Monday, January 21, 2019

Banks ask Naresh Goyal to pump in Rs 3,000 crore in Jet Airways

Banks have asked Jet Airways chairman and founder Naresh Goyal to bring in an equity of at least Rs 2,500-3,000 crore for them to agree on a long-term restructuring package to save the floundering airline, whose losses have crossed Rs 1,200 crore for the half year ended September 2018. Having failed to cobble up the money, one of the main demands of the bankers, the airline is yet to sign the resolution plan. The deadline for implementing the revival plan is June 30, 2019, failing which the banks will be forced to take the airline to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

"The money on offer by Goyal will not be enough for banks to undertake a viable restructuring package.Unless there is an equity influsion of at least Rs 3,000 crore we will be unable to undertake a restructuring exercise which would include additional loans, extension in repayments," said a banker who is part of the consortium that lent money to the airline.

Last week Naresh Goyal last week in a letter to SBI chairman had said that he will bring in Rs 700 crore and that his equity holding in the company should not fall below a threshold of 25%.

In April 2013, United Arab Emirates (UAE) headquartered Etihad Airlines bought a 24% stake in Jet at a 31.7% premium to Jet's share price Rs 573.85. But now Etihad is bargaining hard to raise its stake to 49% from 24% at Rs 150 a share, a steep discount from the prevailing share price of Rs 276.86 and immediate infusion of $35 million into the airline. Etihad CEO Tony Douglas has also insisted on the complete exit of Naresh Goyal and his family from the management of the carrier. He has also demanded that Goyal's future role as chairman emeritus should also be defined.
21/01/19 Manju AB/DNA

A Jet-Etihad deal won’t comfort many investors

Mumbai: Life seems to have come full circle for Jet Airways and Etihad Airways. And not in a nice way.
The two are once again stuck in a complex web of altercations that coloured their initial talks before the Abu Dhabi-based airline bought 24% stake of its Indian peer. Only this time, it seems the discussions are more bitter, the efforts at cornering out the other party are more pronounced, and the brinkmanship is more prominent than ever before.
Jet, facing the worst financial crisis of its existence and having failed to garner definitive interest from any other investor, not for want of trying, has finally knocked on Etihad’s door for additional funding.
But Jet’s chairman Naresh Goyal wants to still own and manage the airline, according to people in the know.
Etihad wants a Goyal-less Jet, going by its communications to Jet’s lenders.
Goyal last week wrote in a letter to lead lender State Bank of India’s chairman Rajnish Kumar that he was willing to invest Rs 700 crore in the airline, but his stake shouldn’t fall below 25% from the current levels of 51%.
It wasn’t clear why he had let his airline go so far into its current crisis before making this offer.
SBI, along with other local lenders, is trying to formulate a resolution plan for the airline. Jet defaulted on loan repayments in December.
21/01/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Etihad may reveal Jet Airways rescue deal this week, banks want Gulf carrier to soften stand

New Delhi: Etihad Airways, which owns a 24 per cent in Jet Airways, is expected to reveal its rescue plans mid this week regarding injecting fund in the debt-laden Indian carrier. “Etihad has agreed to come back by Wednesday. The views are also being put across through diplomatic channels,” a person aware of the matter told the Economic Times.

It may be noted that last week Etihad chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Douglas told the lead lender State Bank of India (SBI) that it would pay a rupee more than Rs 150 a share for infusing fresh capital, and want exit of Naresh Goyal and his family from any management role in the Indian carrier. Several reports suggested that the Abu-Dhabi-based airline also sought exemptions from Sebi on making an open offer and preferential pricing regulation — setting a fair price of Jet stock at Rs 140-150 apiece.
According to the ET report, lenders are not bothered about Etihad’s conditions for a complete departure of founder chairman Naresh Goyal or his family members from Jet management. However, banks want certain other matters have to be taken into account in accordance with banking and securities market norms. These issues include preference pricing, the quantum of fresh capital and extent of transfer of bank loan into equity.

A former Jet Airways insider says Naresh Goyal cannot run the airline

India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, is on the brink of a collapse, and there is a bitter battle for control underway between the two partners that own the company that has already defaulted on its debt.

Steve Forte, the man who led Jet Airways for a couple of years until 2002, has a point to make about what is unfolding at the airline. “If Mr. Goyal's offer is accepted by the banks then nothing will change and the downward spiraling of Jet Airways will continue. The airline will burn through the new cash infusion just like it did with the initial infusion from Etihad and any other loans it received,” he told the Economic Times (ET).
Naresh Goyal has offered to invest up to ?700 crore in the cash-strapped airline and sought to retain at least a 25% stake in the company. “Given Jet's outstanding debt (over ?8,000 crore),?700 crore from Mr. Goyal is a drop in the bucket,” according to Forte.

In 2013, Etihad invested more than ?2,000 crore for a 24% stake in Jet at a considerable premium to its market value, arranged soft loans for the Indian airline, and paid its bills, ET reported. Naresh Goyal, the founding Chairman, remained at the helm and five years hence, the airline
Not surprisingly, Etihad is bargaining hard this time. Reports suggest the Abu Dhabi-based partner has only offered to increase its stake in the cash-strapped airline by buying shares at only ?150 a share- a 46% discount to Jet’s current share price - and demanded the complete exit of owner Naresh Goyal and his family as well as the right to appoint a CEO.
21/01/19 Sriram Iyer/Business Insider

Airport modernisation: New model raises hopes of a take-off

Having failed repeatedly to partially privatise the Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports, with sweetening of conditions proving inadequate for investment, the Union government has changed tack and opted for the public private partnership (PPP) model to redevelop the Ahmedabad, Jaipur and four other airports.

More than 12 years after the Delhi and Mumbai airports were privatised, the facilities at Lucknow, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, Trivandrum and Guwahati would be going under the hammer in the coming weeks, a move that has been welcomed by experts. “We should see good participation from both domestic and international players,” says Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practice lead at CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory.

Under the new framework the ministry of civil aviation has devised, a longer concession period of 50 years is being offered to prospective developers for greater certainty of returns, besides the elimination of the contentious revenue-sharing bidding criterion. In a departure from the first round of airport privatisation, the bids would be assessed on the basis of the highest monthly per-passenger fee offered to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Airport operators have often complained of the high fund outgo under the revenue-sharing model as it is based on gross revenue instead of profits, with the revenues to be shared in case of losses as well. It also limits the operators’ capacity to invest in expansion work. On the other hand, the passenger fee would be decided at the time the contract is awarded, continuing over a five-year period.
21/01/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

As Pravasi Bharatiya Divas begins,Varanasi Airport struggles with air traffic

Varanasi: With its limited infrastructure and parking capacity, the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi is struggling to handle the increased air traffic in the wake of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which begins today.

"Limited infrastructure is posing to be a challenge. We are minutely observing movement of aircrafts and are deciding where and how to park the incoming flights," said Anil Kumar Roy, Director, Varanasi Airport.

The airport, typically handles 32 to 33 flights daily including international flights with no night operations. In the coming three days many choppers and private planes are also expected to arrive with guests attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, increasing the air traffic load enormously.
"The coming three days will be a challenge for us as both the Prime Minister and the President will be arriving and there will be an increase in the VVIP movement at the airport," he added.
21/01/19 ANI/Business Standard

BJP rally in WB: Amit Shah’s helicopter to finally land at Malda airport after hiccups in approval

Malda: The political tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal has taken fresh turns after a controversy erupted surrounding BJP president Amit Shah’s rally that is scheduled to be held in West Bengal’s Malda district on Tuesday.

The Malda additional district magistrate had in a letter dated January 18 written back to the BJP over a request to land chopper at Malda airport on January 20 and said that the airport was not safe for landing a helicopter. “The upgradation work at Malda airport is going on… Sand and other construction material are lying around... The airport not suitable for safe landing of helicopters… It is not possible to allow permission,” an ANI report said.
In response, the BJP’s general secretary for Malda wrote to the District Magistrate and alleged that the airport was being used by the state government. “The Malda airport is being used by the West Bengal government for landing their helicopter every Wednesday… If you say that the airport is not suitable for safe landing, why are you allowing helicopters of the state govt?”

As a result, the Malda district administration granted BJP the permission to land its helicopter when Shah arrives for the rally on January 22 at a ground that’s bang opposite to where the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lands her chopper.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad fumed at the development and said that he has proof to back claims that the airport is functional.

SpiceJet’s maiden flight from Dehradun reaches holy city

Amritsar: The daily Amritsar-Dehradun flight by SpiceJet arrived at Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport here on Sunday. 

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and only Sikh MLA in his government, Harbhajan Singh Cheema, were among the prominent persons arrived in the flight.

Later, they paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. While talking to mediapersons Rawat said to reacquire the land of Gurdwara Gian Godhdi at Haridwar, there was a need to develop unanimity.
The flight will leave Dehradun at 11.55 am and will arrive in Amritsar at 12.35 pm. A return flight will leave Amritsar at 12.55 pm and arrive in Dehradun at 1.35 pm. The total duration of flight will be 40 minutes. The aircraft has a capacity of 78 passengers. 
20/01/19 Neeraj Bagga/Tribune

Airbus reposes faith in P&W, says engines within safety threshold

Amid the growing safety concerns with regards to the aircraft fitted with snag-prone Pratt and Whitney engines, aircraft-maker Airbus, reposing faith in P&W, has said that the engines are within the safety threshold.

“From a reliability standpoint, the engines are within the safety threshold. Let’s also not forget that all regulatory engines have certified these engines. Safety is not an issue," said Anand E Stanley, president and managing director, Airbus India, while speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18 on the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat 2019.

Stanley's comments came after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently barred IndiGo and GoAir from flying Airbus A320neo aircraft, fitted with P&W engines, to Port Blair. The reason cited was runway for an emergency landing being more than an hour away from Port Blair.

The regulatory body's move came nearly a month after an IndiGo flight from Port Blair to Kolkata returned for an emergency landing in Port Blair after a mid-air engine shutdown.

IndiGo and GoAir have inadvertently been impacted the most on account of these carriers operating flights fitted with P&W engines.

However, Stanley ruled out any possibility of customers being discouraged from buying the company’s A320 Neos, fitted with the engines. “We continue to see orders for Pratt and Whitney engines for our A320 Neos,” said Stanley.
21/01/19 CNBC TV18

Airlines flying to Port Blair take precautions after DGCA warning

Chennai: Airlines flying to Port Blair have started taking precautions after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) warned that Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engines should not be used for flights on the route.

IndiGo and GoAir have narrow-body aircraft that have P&W engines.

IndiGo has started using A320 aircraft powered by engines which are safer than the trouble-prone P&W machines, while GoAir has deployed planes that uses non-P&W engines.

There are more than six flights from Chennai to Port Blair daily. Operations on the route were not affected after warning was issued, though airport officials said airlines take precautions while flying the route which is already fraught with weather turbulence.

The warning was issued after DGCA felt that planes with P&W engines should not be used for flights over the sea where alternative landing spots are not available within an hour’s flight time.
The aviation regulator also felt that the route comes under Extended Diversion Time Operation (EDTO) which means that the nearest airport should be reachable using single engine in an hour’s time.
21/01/19 Times of India

IAF shifts its focus to eastern-most tip

After making all six airfields in Arunachal Pradesh operational, the Indian Air Force has shifted its focus to Vijaynagar, the eastern-most tip of India, to upgrade landing facilities and make it operational by February-end.

There are six landing strips across Arunachal Pradesh where India shares a 1,100-km disputed boundary with China. In the past, a fighter jet landed in Passighat, a transport plane C-17 landed at Mechuka and a C-130 operated from Tezu. All six strips, called advanced landing grounds (ALGs), were used in a massive exercise of the IAF in April last year.

Vijaynagar in Arunachal (also known as Vijoynagar) is surrounded by Myanmar on three sides and the nearest road-head is at Miao, some 180 km away. For the locals, it is a four-day trek. An old airstrip exists in the valley. It is not in use since 2016.
20/01/19 Ajay Banerjee/Tribune

Air India suspends Gaya-Delhi flight

Gaya: Hundreds of air passengers who booked tickets for Varanasi and Delhi find themselves in limbo as Air India, the only operator of the Gaya-Varanasi- Delhi route, suddenly suspended its operation on the route.
“The sudden suspension could not have come at a worse time as this is the peak period of the six-month-long tourist season in Bodh Gaya,” says A Ojha, a hospitality sector expert. “The airlines has delivered a blow to the efforts of the state government to promote international tourism with Bodh Gaya as the epicentre,” Ojha added.

“Confirming the suspension of flight no A433, the only domestic flight from Gaya, Air India station manager PS Bhattacharya said the suspension is temporary. The flight will remain suspended between January 20-24 and again on January 26,” said the station manager. The airlines would try to minimise the inconvenience caused to passengers and they would be taken to Patna by road and accommodated in AI flights operating on Patna-Delhi route.

Asked about the cause of the flight suspension, the Airlines official said he has received communication from the headquarters saying that the operation was being suspended for Republic Day security measures.

“The official reason given for the nearly week-long suspension was very intriguing,” said Sanjay Sahay, a regular flier on the Gaya-Delhi route. Sahay wondered why only the domestic flight has been suspended in view of the Republic Day. AI and other foreign airlines will continue operations ahead of the Republic Day. “The airlines has invented a very weak alibi,” said Sahay.
21/01/19 Adbul Qadir/Times of India

Government may issue NCDs of up to Rs 29,000 cr to repay Air India's outstanding working capital loans

New Delhi: The Centre may issue Non-Convertible Debentures (NCD) of up to Rs 29,000 crore to repay Air India’s outstanding working-capital loans that have been taken over by the government as part of the debt-laden carrier’s financial restructuring.

One of the proposals to quickly lighten the debt load at the national carrier is to issue the NCDs from Air India Assets holding (AIAHL), the company formed to take away the airline’s outstanding working-capital loans. The NCDs will come with sovereign guarantees.

“A plan to transfer the debt to a subsidiary, complete with the approvals from the lender banks, is taking a lot of time as various banks have to agree,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be named. “AIAHL can issue the NCDs to raise money and repay the outstanding loans to banks… That is being considered.”

The NCDs could reduce the debt servicing costs, currently between 9% and 11%, by up to 300 basis points besides speeding up the process to transfer the loan from the books of Air India.
21/01/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Can't Keep Financial Stress Away From Cockpit, Warns Air India Pilots' Union

Mumbai: Raising concerns over delayed salary payments, a group of Air India pilots has said financial stress could impact flight safety.
The Indian Pilots' Guild, which represents pilots of wide-body planes of Air India, has also told aviation regulator DGCA that the management has continuously used the guise of financial losses to illegally change their service conditions and withhold payment of arrears as well as overtime.
"We are already engaged in multiple litigations for our basic rights and service conditions. If even our salaries are now withheld and reduced at the whims and fancies of airline management, it is not humanly possible to keep all this stress away from the cockpit," the guild has said. The guild has around 700 members.
In a letter to DGCA chief BS Bhullar, the grouping's general secretary Captain K Jayakumar said that such a prolonged atmosphere of financial uncertainty is not conducive to flight safety.
"For more than six months, our wages are not being paid on time. Our January wages have still not be paid even after half the month is gone and even now nobody can give us a straight answer as to when we can expect payment," the letter dated January 17 said. The pilots have received their December salary.

Sitharaman most defenceless minister of India: Congress

New Delhi: Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi on Sunday came down heavily on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the Rafale deal and said that she is the “most defenceless minister in India.”

Defence Minister Sitharaman in a seminar on Saturday said: “I want this debate on Rafale deal without any of us playing in the hands of international corporate warfare. None of us should become a party to any corporate warfare. We cannot become pawns in the hands of the corporate giants’ warfare to question the government and throw misinformation to the public.”
Responding to Defence Minister Sitharaman’s statement, Chaturvedi on Sunday told media here, “The Defence Minister in her recent statement has conclusively proven that this is a government of the suited-booted, for suited-booted and by the suited-booted.”
“She has proven that corporate interests for this government are way more important than nation’s interests. That seems to have become the mantra for the entire Modi governance. It is always going to be the suited-booted friends over the nation,” she said.
Chaturvedi said: “Sitharaman today comes across as the most defenceless minister of India who is protecting, serving and defending the interests of the government and their corporate friends.”
She also asked: “What was the compulsion to snatch 108 Rafale contract fighter jets that would have come to the HAL through the transfer of technology, from HAL and continuing to lie in the Parliament that the there was absolutely no work share agreement?”
“However, if you go through the Twitter feed of Dassault Aviation, it categorically states that there was a work share agreement signed between HAL and Dassault. Also, HAL had signed this contract on March 13, 2014, which was worth Rs 36,000 crore. While lying in the Parliament whose interests was the Defence Minister defending,” she further asked.
20/01/19 Neha/Siasat Daily

Why did Modi oust HAL despite a work-share agreement with Dassault, asks Congress

New Delhi: Continuing its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "enriching his crony" in the Rafale deal, the Congress on Sunday demanded to know why Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was "ousted" from the deal despite having a work-share with Rafale maker Dassault Aviation.
Citing media reports as well as a tweet by Dassault confirming the work-share agreement, Congress spokesperson Priyanaka Chaturvedi also targeted Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who has accused the opposition of trying to "sabotage" the deal and "becoming pawns in corporate warfare".
"By bringing the argument about corporate warfare, Defence Minister seals and stamps the Congress party's charge that Rs 30,000 crore offset contract and Rs 1 lakh crore lifecycle cost contract was given to Modi's crony.
"In this process, 75-year-old PSU HAL lost out to a company that was started just 12 days after the deal announcement," Chaturvedi told the media here.
She demanded the Modi government to disclose the "compulsion" behind its decision to "snatch" 108 Rafale contract from HAL,despite having a work-share agreement with Dassault.
20/01/19 IANS/daijiworld

Direct Tvm-Singapore flights from May

Thiruvananthapuram: Scoot, the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines Group, will operate direct flights between Singapore and Thiruvananthapuram, starting from May 7. The airline will operate service for five days a week from Trivandrum International Airport.
Airbus aircraft will be used for the service.The company plans to start the service of Thiruvananthapuram-Singapore flight TR 531, which will depart from Trivandrum International Airport at 10.40pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to reach Singapore at 5.35am. Singapore-Thiruvananthapuram flight TR 530 from Singapore will leave at 8.05pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to reach Thiruvananthapuram at 9.45pm.
“The new routes are due to be transferred over from sister airline, SilkAir, and Scoot will be the only airline operating direct flights from Thiruvananthapuram,” said a statement from the company.
In India, Scoot already operates services in seven routes – from Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli.
In addition to Thiruvananthapuram, the airline announced its extension to two other cities, Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam. The service from Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam will begin from October 27. The airline also introduced a limited time sale on flights which will end on January 28.
20/01/19 Times of India

Amid political controversy, India pays more than half of Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal

Amid political slugfest, India has already made more than 50 per cent of the payment to France under the deal it signed for 36 Rafale fighter jets. India had placed an order for 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale in 2016 at a price Rs 59,000 crore.

The delivery of these aircraft is scheduled between November 2019 and April 2022. However, 13 upgrades requested by the Indian Airforce on 36 jets will take come more time and is expected to be fully operational by September-October 2022. These upgrades will require another six months to undergo "software certification" after their arrival in India.

English leading daily, the Times of India reported quoting its sources that "around Rs 34,000 crore" has been paid in "milestone-linked instalments". "Another instalment of Rs 13,000 crore is to be made later this year," the source added. The entire amount of Rs. 59,000 crore will be paid in instalments with the first 15% instalment being paid soon after the agreement was signed between the two sides in September 2016.
Apart from the first instalment, other instalments linked to milestones, like the completion of critical design review and documentation, were also cleared by India. One of the sources added that "the remaining instalments are linked to actual deliveries, with the final tranche to be paid in 2022."

The first four jets from Dassault Aviation will be delivered to the Indian Airforce (IAF) in France in September. Post its delivery, a training session for the "main" induction team of around 10 pilots, 10 flight engineers, and 40 technicians will be held.

As the plan drawn by the IAF, these Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana in May 2020. IAF has planned to station a squadron of 18 Rafales each at Ambala and Hasimara (West Bengal) airbases which will strengthen the Air superiority in the regions facing Pakistan and China.
20/01/19 Ashish Shukla/IBTimes

Singapore to three new Indian Cities on Scoot

Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, has announced plans to add three cities – Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam in India – into its service network.

These services will be transferred from sister airline SilkAir, said Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Scoot. It will be the only airline operating direct non-stop flights from Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam to Singapore.
Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, has announced plans to add three cities – Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam in India – into its service network.

These services will be transferred from sister airline SilkAir, said Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Scoot. It will be the only airline operating direct non-stop flights from Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam to Singapore.
21/01/19 Juergen Steinmetz/eTurbo News

Airlines seek centralised slot norms

As India's major airports choke under increasing air traffic congestion with additional slots hard to come by, airlines want the government to create centralised slot guidelines for the country. The new system will help in optimising the use of scarce airport capacity by allowing airlines and airports to plan their whole network and schedule and provide choice and connectivity to the passengers.

Further, it is likely to bring in transparency, flexibility, certainty, consistency and sustainability into the slots allotment, which is often mired by allegations of airlines unnecessarily 'blocking' slots to avoid it getting allotted to rival carriers in future. Further, there have also been allegations of airports being partial in allotting slots to dominant airlines at the cost of new entrants and weaker players. The guidelines are already in place in some of the leading countries like Germany, France and the UK.

By having a centrally regulated system in place at all airports across the country, the guidelines will allow airlines to plan their whole network and schedule and provide choice and connectivity to the passengers. Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO, IATA, said that the guidelines mean "one slot co-ordinator for one country".
A presentation is said to have been made by the carrier representatives and airline lobby body IATA to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The sources said that the ministry officials are considering the proposal before taking any decision over bringing any regulation in this regard.
The development comes as the government, airlines, airports, flier bodies and other stakeholders debate over ways to make slot allocations more efficient. Solutions ranging from putting a cap on a maximum number of take-off and landing an airline can have at a congested airport to imposing higher charges for peak hour slots are aggressively being discussed, though it may turn to be controversial and likely to be contested by airlines which stand to lose.
21/01/19 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

SC orders stoppage of work on Mopa International Airport

New Delhi: In a decision that is seen as a major setback to the Mopa International Airport project and an initial victory to the NGOs in Goa fighting the project, the Supreme Court has ordered the government of Goa and GMR to stop work and maintain a status quo on the construction of the airport.

SC ordered the interim order on hearing the petition filed by two petitioners Hanumant Aroskar and Federation of Rainbow Warriors challenging the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The petitioners approached India’s Apex Court over the felling of over 55,000 trees, after the NGT rejected their petition challenging the grant of the Environmental Clearance (EC) for the Greenfield airport.
20/01/19 Savio Rodrigues/Goa Chronicle

26 times in 2018 planes came too close mid-air

Hyderabad: A total of 26 incidents of near-miss, when two aircraft come close to each other mid-air, were reported by Indian aircraft in 2018.
Investigations show that most such incidents happened because of poor air traffic controller planning and confusing signals.
 The Director General of Civil Aviation has taken serious note of the near misses. A recent incident was reported in Kolkata when two IndiGo planes came too close for comfort before averting a mid-air collision on the border airspace of India and Bangladesh. In another incident in July 2018, over 330 passengers had a narrow escape after a mid-air collision involving two IndiGo aircraft was averted near Kempegowda International Airport. The planes were just 200 m apart, vertically, and any collision could have been disastrous.
“A primary season for mid-air aircraft diversion is misjudgment by controller, inadvertent clearance issued by controller, loss of situational awareness by the controller and poor planning by the controller — all of which put thousands of passengers’ lives at risk. However, aircraft now have an in-built anti-collision system,” said a senior DGCA officer.
21/01/19 Coreena Suares/Deccan Chronicle

Pantnagar airport to get doppler for uninterrupted services

Rudrapur: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is going to install Doppler Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range (DVOR) technology at Pantnagar airport in Udham Singh Nagar district for uninterrupted flight operations during bad weather and poor visibility.
In the absence of the technology, several flights were getting cancelled. Earlier, on January 4, the inaugural flight between Pantnagar and Dehradun was also cancelled due to low visibility.
SK Singh, director of Pantnagar airport, said that Distance Measuring Instrument (DMI) and DVOR, imported from the USA at a cost of Rs 80 crore, has reached Kandla port in Gujarat and will be installed in Pantnagar airport soon. He added, “A four-member team from Delhi has completed a survey and the new technology will be operational in another 20 days. The new system can calculate the accurate distance from the runway during low visibility and help the pilot while landing.”
20/01/19 Times of India

Runway funnel zone redevelopment plan submitted to state

Hundreds of residents affected by the Mumbai airport runway funnel zone who got together to prepare their own redevelopment proposal after years of helplessly waiting for the authorities to address their woes, have finally presented it to the state government for consideration.
Prepared last month by a team of four architects - Nikhil Dikshit, Shrikrishna Shevade, Swati and Nilesh Barve - the redevelopment plan, which could be applicable to the entire funnel zone area was presented before the State Urban Development department on Saturday and is now under consideration of the state government.
A team of residents led by BJP MLA from Vile Parle Parag Alavani met with state Urban Development Secretary Nitin Kareer, Chief Engineer, DP Rajendra Zope, Deputy Chief Engineer (Building Proposals) Western Suburbs Parag Raut in Mantralaya. Shevade expressed relief over finally being heard. "We impressed upon the officials why we need a subsidy for reconstruction. The government has formulated schemes and given subsidies for Dharavi redevelopment project, BDD chawls, Slum redevelopment. Similarly, the funnel zone residents also deserve the subsidy because our hardships are unending. The sound pollution and height restrictions due to the proximity to the
airport are perpetual problems and hence we deserve the subsidy," he said.
An estimated 3.6 lakh residents living in ground-plus-two buildings in areas adjoining the airport in Vile Parle, Santacruz, Kurla and Ghatkopar have been impacted by the runway funnel zone height restrictions.
21/01/19 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

Entry for visitors barred at Amritsar airport

Amritsar: Ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, the entry of visitors, except passengers, at the Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport (SGRJIA), has been banned with immediate effect. 

Airport director Manoj Chansoria said, as per the alert issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCA) Director General, sale of entry tickets for visitors was stopped. Even movement of vehicles has been restricted while CISF has deployed more combatants.

Security was beefed up in and around the airport and all passengers were informed to reach the airport well before their scheduled flight time as they were to go through more security checks, which will consume more time, he advised.
Paid entry to the departure lounge has been banned. Passengers have been barred from entering departure lounge to see off their relatives.

He stated that standard operating procedure had been placed in totality and even entry of vehicles had been restricted. Vehicles engaged in pick and drop service cannot remain in the airport and no vehicle can arrive at the airport’s terminal building, he said.
20/01/19 Neeraj Bagga/Tribune 

Shivdaspura Greenfield airport affected people appeal to CM Ashok Gehlot

A change in the government has come to raise hopes of change for many of the landowners affected by the Shivdaspura Greenfield airport project. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) has declared hold on regularisation process in many villages in anticipation of acquisition for several years. The affected families have now appealed chief minister Ashok Gehlot for intervention.

“There is no certainty of the proposal. The site does not comply with requisites of Airport Authority of India and even the Union civil aviation minister has denied of any airport proposed in the area,” said a member of the delegation to meet the chief minister.

The delegation pleaded that ‘reserved’ for the project, their properties have turned in non-performing assets. They neither can sell it or develop for personal and their plight remains uncompensated by the development authority.
21/01/19 DNA

Former airport employee's lawsuit tossed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former airport employee alleging he was fired on the basis of national origin.

Former interim airport manager Seshai Sai Vorrey sued the City of Brownsville in late 2017 alleging that city officials discriminated against him because he is from India before firing him.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez disagreed, ruling on Jan. 11 that Vorrey failed to prove alleged racially charged remarks made by former City Manager Charlie Cabler, who is now running for mayor, influenced Brownsville South Padre Island Airport Director Bryant Walker's decision to fire Vorrey.

"Mr. Vorrey does not allege that Mr. Walker, who made the adverse decision and refused to sign the visa application even knew about the remarks," Rodriguez wrote in his decision.

Court documents reveal that Walker lost confidence in Vorrey, who Walker believed forged his signature on an immigration form without his consent in order to have his visa renewed.

"Mr. Walker states that he is terminating Mr. Vorrey as a result of allegations of misconduct reported on or about December 11, 2016, and on or about December 21, 2016," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Walker states he has lost confidence in Mr. Vorrey's credibility and his ability to carry out the duties and functions of the position he held at the airport at the time of his termination."

In a Department of Justice complaint The Brownsville Herald obtained through a Texas Public Information Act, Vorrey had accused city staff of discriminating against him because he is Indian.

"I am being discriminated against by my employer the City of Brownsville, because of my National Origin, my citizenship status and the City is refusing to approve and sign my job description to complete my response to Immigration by my December 24, 2016, deadline," Vorrey alleged in the complaint. "The City is intentionally interfering with my documents needed to renew my work visa by withholding my job description so that I will miss my deadline."

Walker denied those allegations, saying in court documents that Vorrey failed to timely make necessary corrections to the job description.

The City of Brownsville asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed nearly a year ago, arguing that Vorrey failed to state a claim.
20/01/19 Brownsville Herald

100 flights hit as fog continues to mess up travel plans

New Delhi: The capital saw dense fog again on Sunday that affected 75-100 flights and delayed 10 trains. However, the situation was better than Friday when over 500 flights were affected at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

On Sunday, the lowest runway visual range recorded was around 200 metres. Officials said there were delays in departures and arrivals, but no flight was cancelled or diverted.

A minimum runway visual range of 50 metres is required for a flight to land safely if it is CAT III-B compliant. The minimum runway visual range for take off is 125 metres. “The early fog warnings at IGI airport on Monday were the reason why not many flight operations were affected,” said an official. Airlines also took to Twitter, asking passengers to check their flight timings in advance.

21/01/19 Times of India

Jaipur airport hotspot for gold smuggling

Jaipur: Jaipur airport seems to have caught the fancy of gold smugglers, as they are increasingly using the airport as a transit route to smuggle gold. According to the data available with the customs department, after a brief hiatus in 2017, at least 18 to 19kg of gold was seized by sleuths of customs in 2018, which was worth nearly Rs seven crore in the Indian market.

On Sunday, sleuths seized 540grams of gold in biscuit form, which was concealed in the rectum by a passenger travelling to Jaipur from Bangkok.

In 2015 and 2016, there was a sudden rise in the smuggling cases, in which Jaipur airport was used as a transit route to smuggle gold in India. However, the year 2017 did not have any considerable instances of such incidents. However, in the year 2018, smuggling cases from the airport surfaced again, with nearly 18 to 19kg of gold being seized in that year (till January 2019), which was worth nearly Rs seven crore.
On the spurt in smuggling, K K Singh, deputy commissioner, customs, talking to TOI, said, “There are several factors involved, including the import duty. Also, those involved in smuggling of gold keep changing the airports. In the year 2018, and even in January so far, a good amount of seizure was made by us. Only deterrence to smuggling is seizures and arrests.”
Officials of customs department added that Bangkok is emerging as a new smuggling centre after Dubai.
21/01/19 Ashish Mehta/Times of India

Delhi airport continues to grapple with the menace of rude flyers

New Delhi: Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport has recorded 136 cases of unruly passengers, while 95 passengers have been booked for illegally carrying arms and ammunition between 2017-2018. According to the data accessed by Mail Today from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), out of the total cases, majority of the unruly passengers were Indian.

While 57 Indian male passengers and eight female passengers were found to be misbehaving with the airline staff as well as the security personnel in 2018, 41 Indian male passengers and one female passenger lost their temper in 2017. In 2018, 17 male foreigners and one female foreigner were found to have shown unruly behaviour. In 2017, 16 male foreigners and three female foreigners misbehaved, which indicates that 78% Indian men misbehaved with the airlines staff as compared to 22% of their foreign counterparts.

A CISF official said that in 2018, 39 male passengers and eight female passengers were caught with arms and ammunitions. Talking about the kind of arms and ammunitions which the flyers sneak in, the official said they mostly carry 9mm pistol, .22 pistol,.32 pistol, 7.62 pistol and 5.56 pistol.

A senior CISF told Mail Today that intoxication, personal problems, dissatisfaction with the airline staff, delay in flight are the reasons behind the misbehaviour.
21/01/19 Kanika Mehta/India Today

9.8kg gold smuggled in joysticks, racket busted

Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai airport on Sunday seized 9.8kg gold worth Rs 3.3 crore which was concealed in gaming joysticks. This is the first time such a modus operandi has been uncovered, sources said. Three men have been arrested.

Officials had intelligence reports that gold was likely to be smuggled by Chennai-based passengers arriving by an Air India flight from Sharjah and an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur. Sources said on Sunday morning, customs officers noticed that three male passengers walking in a suspicious manner and hurrying towards the exit.

They were intercepted at the exit of the arrival hall and questioned by Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officers of customs. “They were asked if they were carrying gold or any other valuables which needed to be declared,” said a source. “They were evasive, so we took them and their baggage for a detailed examination.”
Customs officials found 47 pieces of joysticks of Sony Playstation in the baggage of passenger Kamar Ali, 38, who had arrived from Kuala Lumpur by AirAsia flight AK 11PS4. The officers found the joysticks unusually heavy, and on close examination, found them to be tampered with.
The officers checked the baggage of the other two passengers — Riyas Khan, 32, and Ibrahim Shah, 52, who had arrived from Sharjah by Air India Flight 968 which had landed half an hour after the AirAsia flight and found they too had joysticks.
21/01/19 Times of India

German held with fake ticket at Indira Gandhi International airport

New Delhi: A German national was arrested for entering Indira Gandhi International airport using a forged ticket. After being nabbed, the man told the cops that he was aware that he might be arrested, but he wanted to see off his girlfriend and hence used the fake ticket.
The accused was identified as Fyn Gunnar. According to Customs officials, Gunnar entered the IGI premises by using an edited ticket of the flight his girlfriend was taking. He first booked the ticket and then cancelled it just so that he could gain entry and spend some extra time with his girlfriend.

When Gunnar tried to exit the airport terminal, he was stopped by one of the staffers. The German national was later handed over to the police and a case under sections 417 (Punishment for cheating), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass), 465 (Punishment for forgery) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the IPC was registered at the IGI airport police station against him.
21/01/19 Times of India

Sunday, January 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fly Jet Airways sans Naresh Goyal

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

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

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

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

India to make air travel affordable: Suresh Prabhu

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

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

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

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

International corporate rivalry behind Rafale storm: Sitharaman

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

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

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

The skyrocketing of flight rates!

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

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

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

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

NRIs miss flight to Australia

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

MoUs inked for airports at Dholera, Ankleshwar

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

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

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

What led to chaos at Delhi airport? Officials revealed this

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

Watch hours at Jammu Airport to be extended

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AirAsia Cancels Flight Operation From Srinagar

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

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

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

Flyers fume as ‘bad weather’ continues to disrupt flights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amritsar to Doon flight from today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘SkyFit’ yoga will help aviation officials deal with stress

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

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

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

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

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

Bhubaneswar Airport Granted e-Visa Facility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ED attaches assets worth Rs 26 cr of journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over Rs 66 lakh worth gold seized at Hyderabad airport

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

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

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

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

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

4 Sri Lankans held for smuggling gold in rectum

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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

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

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

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

But challenges still remain for the debt-ridden carrier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19/01/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Commercial flights likely from Jeypore in Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad weather hampers flight movement from Indore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air India Express to post profit this year, too

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

Fog in Delhi affects Raipur flights

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

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

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

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

Dense Fog Disrupts Flight Operations In Bhubaneswar Airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh snowfall in Kashmir, flights from Srinagar airport delayed

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

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

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

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

Surat airport gets staff for international flight operations

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

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