Friday, July 23, 2021

BIAL proposes, AERA hacks: Rs 2,441 cr cut to Rs 441 cr

In what could be termed as a big blow to the Bangalore International Airport Ltd’s (BIAL), the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA), which

approves the user development fee (UDF) that is levied on air passengers, has brutally slashed most of its expenditure plans. While the BIAL had proposed to

undertake 19 projects at a total cost of Rs 2,441 crore, the regulatory body has reduced it to Rs 441 crore.

AERA dropped some of the projects stating that BIAL cannot charge passengers for facilities that they do not use. The regulatory body has also directed BIAL not

to include the cost of building two Metro stations in the third control period (2022-2026), casting doubts over Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd’s (BMRCL) ability

to complete the Airport Metro corridor work in the next five years.

In its submission to the AERA, the BIAL had disclosed its plans to take up 19 new projects by 2026. A large portion of the capital expenditure was earmarked for

works such as optimising existing Terminal 1 (Rs 241 crore), two Metro stations (Rs 253 crore), new domestic cargo terminal with cool port and refurbishment of

existing cargo (Rs 220 crore), office space (Rs 204 crore) and housing for the Central Industrial Security Force(Rs 369 crore) among others.

After reviewing the proposals that were submitted by BIAL to back its argument for increasing the UDF charges, the AERA has dropped eight projects and has

approved only 11 and instructed the BIAL to trim the budget.

The projects that received a go-ahead include: airside security wall, perimeter road, north-west road expansion, animal quarantine facility, new cargo domestic

terminal, refurbishment of existing cargo facility, water treatment plant etc.

The projects that were dropped from the capital expenditure in the third control period are: cycle tracks (Rs 12.89 crore), multi-modal transport hub (Rs 268 crore),

two Metro stations, parking and canteen facility (Rs 69 crore), landscape works (Rs 69.39 crore), building for administrative works (Rs 204 crore) and housing for

security staff (Rs 370 crore). The AERA also reduced the cost of terminal optimisation by Rs 199 crore to Rs 50 crore.

23/07/21 Naveen Menezes/Bangalore Mirror

Telangana has not yet allocated lands for new airports: Ministry of Civil Aviation

Hyderabad: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has not received any letter from the Telangana State regarding the allocation of lands for setting up new airports in the state.

The Airport Authority of India has reviewed setting up of six new airports including 3 Greenfield and three Brownfield airports in Telangana.

The Nalgonda MP Captain Uttam Kumar Reddy raised a question in Lok Sabha as to how many airports are there in Telangana state; and how many of them are functional and what is the progress made by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in its plan to set up new airports in the state. 

In a written reply to Uttam Kumar Reddy, the Department of Civil Aviation informed the Parliament that there is a plan to set up six new airports in Telangana including 3 Greenfield and 3 Brownfield airports.

As per the reply of the Civil Aviation, currently, there are two airports in Telangana one is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and the other one is Begumpet Airport.  Begumpet Airport is meant only for chartered flights.

The government prepared a plan to set up Greenfield airports at Jikranpally (Nizamabad), Pulwancha (Bhadadri Kottagudam) and Mehboobnagar.  A proposal was also submitted for establishing airports at Mamnoor (Warangal), Basantnagar (Peddapally) and Adilabad.  But till the onset of the current month, no instructions were received from the state government for the allocation of the lands.

23/07/21  Mohammed Hussain Ahmed/Siasat Daily

Why India’s drone market could become a multi-billion-dollar industry in next decade

New Delhi: With a fast-growing sector for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), India is estimated to develop a multibillion-dollar industry of drones in the next decade. Here is why >>

Full runway recarpeting at Ahmedabad airport in November

Ahmedabad: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad is all set to go for total recarpeting of its runway by the end of this year. If well-placed sources are to be believed, a complete runway recarpeting project is on the cards in November this year.

Earlier this April, the city airport authorities undertook the runway resurfacing project and the runway remained closed for about eight hours a day for about ten days.

“Recarpeting of the entire runway is very much in the offing,” said a source. “This is being undertaken to build a runway which is at par with international standards, keeping future safety and maintenance concerns in mind.”

23/07/21 Niyati Parikh/Times of India

Rajasthan CM approves land allotment for new Kota airport

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has approved the allotment of 1,250 acres of free land for a brand new airport in Kota. The instructions in this regard have been issued to the District Collector, Kota. 

With the approval, the work of the greenfield airport at the new location in Kota will start. Due to various reasons, the expansion of the existing airport in Kota was not possible, the proposal for setting up a greenfield airport at a new location was under consideration, an official statement said. 

On the initiative of the chief minister and after continuous efforts made by the state government, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation agreed to set up a greenfield airport. 

After the identification of land for the construction and expansion of this new airport by the central and state government officials, the chief minister has approved the free land allotment for the project. The proposed airport will expand air connectivity in the state. With this, the development of Kota and its surrounding areas will speed up. 

23/07/21 PTI/Outlook

Fire breaks out at city airport, no major damage reported

Ranchi: A minor fire broke out in the CISF chambers situated on the first floor of the old terminal building of Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi on Thursday. However, a major mishap was averted due to the pro-active response of fire tenders of Airports Authority of India.

According to airport sources, the fire broke out around 11:45am supposedly due to a short circuit. The fire damaged furniture and the false ceiling wall of the CISF room on the first floor of the old terminal building.

Talking to TOI, airport director of Birsa Munda International Airport Vinod Kumar Sharma said: “A minor fire broke out at the CISF room situated on the first floor in the old terminal building. However, our fire tenders successfully doused it in time. No one has been injured during the incident and a sofa and wooden table was damaged during the incident and the false ceiling was partially damaged.”

On being asked whether flight operations were affected due to the fire, Sharma said: “Operations at the airport were not affected due to the fire.”

23/07/21 Times of India

100 MDMA tablets worth Rs 5 lakh seized at Airport FPO

Chennai: Customs Officials seized 100 MDMA tablets from a parcel which arrived from Germany at the Airport Foreign Post Office (FPO) here today.

A release from the Office of the Airport Commissioner of Customs said based on information, customs officials seized a parcel, addressed to a Chennai-based person.

On cut opening, one opaque silver plastic packet was found inside, in which another plastic packet contianing 100 green colour tablets with markings "Maserati 300 mg NL", suspected to be MDMA, valued at Rs five lakh were recovered and seized under the NDPS Act, 1985.
Further investigation is in progress.

23/07/21 UNI

Kozhikode gold smuggling case: Friend of prime suspect dies in road accident

Kozhikode: A friend of the key accused in the Kozhikode gold smuggling case died in a road accident on Friday. Ramees (25), a native of Kannur, was a person of interest as he was reportedly friends with Arjun Ayanki, the prime suspect in the case of 2.33 kg of smuggled gold recovered at Kozhikode airport back in June.

Police said the accident occurred around midnight on Thursday, when the bike that Ramees was driving rammed into a car. Ramees sustained grievous injuries in the accident. Though he was shifted to a hospital, he succumbed to his wounds on Friday morning.

An investigation is underway and police haven’t ruled out foul play.

Earlier, the customs team had raided Ramees’ house in Kannur for clues regarding the gold smuggling case. Ramees was also questioned by investigators as he was close friends with Arjun Ayanki.

According to police, Arjun Ayanki had reached the Kozhikode airport to collect the smuggled gold. He absconded after the customs department and police started investigating his involvement in the gold smuggling attempt at the airport. He was later arrested on June 28.

23/07/21 P S Gopikrishnan Unnithan/India Today

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Financial bids for Air India likely by Sept. 15, says government

The financial bids for Air India’s disinvestment are likely by September 15, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

“(The) Request for Proposal (RFP) along with draft Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) have been shared with QIBs (qualified interested bidders) by the transaction advisor on 30.03.2021 for submission of financial bids. The financial bids are likely to be received by 15.09.2021,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General (Retd) V.K. Singh, said in response to a question.

The Centre has not revealed the names of the QIBs as yet, though it maintains that it received “multiple” expressions of interest for Air India’s privatisation.

After an unsuccessful attempt to sell Air India in 2018, the government in January last year restarted the divestment process and invited bids for selling 100 per cent of its equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent share holding in Air India Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

In October that year, the government sweetened the deal and tweaked a key bidding criteria allowing private players to quote an enterprise value (EV) for the airline instead of an equity value. Enterprise value of a company includes the equity value, debt as well as cash with the company.

22/07/21 The Hindu

Government forms 3 panels to revive aviation industry

New Delhi: Weeks after taking charge of civil aviation ministry, Jyotiraditya Scindia has formed three committees to advise him on industry-related issues. The three advisory committees comprise of CEOs and promoters of airlines, airport operators and maintenance and repair organisations (MRO), cargo carriers, flight training organisations and ground handling companies.

Hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines in India continue to incur huge losses with no signs of a recovery in near future. According to rating agency ICRA, Indian airlines had seen net losses of Rs 21,000 crore in FY21 and estimated a net loss of Rs 12,700 crore for FY22, with the industry debt level increasing to around Rs 50,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal. 

There is also strong opposition from some players on the Centre’s decision to cap airfares and passenger capacity as air traffic has started showing improvement in recent weeks after the dreadful second Covid-19 wave. Additionally, the sector is grappled with high debts. As for the workforce, employees in this sector have seen widespread layoffs and salary cuts.

The newly appointed minister hopes to fix these issues and bring back the sector on a growth path. Scindia also faces the challenging task of completing the much delayed privatisation of national carrier Air India.

The committee for airlines includes names such as Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo, Ajay Singh of SpiceJet, Ness Wadia of Go Air, Sunil Bhaskaran, CEO of AirAsia India, Bhaskar Bhat, Chairman of Vistara and Raiv Bansal, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India.

This committee will advise the government on steps needed to improve domestic and international connectivity, matters related to leasing and financing of aircraft, aircraft and component manufacturing and other regulatory issues.

The committee on airports includes names such as GBS Raju, head of airports division at GMR group, Hari Marar, CEO of Bangalore International Airport, Jeet Adani- head of airports business at Adani group.

The group on MROs, cargo, ground handling and flight training will consist of senior government officials and industry officials.

22/07/21 New Indian Express

The Battle For Air India: Tata Group vs SpiceJet

 After over 18 months, the battle for Air India is reaching the final stretch. The two bidders for the airline are the Tata Group and the CEO of low-cost carrier SpiceJet, Ajay Singh. 

With the airline ready to turn private in a matter of months, where the two sides stand with their bids and how each one with shape the future of Air India ?

Find here >>

56 Air India crew, including 5 Vande Bharat pilots, died of Covid till July, govt says

New Delhi: Despite various measures to safeguard employees affected by the pandemic, the national carrier, Air India, has lost 56 staff members, including five pilots, to coronavirus till 14 July.

In a written response to a Lok Sabha question Thursday, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, V.K. Singh confirmed that a total of 3,523 Air India Limited employees have been affected by the virus.

“A number of representations have been received by Air India from employee associations for grant of due compensation and other benefits to the COVID-19 affected employees,” the statement read.

Various measures have been undertaken to safeguard the needs of the employees and their families affected due to the pandemic, including a 17-day-long paid quarantine leave, compensation of Rs 10,00,000 for the death of a permanent employee and Rs 5,00,000 for the death of a fixed-term contractual employee. Families of casual/contract workers were paid compensation of Rs 90,000 or two months’ salary.

The national carrier also provided medical facilities such as hospitalisation to those affected, while Covid care centres were opened in several cities to cater specifically to its employees. Vaccination for employees and their families was also conducted free of cost.

The national carrier lost five pilots — Harsh Tiwary, G.P.S. Gill, Prasad Karmakar, Sandeep Rana and Amitesh Prasad — all of whom operated Vande Bharat flights — India’s repatriation mission.

Many blamed the airline management for a delayed vaccination drive.

22/07/21 Taran Deol/Print

Kingfisher Airlines & Jet Airways: Prosenjit Datta examines the case of two bankrupt airlines

in their heyday, both Jet and Kingfisher offered excellent flying experience for customers. While Kingfisher never made profits, Jet was for long, a profitable market leader. Their failures had more to do with bad strategic decisions, poor operations planning and cut-throat competition.

The very different loan recoveries from the two airlines bring out sharply some of the major pitfalls in the lending process, and also the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Read >>

Delhi airport's T2 resumes flight operations

New Delhi: Delhi airport's T2 terminal has resumed flight operations from today (July 22, 2021) after a two-month-long gap. Earlier, the terminal was shut down on May 18 due to a significant drop in domestic air passenger traffic as India was reeling under the second wave of COVID-19. 

"The T2 terminal will resume operations with IndiGo's 2000-2999 series flights and entire operations of Go First, and is expecting to witness around 25,000 passenger footfall in the initial phase," said Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

The Delhi Airport took it to Twitter and said, "Starting 22nd July, 00:01 AM, Terminal 2 at #DelhiAirport will resume flight operations with@IndiGo6E 2000 series and all @GoFirstairways domestic flights."

The Delhi International Airport Limited also revealed that over 27 counters, including 11 for GoAir and 16 for IndiGo, will be available to cater to the passengers of respective flights. On the other hand, India’s low-cost airlines like Indigo and Go First have issued updates regarding the terminal change on their respective social media handles.

IndiGo’s tweet stated that flight numbers 6E2000-6E2999 will arrive and depart from Terminal 2 of the Delhi international airport.

The T2 terminal was shut down on May 18 this year as the country was witnessing a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country and the number of flights dropped dramatically. Following this, the airport had shifted all its flight operations to the T3 terminal of the Delhi airport. 

22/07/21 ZeeNews

Hyderabad to host next edition of WINGS INDIA

New Delhi: ‘WINGS INDIA 2022’ - the flagship biennial exhibition on civil aviation - will be organised from March 24 - 27, 2022 at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) announced on Thursday.

Ministry of Civil Aviation and FICCI jointly organises this event which provides a platform to the aviation fraternity to showcase the challenges of the aviation sector and understand how the technology driven innovations will change the air travel in future.

"The event is expected to witness participation from more than 150 Exhibitors from India & globe and around 25 aircraft will be showcased at the Static Display area. Concurrent events such as the Inaugural Ceremony, International Conference, Global CEOs’ Forum, B2B / B2G Meetings, Thematic Pavilion and Awards Ceremony, Cultural Night & Business Networking Dinner are some of the highlights of the Show," FICCI said in a statement.

This biennial Exhibition is all set to surpass the landmark created by the earlier events and will witness a larger participation from International and Indian Companies from sectors such as Aircraft Manufacturing, Aircraft Machinery & Equipment, Aircraft Interiors, Airlines, Airline Services & Air Cargo, Airports Infrastructure & Equipment, the Space Industry and the Skill Development & Aviation Training Institutes, the federation said.

22/07/21 UNI

Modair introduces Sky Adventure Tourism activities in India

Giving a big boost to adventure tourism in India in line with the government’s commitment towards Atmanirbhar Bharat in all strata of economy, Modair, one of India’s leading adventure travel companies, has begun offering exciting Sky Adventure Tourism services first time in India. Modair specializes in multiple flying activities like adventure flying, cockpit flying and sky-diving among others.

Recently, the government of India has given a new push to domestic travel with the campaign “Dekho Apna Desh” to reenergize domestic tourism to revive the economy. Taking inspiration from the same, Modair has come up with a wide range of air adventure tourism services with an eye on expanding its footprints across the globe. Modair has already started its operations from Neemrana and Aligarh Airports initially.

Atul Jain, Chairman, Modair said, “Enthused by the government’s renewed commitment towards boosting domestic tourism we have launched Sky Adventure Tourism in India with the aim to support the economy to grow on the back of domestic spending in tourism sector. While we have already introduced a wide range of air adventure tourism services, we further look forward to come up with many more exciting offerings for adventure travel connoisseurs to explore great number of world-class tourist attractions in India. All our efforts are intended to help support Indian economy by giving a boost to investment in India’s price competitive tourism sector.”

Modair offers entirely bespoke experience to the adventure air tourism enthusiasts through their private jets and a wide bouquet of adventure sports offerings. Earlier the people/or the enthusiasts used to travel abroad for adventure air tourism, but now due to the advent of Modair, they don’t require to go out of the country to satiate their craving for adventure.

22/07/21 Hotelier India

No RT-PCR test needed to travel to these Indian states

At least 7 Indian states are now fully open to travellers, who can fly in without taking any tests. And another 11 will let you in if you have both doses of the vaccine. 

Here is a look at the latest entry rules for domestic air passengers >> 

Weekly flights between Kathmandu, New Delhi increased from 2 to 6: Report

Kathmandu: The national flag carriers of Nepal and India have increased the number of weekly flights from two at present to six on the Kathmandu-Delhi route under the air bubble arrangement between the two countries, a media report quoted Nepal's civil aviation body as saying.

Currently, the services remain capped due to an air bubble arrangement between Nepal and India that allows one weekly flight in either direction amidst the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been an increase in demand for tickets with an exponential rise in the number of outbound passengers from Kathmandu, mostly travelling for medical treatment, and passengers have been scrambling to get tickets on the route, the busiest and the most lucrative one for the airlines.

Raj Kumar Chettri, the spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, told the Kathmandu Post on Sunday that Nepal Airlines and Air India have been permitted to operate three flights a week each and will be effective from Monday.

While, as per the approved schedule, Air India will operate flights on the sector on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, while Nepal Airlines, which operates services every Wednesday, is yet to get the slot approval from India's civil aviation regulator, the report said.

In December last year, Nepal and India entered into an air bubble agreement, a dedicated flight service between the two countries following strict health and safety protocols set by the authorities of the respective countries.

22/07/21 Press Trust of India/Business Standard

Delhi airport’s T2 terminal reopens after two-month COVID-19 closure

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport resumed flight operations from Terminal 2 (T2) on July 22 around two months after the facility's usage was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave.

T2 started handling flight operations on October 1, 2020 after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic had subsided. However, the terminal was subsequently closed due to a significant drop in domestic air traffic amid the pandemic’s second wave. During this period, only Terminal 3 (T3) of the airport was handling flight operations.

With operations at T2 resuming at midnight, GoFirst (erstwhile GoAir) moved all its domestic operations there.

IndiGo, India’s largest carrier by domestic market share, also moved a part of its domestic operations to T2. Flight numbers from IndiGo’s 6E 2000 to 6E 2999 series will arrive and depart from T2. Other flight of the low-cost carrier will continue to operate from Terminal 3.

GoAir and IndiGo have been allowed to open 11 and 16 counters, respectively at T2 to cater to customers, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) earlier said in a statement.

22/07/21 Moneycontrol