Sunday, August 19, 2018

Indian aviation market posts highest growth in May in Asia Pacific region: ACI

New Delhi: India led the Asia Pacific region in posting the highest growth in air passenger traffic in May at 13.3 per cent, said a global body representing airports worldwide.
The growth in China in comparison stood at 8.3 per cent and South Korea at 8.1 per cent, said the Airports Council International in its latest study released this month.
It said the impressive growth showed by the Asian gaints has led a situation of “disparity” in the region if compared with passenger traffic growth of Japan and Australia.
Japan, for example, posted a more subdued figure of 2.8 per cent and Australia at 2.3 per cent.
19/08/18 PTI/Financial Express

Can Naresh Goyal save Jet Airways?

Knowing Naresh Goyal, he will sort this out,” a former executive at Jet AirwaysNSE 0.80 %, now an investment banker, said of his former boss.
Goyal, 69, finds himself amidst his biggest battle yet—the fight to save his legacy and the airline that he has run for 25 years. Strong headwinds, not the kind that help airplanes take off smoothly from a runway, is setting Jet Airways on the course of a turbulent spiral. Last fortnight, this newspaper reported that the airline had asked pilots and engineers to take a 30% cut in salary. To convey the precariousness of the situation, a senior executive gave a timeline of 60 days to executives.
The airline later said the timeline conveyed an exaggerated sense of urgency.
But no one is contesting that the airline is negotiating a tight financial corner. The cost of servicing its Rs 8,100 crore debt is high. Fuel prices are soaring and so are wage bills in a competitive market. The competition from lowcost airlines and others also mean Jet’s ability to hold on to desirable levels of pricing has eroded. In short, there are too many players in the Indian skies, who have the wherewithal to stay for the long haul. At stake is an airline that Goyal built from the ground up and has kept afloat for 25 years, in a sub-continent that has seen many private airlines crash land.
19/08/18 Satish John/Economic Times

Hilsa fiasco: AI captain blames delay on security

Kolkata: The captain of the Air India flight that was held up for an hour at Dhaka airport on August 8 has conceded that he did order hilsa to take it home, but denies the delay was on account of him. He blamed the airline’s security officer and country manager for the delay. He was taken off flying duties on Saturday.
In a clarification to the AI management, captain Rajesh Kuyeskar admitted he had indeed requested a member of the airline’s contractual ground staff to get him raw hilsa.
According to Kuyeskar, he was engaged in pre-flight formalities for the Kolkata-Dhaka sector when he received a call from the security officer and stepped out of the aircraft. He was told at the aerobridge that the packet of hilsa would not be allowed as it was a contraband and had been brought in without permission.
At this point, Kuyeskar claims, he walked back to the flight deck to complete preflight briefing. It is then that the situation became complicated with the security officer, who had — till a few minutes ago — stopped the entry of the hilsa package, allegedly escorted the ground staffers with the package right into the cockpit to hand it over to the pilot to apparently avoid delay and heartburn.
“My co-pilot and I were alarmed at the action of the officer. He brought the package into the aircraft cockpit in brazen contravention of the very rules he had been stating. I asked them to immediately leave the flight deck with that package as it did not belong to anyone and requested for the Aircraft Release Certificate so that we could fly out. But it was not brought for another 25 minutes, keeping passengers and crew members waiting. Once the formalities were over, we pushed back in a minute. It is all there in the CCTV footage of the aircraft and the cockpit voice recorder,” the captain said.
19/08/18 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Private airlines make a killing! Rs 20,000 for Mangaluru now

Bengaluru: Private airlines are making a killing from the suspension of bus and train services to Mangaluru and Udupi  due to the heavy landslides in the Shiradi, Sampaje and Charmadi ghat sections, by hiking their fares exorbitantly from Bengaluru to Mangaluru.

They are charging between Rs 18,000 and Rs 20,000, when the normal air fare from Bengaluru to Mangaluru is  between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 and around Rs 2,000 if the booking is made early.

Every day nine flights are operated between the two cities by Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo and Spice Jet. 

Angered by the airlines fleecing passengers, Union Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda tweeted,  “Private airlines are busy making money. It’s shame. On August 16, Mangaluru to Bengaluru fare was Rs 18,000 as against the average of Rs 4000. Minister of State for Civil Aviation  Jayant Sinha should intervene immediately and also introduce more flights to Mangaluru.”
19/08/18 Deccan Chronicle

Monitoring flight fares in 32 routes, Kochin naval base to start civilian operation Monday, says Suresh Prabhu

Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday took to Twitter to inform that the airlines have been advised to keep prices of flights going to and from Kerala at as low as possible. Prabhu said, "Airlines have been advised to cap the maximum fare around Rs 10,000 for longer routes and around Rs 8,000 for shorter routes to/from Kerala and nearby airports."

He further informed, "DGCA is constantly monitoring airfares on 32 direct routes operating to/from Trivandrum, Calicut, Coimbatore & Mangalore. Monitoring done on Aug 18 has revealed that maximum fares on the shorter routes ranged from Rs 3034 to Rs 8000 and Rs 4757 to around Rs 10000 for longer routes."

Suresh Prabhu said that a Joint team comprising representatives from DGCA, BCAS, CISF, AAI and Indian Navy also carried out inspection of Cochin Naval Base on Sunday to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from the area. "Steps are being taken to start operations with ATR-72 from Monday, 20th August", he assured.
19/08/18 DNA

Australian writer’s deportation from Bengaluru airport highlights tricky areas in visa conditions

On July 31, a writer from Australia who had landed in Bengaluru on a trip to meet friends was deported from the airport by Indian authorities. They did not give her a clear explanation about why she was denied entry. She was forced to take the next flight back to Australia, which was via Singapore. In Singapore, Kathryn Hummel, 36, said she booked a ticket to Bangladesh, a country she frequently visits for work and leisure, which she had intended to visit anyway after her trip to India. However, authorities at Singapore’s Changi Airport detained her until the next flight to Adelaide, her hometown in Australia, was boarding, and ensured that she got onto it. She said that her passport was confiscated and she only got it back when she arrived in Australia.

Hummel is a poet and author of several works of fiction and non-fiction. She has also contributed as a researcher to several journals and publications on subjects that include gender, feminism and culture.

The chain of events that led to Hummel’s deportation from India highlight tricky areas in visa conditions that people in the fields of art, writing and academics could find difficult to negotiate. They run the risk of sometimes violating visa rules inadvertently.
19/08/18 Abhishek Dey/Scroll.in

Commercial flights from Kochi naval base from Monday

The Centre on Sunday said the Cochin Naval Base will be thrown open for commercial flight
operations from the morning of August 20, bringing a huge relief to people awaiting the
resumption of air service from Kochi.
The main Cochin international airport, the seventh busiest in the country, has been rendered nonfunctional
from August 14 due to flooding and torrential rains and would remain closed till August
26. As a result, both domestic and international flights to Kochi are being diverted to other
destinations such as Trivandrum and Calicut.
"In view of disruption of flights from Cochin airport due to floods, a joint team sent by @MoCA_GoI
has approved starting of scheduled commercial flights using ATRs by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of
Air India, between Bangalore and Cochin Naval Airbase," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu
tweeted this evening.
19/08/18 PTI/Deccan Herald

Doha Bank, Jet Airways join hands to offer 12% discount on flight tickets

Doha Bank has announced the launch of a new campaign to offer a 12% discount on airfare on flights booked on Jet Airways.
This reinforces the "bank’s commitment to introducing unique and diverse banking products and services", according to a press statement.
During the campaign period running from August 15 until July 31, 2019, customers using Doha Bank credit cards to purchase flight tickets can take advantage of the promotional offer.
JetPrivilege members holding valid Doha Bank credit cards can convert their Doha Miles to JPMiles, receiving one JPMile against one Doha Mile for a minimum transfer of 2,000 Doha Miles. JetPrivilege members can redeem their JPMiles, the reward currency of JetPrivilege, for free award flights on Jet Airways or any of the programme’s more than 20 airline partners.
18/08/18 Gulf Times

Three more direct flights to Hyderabad, Kolkata from Oct 1

Indore : Three direct flights will be launched from city to Hyderabad and Kolkata from October 1. This will include two flights to Hyderabad and one to Kolkata.

To be launched by Air Asia, the process to clear the flight launch is underway by Airport Authority of India and Bureau of Civil Aviation Safety. The flight schedule is yet to be released. However, two flights for Hyderabad would start at around 12.30 pm and 3 pm while Kolkata flight would also be in afternoon.

After launch of Air Asia’s flights, there will be five flights for Kolkata out of which two will be via Raipur (IndiGo) and four direct flights by IndiGo, Jet Airways and Air Asia.
19/08/18 Manish Upadhay/Free Press Journal

Joint team of aviation bodies CISF inspect Kochi naval base for commercial flight ops

New Delhi:  The Centre today said a joint team of different aviation-related bodies and CISF inspected the Cochin Naval Base, a day after announcing operation of commercial flights from the base from Monday to aid rescue efforts in Kerala.
    Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu also said the watch hour at Vijayawada and Begumpet airports has been extended to facilitate relief operations by IAF aircraft. Watch hour refers the period during which the airport remains open for operation.
    "A Joint team comprising representatives from DGCA, BCAS, CISF, AAI and Indian Navy carried out inspection of #Cochin Naval Base today to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from there. Steps being taken to start operations with ATR-72 from Monday, 20th August," the minister tweeted.
    The base will be used by carriers such as Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, to operate 70-seater ATR aircraft to places such as Bengaluru.
19/08/18 PTI/The Week

Kerala floods: The inundation of Kochi airport was a disaster waiting to happen

As heavy rain continues to lash Kerala, the government announced on Thursday that the flooded Cochin International Airport would remain closed until August 26. The international airports in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts will accommodate the traffic from Kochi, which is Kerala’s largest airport.
The state is in the grip of what has been called its worst monsoon in almost a century. The toll from the floods leapt to 184 on Friday from around 80 the previous day, with the state government saying close to 100 people had died within 36 hours.
While the full extent of the damage to Kochi airport is not yet clear, the shutdown of the facility is unprecedented. No major airport in India has had to close for 11 days due to rain. Ernakulam district, where the airport is located, received 124% more than the normal rainfall for the week ending August 15. News reports from the district mentioned people being stranded in their homes in areas very close to the airport.
The flooding of Cochin International Airport is an event foreseen. The facility, which opened in 1999, is barely 400 metres from the Periyar river. When the airport was built, a creek, the Chengal Thodu, that served as a distributary from the river and three irrigation canals that provide water to nearby paddy fields were realigned to make space for the runway, as a coffee table book published by the Cochin International Airport Limited says. The airport’s drainage system leads into the Chengal Thodu, which in turn is connected to the Periyar.
19/08/18 Mridula Chari/Scroll.in

Kerala floods: Centre promises to rein in airline firms over airfare as Cochin airport remains shut

Thiruvananthapuram: Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu promised the state government that Centre will ensure that the airline companies do not charge heftily from passengers travelling to Gulf countries from other airports, in the wake of shut-down of Cochin International Airport due to floods.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had brought the matter to the attention of the Centre. The Union civil aviation ministry has informed the state government that the Centre has instructed the airline companies that the fares should be capped at the rates which were existing prior to the shutdown of Kochi airport. The ministry also assured the chief minister that the airfares from Thiruvananthapuram to New Delhi will be capped at Rs 10,000, and the fares to other cities from Thiruvananthapuram will be reduced proportionately.
In addition, the issues in rail connectivity between northern districts and the state capital has reflected in the air sector. The only flight connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode daily, operated by Air India Express, has seen at least four-fold increase in the rates for Saturday and Sunday. Air India Express is operating a flight from the capital to Kozhikode in the morning, while it returns at night.
19/08/18 Times of India

Good news: Sikkim's first airport ready to start operations

Sikkim is all set to operate its first airport ever. The Pakyong airpoer, located 35 km from its capital has been ready and is now waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nod for inauguration.

The Greenfield airport at Pakyong was approved by the Central government in 2008.

With Pakyong airport, Sikkim to have direct flights from major cities that will give the much-needed boost to the tourism. Currently, tourists fly down to Bagdogra and then drive down to Pakyong. The new airport will cut down the traveling time by five hours.
The licence had been issued for small aircraft like ATRs and regional jets. However, due to landslide concerns licence had not been issued for narrow - bodied planes like Boeing 737-800 and airbus .
19/08/18 DNA

Bird-hit incidents increase in last two-and-a-half years at Surat airport

Surat: Accident is waiting to happen at Surat airport with the safety of passengers and aircrafts running at risk following the increase in bird hit incidents in the recent past.
According to information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has stated that a total of 22 bird hit incidents have been reported in last two-and-a-half-year. There were 14 bird hit incidents in 2017 alone. In the last six months, four incidents of bird hit have already been reported.
The presence of shrimp farms in Dumas and Magdalla and surrounding areas in Olpaad have been blamed for the bird hit cases.
“We send quarterly and yearly report on bird hit to the AAI headquarters on regular basis. The activity of birds is seen near the airport due to the presence of large number of shrimp farms, which increases the chances of accident,” says airport director Sanjay Kumar Panigrahi.
19/08/18 Times of India

Now, IndiGo grounds brand new A-320 Neo following Pratt engine trouble

New Delhi: Now, even brand new Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines powering the Airbus A-320 Neo are going kaput, requiring replacement. IndiGo has grounded a mint fresh A-320 Neo (new engine option) after flying it barely 50 hours over a week following a snag in one of the engines.

The aircraft (VT-IVQ) had flown in from Airbus assembly line in Toulouse, France, to Delhi on July 31. From around August 3, IndiGo started using it for regular commercial flights. "This aircraft did a Indore-Bangalore flight as 6E 708 on August 10. One of the two engines on the Neo suffered snags and reportedly had 'oil/magnetic chips found' — a very common — problem while flying to Bangalore. The plane landed safely at its destination but had to be grounded," said a source.

"IndiGo took special permission from DGCA to fly this aircraft to Delhi as a ferry flight (without passengers) for engine replacement. In terms of engine life, this is perhaps one of the shortest ones as an airline has had to replace a faulty engine after flying the plane for less than 50 hours in about a week," source said.
19/08/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Vistara to operate all Kochi flights from Thiruvananthapuram during Aug 16-26

New Delhi: Vistara has started operating all its Kochi flights to and from Thiruvananthapuram since Thursday, after closure of Cochin International Airport, due to floods in Kerala.
'Due to floods in Kerala, which caused the closure of Cochin International Airport till 1400 hrs of August 26, Vistara is operating all its Kochi flights to and from Thiruvananthapuram from August 16 to 26,' according to a company statement on Sunday.
19/08/18 UNI

Air India Pilots Pause Salary Stir for Kerala Floods, Offer to Fly for Free

New Delhi: The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing willingness to fly planes to Kerala on a "voluntary basis" in the larger interest of the people affected by floods in the southern state.
“We are willing to fly the planes without payment on voluntary basis to the cause of these operations. We consider this a unique privilege that we can use to assist in such operations," the association said in the letter. "We have full faith that Sir you will surely turn your attention to the plight of Air India and Air Indians once calm is restored," the letter stated.
The association's letter to the Prime Minister comes a day after the pilots threatened to stop operations if their flying allowance dues were not paid immediately. "ICPA pilots on the Airbus 320 and Boeing 787 in Air India are ready and committed to the cause of OPERATION MADAD & OPERATION SAHYOG. We will support the government and the PMO in the endeavour to help our fellow citizens in Kerala," the letter said.
19/08/18 News18.com

Kerala floods; Aviation Ministry clears Kochi naval airbase for civilian use

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has cleared the use of naval airbase INS Garuda at Kochi for civilian operations to address the flight disruptions caused at Cochin International Airport due to unprecedented rains and flooding in the region. Air India’s low-cost subsidiary Alliance Air will start operating flights from Bengaluru to Kochi Naval Air base from Monday. The airline will use its 70-seater turboprop ATR aircraft.

“In view of disruption of flights from Cochin Airport due to floods, a joint team sent by Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved starting of scheduled commercial flights using ATRs between Bangalore and Cochin Naval Air base, starting from 20th August morning to be operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India,” Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey told The Indian Express via a text message. Choubey added that connections to other airports such as Coimbatore and Madurai were also in the pipeline and that other airlines will also soon start operations to the Naval Air base.
19/08/18 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

Offer for students travelling abroad

With more than 5,00,000 students from India expected to travel abroad for studies this year, airlines are offering travel packages to them. Jet Airways has launched eduJetter programme for this year. eduJetter includes a host of benefits which include an exceptional baggage allowance of up to 69 kg tagged and checked-in till the final destination, 7500 JPMiles, 8 per cent discount on Base fare, as well as a bouquet of partner benefits such as Forex Card from Cox & Kings, free SIM card with exclusive calling rates from Uniconnect, as well as 10 per cent discount on JetEscapes travel/holiday packages.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, the airline has also simplified the entire process of eduJetter application and booking, as part of enhancing the appeal of the programme. The new, automatic application process is extremely user-friendly and allows students to apply in three simple steps – book a flight ticket, visit the eduJetter page on the Jet Airways website (www.jetairways.com) to fill an online request form. The student then receive an updated ticket from the airline with applicable eduJetter benefits within 72 hours.
19/08/18 Tribune

Indian outlaw arrested at Maldives main airport

An outlaw of India was arrested at Velana International Airport (VIA) on Saturday.
According to local media Mihaaru, the detainee is a man named Sri Nirmaldeep Singh Sidhu, a known fugitive who has gone by multiple monikers including Bodhi Singh in the past.
Media reports state that Singh Sidhu had previously worked at a yoga resort where he had a record of sexual harassment towards women. He had been captured in Mexico as well.
According to the media, Singh Sidhu currently uses the title "Sri" in front of his name under the guise of being a Hindu guru.
19/08/18 Fathmath Shaahunaz/The Edition

AAI prepares specifications for remote air traffic control towers

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India has prepared the specifications for remote air traffic control towers and open tendering process to select entities for setting up such facilities will start shortly, a senior official said.

The state-owned AAI, which manages more than 120 airports, is expected to operationalise more number of aerodromes, especially with new routes under the regional air connectivity scheme.

Against this backdrop, the national airports operator has been exploring the possibility of remote towers for ATC (Air Traffic Control) services.
19/08/18 PTI/Financial Express

SriLankan airlines announces alternatives for passengers flying to Cochin

Colombo: SriLankan Airlines has made an announcement that passengers who purchased air tickets to Cochin, India will be able to fly to any of South India’s airports without having to pay extra charges.

This is due to the Cochin International Airport being temporarily shut down owing to the bad weather conditions in Kerala.

Sri Lankan Airlines Media Spokesperson, Deepal Perera said further details on the matter could be obtained from the hotline 1979.
19/08/18 News First

CISF to hold international aviation meet

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is going to organise an International Aviation Security Seminar with the objective to interact, share and discuss the emerging security challenges with national and international security experts on Octo-ber 9-10 at Vigyan Bhawan.

The CISF is celebrating its golden jubilee year in 2018-19. Over the last 49 years CISF has evolved as multi-skilled force providing integrated security cover to 344 critical infrastructure installations including 60 operational airports in the country.

The aviation security assumed greater significance due to the exponential growth in the aviation sector and the ever-present challenge of unlawful interference in the civil aviation and terrorism.
19/08/18 Sunil Thapliyal/Asian Age

Gold bars worth over Rs 1.67 crore seized from Mum airport; 3 held

Three persons were arrested last night at the Mumbai international airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out gold bars worth over Rs 1.67 crore, a Customs official said today.

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials the Customs intercepted Harish Kumar Chopra and Karan Kumar on specific inputs when they were walking towards the exit gate of the airport and searched their sling bags, he said. Chopra and Kumar had travelled from Bangkok.

The search led to the recovery of six gold bars weighing one kg each and a cut gold bar with a foreign mark, according to the official.

He said the gold bars were supposed to be handed over to one Ajay Kumar who was waiting for the duo at other part of the airport, after arriving from Delhi.
19/08/18 moneycontrol.com

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Flight plan: After taking off domestically, Udan to spread wings internationally

New Delhi: The regional air connectivity scheme or Udan (Udega Desh ka Aam Nagrik), which has been in operation on domestic routes for more than a year now, is likely to be extended on the international circuit covering neighbouring countries, but permits will be given to only domestic carriers and not international ones at the start.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry told FE that though international carriers have evinced interest in the proposed Udan scheme for overseas routes, the domestic carriers have opposed it and the ministry also thinks that initially only domestic carriers should be allowed to participate in it.

“There could be an argument for a level playing field for all airlines. But the thinking is to start with domestic airlines only. It could be domestic carriers now and international players can join in later. We are really moving fast on international Udan and the bidding could be held sometime in September or October,” a civil aviation ministry official said.
18/08/18 Financial Express

Gujarat: Joint Venture for Dholera airport likely to take-off in a month

Complications to avail land near city airport for construction of parallel runway has compelled Airports Authority of India (AAI) to form a joint venture with the Dholera authorities. The joint venture, likely to be formed by this week or early next week, will take away a lot of traffic overflow of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPI) which is witnessing a massive increase day by day.

"We have been wanting to construct parallel runway at Ahmedabad airport to reduce aircraft wait time. If we get a parallel runway, we will be able to save nearly 5-7 minutes per aircraft. However, we need 65 acres more land," AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.

"Since Dholera is a promising project, we are eyeing on the same with approval of Civil aviation ministry too. We will be forming joint venture with authorities soon," he added. The Dholera airport is planned to be located in the North of the Dholera Specific Investment Region (DSIR) with a total area of 1426 hectares identified for the airport development.
18/08/18 Tanushree Bhatia/DNA

Airlines not charging exorbitant fares: DGCA to HC

New Delhi: Civil aviation regulator, DGCA, today told the Delhi High Court that airlines in the country are not charging fares that are unlawful, discriminatory or exorbitant and the ticket prices change according to market forces.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also told a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao that under the Aircraft Act it was not empowered to make "financial regulations" with regard to air fares.

The regulator took the stand in an affidavit filed in response to a PIL seeking capping of air fares charged by airlines in the country.

The plea by consumer rights activist Bejon K Misra has alleged that the authorities, including DGCA, were acting as "silent spectators" to the "arbitrary" fixing of fares by the airlines.
17/08/18 PTI/Times of India

Air India holds board meeting

Cash-strapped Air India's board met here today, amid the government considering a financial package to help the carrier, sources said.

After the proposed strategic disinvestment of the airline failed to take off, the government is considering a proposal for equity infusion and possible loan waiver to improve its finances.

The meeting is also the first after induction of leading industrialists -- ITC Chairman Y C Deveshwar and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla -- as independent directors on the airline's board. Sources said Deveshwar attended the meeting but Birla did not turn up.
17/08/18 PTI/Moneycontrol.com

Alliance Air mulls to operate from Kochi's naval base

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, will operate a 'proving flight' to Kochi's naval base today to study the safety aspects of operating ATR-type aircraft from there, a spokesperson of the national carrier said.
Air India is trying to find a way to fly in and out of Kochi where the airport has been closed down till August 26 leaving thousands of passengers stranded, the spokesperson said.

Incessant rain in the state has left the airport runway flooded. Kerala is facing the worst rain fury and deluge in a century with 13 of the state's 14 districts under a red alert for the fifth day today.

The 'proving flight' will have a team of officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other flight safety officials, the spokesperson said.
18/08/18 moneycontrol.com

Kerala floods: Kochi naval airstrip offered for civilian ops

New Delhi: The Naval airstrip at Kochi, which was used for commercial operations till 2000, has been offered to the Kerala state government for use by civilian airlines on account of the Cochin International Airport remaining closed till August 26 due to unprecedented rains in the region.
This was discussed at the Friday meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), which met for the second time in two days here to review the rescue and relief operations in Kerala. Air India is expected to conduct a test flight on Saturday at the airstrip to ensure technical feasibility. The airline will operate the flight on the ATR aircraft through its arm Alliance Air.
The home ministry said that the NCMC will meet again Saturday to review the situation. The Naval base INS Garuda was in use for civilian flights till 2000. In the early 1990s a proposal to expand operations at airports was made but it was rejected by the Navy due to security concerns. Following this a greenfield airport was constructed, which is in use now.
Thursday, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) announced suspension of operations till August 26, leading to flight cancellations. This prompted airlines to start special flights to nearby airports including Thiruvananthapuram.
18/08/18 Indian Express

Ministry cracks whip on airlines over hiked fares

Bengaluru: A day after Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda highlighted that flight rates between Mangaluru and Bengaluru were hiked, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Friday said airlines have been advised to cap the airfare on flights operating to and from Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Mangaluru. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is constantly monitoring airfares on 32 direct routes serving these destinations, a statement from the ministry said.

In addition, domestic airlines have also been asked by the Ministry to add additional flights to compensate for the closure of the Kochi Airport. “Airlines have been requested to cap the maximum fare to around  Rs 10,000 on longer routes and around Rs 8,000 on shorter routes to and from Kerala and nearby airports,” the statement said.

Responding to the call for additional flights, private operator Jet Airways and national carrier Air India and Air India Express announced immediately that they will operate additional domestic flights to Thiruvananthapuram. Jet Airways, in a statement, said additional flights from Benagluru and Mumbai will be operated from Sunday.
18/08/18 New Indian Express

Bareilly airport to get Rs 33 crore passengers’ lounge; AAI floats tender

Bareilly: The project director of Airports Authority of India (AAI), Rajeev Kulshreshtha on Friday said that they had floated a tender for the passengers’ lounge at Nathnagari civil enclave terminal that would come up at a cost of Rs 33 crore. “In September, the bids will be opened. Meanwhile, we are constructing a temporary lounge at a cost of Rs 3 crore at the site as flights are likely to start from here by the year end,” he said.

AAI officials said that they have already started the construction work at the terminal by dividing the area into two parts. “It will take around eight months to build the passengers’ lounge. Soon, the tender for a Rs 20 crore taxiway will also be floated. We have been given one year’s time from May 2018 to complete the construction work. Flights will start sometime in November or December. In the first phase, we will be constructing a temporary lounge near the boundary wall of the Indian Air Force’s Trishul airbase,” Singh said.

AAI officials said that for passengers’ lounge, taxiway and other facilities, it would take a great amount of soil to level up the site spread across 14 hectares. They said that due to heavy rains, the levelling work they had done over the past one month has been destroyed.
17/08/18 Times of India

Air India initiates probe into flight delay from Dhaka to Kolkata

Air India has initiated a probe into the cause delay of a Kolkata-bound flight from Dhaka on August 8 amid a report claiming that a pilot was attempting to sneak in hilsa fish. Flight AI229 from Dhaka to Kolkata was delayed by one hour. The flight, scheduled to depart at 9.25 pm, finally took off at about 10.30 pm.
While a report claimed that a pilot had a fracas with the security over carrying the hisla, sources said that an engineering snag was mentioned in the log book.
When contacted, an airline spokesperson said they were investigating the cause of the delay as there can be several reasons arising from engineering issues to operations and ATC clearance.
18/08/18 PTI/Economic Times

Air India Pilot Delays Dhaka-Kolkata Flight To Get Expensive Hilsa Fish, Smuggling Suspected

The Air India management has ordered a probe into a pilot’s attempt to ‘smuggle’ out hilsa on a flight from Dhaka to Kolkata earlier this month and asked him to explain the subsequent delay in take-off. Though the airline’s security officer foiled the pilot’s attempt, the fracas ensued delayed the August 8 flight by nearly an hour.
Airline insiders said all 54 passengers had boarded AI 229 by 9.15pm (local time), well in time for the 9.25pm departure. But, much to the chagrin of passengers, the Airbus A319 aircraft would not budge.
TOI checked with several people in the know and all of them confirmed that there was a heated exchange between one of the two pilots and the airline’s security officer in Dhaka over a consignment that the pilot wanted to carry on the aircraft.
All of them corroborated that a contractual worker, employed by the airline, had come to deliver an ice-pack containing a 2.5kg hilsa tothe pilot just minutes before departure.
18/08/18 Subhro Niyogi/India Times

Airlines strive to stay airborne

New Delhi: The board of state-run Air India met on Friday to consider the airline's serious financial difficulties, which include pending flying allowances to pilots.
Officials remained tight-lipped about the issues discussed at the board meeting, which was attended by newly appointed independent director Y.C. Deveshwar, chairman of ITC.
Sources said financials and a plea to the government to either write off a part of its debt or to help the airline restructure its loans were discussed.
The government is also expected to consider possible equity infusion. The airline is also weighing plans to sell off some assets.
18/08/18 Telegraph

Air India pilots threaten to stop operations on flying allowance dues

Mumbai: A section of Air India pilots have threatened to stop operations if their flying allowance dues are not paid immediately.
Alleging that while the salaries and perks of other employees are paid in full albeit with a delay, the same for the pilots and cabin crew are "ignored", despite the fact that flying allowances of these two licenced categories of employees form a major chunk of their salaries.
"We would like to inform you if the flying allowance is not paid immediately, we may not be available for flying duties," the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said in a communication to Air India's director of finance today.
ICPA represent over 700 pilots of the airline's Airbus 320 family fleet.
"Since the company has paid the salary, the pilots will report to the office for any office duty of their expertise other than flying duties," it added.
17/08/18 PTI/Economic Times

Pregnant Woman Air Lifted By Navy In A Daring Operation Delivers A Baby Boy!

The current situation in Kerala has become a nightmare for lakhs of residents. Indian Navy, activists and disaster control units are working day in and day out to rescue, provide food and shelter and medical facilities to the citizens in need.

Amid those who were trapped recently, was a pregnant woman was on the rooftop of her house. An Indian Navy's chopper somehow reached to rescue her from her rooftop. 25 year old Sajitha Jabil who lives in one of the worst affected areas in Chengamanad town near Aluva, was rescued on a helicopter. This is an area where 324 people have died over the last eight days.
The ordeal kept getting worse for Sajitha as her water broke while being trapped on her roof with no rescuer in sight. However, a Navy chopper arrived soon, with a doctor, who was lowered onto the rooftop to examine her. Jabil was strapped into a harness after the doctor's approva; and pulled up to the chopper and flown to INHS Sanjivani hospital in Kerala's Kochi.
18/08/18 India Times

6 Kochi flights to be operated from capital

Thiruvananthapuram: Six Air India (AI) flights from Kochi will be operated from Thiruvananthapuram international airport on August 18, 19 and 20 in view of the closure of the Cochin international airport and issual of a Notice to Airmen (Notam).

As per this, AI 933 Kochi-Dubai flight will depart from Thiruvananthapuram international airport at 9.20 a.m. and AI 047 Cochin-Delhi flight will depart from here for Delhi at 8 p.m.

The AI 466 Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi-Delhi flight will operate as Thiruvananthapuram-Delhi departing from here at 6.05 a.m.

The AI 682 Kochi-Mumbai flight will depart from here to Mumbai at 8.25 a.m and the AI 511 Kochi-Delhi flight will operate as Thiruvananthapuram-Delhi departing from here at 10.15 a.m. The AI 510 Kochi-Chennai flight will operate from Thiruvananthapuram departing at 6.05 p.m.
18/08/18 The Hindu

Airlines to boost services to Thiruvananthapuram

Chennai: Airlines, including IndiGo, Spicejet, Vistara and Air India, are operating more flights to Thiruvananthapuram as the flooded Cochin International Airport will remain closed till August 26.

IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India will operate one flight each from Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram and back. On August 18, Vistara will have two flights to Thiruvananthapuram and from August 19 to 26 (except Tuesday). This airline will have one flight a day to Thiruvananthapuram. SpiceJet will have another flight to Kozhikode from August 19 to 26.

IndiGo, in a statement, said, it would provide cancellation and rescheduling waiver to passengers booked to travel from August 16 to 26.
18/08/18 The Hindu

Air Deccan to launch flight services to Ahmedabad from Nashik

Mumbai: Scheduled commuter airline Air Deccan today said it is planning to launch flight services to Ahmedabad from Nashik as part of its strategy to connect smaller cities with business hubs.

The airline, which is owned by Ahmedabad-based GSEC Aviation and Monarch Net worth Capital, also said it plans launch services from Delhi and Kolkata, besides Gujarat, which is already under process.

Air Deccan had commenced operations with services to Jalgaon, Pune and Nashik from Mumbai in December last year under Udan, the government's regional connectivity scheme (RCS). Later, it had also launched flights to Kolhapur.

However, the carrier was forced to suspended services within couple of months due to technical glitch in its aircraft and pilots shortage.
17/08/18 PTI/Business Standard

Kerala flood toll on tour plans

Calcutta: Calcuttans are scrapping their plans to visit Kerala in the aftermath of the devastating floods that have killed at least 324 people in the southern state famous for its scenic beaches, enchanting backwaters and idyllic hills.

Puja bookings to Kerala, one of the most popular holiday destinations among Calcuttans, are "very low" and tour operators are fearing a further dip if the situation does not improve.

Air fares to Kerala for the Puja season are 25 to 30 per cent lower than what they usually are around this time of the year. People are looking for alternative destinations, tour operators said.

The Kochi airport has been closed till August 26.
18/08/18 Telegraph

‘Aerodrome would hit Chilika’s biodiversity’

Bhubaneswar: The Airports Authority of India’s move to set up a water aerodrome in Odisha’s Chilika Lake has stirred a controversy.
Local politicians cutting across party lines, green activists and fishermen in Chilika have all opposed the proposal to set up an aerodrome in one of Asia’s largest brackish water lagoons, asserting that it would impact the lake’s biodiversity.
On August 11, Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that an in-principle approval had been granted for a water aerodrome in Chilika in the first phase. A team of officials of AAI, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and SpiceJet airline had conducted a pre-feasibility study in the lake earlier in June.
The proposed project has caught many unawares as adequate consultations have not been held for the project.
18/08/18 The Hindu

Man ‘hijacks’ cab, tries to enter Delhi airport

New Delhi: There was high drama at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday night when a drunk passenger tried to “hijack” the cab he was travelling in to gain entry into the airport. The man was, however, overpowered by alert CISF personnel at the barricade. Two shots were fired to deter him, officials said.
There is a tight security dragnet at IGI due to the Independence Day celebrations.

Around 11pm, police received a PCR call about a shooting at a CISF checkpost towards Terminal 3. “The cab driver stepped out after being stopped by the officers. However, the passenger immediately took the driver’s seat and tried to steer the car through the gate. He was overpowered by CISF officers. During the scuffle, the officers fired two shots in the air,” a senior police officer said.

Police said the man was found in an intoxicated state and could not provide valid reasons for wanting to gain entry. “He was not in his senses,” the officer said.
18/08/18 Times of India

Kerala floods: Spate of hotel, air tickets cancellations

Mumbai: Hotel and airline ticket cancellations have soared amid floods in Kerala. According to travel portal ClearTrip, hotel cancellations have been rising since the August 10. “On an average, hotel cancellations has risen to over 50 per cent. Air bookings have also seen a clear spike in cancellations — around 20 per cent on an average — from August 14 to August 16.

Cities from where travelers have been impacted the most are Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune,” said Balu Ramachandran, Head (Air & Distribution), Cleartrip. While the average cancellation of confirmed tickets is 4.4 per cent for train journeys from Mumbai, due to floods, the rate has doubled to 8.31 per cent, especially since August 12, said Sripad Vaidya, co-founder of ConfirmTkt.

Few travel portals have also waived off cancellation charges. “In light of the worsened situation, Yatra.com has waived off its service fees and cancellation/rescheduling charges on flights to and from Kochi. We are in the process of reaching out to all passengers who have future bookings and keep them informed,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) Yatra.com.
18/08/18 Indian Express

Kerala floods: SpiceJet to operate 76 additional flights

Chennai: SpiceJet will operate additional 76 flights to help passengers affected by floods in Kerala after Kochi airport was closed.

From August 17, the airline will operate new and additional direct flights on Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru-Kozhikode, Male-Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode-Chennai and Dubai-Kozhikode routes. SpiceJet will deploy a mix of both Boeing 737 and Q400 on these routes.

The new flights are expected to lend a strong hand to the rescue operations that are currently on after the Kerala deluge -- termed as ‘one of the worst in decades’ -- left thousands stranded.
17/08/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Kerala floods: GoAir, IndiGo to operate special flights to and from Trivandrum airport

Chennai: GoAir and IndiGo will operate special flights to and from Trivandrum airport as Cochin airport is closed due to floods. GoAir will operate flights With with effect from August 20 to 26 while IndiGo will operate special flights from August 19 to 25.
GoAir will operate flights between Mumbai and Trivandrum.
GoAir said in a statement that all passengers booked to and from Cochin will be accommodated on these flights.
Impacted passengers to and from Cochin are not being charged additional fees or cancellation charges keeping in mind the current situation.
18/08/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Kerala Floods: Air India to operate Gulf flights from Trivandrum, Kozhikode; Vistara caps economy class fares

As the Kochi international airport will remain closed for operation till August 26 morning due to torrential rains, national carrier Air India said the flight scheduled to fly from Cochin to Jeddah will operate from Trivandrum Airport. The shutdown of Kochi airport has also prompted authorities to divert many incoming and outgoing flights to Trivandrum or Kozhikode.

Air India stated that “on August 16, our Kochi-Sharjah-Kochi and Kochi-Bahrain-Kochi will operate from/to Kozhikode. All other Kochi-bound flights will operate from/to Trivandrum,” For further assistance, flyers can contact Air India Express control room helpline at 0484 - 2610040, 2610050, the national carrier tweeted.
Air passengers travelling from Cochin are facing severe inconveniences due to heavy rains in Kerala, as airlines had to cancel flights operating to and from Cochin in the wake of operations at Kochi airport remain suspended till Saturday.

Many airlines, however, said that penalties on change in date or cancellation on confirmed tickets to Kochi have been waived off. Vistara, for example, has started special flights from Trivandrum.
17/08/18 ZeeBiz

Drones to help diagnose TB cases in Chamba

Chamba: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has accorded approval to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, for fast-track diagnosis of complicated tuberculosis (TB) cases in hilly, inaccessible and difficult terrains of the district.
A feasibility project report on adopting drones for transporting sputum samples and testing drug resistance of TB was completed by Dr Vishal Thakur of the state health services under the supervision of Dr P Ganeshkumar of the National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai. 
In a communiqué issued here, Dr Thakur, also principal investigator of the feasibility project, said, “TB is a serious disease requiring prompt identification and proper treatment as per the TB Control Programme in difficult terrains of the district,” adding that the study received good response and prompt approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, New Delhi. 
17/08/18 Tribune

Man held for attacking CISF personnel at IGI airport: Police

New Delhi: A 27-year-old man, who worked as a bouncer at a night club, was apprehended at the Delhi airport for allegedly attacking the on-duty CISF personnel in an intoxicated condition, police said on Friday. The incident took place on the intervening night of August 16 and 17 when the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel manning the outermost checkpost of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport flagged down a taxi on the basis of suspicion.

The security personnel were taken aback as the passenger on the back seat kicked the driver out of the vehicle, took his position and tried to speed away, a senior police official said. The CISF personnel managed to stop the man, who then got into a physical fight with them, he added. The man, identified as Shankar, a resident of Sangam Vihar in Delhi, allegedly hit at least two CISF men and even tried to snatch the pistol of a jawan, who subsequently fired two rounds in the air in order to bring the situation under control.

“The man is a bouncer and it is suspected that he was intoxicated. He was finally pinned down on the road and tied with ropes,” the official said. The man was subsequently handed over to the Delhi Police which was taking the probe against him forward, he added.
18/08/18 PTI/Indian Express

Air India Chief Summoned Over Delay In Sexual Harassment Case Probe

New Delhi: The Women and Child Development Ministry has summoned Air India chief Pradeep Singh Kharola next week seeking explanation behind the delay in completing probe in a sexual harassment case, a senior official said.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had directed the head of the Internal Complaints Committee of Air India to complete the inquiry in June.
The complaint of sexual harassment was lodged by an air hostess of the national carrier against its senior executive.
However, the inquiry has not been completed yet and the ministry has summoned Kharola on August 23 to explain the reason behind the delay, the official said.
18/08/18 PTI/NDTV

Bangladeshi national caught with valid Indian passport

Bengaluru: Immigration officials at the Kempegowda International Airport on Thursday arrested a 37-year-old Bangladeshi national arriving from Dubai with a valid Indian passport.
Hoque Mofizul, a resident of Nathore in Bangladesh, returned to the city after going to Dubai on a
short-term visa, probably to look for a job.
The police said Mofizul had submitted his travel documents for immigration clearance when immigration official
Chinnadurai spoke to him casually, and later picked him up for questioning on suspicion.
During a detailed inquiry, Mofizul revealed his real identity, saying he crossed the IndiaBangladesh
border illegally last year and stayed in West Bengal, where he forged documents to avail an Aadhaar card and Voter ID card to apply for his passport. Mofizul had a valid Bangladesh passport, which has been seized by the immigration oicial for further investigation.
18/08/18 Bellie Thomas/Deccan Herald

CISF personnel fire shots after missing person tries to run away with taxi in New Delhi

Delhi: A 27-year-old man who was missing person in police records tried to run away with a taxi after he was intercepted by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at a check post near Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), Delhi.
At the time of incident, the CISF personnel were not aware if the suspect is missing person or has a criminal history.
According to the police, during the intervening night of 16-17 August, at 11.06 pm, Shankar Singh, a resident of Sangam Vihar, New Delhi was sitting as passenger in a taxi which was being driven by driver Anil Kumar.
17/08/18 Munish Chandra Pandey/India Today

Italian held with satellite phone at IGI Airport

New Delhi: An Italian man was apprehended by the CISF at the IGI Airport here today for allegedly carrying an unauthorised satellite phone, a senior official said.
L D Giorgi was apprehended after the satellite phone was detected in his baggage. He was bound for Amsterdam, he said. The man was handed over to the Delhi Police.
17/08/18 PTI/Tribune