiaries, we are working with the non-core real estate, so there is a whole host of things that are part of the revival plan that we are embarked on.”
18/01/19 Kritika Saxena/CNBC TV18

GoAir Announces New International Flights, Offers Tickets From Rs 4,999

Budget airline GoAir announced new international flight connections at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 4,999. The direct weekly flights introduced by the carrier, will operate between Kannur in Kerala and Muscat, starting from February 28, 2019, noted the carrier on its official website- Bookings for the flights are open with immediate effect, the airline said in a statement. GoAir's new offer comes amid high competition in the country's civil aviation sector, boosted by robust growth in passenger traffic registered over past few months.
"GoAir that has recently commenced domestic operations out of Kannur is proud to announce Muscat as its third international destination and 27th overall destination," the airline said in a statement. "GoAir will operate three direct flight services per week between Kannur-Muscat-Kannur and bookings are now open at an attractive all-inclusive one way fare starting from Rs. 4,999," it said.
19/01/19 NDTV

Passengers suffer at Bengaluru Airport for three hours as Air India flight crew's duty hours end

A large number of the 161 passengers on board an Air India flight heading to Male from New Delhi via Thiruvananthapuram ended up midway in Bengaluru after a delayed departure from Thiruvananthapuram.
The reason: pilots and co-pilots needed to wind up their duty in accordance with the specific duty hours fixed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Passengers, including many infants and foreigners, were stranded at Kempe Gowda International Airport (KIA) for over three hours and finally reached Male 10 hours behind schedule.
Passengers told 'Express' the pilot stood along with the cabin crew when they were entering the flight at Thiruvananthapuram and informed them that the flight was heading to Bengaluru not Male. They were then assured that a flight from Bengaluru will take them to Male within half-an-hour.
Explaining the chaos, an Air India spokesperson said the intense fog at New Delhi airport was the real culprit.
"Due to foggy conditions, flight No 263, left New Delhi only at 7.20 am instead of 5.50 am. Hence it reached Thiruvananthapuram late."
Due to Flight Data Time Limit rules, a pilot can only fly eight-nine hours.
"It was decided to divert the flight to Bengaluru so that the crew on board could be replaced with a new team," the spokesperson said.
However, since new crew members were not available immediately, passengers had to wait at KIA, he said.
"Air India took good care of its passengers by giving them snacks and refreshments," the spokesperson claimed.
But stranded passengers were not so happy about the delay. Subash Fernando, an exporter of vegetables and fruits to Male from Thiruvananthapuram, was agitated as he missed a scheduled meeting.
"While some passengers were informed that the flight that it would be diverted to Bengaluru, I was not even told that. In knew it only when the pilot announced through in-flight PA system," he said.
19/01/19 Arockiaraj Johnbosco & S Lalitha/New Indian Express

Cascading effect of 1-hour runway closure triggers plight for flyers

Pune: The one-hour runway closure at the airport on Friday after an Indian Air Force fighter jet developed snag left several flyers stranded, while many inbound flights landed late in the city.

Davinder Sharma, travelling on an Air India flight from Chandigarh, told TOI that his plane took off on time, around 9.20am. “As it neared Pune, the pilot announced that a defence aircraft was in distress at the Pune airport’s runway and the landing would be delayed by 30 minutes. The pilot said the aircraft had fuel for an hour. After 30 minutes of hovering overhead, the pilot again announced that ATC (air traffic controller) had informed him that the landing would happen in the next 20 minutes. The aircraft had fuel for the next 22 minutes. We landed safely around 1pm,” Sharma said.

Rohit Singh Tolia, whose brother was travelling on a Go-Air flight from Pune to Delhi, said he got a call from his sibling, Nitin Chandra, stating that there was a heavy flight delay. “His flight, supposed to take off around 11.15am, was finally airborne around 3.45pm. My brother told me that the airline staffers had told the passengers that there was a problem on the runway and iet had to be shut down,” Tolia said. Chandra saw a fire tender on the runway.

Sushant Malhotra, who was booked on a flight to Kolkata, said, “The plane was supposed to take off at 11:45am, but it finally departed at 4.45pm.”

19/01/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Commercial flights likely from Jeypore in Feb

Jeypore: Intra-state commercial air services are likely to start from the Jeypore airstrip in Koraput district in the first week of February.

Sources said the airstrip’s construction is in progress. Although the project is almost complete, some work is still pending and that would be over by March.

The formalities required to obtain permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are also almost complete. The district administration is likely to apply for a licence in the last week of January, the sources said.

After Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda, the Jeypore airport will be the third to get the civil aviation airport tag in the state. As of now flights are planned from Jeypore to Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam, Raipur and Hyderabad.

The airstrip built in the 1960s was used whenever ministers or VIPs visited the town. In the 1980s, Vayudoot operated flights from the Jeypore airstrip. But the service was stopped after the flight crashed without injuring anyone.
19/01/19 Orissa Post

By 2020, Nashik likely to be one of India’s busiest airports

Mumbai: Ozar airport, located in the wine capital of India, Nashik, around 120 kilometres from Mumbai airport, is all set to become a bustling airport on domestic routes. It has been defunct for the last three weeks, after Air Deccan failed to operate flights and pay salaries to the staff. The carrier had been operating services from Nashik to other cities for the past three months but has now been replaced with SpiceJet by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, several private air-carriers have shown interest in starting services from Nashik to Delhi, Mumbai and other cities across the country. In the next month, five new routes will be operational from Nashik.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai is one of the busiest airports in India. The proposed Navi Mumbai international airport is expected to be functional by the end of 2021. Until then, Ozar airport, 18 kilometres from Nashik City is likely to emerge as the best option for the CSIA to divert air traffic as well as to reduce its passenger load. The attractive ‘offer package’ under UDAN is drawing private players to Nashik. It is expected that in the near future, Nashik will be connected to Delhi, Pune, Allahabad, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Indan through air.

“SpiceJet will begin services from Nashik to Mumbai, Prayagraj and Indan (Haryana) and from Jalgaon to Mumbai from February 13. Turbo Mega’s TruJet will begin services from Kolhapur to Mumbai, Nashik to Pune and Solapur to Mumbai from the same day,” he said.
19/01/18 Free Press Journal

Bad weather hampers flight movement from Indore

Indore: Flight movement to and from the city was affected on Friday morning following bad weather condition. Scheduled of over half a dozen flights especially those on Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru routes was affected by up to three hour.
Arrival of morning flight of Indigo 6E 656 from Delhi to Indore was delayed by 3 hour and 43 minutes. The flight was scheduled to land here at 06.55am, but landed at 10.38am.
Indigo’s 6E 702 from Bengaluru to Indore was also late by one hour and 53 minutes. Jet Airways’ 9W 803 on the same route was also late by more than an hour. Indigo’s Nagpur-Indore flight 6E 509 was also late by 2 hour.

This in turn also led to delay in departure of some flight to Mumbai, Delhi etc.
19/01/19 Times of India

Record number of NRIs to fly to India for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Dubai: A large number of Indians in the UAE are set to take part in the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held in Varanasi from January 21-23.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj in Allahabad and the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

Over 350 NRIs from the UAE will be attending the event that will be held under the theme of 'Role of Indian diaspora in building a new India', said Vipul, Consul-General of India in Dubai, during a media briefing held at the Indian consulate in Bur Dubai on Thursday.

The Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in partnership with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of Uttar Pradesh, he added. "On January 21, the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, where discussions will be held on the role of youth diaspora in the development of India. On January 22, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention will be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On January 23, the valedictory address will be delivered and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards will be conferred by the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.

"All three days will feature a number of cultural programmes and will see recommendations based on panel discussions aimed at how help can be given to distressed Indians abroad and how can Indian diaspora help, especially in areas such as renewable energy, cybersecurity etc," he added.
19/01/19 Saman Haziq/Khaleej Times

Air India Express to post profit this year, too

Mumbai: Air India Express, the regional international subsidiary of beleaguered state-run carrier Air India, is looking at its fourth straight year of net profit in 2018-19, bucking the trend at a time when most domestic airlines are grappling with losses and financial stress.
The budget airline is likely to post a net profit of about Rs 250 crore for the full year ending March 31 compared with Rs 262 crore in the previous year, chief executive officer K Shyam Sundar told ET in an interview. Revenue for the full year is estimated to come in at Rs 4,100 crore compared with Rs 3,612 crore in the previous year, he said.
Air India Express connects non-metro cities in India to neighbouring international destinations, especially in the Gulf region.
While the earnings have been a tad impacted by high fuel prices, they show a robust performance at a time when the industry is estimated to post operating losses of close to Rs 10,000 crore. Air India, like always, is expected to account for the biggest chunk of the losses. The airline posted a net loss of Rs 5,337 crore in FY18, down 18% year-on-year. An attempt to sell it failed last year. The government is now working on a fresh turnaround plan for the airline.
19/01/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Fog in Delhi affects Raipur flights

Raipur: Raipur’s Swami Vivekananda Airport was also no exception to the national aviation condition as its flights got severely hampered which was the cascading effect of inclement weather in several parts of Delhi on Friday morning.

The dense fog that had enveloped the national capital led to cancellation of one flight and delay in the arrival three flights here at Raipur Airport. The unforeseeable weather shift which cast its shadow on the flight operations gave harrowing moments to several frequent air flyers.

“It was national weather phenomena which affected the air operations pan India on Friday. All flights to and from Delhi either departed or arrived beyond their scheduled time due to dense fog that virtually crippled all the air operations and Swami Vivekananda Airport was too played victim at the hands of nature,” Raipur Airport Director Rakesh R Sahay told
The Hitavada.

Sahay informed that the only flight cancelled for the day was Indigo (6E 2201/2204) Delhi-Raipur. The flight’s whose Schedule Time of Arrival (STA) read 1415 hours and Schedule Time of Departure (STD) 1450 hours, was eventually cancelled since most of the departures were largely put on hold at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi, he added.
19/01/19 Hitavada

Dense Fog Disrupts Flight Operations In Bhubaneswar Airport

Bhubaneswar: Flight operations at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar were disrupted due to dense fog on Saturday morning.

As informed by the airport authorities, six flights have been delayed due to poor visibility.

While Delhi-Bhubaneswar-Delhi Indigo flight has been diverted, AI077 Bhubaneswar-New Delhi of the Air India, 6E726 Kolkata-Bhubaneswar-Guwahati Indigo flight, 6E157 Chennai-Bhubaneswar-Bengaluru Indigo flight, 6E583 Kochi-Bhubaneswar-Kochi Indigo flight and 6E375 Kolkata-Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Indigo flight have been delayed.

Due to poor visibility, minor road accidents in the city have also been  reported. While a man sustained minor injuries after colliding with an auto-rickshaw at the Damana Chhak in Chandrasekharpur, another person was injured after his scooter collided with a bike at KIIT Square near Patia.

Chaos at Delhi airport as fog causes delay, cancellation of flights

New Delhi: Chaos prevailed at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Friday after some 200 flights were affected because of dense fog. Passengers said that they were stuck at the airport for nine hours and they were not even informed about when the service was going to resume. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel also said that due to the flight cancellations and delays the airport looked like a "bus adda".

"There are days when at least five to six flights are delayed, and we face a lot of problem while managing the passengers," said the official.

"However, on Friday, it became very difficult to manage the passengers as many flights got diverted or delayed, and that resulted into a very crowded airport terminals," added the official.

The airport operator, Delhi International Airport Limited spokesperson, said, "Dense fog on Friday led to low visibility around the airport terminals, and because of that CAT III B has been activated since 5 am. Though departures took place till 5.30 am and the arrivals till 6 am, flight operations were affected."
19/01/19 Kanika Mehta/India Today

Fresh snowfall in Kashmir, flights from Srinagar airport delayed

Srinagar: Fresh snowfall in most parts of Kashmir disrupted flight operations at the airport here, officials said on Saturday. There was fresh snowfall in the higher reaches as well as the plains, including in the summer capital Srinagar here, on Friday night, a meteorological department official said.

He said while there was light snowfall in the plains of Kashmir, the higher reaches received moderate snow. The snowfall led to the cancellation of flights and delays at the Srinagar airport. "Few flights have been cancelled today because of bad weather, while most others have been delayed," an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said.
srinagar, srinagar snowfall, snowfall in Srinagar, Visuals of fresh snowfall in Srinagar  |  Photo Credit: ANI
Srinagar: Fresh snowfall in most parts of Kashmir disrupted flight operations at the airport here, officials said on Saturday. There was fresh snowfall in the higher reaches as well as the plains, including in the summer capital Srinagar here, on Friday night, a meteorological department official said.

He said while there was light snowfall in the plains of Kashmir, the higher reaches received moderate snow. The snowfall led to the cancellation of flights and delays at the Srinagar airport. "Few flights have been cancelled today because of bad weather, while most others have been delayed," an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said.

He said there were chances of the operations normalising later in the day with some improvement in the weather. The meteorological department has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places from Saturday till Monday.

Surat airport gets staff for international flight operations

Surat: Customs department has appointed four customs superintendents and four inspectors for customs and immigration-related work at Surat airport, which is all set to operate international flights soon.
Chief commissioner of customs has in individual letters to these officers asked them to immediately assume their duties at Surat airport, official sources said on Friday.
A BSNL team had visited Surat airport for setting up communication and internet linkages for smooth operations of immigration and customs department. The high-speed internet facility and other communication related set-up will be ready within the next few days.

Airport director Sanjay Kumar Panigrahi said, “Things are being monitored directly from Airports Authority of India headquarters in New Delhi. Though we are yet to get final programme details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Surat airport on January 30th, preparations are going on in full swing for international flight operations from February 16.”
19/01/19 Times of India

Fog disrupts 67 flights at KIA

Bengaluru: Sixty-seven flights were disrupted on Friday morning due to dense fog at the Kempegowda International Airport.

The visibility standby declared at 3.33am was withdrawn six hours later at 9.32am. Operations at the airport were suspended between 5.44am and 6.49am.

Officials said 45 departures and 21 arrivals were delayed due to dense fog and low-visibility conditions.
A Bengaluru-bound Blue Dart flight was diverted to Chennai. The delays affected the flight schedule in the evening as well.
19/01/19 Times of India

Summit triggers hike in airfares

Ahmedabad: The airfares are as high even for Saturday On the inaugural day of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit on Friday, airfares to Delhi and Mumbai from Ahmedabad crossed Rs 20,000 for last-minute bookings. Friday saw several delegates and VIP guests from across the world travelling to and fro Ahmedabad. Even on Saturday, when delegates are expected to fly in, the airfares will be expensive.
Jet Airways’ Ahmedabad-Mumbai flight ticket for 9.30 pm was priced at Rs 22,437 on Friday; GoAir flight for 8 pm was priced at Rs 14,000. Other than a few flights, all direct flights to Mumbai were booked when checked at 3 pm for the evening departure. Similarly tickets to Delhi too were high-priced — a direct flight to Delhi at 10 pm costs Rs 20,000. Barring one flight, all the direct flights had been booked and those with 8 to 11 hours of flying time and layovers were as expensive as Rs 50,000.
Travel agent Manish Sharma, who is travelling to Delhi on Saturday, confirmed, “It is for the first time that airfares are so high during Vibrant summit. I booked the flight on Friday for Delhi and got the tickets for Rs 22,000 each.” Flights to Mumbai and Delhi for Saturday also touched Rs 20,000 for all direct flights. Air
India’s flight to Delhi at 6.50 pm is priced at Rs 20,000. An afternoon flight by Jet Airways to Delhi also touched Rs 20,000; even morning flights have touched the same fare.
Flights to Mumbai on Saturday are less in demand compared to Delhi; the fare for morning flight to Mumbai is around Rs 15,000 and same is the tariff for the 6 pm flight.
19/01/19 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

Customs officials seize gold worth Rs 10.16L

Mangaluru: Customs officers at Mangaluru International Airport on Thursday busted the modus operandi of gold smuggling and seized foreign origin gold 24 KT (in paste form), weighing 314 grams, worth Rs 10.16 lakh, in two separate cases.
The officers seized gold in the form of paste weighing 140 gms, valued at Rs 4.53 lakh, concealed in the inner garments worn by a woman passenger who arrived from Dubai by Air India Express.
The officials also seized gold 24KT (in paste form) weighing 174 gm.
19/01/19 Naina JA/Deccan Herald

Friday, January 18, 2019

IndiGo A320neo engines failed 69 times, says DGCA

Mumbai: There have been 69 instances of engine failure of Airbus A320neo aircraft operated by IndiGo in 2018, according to the data available from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation.

The data, contained in a January 8 note issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, show there have been 12 instances of failure of the Integrated Standby Instrument System since the aircraft with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines were inducted in 2016. The instrument system is meant to be a backup in case of a failure in the cockpit instrument system. It is designed to operate as reliably and independently as possible from the main instrument system.

Ministry officials said 42 of the engine failures pertained to oil chips that play a role in early warning. This was followed by 21 instances of distress in the combustion chamber, three cases of problem with the Fan Drive Gear System and one each of oil leak from the bearings and the engine stall, and high engine vibration.

In India, IndiGo and Go Air operate the Airbus A320neo with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines. Air India and Vistara have Airbus 320neo aircraft with CFM Leap 1A engines. The DGCA on Thursday barred IndiGo and Go Air from operating A320neo planes to Port Blair, because the nearest landing place in an emergency is more than one hour away.
18/01/19 Aditya Anand/The Hindu

Indian air safety watchdog orders extra checks on planes with Pratt & Whitney engines

New Delhi: India's air safety watchdog on Thursday directed airlines to make extra checks on their Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines as part of new safety protocols after temporary grounding orders affected the planes last year.

IndiGo, India's biggest carrier by market share, and its low-cost rival GoAir, which fly the A320neos in the country, were forced to ground the aircraft on several occasions due to issues related to the engines.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered that airlines must inspect some parts of the 1100 series engines weekly and train the cabin and cockpit crew to deal with and report any kind of odor, burning smell or smoke.

"Log all the cases detecting odors/smoke in cabin during operation for necessary investigation and rectification," the DGCA said in its notification, adding that in all such cases the engine would need to be inspected in detail and used only after the defect is resolved.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation , and GoAir did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of office hours. Airbus and Pratt & Whitney were not immediately reachable. The new rules, which are effective immediately, were issued days after a meeting between the civil aviation ministry, the regulator, the two airlines, aircraft manufacturer Airbus and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, owned by United Technologies to discuss the issues with the engines.
18/01/19 Channel News Asia

Pratt & Whitney new engine cross 1 million hours; issues keep cropping

Mumbai: Pratt & Whitney continues to grapple with fresh issues in its new aircraft engines — the lead market for which is India — even after crossing 1 million hours of service, typically considered a significant period for identifying and resolving problems with a new product.
The geared turbofan engines, powering 350 planes in the world and 97 in India have crossed 1.5 million hours of service. Senior executives at the engine maker had earlier told ET that the company was trying to identify and resolve issues with the product within the 1 million mark.
“I am not aware of any hard target. Normally, one million is considered a significant body of experience in terms of operating hours. Any initial issues are normally resolved within that time frame. But there is no magic number,” Mark Cryan, vice-president, customers (India, Middle East and Africa) for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, told ET in an interview.
“Reliability rates will improve to a level that people realise it’s business as usual and there will be no drama like in the past,” he said, without alluding to a specific future target.
“Reliability rates will improve to a level that people realise it’s business as usual and there will be no drama like in the past,” he said, without alluding to a specific future target.
The latest problem to crop up is that of a gearbox failure. The company is doing what it calls a “root cause analysis” of the issue before it identifies how many engines are currently impacted by it. That will be followed by a solution, a new set of engines equipped with the solution and a retrofitting of those engines into the existing impacted fleet and future aircraft deliveries.
18/01/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

DGCA bars IndiGo, GoAir from flying A320 Neos with PW engines to Port Blair or long overseas routes

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday barred Airbus A320 Neos with Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines from flying to Port Blair or any other overseas route where an alternate landing place is over an hour away during any point in its entire journey over the ocean, said a senior regulatory official. This restriction will apply to IndiGo and GoAir that use PW engines on their A320 new engine option (Neo) aircraft.

“The flight from Kolkata to Port Blair is of almost 1.5-hour duration. This restriction has been imposed for safety reason as there must be an airport within one hour of flying time during entire journey of A320 Neo with PW engines so that the plane can safely land at the nearest alternate on a single engine when one engine develops a snag,” said the official. Twin engine planes can land on one engine at suitable nearest airport when an engine has a snag. IndiGo and GoAir together have over 100 PW-powered A320 Neos currently. There have been some instances of PW-powered Neos developing snags while flying to and from Port Blair.

A-320 Neo Pratt engine troubles return, now IndiGo grounds at least five planes
Secondly, the no-long-overseas-flight decision has been taken for commercial reasons also. “When a Neo with faulty Pratt engine gets stuck in Port Blair, it takes longer for the airline to fly in man and material there to repair or replace the same. Examination of the faulty PW engine also takes longer there. And Port Blair is a small airport that has one less aircraft parking bay as long as the Neo remains grounded there, limiting its capacity,” the official added.
In addition, the DGCA has also asked IndiGo and GoAir to "create awareness among cabin and cockpit crew (pilots) about odour/burning smell/smoke (even if slightest) during approach phase and positive reporting to cockpit crew for necessary action…. Log all the cases detecting odours/ smoke in cabin during operation for necessary investigation and rectification. In all odour/smoke cases, engine to be inspected in detail and to be used only after rectification of defect.”
The regulator’s latest directives for PW-powered A320 Neos also include more rigorous checks on engine components.
17/01/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Jet Airways faces tough debt repayment schedule

Troubled airline Jet Airways needs to put together a deal soon enough as it faces a stiff debt repayment schedule, which includes payment on a loan of Rs 200 crore by February 13.

The company, which owes banks Rs 8,400 crore, has already defaulted once. It had to make repayments on loan amounting to Rs 100 crore, by December 31, 2018. But in a statement, the company said the payment "has been delayed due to temporary cash flow mismatch."

According to RBI norms,  a default has to be corrected within 180 days; failing which the defaulter gets referred to insolvency courts.

The February 13-payment is part of the larger Rs 1,700-crore loan repayments that the company needs to do by March 2019.

But with talks stuck because of conditions put down by each side - Jet Airways, banks and possible investor Etihad Airways - the management of the Indian airline is racing against time to stitch a deal.

Reports earlier on Thursday said Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal is open to investing Rs 700 crore in the airline. But the entrepreneur wants assurance that his stake doesn't go below 25 percent, from the present 51 percent.

Etihad, which had invested in Jet Airways in 2013 at Rs 754.74 a share, holds 24 percent in the Indian airline.

The Abu Dhabi based airline is also ready to infuse funds into Jet Airways but has offered to make the investment at a rate that is reportedly below the Indian carrier's present stock price.

Jet Airways' stock ended Thursday, up 5 percent at Rs 284.80 a share.

The lenders, led by State Bank of India, are looking at a resolution plan that will assure them that the airline can be turned around. They had met Jet Airways executives on Wednesday to discuss a resolution plan.
17/01/19 Prince Mathews Thomas/

Naresh Goyal offers to invest Rs 700 crore in Jet Airways, but with conditions

New Delhi: Jet Airways+ chairman Naresh Goyal has offered to invest up to Rs 700 crore in the crisis-hit airline as well as pledge all his shares on the condition that his stake does not fall below 25 per cent, according to a letter.

Amid the full-service carrier grappling with financial woes, Goyal has written to SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar with reference to the resolution plan under discussion and in view of Etihad's position, "despite the significant cash crunch and imminent grounding, which the airline is facing".

The letter also comes against the backdrop of strategic partner Etihad reportedly putting forward strict conditions, including that Goyal should give up control, for infusing funds into the airline.
Goyal said he is committed to an "infusion of funds into the company to the extent of Rs 700 crore" and pledging all his shares.

This is subject to the condition that his shareholding post such infusion is at least 25 per cent, he said in the letter.

"Should this not be possible, then I would not be able to infuse any funds or pledge my shares, unless Sebi accords me an exemption permitting me to increase my reduced stake (if it is to be below 25 per cent) without triggering the Takeover Code," Goyal, who currently holds 51 per cent stake in the airline, said.

When shareholding of an entity in a listed company goes beyond a certain threshold, then the open offer requirement is triggered under Sebi's Takeover Code.

State Bank of India (SBI) is the lead lender of a consortium of Indian banks that has provided loans to the airline, and the stakeholders are considering a resolution for Jet Airways that is facing acute financial problems.

On December 31, 2018, the carrier defaulted on a loan repayment to the consortium.

"I am informed that under Indian law, amounts payable by the company to promoter group entities, should be treated at par with the other overdue creditors of the company and the same, upon conversion into equity is considered as cash," Goyal said in the letter.
17/01/19 PTI/Times of India

Lenders of debt-laden Jet Airways likely to write off up to 25% of loans

Mumbai: The lenders to Jet Airways, led by State Bank of India (SBI), might take a haircut (write-off) of up to 25 per cent on the airline’s Rs 8,500-crore debt.

The resolution plan in this regard would be ready by mid-February. By then, Etihad Airlines, which owns 24 per cent in Jet, aims to conclude its own examination ('due diligence') on the airline's issues.

A banking source said banks will have to make provisions for 15 per cent of the exposure to Jet Airways, as per the RBI's existing norms. Besides they have a window post-default to find a solution to an account, to avoid coming under the ambit of the Reserve Bank of India's circular of February 12 last year which bans any debt restructuring. An appeal against the circular is before the Supreme Court.

Jet defaulted on the debt payment due in the December quarter; its interest cost was Rs 230 crore in the earlier one. Under the resolution plan, the lenders would end up having a sizable portion of shares in the airline, if their boards of directors agree to convert part of their debt into equity. Etihad has already warned that Jet will require equity funding in excess of the amount currently mentioned in the draft resolution plan of the banks. Also, that it would not invest a “single penny” more without first getting the regulatory approvals on matters such as not making an open offer.
17/01/19 Dev Chatterjee/Business Standard

Banks plan Rs 8,200 crore Jet Airways debt restructuring, may take big hit

Mumbai: The countdown has begun for lenders of Jet Airways, which has now been recognised as a stressed borrower, and will require banks to provide for part of their Rs 8,200 crore exposure to the airline in their Q4 results.

State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said that lenders are considering a restructuring plan — an acknowledgement that the loan is not viable in the present form.

RBI norms require lenders to make at least 15% provisions on their exposure once a loan is restructured.

The actual hit could be higher, considering that both promoter Naresh Goyal and Etihad, which holds 24% in the ailing carrier, are unwilling to bring in funds without relief in repayment.

Willing to invest Rs 700 crore, provided my stake does not fall below 25%, says Naresh Goyal

Read Also: Naresh Goyal offers to invest Rs 700 crore in Jet Airways, but with conditions

In a statement issued here, SBI said that besides getting the lender’s board clearance, any restructuring plan will need to be approved by RBI, Sebi and possibly the ministry of civil aviation.

Making matters more difficult for the lenders were fresh conditions imposed by Goyal, who said he was willing to invest Rs 700 crore provided his stake does not fall below 25%, while asking for debt relief.
18/01/19 Times of India

Monitoring Jet Airways; specific airline problems need specific measures: IATA chief

Global airlines grouping IATA is "monitoring" the situation of the crisis-ridden Jet Airways but feels that the specific problems of an airline need to be solved by specific measures, its chief Alexandre de Juniac has said.

de Juniac during a media interaction on the sidelines of the just-concluded Global Aviation Summit, also said the airlines in Asia, particularly in India have balance sheet with heavy debt, which is a "problem".

"We are following the situation with them (Jet Airways) very closely. We will try to see their problems because they participate in our billing and settlement plan system. So we are monitoring them as we do (of other airlines) everywhere," de Juniac, who is the DG and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Jet Airways, which has posted three consecutive quarterly losses of over Rs 1,000 crore each since March, has been grappling with financial woes amid liquidity crunch, which has resulted in default on loan repayment to banks besides delay in payments to aircraft lessors and other vendors as well as salary to staff.

Stating that IATA is following the situation of its members, especially of those who are apparently or publicly facing some financial difficulty, he said,"we are doing that everywhere. We are doing that for Jet Airways (as well)."
17/01/19 PTI/

Naresh Goyal, Etihad Clash Over Resolution Plan For Jet Airways

After a meeting that lasted through most of the afternoon and evening on Wednesday, lenders to Jet Airways Ltd. are faced with two options — go with a plan put forth by promoter Naresh Goyal or back the minority investor Etihad Airways. Neither option is a slam dunk yet which means that a resolution plan is still to be finalised even as the airline continues to face a cash crunch.

Founder chairman Goyal has proposed to inject Rs 700 crore in the cash-strapped airline, said two people familiar with the discussions held on Wednesday. By bringing in these funds, Goyal is seeking to retain control and his board position in the full-service carrier, these people said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity since talks are confidential. Speaking on the sidelines of an event. State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar confirmed that Goyal had offered Rs 700 crore and wants to retain his stake at 25 percent.

Etihad Airways, which bought 24 percent in Jet Airways in 2013, has a different plan. They are willing to inject between Rs 800-1000 crore along with partners but want Goyal off the board, said the two people quoted above. They are hoping to bring down Goyal’s shareholding to 22 percent, BloombergQuint reported on Tuesday. As per existing rules, a foreign airline can only hold up to 49 percent in a domestic carrier.

Lenders are still assessing both revival plans and seeking details regarding the source of funds in both plans.
17/01/19 Vishwanath Nair/Bloomberg Quint

Narendra Modi​ deal gifted Dassault Rs 186 crore more per Rafale: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of compromising national security in the Rafale deal by "denying" to the IAF 90 aircraft it desperately needed and "gifted" Dassault Rs 186 crore more per aircraft at the cost of the public exchequer in the deal it signed with France.

Citing a media report that India ended up paying 41 per cent more per aircraft for the 36 fighter jets ordered in 2015, Congress leader P. Chidambaram also expressed alarm over how objections by three senior Defence Ministry officials "to all aspects of the deal announced by Modi" were overruled by the other members in the negotiating team.

"Since Modi announced the new deal in April, 2015 and scrapped the UPA era deal, one question that has loomed large is why the Modi government rejected the need and demand of 126 aircraft made by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and decided to buy only 36 Rafale fighters.

"This question has never been answered either by the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, the Finance Minister or the Law Minister, who all at one point or the other have come out in defence of the deal," Chidambaram told the media at the AICC.

Citing the 13 India-specific enhancements (ISEs) asked by the IAF, Chidambaram said the negotiated price was euro 1.3 billion which was to be paid under both the UPA and the Modi deal.

"If 126 aircraft had been purchased, Dassault would have recovered the Euro 1.4 billion in over 10 years and 6 months. But with only 36 aircraft being purchased under the new deal, this will be recovered in just 36 months.

"Dassault gains in two ways. Firstly the increase of price per aircraft, secondly if the government orders for another 90 aircraft, Dassault will again charge for India-specific enhancements," he said.

"Dassault is laughing all the way to the bank. The government has wronged the country in two ways - compromised national security by denying to the IAF 90 aircraft they desperately need and cost the public money 25 million euro more per aircraft that is equal to 186 crore more per aircraft," he said.
18/01/19 IANS/New Indian Express

For IndiGo, no evenings in Paris, no nights in London

IndiGo has for now stalled its co-founder Rakesh Gangwal’s ambitious plans to fly low cost long haul flights to Europe, as costs mount and margins are squeezed, said two people in the know.
“There will be no flights to European destinations in the next six months or even a year. I wouldn’t call it a reversal but plans are always reviewed,” said one of the people cited above.
He added the regulatory approvals haven’t been all received for flights to London, the first destination in the west that IndiGo was planning to fly to in the ongoing winters. It had got slots at the city’s Gatwick airport. Those slots will lapse by March.
IndiGo posted its first reported net loss in the July-September quarter. It will shortly announce earnings for October-December.
The halt in plans is also the result of a debate within the management on whether its planned no-frills model for the flights would garner enough demand in a market which is full of highly competitive premium products from carriers such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines, said one of the persons cited above.
IndiGo operates about 55 daily flights or 15% of its total capacity overseas.
“…our internal work shows that IndiGo is a natural player to take advantage of the significant and lucrative international market opportunity that India offers. Specifically, because of our large domestic network, we are well positioned to capture this massive and growing international traffic. It is about time that IndiGo enters the long-haul, international markets and takes advantage of this lucrative opportunity,” Gangwal had said, explaining in part, the carrier’s intentions to buy a stake in state-run Air India to take advantage of its international airport slots and flying rights.
18/01/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Jet Airways is in talks with lenders to revamp its debt

Mumbai: Jet Airways India Ltd is working with lenders to revamp its debt as the struggling carrier tries to shore up its financials after recording losses in nine of the past eleven years in a market known for ultra-low fares.
The carrier is working on “various options on the debt-equity mix, proportion of equity infusion,” the Mumbai-based company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Among options considered by the lenders led by State Bank of India Ltd is to seek Rs35bn of investment from Jet’s founder Naresh Goyal and Etihad Airways PJSC, which owns 24% in the company, before they restructure the debt, people with knowledge of the matter said.
They asked not to be identified as the talks are private.
No final decision has been taken.
Budget airlines have expanded exponentially in India in the past decade, luring first-time flyers and giving middle-class families an alternative to full-service carriers like Jet, which offered lounges and free meals on board.
While one of the world’s fastest-growing major aviation markets, India has proven tough for airlines with premium carrier Kingfisher Airlines collapsing and the state-owned Air India needing repeated bailouts as cheaper fares failed to cover their costs.
“The resolution plan is presently under active discussion amongst the stakeholders,” Jet said in the statement.
Jet Airways has Rs80.5bn ($1.1bn) of debt and the restructuring may lead to a change in the board of Asia’s worst-performing airline stock.
The carrier, which has accumulated more losses than any other publicly-traded carrier in Asia apart from Pakistan International Airlines Corp, has been in talks with Etihad as well as the Tata Group for a rescue package.
Potential investors have sought the removal of Goyal from the board, the people said.
The bailout comes at a difficult time for Etihad as it is itself cutting jobs and shrinking its fleet amid mounting losses.
Jet Airways had Rs16.8bn of cash as of September 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
17/01/19 Bloomberg/Gulf Times

Flight to link Ayodhya, Janakpur

Non-stop flight services between the religious towns of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and Janakpur in Nepal may be in the offing. Indian civil aviation authorities are known to be keen to develop an air route linking the two cities.

Discussions between the two countries on the sidelines of the Global Aviation Summit that concluded earlier this week also involved routes between Buddhist towns of Lumbini and Gaya as well as Nepalgunj and New Delhi for pilgrims headed to Kailash Mansarovar.

According to the Hindu mythology, Sita was the daughter of King Janak who ruled over Janakpur.

According to a source from the Indian side, India has given an in-principle approval for a route connecting Nepalgunj and New Delhi.

“We are yet to get a formal approval, but we are very positive [about Nepalgunj],” Director-General, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Sanjiv Gautam, told The Hindu over telephone.

He added, “the direct flights will bring Indian tourists, especially pilgrims planning a trip to Kailash Mansarovar. It will also be beneficial for a number of people from western Nepal who have to either travel via Kathmandu or take rural transport via Uttar Pradesh.”
18/01/19 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

AAI to study busy airports

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will conduct an year-long study to examine early arrivals at the Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru airports — among the busiest in the country — in order to devise ways to improve operational efficiencies. Early arrivals to an airport lead to bunching of flights and impact the punctuality of planes scheduled to land or arrive at the same airport. The three airports under study are among the most sought after by domestic and international airlines, but capacity constraints here mean there are no slots available to accommodate more flights.

“The exercise will help us to collect data, which will be used to optimise block-timings between city-pairs. We will be monitoring block-timings followed by various airlines during peak and non-peak hours, and in different parts of the year,” a senior official of the AAI said on the condition of anonymity.

Block-timing refers to the span of time between switching on the aircraft’s engines before take-off and switching them off after landing. Officials are of the opinion that if airlines are able to inculcate discipline or self-regulate, there may be no need for penalties.
17/01/19 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

AP State govt plans flights to Nagarjunakonda, Puttaparthi

Guntur: The Andhra Pradesh Airports Development Corporation is making arrangements to operate nine seater flights from Gannavaram to Nagarjunasagar and Puttaparthi by  March end this year. The Supreme Airlines got all the permissions from the government to operate flights from Gannavaram to Nagarjunasagar and Puttaparthi. But it is facing problems with regard to pilots.

Pilots who were working in the airlines were shifted to other airlines. Due to pilots’ problem, the company has decided to engage foreign nationals as pilots and seeking permission from the Central government. As soon as it gets clearance from the Centre, it will recruit the pilots and start operations  to Nagarjunasagar and Puttaparthi.
The Supreme Airlines will operate daily two trips to Nagarjunasagar and Puttaparthi. The government  is feeling that  if Nagarjunasagar Airstrip will come into operation, more tourists will visit Amaravati as part of their visits to Nagarjunakonda.
18/01/19 Hans India

Shree airlines seeks approval to operate international flights

Shree airlines, a carrier which has been providing regular domestic flights service has expressed desire to operate international flights.

The carrier commenced flight operation with its three aircraft was paying full attention only to a helicopter operation previously.

Recently, Shree airlines owns 2 Bombardier CRJ-200 series aircraft and 2 Bombardier CRJ-700 series aircraft.

Shree airlines has sent request letter to Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) asking permission to operate international flights targeting some cities of India and Bangladesh.

The carrier has been operating domestic flights to Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Rajbiraj, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur and Bhairahawa.

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Himalaya Airlines have been operating international flights from Nepal whereas Buddha Air has been operating international flight weekly to Varanasi.

Recently, Buddha Air is preparing to expand its international flight operation to other various cities of India. The airline will be operating flights to Calcutta from upcoming Nepali New Year.

Buddha Air will be operating 3 weekly flight on Kathmandu-Calcutta-Kathmandu sector on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2076 Baisakh 2 (mid-April). The airline will be operating flights initially from their current aircraft ATR-72.

If Shree Airlines receives permission to operate international flights, the carrier would be fourth airlines of Nepal to operate international flight.
17/01/19 Aviation Nepal

Demand to take up case of Calicut airport at CM’s meeting

Kozhikode: Several organisations have urged the State government to take up the case of the Calicut airport when officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation hold discussions with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on January 21.

The meeting, to be attended by representatives of various foreign and domestic airline companies, in Thiruvananthapuram is solely aimed at the expansion of newly commissioned Kannur airport. “The needs of the Calicut airport should also be discussed at the meeting focussing on granting permission to airlines from the Gulf region,” C.E. Chakkunny of the Malabar Development Council told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Senior officials of airline companies from West Asia and South East Asian countries are expected to attend the meeting in the capital.

Mr. Chakkunny said that priority should be for giving permission to restore the operation of wide-bodied aircraft under Code E by the Dubai-based Emirates and Air India at the Calicut airport.
17/01/19 The Hindu

Spicejet to begin freight services on Guwahati-Hong Kong route from Saturday

Mumbai: Budget carrier Spicejet's cargo arm SpiceXpress Friday announced launch of dedicated freighter services between Guwahati and Hong Kong with a weekly flight, starting Saturday.
With this launch, SpiceXpress will be the first operator to connect the Northeast with Southeast Asia through a freighter route, the airline said in a release.
The first flight is scheduled to take off on January 19 from Guwahatis Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi international airport carrying a consignment of fresh fruits and vegetables, the airline said.
The dedicated cargo flights to Hong Kong will help bring in huge opportunities for the Northeastern states and allow them to expand their market outreach to the global markets, the airline claimed.
The services on the new route will be operated with Boeing 737 freighter with an approximate carrying capacity of 18 tonnes, as per the release.
18/01/19 PTI/Economic Times

11 players at pre-bid meet for Thiruvananthapuram airport

As many as 11 private players have evinced interest in operating, managing, and developing the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport for the next 50 years, the contract for which is to be awarded by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on February 28.

At the pre-bid conference organised as per the schedule fixed for the bidding process by the AAI in New Delhi on Thursday, representatives of 11 entities interested in bidding for the airport participated.

GMR Group, the leading airport developer and operator, Adani Group, which is behind the upcoming Vizhinjam International Deepwater seaport project, and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) were among those who had shown interest, sources in the AAI told The Hindu.

The highest of 11 private players was for Thiruvananthapuram International Airport followed by 10 for the Mangaluru airport from among the six AAI-managed airports for which the Request For Proposal (RFP) had been floated to select the private player.

With the last date for submission of the two cover bids fixed at February 14, representatives of the private players who have shown interest in the airport are arriving to see the terminal.
18/01/19 S Anil Radhakrishnan/The Hindu

IATA finds mid-2020 target for Navi Mumbai airport 'ambitious'

Mumbai: The mid-2020 deadline for the Navi Mumbai airport is an ambitious one, said Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global trade body representing 290 airlines.

Implying that CM Devendra Fadnavis’ deadline was impossible to meet, he said constructing an airport is not a process that “can be hurried”. “Constructing an airport in five years itself is ambitious,” said Juniac.

Construction of the much-delayed Navi Mumbai airport hasn’t begun. Acquisition of 1,160 hectares is still on and the contract for construction of the Rs 16,000-crore airport is expected to be awarded in a month or two.

Juniac held up Istanbul’s new airport, completed in four years, as an example of work in record time. It is considered an extremely challenging project given that it will eventually accommodate 200 million passengers.

Size is important for India as domestic passenger traffic has been registering double-digit growth for four years now. Juniac said it isn’t easy to sustain a 15% growth. “Even in terms of infrastructure, it puts an enormous pressure on all stakeholders. If the Indian government wants to sustain this level of growth, big decisions have to be made quicker and faster and implemented more rapidly. That isn’t easy for any country, not just India,” he said.
18/01/19 Times of India

IATA voices concern over slowdown in Indian aviation sector

Indian aviation sector’s woes may prove to be a hurdle for the industry to achieve double digit growth, according to Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General and CEO, International Air Transport Association (IATA).

At a round-table meeting held in Mumbai, the IATA chief said that the Indian aviation market’s slow pace is a matter of concern. The Civil Aviation Ministry had recently unveiled its ‘Vision 2040’ projecting growth in the Indian aviation industry over the next two decades.

Vision 2040
Speaking about the vision document, Juniac said, “The Vision 2040 is a good way to align all the stakeholder and investors who want to build the infrastructure, it provides a broad horizon. Indian airline sector needs to be strengthened soon and the infrastructure needs to be built sooner, else the congestion could pose to be a big issue in the growth.”

He further said that the vision of inaugurating the Navi Mumbai airport by 2020 was ambitious. “It would take minimum five years to inaugurate the airport,” he said.

Privatisation of airports
According to reports, the tender process for the airport is likely to be carried out by the end of January 2019. The project has seen several delays already.

Commenting on the Airport Authority of India’s bid to invite bids to operate six airports on the basis of ‘per-passenger fee’ (PPF), he said: “We do not recommend the revenue sharing model, it’s a mistake. The PPF process is not the best way to select a private player for the airports.

Currently, India has five major airports which are privately owned in metro cities. He added that privatisation of airports is a concern as it could lead to monopoly.
“Privatisation is not the only way, there are several countries that work quite well, besides privatisation of the airport.” “The government should consult its stakeholders including us.” The IATA chief explained, “At the end of it, it’s the airlines who would have to pay more to utilise these airports which could affect the quality of services and the end customers as well.”
18/01/19 Forum Gandhi/Business Line

Jharkhand Cabinet gives nod to Dhalbhumgarh airport project

Ranchi: Jharkhand Cabinet Thursday gave approval to a proposal for the development of airports in the state including the Dhalbhumgarh airport. Under the proposal, a Joint Venture would be entered by the government with the Airport Authority of India through a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.

In another major decision, the Cabinet announced a bonus of Rs 150 per quintal on paddy, over the Centre’s minimum support price of Rs 1,750 for Kharif cropsfor 2018-19.

The Centre has already announced a minimum support price of Rs 1,750 per quintal of paddy.

A total Rs 52 crore has been approved by the Cabinet, presided by Chief Minister Raghubar Das, in this connection, an official release said here.
17/01/19 Avenue Mail

Operations of Over 800 Flights to be Affected at Delhi Airport For Eight Days From January 18-26

New Delhi: The airspace at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport will remain suspended on January 18 and from January 20 to January 26 for rehearsal and Republic day parade. Following this, flights scheduled between 10:35 AM to 12:15 PM will be affected and those later in the day are also likely to be delayed. Moreover, there will be relaxation in the suspension on 19 January, said news agency ANI.

The shut down of the Delhi airspace is likely to affect over 800 flights which may be delayed or cancelled owing to the Republic Day rehearsals. Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has asked Air India to cancel seven departures and five arrivals.

As per the new slot management system of the airport, called ‘profile schedule’, three runaways will handle nearly 73 scheduled flights per hour. A Times of India report quoted a DIAL official as saying: “IGIA in consultation with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and NATS (UK-based ATC expert agency) has implemented a profile schedule which has enhanced the overall capacity by almost 13%. However, keeping into consideration the capacity constraints and to minimise inconvenience to passengers, AAI, several major airlines and DIAL consulted on various options and jointly agreed that the best and safest course of action is to cancel domestic flights during NOTAM period. International carriers have been requested to re-schedule.”

Odisha to form JV with AAI for Dhalbhumgarh airport

Ranchi: The state cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for a joint venture (JV) with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for construction, development and operation of the proposed airport at Dhalbhumgarh in East Singhbhum district. An MoU of the JV will be signed between AAI and the state government at a later date, additional chief secretary (cabinet cum home) SKG Rahate said.
Transport secretary Praveen Toppo, who was present in the media briefing, said AAI and state would have 51% and 49% equity shares in the JV. He further said the Capex (capital expenditure) amounting to around Rs 100 crore would be borne by the AAI while the state government would meet the shortfall between the revenue generation and the Opex (operational expenditure) for the first 10 years. Later, the JV will manage the Opex as well.

Toppo said that state would provide 240 acre for the JV and the ‘bhumi pujan’ would be conducted by chief minister Raghubar Das at the airport site on January 24. He said in the first phase, 72-seater aircraft would start operating from the airport.

Rahate also said according to civil aviation ministry’s policy, new airports across the country are now being constructed and developed in partnership with respective state governments.

He further said the cabinet gave its nod to eight more proposals, including a bill for formation of a Scheduled Tribe Commission in state. The bill will be presented in current budget session of the assembly, he said.

Rahate said the state government has also given consent for providing Rs 150 per quintal of foodgrains as bonus to farmers over and above the minimum support price fixed by the Union government. The plan will incur a cost of Rs 52 crores to the state exchequer.
18/01/19 Times of India

West Bengal government denies permission for Amit Shah's chopper to land at Malda for rally

The West Bengal government has denied permission for BJP chief Amit Shah to use the helipad at the airport in Malda, where Shah is set to address a rally on Sunday. The Malda district administration has said the airport is not safe for passengers due to construction work, and that helipad is out of commission.

The denial of permission was communicated to the local unit of the BJP by Malda's Additional District Magistrate on Friday.

"… this is to inform you that… up-gradation (sic) work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. Huge quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials are lying all along the runway and stacked all around the site. Moreover, the temporary helipad is not maintained properly at present due to this on-going (sic) construction work. In this situation, Malda Airport is not suitable for safe landing of helicopter. Hence, granting of permission for landing of helicopter with VVIP on 20.09.2019 is not possible," the district administration's letter read.
The state unit of the BJP has hit out at the denial of permission, hinting that this could be a further play to block BJP leaders from holding rallies in the state. The Supreme Court on Wednesday had allowed the BJP to hold rallies across West Bengal even as it denied permission for the rath yatras the party had planned. The denial of permission had come on the basis of intelligence reports of the West Bengal, which the BJP has dismissed as 'bogus'.
18/01/19 DNA

Now, book taxi at kiosks in airport

Coimbatore: Fare aggregators Red Taxi and Ola Cabs have set up kiosks to book taxi at the city airport.

The kiosks, in front of the arrival terminal, allow passengers to get a cab instantly. “The kiosks have five to six cabs on standby. So passengers get cabs within minutes,” said an airport official. “We also got reports that they are cheaper than the prepaid taxis.”

The kiosks are expected to be a boon for those people, who land from abroad and do not have a working SIM card with internet. “Booking these fare aggregators becomes a problem for such people,” the official said.
With this, passengers can just walk up to the kiosks and book a prepaid cab on the spot. They can even choose to pay once they reach their destination.
18/01/19 Times of India