Monday, October 15, 2018

AirAsia may be signaling retreat to core markets

Kuala Lumpur: AirAsia Group Bhd will likely retreat to its core markets of Malaysia and Thailand with future growth plans likely to be curtailed and more targeted, said Maybank Investment Bank Research.

The research house house noted recent management changes in AirAsia India cast some doubts over the group's loss-making associates and joint ventures.

AirAsia India recently saw changes to its three top posts - chairman, CEO and CFO - which are now filled by representatives from Tata Group.

AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes and AirAsia deputy group CEO Bo Lingam have also stepped down from the board.

Maybank noted that the Indian airline has faced difficulties from the start.

"It has consistently lost money, prompting capital injections twice. It initially started on a tri-party shareholding structure, but eventually reduced to two as the Tatas bought over the stake of an unhappy shareholder.

"There was also series of controversies whereby the Indian authorities (Enforcement Directorate, Federal Police) has probed the company for misappropriation of funds, bribe allegations and regulatory breach of foreign management having a commanding majority control," it said.
15/10/18 Star Online

Jet Airways says it needs more time to pay September salary to employees

New Delhi: Cash-strapped airline Jet Airways has sought more time to pay the salaries of its employees for September. Though no confirmed deadline has been given for the disbursement of salaries for the month, the airline assured its employees that it is "committed" towards finding a solution. The airline paid the balance amount (50 per cent) of the salaries for August to its pilots, engineers and senior management last week only.

The Mumbai-based full-service airline, partially owned by UAE national carrier Etihad Airways, has been suffering from the cash crunch for the past few months, resulting in constant delays in the salaries of its employees. A few days ago, its pilots had earlier threatened its management of "non-cooperation" over further delays in the disbursement of their salaries but to no avail.

"First of all, we would like to apologise for the delayed payment of your salaries and appreciate your patience in this matter. We remain committed towards your dues and profusely thank you for doing what you do for Jet Airways every day," Jet Airways said in a statement to its employees on Sunday. The company also said it has met with the pilots' representatives and are "working towards a solution".

The airline has been reportedly defaulting on employees' salaries for some time, making partial payments in some cases or not paying at all. The airline is facing a deep financial crisis due to high fuel cost and continuously depreciating value of rupee. A fierce competition from local players has also added to its woes, leading to Rs 1,036 crore and Rs 1,300 crore losses in the quarters ending March and June, respectively. Its total liabilities from banks have grown to over Rs 8,600 crore.
15/10/18 Business Today

Jet Airways delays salary payment once again; says working towards a ‘solution’ for paying September dues

After announcing a staggered payment plan for paying off August salaries, private carrier Jet Airways has failed to provide any firm date for payment of September salary to its senior management, pilots and engineers, PTI reported a source as saying.

The Naresh Goyal-led cash strapped airline has apologised to its employees for delayed payment of salaries. “First of all, we would like to apologise for the delayed payment of your salaries and appreciate your patience in this matter. We remain committed towards your dues and profusely thank you for doing what you do for Jet Airways every day,” Jet Airways chief people officer Rahul Taneja said in a email to employees, according to an ANI report.

The cash strapped airline said that it is working towards a solution, and the plan will be communicated within the coming week. “…we have met with the pilots’ representatives and are working towards a solution, which will be communicated in the coming week,” Taneja added in the email.
15/10/18 Financial Express

No flights from Jharsuguda for a week

Jharsuguda: The recently-inaugurated Veer Surendra Sai Airport (VSSA) at Jharsuguda has disappointed people of western Odisha with no operation of flights under the UDAN scheme in the past one week.

Even three weeks after the commissioning of Odisha’s second major airport, air passengers hardly got the flight services to other destinations from here.

After its inauguration, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had released a schedule for flight operations from the airport.

However, passengers are still waiting to get services.

As per the schedule, the flight services to Bhubaneswar, Raipur and Ranchi from Jharsuguda were to be operated six days in a week excluding Sunday.

The regular schedule for flight operations had commenced from September 24.

Reports said that not a single flight by the Air Odisha has been operated in the past seven days. Rather, the airport has turned into a point of amusement for public.
15/10/18 Pioneer

Air India crew member falls off aircraft, hospitalised

Mumbai: A 53-year-old air hostess was injured Monday after falling off an Air India aircraft which was getting ready for departure at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here, the airline said.
The incident took place in the morning on the Air India's New Delhi-bound flight AI 864, it said.
The airline termed the incident as "unfortunate" and said that it was investigating into it.
"In an unfortunate incident, one of our cabin crew (members), Harsha Lobo, fell down on the tarmac from the Boeing-777 aircraft door while closing it," the airline said in a statement.
"She sustained injuries to her legs and has been taken to the Nanavati Hospital for further treatment," it added.
15/10/18 PTI/Economic Times

GoAir launches second overseas route with Mumbai-Male service

Mumbai: Wadia group budget carrier GoAir on Sunday launched its second international route with non-stop air services to Male, the capital city of Maldives, from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here. The city-based airline had made its international debut last Friday with a flight with an Airbus A320Neo plane to tourist hub Phuket in Thailand from New Delhi.

“We welcome Male as a part of our new global network. In light of the significant increase in outgoing tourism from India over the past few years, GoAir introduced direct flight services from Mumbai and New Delhi to Male,” said Cornelis Vriesjwik, chief executive officer, GoAir, in a release.

The Mumbai-Male flight was also operated with an A320Neo aircraft, the airline said. GoAir became eligible to fly overseas two years ago when it took delivery of its 20th aircraft, which was also the first Airbus A320Neo for the airline. GoAir, which commenced its domestic operations in November 2005, is the sixth domestic airline to fly international.
15/10/18 Free Press Journal

Work to make flying safer

It’s a wonder that an Air India Express Boeing B737, which hit a very low airport perimeter wall at Tiruchy while taking off, flew on to Dubai with the pilots blissfully unaware of what had occurred. The plane was said to have rocked on impact, but the shaking was brushed off as minor, and panic set in among the 136 passengers only when the Dubai ATC refused to let the plane land and it had to be rerouted to Mumbai. Confident that all systems were “go” on board, the experienced pilots, with over 3,000 flying hours each, saw no reason to change course. They have been derostered, and an inquiry is on. But that’s what we hear after every aviation scare. What the investigation must clearly establish is whether it was overloading of aircraft or pilot failure in reading the takeoff point.
Tiruchy’s incident is the opposite of what happened to the AI flight on September 11 when all systems failed and the pilots had to land blind in Newark in the most testing conditions of low visibility, which makes us wonder what modern fly-by-wire aviation is all about. Would it be too much to seek positioning of cameras on the wings or fuselage to check underbelly, landing gear and wheel and tyre conditions? An aircraft with a hole in the underbelly can still make it and we often hear of safe landings even after engine failure events. Modern aviation is so safe the odds of fatality in a crash have lengthened considerably since the Wright Brothers showed us how to fly. An eventful AI flight reminds us there’s work to be done to make flying even safer.
15/10/18 Asian Age

Air safety on a prayer

Air safety is increasingly being imperiled by the recklessness of pilots or crew, or even ground staff. In August, a Jet Airways flight went off the runway at Riyadh airport. The licences of the pilots were suspended. In September, over 30 passengers experienced bleeding after the pilots ‘forgot’ to turn on a switch to regulate cabin pressure. The crew was taken off duty pending investigation. Jet Airways fired its pilots for a cockpit fight in January, and in March, two pilots were asked to quit after they turned up stoned to operate flights. In July, mid-air collision between two IndiGo aircraft was averted, while in April, a window panel came off an Air India (AI) aircraft during turbulence. The latest is a Dubai-bound AI plane hitting a perimeter wall during takeoff! The pilots have been derostered, for now.
Without exception, airlines are grappling with a range of issues: delayed salaries (early last month, Jet Airways pilots warned of ‘non-cooperation’), poor returns, overworked pilots or their shortage. A section of AI pilots had threatened to strike work over unpaid dues. The Delhi High Court has sought from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) the latest position regarding air safety, recruitment of inspectors and investigation into accidents. The sector is under the weather and needs a potent antidote. The DGCA should incorporate wellness capsules into the high-stress schedule of employees, particularly pilots. Every plane needs a provision for feedback, which must be taken seriously by way of detailed action. 
15/10/18 Tribune

DGCA team to visit Tiruchi airport soon

Senior officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are expected to arrive at the Tiruchi international airport soon as part of an inquiry into the recent incident wherein a Dubai-bound Air India Express flight from here hit the perimeter wall of the airport while take off but continued its journey.

The team is expected to inspect the “affected area” within the sprawling airport and have discussions with the Airports Authority of India officials here regarding the incident.

Airport sources said the team would be provided with vital field documents including the conversation between the Tiruchi Air Traffic Control and the pilot of the Air India Express Boeing flight in the early hours on Thursday when the aircraft hit antennas and the boundary wall.

Meanwhile, a team from the Airports Authority of India arrived at the airport for restoration of the instrument landing system. A consignment of new localiser antennas has been despatched from Lucknow to Tiruchi for installation as some antennas were damaged.
15/10/18 R Rajaram/The Hindu

SpiceJet will try to cut costs, raise fares, says CMD Ajay Singh

Focus on profitability instead of market share is a reason why SpiceJet has been successful in posting positive results in the last 14 quarters. Its CMD Ajay Singh, in an interview with Swati Khandelwal of Zee Business, talked about the airline's plans in the face of the current business environment, their strategy to de-risk, among other things.

You have received the first delivery of Boeing 737 Max. What are the future plans for these planes?
It is a new technology for Boeing. We have ordered 205 planes. The aircraft is 14% more fuel efficient than the previous planes; it is the need of the hour, at least when fuel prices are high. It is a greener aircraft. Its noise footprint is 40% less than other planes and its nitrogen dioxide emissions are 35-40% lesser. It can fly 20% more than the other planes. This will help us in adding a few more international destinations; we will decide on them after a market study is completed. The new destinations will be announced soon. Besides, we have a product named Max, co-incidentally, its name is also Max. It is a premium economy product, with 36 seats with extra leg-room of 5-6 inches. It will also have a cushion and hot foods will be served during the flight. This is going to be the first plane in India that will be offering broadband internet to its consumers. It is fitted with every equipment and we are waiting for the policy, which is likely to be approved by November or December 2018.

What is the schedule of delivery for other planes? Also, how will you fund these orders?
We have ordered 205 planes and they will be delivered in the next four to five years. Ten more planes will be delivered by December. We have already funded all the planes that will be delivered to us by 2020.


You talked about expansion and entering new sectors. Is it viable given the current situation?
There is a demand in the market and Indian passengers are keen to fly. The existing conditions are not too favourable as fuel prices are too high, there is a depreciation in rupee and 70% of our cost is dollar-denominated.

The existing situations are impacting the airline companies. But the arrival of new planes will help us in reducing our costs as they are 14% more fuel efficient, engineering costs on them will help us save 25-30% expenses. In addition, we will try to reduce our costs and increase the fares in accordance with the costs. In addition, we will ask the government to go for the taxation system that is similar to the system that is practised in big countries.
15/10/18 Swati Khandelwal/DNA

IndiGo adds Kuwait, Abu Dhabi to destination network

Kuwait: IndiGo, one of India's leading budget airlines, has commenced operations to two new cities in the GCC - Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, further enhancing air operations between India and the Gulf region, media reports said.

The carrier already operates 13 daily flights to Dubai and another four to Sharjah, with Kuwait and Abu Dhabi becoming its 10th and 11th international destination, respectively, it said.

As part of its new operations, the airline will operate a daily flight from Kochi-Abu Dhabi starting October 15, and another daily service from Kozhikode-Abu Dhabi from October 16. Operations between Kuwait and Chennai also commence on October 15.
15/10/18 Trade Arabia

Nepal-India air route talks: India makes U-turn

Kathmandu: Nepal’s request for India to grant air entry points from the L626 route in Mahendranagar and Nepalgunj has suffered a setback as the southern neighbour has apparently denied it, multiple sources at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) said.

A technical delegation, who was in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Thursday to continue the air routes talks started last June, informed the Caan’s management on Sunday that India had made a “U-turn” on the two vital air entry points after having initially agreed to it.

Caan’s Director General Sanjiv Gautam refused to talk on the issue. The Nepali delegation that held talks with officials of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) was led by Deepak Baral, director of air traffic management at Caan. “The talks were confusing and disappointing,” a source privy to the matter said. The entry point from Nepalgunj was “denied” for “defence” issue while entry for high-level flights (flights above 24,000 feet) from the L626 route in Mahendranagar was “denied” for heavy traffic in the Indian airspace, the sources said.
“It seems that the issue will not be sorted out at the technical level and hence it will require a political level intervention,” they said. Some officials suspect that the India move could be a repercussion of Nepal’s decision to withdraw from the first-ever joint military exercise among the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) member states in Pune, India last month. India had “unofficially” expressed its unhappiness over Nepal’s decision.
15/10/18 Sangam Prasain/Kathmandu Post

Air India Express to use Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi airport

Abu Dhabi: Air India Express flights arriving in Abu Dhabi and leaving from the UAE capital will now use Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), an announcement said.

Originally the airline departed from Terminal 1, and arrived at Terminal 2.

The transition from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 for the arrivals occurred on September 30 and is in line with Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to ensuring quality service and a seamless passenger experience, said an Abu Dhabi Airports statement.

The Indian Subcontinent remains one of the most popular destinations for travellers departing from AUH, reflecting the close cultural and economic ties between the UAE and India. The Indian flag carrier operates seven daily flights between Abu Dhabi and six destinations in India, including New Delhi, Cochin, Kannur, Mangalore, Trivandrum and Calicut.
15/10/18 Trade Arabia

IndiGo starts operations from Abu Dhabi to Kerala

IndiGo, India's largest low-cost carrier by market share, is on an expansion mode in the Gulf. After Dubai and Sharjah, the airline is set to commence operations from the UAE capital.

Targeting the big expatriate population from the Indian state of Kerala, Kochi-Abu Dhabi (Dh355) non-stop services will start from Monday and Kozhikode-Abu Dhabi (Dh448) from Tuesday. The airline will operate A320s with 180 to 186 seats on the routes. Fares will start from Dh355, making Abu Dhabi's low-budget market very competitive.

IndiGo chief commercial officer William Boulter said the flights from Abu Dhabi would eventually cater to other cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

"We are maximising the travel rights available under the India-UAE bilateral agreement. In the future, Abu Dhabi will be connected with other cities. There is huge demand between India and the UAE. We fly 13 flights a day to Dubai, 4 to Sharjah and now 2 to Abu Dhabi," Boulter said.
15/10/18 Ashwani Kumar/Khaleej Times

Guwahati airport to be directly connected to seven countries

Guwahati: What is expected to provide northeast India a big leap in connectivity, the Union ministry of civil aviation has cleared an international air connectivity scheme, which will connect Guwahati airport with seven countries.

Under this scheme, flights will operate from Guwahati to Singapore, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Malaysia and Vietnam. The government will provide viability gap funding of operations of Rs 100 crore for three years.

Additional chief secretary to idustries and commerce department of Assam, Ravi Capoor told ET, “Airport Authority of India on behalf of the ministry of civil aviation and government of Assam, has invited bids for selection of airlines under the International air connectivity scheme (IACS) Udan.”

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the new generation wants a new wave of change, which catapult development and employment generation in the northeast. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the northeast is heading towards a new era of development. The new-generation entrepreneurs can fuel a business mentality, which has set in motion an industrial development in the region,” he said.
15/10/18 Bikash Singh/Economic Times

TruJet plans to launch direct flight services to Shirdi

Amaravati:  Private airliner TruJet planning to launch direct flight services to Shirdi from Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam. The new services are expected to be launched from November 15.

At present, there is no direct air connectivity to the Shirdi shrine from any of the airports in Andhra Pradesh.

“The schedules are in the final lap. We will announce the itinerary shortlTruJet to launch Vijayawada-Shirdi flightsy,” a spokesperson of the Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited, which owns TruJet, told ‘TOI.’
15/10/18 MN Samadani/Times of India

Grant Thornton under CBI lens for 'inflated' valuation of Kingfisher Airlines

Grant Thornton, a leading global tax and advisory firm, is under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) scanner for its valuation report of Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) brand, people with direct knowledge of the matter told ET.
The agency is set to file a charge sheet in the case emanating from a complaint by State Bank of India (SBI). The government is seeking Mallya’s extradition from the UK for questioning over allegations of fund diversion and money laundering. Banks are seeking repayments in excess of Rs 9,000 crore over loans made to the defunct airline.
Three top Grant Thornton executives are under the agency’s lens for allegedly submitting a “highly inflated and exaggerated” value of Rs 3,406.30 crore to Kingfisher Airlines, said one of the persons cited above. This report was cited by Mallya when he used KFA’s brand value as collateral against a loan from SBI. In contrast, Brand Finance had valued KFA’s brand at Rs 1,911 crore.
Mallya concealed the Brand Finance report and instead used the “hyperbolic” report of Grant Thornton to induce lenders including SBI, IDBI and other banks to sanction higher loans, said one of the people cited above. Mallya was fully aware the figure was exaggerated, they added.
15/10/18 Raghav Ohri/Economic Times

Cry for foreign flights from Bagdogra

Siliguri: People of Siliguri have demanded introduction of flights to foreign countries, especially Nepal and Bangladesh, from Bagdogra airport following the Centre’s plan to launch services to six Asian countries from Guwahati.

Under the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, the Centre floated tenders for airline companies to run flights from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Yangon (Myanmar), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Kathmandu (Nepal).

“There was a demand from Assam to introduce more international flights from Guwahati to connect the neighbouring Asian countries. The Airports Authority of India has already published notices, seeking proposals from airlines interested in operating flights to these destinations from Guwahati,” said a source.

The development has prompted Siliguri residents to raise the demand for international flights from Bagdogra that has been witnessing an unprecedented rise in passengers traffic over the past three-four fiscals. In the immediate past financial year, the number of passengers has crossed the two million mark.
15/10/18 Avijit Sinha/Telegraph

PMC supply falls short, airport struggles to meet daily water demand

Pune: Pune Airport that is eyeing an international tag with more facilities and passenger movement, is facing water crisis as the supply it receives from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is not enough to cater to the 25,000-odd passengers that visit it everyday. The airport has to rely on water tankers to meet the demand.

According to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Pune airport, a civil enclave, has seen tremendous growth in terms of passenger movement and has generated revenue and, in fact, even topped with regards to several parameters in the Western Region of the AAI in the last quarter.

AAI officials said presently, the airports gets about 35 thousand litres of water from the PMC, which is not enough for the 22,466 passengers (as per the Environmental Status Report presented by the PMC) who visit the airport every day. The actual water demand for the airport is 1.2 lakh litres per day.
15/10/18 Indian Express

Cambata row: Govt will pay the pending salaries of workers promises minister

Five  days after 800 workers of Cambata Aviation Private Limited (CAPL) started an indefinite fast at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), state Minister for Labour Skill Development Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar on Sunday promised to repay the pending salaries of the employees.

As many as 2100 employees of the ground handling company at the airport were rendered jobless after the company declared bankruptcy and folded its operations in India in August 2016.

While the workers had been awaiting their pending payments from February and August 2016, Nilangekar promised that the government would pay their salaries pending till date.

In a meeting with the workers on Sunday, he also directed airport operator Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), primary employer, to repay the security deposit of Rs 40 crore to the employees.
15/10/18 Indian Express

Malaysian National dies minutes before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur

Chennai: A 54-year-old Malaysian National, who came to the city for treatment of jaundice, collapsed and died, minutes before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur at the Anna International
airport here early on Monday.
Airport sources said the Malaysian National, Noor Bin Basa, who was working as a Marine Engineer, came to the Airport to board of flight to Kuala Lumpur.
15/10/18 UNI

Aerobridges at Jammu Airport

Jammu airport has long been scurrying for innovation, expansion and modernisation as the number of aircrafts taking off and landing here have increased commensurate with the increase in passengers. However, it witnessed moments of historic importance on Oct 12, for air travellers of Jammu airport when three aerobridges at a cost of Rs.6.25 crores and a new taxi link between runway and apron were commissioned.
With this, more convenience by the passengers would be felt as they can board the aircraft and exit directly into the terminal building with feeling of enhanced comfort, especially in all weather conditions. The first arriving aircraft on the newly constructed taxi tract was “welcomed” with water canon salute. The spectacle was worth seeing and the enthusiasm of passengers especially children was vivid. Several retail outlets are being opened by Airports Authority of India (AAI) at first floor of security hold area. Separate escalators and elevators have been provided for departing and arriving passengers. These are user friendly for passengers with reduced mobility and visually impaired.
15/10/18 Daily Excelsior

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Government invites bids for international Udan flights

Mumbai: The central government has invited proposals from interested air operators for the international version of its 'Udan' (Ude Desk Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme as it seeks to enhance air connectivity from India to select overseas destinations.

This is despite the domestic format of the scheme failing to yield desired results with almost half of the routes approved in the first phase of the bidding for the scheme still to be launched.

National airports operator AAI, which has been mandated to implement the international version of the Udan scheme, has invited "e-proposals (bids) from international bidders for selection of airlines under the International Air Connectivity Scheme, IACS Udan," according to a notice in a leading English daily.

The government, in its bid to make flying more affordable for masses, had in October 2016 announced the Udan scheme with airfares capped at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour journey through subsidised ticket rates and to provide air connectivity to smaller towns.
14/10/18 PTI/Times of India

No fault of AAI: Airport director

Chennai: The Trichy international airport authorities submitted a detailed report to the Airports Authority of India on Friday’s incident in which an Air India Express aircraft with 136 people on board had a miraculous escape after hitting a ground-based antenna and the perimeter wall of the airport. The plane en route to Dubai was airborne for about four hours with a ripped portion of its underbelly till it made an emergency landing in Mumbai.

On Saturday, a two-member technical team from Delhi inspected the two localizer antennas hit by the aircraft and the five others which developed a snag.

Airport director K Gunasekaran told TOI that new localizer antennas were brought from Lucknow airport to replace the damaged ones.

"Only after completing the calibration process can we use the new equipment which will take at least a month. As of now, we are managing with the help of a combined radio navigation station instrument. There is no problem with the operation of regular flights", he said.
On what would have caused the incident involving the Boeing 737-800, Gunasekaran said there were no lapses on the part of the AAI or air traffic control.
14/10/18 Times of India

AAI team inspects landing system at Tiruchy airport

Tiruchy: A special team of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) from Delhi arrived at Tiruchy International Airport on Saturday to inspect the condition of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) that got damaged after the Air India flight bound for Dubai scraped past the outer wall of the airport.

The Air India Express aircraft which took off to Dubai on Friday damaged the five antennas, monitor and control unit of the ILS. Currently, the airport is using the alternative navigation systems and operations are going on without any issues.

Airport officials also inspected the accident spot with sources saying that the team will stay in Tiruchy till Monday.

“We have the alternative systems in place for managing the operations. The accident has not affected our operation and ILS instruments would get repaired in a month,” the sources added. “It was an accident and similar accidents can happen anywhere. Therefore, there is no point in getting frightened about it,” said V Karthik, a Singapore-bound passenger who arrived at the airport.
14/10/18 New Indian Express

Aircraft missed usual take-off point, ended up too close to wall

Chennai: The Air India flight, which hit the instrument landing system (ILS) antenna and wall of the Trichy airport while taking off, seems to have lifted off at the end of the runway as tyre marks were found on the soil in the stretch of land between the end of the runway and the compound wall. The plane was at a height of less than 7ft as it crossed the compound wall and a highway before climbing higher.
The airport’s runway is around 8,000ft long and the plane should have been airborne after rolling a distance of 5,500ft. In that case, it would have been more than 100ft when it crossed the compound wall.
Aviation experts and pilots suggest that there could be multiple reasons for the bizarre incident which clearly shows that the plane had a narrow escape. An air traffic control official said they spotted a long spark at the end of the runway when the plane took off forcing them to drive down to the runway end where they found the broken ILS antenna and damaged wall.
14/10/18 Times of India

Air India Express fiasco: ‘Aircraft could have flown safely to Dubai’

The Air India Express plane that flew for four hours despite a tear in its belly after hitting a boundary wall at Tiruchi airport could have completed its journey to Dubai safely and was only diverted to Mumbai as repairs would be easier at a home base, airline sources said.

Various teams, including those of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the airline were in Mumbai as part of an inquiry into the incident. The two pilots have been suspended pending investigation.

An airline official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the assessment of damage to the aircraft showed that only the “outer covering of the undercarriage or fibreglass panel was torn but the inner structure of the fuselage was intact.”
There was no damage to the pressurisation system that ensures oxygen supply within the airplane and all the cockpit parameters were normal, the official said.

He added that at the time the plane hit the boundary wall, at 1.19 a.m. on Friday, neither the crew nor the passengers felt any impact and that the plane flew and landed safely in Mumbai at 5.35 am.
14/10/18 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

AI Express pilots decision to continue the flight dubious: Experts

New Delhi/Mumbai: Even as an official investigation into the Air India Express' Trichy take-off incident has commenced, the aviation fraternity has cited the pilots' decision as "dubious" and "dangerous" to carry on with the flight even after traffic controllers advised him otherwise. The Air India Express' aircraft scheduled to fly between Trichy and Dubai early Friday struck the instrument landing system's (ILS) localiser antenna and then grazed the airport's perimeter wall before flying off.

The flight carried 130 passengers and six crew members. It was subsequently diverted and it landed in Mumbai at 5.40 a.m. -- four hours after it took off from Tiruchirappalli (Trichy). Its undercarriage suffered a deep gash. Experts recall an incident on April 26, 1993, in which 55 people were killed on board an Indian Airlines plane in Aurangabad in Maharashtra when it crashed on take-off after apparently hitting a truck carrying cotton bales. On Friday's incident, air safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan told IANS: "The senior pilot's decision to continue his flight onwards is dubious. The decision led to the loss of two hours of crucial on-board voice recording data (this instrument keeps such data only for two hours)." "The in-cockpit conversation between the senior commander and the co-pilot at the time of the incident would have been stored in the voice recorder. However, as they landed in Mumbai after four hours of flying, the initial two-hour recording would have been lost," said Ranganathan. Apart from hitting the ILS antenna and scraping the perimeter wall at Trichy airport, the pilots' biggest mistake was the decision to carry on with their flight. "You can not risk flying over the sea with that type of damage to the aircraft's structure. He should have either listened to the ATC or have informed the company via ACARS (aircraft communications addressing and reporting system). The latter, he couldn't do as ACARS antenna was damaged at Trichy." The ACARS is used to transmit and receive messages from ground stations. A few retired and serving pilots told IANS that in their experience, such an incident would have surely come to the notice of the flight's commander and that his decision to fly on defies logic. "At the 'VR' speed, when the aircraft is taking off at nearly 175 knots (300 km per hour), an incident like this would have been immediately noticed by the senior pilot," a senior commander currently operating a Boeing aircraft told IANS.
14/10/18 IANS/Sify

AIX flight ran into unpaved ground before taking off

Mumbai: The Air India Express Boeing 737-800 that flew with a ripped underbelly for close to four hours on Friday, had overrun the end of the Trichy airport runway into the unpaved ground before lifting off to a more eventful takeoff.
The Dubai-bound aircraft with 136 people on board, which departed at 1.18am, hit a localizer antenna and scooped out a portion of the airport perimeter wall on takeoff. With a long, gaping wound running along its underbelly, the Boeing 737 climbed to 36,000 feet and flew a distance of around 1,500km and reached Muscat airspace before being diverted to land in Mumbai at 5.30am.

An Airports Authority of India (AAI) source said, “The skid marks on the ground extend way beyond the runway-end. The aircraft damaged a runway end-light too.”

Capt Mohan Ranganathan, air safety expert, said, “It looks like the pilots tried to reject takeoff. It appears to be a case of indecision. They seem to have continued without realizing that they’d used up a lot of runway in the indecision.”

He recalled the Indian Airlines Aurangabad April 1993 flight IC491 crash. The Boeing 737 didn’t lift off till almost at the end of the runway. “It then hit a truck on a highway plying on a road near the end of the runway. One of my close friends, Capt Sanjeev Mulherkar, and his entire family died in that crash. A similar accident could have taken place in Trichy. There’s a road just beyond the perimeter wall,” said Capt Ranganathan.
13/10/18 Times of India

India's IndiGo eyes wide-bodied aircraft from Airbus, Boeing: executive

Abu Dhabi:  Indian airline IndiGo on Sunday said wide-bodied aircraft are an “aspiration” and talks with manufacturers are ongoing but there is no firm timeline amid difficult market conditions in the Indian market.

The budget airline, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, faces fierce competition in the very price sensitive Indian market where carriers are struggling to remain profitable despite filling 90 percent of their seats and rising demand.

IndiGo recently reported a steep fall in quarterly profit due to higher fuel prices and continued pressure on yields reflecting price competition.

“Wide-bodied aircraft are an aspiration, we have talked to manufacturers. We are looking at A330neo and Boeing 787,” Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter told Reuters in Abu Dhabi, declining to go into details.

IndiGo, India’s biggest low-cost carrier by market share, announced direct flights, starting Monday from two south Indian cities, Kochi and Kozhikode to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
In the Gulf, the airline has direct flights to Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE as well as to Doha and Muscat. Flights to Kuwait will be launched this week, to Saudi Arabia in November and Hong Kong in December, Boulter said.
14/10/18  Stanley Carvalho/Reuters

IndiGo grounds A320 Neo aircrafts due to non-availability of spare engines

Budget carrier IndiGo, which has been grappling with Pratt and Whitney engine issue, on Thursday said some of its have been grounded "proactively" due to "non-availability" of spare engines from the manufacturer.

The airline's response came to a query on reports that as many as nine of its were grounded as on August 20 because of the engine issue.

The fresh bout of trouble has forced IndiGo to ground aircraft periodically since July, and on August 20, the number of grounded aircraft touched nine, sources claimed.

"IndiGo confirms that a few A320 Neo aircraft have been grounded proactively due to non-availability of spare engines from Pratt and Whitney.
13/10/18 Osburn Oracle

Rafale row: Nirmala Sitharaman visits Dassault manufacturing facility in France

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited a production facility of French aerospace major Dassault Aviation near Paris where the Rafale jets to be supplied to India are being manufactured on Friday, official sources said.

They said during her visit to the plant in Argenteuil, Sitharaman spoke to officials of the Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, and took stock of progress in production of the fighter jets whose delivery to India will begin in September next year.

Sitharaman arrived in Paris Thursday on a three-day visit in the midst of a massive controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets under a Rs 58,000 crore government-to-government deal between India and France.
Last evening, Sitharaman held wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly on ways to deepen the strategic and defence cooperation between the two countries.

The talks were held under the framework of the annual Indo-French defence ministerial dialogue which was agreed to during the summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in March.
13/10/18 PTI/Business Today

Temple of modern India, HAL being ruined, says Rahul Gandhi

Bengaluru: Calling Hindustan Aeronautics Limited a strategic asset, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the NDA government of failing to acknowledge the state-run aircraft manufacturing firm’s contributions while questioning its capacity to produce Rafale fight jet.

The Congress has been criticising the government’s decision to purchase 36 Rafale jets from France’s Dassault Aviation, with offset production benefits going to start-up firm Reliance Defence.

“The Defence Minister has commented on HAL’s lack of experience but has not said anything on the lack of experience of the gentleman who got the Rafale contract — Mr Anil Ambani, who has never built a plane in his life. HAL has no debt — he has debts of Rs 45,000 crore,’’ Rahul said after interacting with a group of former and present HAL staff.
During his interaction, Rahul Gandhi said, “For me, HAL is not just a PSU or any other ordinary company. When India got independence, it built strategic assets designed to enter particular spaces – IIT was a strategic asset to enter the higher education phase, the same way HAL is a strategic asset to take India into aerospace.”

Calling these institutions “temples of modern India”, the Congress leader said, “What is happening is that the temples of modern India are being attacked and destroyed…. The Rafale contract is your right because HAL is the only company in the country with the experience to build that plane. This kind of thing should be done on merit one should clearly see where there is merit —and make a clear, objective decision.”
14/10/18 Johnson TA/Indian Express

Mumbai: Rafale the largest defence scam, says Bhushan; files complaint with CBI

Mumbai: Calling the Rafale deal the “largest defence scam” in the country, Advocate Prashant Bhushan said Saturday that the he hoped that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will act upon the complaint made by him and two others against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in the case, and register a Preliminary Enquiry, or an FIR. Bhushan said that if the CBI failed to follow due process, he will then take the case to court.

He was speaking at an event organised by the Mumbai Press Club. Responding to questions on whether the present day Rafale deal was a case similar to the Bofors scam of the 1980s, Bhushan said that Rafale was a much more serious, and greater cause of concern. “This (Rafale) isn’t merely a matter of securing commission for a particular company, as was the case in Bofors. This is the largest defence scam that the country has seen and a breach of our national security,” Bhushan said. “To begin with, it deals with much more money.

It left the Indian Air Force high and dry, and by securing offset contracts for Anil Ambani’s new company that has no experience in building fighter air crafts, it also puts our national security at risk,” he said. On October 4 this year, Bhushan, former BJP minister Yashwant Sinha, and senior journalist Arun Shourie submitted a written complaint to the CBI. The complaint names Prime Minister Modi and former defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
14/10/18 Free Press Journal

First Made for India Rafale set to soar this month

Amid political controversy in India, the first Made-For-India Rafale fighter jet—RB008—is all set to take off on its inaugural flight in France this month end. Earlier, the flight was scheduled to take off on Sunday, 14 October, but it was shifted to the end of October because of unspecified reasons.

“This will be the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets ordered by India,” said a top Ministry of Defence source. The fighter jet has been numbered as RB 008, after Air Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria, who is Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Training Command of the Indian Air Force. Air Marshal Bhadauria was the Deputy Chief of Indian Air Force and head of the Cost Negotiating Committee when the deal was signed in 2016.

There are eight such planes in the series—from RB001 to RB008, all twin-seaters. Besides, there are 28 other fighter jets under the BS series (BS001 to BS028), which are single-seaters, numbered after Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force.

Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, who had flown the French Rafale (Test Bed B302), a twin-seater, on 22 September, when he was Deputy Chief of Air Staff, said: “It’s a good aircraft. I felt satisfied. And now the IAF should get all the Rafale fighter jets as per the delivery schedule.”
13/10/18 Ashish Singh/Sunday Guardian Live

Nagaland: Dimapur Airport facing expansion problem

Since 2008, the Dimapur Airport authority, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and its regional headquarter have been writing to the Nagaland state government for acquiring land at Aoyimti and Hollohon villages for expansion and development of Dimapur Airport. However, nothing concrete and positive has come out of it. Various joint meetings have also been held but have not yielded any positive results.

According to Director of Dimapur Airport, Mughavi Zhimo, land acquisition is one of the major problems for expansion of the only Airport in the state.

Speaking to The Morung Express on Saturday, the Director also disclosed that the state government has acquired a huge tract of land near Chathe River for future expansion of the Airport but the land is yet to be handed over to the Airport authority. He said the acquired land once handed over to the airport would allow installation of critical equipment such as Instrument Landing System (ILS).

ILS has two components including the Glide Path which provides slope guidance for aeroplanes and the Localizer which provides guidance to bring aircraft to the centreline of the runway. Mughavi said these were critical components for the safe landing of aircraft. As per international norms, Localizer is required to be located at least 300 metres from the runway end, he informed. The Localizer at Dimapur Airport is located towards Chathe River at 135m from runway running short of 165m.

“That is why land for future development towards Chathe is critical,” he said. Mughavi also informed that 213m runway towards NH 29 has been permanently displaced even though the land is available. He said the current runway was manageable for Airbus but for bigger aircraft lengthier runway was needed towards Chather River. “We are waiting for the land to be handed over to us so that development can be initiated,” he said. Further, some tract of land from Assam Rifles and CRPF camps area is needed for the Airport, he added.
13/10/18 Morung Express

CISF to take charge of Kannur airport

Kannur: As Kannur International Airport (Kial) gets ready for commissioning with its finishing touches in the final stage, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will take charge of the security within the next few days.
As of now, the tentative plan is to hand over the security to CISF on October 17 after the induction ceremony, but a formal announcement has not been made, said Kial officials, adding that a batch of CISF personnel have reached the spot and more are expected in the coming days.
Once CISF takes over, entry at the airport would be restricted to authorized personnel only. Though the airport was opened to the public for a few days, it has ended and Kial officials had a tough time managing the crowd. Also, there was some row after a youth posted selfies near the fire engine inside the airport. This was considered a security breach. Though different aircraft had completed trial landings and the calibration of instrument landing system (ILS) and DVOR (doppler very high frequency omnidirectional range) radar were completed, a few more trials are expected in coming days.
14/10/18 Times of India

Allahabad: IAF's daredevilry enthrals audience at Sangam

Allahabad: The Indian Air Force (IAF) organised an aerial display on the banks of Sangam in city on Saturday.

Thousands of people turned up to watch the spectacular airshow, which was also attended by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ram Naik.

The IAF teams enthralled the audience with their aerobatics and their brave routines. The teams performed their routines with nine aircraft.

The Suryakiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) were flying the Hawks and the Sarang Helicopter Display Team was flying the advanced light helicopters.

The show commenced with a skydiving performed by Akash Ganga team, the skydiving unit of Indian Air Force, led by team leader wing commander Samyal.
13/10/18 Rajiv Mani/Times of India

Construction work of airport’s new terminal building to start on October 20

Pune: The construction of the Rs423-crore new terminal building at Lohegaon airport would begin from October 20.
Pune MP Anil Shirole, the chairman of the Pune Airport Advisory Committee, and airport director Ajay Kumar made this announcement on Saturday besides claiming that several new facilities would be introduced for flyers in the next three months.
Shirole said the new terminal building would be constructed on 42,000sqm area. “While Rs800 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose, implementation of development projects worth Rs358 crore will start on October 20. Lohegaon airport initially had 26 acres of land. In April this year, a total of 16 acres of defence land was provided for the airport’s development after continuous follow-up. We need additional space of about 35 acres for building cargo parking with the administrative and residential purposes,” he said.
Rs800 crore is the total investment on the project, including the multi-level car parking and another building that will come up later after availability of land.
Airport director Kumar said the new terminal building would have a basement, ground floor and first floor.
14/10/18 Times of India

GoAir, Jet Airways Offer Discount On Flight Tickets

Amid high competition, airlines are coming up with new offers on flight tickets on domestic and international routes. Budget carrier GoAir is offering flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 1,099. Jet Airways, country's second largest airline by market share, has come up with a scheme on domestic flight tickets and is offering flight tickets starting from Rs. 1,313. Vistara also announced the operation of a special flight number UK 001 on Delhi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route with its 'retrojet' aircraft on October 15, at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 3,189.
Here are the offers on flight tickets in detail:

GoAir is offering flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 1,099. The fares under GoAir's scheme are applicable on travel from October 28, 2018 to January 31, 2019. The booking period of the offer ends on October 14, 2018, according to the carrier's website - goair.in. Under the scheme, the airline is offering flights originating from Srinagar at a starting fare of Rs. 1,099.

Jet Airways is offering domestic flight tickets starting from Rs. 1,313. The fares are applicable on one-way journeys in the economy class only, said the airline on its official website -- jetairways.com. Flights tickets from Chennai to Madurai and Chennai and Bengaluru are priced at Rs. 1,313 and Rs. 1,419 respectively.

Vistara has announced the operation of a special flight number UK 001 on Delhi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route with its 'retrojet' aircraft on October 15. October 15 marks the 86th anniversary of the launch of Tata Air Services. The flight from Ahmedabad to Mumbai is available at a starting price of Rs. 3,189. The flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad is available at a starting price of Rs. 4,037.
14/10/18 NDTV

Pune Airport may get intl status by 2019

With several expansion plans and developments coming in for Pune Airport, the airport authority is positive about getting an international status for the premises at Lohegaon and thinks this will happen by 2019.
Pune Airport director Ajay Kumar, while addressing a press conference on Saturday, said, “We have been communicating with the aviation ministry for the past three years now to get international status and are expecting it to happen within the next year. There is no issue of criteria that we are facing but things are taking time. The status will bring more international players to the city, which isn’t the situation as of now as only domestic flights are currently allowed in Pune Airport, though we have Lufthansa which operates on special request. One of the hurdles that Pune Airport is facing while wooing international players is that it currently has the status of a customs airport.”
The city airport will be adding a few more flights plying between Pune and southeast Asian countries in March 2019 and domestic players Jet Airways, IndiGo and Vistara have shown interest in operating flights from the city to Thailand and Singapore.
MP Anil Shirole added, “Along with members from the Maratha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I had met former minister of civil aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, regarding the Pune-Singapore flight as there was a huge demand for the same and it has finally happened. Some more international flights will be added in May. We are also looking at the extension of the runway and will be requiring 300 acres. All kinds of work is in progress and things have gone very well till now. We hope for similar success going ahead.”
14/10/18 Pune Mirror

Indian carriers in talks to reschedule Dubai flights during runway closure

Low cost Indian carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are toying with the idea of rescheduling flight timings and temporarily changing their operating terminals at Dubai as part of the possible alternative options to minimise the impact of the proposed closure of one of the main runways at the Dubai International airport (DXB) from April 16 next year, senior officials at the Indian carriers said.

Senior executives of SpiceJet, IndiGo and other Indian carriers, who operate dozens of daily flights from various Indian airports to Dubai, are currently in discussions with authorities at DXB on various measures that they could resort to minimise the impact on their operations during the partial closure at the Dubai main airport.

Officials at Indian airlines said the disruptions at DXB are expected to have maximum impact on their day time flights to and from Dubai.
The airlines will get the leeway to make necessary rescheduling changes to their flights to Dubai, as the timing of the proposed runway closure at DXB will coincide with the changeover to their summer schedules. Indian carriers switch over to their summer schedule from the last Sunday of March. 
14/10/18 Arabain Business

Soon, walk easy in security hold area at Ahmedabad airport

Soon, passengers may find some breathing space, literally, at the security hold area of domestic terminal at the Ahmedabad airport. The proposal to separate security hold area for ground floor and first floor has been approved in principle.
With the increasing number of flights at the Ahmedabad airport, the number of passengers too has gone up. In last three years, passenger traffic has doubled, with over 90 new flights added to the list of flights arriving at and departing from Ahmedabad airport. As a result, the security hold areas tend to get overcrowded, resulting in rush there.
Realising the need to address the congestion at the airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) decided to set up a new 80,000 square meter terminal building. However, to address the issue till the building is ready, the authorities had sought permission to segregate the security hold area for the first floor and ground floor.
Currently, there are four boarding gates on ground floor used for remote bay operated aircraft. There are four boarding gates on the first floor, connected to aircraft directly through the aerobridge. AAI plans to set up an escalator with separate security check on first floor. Confirming the development, airport director Manoj Gangal said, “We have received an approval to set up a separate security check point and install a staircase so that passengers don’t have to go through security hold area on ground floor and can directly go to first floor.”
14/10/18 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Air Italy and Wow face India headwinds

Air Italy and Wow are facing India headwinds. Even before their Indian services are launched both carriers have drastically cut their proposed schedules.

Air Italy (backed by Qatar Airways) was supposed to have launched flights between Milan Malpensa and both Delhi and Mumbai at the end of this month.

The plan was to operate six flights a week to Delhi with five flights a week to Mumbai.

But at short notice Air Italy decided not only to postpone both services until December it will also be (almost) halving flight frequency to three flights a week.
Even before their Indian services are launched both carriers have drastically cut their proposed schedules.

Air Italy (backed by Qatar Airways) was supposed to have launched flights between Milan Malpensa and both Delhi and Mumbai at the end of this month.

The plan was to operate six flights a week to Delhi with five flights a week to Mumbai.

But at short notice Air Italy decided not only to postpone both services until December it will also be (almost) halving flight frequency to three flights a week.
But Wow has decided not to increase flight frequency to five flights a week from January 2019.

According to Wowair.com it will continue to operate three flights a week until summer 2019 at least.

From this we can deduce that both airlines have found the expected passenger numbers were not there.

India is a volume market. The yield (revenue) per seat is low and so airlines must operate at high load factors to generate a profit.
12/10/18  Alex McWhirter/Business Traveller

High aviation fuel cost makes red-eye flights from Chennai pricier

Chennai: An increase in the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in Chennai, the second most expensive in the country, has made red-eye flights expensive for airlines and passengers.

This may even put a cap on these flights, operated between midnight and 4.30am, from Chennai airport.

Airlines suffer losses, leading to an increase in fares of such flights to various domestic destinations.

ATF in Chennai costs Rs 73,534 per kilo litre, more expensive than at Delhi and Mumbai airports. It is the most expensive at Kolkata, at Rs 77,638 per kilo litre.

On the Chennai-Delhi route next week, fare on the night flight is Rs 8,000 to Rs 8,900. On the Mumbai route, the 5am flight costs Rs 7,000, the non-stop 3.30am, flight to Pune is Rs 6,000 while a one stop flight is lower. Similar is the price difference on flights to Thiruvananthapuram.
13/10/18 Times of India

24% rise in footfalls at Jaipur Airport

There has been a rise of 24% in the passenger traffic at Jaipur Airport in the span of 5 months of 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18. In a report issued by Airport Authority of India (AAI), between April to August in this financial year, 2174939 passengers used Jaipur Airport for their travel. These include both domestic and international passengers. When compared the same with 5 months of the last financial year 2017-18, the number of passengers was 1753860. The percentage surge is 24%.

Moreover, in August this year, 456416 passengers travelled through Jaipur which is about 18.9% more than the number of passengers who travelled in August in 2017. Last year, in the month of August, 384008 passengers travelled through Jaipur Airport.

While the number of passengers moving in and out of the airport has increased during this duration, the number of flights movements has also increased at the Jaipur Airport. In August this year, aircraft movement was 4093 while last year in the month of August, the aircraft movement was recorded at 3520. This is an increase of 16.3% and includes both domestic and international flights. To handle this increasing pressure of passengers at the Jaipur Airport, work on an action plan has begun.
A new terminal building will be made other than Terminal 1 and existing Terminal 2 to handle the passenger traffic which has been growing since the last few years. After this, the airport building will be 7 times the current infrastructure.
13/10/18 DNA

Accident puts spotlight on delay in runway expansion

Tiruchi: The narrow escape that passengers and crew of the Air India Express flight had at the Tiruchi international airport early on Friday has brought into focus the long-pending land acquisition for expanding the runway and its proximity to the Tiruchi-Pudukottai Highway as well.

“It would have been a catastrophe if only the aircraft had hit a vehicle on the highway (which runs along the airport perimeter wall),” a senior official of the airport conceded.

The highway is so close to the runway that it was considered a security and safety threat. Some years ago a proposal to provide a diversion to the road was mooted. However, it failed to take off.

While airport officials maintain that the aircraft had not overshot the runway, activists contend that the accident could have been averted if only the runway had been expanded as planned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
“A major accident has been averted by a whisker. The runway expansion plan is pending for almost a decade for want of land. The acquisition process is said to have been expedited in recent months; it should be completed quickly,” said M.Sekaran, consumer activist and president of the Air, Rail and Road Travellers Federation.
13/10/18 S. Ganesan/The Hindu

‘Srinagar int’l airport not ready for night flights’

Two months after “successful” trials were conducted for night flights at the Srinagar ‘international’ airport, airlines serving this sector are dissatisfied with safety arrangements and unwilling to operate flights to Kashmir after dark.
On August 10, a “successful” trial run of a commercial aircraft was held at Srinagar ‘international’ airport after dusk following which the airport was declared “technically” suitable for handling night flights.
However, a group of pilots and airline executives recently met the union aviation secretary S Katoch in New Delhi and expressed difficulties in starting night operations at Srinagar airport, citing that the airport was not ready for night flights.
Senior executives of GoAir, IndiGo and Air India that had shown interest in night flight slots separately told Greater Kashmir that they have no immediate plans to start night operations.
A senior pilot of IndiGo, who was part of a survey conducted by the company in Srinagar to check feasibility of night flights and was present in the meeting with Katoch, admitted that starting night flights at Srinagar was a “challenging task”.
“Almost 150 people met the aviation secretary and had some serious deliberations. If it (night operations) were so easy this much of brain storming was not needed,” the pilot said.
The airline companies say safety standards required for commercial night operations are much higher than for Airforce that controls air traffic and apron areas at the Srinagar airport.
Airports Authority of India which controls just the terminal building has however given a nod to night operations.
13/10/18 Saqib Malik/Greater Kashmir

Boeing ‘concerned’ over Jet Airways’ financial situation

New Delhi: US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing is concerned with the situation of cash-strapped Jet Airways given the fare levels at which Indian airlines are operating. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Asia-Pacific & India sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on Friday that in the airline business there are entities with deep pockets that can sustain the rising fuel prices but some companies, which are operating with working capital set aside on day-to-day basis, were the cause for concern.

“We’re concerned. Are we watching? Absolutely. But we just delivered five 737 MAX aircraft to them and we will continue to work with them,” Keskar told The Indian Express, when asked if Boeing was worried about the airline’s situation. In its fleet of 124 aircraft, Jet Airways has 82 Boeing 737s including different variants such as Boeing 737-700, 737-800, 737-900 and 737-900ER and this narrow body aircraft is its workhorse for domestic and short-haul international operations. In its wide body fleet, Jet Airways operates a mix of Boeing’s 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.

In August, Boeing reportedly returned $200 million to Jet Airways, which it paid to the US company as part of its order for the Boeing 737 MAX placed in 2015.
“In this business, you can’t get too many new customers every day. It is in our interest to keep airplanes don’t fly, therefore don’t make any revenue, which means things are going into a spiral in the wrong direction. We want to make sure they’re flying. At the fare levels you have had for the last two-three months, that is our concern. If you have deep pockets, you can sustain longer. In our business there are people who have funds and there are people who are literally working through working capital on a day to day basis. That’s where the concern comes from,” he added.
13/10/18 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

Govt monitoring Jet Airways situation: Choubey

New Delhi: The Government on Friday said they are monitoring the situation of cash-stripped airline Jet Airways.
“Jet Airways has not sought any bailout package from the Government so far. They have not come to us officially,” Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey told reporters on the sidelines of a programme.
Asked about the relief package to the Jet Airways on the lines of Air India, the Secretary said the Government has been monitoring the situation and the airline will be provided all possible help as it gives to other carriers.
12/10/18 UNI

Indian airline Vistara gains fans with superior service

Vistara, India's full-service domestic airline, has drawn travelers at nearly double the rate of the aggregate market growth, setting itself apart from rivals trapped in a cutthroat price war.

Much of the success is due to minority owner Singapore Airlines, voted the world's best carrier this year. When the Singaporean carrier formed a 49-51 joint venture with Indian conglomerate Tata Group in 2015, it decided against another low-cost operation, choosing instead to establish a full-service alternative to Jet Airways and Air India, the nation's second- and third-largest players in that field, respectively.

Now Vistara, operated by Tata SIA Airlines, is preparing to initiate international flights, and will expand its fleet to 3.5 times the current size within five years.

When Vistara unveiled its newest passenger plane last month, an Airbus A320neo, CEO Leslie Thng invoked the name of the late J.R.D. Tata, a former group chairman who launched India's first airline in 1932. "We are proud to claim and carry forward the baton of J.R.D. Tata's legacy and vision in building a world-class, trend-setting airline," said Thng.
13/10/18 Akira Hayakwa & Mayuko Tani/Nikkei Asian Review

Unhappy with Air India apology, disability activist to approach Centre

Jalandhar: Four days after disability activist Vivek Joshi, along with his father, was harassed by Air India staff at the Mumbai airport, the airline on Thursday issued an e-mail apology to Joshi.
The airline has responded to Vivek via email, stating, “Kindly accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Please note we are having the matter examined and shall revert to you shortly. Assuring you our best attention at all time.” The apology was sent by Rajnish Srivastava, Senior Manager, C-Traffic Services.

However, terming the apology a mere formality sent from a room, Vivek said he would write to Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. Talking to The Tribune, Vivek said, “I was made to sit for half an hour facing the wall like a school kid receiving a punishment. The airline staff clearly has no knowledge about rules and how to treat the disabled. If the government doesn’t respond, I shall return my award. I’m also exploring legal options. I want concrete action taken against them. Their salary should be cut and they should be trained so that no disabled person is treated the same way again.”
12/10/18 Tribune

Excise duty on jet fuel cut from 14% to 11% in relief for airlines

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday cut excise duty on jet fuel from 14% to 11% to help keep airfares under check and to give relief to airlines troubled by high fuel prices.

A notification from the finance ministry’s revenue department said the revised duty will be effective from Thursday.

The move comes at a time when high jet fuel prices and a weaker rupee have kept airline finances under pressure, with companies having limited headroom in raising fares without losing market share as the domestic aviation market is very price sensitive. Excise duty on jet fuel was increased in March 2014 from 8% to 14%. In the case of routes covered under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, jet fuel is already taxed at a lower rate of 2% from 1 July 2017.

Rising oil price and a weaker rupee have in recent months pushed up costs for industries with high energy requirement. To give relief to consumers, the government last Thursday cut excise duties on petrol and diesel by 1.5 a litre each and asked state-run fuel retailers to absorb 1 per litre on the auto fuels.
12/10/18 Navhind Times

GoAir Offers Domestic Flight Tickets From 1,099 Rupees

GoAir is offering flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 1,099, said the airline on microblogging website Twitter. The fares under GoAir's scheme are applicable on travel from October 28, 2018 to January 31, 2019. The booking period of the offer ends on October 14, 2018, according to the carrier's website - goair.in. The offer comes amid high competition in the country's civil aviation market, with rivals also offering discounts on flight tickets to attract passengers.
Under the scheme, the airline is offering flights originating from Srinagar at a starting fare of Rs. 1,099. For flights from Chennai and Ahmedabad, the fares start from Rs. 1,199 and Rs. 1,399 respectively, according to the airline's website. Tickets from Bengaluru and Chennai start from Rs. 1,499, according to GoAir.
GoAir, on Thursday, launched its first ever direct international flight to Phuket from Delhi. The new international schedule introduces direct flights connecting Phuket to Mumbai and Delhi, the airline said in a press release.
12/10/18 NDTV

With over 8m flyers, Bengaluru airport records 28% growth in Q2

Bengaluru: The Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has registered a 28.1% increase in passenger traffic in the second quarter of 2018-19.

“During the three-month period ending September 30, 2018, 8.13 million passengers travelled through KIA as against 6.35 million during the corresponding period in 2017-18,” said a press release from Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on Friday.

The airport was used by 7.07 million domestic passengers, up by 30.5% in comparison to the same period last year. In addition, 1.06 million passengers travelled to international destinations, recording an increase of 13.8% over the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

Air Traffic Movement (ATM) went up by 23.4%, with a total of 59,184 landings and take-offs as against 47,971 during the same period last year. Surpassing its own record for the highest-ever ATMs in a single day (685 on May 4, 2018), the KIA managed 692 aircraft on August 31, 2018. The average daily flight movement was 643 per day.
12/10/18 Christin Mathew Philip/Times of India

Reliance only 10% offset partner in Rafale: Dassault

New Delhi: Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier has said that the company’s joint venture with Reliance in Nagpur represents only about 10 per cent of the offset obligations in the deal to purchase 36 fighter jets from France and it is in negotiations with about a hundred Indian companies to meet the requirements under the Defence Procurement Procedure of the Indian government.
“Dassault Aviation decided to set up the DRAL joint venture with Reliance and build a plant in Nagpur, which should enable us to meet about 10 per cent of these offset obligations. We are in negotiations with about a hundred Indian companies and partnerships have already been concluded with about thirty of them,” Trappier said in an interview to AFP.
He again made it clear that Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the Rafale jets, chose its offset partner. Trappier said Dassault Aviation exercises technical and industrial control over the operations, applying its standards and its flexibility.
13/10/18 PTI/Bangalore Mirror

Jammu airport gets 3 aerobridges, new taxi link

Jammu: Continuing with its expansion of passenger-friendly utilities, Airport Authorities of India (AAI) on Friday commissioned three aerobridges and a new taxi link between runway and apron for air travelers.
“With commissioning of Aerobridges the passengers will be able to board the aircraft and exit directly into the terminal building with enhanced comfort level and convenience in all weather conditions,” said airport director DK Gautam.

These aerobridges have been provided at a cost of Rs.625 lakh by Airports Authority of India. “In addition boarding gates have increased from existing two to five enabling of boarding-de-boarding of five flights at a time with sufficient space for waiting passengers also,” he said.
“For passengers several retail outlets have been opened by AAI at First Floor while separate escalators and elevators have been provided for departing and arriving passengers which are user friendly for passengers with reduced mobility and visually impaired,” he said.
13/10/18 Yogesh Sagotra/Greater Kashmir

Sikkim airport an engineering marvel, says Vice-President

Chennai: Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu Friday said the first greenfield airport in the Himalayan state of Sikkim was an engineering marvel.

After releasing the biography of late deputy managing director of construction company Larsen and Toubro Ltd Anumolu Ramakrishna here, the vice-president said the airport, built at a height of 4,500 feet above sea-level, was spread across over 200 acres.

The airport was inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi last month.

The vice-president said the northeast was getting integrated with the rest of the country through the entire railway network being switched to broad gauge from metre gauge.

The network has put Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the railway map after 70 years of independence, he said.
12/10/18 PTI/India

5-stars near Mumbai airport get devpt bonanza

Mumbai: Five-star hotels around the international airport in Sahar, Andheri (east), have received a big land bonanza from the state government. Under the latest development control regulations, they can utilise most of the reserved public recreational ground in their possession.
Till now, such hotels could carry out construction on only 50% of their plots, and had to reserve the remaining half as recreational ground (RG) to be open to the public for certain hours a day. Now, they have to give to the BMC only 10% of the total plot area (or 20% of the half reserved for RG).

Civic sources say this will lead to more construction and expansion of more five-star hotels around the airport. This will also help some hotels that had not made constructions on some area of the plot that had to be reserved as RG.

The change in the development control regulations will lead to generation of additional FSI for the hotel owners for expansion of their buildings or constructing new ones, sources in BMC say.
13/10/18 Vijay V Singh/Times of India

Officials seize 2,300 live turtles at airport

Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai airport on Thursday seized 2,300 live turtles from a passenger who arrived from Bangkok.
Customs said the turtles were found in six cartons. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau certified the turtles as red-eared sliders which are of foreign origin and import of which is banned by the EU. They are not covered under CITES convention or the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Officials said the turtles were sent back to the country of import and the passenger, Mohmmed Tipu Sultan of Sivaganga, was fined ₹50,000. He arrived by Thai Air (TG 337) via Ghaonzhu, China.
13/10/18 Times of India

Scottish National Arrested For Flying Drone Near Mumbai Airport

A 30-year-old Scottish national was arrested by the Santa Cruz police on Friday for flying a drone without permission. The accused, Tom Jauncey, is co-founder of the creative agency 'Beautiful Destinations' and had come to Mumbai to videograph the inauguration ceremony of a basketball ground in Matunga.

A police officer from Santacruz police chowky saw a foreign national flying a drone nearby. The officer informed his seniors, who reached the spot and hauled Jauncey to the police station. Senior Inspector Shriram Koregaonkar said, "He was flying a drone near the funnel area of Mumbai airport. During an inquiry we found that he did not have any permission to fly a drone, so, we arrested him."

The cops have also seized his drone for further investigation. During interrogation, the cops learnt that Jauncey had planned to videograph important tourist destinations in Mumbai.
13/10/18 Diwakar Sharma/Mid-day