Thursday, March 17, 2022

Airline industry calls for rationalisation of ATF taxes

New Delhi: India's domestic airlines have called for rationalisation of taxes on jet fuel to counter the massive rise in fuel prices.

On Wednesday, high crude oil prices led OMCs to hike ATF prices to more than Rs 1 lakh per kilolitre. In the national capital, the price of jet fuel was raised by 18.32 per cent to Rs 1,10,666.29 per kilolitre (kl) from Rs 93,530.66 per kl.

In the other metro cities of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, the price was increased to Rs 1,14,979.70, Rs 1,09,119.83 and Rs 1,14,133.73 per kl, respectively.

The rise came as crude oil price has remained on elevated levels due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Fuel retailers revise jet fuel prices on a fortnightly basis.

"Over the past few weeks, crude oil prices have soared to a seven-year high nearing $140 per barrel, due to the ongoing conflict in Europe. This has resulted in over 50 per cent ATF price hike from January 2022 till date, including the 18 per cent hike today," said Ronojoy Dutta, Whole-time Director and Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo.

"This situation adversely impacts us, given that ATF constitutes over 45 per cent of our operational costs. We have been in talks with the government to bring ATF under GST as it brings the benefit of input tax credit," Dutta added.

According to Dutta, such measures are needed now more than ever to offset this increase in cost and make flying viable for airlines and affordable for consumers.

"A rationalisation of taxes will result in high growth for the sector, creating a multiplier effect throughout the economy, promoting trade, tourism and job creation," Dutta said.

In India, the domestic ATF prices are derived from international fuel prices, denominated in the US dollar, thereby rendering the ATF prices susceptible to exchange rate movements.

17/03/22 IANS/Daijiworld

India’s Stray Missile Put Dozens of Passenger Jets at Risk

A missile that was accidentally launched out of India last week fired into the flight path of dozens of commercial jets flying in the region at the same time.   Several planes passed through the direct trajectory of the missile that day, which flew from the Indian garrison town of Ambala and ended up in Mian Channu in Eastern Pakistan. They included a Flydubai jet heading to Dubai from Sialkot, an IndiGo plane going from Srinagar to Mumbai and an Airblue Ltd. flight from Lahore to Riyadh. All crossed the missile’s trajectory within an hour of its accidental launch, data from flight-tracking application Flightradar24 show.

Other international flights in the vicinity of the missile’s trajectory -- and within its range -- included a Kuwait Airways Co. jet heading to Guangzhou, China from Kuwait City, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Riyadh from New Delhi, and a Qatar Airways service from Kathmandu to Doha, the data show. No advisory to pilots operating in the vicinity -- known as a notice to airmen or NOTAM -- was issued.

A time-lapse video of the airspace -- prepared by Flightradar24 by request of Bloomberg News -- showed busy activity in the skies within an hour and half of both sides of 7 p.m. local time on March 9, which India said was the approximate time of the accidental launch. India’s “robust” missiles handling procedures are being reviewed and will be strengthened further, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told lawmakers earlier this week.

“Very unfortunate. It could have led to a disaster, what if it hit a Pakistan International aircraft?” said Mark Martin, founder of Dubai-based Martin Consulting. “The bigger concern is what if it was taken as a hostile action by Pakistan? We can’t brush it under the carpet, those accountable must be held accountable. This could have escalated into a full-blown conflict.”

The averted disaster is reminiscent of the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, when a missile owned by a Russia-based military unit hit the plane over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people aboard. In 2020, Iran unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet it mistook for a cruise missile, killing 176.

The Indian mishap last week had the potential of turning deadly, with Pakistan preparing to launch a similar missile to strike India, Bloomberg News reported earlier this week. The nuclear-armed Indian neighbor eventually held fire after an initial assessment indicated something was amiss.

The flight path of the missile -- which Pakistan continuously monitored from near the point of its origin in Sirsa in India -- endangered many international and domestic passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace and could have resulted in a “major aviation disaster,” Pakistan’s military spokesman Babar Iftikhar told reporters in the northern city of Rawalpindi on March 10. The missile flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet and an ultimate speed of mach 3 (2,300 miles) an hour, Tariq Zia, a spokesman for the Pakistan Air Force said in the same briefing. Modern commercial jets tend to cruise below and around that altitude.

17/03/22 Anurag Kotoky/BloombergQuint

Jet Airways services to resume soon: Jalan-Kalrock Consortium

The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, new promoters of the beleaguered Jet Airways, said on Thursday that the scheduled services of the airline will restart soon. The consortium, in a statement, stated that the "restart activities are progressing well". 

 "We are working closely with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the approval process and timelines for proving flight, following which the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Jet Airways will be re-validated. The resumption of scheduled services will follow soon thereafter," the Jet team said.  

"Restarting an airline is a complex exercise that must be done meticulously, in coordination with the Regulatory Authorities and we are well underway with the process. The timeline reflects the typical duration of an AOC process however we fully expect to have the proving flight and AOC well in advance of the filed timelines," the statement added.

 The consortium, however, added that the extension of timeline (to revive the airline) has "nothing to do where aircraft is registered and deregistered of the cost of leasing." 

 It further stated that there is no regulatory requirement of taking an aircraft outside India for the purposes of re-registration.  

The consortium added that it is working with multiple aircraft lessors as well as aircraft manufacturers to source aircraft that will be inducted into the Jet Airways' fleet over the next three to five years. 

17/03/33 Business Today

Jet Airways revival: Jalan-Kalrock consortium issues statement on resumption of services; here's when it's expected

The Jalan-Kalrock consortium, new promoters of the cash-strapped Jet Airways, on Thursday said that the "restart activities" were progressing well and that the scheduled services of the airline are expected to restart soon.

"We are working closely with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (“DGCA”) on the approval process and timelines for proving flight, following which the Air Operator Certificate (“AOC”) of Jet Airways will be re-validated. The resumption of scheduled services will follow soon thereafter," said the team in a statement.

In September last year, the Jalan-Kalrock resolution consortium had said the airline would start short-haul international flights from the third-fourth quarter of 2022.

The team said that restarting an airline is a complex exercise that must be done meticulously, in coordination with the regulatory authorities and they are well underway with the process.

"The timeline reflects the typical duration of an AOC process. However,  we fully expect to have the proving flight and AOC well in advance of the filed timelines," the team said.

The team added that it should be noted that the extension of timeline has nothing to do with where aircraft is registered and deregistered or the cost of leasing.

"Further, there is no regulatory requirement of taking an aircraft outside India for the purposes of re-registration. We are working with multiple aircraft lessors as well as aircraft manufacturers to source aircraft that will be inducted into the Jet Airways fleet over the next three to five years,” the Jet team said.


Scaling new highs: ATF past Rs 100,000-mark for first time in history

Mumbai/Chennai/New Delhi: There can be relief for airlines as retailers feel that jet fuel prices will soften over the next fortnight. The price of jet fuel saw a spike of over 18 per cent on Wednesday, breaching the Rs 100,000-mark for the first time in history.

However, airline executives said it will not be possible to pass on such an increase to customers as fares have already been increased over the last two-three weeks.

“We would ideally want to pass on the increased cost but it will not be possible without hitting demand. Hopefully, with the opening up of international flights, the traffic flow will increase to absorb this increment,” said an executive of an airline. The executive added that major metro routes may see a hike of around 4-5 per cent for bookings beyond 15 days.

The three fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) — are seeing this as a temporary rise, triggered by the Ukraine crisis in the last 15 days and subsequent hike in global crude prices.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was seen at Rs 110,666.29 per kl in the national capital based on the latest price notification. It is up 18.3 per cent or Rs 17,135.63 per kl.

The latest hike in jet fuel price comes in the backdrop of Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil with a global share of 11-12 per cent.

However, the country is now facing sanctions from multiple governments making trade deals difficult.

A senior BPCL official told Business Standard that during the last seven days, there is a good improvement in prices that are on the downside. Next fortnight, the prices will soften, he added.

“The cracks also came down significantly and even crude prices have softened. It is expected to be below the Rs 1-lakh-mark during the next fortnight,” he said.

Jet fuel prices are revised on the first and 16th of every month based on the average international price of benchmark fuel in the preceding fortnight.

Another oil marketing company (OMC) official said the current hike was unexpected and was driven by the unanticipated war but added that prices will come down.

Historically, supply and demand have been the driver for higher fares.

Airlines reported their best three yields in FY13 (after Kingfisher Airlines grounding), FY15 (after SpiceJet’s cut in capacity post change of ownership) and in Q1 of FY20 (when Jet Airways shut operations).

Air fares are already high, primarily due to the government-mandated fare floors that regulate price beyond 15 days.

Market leader IndiGo reported a multi-quarter high yield of Rs 4.41, an increase of 19 per cent year-on-year (YoY) and 5.2 per cent sequentially.

17/03/22 Aneesh Phadnis Shine Jacob & Arindam Majumder/Business Standard

'It is safe': Air India continues to fly over Russia to reach London

New Delhi: Amid the Ukraine war, Air India continues to fly from Delhi to London over Russia.

“We continue to operate our flights on the earlier route as the airspace is open and it is safe. It is not a ‘no fly zone’ so we consider it safe for flying across to Europe,” said sources in Air India.

The four airlines that are directly flying in the London-Delhi sector are Air-India, Vistara, British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic. 

The flight duration is the shortest at 9 hours for Air India, as the airline hasn’t changed its flight path. Vistara, a joint venture between Tata and SIA, takes 9 hours 20 minutes to reach London as it is not consciously flying over Russia. 

British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic are taking longer routes to avoid flying over Russia. Meanwhile, the fares in the Delhi-London sector have skyrocketed, partially due to more demand and lesser frequencies of flights and secondly due to the hike in the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF).

The cost of ATF has risen by Rs 19,000 per kilolitre since January this year. Longer routes also mean spending more on ATF, and this has a bearing on the fare.

17/03/22 Yeshi Seli/New Indian Express

AITC appeals for independent examination of Umroi Airport

Shillong: The scepticism of Airports Authority of India (AAI) over the feasibility of runway expansion at Umroi Airport on Wednesday raised eyebrows of the Opposition during the ongoing Budget Session, which called for an independent examination of the airport by a third party.

Raising a discussion during the voting on demands for grants, Opposition Chief Whip George Lyngdoh said that the AAI had recently proposed an alternative site for a greenfield airport project.

Astonished over the AAI affidavit, Lyngdoh, who is also the Umroi legislator, said that a lot of resources of the state and central governments have already been exhausted for the revamp of the airport and if a new site is proposed, there would be wastage of public resources.

The AITC leader also contended that the state government must engage a third-party examination of the airport for independent views on the improvement of the airport.

In his response, Transport Minister, Dasakhiatbha Lamare, however, denied any proposal from the AAI for an alternative site for a greenfield airport project.

He also informed that the idea of appointing a third party for examination of the airport has not been initiated yet.

17/03/22 Shillong Times

Silchar airport gets 'Ambulift' to serve people with reduced mobility

Silchar: In a major development, the state-of-art Ambulift services have been introduced for the first time at the Silchar airport located at Kumbhirgram. Arnab Kumar Das, an official of the Airports Authority of India and OSD to the Airport Director at the airport while taking to The Assam Tribune informed that with the introduction of the Ambulift facilities, passengers with reduced mobility using stretcher and wheelchair will get more comfort while embarking and disembarking and flights.

Also, the services will be a boon for the geriatric patients who cannot climb the stairs as the passenger cabin inside the Ambulift is fully air-conditioned with oxygen cylinder and other necessary medical equipment available and it can be operated on all tyres of aircrafts, the AAI official said.

Das added to inform that the airport is undergoing major infrastructural facelift in a bid to offer additional facilities to the air travellers. Currently there are around 10 flights to and from Silchar connecting Guwahati, Kolkata and Delhi, Das informed.

17/03/22 Assam Tribune

Kolhapur airport rating rises in customer satisfaction survey

Kolhapur: The Kolhapur airport has improved its rating in the second round of the customer satisfaction index (CSI) survey conducted by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) between December 2021 and February 2022.

Of the 61 airports in India, Kolhapur airport has ranked 39th with ratings of 4.55 for this quarter. While the Aurangabad airport is at 38th position with 4.56 ratings on a scale of 5.

Kamal Kumar Kataria, the director of Kolhapur airport said, “ The AAI, through a third-party organisation, conducts a survey routinely on the customer satisfaction index. The survey conducting authority directly interacts with the passengers to get their feedback about their satisfaction with check-in time, luggage checking counter, toilet facilities, car parking, cleanliness, the help provided by the airport officials, food quality at the food counter, etc. The first-time flyers play a vital role in this survey.”

“In the first round conducted last year, Kolhapur had a rating of 2.80, which increased to 4.55 in the second round. The third round is ongoing while the fourth and fifth rounds will be conducted in the later part of the year. We are looking forward to reaching 4.98 similar to Trichy airport,” he said.

17/03/22 Rahul Gayakwad/Times of India

Srinagar-Sharjah flight, cargo operations resume after two-month hiatus

Srinagar: Direct international flights as well as international cargo operations of Go First between Srinagar and Sharjah, resumed operations on Wednesday after a two-month break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The direct flight service, which was flagged off by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on October 23 last year, had witnessed several roadblocks.

However, GoFirst (formerly known as GoAir) on Wednesday resumed its operations from Srinagar to Sharjah. Under the air bubble agreement, Go First was the first airline to launch direct service on this route last year.

“GoFirst flight G8 1595, after a hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, departed from Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar at 19:45 hours and arrived in Sharjah at 22:30 hours. On the return, GoFirst flight G8 4095 will operate from Sharjah International Airport at 00:05 hrs and arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi at 05:10 hrs. Go First will operate two flights a week between Srinagar and Sharjah,” said the airline spokesman, as reported by Zee News.

The resumption of operations in this sector will boost trade and tourism between Jammu and Kashmir and the UAE.

"UAE and Srinagar are popular holiday destinations and Go First flights will usher in convenient travel options. These services will also support burgeoning trade and investment links between Srinagar and Sharjah," the spokesperson added.

17/03/22 India Today

Bengaluru: Man held for duping people on pretext of promising airport jobs

Bengaluru: A 25-year-old man has been arrested by Bengaluru police for allegedly cheating people on the pretext of promising them jobs at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The accused has been identified as Deependra Bahadur Dhami, a resident of Bengaluru and has been booked under sections 406 (Criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The accused had put up notices at several spots at the underpass under the Hebbal flyover assuring jobs pertaining to cleaning, maintenance and other jobs at the airport. Till now, police have identified four victims who fell into his trap and lost their money.

When the victim used to dial Dhami asking for a job, he would ask them to pay sums ranging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. After collecting the money, he stopped taking calls and made himself unreachable, police said.

"The individual had put up bit paper notices at many spots at the underpass under the Hebbal flyover assuring jobs pertaining to cleaning, maintenance and other ordinary jobs at the airport. One individual, Sudhakar, had paid him Rs 37,000," DCP (North East) Anoop A Shetty was quoted by the New Indian Express as saying.

Police said most of the victims who lost their money were migrant labourers looking for better job opportunities.

17/03/23 India Today

Demand for outbound travel spikes after govt announces regular international flights from March 27

The aviation and tour-planning industry is looking at its best year for outbound travel since the pandemic with Indians starting bookings for their favourite overseas destinations, although high fuel prices and vaccine-related curbs remain potential downside risks.

Airlines and travel agents ET reached out to said demand has seen a spike after the government announced resumption of regular international flights from March 27.

Air India and Vistara - the only two Indian airlines that operate to Europe and the Americas – said they are seeing a huge increase in demand.

“At Vistara, we are evaluating options and working on additional flights. We have already been observing good demand across our international network, especially on long-haul routes, and hope that the trend continues,” Vistara said in an email response to Et’s queries.

Air India said it anticipates ‘a good growth for leisure travel on mostly tourist routes in the coming holiday season, provided there is no threat of new variants.’

Travel industry insiders say that the demand is for both long-haul and short-haul international flights. “We are seeing a strong uptick of 20-40% in queries, with Europe’s Switzerland, France, Spain and the UK still heading the leader-board (40% increase), followed by short hauls like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Thailand, Maldives, Turkey, Egypt, Singapore (30%); and also also long-hauls like Australia (20%),” said Rajeev Kale, president & country head, holidays, MICE and Visa at Thomas Cook (India). 

17/03/22 Anumeha Chaturvedi & Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Ministry of Civil Aviation celebrates achievements of women in Aviation Sector; 20 women achievers felicitated for their significant role in the Aviation Sector

New Delhi: The Indian Civil Aviation sector has seen an increase in the participation of women. They are showing their mark in the airline industry and are pursuing careers as aircraft engineers, pilots, firefighters, ground crew, airport security etc registering their presence in the aviation industry.

20 women achievers who have played a significant role in the aviation sector, were felicitated during the event. Apart from Felicitation ceremony, a book was also released titled “From Sarees to Strip – True Stories of Commercial Women Pilots in India” authored by Manisha Puri depicting the ascendency of women in Indian Aviation >>

After Tata takeover, Air India MRO stuck in stamp duty tangle

Nagpur: After Tata Group’s takeover of Air India, the erstwhile national carrier’s maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) depot in Mihan-SEZ is caught in a corporate imbroglio.

Prior to the takeover, a number of assets like the MRO were supposed to be transferred to Air India Asset Holding Limited (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle. The transfer of assets of the MRO in Mihan are attracting a stamp duty of Rs32 crore, which has held up the matter.

Sources says even now, on paper, the MRO remains a part of Air India, which is a non-existent entity after takeover by Tatas. The matter has been taken up with the state government by the Union civil aviation secretary, said a source.

The MRO was run by Air India Engineering Services Limited (AISEL). After the takeover, all such assets categorized as non-core, including the MRO, will go to AIAHL. As this leads to transfer of land and building, this is attracting a stamp duty.

Moreover, the MRO is located on land leased out by Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC). So the change of hand will also need fresh registration by AIAHL with MADC. This again attracts stamp duty payable to the state government, said a source.

17/03/22 Shishir Arya/Times of India

'It is safe': Air India continues to fly over Russia to reach London

New Delhi: Amid the Ukraine war, Air India continues to fly from Delhi to London over Russia.

“We continue to operate our flights on the earlier route as the airspace is open and it is safe. It is not a ‘no fly zone’ so we consider it safe for flying across to Europe,” said sources in Air India.

The four airlines that are directly flying in the London-Delhi sector are Air-India, Vistara, British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic. 

The flight duration is the shortest at 9 hours for Air India, as the airline hasn’t changed its flight path. Vistara, a joint venture between Tata and SIA, takes 9 hours 20 minutes to reach London as it is not consciously flying over Russia. 

British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic are taking longer routes to avoid flying over Russia. Meanwhile, the fares in the Delhi-London sector have skyrocketed, partially due to more demand and lesser frequencies of flights and secondly due to the hike in the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF).

The cost of ATF has risen by Rs 19,000 per kilolitre since January this year. Longer routes also mean spending more on ATF, and this has a bearing on the fare.

17/03/22 Yeshi Seli/New Indian Express

Karnataka airport bomb planter had shopped on Amazon, assembled bomb at home

The man, who was awarded 20 years of imprisonment for planting an improvised explosive bomb at the Mangaluru International Airport in January 2020, had managed to get raw materials to prepare the explosive from online service provider Amazon, as per the judgement.

Investigation agencies have submitted a report to the court about the accused Aditya Rao (37) procuring raw materials to make explosives online and in the 80-page judgement, the court mentions the same.

They found that the accused with an intention to explore the substance so as to cause terror and endanger human life, had pre-planned an outline and collected the information for preparing improvised explosive substances by calling up 'Just Dial' company, the investigation agencies have stated.

Rao had visited several cyber centres, browsing centres as well as internet centres and collected the information. Upon such collection of information, he had ordered the necessary raw materials for explosives from the Amazon website, theinvestigation report says.

After collecting the raw materials without any license, the accused had discreetly stored them in the staff quarters of a family restaurant in Mangaluru.

Without permission from any authority, he had mixed the raw materials and prepared improvised explosive substances. After this, he had kept that improvised explosive substance in a black bag and moved it to the sensitive and crowded area at the departure gate of Mangaluru International Airport, the report says.

17/03/22 IANS/Deccan Herald

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Expansion of Shillong Airport unfeasible, AAI proposes new airport

Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has directed the state government to file a preliminary report on whether to build a greenfield airport or expand the existing Umroi Airport as the Airport Authority of India has said extension of the runways at Shillong Airport may not be feasible, officials said.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) implicitly asked the state government to identify land for a greenfield airport project, during a hearing yesterday. In its affidavit filed before the Meghalaya High Court, the AAI said, "It is not optimistic about the feasibility of the extended runways at the Umroi Airport or the extent to which it may be possible to extend the runways."

Since the state appears to be keen to have an airport that would cater to the needs of the residents in the State and others intending to visit the State without having to endure the present three-hour ordeal of travelling from Guwahati Airport to Shillong proper, it is hoped that something concrete regarding the development of the State is planned, with a greenfield airport project or an expanded Umroi Airport as its centre being a harbinger or catalyst for the overall development of the State that would create employment opportunities and add to the wellbeing and happiness quotient of the residents here, the high court said.

It gave eight weeks' time for the state to file a preliminary report on the matter. The court said that the state appears to be keen that bigger aircraft are able to land either at Umroi Airport or any other place closer to Shillong than the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport at Guwahati.

16/03/22 PTI/India Today

Why Meghalaya regrets Shillong-Delhi flight agreement with flybig

Shillong: Meghalaya Transport Minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare on Tuesday stated that the agreement signed with flybig airline for Shillong-Delhi flight was done in a hurry and was a lesson to be learned after the airline failed to provide its services.

The transport minister’s statement was in response to a question by MLA Mohendro Rapsang about the status of Shillong-Delhi flights, during the Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

AITC state president Charles Pyngrope came in with a supplementary question mentioning that they can now draw a conclusion that flybig as an operator has no aircraft of its own.

“Is it prudent to sign an agreement with an operator who has no aircraft or shouldn’t we look at options where we sign an agreement with an operator who has at least one or two aircraft of its own?” asked Pyngrope.

The transport minister agreed with the member and said the agreement was signed in a hurry. “It (flybig) has promised us that it will avail an aircraft, which is the Bombardier Q400. Since this was the first experience, it was a lesson for us. Let us see till the end of this month if the airline can provide us the services we need or else we will take another step,” the minister said.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also quickly jumped in to clarify more on the agreement. Sangma said the selection process was done through a tendering process and two parties had applied. Both were asked to give the technical specifications of the airlines or the aircraft that they’ll be using and how they’ll be getting it.

The chief minister added that the second party quoted a very high price compared to flybig because they were using a jet whose cost was much higher than a Q400.

“Secondly, this agreement was signed and the tender process done before COVID-19 happened and the entire process of getting a wet-lease for an aircraft had started during that time,” said Sangma.

The chief minister informed the House that flybig has signed an agreement for the wet lease and they are supposed to get an aircraft very soon.

Earlier, flybig had signed an agreement with Spicejet to use a Q400 but then that agreement fell through and Spicejet stopped giving their aircraft. The government had issued a show-cause notice last December. The airline has asked for time till the end of this month to resume their services.

The Shillong-Delhi flight currently is not operating and the state has incurred a total cost of Rs 2.5 crore (approx.) for 16 flight operations performed by flybig.

15/03/22 Princess Giri Rashir/EastMojo

Runway resurfacing delayed by 2 hrs to let London flight depart

Ahmedabad: In a special case, authorities of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad delayed the start of the runway resurfacing activity by about two hours, so that an international flight can depart, on Tuesday morning. London-bound Air India flight, AI-171 which was scheduled to depart at 7.10am was delayed by at least three hours due to some operational constraints.

The runway resurfacing activity begins at 9am every day and continues till 6pm at the airport, during which the runway is shut for flight movements.

Yet another Air India flight, AI-1919 from Ahmedabad to Nairobi also was delayed due to a technical glitch on Tuesday itself, confirmed sources. “Both the flights had at least 400 international passengers who would have been stranded at the city airport for at least 10-11 hours due to the runway closure. Therefore, under special circumstances, the departure of both these flights was enabled by the SVPI airport operator to avoid passenger inconvenience,” said a source.

The London-bound flight ended up departing at 10.45am according to sources.

16/03/22 Niyati Parikh/Times of India

Aviation fuel prices hiked by 18%

Aircraft fuel prices were hiked for the sixth time this year on Wednesday, posing a serious threat to the nascent recovery seen by Indian airlines recently.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices witnessed an 18% jump, taking it to an all-time high of ₹110,666.29 per kilolitre in Delhi, according to a notification by government-owned oil retailers on Tuesday.

Jet fuel price in Mumbai jumped to ₹109,119.83 per kl from ₹91,998.08 per kl. In Kolkata, it soared to ₹114,979.70 per kl. ATF is priced at ₹114,133.73 per kl in Chennai.

This comes at a time when Brent crude – the international benchmark - continued to soar above $100 a barrel amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

On March 1, aviation fuel prices were increased by 3.3%. Last month, ATF prices were raised by 8.5% on the day of the Union Budget 2022-23 and then again on February 17 by 5.2%.

Fuel prices are changed twice every month based on the average price of the international benchmark in the preceding fortnight.

Earlier this month, the government announced the resumption of scheduled commercial international flights from March 27, taking into account the increased vaccination coverage across the world.

The resumption of regular international flights comes two years after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended such operations with effect from March 23, 2022 due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s domestic passenger traffic jumped around 19% sequentially to an estimated 76 lakh in February compared with 64 lakh in January 2022, according to ICRA.


Working on expanding runway at Baljek airport in Garo Hills: Meghalaya CM

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informed the House on Tuesday that the government is working towards creating a 2.2 kilometer plus runway at Baljek airport located at Jengjal in Garo Hills region.

A question was raised by North Garo Hills MLA from Kharkutta constituency Rupert Momin asing about the non-functional Baljek airport. Momin said the airport was sanctioned in 1995 for the cost of Rs 12.52 crore and inaugurated in 2008. “Is there any plan to upgrade this airport in the future?” asked Momin.  

 Transport minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare said the department is still working on it since it is a very important airport and will try to get it operational.

Adding in with the transport minister’s reply, the chief minister said the process of land acquisition to expand the runway at Baljek airport is on as they speak.

Sangma said at Baljek, they don’t have the challenge like in Shillong at Umroi airport, where there is a huge mountain that blocks the instrument landing systems operation which actually leads to the inability of larger flights landing.

“We are working towards creating a 2.2 kilometer plus runway in Baljek airport and that process of land acquisition is on. We’re hopeful that things will move much faster,” informed Sangma.

15/03/22 Princess Giri Rashir/EastMojo

Rourkela Airport upgradation for Hockey World Cup has new October deadline

Rourkela: Upgradation and restoration of commercial flight services at the Rourkela airport in view of the Men’s Hockey World Cup next year do not seem a reality before October this year. The tournament is scheduled for January 2023.

Sources familiar with the project said the revised target for operationalising the airport is October this year.  Considering the monsoons ahead, only three months are left in hand. In June 2021, work had begun for a new apron and taxiway at a cost of Rs 5.69 crore. But even after nine months, little progress could be seen on the ground. While tenders for new terminal building and carpeting of runway have not yet been awarded, nothing has been done for widening of the connecting road or construction of the new perimeter walls with increased height.

For expansion of the existing runway,  Rourkela Steel Plant has provided 146 acre, but presently, less than 15 acre has been used by Airports Authority of India (AAI). All these works are time consuming and completion within a few months is doubtful, sources added.

Incidentally, expecting airport upgradation by May, the AAI had earlier set time to apply to the DGCA for upgradation of the existing ARC 2B licence to ARC 2 which now looks improbable.

Meanwhile, replying to BJD MP Amar Patnaik, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday made a statement in the Rajya Sabha regarding status of the Rourkela airport. 

The Minister said the airport owned by SAIL is licensed for Aerodrome Reference 2B operations (suitable for 20 seater aircrafts). It has received bids  for ATR-72 aircraft under the RCS-UDAN scheme. The implementing agency AAI has undertaken upgradation of the airport for Code 3C suitable for operation of ATR 72 type aircraft. He further clarified 1,349 feet of the existing runway is serviceable.

16/03/22 New Indian Express

India doubles up investment in airports

Delhi: India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation outlined this week a plan to finance 21 new greenfield airports while improving existing airports over the next five years.

A fund of Rs250,000,000 (USD3,268,910) will support projects linked to existing airports, according to a Press Information Bureau media statement released on Monday.

Based on the substantial growth in airline travel across the country, the Airports Authority of India’s forecast indicates all-India passenger throughput growth continuing over the next three years, requiring a considerable investment in greenfield airport projects to keep pace.

But the authority cautioned the projections are subject to reassessment given the unpredictable nature of the Covid pandemic and the sharp increase in aviation fuel prices.

Airports Authority of India will develop existing airports over the next five years, build new terminals, expand and modify existing terminals, expand and strengthen existing runways, aprons, Airport Navigation Services (ANS) infrastructure and control towers.

Public-Private Partnership airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru are undertaking major expansion projects costing around Rs300,000,000 (USD3,922,692) by 2025. Additionally, Rs360,000,000 (USD4,707,450) will be invested in new greenfield airports under the PPP model.

16/03/22 TTRW

India’s drone businesses aim for the skies

A new type of mobility is in the air, and literally in this case. And unless other technologies that future predictions keep droning on without most of them ever coming to light, this one could be a reality earlier than you think.

A drone with a range of 100km tops the list of targets set by Skye Air, one of the pioneers in the drone delivery logistics industry, a sunrise sector. Billed ‘Artemis’, Skye CEO Ankit Kumar claims “it (Artemis) shall add more value to the offerings that we currently have.”

Drones have vroomed away to glory ever since the Union government liberalised rules in August. While there is a lot of talk of using armed drones as precision missile the way Ukrainians have used to effectively slow down the advance of Russian convoys on Kyiv (India has ordered 100 Kamikaze drones from Israel even while trying to develop indigenous technology in the area), their commercial use in logistics, in delivering anything from groceries to medicines have the companies that have mushroomed on the scene excited.

Skye is just one of them. With the government offering a PLI scheme of Rs 120 crore to develop a local drone ecosystem and studies showing drone delivery could transform logistics in a vast country like India, it won’t be the last. Zomato completed test deliveries of food way back in 2019. Others who got permission to do tests include the likes of SpiceXpress, the cargo arm of SpiceJet, Swiggy as well as startup Asteria Aerospace.

Dunzo, in which Reliance recently pumped in about Rs 1,800 crore, recently carried out trials to roll out a delivery service in Karnataka. Other big investors in the sunrise drone sector in India is Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath, who has reportedly invested in Omnipresent Roboto Tech.

Ankit Kumar of Skye says drones are cost effective enough to transform the cargo business, giving a short calculation. “A distance covered by road (transport) for 100 rupees can be covered by a drone for 40 rupees,” Kumar said.

15/03/22 K. Sunil Thomas/The Week

Operation Ganga: EAM Jaishankar briefs Rajya Sabha on evacuation of Indians from Ukraine

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar made a statement on the prevailing situation in Ukraine to the Rajya Sabha.

"At the direction of the PM, we launched Operation Ganga, thereby undertaking one of the most challenging evacuation exercises during an ongoing conflict situation. Our community was dispersed across Ukraine, posing its own logistical challenges," Jaishankar said.

He added that, "The exercise was undertaken at a time when military actions, including airstrikes and shelling, were underway. It involved movement in a war-torn situation in a large country, at times over a 1000 kms and required exiting border checkpoints clogged by an estimated 26 lakh refugees."

Having highlighted the extremely challenging scenario, Jaishankar said that the evacuation required a "whole of government" and praised various government agencies as well as private airlines for their support.

"Entire exercise involved a whole of Government approach, with the PM himself chairing review meetings almost on a daily basis. At the Ministry External Affairs, we monitored evacuation operations on a 24/7 basis. We got excellent support from all concerned ministries and organisations, including the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence, National Disaster Response Force, Indian Air Force and private airlines," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on 26 February 2022 during which among pressing issues, the safety of students was brought up.

The first evacuation flight from Bucharest reached New Delhi with 249 nationals at around 2.55am Indian Standard Time (IST) on 27 February.

Four union ministers namely – Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and V.K. Singh were sent the next day to the neighboring countries to assist in prioritizing coordination with local authorities.

The Indian Air Force and multiple private airlines (Air India, IndiGo, Air India Express, SpiceJet, AirAsia India and Go First) provided logistical support.

Between 24 February and 7 March, the Indian Prime Minister talked to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin multiple times about the situation, during which among overarching issues, evacuation was conveyed and assistance acknowledged.

15/03/22 FreePressJournal

Chennai airport passengers can now avail stay option between transit flights

Chennai: With the number of people travelling nearing the pre Covid-19 levels, the Chennai International airport has to handle more transit passengers. Transit passengers having long hours of stay in the terminal now have an option to use the 'stay' option and take some rest between flights.

Transit passengers have to stay for long hours in the terminal to catch a domestic or an international flight and to provide relief for them. The airport authorities have created a facility. Passengers who travel through the Chennai airport can avail the 'stay' option located adjacent to the airport terminals. The facility also offers overnight stays.

A single occupancy room will cost a passenger Rs 2,000, excluding the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the charge for a double room is Rs 2,500. Passengers can also rent a room if they wish to stay for a couple of hours. Talking about the occupancy, with 20 rooms there is about 80 per cent these days and most of the bookings are done online.

The authorities have built the rest area inside the Chennai Airport Metro station and it is a 10-minute walk from both the domestic and international terminals.

16/03/22 India Today

Cracks on runway trigger seven-hour halt in flights at Bagdogra

Siliguri: Flights remained suspended for over seven hours at the Bagdogra airport on Tuesday as cracks were spotted on the sole runway.

The delay of the flights inconvenienced hundreds of passengers at the second-most important airport in Bengal. They swarmed at the airport in the morning hours and had to wait till late evening when the services became normal after necessary repairs.

Sources said three flights had landed at the airport in the morning. However, as the cracks were noticed on the runway around 9.30am, the authorities decided to halt services.

As the Bagdogra airport is a civil enclave — the runway and the air traffic control are maintained by the Indian Air Force — the IAF authorities carried out necessary repairs so that flight services could be restored.

“There had been a problem in the runway and hence, flight operations had stopped. There are chances that the operations might start around 4.30pm,” said an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the afternoon.

The sudden halt in the operations occurred around a month ahead of the planned closure of the airport. From April 11 till 26, flights will remain suspended at Bagdogra because repairs would be carried out on the runway.

As the flights stopped landing at or leaving Bagdogra on Tuesday, the crowd swelled as more and more outbound passengers arrived. Altogether, 26 flights or 52 flight movements were scheduled for Tuesday.

“I am taking my uncle to Delhi for treatment. We were supposed to take a flight at 1pm but representatives of the airline have told us that it has been delayed,” said Rakesh Kothari, a stranded passenger.

The suspension of the operations for a few hours also brought to surface the inadequate infrastructure at the terminal. Many passengers iterated the need for the immediate expansion of infrastructure.

16/03/22 Avijit Sinha/Telegraph

Teejay Sidhu stranded at Delhi airport with 3 kids, not allowed to board flight due to visa issue

Teejay Sidhu is having a nightmare. As you read this, Teejay is caught up in a visa fracas for no fault of hers per se. The lady is at Delhi's Indira Gandhi international airport with her 3 kids and has been disallowed to board the Emirates flight to Dubai which took off at 4:15 pm, despite having her tickets for the same.

The story goes that Teejay took off first to Delhi from Mumbai and from there, was flying out to Dubai with her children. At the checking counter, she was told that she cannot embark on the flight she had booked for. "The tickets have gone waste and the Emirates officials here acted very rude, especially a guy called Ujjal. Another girl by the name of Divya was of no help either."

Teejay tells ETimes TV that she was told that the visa of her two kids was only till January 2022, while the visa of her third kid was okay till March. "Now, how this happened is beyond my comprehension. I had got the visas for all my three kids together," says Teejay.

She continued, her voice rising in anger, "What ruffled me further was that I was told that I need to go to the Immigration Office in a cab and get it all cleared. The 4:15 pm flight for which I was booked took off. It was only later that a senior from Emirates told me that I could speak to the Immigration office they had at the airport. Once I went there, things got sorted. Pray, why couldn't I have been told this before?"

Teejay added, "Worse, I have now been told to buy new tickets and they are not letting me remain in the airport premises until I buy those. They are saying I was late to arrive but then why did they stop me only at the Customs counter after issuing me boarding passes. I have put my foot down, let them throw me out and I shall see. I will buy my new tickets alright- but can't they wait for a lady who has three li'l kids, one of whom is an infant? They have said that they'll call the security for me and I have told them that they can do whatever they want. I repeat, I shall buy the tickets at my convenient hour."

And why is she going to Dubai from Delhi and not Mumbai? "There was nothing available on the ticket front from Mumbai, so I decided to first land in Delhi and I had taken separate tickets of Delhi-Dubai from Mumbai itself. Anyway, I want to see how they can throw me out," Teejay concluded on a furious note.

16/03/22  Vickey Lalwani/

Utilisation of full length of tabletop runway at Calicut airport mooted

Kozhikode: Even as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is remaining indecisive on the matter of giving its approval to resume the operation of wide- bodied aircraft at the Calicut international airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is looking at an ambitious proposal to use the full length of the airport’s 2860-m tabletop runway and reconstruct its Runway End Safety Area (RESA).

Sources said the AAI authorities had mooted an option to utilise the land in its possession as well as acquire additional land, totalling 20 acres, for the expansion of the RESA. The development comes close on the heels of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s decision to cancel its order last month to reduce the length of the runway for the expansion of RESA. 

If that order had been implemented, the runway would have been further reduced to 2,540 m from the existing 2700 m, thereby permanently scuttling the demand to resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft at the airport.

The AAI, the sources said, would explore the possibility of identifying land for increasing the RESA by 240 m, on both sides of the runway, a mandatory provision of International Civil Aviation Organisation for tabletop airports. In fact, the existing runway was shortened from its earlier length of 2,860 m for increasing the RESA four years ago.

Modalities for expanding the RESA would have to be worked out in the coming months as the next re-carpeting and strengthening works of the runway was due in 2024. One of the options was to construct an elevated RESA instead of filling the terrain on both sides of the runway so as to reduce the cost, sources said.

The expansion of RESA at Calicut airport was recommended in 2012 after the Reappraisal of Court of Inquiry Report on the Mangaluru airport crash. This was after the Air India Express from Dubai overran the tabletop runway at Mangaluru airport and crashed down the hill at its far end in May 2010, claiming 158 lives.

16/03/22 Biju Govind/The Hindu

Air India to focus on select international routes, US airspace as Tatas revamp airline: Report

As international flights resume from March 27, the Tata Group is all set to revamp Air India with the early focus being select international routes, CNBC-TV18 reported.

Air India will also be expanding flight routes and adding destinations in the United States – a key area of interest at present as the Ukraine-Russia war affects several airlines, sources told CNBC.

Expanding new routes will help present a new experience, sources told CNBC, as the Tata Group looks to turn around the airline after taking over the loss-making company from the government after 69 years.

Airspaces over Ukraine and Russia have been affected due to the raging war between the countries, leading to airlines taking longer routes to reach destinations. This has increased fuel and operational costs. This has piqued the Tatas’ interest who are keen on starting more routes as United Airlines and others take a backseat.

Air India, however, is yet to finalise a CEO. Tata Sons chief N Chandrasekaran and a five-member core committee will be leading the operations till Air India gets a new CEO, CNBC reported quoting sources. Chandrasekaran was appointed Air India Chairman on Monday.


Air India now fastest airline from Delhi to London and it's the Russia factor at play

New Delhi: Among the four airlines that are currently offering direct flights to London from Delhi, Air India’s flight duration is the shortest at nine hours. This is because they continue to fly on the earlier flight path, which crosses parts of Russia and Eastern Europe.

"We continue to operate our flights on the earlier route as the airspace is open. It is not a 'no fly zone' so it is safe," said a source from Air India.

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata and SIA, takes 9 hours 20 minutes to reach London from Delhi, as they are not flying over Russia. British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic are taking longer routes to avoid flying over Russia as a result of which it is taking longer to reach their destination.

While BA is taking close to 10 hours, Virgin Atlantic is taking around 10.35 hours to complete the journey.

15/03/22 Yeshi Seli/New Indian Express

Privatised Air India sees 1st labour stir as govt co workers agitate

Mumbai: Privatised carrier Air India is currently in the midst of its first labour-strife as about 1,700 aircraft maintenance technicians working with a government-owned engineering company that handles maintenance and repair jobs for the airline went on an indefinite 'tools down agitation' on Tuesday.

Their demands include salary revision, employment contract renewal, and inclusion of dearness allowance.

The stir began at 9am. By evening, a few AI flights from Delhi, including to Mumbai, Surat and Pune, were delayed because of the agitation, said a technician, requesting anonymity. However, an AI spokesperson said there was no effect of the stir and flights are operating normally.

Flight status tracking apps showed the three flights were delayed by 30 minutes to two hours, but the reason for delay isn't cited. "Though aircraft maintenance engineers have stepped in to carry out jobs done by technicians, if the agitation continues, more flights could be hit," said a source. Among the jobs these technicians handle for AI are aircraft fuelling, readying the aircraft for departure, marshalling, and maintenance work.

The striking technicians are employed on a 'fixed term contract' with Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL), a government-owned company, which was formerly the engineering subsidiary of AI.

16/03/22 Times of India

IndiGo begins flights between India-Thailand after 2 years hiatus

IndiGo began flights between India and Thailand on Tuesday, following a two-year hiatus, according to a statement. Thailand is reopening its borders nearly two years after restricting tourist admission in March 2020, according to the airline's statement.

The country reopened its border to vaccinated travellers from every country on February 1 this year, it mentioned. The airline said it will operate the Thailand flights under the air bubble agreement till March 26 and thereafter as part of its scheduled commercial international operations.

"The flights will connect Bangkok with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru and Phuket with Delhi and Mumbai," it stated. Earlier this month, the Centre had announced that scheduled commercial international flights will resume in India from March 27.

The Kolkata-Bangkok flight started operating on Tuesday, the airline stated. "Fully vaccinated foreign travellers from India can enter Thailand without quarantine," the airline mentioned.

According to the new rules, travellers will need a negative PCR lab result before arrival and two more PCR tests after landing, one upon entry and another on their fifth day in Thailand, it noted.

16/03/22 ZeeNews

Air Travel In India To Get Costlier As Oil Retailers Increase ATF Prices

The aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices have been hiked by 18 per cent to cross the Rs 1 lakh per kilolitre mark for the first time. This is the sixth time that ATF prices have been hiked this year. 

The ATF prices are revised on the 1st and 16th of every month depending on the average international crude oil prices in the preceding fortnight. Over the past few weeks, the crude oil prices have soared to a 7-year high nearing $140 per barrel, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalated. 

Experts pointed out that with an increase in ATF prices, the prices of air tickets will also increase. 

Amrit Padurangi, who is the former head of Infrastructure in Deloitte said, “The air ticket prices will marginally increase because the Indian aviation companies would love to increase much steeper prices. But, when you increase the ticket prices by a high percentage the demand drops immediately both for the business segment as well as for the non-business segments because people will defer their holidays’ people will travel by other means, in the business segment. So, clearly, it is not going to be easy to increase the prices substantially.”

 “They will do marginal increases because without that the losses will be very high. But anything very significant will not be accepted by the traveling public. So we have to wait and see if any one of the aviation companies behaves very erratically and comes with the highest discount, then everybody will have to go for it,” he added.

Airlines in India have earlier urged the civil aviation ministry to increase caps on domestic fares, given the sharp rise in prices of aviation turbine fuel over the past two months and expectations that crude oil prices are expected to remain high due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“Indian aviation companies don't have access to an option because if they don't hike prices the losses will continue in a much bigger way because oil prices are high, the ATF prices are high. Even with the current level of pricing, there will be losses and if they don't hike it, the losses will continue in a big way. So I think they will increase but only marginally,” Padurangi noted.

Earlier this year, Indigo posted a profit in the three-month period ending December 31, 2021, after seven successive quarters of losses, thus bringing cheer to the loss-making aviation industry. Similarly, Air India has been taken over by Tata Group and a resolution plan for Jet Airways is underway. 

16/03/22 Astha Oriel/Outlook

Tata Steel to approach Air India for feasibility of flights from Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur: The request to start Air India flight services from Jamshedpur made by Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has got a response from Tata Steel vice president (Corporate Services) Chanakya Chaudhary.

In a letter to the SCCI president Vijay Anand Moonka, Chaudhary said, “Since the airport at Jamshedpur is constrained by its size with limited runway length, there is a need to have a separate airport which can handle commercial aircraft, operated by the airlines. Towards this, the Union Government and State Government have jointly embarked on the Dhalbhumgarh Greenfield airport project, which is expected to further the cause of regional connectivity. We are hopeful that many airlines would start operations once this airport is made operational. We would in any case share your request with Air India for them to consider the feasibility of starting operations in Jamshedpur in case they have smaller aircrafts.”

Moonka had written to Tata Steel CEO and MD TV Narendran on 5th January last, requesting for Air India flights from the city to provide better air connectivity to city businessmen and people in general.

In the letter, Chaudhary also said, “You may recall that during the centenary celebrations of Tata Steel in 2007, we had obtained the approval from Government of India for operation of commercial flights from Jamshedpur airport. Some airlines like Deccan Airways, Kingfisher airlines etc had started operations but stopped due to techno economic feasibility and operations not being sustainable.”

16/03/22 Avenue Mail

AirAsia launches special ICB fares

Pune: AirAsia India on Tuesday announced the launch of special discounted International Connecting Baggage (ICB) fares.

The ICB fares empower guests connecting from or to AirAsia India domestic flights to international flights on other airlines to save on the standard excess baggage charges on their domestic flight, airline officials said.

Guests can pre-book ICB fares and choose from three excess baggage slab options in addition to the standard 15 kgs free check-in baggage allowance.

The excess baggage slabs have been configured in line with the predominant international baggage allowances of major international carriers, i.e. 8kg at Rs 1,600; 15kg at Rs 3,000 and 30kg at Rs 6,000.

ICB fares can be pre-booked upto 2 hours prior to the AirAsia domestic flight departure while booking or checking-in, or using manage my booking on

Guests will be asked to show their boarding pass of their international flight within 24 hours of their domestic AirAsia India flight at the check-in counter.

15/03/22 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Man held at Delhi's IGI airport with 1 kg smuggled gold

New Delhi: The customs department on Tuesday said that they arrested a man at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi for allegedly smuggling one kg of gold worth Rs 48,90,270.

The customs official said that the accused returned from Dubai and was intercepted following a tip off.

Customs recovered one 'U' shaped structure of gold weighing 1,000 gms, wrapped in silver colour tape and fixed to a rod beneath the seat of the accused.

The officials seized the gold under Section 110 of the Customs Act. The accused also admitted to having smuggled another 2 kg of gold amounting to Rs 86,58,820 in the same way in the past.

The official said that the total customs act violation became Rs 1,35,49,090 and he was charged for both the acts.

15/03/22 Tanseem Halder/India Today

Man gets 20 years in jail for planting bomb at Mangaluru airport

Bengaluru: A Karnataka court on Wednesday sentenced a man to 20-year imprisonment under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for planting an explosive near the departure gate of Mangalore International Airport.

A live explosive was found in an unattended bag near the airport gate on January 20, 2020. It was defused by a bomb squad. Two days later Aditya Rao, a resident of Mangaluru, surrendered before the police.

The judicial magistrate court of Mangaluru sentenced Rao under Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a Rs 10,000 fine, failing which he will have to undergo six months’ simple imprisonment in addition. He was also handed five years’ rigorous imprisonment and a Rs 10,000 fine, failing which six more months will have to be spent in jail, under Section 4 of the Explosives Substances Act, 1908. Both sentences will run concurrently.

The Mangaluru police, which had investigated the case, filed their chargesheet in June 2020.

16/03/22 Indian Express