Thursday, January 17, 2019

Etihad Dismisses Reports of $35 million Jet Airways Bailout

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways and Jet Airways on Wednesday dismissed reports by Indian media about the UAE airline's offer to buy more shares of the troubled Indian carrier in a $35 million instant bailout deal as speculative.

An Etihad spokesperson, when asked to comment on the reported offer to pick up shares of debt-laden Jet Airways at a 49 per cent discount and to immediately release $35 million to rescue the Indian carrier, said "Etihad does not comment on rumour or speculation."

After a television channel reported on Tuesday that Etihad had offered to pay Rs150 for each share of the Indian airline, in which Etihad already has a 24 per cent stake, Jet Airways shares fell as much as 7.5 per cent to 271.75 rupees in their biggest intraday drop since early December.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, a Jet Airways spokesman said the carrier has undertaken a series of initiatives to enhance economic performance, efficiency and productivity that will ensure the long-term health of its business given the challenging aviation industry conditions against the backdrop of a rise in the Brent fuel price, a depreciating Rupee and a difficult pricing environment.
17/01/19 Issac John/Mcclatchy/AviationPros

Aviation sector is going to be the growth engine for future progress and development: Maharashtra Governor

Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao Wednesday said the aviation sector is going to be the growth engine for future progress and development.
Speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day Global Aviation Summit here, he said the global aviation industry is ushering in an era of rapid expansion.
"The civil aviation ministry anticipates that in the next two decades, air passenger traffic in India will grow to 1.12 billion passengers per year from the current 187 million passengers.
"Needless to say, this will open up tremendous opportunities for investment in infrastructure development and upgradation in the years to come.
The industry will also require a large pool of skilled manpower," Rao said.
The key sector is going to be the growth engine for future progress and development, he said.
He noted that the tourism and aviation industries can complement each other and create numerous opportunities for employment and income generation for people.
The governor emphasised the need to intensify the search for alternative fuels and shift from jet fuel to bio- fuels in coming years to help reduce aviation emissions.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has predicted a 100 percent increase in global air travel by the year 2030, he said.
17/01/19 PTI/ZeeBiz

Maharashtra govt, LIC to compete over buying Air India building

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has expressed its willingness to buy the iconic Air India building situated at the Mumbai's southern tip Nariman Point. This implies the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will be the state government's rival in winning the bid.

Mumbai's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has constituted a committee to formulise the state's strategy to win the bid. Headed by the chief secretary, the committee has the chief minister's principal secretary, Bhushan Gagrani, and secretaries of Finance, Urban Development and Industry Department as its members.

Gagrani on Wednesday confirmed the state government was interested in buying the 23-storeyed building, vacated by Air India in February, 2013. The national carrier shifted its headquarters to Delhi that year.

Gagrani added the bidding process was necessary because the building could not be transferred from government to government as Air India is a company.

"The negotiations over price will begin only if we win the bid," Gagrani said.

He said the state government might shift several of its offices to the Air India building if it purchases the property.
17/01/19 Kiran Tare/India Today

Jet Airways defers Boeing 737 Max deliveries on payment issues

Mumbai: Jet Airways has been forced to defer the scheduled deliveries of some of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft due to the payment arrears to its lessors, said two people aware of the development.

India’s second-biggest airline by market share is also close to defaulting on payments to the operators of the Mumbai airport, said another industry source.

Jet placed an order for 225 of the Boeing planes: It received five of them to date and aimed to induct six more by March. Jet financed the aircraft under an agreement called sale and leaseback as part of which an airline sells the aircraft to a lessor at a premium (in case of new planes, even prior to delivery), and then leases them back for a monthly rental.
Jet was supposed to get three planes in December under this arrangement. A person aware of the development said these have been delivered to the lessor, which will not send them to Jet until it settles payments. Jet has delayed lease payments for some of the aircraft in its current fleet of 124 planes.
The airline is going through the worst financial crisis in its 25-year existence. It has defaulted on loan repayments for December, and delayed employee salaries throughout the year.
The cash-strapped and lossmaking airline has been in talks with its partner Etihad Airways and lenders for equity infusion and loans, and is currently grappling with a complex set of clauses put forward by the Gulf carrier before the latter agreed to make fresh investments.
17/01/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Buddha Air prepares international trial with Kolkata flight

Private carrier Buddha Air announced on Wednesday, three weekly flights on the Kathmandu-Kolkata route from April 15, as part of its early preparation to enter long-haul international markets by August 2020.
Buddha will operate in Kolkata—an artistic and cultural hub and the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal—on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using its short-haul regional airliner ATR 72.
“The cross-border flight will be our trial. The success of this flight will lead us to expand our wings to more Indian cities before we launch our long-haul international routes,” Birendra Bahadur Basnet, managing director of Buddha Air, told a press conference on Wednesday.
“The three flights will generate 180 seats per week. If we succeed in bringing in 100 tourists from Kolkata per week, we believe that we will be closer to realising our dream of flying long-haul international markets using narrow-body
jetliners.”
As per the carrier’s plan, by August 2020, it will be flying to key Indian cities from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) after leasing two narrow-body jets. By August 2021, the carrier plans to add two jets and begin operations from the upcoming international airport in Pokhara. The construction of the modern airport in Pokhara is expected to be completed by July 2021.
“India is a potential market for us. As per the Indian government statistics, in 2017, outbound tourism stood at 24 million,” said Basnet. “This numbers are projected to nearly double to 42 million by 2025,” he said. Last year, Nepal received more than 200,000 Indian tourists who came Nepal via air transport. 
17/01/19 Sangam Prasain/Kathmandu Post

Vistara Airways offers tickets starting at just Rs 899 to celebrate its 4th anniversary

New Delhi: Vistara Airways on Thursday came up with an interesting offer to mark the airlines' 4th anniversary offering tickets as low as Rs 899.

“To celebrate four fabulous years of redefining air travel, we are delighted to announce a special 24-hour Sale with never-seen-before fares,” Vistara said in a statement.

The Sale fares are available for all three classes of travel at discounts of up to 80 percent relative to the standard last-minute fares on all routes served by the company, Vistara said.
Under the sale, fares for Economy Class start at Rs 899, Premium Economy at Rs 1,499 and Business Class at Rs 4,999, inclusive of all taxes and fees.

Bookings are open for 24-hours only, starting on January 17 for travel between February 1 and September 18 (both dates included).
17/01/19 Zee News

Boeing sees cost control as key area for Indian carriers

Boeing has reaffirmed its commitment to help airlines in India cope with rising operating costs by offering more cost effective aircraft that are more fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs.
Dinesh Keskar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' senior vice-president of sales for Asia-Pacific and India, made the comment at an industry conference.
"What we are seeing is a constant need for, number one, cost reduction, because the fares [in India] we are paying today to fly from A to B are continuously going lower and lower," he says. "We have to find ways by which we can create airplanes and create operational economics so that the airlines can still make money in that tough environment. [Because] what happens for the airlines is that fuel prices is something that they can't control and that is a major component of their cost..."
17/01/19 Aaron Chong/Flight Global

ACI welcomes India's private airport development moves

Airports Council International (ACI) World has welcomed the Indian government’s move to pursue further private investment in airport development, saying it will better enable the country to respond to the growing demand for air services.

The key context for discussion at the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai – organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Government of India and with the support of ACI World – was that the global demand for air services continues to grow rapidly.
According to ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2018-2040, India is expected to be the second fastest growing country with more than 50 million passengers per annum from 2017-2040 with 6.8 per cent growth.
“In order for India to cope with surging demand in air transport, a clear plan for building critical aviation infrastructure is required,” said Angela Gittens, director general, ACI World.
“With that in mind, it is good to see that the Indian government has moved to undertake a second phase of privatisation.
17/01/19 Mice Btn

This is what will put India in world's top 5 air freight markets list; know what Centre just did

The government Tuesday unveiled its much-awaited national air cargo policy, which seeks to make India among the top five air freight markets by 2025, besides creating air transport shipment hubs at all major airports over the next six years. The policy document released during the two-day Global Aviation Summit 2019, which kick started here Tuesday, stated that the policy will encourage code sharing/inter-line agreements between foreign and Indian carriers.
As per the policy, international cargo comprises 60 per cent of the total air cargo tonnes handled in the country, logging a growth of 15.6 per cent in the previous fiscal, while domestic cargo grew by over 8 per cent, which reflects the skewed modal mix, in which roads account for over 60 per cent of cargo transportation as compared to the global average of around 30 per cent.

Indian express industry is one of the fastest growing markets globally, but with a small share of about 2 per cent of the global market, grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 per cent over the past five years and was estimated to be Rs 22,000 crore in 2016-17, it said.

The domestic express industry, a key constituent of the Indian express industry, is estimated to be worth Rs 17,000 crore, the policy document said adding that the international express is estimated to contribute Rs 5,000 crore to the Indian express industry.

As per the document, the potential in the new markets needs to be explored with long-term infrastructure creation in order to sustain cargo growth in the next 10-15 years at least.

The cargo policy also seeks to establish agreements between national carriers/ freighters and integrators to improve domestic connectivity as well as encourage the establishment of agreements between national and international carriers/freighters and other airline operators to provide access to key global cargo hubs.
16/01/19 PTI/ZeeBiz

Journalist Zuhair Kashmeri wrote extensively about the Air India bombing

Zuhair Kashmeri called himself a “writer, editor, broadcaster, and dreamer.” Widely known simply as “Kash,” he was a tenacious, resourceful journalist who scored a rare interview with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, enraged Indian officials with allegations of interference in Canada’s internal affairs and once sparked a street protest with his reporting. Canadian authorities did not escape his scrutiny either.

In hundreds of articles for this newspaper over 15 years, Mr. Kashmeri covered crime, business and financial miscreance, the Middle East, his native India and the challenges Sikhs, Muslims and visible minorities face in this country.

Notably, Mr. Kashmeri wrote extensively for this newspaper about the 1985 Air India bombing. On June 23 of that year, Air India flight 182 exploded over the southwest tip of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard, including 268 Canadian citizens. A related bombing at Tokyo’s Narita airport at the same time killed two baggage handlers. Sikh extremists were suspected of carrying out the attacks.

His coverage of the bombing, which included suggestions that the Indian government was running an intelligence operation in Canada aimed at dividing the Sikh community, prompted a protest in front of The Globe and Mail’s Toronto offices in December, 1985.

Four years after the disasters, Mr. Kashmeri and fellow journalist Brian McAndrew explored the controversial subject further in their book, Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada, which claimed that Indian spies had for years been engaged in a “devious and ruthless” operation to manipulate and destabilize Canada’s Sikh population.

India’s High Commission in Ottawa lambasted the book as “unmitigated trash,” the product of “a sick mind,” and in a colourful rebuke, said it threw “red herrings” and constituted “yellow journalism.” Then-external affairs minister Joe Clark would neither confirm nor deny the book’s allegation that three Indian diplomats had been expelled from Canada after they were caught spying.

Robert Matas, Ms. Kashmeri’s colleague at The Globe in 1980s, recalled a strong reporter who often filed exclusives, but encountered editors who were skeptical about his Air India stories, especially those about conspiracies involving the government of India. Although suggestions of Indian government involvement were never substantiated, much in his book about the infiltration of Canada’s Sikh community by Indian agents subsequently became accepted wisdom, Mr. Matas said.

Mr. Kashmeri’s work also triggered threats to his life. He and his family were placed under police protection for a time. He was harassed by callers, refused a visa to visit India and bluntly told that if he did go, he would not return alive. Indian secret service agents even interrogated Mr. Kashmeri’s aging and ailing parents in Bombay. Was the exercise worth it? “We both feel it was,” the authors wrote.

The volume’s second edition, in 2005, was subtitled The Real Story Behind the Air India Disaster, and detailed a botched investigation into the bombings by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Only a public inquiry would offer closure to the families of the victims, the authors argued presciently.
17/01/19 On Csillag/Globe and Mail

Surat to get it's first international flight in February

Mumbai: Surat will see the launch of it's first international flights next month with Air India Express non-stop flight to Sharjah.

The maiden service to Surat will begin on February 16. Air India Express has offered all-inclusive inaugural fares starting from Rs 8849 on Surat-Sharjah sector and AED 529 for travel from Sharjah to Surat, said a statement released by Air India Express on Thursday.

Surat will be the twentieth Indian destination in the Air India Express network. The aircraft will be based in Sharjah to operate Surat-Sharjah-Surat service.

Air India Express flight IX-172 will depart from Sharjah at 7:35 pm and arrive in Surat at 11:45 pm on Mondays and Saturdays. Flight IX-171 from Surat to Sharjah will depart from Surat at 12:30 am (half past midnight) with arrival into Sharjah at 02:15 am on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Surat- Sharjah will be the 47thnon-stop direct connection of Air India Express between destinations in India and the Gulf Region. The Airline’s network in Gulf extends to 13 cities.
17/01/19 Manju V/Times of India

IAF's AN-32 transport aircraft lands in strategically important Pakyong airfield in Sikkim

New Delhi: In a first, an AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force has carried out a successful landing at Sikkim's Pakyong, one of the highest airfields in the country.
The military aircraft landed at the airport, located around 60 km from the India-China border, on Wednesday.
"This is the first landing by an AN-32 class of aircraft at this airfield, which is one of the highest airfields in India," a senior IAF official said.
The crew was led by Wing Commander SK Singh.
The Pakyong, situated at 4,500 feet above sea level, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year.
17/01/19 PTI/Economic Times

GMR in talks with MAHB on Hyderabad airport stake sale

GMR Airports is in discussions with Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) to explore the possibility of entering into a fresh agreement for buying the latter’s 11 per cent stake in GMR Hyderabad International Airport.

In February 2018, GMR had entered into an agreement with MAHB to acquire the stake for $76 million. But the deal could not be completed because the Indian company did not fulfil the obligations, as per the agreement before December 31.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Sidharath Kapur, Executive Director of GMR Airports Ltd, said that the infrastructure company is in talks with MAHB for either extending the last date for the previous agreement or enter into a fresh Share Purchasing Agreement.

“There was a long stop date for the contract. And we were in discussions on extending the long stop date. And unfortunately, December 31 was the last stop date and the contract automatically got terminated because the conditions were not met. We are, of course, in discussions with them to extend the last stop date again to or enter into a fresh agreement,” Kapur said.
When asked if the group was looking at other opportunities to raise funds, Kapur said, “We are always looking at opportunities for fund raising.” While Kapoor refused to disclose any further information on the same, he said that they expected the discussions to be fruitful.
17/01/19 Forum Gandhi/Business Line

Scoot to replace SilkAir’s Coimbatore-Singapore flights

Coimbatore: Scoot, the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines, will replace SilkAir’s flight operations in the city from October-end. Scoot will operate flights between Coimbatore and Singapore five days a week.

While this would mean cheaper flights to the popular South-East Asian country, travel agents fear business travellers shunning it due to lack of a business class.

Scoot Airlines on Thursday announced that it would operate flights to Coimbatore from October 27 as part of its plans to expand its India operations. Besides Coimbatore, it announced launch of flights to Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam, starting May.
“The timings which include departing from Coimbatore International Airport at 11pm and arriving at Singapore at 6am and departing from Singapore at 8.20pm and arriving in Coimbatore at 10.10pm will remain the same,” stated the release.

The flights will be operated on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as it is now.
17/01/19 Pratiksha Ramkumar/Times of India

Taking a Domestic Flight From The Mumbai International Airport Has Never Been Easier

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport ( also known as T2) in Mumbai has become the first in the country to introduce the latest technology – that will change the travel game – proposed by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. They have introduced Digi-Yatra, a technology-driven initiative that eliminates ‘boarding pass stamping’ for all domestic airlines operating out of the terminal. Can you imagine what that must be like? Literally, just check in and zip through!

If you’re travelling within the country from this airport, all you need to do is authenticate your boarding pass at the pre-embarkation security check point by scanning the boarding pass barcode or QR code on your mobile phones at the E-gate Reader.

This authentication of boarding pass will eliminate the responsibility of CISF checking personnel to stamp the boarding pass, thus saving time and bringing a harmonious experience to the travellers. Not only that, the development will also improve the overall security-check procedure.

T2 describes the initiative as a step towards adopting new technology and digitising the travel experience, making it hassle-free for the traveller. The feature introduced aims at reducing time involved in completing the many pre-flight boarding checks; one of the many boons of a forward-looking technology-driven service. In fact, it’s evident at the airport now with the drastically reduced waiting time in queues at various touch points.
17/01/19 Charu Chowdhary/India.com

Mumbai, Delhi will need a third airport soon

The long wait for the Navi Mumbai International Airport just got a bit longer. It will now start operations early to mid-2020, and not in December 2019, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said yesterday.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport project was proposed in 1997. Since then, a host of issues, chiefly around land acquisition, have held up the project. In February last year, prime minister Narendra Modi officially inaugurated work on the project, with the first flight scheduled for “end 2019”. However, that deadline has now been pushed.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport is being developed on a public-private partnership basis between government agency CIDCO and GVK-Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). One of the world’s top design firms, Zaha Hadid Architects, has been roped in for the project. The firm is also designing the upcoming Daxing mega-airport in Beijing.

But even the second airport won’t be enough. Mumbai and Delhi will need a third airport by 2040. The aviation ministry’s Vision 2040 document, unveiled at the Global Aviation Summit yesterday, forecasts a massive surge in air traffic in the coming years. It will spike six times to 1.1 billion per year by 2040, with nearly 2,400 aircraft in the air. “India may have around 190-200 operational airports in 2040. Its top 31 cities may have two airports, and the cities of Delhi and Mumbai three each,” according to the document.
17/01/19 Conde Nast Traveller

India should get its first flying car in 2021: PAL-V CEO Robert Dingemanse

Ahmedabad: India should get its first flying car in 2021, Dutch roadable aircraft-maker PAL-V’s CEO Robert Dingemanse said on Thursday on sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat 2019 that kick-starts in Gandhinagar on Friday. “While our car is set for launch in 2020, our entire production for the year is booked. We hope to see India get its first car in 2021,” he said.
The company hopes to find takers among the Indian coast guard, police, medical teams, government agencies, corporates and individuals, he said. “The Indian government seems upbeat about futuristic technology and hopefully, adoption,” he told ET.
“On the production side, we hope to find Indian vendors specialising in automotive and aerospace engineering to start manufacturing here,” he said. ”We seek partnerships to enhance the engineering and software capabilities of our flying car that will be available commercially in 2020,” he said about the futurist car that was showcased in Geneva Motor Show in 2018.
17/01/19 Shramana Ganguly/Economic Times

Rakesh Asthana moved out of CBI, sent to aviation security agency

New Delhi: Controversial Central Bureau of Investigation officer Rakesh Asthana has been moved out of the agency in a sudden move. Asthana has been transferred to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which largely looks after airport and flight security.

Rakesh Asthana was a special director in the Central Bureau of Investigation, a post seen as No. 2 in the CBI's hierarchy. He was involved in a bitter public feud with his boss, CBI director Alok Verma, because of which both of them were sent on forced leave by the government.

Rakesh Asthana is a 1984-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer with a track record of handling several high-profile cases beginning with the fodder scam of Bihar (RJD chief Lalu Prasad was convicted in one of the cases), Godhra train burning case of 2002, 2008 Ahmedabad bomb blasts and those related to Asaram and his son Narayan Sai.
Both Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma had accused each other of corruption. Earlier this month, a select panel, which has the exclusive power to act against CBI directors, removed Alok Verma as CBI chief.
Alok Verma was transferred to the post of director general of fire service, civil defence and home guard. Verma, however, refused the posting and resigned from the Indian Police Service.
17/01/19 Munish Chandra Pandey/India Today

Visakhapatnam airport registers 21.3% growth in passenger traffic

Visakhapatnam: After bifurcation of the State, the Visakhapatnam Airport is steadily registering comprehensive growth in the past four-and-a-half years.  There is a 21.3 per cent of growth in passenger traffic for the first three quarters in the current year.

About 21.44 lakh passengers travelled from Visakhapatnam Airport from April 1 to December 31 whereas the passengers travelled during the corresponding period of 2017-18 fiscal is 18.09 lakh.

In terms of domestic growth also, the airport registered 17.5 per cent of growth. The airport in the past three quarters in the present fiscal handled 3,833.53 tonnes of cargo against 3,260 tonnes handled during the corresponding period of last fiscal.

There is a 102.48 per cent growth registered in international cargo handling in the same period. A quantum of 3,81,347 kgs of cargo handled for first three quarters in 2018-19 fiscal against 1,88,337 kgs handled during the corresponding period of 2017-18.

With the increasing demand for flights to various destinations, two new Airlines Vistara and Go Air will be starting operations in the summer schedule from Visakhapatnam. Vistara Airlines would be operating their flights to Delhi and Go Air to Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai.
17/01/19 Hans India

Go-Air seeks more flight slots into Thailand amid increasing demand

Indian-based budget carrier GoAir is looking for additional flying slots into Thailand airports amid growing air passenger traffic.

The GoAir Vice-President Arjun Dasgupta says the airline wants to launch flights from seven more Indian cities, including Chandigarh and Lucknow, to Phuket.

Currently, it has already has direct flights into Phuket from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

“The airlines of both the countries have almost exhausted their seat quotas and we are pushing for an increase in flight rights.”

Bilateral flying rights refer to an agreement between two countries that allows each other’s airlines to operate services with a specific number of seats.
17/01/19 Thaiger

30 gold bars with ‘Dubai/UAE’ mark found in toilets of plane at Delhi airport

As many as 30 gold bars worth Rs 56 lakh were found hidden behind mirrors of three toilets in a plane at Delhi airport, officials said Thursday. Based on inputs, security personnel rummaged the plane after it arrived in Delhi from Bengaluru on Tuesday, officials said. “During rummaging, 30 pieces of gold bars weighing 1.7 kgs, wrapped with black and brown colour adhesive tapes hidden behind the mirror in the space between mirror and wall in all the three toilets of the aircraft (one toilet on front side and two toilets on the rear side of the aircraft) were recovered,” a statement issued by the customs department said.

The gold bars, which have been seized, have been valued at Rs 56.26 lakh, it said. The investigation so far could not identify any claimant of these recovered gold bars which bear the mark “Dubai/UAE”, the statement said. The aircraft, before coming to Delhi from Bengaluru, was used in international sector from Dubai to Bengaluru and then Bengaluru to Colombo, Colombo to Chennai and Chennai to Pune, the customs department said.
17/01/19 PTI/Financial Express

AAI official caught accepting bribe of Rs 30,000 at Surat airport

Surat: Anti-corruption sleuths caught the joint general manager (engineering and civil), Airports Authority of India (AAI) at Surat airport on Thursday for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 from a contractor. The accused had demanded commission for clearing a bill of annual maintenance contract of the complainant at Surat airport.

The ACB trap created waves as the accused officer was nabbed 12 days before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit at Surat airport to officially launch international air connectivity from the Diamond city.


Anti corruption bureau (ACB) officials nabbed Radha Raman Gupta, a class I officer of AAI, for allegedly accepting bribe from the complainant. The accused was nabbed accepting bribe in his office at Surat airport.

The accused had demanded two per cent of the total bill of Rs 15 lakh from the complainant. The complainant had put-up bill for completion of annual maintenance work and the accused had demanded a bribe of Rs 30,000 for clearing it. Following repetitive demand for the bribe money, the complainant approached ACB.
17/01/19 Yagnesh Bharat Mehta/Times of India

Saudi man held at Delhi airport with live bullet


New Delhi: A Saudi Arabian national has been apprehended at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying a live bullet in his bag, an official said Thursday.

A S Wunaymir T was going through the security checks at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Wednesday evening when a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan detected a “bullet-like object” in his luggage, the official said.
New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) A Saudi Arabian national has been apprehended at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying a live bullet in his bag, an official said Thursday.

A S Wunaymir T was going through the security checks at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Wednesday evening when a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan detected a “bullet-like object” in his luggage, the official said.
17/01/19  PTI/India.com

Dowry harassment: pilot arrested from Jaipur airport

Bengaluru: The city police arrested a 32-year-old pilot from the Jaipur airport on Wednesday in connection with a dowry harassment case.
Yudistira Puniya’s wife Peenu Singh had filed a complaint with the HAL police on September 5, 2018. He had failed to appear before the court on various hearings. Finally, the court issued an arrest warrant against him.
Following the court’s direction, a team headed by sub-inspector Naveen found that Puniya, who is with IndiGo airlines, was at the Jaipur airport. The team went there on Wednesday morning, arrested him and brought him back to the city.
Puniya, a native of Hanuman Nagar in Jaipur, had married Peenu on May 2, 2014. The following year, the couple shifted to Bengaluru and were staying in an apartment in Marathahalli.Peenu was working as a software engineer in a private firm. It was alleged that Puniya and his mother Bimla Puniya had taken money and gold jewellery from Peenu’s parents as dowry. Initially, they took good care of her. But after she gave birth to a baby girl, they started harassing her and demanded more dowry.
17/01/19 Umesh R Yadav/Deccan Herald

Pilot's arrest delays flight at Jaipur

A Mumbai-bound flight of a private airlines got delayed by almost an hour at the Sanganer International Airport after its pilot was arrested by police barely minutes before the scheduled take-off. The arrest was made by sleuths of Bangalore police at the airport on Wednesday morning, sources said.

Sources informed that Jaipur-Mumbai Indigo flight 6E 965, which was to depart at 9:30 am, was delayed after its pilot Yudishtir Poonia was arrested by Bangalore police. Officials in know of the matter said that a team comprising Sub-Inspector Naveen Kumar and head constable Satish from HAL police station in Bangalore had come to Jaipur on Wednesday morning. Poonia reportedly belongs to Jaipur and a compliant was registered against him at HAL police station. "The cops were executing a warrant against the pilot and have taken him to Bangalore," an official said.

According to sources, the airlines was forced to make a change in the team after Poonia's arrest. This led to the delay. However, airline officials present at the airport refused to confirm any such incident and of the flight getting delayed because of the arrest.
The flight took off at around 10:15 am and landed at Mumbai airport at 12:24 pm, while the regular time of its arrival at Mumbai was 11:25 am.
17/01/19 Abhishek Tiwari/DNA

Mangaluru: Airport customs officials confiscate gold worth Rs 27.56 lac

Mangaluru: In two separate cases reported from the airport here on Wednesday January 16, customs officials succeeded in taking into possession unaccounted gold worth Rs 27.56 lac.
Abubakkar Mahmud (46) from Kasargod who came from Dubai by Air India flight had concealed gold worth Rs 9.80 lac concealed in the form of paste in his underwear. Gold was found to have been turned into paste with the help of chemicals.
In the other case, the customs officials during the check of the SpiceJet aircraft which came from Dubai on Wednesday evening after all the passengers alighted, found gold weighing 549.130 grams which too was converted into paste with the use of chemicals and concealed in a bag left behind in the aircraft.
17/01/19 daijiworld

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Demand for aviation fuel tax relief for Karipur airport, too

Kozhikode: People's representatives and trade bodies in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts have come up with the demand to reduce general sales tax on aviation fuel for domestic airline companies operating from Karipur airport.
The clamour has been triggered by the decision of the state government to reduce tax on aviation fuel for airlines operating from the newly-commissioned Kannur airport to 1%.
Slamming the state government for its ‘discriminatory policies’, the stakeholders said preferential treatment being meted out to Kannur airport would affect the growth prospects of Karipur airport, which has an existing fuel tax rate of 28%, run by public sector Airport Authority of India.
Kozhikode MP M K Raghavan said he would meet chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to apprise him about the impact of the decision. “The decision would result in significant fare differences between the two airports and could force passengers to prefer Kannur airport. It would also put pressure on airlines to stop their services to Karipur airport. Already Spicejet and Indigo have shifted some of their flights from Karipur to Kannur,” he added.
16/01/19 Times of India

India's air passenger traffic to touch 1.1 billion in 2040: Ministry of Civil Aviation

Mumbai: India's air passenger traffic is expected to grow six-fold to 1.1 billion and the number of operational airports increase to around 200 in 2040, according to Ministry of Civil Aviation's vision document released Tuesday.
India was the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers -- travelling to, from and within India -- in financial year 2017-18.
The 'Vision 2040 for the Civil Aviation Industry in India' document released at a summit here also said that the country would have its own aircraft leasing industry, with tax structure and repossession processes" being "equally or more attractive than those in leading global jurisdictions".
"The passenger traffic is expected to grow six-fold to around 1.1 billion. India has one of the largest aircraft order books currently with pending deliveries of over 1,000 aircraft," the document from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said.
The fleet of commercial planes is likely to rise to 2,359 in March 2040 from 622 in March 2018.
15/01/19 PTI/Economic Times

Etihad Pushes For Cheaper Deal With Jet Airways, Asks For More Board Positions

Jet Airways is most likely to get a lifeline if United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Etihad and Jet manage to reach an agreement, and Etihad decides to increase its stake in the carrier, in which it already holds 24 per cent while Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal holds 51 per cent. However, Etihad is insisting on a cheaper deal this time from Jet promoters while a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) is working on debt restructuring plans.
Sources say Jet Airways' huge debt has led to delayed salaries to its staff, including pilots and engineers. The full-service carrier, which has been grappling with financial woes for some time, faced a crisis as fuel prices shot up last year. The airline also defaulted on payments to lessors, compounding the problem. Since then, there has been some relief in oil prices and Jet Airways has been using this time to address its cash flow problems.

Jet Airways is looking at a two-pronged approach at resolving the crisis including debt restructuring and fresh infusion of funds to meet its immediate financial needs.

Sources say Etihad will agree raise its stake in Jet Airways only if Jet Airways' lenders agree on debt restructuring, after reports that a forensic audit did not throw up any adverse findings on its accounts. Etihad has also sought top positions for its officials on Jet Airways' board if it agrees to raise its stake and infuse fresh funds.
16/01/19 Saurabh Gupta/NDTV

Why Etihad might bail out India's Jet Airways

Dubai: Etihad Airways might be about to double down on a risky investment in India.
Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier is reportedly looking to increase its stake in cash-strapped Jet Airways, one of the biggest airlines in a market forecast to grow rapidly over the next five years.
According to Indian media reports, Etihad is planning a cash injection to increase its ownership share from 24% to 49%, the most a foreign investor is allowed to hold in an Indian airline.
Etihad declined to comment on the reports.
Jet Airways struggled through 2018 as higher oil prices, a plunge in the rupee and increased competition took a toll on Indian airlines. Its stock fell around 8% on Wednesday.
The carrier said in a stock market filing after the close that it has been "working on various cost cutting measures, debt reduction and funding options" as well as a "comprehensive" turnaround plan.
A decision by Etihad to pump more money into Jet Airways could be risky.
The Indian airline's stock price has fallen 66% in the past year, and the company acknowledged earlier this month that it had missed debt payments to a consortium of Indian banks because of a "temporary cashflow mismatch."
"A stake increase would be perhaps surprising," said John Strickland, an aviation industry consultant at JLS Consulting.
16/01/19 Zahraa Alkhalisi and Rishi Iyengar/CNN

Devendra Fadnavis picks team to broker Air India building deal with ministry

Mumbai: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday set up a committee comprising senior bureaucrats to negotiate the purchase of the iconic Air India building on Marine Drive in South Mumbai with the ministry of civil aviation.

The panel comprises chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, finance secretary U P S Madan, industries secretary Satish Gavai and the CM’s principal secretary Bhushan Gagrani.

Though the building comes with a huge price tag, it is expected to ease administration as well as cut down on the state’s rental costs. The state government is banking on cash-rich state-run corporations such as Cidco, MIDC, Slum Rehabilitation Authority and Mhada to raise funds for acquisition.

Debt-ridden national carrier Air India had floated tenders on December 7 for sale of the 23-storey building. While the last date for submitting bids was December 31, Air India received only two bids __ one from the state government and the other from LIC. The airline has already shifted its corporate headquarters from here to Delhi.

Speaking to TOI, a senior state bureaucrat said, “We had submitted a bid document. However, it has now been proposed that it should be a government-to-government transfer, from the ministry of civil aviation to the state government at a mutually decided price.”
16/01/19 Times of India

New Delhi looks to private sector to fill Air India management team

The Indian government is looking for candidates from the private sector to take up senior management roles at state-owned Air India.

In a video interview, minister of civil aviation Suresh Prabhu says that the positions include chief executive officer, chief operations officer and a chief technology officer.

He explains that this is part of the government's plan to turnaround the debt-laden carrier.

"We must very clearly demarcate between the past and the future.[Where] the past is unconcerned, we are working with the finance ministry to find out the past issues were committed. Where the future is concerned, is should be completely be based on professionalism."

Prabhu says that once a new management team is in place, New Delhi will not interfere in the operations of the airline. He also implied that past government involvement "was the problem".

"Air India is suffering because of legacy [issues]. Air India's past policies have resulted in them accumulating huge debt. The debt is unserviceable on the basis of what the airline's profitability is today."
16/01/19 Aaron Chong/Flight Global 

ED likely to move into 21st floor of Air India building

Mumbai: With the exception of the 22nd floor, the Air India building will soon be transferred to the highest bidder.
While it’s still not final who all will move into the iconic building at Nariman Point, the finance and
properties departments of the national carrier have already moved out of the 21st floor, which according to sources is in the process of being rented out to the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The move is waiting for the Centre’s nod.
The past one month has seen a flurry of activity at Air India, which gets about Rs 107 crore as annual rent, which will shoot up by a few more crores with the ED offices moving from Ballard Pier.
To make up for its perennial losses, the Air India has decided to sell the building, for which it had invited bids that ended about 15 days ago.
The advertisement for the sale had said that Air India has the ‘leasehold rights’ on the land. While the Life Insurance Corporation of India is the biggest contender, the state government has also expressed its intention to have more space for its growing administrative offices. Besides, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has also expressed interest in buying the building. Union minister Nitin Gadkari is keen that JNPT buys it and has in the past said that the government is not keen on passing on the building into private hands. Apart from the 22nd floor, which is occupied by Air India’s CMD Pradeep Kharola and other functional directors, the carrier also occupies the ground floor and the first floor.
16/01/19 Yogesh Naik/Mumbai Mirror

Facial recognition entry to Pune airport from April

Pune: A seamless check-in awaits flyers at the city airport with the authorities ready to roll out the biometric boarding system from April.
The system will enhance passenger movement at the airport through facial recognition under the civil aviation ministry’s DigiYatra programme.

The document of the ministry’s “Vision 2040”, which was unveiled on Tuesday at the inauguration of the two-day Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai, states that the pilot implementation of the project will be carried out at the Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports by February-end.

“The project will be rolled out at the Pune, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijayawada airports by April. Preparations are on and we are expecting a trial run before the actual launch of the facility. We will, however, not stop the practice in place for entering the airport and going through the security checks,” an airport official told TOI.

The system will be similar during the security check. There will be no need of showing and stamping boarding passes after frisking. The boarding passes and flight details of the flyers registered in the facial recognition system would also be integrated.

“The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has given its in-principle nod to the project,” another airport official said.
16/01/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Man crushed under hydra crane at IGI

New Delhi: A 25-year-old man was crushed under a hydra crane at the IGI airport while he was helping his colleagues move heavy plastic pipes loaded on it, which tied with a rope. The incident happened on Monday when 49 pipes wrapped in two bundles were being moved from a construction site to the ATC tower.

The deceased’s brother, Bittu, said that his brother Kaalu lived on the airport premises and worked at a construction company there. On Monday, his supervisors asked them to tie the bundles with a rope and get it shifted, despite being warned of a mishap.

Bittu, who works at an electric company at the airport and stays there along with his family in the store room said, on Monday at 9am, he left for work along with Kaalu when his supervisors asked them to load the pipes on the hydra crane. The first bundle was of 21 pipes and second of 28, both of which were tied with a rope.

Bittu told the cops that they left from the construction site towards the ATC Tower. He even claimed to have warned the two supervisors that the pipes were falling off, but was asked to finish the work quickly instead.
16/01/19 TImes of India

Fortifying India’s airport infrastructure

The demand for air travel in the coming years is expected to grow multifold in a growing economy like India. But experts have raised concerns over the possibility of widening the gap between the acceleration in demand and the expansion of airport infrastructure.

A report by aviation consultancy group CAPA in 2018 estimated that India’s airports would “exceed structural capacity by 2022.”

Jayant Sinha, minister of state, civil aviation, has been working towards improving airport capacity by reviving defunct airports and thereby boosting regional connectivity under the much-lauded UDAN scheme. He has earlier been quoted as saying that India will require 150-200 airports by 2035.

Speaking at the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai on Tuesday, representatives of the airport industry said that while India has come a long way, a lot more needs to be done to keep up with rising demand.

“The airport infrastructure is, of course, challenged at this time, especially in Delhi and Mumbai. We have huge challenges in terms of parking spots and slots,” said Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet. He then continued, “But one of the things this has done is it has spread aviation throughout the country. As we get new aircraft, we’re being challenged to find new destinations to fly to and new airports to park at.”
16/01/19 Jui Mukherjee/Fortune India

Star Air to operate flights on Hubballi-Tirupati route

Bengalur: Star Air, a start-up in the aviation space, will commence its daily operations from January 25, 2019, under UDAN, the government’s subsidy scheme.
The company, backed by the Sanjay Ghodawat Group, has won rights to fly out of Hubballi to
Tirupati, Hindon and Pune.
Start Air has priced tickets at a starting price of Rs 1,299. It has commenced booking for BengaluruHubballi, Hubballi-Tirupati and back and Hubballi-Bengaluru routes.
Earlier, this month, the airline received Air Operator Certificate from the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Star Air is the first Schedule Commuter Operator based out of Bengaluru International airport and
will start flights from Bengaluru and Hubballi, the company said. Star Air is also looking to connect
more cities across India under UDAN 3.
Star Air previously already had commenced air services through its Helicopter services and the
airline services are new addition to the diversified businesses of the group, the company said in a
statement.
16/01/19 Mahesh Kulkarni/Deccan Herald

Congestion at Jaipur Airport halls to end soon

In coming months, the situation of congestion at the arrival and departure hall of the Jaipur Airport will be reduced as the expansion work going on at the airport will be over soon. Sources informed that the expansion of arrival hall will be completed by March end, while work at departure hall is also expected to be completed in about a month’s time. After completion of this work, it’s expected that the passengers who feel congested arriving at the airport will get some relief due to this expansion of space.

The passengers using the airport has been constantly rising at Jaipur airport. In November 2017, 4,19,613 passengers used Jaipur airport while between April to November in 2018,  3547882 passengers used the airport compared to last year in the same duration when 2971975 passengers used Jaipur airport. This means that there has been an increase of 19.4% change in passenger rush using this airport.

During the morning time, when many flights depart, there is a heavy rush in the lobby of this terminal causing much inconvenience to the passengers. There are long queues of passengers waiting for a security check during the morning time and in case of delays due to weather issues, the whole hall seems very crowded. In the last few weeks, many new flights and new destinations with direct flights like Kochi, Bhopal and Shirdi have been started by various airlines increasing the number of passengers coming to Jaipur airport.
16/01/19 DNA

No airline, including Jet Airways, has asked for delivery schedule change: Boeing's Dinesh Keskar

The trying circumstances in the aviation industry hasn't impacted orders or delivery of aircraft, said a top official of American manufacturer Boeing.

None of the airlines, including the crisis-hit Jet Airways, have asked for a change in delivery schedule, said  Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President of sales, Asia-Pacific and India, at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"It is not that easy to change delivery schedule," Keskar told Moneycontrol on the sidelines of the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai.

"It is a very finely defined production system. It is very expensive to change that. We can do it (change in delivery schedule) three years in advance, before we start making them. But not otherwise," added Keskar, who has been spearheading the world's largest aircraft maker in India for the past two decades.

Even if there is a change at Jet Airways, Keskar said, "somebody will take over, will handle the deliveries. We hope so".

The Naresh Goyal-led airline had last year received first of its Boeing 737 Max, which it had ordered in 2015. In total, Jet Airways has ordered 150 737 Max aircraft, which promise to reduce fuel costs by up to 15 percent.
16/01/19 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol.com

GoAir seeks more flying rights to Thailand

Budget carrier GoAir is looking for an increase in flying rights to Thailand amid growing air passenger traffic, according to a senior airline official.

GoAir Vice-President (International) Arjun Dasgupta said the airline wants to launch flights from seven more Indian cities, including Chandigarh and Lucknow, to Phuket.

Currently, it has direct flights to Phuket from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Dasgupta said the government should consider increasing flying rights to Thailand in view of growing passenger traffic between India and Thailand.

"The airlines of both the countries have almost exhausted their seat quotas and we are pushing for an increase in flight rights," he said here.
16/01/19 PTI/Economic Times

‘Float global tender for airlines to ferry Haj pilgrims’

Mumbai: While welcoming the reduction of GST on Haj travel from 18% to 5%, NGO Haj Seva Samiti president Hafiz Naushad Ahmad Azmi has requested PM Narendra Modi to order a global tendering of airlines for Haj operations.
“While the reduced GST will bring down cost, absence of Haj subsidy may put extra burden on pilgrims. If a global tender for airlines is conducted, more airlines will participate and the cost of airfare may come down,” said Azmi. Currently, Air India and Saudia Airlines, national carriers of India and Saudi Arabia respectively, participate in the tendering for Haj flights.
However, Haj Committee of India CEO M A Khan said according to the bilateral agreement between Indian and Saudi governments, the Saudi authorities make it mandatory for 50% of the pilgrims to be carried by their national airlines. “This leaves little chance for us to invite airlines other than Saudi Arabia’s national carrier and India’s national carrier Air India. We have to follow guidelines of the agreement,” said Khan.
16/01/18 Times of India

Singapore's low-cost airline Scoot to expand service in India

Singapore-based budget carrier Scoot on Wednesday said that it would expand its service in India with the addition of three new destinations Coimbatore, Trivandrum and Visakhapatnam.
The long-haul, low-cost, wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines entered Indian market in 2016 with flight services to Chennai, Amritsar and Jaipur.
Flights to Trivandrum (5-times weekly) will commence from May 7 2019, and flights to Coimbatore (5-times weekly) and Visakhapatnam (3-times weekly) will start from October 27, the airline said.
16/01/18 PTI/Economic Times

Air Deccan and Air Odisha routes under UDAN scheme fail to take off

New Delhi: The NDA government’s flagship civil aviation scheme, Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), has run into some turbulence in the eastern part of the country, as regional airline companies such as Air Deccan and Air Odisha have failed to commence operations under this umbrella.

Staff shortage, technical issues with aircraft and high maintenance cost amid severe cost pressures have led to the grounding of two new routes opened under UDAN — from Jamshedpur (operated by Air Deccan) and Jharsuguda (operated by Air Odisha).

Air Deccan, India’s first low-cost carrier, revived in 2017 by its founder Captain G.R. Gopinath, was slated to commence operations between Kolkata and Jamshedpur by 30 September.

Air Odisha, meanwhile, was awarded the rights to operate flights between Jharsuguda and Bhubaneswar. It was also slated to connect Jharsuguda with Ranchi and Raipur. The Jharsuguda airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September.
16/01/19 Mahua Venkatesh/Print

Delhi airport operator DIAL to levy X-ray baggage charges from Feb 1

New Delhi: Delhi airport operator DIAL will start levying X-ray baggage charges ranging from Rs 110 to Rs 880 per aircraft flying on domestic routes from next month.
For international flights, the charge would be USD 209.55 for wide-body planes and USD 149.33 for narrow-body aircraft, according to an AERA order.

With the decision, air passengers flying out from the Delhi airport would have to shell out up to Rs 50 as airlines are expected to pass on the X-ray baggage charges.

In a four-page order dated January 10, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) said that DIAL can levy X-ray baggage charges from February 1.

An airline official said X-ray baggage charges would be passed on to passengers.

"A passenger -- who takes a domestic flight -- is unlikely to pay more than Rs 5 as 'X-ray baggage charge'. On an international flight, the per passenger charge would be not more than Rs 50," a source said.

According to the order, the charge would be USD 209.55 (around Rs 14,908) on wide-body aircraft.
For a narrow-body plane flying on international routes, the charge would be USD 149.33 (around Rs 10,624).

16/01/19 PTI/Times of India

Kullu-Chandigarh flight resumes

Kullu: Air-India resumed its regular flights between Kullu and Chandigarh today. The flight had been cancelled since mid-December in the wake of bad weather conditions. However, the daily flights between Kullu and Delhi continued even during the winter.
Air-India will carry out daily flights between Kullu and Chandigarh except on Sundays. The carrier is operating 70-seater ATR-72 aircraft. The airlines is charging hefty fares for the 40-minute journey. Air-India station manager at Bhuntar Ravinder Thakur said 13 passengers went to Chandigarh from Kullu and seven flown to Kullu.

The 70-seater aircraft is allowed to ferry 30 passengers from Kullu due to a short runway, while around 40 passengers can fly to Kullu. The people associated with the tourism industry said various facilities at the Bhuntar airport should be upgraded to enable flight operation during adverse weather
16/01/19 Tribune

3 women with gold paste in rectum held at KIA

Bengaluru: Three women who tried to smuggle ‘gold paste’ concealed in plastic sheaths in their rectum were caught by customs officials at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on Monday night.
They had travelled from Colombo with 496 grams of gold stored in the form of paste to bypass metal detectors. The women, all natives of Tamil Nadu, landed in Bengaluru on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight. The officials, who grew suspicious during passenger profiling, questioned them to ascertain whether they were smuggling gold. Medical examinations revealed that they were carrying gold paste covered in green tapes in their rectum.
In recent months, there’s been a rise in smuggling attempts where suspects hide gold in paste form in their bodies.
16/01/19 Times of India

Surat-Sharjah flight to take wings from January 30

Surat: After years of wait, Surti flyers will be able to travel to international destination from Surat airport from January 30.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to visit South Gujarat for inaugurating Dandi Memorial at Dandi village on January 30, will be flagging off the maiden international flight from Surat to Sharjah. This was confirmed by Navsari MP CR Paatil.

Modi will also be laying foundation stone for the Rs350 crore worth of infrastructure projects, including terminal expansion, taxi track, apron etc.

Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, will be operating Airbus on Surat-Sharjah route and booking for the same is likely to start in the next couple days. The airline has added Surat and Sharjah destination on its website already.

Sources said Air India Express will be operating Surat-Sharjah flight service twice a week in the initial phase and the frequency will be increased in the summer schedule by almost five service in a week.

Paatil said, “After long deliberations between civil aviation department, AAI and Air India Express, it was decided to commence Surat-Sharjah flight service from January 30. On this day, Prime Minister Modi, who is visiting Dandi, will come to Surat for flagging off the aircraft.”

Last year in June, Surat airport was declared customs-notified and immigration check post for operating limited international flight operations was set up. Immediately after the development, Air India Express had shown interest to operate Surat-Sharjah flight service.
16/01/19 Melvyn Reggie Thomas/Times of India

Delhi HC relief for DMRC over Airport Express Line

New Delhi: In a major boost to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Delhi high court on Tuesday set aside an arbitration award of over Rs 3,000 crore, payable to a Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary involved in Airport Express Line.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar reversed an earlier ruling where the single judge had upheld the arbitration award and directed DMRC to pay the money to Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL).

Partly allowing the appeal by DMRC, HC said it will be open to both parties to again go in for an arbitration. A detailed copy of the order is awaited.

HC’s verdict on Tuesday came on an appeal filed by DMRC challenging the single judge order and seeking to set aside the award passed against it in May 2017.

In its plea, DMRC maintained that the original termination notice of October 2012 by which the concessionaire DAMEPL ended its agreement and exited the project, was illegal, against the provisions of the concession agreement, and void.
16/01/19 Times of India

Al-Baker: India ‘crucial’ for Qatar Airways plans

India, which is now the fourth largest civil aviation market in the world, is a crucial market for Qatar Airways, said the airline’s group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker.
“With the Indian government planning to invest in developing more than 20 major airports and several smaller airports over the next five years, it’s a very exciting time for the aviation industry in India, and we look forward to discussing these topics this week in Mumbai. I am very pleased to be in India once again to be able to participate in this important panel discussion,” al-Baker said at the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai.
India has become the fourth largest civil aviation market after the US, China and Japan.
Al-Baker addressed key leaders of the aviation industry, including senior airline and airport executives as well as government officials and senior dignitaries in a panel discussion titled “Airports of the Future and Building Great Aviation Business.”
Alongside al-Baker on the panel were key industry influencers, including director general of International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac and speakers from around the world of aviation. The session focused on the need for development and modernisation of aviation infrastructure in India, as well as identifying financial opportunities by governments globally and introducing new policy innovation that can increase the financial sustainability of low-traffic airports.
16/01/19 Gulf Times

Why Sikkim's Pakyong airport is a man made disaster

Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the month of September last year, in just less than four months, the Pakyong airport  has begun to cause several inconveniences and draw flak from unhappy passengers looking for a ‘beautiful’ experience.

 Various SpiceJet flights from Calcutta were reportedly diverted to Bagdogra on 21 out of 31 days in the month of December last. And why? Unavailability of navigation equipment in conditions of low visibility.
In times like these, the Bagdogra airport in Northern West Bengal is the only ray of hope for passengers.
In what may be termed as a seemingly hasty project, standing at 4,600ft, Pakyong Airport has no proper navigation system in place. This means the pilots have to depend upon clear weather to land. In the absence of navigation aids, pilots have to follow visual flight rules (VFR) for landing. In layman’s terms, a pilot must see where the aircraft is going and that is possible only when the weather is clear.
An official in the Sikkim government blamed the AAI for the villagers’ objection to navigation equipment being installed.

A quote from a report in the Telegraph quoted an official in Sikkim government as stating, “Before the airport was made operational, a hilltop had to be sliced off to enable 78-seater Bombardier Q400 series aircraft to land and take off with full capacity. This was done in a manner that caused landslides, which damaged large tracts of agricultural land. More than 60 households of a nearby village were affected and the state government paid Rs 72 lakh in compensation,” he said.
 India’s 100th airport has nothing much to boast of other than its height and scenic beauty. This is because until December 17 last year, out of the 74 days that the airport has been in service, flights could be operated only on 46 days. The reason being unfair weather conditions.

But again, at 4,600ft, would it not be fair for the authorities to first install proper navigation aids as the weather is bound to be unfavourable at most times?

It may be mentioned that UDAN, a scheme which was implemented with an aim to boost air connectivity in Northeast India, has suffered many roadblocks in the recent past.
16/01/19 North East Today

Indian Air Force to expand use of blended biojet fuel

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force is planning to expand the use of biojet fuel on its transport fleet and helicopters before coming to fighter aircraft, after assessing its impact on engines, cost saving and production capacity in India, a top officer said here on Wednesday.
Last month, the IAF flew India’s first military flight using biojet fuel blended with Aviation Turbine Fuel on a Russian-made AN-32 transport aircraft out of Chandigarh. Even the Republic Day flypast on January 26 will consist of the IAF flying a formation of three AN-32s with the lead aircraft using blended biojet fuel.
"India’s quest to seek alternate sources of fuel towards reducing its dependence on crude oil will now be showcased by the formation of An 32 aircraft flying in ‘vic’ formation. The lead aircraft of the formation, piloted by Squadron Leader Mehtab Sond of the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment, will be flown using Aviation Turbine Fuel blended with 10 per cent Biofuel,” said the IAF in a statement.
The fuel is extracted from Jatropha plant seeds using a technology patented by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun. The IAF believes that successful trials of the fuel will lead to significant reduction on India’s dependence on imported crude oil. “The IAF’s initiative is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to reduce crude oil imports and dependency to the tune of 10 percent by 2021,” explained the IAF.
16/01/19 Shaurya Karanbir Gurung/Economic Times

France Denies Buying Rafale Fighter Jets at a Price Cheaper Than India

New Delhi: The French government has denied a media report that claimed that Dassault Aviation had received from the French government an order of 28 advanced Rafale fighter jets at a price which was half of that which India had contracted for with the same French aircraft manufacturer.

India signed a contract with Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafale at 7.87 billion euros in 2016.

Alexandre Ziegler, the ambassador of France to India, said that France had not announced any new aircraft acquisition order.

"The amount you're referring to will finance solely the development of the new F4 standard for the Rafale. The 28 aircraft remaining to be delivered to the French Air Force are part of previous acquisition contracts", Ziegler added.
The opposition parties have hurled allegations against the present Modi dispensation, saying that it had bypassed clearly laid out defence procurement procedures, and in the process had procured Rafale Fighter jets at a much higher price. In addition, their allegations included that Modi's government had favoured private businesses as offset partners in the said multi-billion dollar defence deal.
Indian civil rights activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who had challenged the Rafale deal signed by the Indian government before the Supreme Court, attacked the government once again, using an article published by DefenseNews.com, the world's leading publisher of news on military and governments.
16/01/19 Sputnik

We are positive about giving new air routes: Indian minister tells Civil Aviation Minister Adhikari

Kathmandu: Indian Minister for Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu has told Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari that India is positive about providing additional air routes to Nepal.

Prabhu told Adhikari, who is in India to participate in the Global Aviation Summit being held in Mumbai,  that India is currently working on inter-ministry coordination about the issue.

India has been dallying on the issue of giving additional air routes despite agreeing to provide three additional entry routes for airplanes to Nepal in mid-June last year.

“We had completely positive talks,” Minister Adhikari told Setopati about his meeting with the Indian minister. “We have agreed to expedite the works about additional air routes.”

Joint-secretary at the ministry Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, who has been taking part in the bilateral talks, said the Indian side has assured to take initiative for the works related to providing the air routes. “Nepal has taken this positively,” Lamichhane said.
16/01/19 Setopati

Russian aircraft firm to showcase amphibious jet at Aero India Show

Russia’s state-run United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the maker of Su-35 and MiG-57 fighter jets, is now tapping Indian market with its Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft, which can be used as a cargo or a passenger airplane by the corporate sector.

“As India is now discussing the need to expand regional connectivity, we believe our Be-200 jet will fit into the new strategy very well as it can take off and land on water so it does not necessarily needs to be based at the airports,” Sergei Ganin, Head of R&D Center of Beriev Aircraft Company, a unit of UAC, told BusinessLine.

The company has been in talks with India’s corporate houses and government agencies for its amphibious jet and is planning to showcase the capabilities of Be-200 at the Aero India Show in Bangalore next month, said UAC officials, on the sidelines of the Global Aviation Summit.

The Be-200 jet was designed by the Beriev bureau in 1998, primarily for aerial wildfire-fighting with the use of water or fire-extinguishing liquids, and is now positioned as a passenger or cargo airplane.

“In India, we are targeting corporate houses that could use the plane either for cargo transportation or for business travel,” said Ganin, and added that India’s long coastline and diverse geography will make it an attractive market for the Be-200.
16/01/19 Ksenia Kondratieva/Business Line

Pilot spots vehicle on runway, aborts landing

Kolkata: A flight from Delhi descending for touchdown was asked to abort landing and begin a steep climb just as the flight captain spotted the powerful searchlights of an inspection vehicle on the runway and an aircraft in queue for take-off.

The inspection vehicle on the runway was scrambled after an flight from Hyderabad (6E 629), which had just landed ahead of the Vistara, reported a bird-hit during descent.

The report prompted immediate action and the standard operating procedure for such emergencies kicked in. The Kolkata-Bhubaneswar (I5 1563) flight on the runway edge set for takeoff was put on hold. Two other flights that were in the arrival queue were told to hover over the city.

Meanwhile, oblivious to the situation unfolding on the ground, the captain of the descending Vistara (UK 707) flight spotted the inspection vehicle on the runway and the AirAsia plane set for takeoff run. Almost immediately the radio crackled to life as an officer urgently asked the captain to abort landing and hover. The flight that was on touchdown path then began the steep climb.
16/01/19 Josh Clayton/Clayton Caller

GoAir Employees Stage Protest Against Travel Planner

Srinagar: Ground Handling Service Staff for ‘GoAir’ Tuesday staged a protest against ‘Trikuta Travel Plan­ner’ alleging that they are not being paid wages as prescribed by Minis­try of Labour Government of India.

The protesting staff alleged two of their colleagues were termi­nated after they raised the voice against Trikuta Travel Planner’ and ‘GoAir’. “Our colleagues were ac­cused of hatching a plan to hijack a GoAir flight. They suffered a lot of mental trauma,” the protesting staff that assembled in Press En­clave Srinagar said.

“We are total 36 employees. The Company used to pay us only Rs 8200 per month while under Ministry of Labour Government of India norms we are entitled for Rs 15000. When I filed a case in the Labour Court in Budgam, I was terminated from the service. The court verdict came in my favour and the company was forced to take me back,” said Rouf Ahmed.
The protesters said that Tri­kuta Travel Planner is exploit­ing the ground handling service staff. “We want wages should be given to us as per Labour norms and besides Shahnawaz Wani and Muhammad Amin Rather should be reinstated who have been ter­minated by the company. General Manager Trikuta Travel Planner Sarika Gupta while terming the allegations baseless said that some of the employees tendered their resignation due to personal reasons.
16/01/19 Kashmir Observer

Nigerian living in India illegally for over 8 years held at Delhi airport

A Nigerian national, allegedly staying in India illegally for over 8 years, has been apprehended by the CISF at the Delhi airport, an official said Wednesday. Emmanuel C Ajonuma was intercepted during random profiling of passengers on Tuesday when he entered the Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport to take a flight to Mumbai, he said.

Ajonuma’s passport and visa details were checked and it was found that he had arrived in India on November 7, 2010 on a medical visa for three months, the CISF official said.

The Nigerian man, however, did not go back or renew his visa after it expired, he said, adding his passport too expired in 2013. The man was handed over to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) authorities at the airport who subsequently transferred his custody to the police for action for violating the visa law and living in the country illegally for over eight years, the official said.
16/01/19 PTI/Financial Express

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

India’s air passenger traffic to cross a billion in 2040: Vision document

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on January 15 unveiled the Vision 2040 document, which highlights the growth potential in different sub-sectors of Indian aviation and the key action steps are required to be taken to achieve the desired objective.

As per the document the total passenger traffic (to, from and within India) in India is expected to rise nearly six-fold from 187 million in FY 2018 to around 1124 million in FY 2040. This includes around 821 million domestic passengers and around 303 million international passengers (to and from India).

The overall CAGR works out to around 9% in domestic and 7% in international traffic during FY 2018-2040, it said adding that since aviation is a longterm plan, aircraft procurement, airport development, air navigation system changes and skill development should be done in a cohesive manner.

Rather than having five-year plans, the document talks about India having a robust 20-year plan that lays out the targets and the path to get there along with time lines and clear accountability. “This document is an attempt in that direction,” it said.

It said technology developments like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, biometrics, composites, super-alloys, biofuels etc. are changing the face of aviation and it is humanly impossible to predict the oil price or the exchange rate a month down the line, much less the impact of technology 10 years hence.

The vision document said with the right policies and a relentless focus on execution, India can surprise the world by not just meeting but exceeding the Vision 2040 targets. “India is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous with over 1.35 billion people. It’s one of the fastest growing economies of the world and likely to become the fifth largest in 2019,” it said.

“The Indian aviation market is on a high growth path. Total passenger traffic to, from and within India, during Apr-Nov 2018 grew by around 15% year on year as compared to around 6% globally. India is now the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers (to, from and within India)inFY2017-18,” it added. It is expected to be third largest by 2022, it said.
15/02/19 Lalatgendu Mishra/The Hindu

India to unveil Air Cargo Policy

India’s first Air Cargo Policy will be unveiled at the two-day Global Aviation Summit starting here on Tuesday.

Despite registering a double-digit growth for nearly four years in a row, India has remained without a specific policy for air cargo.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, announcing this, said that over 30 countries were participating in the first-of-its-kind aviation summit.

“A policy to provide thrust to air cargo has been drafted for the first time and will fuel the growth of the aviation sector and boost the country’s economy,” he said.

Emphasising that security, safety, convenience and affordability were the key aspects, the Minister said the aviation vision for 2040 would address all the issues so that India will have sustainable growth in the sector at all times.

“We are trying to make a policy for air cargo so that the aviation market can grow, which, in turn, will boost the trade and economy of the country,” he said.

Mr. Prabhu said that the success of the aviation sector in the country was completely propelled by the participation of private players, adding that infrastructure for the movement of air cargo could be created in the same way.

The Minister said night hours, when air passenger traffic was negligible, could be used to airlift cargo.
Civil Aviation Ministry officials said that solutions to critical issues relating to agriculture and manufacturing output and their supplies had been sufficiently explored in the policy which was integrated with logistics.
14/01/19 Aditya Anand/The Hindu

More than 8,000 delays in 9 months at Lohegaon

Pune: Arrival and departure of flights on time at the Lohegaon airport are becoming increasingly uncertain with the Airports Authority of India registering over 8,000 delays between January and September last year.

Airport officials said 11-12 flights leaving Pune and 13-15 arriving at the city airport get delayed every day and the number increases to around 20 if there’s fog and low visibility at other airports.

An official said weather was one of the main factors delaying the incoming flights. “In almost all cases, an aircraft makes multiple rounds. Once an aircraft lands here, it has to either return to the point of origin or carry on towards the onward journey. If there’s a delay on one route, it has a cascading effect here,” the official told TOI.

Hundreds of flyers were stuck for hours at the city airport on January 7 after 36 flights faced delays because of the fog in Delhi as well as in Bengaluru.

A recent survey by UK-based air consultancy firm OAG revealed that only two Indian carriers — IndiGo and Air Asia — have made it to the Top 20 most punctual airlines in 2018 in various categories. Besides, four Indian airports — Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar — were in the list of the top 20 facilities with the best on-time performance.

“I have faced a situation when a flight from Delhi was diverted to Mumbai for inadequate parking bays in Pune. Flights are also delayed because after arrival, they are made to wait for almost 40 minutes when the parking bays are occupied,” businessman and frequent flyer Samrat Akula said.
15/01/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates Global Aviation Summit 2019 in Mumbai

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the Global Aviation Summit 2019 in Mumbai this morning. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prabhu said, India is one of the fastest growing aviation sectors and all players of the sector must come together and talk about ideas. He said, the summit is a union and it will address the problems being faced today.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, the BJP government has reformed, performed, transformed and now it is informing about the success achieved. He asserted that India has pioneered business models and improved in affordability. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, by the beginning of 2020, the state government will make New Mumbai's airport functional, which has the capacity to add 1 per cent to GDP.

The two-day summit, with a theme 'Flying for all-especially the next 6 Billion', is being organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with FICCI. It offers stakeholders an opportunity to explore, deliberate and understand how technology-driven innovations will change air travel in the decades to come.

While inaugurating the Global Aviation Summit 2019 in Mumbai, Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said that India is one of the fastest growing aviation sectors and all the players of this sector must come together to discuss the ideas. He said that this summit is a union and this will actually address the problems that we are facing today. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had mentioned that Mumbai Airport is one of the most efficiently managed airports in India. He had also said that by the beginning of 2020, the state government will make New Mumbai's airport functional, which has the capacity to add 1% to GDP.
15/01/19 All India Radio

India to add 1,000 aircraft over next 7-8 years: Government official

Mumbai: The country is going to add 1,000 aircraft over the next 7-8 years, a top government official said Tuesday.

"We would be adding about 1,000 more aircraft in about next 7-8 years," Ministry of Civil Aviation secretary, RN Choubey, said, adding that the country will be adding 100 more airports, and one billion trips in the next 15 years.

He said the country is an aviation locomotive for the world and provides humongous opportunities for players across the globe to grow.

The domestic aviation has been growing at 20 per cent every year, for the last four years.

This growth has been highest in the world and it has been sustained, Choubey said at a Global Aviation Summit organised by Ficci.
15/01/19 PTI/Business Standard

Govt working on roadmap for aircraft manufacturing in India

India is the fastest growing aviation market in the world, at a rate of nearly 20 per cent year-on-year over the last four years. It is estimated that as the market expands, there will be a need for over 2,000 aircrafts in the country.
In this backdrop, the government is working on a roadmap to boost manufacturing of more critical aircraft components in the country, Suresh Prabhu, civil aviation minister, said on Tuesday.
Currently, France's Airbus and US-based Boeing are the two largest plane makers.
Prabhu feels that India not only offers the raw materials, but also technological skills to make airplanes and more importantly, a growing market domestically as well as the wider Asian region, which is expected to see a huge boom in aviation, which could help attract manufacturing of key components.
"We must have manufacturing here. I am not saying everything from A to Z will happen in India, it is part of the value chain, supply chain that India can manufacture critical components, assembly should also happen in India," Prabhu said in an interaction with reporters at a Global Aviation Summit, organised by the industry body FICCI.
Given the huge demand and growth potential, he said that India was open to partnering with top manufacturers to make in India, which could happen over a period of time.
Even today, parts for jets manufactured by Boeing and Airbus are manufactured in many different countries and then shipped to the final assembly place. Prabhu says that India would like to be a critical part of this supply chain.
He believes the sector had the opportunity to create millions of jobs and therefore, there has been a decision to train more people for the aviation industry.
He is also keen to develop India as a leading MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) hub.
American plane maker Boeing had set up a MRO facility in Nagpur, with an investment of $100 million, which was later handed over to Air India under the agreement in 2015.
15/01/19 Nachiket Kelkar/The Week

GoAir asked to pay Rs 98,000 for cancelling 25 tickets

Mumbai: The consumer forum has directed low-cost airline GoAir to pay a Mumbai resident more than Rs 98,000 for cancelling a 2015 Ahmedabad to Mumbai flight in which he had booked 25 tickets, said Hindustan Times.

In May 2014, Jayesh Pandya had spent Rs 50,000 to book the 25 tickets on the February 17, 2015 flight.

“I had made the wedding pooja arrangements based on the flight timings. In January 2015, I contacted the airlines to submit the passengers’ names. They, then, informed me the flight was cancelled. They offered no reasons,” Pandya told the forum, the report said.

He then bought the tickets on Vistara for Rs 88,816. When he approached GoAir for reimbursement, the airline gave him a Rs 3,000 credit voucher and said his refund was being processed. He did not hear from them further.

Pandya then filed an RTI and found the flight had not been cancelled. He eventually approached the forum in November 2016.

The consumer forum has now directed the airline to refund Pandya Rs 50,000 for the tickets, and Rs 38,816 for the excess amount Pandya paid for Vistara airlines and Rs 10,000 as additional compensation, the report added.
15/01/19 India Blooms

Vistara to raise frequency on existing domestic routes, says Leslie Thng

Mumbai: Vistara, joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, is to raise its frequency on existing domestic routes, besides adding one or two destinations, Chief Executive Leslie Thng said.

It began flying in January 2015 and operates 130 daily flights, with 22 aircraft. Thng said they were aiming at double-digit capacity growth and would add six to 10 of Airbus’ A320neo planes in 2019. Deliveries will begin from the second half of the year. There is no plan to take more aircraft on lease.

The airline has 56 planes on order — 50 of Airbus (A320s and A321neos) and six of the Boeing 787-9s. It will induct the Boeing planes from the first quarter of 2020 and has begun training its pilots for this.

“We are still waiting for final approval for international operations,” said the chief executive. The airline was originally aiming to ply abroad from the end of 2018. Government rules require an airline to have a minimum of 20 planes before this could be allowed. Vistara became eligible last year and had applied the civil aviation ministry in June, with a plan for flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Colombo and Male by the winter schedule of 2018.
15/01/19 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

UAE's Etihad 'agrees' to raise stake in Jet Airways to 49%

Etihad Airways has agreed to raise its stake in Jet Airways India Ltd. to 49 per cent as founder and chairman Naresh Goyal gives up majority control of the carrier, potentially paving the way for the rescue of the cash-starved company, according to television reports.

BTVI television channel reported the Etihad stake increase Monday, while CNBC-TV18 said Goyal’s stake could drop to as low as 20 per cent from 51 per cent after the revamp, and his voting rights would be capped at 10 per cent. The airline didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comments.

The airline’s shares jumped as much as 19 per cent in Mumbai, the biggest intraday gain since Nov. 15. The broader S&P BSE Sensex index was down 0.5 percent.

Jet Airways, once India’s No. 2 airline, has been seeking funds from investors including minority shareholders , people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
14/01/19 Bloomberg/Gulf News

DGCA warns delayed salaries at Jet Airways may pose a security risk: Report

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said delayed salary payments at Jet Airways could pose a potential safety risk, reports The Economic Times. The aviation regulator flagged off these concerns to the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline as part of its audit of the carrier.

“Non-payment of salaries is a concern and DGCA’s audit flags it as a type 2 concern (sic),” a government official told the newspaper. Sources said the airline is yet to send its response. As per the report, type 2 concerns don’t impact the safety of the airline directly but could potential do so.

In September last year, several passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Jaipur suffered nose and ear bleeding after the crew ‘forgot’ to turn on a switch that controls cabin air pressure.
An airline spokesperson told the newspaper it hadn’t received any report, adding: “The company continues to run normal operations as per schedule and with appropriate safety approvals as per DGCA. The airline is current in terms of payments as per the disbursement schedule that has been shared with the specific employee group.”
15/01/19 moneycontrol.com

Mangaluru: Privatisation of airport - protest by employees force bidders to back out

Mangaluru: Representatives of GMR Airport Private Ltd and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, who had arrived at the Mangaluru International Airport here for spot visit in tune with the process of privatisation of the airport on Monday January 14, had to go back empty-handed on account of protest by the airport staff.
Bidding process for privatisation of several airports including the local one is on now. In the initial stages, those who have filed bids are allowed to visit the airports individually and undertake independent evaluation. Officials of the above two companies had come on Monday to undertake evaluation exercise.
The teams reached the airport at about 10 am. As soon as they came to know of lit, airport employees joined together and began to hold protest. Disturbed by this development, the teams went back without undertaking evaluation process.
15/01/19 Daijiworld

Number of foreign pilots hired by Indian airlines rose to 324

As of December 15, 2018, 324 foreign pilots are hired by Indian airlines against 313 as of January 1, 2018, data published by the Ministry of Civil Aviation showed. In August 2018, the number dropped to 298 but it increased in the second half of the calendar year.

India’s largest carrier IndiGo has the highest number of foreign pilots at 93, higher from 59 in August and 87 in January last year. At 66 in December, Air India’s regional subsidiary Alliance Air is the only other carrier that saw a rise in the number of foreign pilots during this period.

GoAir reduced its foreign pilots' strength to 31 in December 2018 from 53 in January, while SpiceJet reduced the number to 19 from 36 during this period.
15/01/19 CNBC-TV18

Srishti Communications bags exclusive ad rights at Hubballi Airport

Leading OOH media firm Srishti Communications, which has strong footprints in the transit media space including the exclusive advertising rights at Trivandrum International Airport, has won the exclusive advertising rights at Hubbali Airport, tipped to become one of the busiest airports in northern Karnataka. Srishti Communications has won the Exclusive Master Concessionaire for Advertising contract at Hubballi Airport from Airport Authority of India (AAI) for a period of 5 years.

Commenting on the rights win, S Kumar, CMD of Srishti Communications, said that with Tier II cities like Hubballi, which is also part of the Hubbali Dharwad Smart City Project, emerging as the new economic growth centres, there is every reason to direct media investments at the airport that will become a key transit point for a wide cross-section of people residing in the city or those visiting there for business or to see the tourist attractions in the region.

The Hubballi Airport has well developed infrastructure that can handle large aircraft like A320. Domestic flight operators like Indigo, Air India and SpiceJet are all operating at the airport with full passenger capacity. Bengaluru-based Star Air will soon start its flights to Hubballi Airport, and with that the airport will have some 32 flights a day, connecting with cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Tirupati, Hindon near Delhi, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kannur, Jabalpur, Mangalore and Kochi. Also, Indigo is planning to start flights from Hubballi to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Doha, Singapore, Hong Kong.
15/01/19  Rajiv Raghunath/Media Growth

Pollution levels within limits but flights get impacted

Chennai: Though pollution levels were well within permissible limits on Monday in the city, nearly 20 domestic and international flights were rescheduled and two were cancelled owing to smoke from the bonfires lit during the Bhogi festival and the early morning fog. Visibility on the roads too became poor as the fires burnt out and started emitting smoke.

Expecting the fog to hit flight movement, Airports Authority of India rescheduled several flights and made an announcement on Twitter. Flights of various airlines, including IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Air Asia, Air India and Emirates to Mumbai, Tiruchi, Kolkata, Port Blair, Hyderabad, Colombo, Singapore and Dubai were rescheduled.

Two Jet Airways flights to Mumbai and Bengaluru were cancelled and passengers were accommodated on other flights. Some of the flights arriving in Chennai were also delayed due to smog.
15/01/19 The Hindu

Assam: Spicejet starts daily direct Lilabari-Kolkata flight

Spicejet on Tuesday started its daily service in the Kolkata-Lilabari route becoming the first private airliner to serve in the regional connectivity programme under UDAN-II.

Spicejet’s flight SG-3345 arrived at Lilabari airport today at 12.35 pm from Kolkata marking the new beginning of air connectivity to this northeastern corner of India.

A meeting was organized on this occasion at the Lilabary airport which was attended by Pradan Baruah. Lakhimpur MP, Utpal Dutta, Lakhimpur MLA, Dr. Jeevan B, Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur and officials from Airport Authority of India.
Speaking on that occasion MP Baruah said that the Lilabari-Kolkata air service by Spicejet was the outcome of the initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under mission UDDAN and Advantage Assam.

He also announced the regular flight by Air-India to Guwahati from Lilabari from March this year. The Lakhimpur MP also added further connectivity to this region with new trains in near future in that meeting.

Speaking on that occasion Lakhimpur DC Dr Jeevan B. said that the Lilabari-Kolkata air service would boost the tourism sector of this region. Lakhimpur MLA Utpal Dutta and SP Sudhakar Singh stressed the importance of air-connectivity between Lilabari and Guwhati as the road connection is very lengthy.
15/01/19 Farhana Ahmed/Northeast Now

6 Airports in two Telugu states set for makeover

Hyderabad: It's good news that this year, six airports in the two Telugu states will undergo into massive development changes.

In which RGIA at Shamshabad is one from Telangana, and from AP Vijayawada, Vizag, Rajamahendravaram, Tirupati, Kadapa airports are in the list.

If Telangana government takes some initiation than Warangal, Nizamabad, Kothagudem may also be included in the list.

Vijayawada Airport Director, GMS Rao said that in order to bring these projects of the track, AAI or state governments should come forward.

Surveys have been conducted to ascertain if they are feasible locations and the results have been positive.

GMS Rao, who is also a member of the Survey Committee said that there is a possibility for these airports to be developed under the Udan scheme.
15/01/19 Yadeya Talari/Hans India

Kuwait-India talks focus on aviation cooperation

New Delhi:  India and Kuwait yesterday held bilateral talks in India’s financial capital Mumbai to enhance cooperation in the field of civil aviation and air transport. During the talks, the Kuwaiti delegation was headed by President of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, while the Indian side was represented by Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu. In the presence of Kuwait’s Ambassador to India Jassim Al-Najim and senior Kuwaiti officials, a number of issues of mutual concern in the field of civil aviation and air transport were discussed.
The meeting also underlined the importance of more dialogue between technical teams from both sides to enhance cooperation, increase flights and deepen coordination among airlines from both nations. Kuwaiti National Carrier, Kuwait Airways, was part of the Gulf state’s delegation, which included Chief Executive Officer Kamel Al-Awadhi along with Jazeera Airways CEO Rohit Ramachandran and Deputy Director General for Aviation Safety and Air Transport Affairs Engineer Emad Al-Jlewi.
14/01/19 Kuwait Times