Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Air India grounds 2 pilots over runway incursion

Air India has grounded two pilots whose aircraft entered the active runway of Mumbai airport on Monday while it was taxiing to the end of the airstrip for take-off. Due to the inadvertent runway incursion, an incoming flight that was about of touch down had to do a last-minute go-around. The go-around was safe and the AI aircraft took off to its destination, with the crew being grounded after operating the return flight to Mumbai.
“The pilots have been grounded pending investigation, which will determine why the runway incursion took place. Did air traffic control give instructions correctly and our pilots misunderstood them? Or were the ATC instructions not clear? Only a probe will determine whose fault it was,” said a senior AI official.
The scare happened around 2.30pm when the AI669 was taxiing to take off to Bhubaneswar. Sources said the Airbus A320 aircraft was to reach the take-off point of the runway from T2 by crossing the airport’s main runway. It had to take a series of turns on taxiways to do that. But it instead entered the active runway due to a wrong turn.
Mumbai’s CSMIA has two cross runways due to which only one can be used at a time. With the AI plane on the runway, sources said alert air traffic controllers told the crew of a flight that was on final approach to land on that airstrip. The incoming flight had to do a take-off, go-around. Pilots are trained to handle such situations and the crew of the incoming flight also did so safely.
“The AI flight a few minutes later took off for Bhubaneswar. The crew was grounded pending inquiry when it returned to CSIA after operating the return flight. We will determine who was at fault and act accordingly,” said the AI official.
18/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

DGCA grounds three pilots, two engineers of IndiGo for not reporting PW engine vibrations

New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA has grounded three pilots and two aircraft maintenance engineers of IndiGo for not reporting vibrations in the Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines of the A320neo planes in separate incidents that have occurred since March, senior officials said on Wednesday.
"Three pilots -- Captain Krishna Arjun Reddy, Captain Sanjay Gupta and Captain Pankul Nag -- have been suspended for not reporting the vibrations observed in the PW engines of their A320neo planes," a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said.
While Nag was suspended for three months, Reddy and Gupta were suspended for a period of six months from the date of their respective incidents, another official said.
The PW engine-powered A320neo planes of GoAir and IndiGo have been facing glitches mid-air as well as on-ground since their induction in 2016. This has led to grounding of some of these planes.
18/09/19 PTI/Economic Times

New Air India sale offer may keep working capital debt out

New Delhi: The government is likely to consider selling Air India in such a way that the acquirer does not have to take on its working capital debt, thus halving the burden and making it a more attractive prospect, said people with knowledge of the matter.
The carrier, which the government is again trying to sell after having failed in 2018, will then be left with just Rs 15,000 crore of debt, for loans taken to buy planes.
The proposal, among others, is likely to be discussed at the first meeting of a ministerial group on Air India’s divestment headed by home minister Amit Shah. Other members are finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce and railways minister Piyush Goyal and civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
The government had already transferred Rs 29,400 crore of debt last year to Air India Asset Holdings Ltd, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that houses debt and assets of the national carrier. It is repaying the debt through government-guaranteed bond issues in three batches. The move halved Air India’s Rs 59,000-crore debt. Of the Rs 30,000 crore remaining, about Rs 15,000 crore is working capital debt.
“The bigger problem with this proposal is managing the optics of the government selling the company without debt,” said a senior government official who did not want to be identified. The government will have to take a call, as any decision to absorb working capital debt may have a political fallout, the person said. But, “reducing debt may ensure more bids for the carrier, which did not get any bids last time.”
18/09/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Airlines play safe with A320Neo, lighten load

Mumbai: The core problem which led to the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worldwide has surfaced on the Airbus 320Neo as well. Both these aircraft have a tendency to pitch the nose up, excessively to an unsafe degree, during certain stages of flight.
The big difference though is that unlike the Boeing 737 MAX, the A320NEO has never had an excessive pitch problem during flight operations. The problem came up recently only during laboratory testing carried out by the European aircraft manufacturer.
But a wary European Union aviation regulator, which had certified the A320NEO safe to fly, has issued an interim directive asking airlines to load the A320Neo in such a manner that the tail-end stays comparatively lighter in weight. Which is why airlines like Lufthansa and British Airways have recently started leaving the last row of six seats vacant on their A320Neo.
Unlike the European regulator, the Indian aviation DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) regulator hasn’t put out a directive in public yet. But to comply with the European regulator’s directive, airlines in India have started leaving the cargo compartment closest to the tail empty, said the director-general of civil aviation Arun Kumar on Tuesday.

On July 31, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive, applicable to all A320Neo aircraft. Citing the problem, EASA said that an excessive pitch attitude (high nose) could result in increased workload for the pilots. "To address the potential unsafe condition, Airbus (the aircraft manufacturer) issued an Aircraft Flight Manual Temporary Revision, limiting the centre of gravity envelope, which prevents the aforementioned condition," said the EASA directive, which came into effect on August 14.
What is an aircraft’s centre of gravity and how can it help in preventing an excessive high nose-up pitch? Centre of gravity is a point around which an aircraft balances itself. An aircraft balances like a see-saw, with its nose on one end and tail on the other. It is loaded with fuel, passengers and cargo in such a way that its centre of gravity remains within a prescribed range (area) through all stages of flight like take-off, climb, descent etc.
"If the tail-end is lighter than the nose-end, the aircraft will be nose-heavy and it will tend to pitch downwards. A heavy nose will counteract the excessive nose-up tendency of the A320Neo," said a senior commander.
India is one of the largest operators of A320Neos with over 100 aircraft in operation. Director-general Arun Kumar said: "On August 7, we held a meeting with airlines and stake holders and asked them to implement the EASA directive. Three out of four Indian carriers that operate the A320Neo have already complied with the directive. These include IndiGo and GoAir. We will ensure that the fourth is in compliance by Wednesday."
18/09/19 Manju V/Times of India

Why Air India is like a house of cards?

New Delhi: The recent set of financial numbers for Air India is indeed a matter of concern. Just when the airline companies started posting record profits, the national carrier is going from bad to worse. National carrier reported net losses of Rs 8,400 crore in 2018/19, up 57 per cent from Rs 5,337 crore in 2017/18. Air India's losses in the last financial year are attributed to elevated ATF (aviation turbine fuel) prices, rupee depreciation, airspace closure over Pakistan and debt servicing.
The airline hopes to turn operational profitable in the current financial year with expected operating profits of Rs 700-800 crore on conditions that the crude oil prices don't go up and rupee exchange rate remains stable.
The airline has reportedly lost Rs 430 crore - or about Rs 3.5 crore per day - after neighbouring country Pakistan decided to shut down its airspace for Indian carriers following the Balakot strikes in February. On some days, the per-day losses were even higher at Rs 6 crore. Air India flights have to take longer routes to destinations such as the United States, London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt as it could not suspend flights due to legal and diplomatic reasons. Since Air India is the only long-haul carrier out of India after the suspension of Jet Airways, the airline's share of loss due to Pakistani airspace closure was far bigger than other carrier - SpiceJet lost Rs 30.73 crore, IndiGo Rs 25.1 crore and GoAir Rs 2.1 crore.
Ironically, the airline's regional subsidiary Air India Express has been reporting net profits for four consecutive years. For instance, the budget carrier reported a net profit of Rs 169 crore for the financial year 2017/18, which is in stark contrast to the performance of the parent company. Despite a slowdown in air passenger traffic growth, Air India Express is expected to benefit from the Jet Airways' shutdown.
17/09/19 Manu Kaushik/Business Today

Air India selloff: GoM to set the ball rolling on Thursday

New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah-led group of ministers (GoM) on Air India divestment is slated to hold its first meeting on Thursday and set the ball in motion for the second attempt to sell off the Maharaja. Learning from last time’s experience, Modi 2.0 administration could sweeten the terms of sale to attract investors which include opting for near-total exit and attaching a lower debt burden on the on-sale Maharaja. That will be finalised by the Shah-led panel that has Union finance, commerce and aviation ministers N Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and H S Puri, respectively, as members.

Last March, Modi 1.0 had offered to sell 76% stake in AI. And of the airline’s total debt of almost Rs 60,000 crore, bidders for the airline arm were expected to take over debt of Rs 24,576 crore and current liabilities of Rs 8,816 crore or a combined burden of Rs 33,392 crore. These terms saw no bids coming in for AI.

This time, the conditions could be majorly revamped to ensure AI gets a good buyer. Puri has already spoken of complete exit from AI. About 1-2% may be retained for being offered to employees. The debt burden could be significantly reduced and the process of cleaning up AI’s book has begun. “The meet is tentatively planned and is subject to the ministers’ availability,” said sources.

“There should be a plan B also this time to decide what to do with AI if the second attempt is also a cropper. The Plan B must decide right now whether the government will continue running AI as a PSU or shut it down if it gets no buyers/or not the right price offer. This is similar to us planning a flight from origin to destination where we keep fuel to fly to an alternate airport in case we can’t land at the destination for any reason,” said a senior pilot.
18/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's meeting on Air India disinvestment today, losses cross Rs 8,400 crore

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting on Wednesday regarding the disinvestment of Air India. The national carrier reportedly incurred a net loss of around Rs 8,400 crore in the financial year 2018-19. Which is why the meeting holds importance.

The total revenue of the state-run carrier stood around Rs 26,400 crore during the year under review.

Air India has reported an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to rise in fuel prices and higher costs as Pakistan closed its airspace for Indian carriers which resulted in higher costs and caused a daily loss of Rs 3-4 crore.
During the three months since Pakistan's airspace closure till June, the airline reportedly incurred an operating loss of Rs 175 to 200 crore.

And till July 2, the national carrier had lost Rs 491 crore , according to government data. Pakistan had closed its airspace after the India Air Force's February 26 Balakot strike.

During the period, private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively.
The officials, however, expect that the debt-laden carrier to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20. Air India is projected to post an operating profit of Rs 700 to 800 crore, provided oil prices do not shoot up significantly and there is no steep fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.
18/09/19 India Today

Will oil price rise affect air fares?

Crude prices have jumped after drone attacks on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which accounts for around 10 per cent of the global oil production. The rise in oil prices will increase costs for airlines, but it is too early to assess the impact of sudden increase in prices on airfares, according to industry stakeholders.
Read what experts say >>

DB directives in PIL seeking upgradation of Jammu Airport

Jammu: In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Ravi Abrol seeking upgradation of Jammu Airport, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sindhu Sharma today issued certain directions to the concerned authorities.
During the course of hearing, it transpired that part of land required for expansion had been acquired by the State. However, on 10 kanals of land there are some houses.
“It is not in dispute that the acquisition of the land has been upheld by this court in OWP No. 726/2007 titled as Residents of Areas around Civil Airport, Satwari, Jammu and Another versus Union of India and Others and the people, who had constructed their houses on the land, are still in possession thereon”, the DB observed, adding “the State came out with an offer to rehabilitate them though they may not have a legal right to enforce the same in court. The area has now been earmarked and rehabilitation site is in village Sunjwan”.
It was submitted by Advocate General D C Raina that out of 29 families living on 10 Kanals of land, 25 families had already taken possession of the plots allotted to them. They have even removed the doors, windows and other fittings from the houses constructed by them. The possession thereof is likely to be handed over to the authorities within a period of one week. Four families had not come forward to take possession of plots.
18/09/19 Daily Excelsior

India requests Islamabad to allow PM Modi's plane use Pak airspace

India has formally requested Islamabad to give permission for PM Modi's plane to use Pakistani airspace during his upcoming US Vist. PM Modi will be in United States from 21st to 27th of September for big-ticket events like diaspora event in Houston and address to United Nations General Assembly. 

New Delhi had sent the request last week and Pakistan is still to respond. The country has to respond before the 20th of September.  A rejection this time will be considered a violation of ICOA or International Civil Aviation Organization charter. Under the charter, unless its war, denying the use of airspace by singling out cannot be done by any country. New Delhi can take Pakistan to ICOA where the country can be slapped with a heavy fine.

Earlier this month, India had requested Islamabad to allow President Ram Nath Kovind's plane to use the Pakistani airspace during his Europe visit but it was rejected by the country. Rejecting the Indian request, Pak FM SM Qureshi had said, "Indian government had asked Pakistan to use its airspace for its president's movement. Given the current situation, we have decided not to give permission to India for this airspace usage"
India had regretted Pakistan's "futile" decision of not allowing President Ram Nath Kovind's plane to use the country's airspace.
Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said, "To deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country. We call upon Pakistan to recognise the futility of such unilateral actions." Last month India had requested Islamabad to grant the use of airspace for Prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to France which the country allowed despite the ongoing India-Pakistan tensions.
02/09/19 Sidhant Sibal/DNA

Maldivian airline establishes branch in India

Maldivian, the national carrier of Maldives, established an overseas branch in Thiruvananthapuram, India.
The airline's operator, Island Aviation Services (IAS), assured that Maldivian's new branch will provide booking services and relevant information, working closely with passengers.
"All of the services available from other Maldivian officers will be provided [in Thiruvananthapuram]", said IAS' Public Relations Manager Moosa Waseem.
Maldivian commenced operations to the southern state of Kerala in 2008. The airline currently operates daily flights to Thiruvananthapuram.
17/09/19 Fathmath Shaahunaz/The Edition

Mumbai airport now has more domestic seats on offer than it did when Jet Airways was flying

Remember the capacity crunch in Mumbai after the grounding of Jet Airways? Turns out that the Mumbai airport now has more seats on offer on domestic routes than it had when Jet operated its complete schedule. This is despite the fact that the airport has not given away all the slots of Jet Airways – be it domestic or international.

There is no surprise then that last week, the government held talks with airlines on sustainability. Airline pricing is a function of capacity in the market and demand. And while there were fears of higher fares immediately post suspension of Jet Airways in April, the government-led mechanism with airports to give away slots for temporary period has not only matched the gap, but now exceeded the seats deployed. By June, the difference was down to only 11 departures a day and while there continues to be a slight lag in departures now versus when Jet Airways operated, the interesting turn of events have led to higher seats in the market.

The slots of Jet Airways were divided amongst incumbent airlines. However, the slots were linked to induction of capacity and airlines weren’t allowed to pull out of existing sectors and deploy the capacity to these newly acquired slots at Mumbai. In a scramble to add capacity, SpiceJet became the biggest beneficiary of the slots as it inducted aircraft which earlier flew for Jet Airways and also recruited B737 pilots. While the pilots and crew were absorbed across airlines, the A320 operators will take time to operationalise the pilots and crew as they undergo type rating and training. Vistara followed SpiceJet in inducting the B737s and adding capacity at Mumbai.

A Network Thoughts analysis shows that SpiceJet gained 38 additional departure slots, IndiGo gained 27, Vistara gained 21, while GoAir and AirAsia India gained 9 each. Additionally, Trujet and Star Air have obtained some slots for operations under UDAN.
18/09/19 CNBC TV18

Flying from Mumbai? Know these flight operation changes

New Delhi: Budget carrier SpiceJet will shift its entire Mumbai operations to Terminal 2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport from September 22, 2019. The transition is being planned and implemented by the airline with the support of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). It is to be noted that it is 20 minutes’ drive from T1 to T2.

The airline said in a tweet, "Effective 22 September 2019 the entire airline operation of SpiceJet will shift to Terminal 2 of Mumbai Airport." The transition is being done to enhance passenger convenience and improve the connectivity of international and domestic passengers, the carrier said in a statement.

The consolidation of operations will help SpiceJet service thousands of passengers travelling to and from Mumbai Airport across its domestic, as well as, international networks. According to the airline's official website, the entire flight operations of SpiceJet will be shifted to Terminal 2 (T2).

The website also mentioned that SpiceJet has sent emails, SMS notifications, social media updates well in advance informing passengers of this move. However, in case, there are customers who are still not aware of this move, SpiceJet has made special arrangements for passengers to be dropped at T2.

Currently, there are two of conveyance available to reach Terminal 2 from Terminal 1: taxi or private car or auto-rickshaw from T1 auto stand to T2 auto on the ground level.

The airline also mentioned that as long as the passengers reach SpiceJet’s airport counters 45 minutes prior to the time of departure of their flight, the airline will make every effort to connect them to their flight. However, if the passengers are not able to make it on time, SpiceJet will reschedule their flight without any additional charges for travel dates up to 7 days or refund their ticket in full.

Re-carpeting starts at Pune airport, first up taxiway

Pune: The first phase of the re-carpeting work at the city airport took off last week with the resurfacing of the taxiway, prompting temporary suspension of services of an AirAsia flight to Kolkata.
A source at the airport said the parallel taxiway of the facility was being resurfaced at present. The runway re-carpeting would be taken up next year in the second phase of the project.

The number of landings and take-offs per hour has dropped because of the re-carpeting of the taxiway. “The hourly flight movements from the airport has been hit. Aircraft are taking longer now to reach the runway from the parking bay because they are taking a longer route now. As the work progresses, the number of hourly landings and take-offs will decrease further. It means some more flights will be suspended temporarily,” another source at the airport told TOI.

Air Asia has suspended its flight from Pune to Kolkata for this reason. “The flight will resume in October last week,” an Air Asia spokesperson said.

Flyers are predictably disappointed over the temporary suspension of the flight. “I had booked three tickets in July for my relatives on October 20. An email landed in my mailbox three days back stating that the flight has been cancelled due to operational requirements. I had to rebook their tickets on a different airline, which cost me Rs5,000 more,” said Vadgaon resident Snigdha Bhaduri.
O S Mukundan, another passenger booked in a SpiceJet flight from Pune to Chennai on October 12, is disappointed because the flight has been rescheduled to the next day. “The airline mentioned runway closure as the reason,” he wrote on social media.
18/09/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Oil price surge: Air India’s monthly bill to spike by Rs 50

New Delhi: Air India’s monthly fuel bill might rise by at least Rs 50 crore if the crude oil prices continue to surge in the wake of drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, a senior airline official said on Monday. The national carrier’s fuel bill every month is around Rs 500 crore.

According to the official, the bill could go up by at least Rs 50 crore if the oil prices jump 10 per cent from $60 per barrel level on a sustained basis. An increase in oil prices could also result in fares going up as costs would have to be passed on, he added.

Besides, steep foreign exchange rate fluctuations would increase the fuel costs since payments are made in dollars, the official said.
17/09/19 News Today

Vistara opens daily flight between Delhi, Indore

New Delhi: Vistara has announced daily flights between Delhi and Indore. The flight between Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar International Airport (IDR) is Vistara’s 30th destination in its network. The airline has also opened bookings for flights on Delhi-Indore route. Vistara has said that flyers from Indore can also connect through Delhi to several cities on Vistara’s network. Travellers also get to enjoy seamless same-terminal connections when connecting to and from international flights at Delhi, the airline stated.

Vistara airlines ticket prices, flights date, schedule
Vistara flights between Delhi and Indore will begin its commercial operation from October 26, 2019. Flight number UK 913 will depart from Delhi (Del) at 6.55 am and arrive in Indore (IDR) at 8.20 am on a daily basis. Flight number UK 914 will depart from Indore at 8.55 am and reach Delhi at 10.25 am on a daily basis. Vistara has announced introductory one-way fares starting Rs 3,399 for Economy Class, Rs 5,999 for Premium Economy and Rs 15,999 for Business Class.
18/09/19 Debjit Sinha/Financial Express

India Base Planned For British Airways Cabin Crew

British Airways is planning to open a cabin crew base in Hyderabad, India. The move is to provide more Telegu speaking crew on the route from London to Hyderabad from 2020.
India is an important market for British Airways. In fact, over the past six years, the airline has launched several adverts targeted at passengers travelling between London and India. Today, Business Traveller revealed that the British airline is going to start basing crew in India. This will see Telegu speakers trained in London, and acting as crew on the London to Hyderabad route. Around a year ago BA announced it was closing its Hong Kong crew base.
British Airways’ is attempting to tailor its Indian services towards all passengers. Indeed, according to Business Traveller, two Indian crew members are rostered onto every flight operating to and from the country.
The airline currently operates to five destinations within India. These flights all operate from the airline’s home at Heathrow and fly to Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Indeed, the route to Bengaluru is set to be the fourth to receive the carrier’s new Airbus A350 aircraft.
Now, passengers on the Hyderabad to London route will benefit from cabin crew speaking the local dialect for the region, Telegu. According to the 2011 Indian census, there are 81 million native speakers of the language. These speakers are mostly concentrated in the central part of the east coast of India.
The crew will be fully-fledged members of British Airways cabin crew. They will have been trained at the carrier’s main location in London to the same standards as any other member of crew. The only difference will be that they start and end their workday in Hyderabad, not London.
17/09/19 Tom Boon/Simple Flying

Direct Flight To Dubai From Bhubaneswar Sought

Bhubaneswar: Following the operations of direct flight to Bangkok from Bhubaneswar, the demand for a direct flight to other international destination like Dubai has been increasing steadily.
Taking cognizance of the matter, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh for his personal intervention towards the launch of a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai.
In a letter to Puri, Pradhan said that Odisha is emerging as a growth-engine for Eastern India and hence there is a need to improve direct international connectivity to the State’s Capital city which will further boost the region’s development prospects.
“There are more than 15000 Odia people residing in different parts of the United Arab Emirates who are forced to undertake an indirect route for travelling to Odisha. I also understand the Odia Society of UAE had a meeting with GM Air India Middle-East and Africa regarding the viability of a direct Air India flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai based on favourable traffic data between these destinations,” he said in the letter.

Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi airports show interest in AAI's ACDM

The Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kochi airports have evinced interest in the Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) system developed in-house by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The airport officials met senior officials of the AAI to discuss the use of ACDM, which results in reduction of congestion at holding point at the runway of an airport. It also helps reduce fuel consumption, carbon emission and taxi time of the aircraft. Implementation of ACDM helps air traffic control officers (ATCO) by reducing cognitive workload and resulting in safe and orderly flow of aircraft due to reduced number of simultaneous aircraft movements.

In a meeting that took place in Mumbai on September 16, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Hyderabad International Airport Limited (HIAL), Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) and Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) explored the usage of ACDM.

ACDM focusses primarily on reducing aircraft holding delays at runway holding point, which further results in substantial saving of aviation fuel and reduction in carbon emissions. This is achieved by improving the decision making process by sharing of relevant information among aviation stakeholders.
17/09/19 India Transport & Logistics News

Delhi’s IGI Airport Among Top 20 World’s Busiest Airports 2018

New Delhi: India’s Indira Gandhi International Airport of Delhi ranked 12 in the list of world’s top 20 busiest airports, as per a world traffic report released by the Airports Council International (ACI). In fact, Delhi’s IGI airport has witnessed a 10.2 per cent surge in the passengers of domestic and international flyers in 2018 when compared to 2017, stated the ACI report.
While Delhi airport is the busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, the Bangalore airport is the fastest-growing one, mentioned the ACI release.

High drama enfolds at Srinagar airport as Yashwant Sinha refuses to leave

Srinagar: High drama unfolded at Srinagar airport on Tuesday as former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha was not allowed to leave the facility and was forced to return to New Delhi. The veteran politician had flown to Srinagar earlier in the morning, however, he was not allowed to leave the airport.

Speaking to India Today TV, Yashwant Sinha said that he was asked not to leave the Srinagar airport by the authorities there as he was a "threat to peace".

"When I landed, I was told that I could not leave Srinagar airport and venture in the Kashmir. The authorities told me I cannot leave the Srinagar airport as I am a threat to peace," Yashwant Sinha said.

The former BJP leader claimed that he had decided to visit Kashmir as the government said that the situation was normal. "I wanted to say hello to my friends and burst crackers on the streets to celebrate," he said.

Yashwant Sinha had travelled to Kashmir as a part of an NGO group called Concerned Citizens Group. Apart from the ex-BJP leader, the group included Kapil Kak, Bharat Bushan and Sushoba Barnad. They were stopped form venturing out of the airport after landing at 11:30 am, sources said.
17/09/19 Shuja-ul-Haq/India Today

Kerala: Kannur airport company explains why it said no to CAG audit

Kannur: The Kannur International Airport Limited (Kial) authorities have clarified that the airport company does not come under the ambit of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) as the state government has only 35% share in it.

The clarification came after the Congress demanded a CAG audit of the airport.
Kial countered that a company is considered a government company only if the total share holding of the central and state government is at least 51%. Here the central government does not have any share in the airport company, it said.

"So the conditions for the government establishments are not applicable for Kial, and it is the annual general body of the shareholders that decides the auditor. Sections 139 (1) to 139 (4) of the Company law have clearly specified this," the airport said in a press release.

The release also stated it was the auditor appointed by the CAG that audited the account till 2017-18 but later, the share holders appointed Delloitte & Touche, one of the four biggest auditing companies in the country, in accordance with the Company Law.

The Congress party had decided to strengthen protest against the airport company’s decision and also the allegations that there are widespread irregularities in the appointments made in the airport.

As the first step, the Congress would organise a dharna at the Kial office on September 21 and in the coming days the party would expose the irregularities, said DCC president Satheesan pacheni.

“If everything is transparent, why the authorities are afraid of a CAG audit?” he asked, reiterating that the Civil Aviation Department should intervene to probe the irregularities.
18/09/19 P Sudhakaran/Times of India

Following JeM threat, mock drill at Jaipur airport

Jaipur: Following a recent JeM letter threatening to blow up major railway stations and temples in the country, a mock drill was held by CISF at the Jaipur International Airport on Tuesday.

Though airports were not mentioned in the letter, officials are taking precautionary measures.

“The drill was essentially a protocol which we follow in case something suspicious or hazardous is found in the passengers’ luggage. Mock drills are done regularly so we are prepared for all kinds of eventualities. For this particular kind of drill, airport evacuation is not required,” a CISF official told TOI.
18/09/19 Times of India

Flights to Kathmandu airport affected due to foggy weather

Kathmandu: Flights coming to Kathmandu from various parts of the country as well as international destinations have been affected due to low visibility caused by incessant rain in the valley.

Both domestic and international flights have failed to land at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Tuesday due to low visibility, said the airport''s General Manager Raj Kumar Chettri.

He informed that planes coming from New Delhi were running circles around Kathmandu whereas domestic flights have been put on hold at their respective airports.

According to officials, at least 250 foreign tourists have been stranded in Lukla, the gateway to Mt Everest, due to poor weather. The choppers had been flown to Lukla from Kathmandu to rescue the stranded foreign trekkers at Lukla.

Continuous rains have occurred in Kathmandu since Monday and the rain is expected to continue till Thursday, according to Weather Forecasting Division.

Kathmandu airport have been hit by low visibility with dense fog.
17/09/19 Shirish B Pradhan/PTI/Outlook

Man held with gold worth Rs 32 lakh at Chennai airport

Chennai: Customs officials arrested a man and seized gold worth Rs 32 lakh from his possession at Chennai International airport on Tuesday.
The passengers had concealed the gold in LED lanterns and digital radio sets.
The accused has been identified as Mohammad Shah Alam, a resident of Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
After noticing suspicious movement, customs officials intercepted him and thoroughly checked his luggage.
18/09/19 ANI/

28-year-old Indian Travelling with Fake German Passport Denied Entry into US

New York: A 28-year-old Indian national was refused entry into the US after the border authorities found that he was travelling with a fraudulent German passport.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted the Indian national on Monday at the Washington Dulles International Airport.
Authorities declined to prosecute the Indian man, who was refused admission to the United States. Due to privacy laws, the man's name was not released as he was not criminally charged, a CBP release said.

The Indian national arrived from Accra, Ghana and presented the German passport to a CBP officer during inspection.

The officer detected discrepancies in the passport's biographical page and referred the man to a secondary examination, during which CBP officers were unable to access the passport's electronic chip and suspected it to be altered or damaged.
When questioned, the man admitted to purchasing the passport in Ghana. CBP officers seized the passport and refused the Indian national admission to the United States, the release said.
18/09/19 PTI/

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bad news for flyers: Airfares may jump up to 20% in festival season

Airfares could rise by 15-20% during the upcoming festival season with global crude oil prices jumping 12% due to drone strikes on world’s largest oil producer Saudi Aramco, according to experts and travel industry executives.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) comprises nearly 40% of total costs of airline operations. Around 70% of the total domestic ticket bookings take place in 0-28 days’ travel window. The festival season starts with Navratras from September 29 and run up to Diwali on October 27.
Domestic ATF prices stood at Rs 63,295 per kilolitre in Delhi. The current prices are down around 8% year-on-year but things could change quickly. Experts believe that the impact of the Aramco incident is expected to continue for next three months. “The Aramco refinery attack clubbed with the weak rupee on the dollar should raise jet fuel prices by 15-18% per litre, depending on the states. We expect similar increase in base airfare in the coming days. Clearly, this doesn’t appear positive for the sector given that festival season is just round the corner; and the burden will be on end traveller,” said Mark Martin of Martin Consulting.
Global oil supplies were disrupted after Aramco’s oil facilities were targeted by drones attack. According to Bloomberg, Brent crude jumped $12 per barrel on Monday to around $72 per barrel.
Travel industry executives pointed out that airlines would be forced to pass on some of the increased costs on to the passengers depending on how long the latest crude crisis continue.
17/09/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

Demolish structures near airport: Admn to violators

Mohali: The Mohali administration will demolish specified illegal structures around the Chandigarh Air Force station and the local airport 15 days from today. Notices to offenders were issued by the Deputy Commissioner as Collector under the Defence of Works Act, 1903, here today.
Following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to remove illegal structures around the Air Force station and Chandigarh International Airport, 98 structures that had come up after March 3, 2011, were to be razed as they violated safety norms.
“The owners of the identified structured have been given 15 days time to either remove construction or to submit any claims or objections in writing,” said Girish Dayalan, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mohali.
“In case no objections are received by us within the stipulated time period, the demolition of the said structures will be carried out without further notice,” the DC added.
A government notification issued in January 2010 stipulates that no building or structure is to be constructed or any tree planted with 100 metres from the outer boundary of the Air Force station. A public notice to this effect was issued by the local administration in March 2011.
“As per orders of the High Court, these 98 structures are to be demolished immediately without payment of any compensation after following due process,” the DC said.
The Mohali administration has identified 324 structures that have come over a period of time within 100 metres of the Air Force station’s boundary wall. These include houses, shops and godowns.
While structures that have come up after the public notice of March 2011 face immediate demolition, the High Court will take a call on the matter pertaining to those built before this date.
16/09/19 Akash Ghai/Tribune

Air India orders probe into technical glitch in President''s flight

New Delhi: Embarrassed over technical glitch in the plane that was scheduled to fly President Ram Nath Kovind from Switzerland''s Zurich to Slovenia on Sunday, national carrier Air India has ordered probe into the issue.

The snag had delayed the VVIP flight for several hours as it took more than three hours to fix, forcing the President to return to his hotel.

"A thorough investigation would be done to ascertain the issue," said an Air India official.

The Air India One that flies VVIPs is a 26-year old B747 jumbo jet. After rectifying the engineering glitch, the plane flew the President on after delay of few hours.

An airline executive quoted above said that spares for the B747 are always in the inventory to ensure no operational disruption takes place.

VVIP operations aside, Air India has in the recent months seen frequent break-down of its planes in foreign countries costing it a lot of money to bring them back on the runway. Some of its flights had developed technical glitch in cities such as Paris, Chicago and Tel Aviv taking heavy toll on the airline''s precarious finances.
16/09/19 IANS/Outlook

IndiGo requests aviation ministry for more flights to Turkey

IndiGo has requested the civil aviation ministry to increase the bilateral traffic rights with Turkey as the airlines have exhausted the current capacity, a senior official told CNBC-TV18.
IndiGo's co-founder Rahul Bhatia and Turkish Airlines chief executive officer Bilal Eksi called on aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday and requested to enhance the foreign flying rights on the sector, people aware of the matter said.
As per the current bilateral arrangement between Turkey and India, airlines can operate 14 frequencies every week between the two countries or a total traffic of 3,000 passengers can be carried on a weekly basis from each side.

As of now, IndiGo operates two direct daily flights between Delhi and Istanbul. Turkish Airlines operates one direct flight each from Delhi and Mumbai to Istanbul.

"They have requested to enhance the bilateral air service arrangement. The ministry has not promised anything as of now," another official added.

IndiGo, the country's largest carrier, started daily direct flights to Istanbul in March from Delhi and the move is seen as a gateway for the airline's European ambitions.

"Istanbul holds immense potential for IndiGo, and this launch is part of organic expansion within Europe for us, as we complement our domestic network with international connectivity," chief commercial officer William Boulter had said at the launch of Istanbul operations in March.

IndiGo and Turkish Airlines are also codeshare partners since December 2018. Turkish Airlines is the first codeshare partners of IndiGo as part of its international expansion.
17/09/19 CNBC TV18

Diaper station at Kempegowda International Airport men’s loo a hit online

Bengaluru: After a Maldivian passenger posted photos on Twitter of a baby diaper changing station inside the men’s washroom at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), many netizens have hailed the authorities’ move as the right one in breaking gender stereotypes.

“Saw this in Bangalore International airport men’s room,” read Maldivian national Ali Samhaan’s tweet on September 12 along with a picture of the diaper changing room.
@BLRAirport It's a wonderful gesture from #Bengaluruinternationalairport taking towards sensitizing gender equality…

— Pradeep Prakash (@ipradeepprakash) 1568622502000

Although the diaperchanging facility at the airport has come under the limelight only recently, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), operator of the KIA, pointed out that it has been in place for more than five years. “The diaperchange station has been a feature of all washrooms — irrespective of gender — at the KIA for over five years,” said a BIAL spokesperson.
17/09/19 Times of India

Congress demands CAG audit into KIFBI and Kannur airport

 Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress party in Kerala has approached the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan seeking his intervention to ensure that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India''s audit takes place in two state-run organisations.
Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said that he has briefed Governor Khan about the way the present CPI-M led Left government under Pinarayi Vijayan is keeping things under wraps regarding issues in the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).
"CAG is a constitutional body and it is duty bound to audit all those bodies where the state owns more than 51 per cent stake. But the Vijayan government has not adhered to it and have kept both KIIFB and KIAL away from CAG audit since they came to power in 2016," Chennithala said.
"It has now come to light that the CPI-M treats these two organisations as their milch cow and lot of irregularities have surfaced in these organisations and hence Vijayan is not interested in CAG audit," he said.
Addressing the media on Monday, Vijayan had pointed out that KIAL is a body similar to the Cochin International Airport Ltd( CIAL) and there is no CAG audit there.
Even though KIIFB came into existence in 1999 under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act 1999 to manage the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund, it was only after Vijayan assumed office in May 2016, that a comprehensive modification of the Act was made through an amendment Ordinance in August 2016 to widen its scope, and it has started raising money from the open market to fund infrastructure needs.
17/09/19 Outlook

AAI to rope in more cab companies at Chennai airport

Chennai: Facing complaints from passengers about lack of choice in cab services, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to rope in more cab operators.
Currently, Ola is the only cab service licensed to pick up passengers from near the terminals. This is making passengers wait for long, especially at night. Travellers can also book Aviation Express cabs from inside the terminals.
Majority of the travellers do not prefer the prepaid black and yellow taxis or the premium Aviation Express taxis due to its high charges. The black and yellow taxis operated by a drivers cooperative has around 300 cars and gets around seven trips per day. The new cab services are likely to start from the middle of next month.
A senior official of AAI said, "We are planning to have three operators in total including an operator who will provide a luxury car rental service. A tender has been floated to identify an operator after Fast Tack's term is over. Another tender will be floated to identify a company for providing luxury car service."
He also said Fast Track has approached the court about their contract and the new cab operator will be decided based on the court order. On Friday night, people were seen waiting for more than half an hour for cabs hailed via apps to arrive.
As more than 100 people will be booking at the same time from the domestic terminal alone, the number of cabs available are not adequate to meet the demand.
17/09/19 Times of India

Come October 5, fly to Delhi at 10.50 pm

Chandigarh: Night travellers to Delhi will soon have another option to fly to the Capital. In a first for the Chandigarh international airport, a late night civilian flight is being launched by a private operator that will touch down in New Delhi a little after midnight. The return leg of this circuit will offer a second flight to Ahmedabad for city residents.
Airport sources said a GoAir flight was being started from October 5 that would arrive here from Ahmedabad at 10.10 pm and depart for New Delhi at 10.50 pm. Its scheduled arrival at Delhi was 12.20 am. An Airbus A-320 would be used on this flight.
On the return leg, the aircraft would arrive here from Delhi at 11.10 am and proceed to Ahmedabad at 11.50 am. The other flight to Ahmedabad is also being operated by GoAir. “As of now, there are four flights operating from Chandigarh after sunset, but this is for the first time that a flight operating at such late hours is commencing,” an airport official said. The other evening flights, two each to Delhi and Mumbai, take off before 8 pm.
17/09/19 Tribune

Bird-hit SL flight lands safely

Trichy: A Sri Lankan Airlines flight, which landed safely despite suffering a bird-hit at the Trichy international airport on Sunday, flew back to Colombo in the early hours of Monday after the snag was rectified. A total of 146 passengers including crew members had a miraculous escape when a bird hit the right engine of the flight minutes before its scheduled landing at 8.40 am on Sunday.
Subsequently, the pilot got in touch with the air traffic control and sought permission for emergency landing. Though fire tenders and other equipment were deployed to handle the emergency, the pilot managed to make a safe landing and the passengers were evacuated quickly.
Later, the airline flew in technical experts from Colombo who attended to the aircraft’s trouble. It took nearly 15 hours for the engineers to rectify the problem and the flight was able to take off to Colombo on Monday morning.
17/09/19 Times of India

DRDO drone crashes in open field in Karnataka

Bengaluru: A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) drone crashed in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka early Tuesday morning.
No injuries have been reported in the crash.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed in an agricultural field in Jodichikkenahalli, Chitradurga district on Tuesday. The drone crash took place at 6 am in the morning.
The incident created quite a scare at Jodichillenahalli village as a loud noise was heard after the drone crashed. Soon, a large number of people gathered at the spot. Videos of the broken UAV went viral on social media.
A statement released by DRDO said, "An unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) being developed by the DRDO on experimental flight trial in new configuration crash-landed in fields near ATR Chitradurga. Data is being analysed."
The DRDO has a test range very close to its Chitradurga district headquarters. The Challakere Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) is an out-door testing and evaluating facility being set up by DRDO exclusively for unmanned and manned aircraft.
Confirming the incident, Chitradurga Superintendent of Police Arun K said that the UAV crashed in the areca nut farm this morning, but no one was injured.
17/09/19 Nagarjun Dwarakanath/India Today

Expedite land acquisition for expansion of Karipur airport: Muraleedharan

 Kozhikode: The Vatakara MP and senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan here on Tuesday urged the State Government to expedite land acquisition formalities to facilitate the expansion work of Karipur airport.
 Speaking to the media here, the MP said it was unfortunate that the peoples representatives of the region were not invited for the meeting convened recently to review land acquisition and related issues of Karipur airport.
 The representatives will extend all possible help and support for all development activities, Mr Muraleedharan asserted. The Chief Minister should convene a special meeting to discuss further on this issue, he demanded.
 17/09/19 UNI

Modi govt again considering merging rail, roads, aviation, shipping into transport ministry

New Delhi: The Modi government, in its second tenure, is once again considering having a unified transport ministry through combining the road, railways, civil aviation and shipping ministries, officials familiar with the matter told ThePrint.
A top panel of secretaries, constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recommend transformative ideas for the infrastructure sector, discussed the unified transport ministry idea with the cabinet secretary last month.
“We have recommended that the way forward is a unified transport ministry to provide integrated multi-modal solutions,” one senior official who did not want to be named said.
The secretarial panel is likely to make a presentation before the Prime Minister soon. “A final call on whether to go ahead with the recommendation will be taken only after the meeting with the PM,” the official added.
17/09/19 Maushumi Das Gupta/Print

IAF LCA Tejas to have a special pilot; Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to fly in the fighter in Bengaluru

In a major boost to India's indigenous defence sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be flying in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru on September 19, 2019. Singh will take to the skies in a twin-seater version of the Tejas combat aircraft, which arm the Indian Air Force No. 45 Squadron ‘Flying Daggers' based at Tamil Nadu's Sulur Air Force Station.
Tejas, designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency, is India's home-grown single-engine multirole light fighter to replace the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Bison aircraft. Tejas, the soon-to-be-inducted French Rafale and Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs will be the backbone of IAF for the next several years. The IAF had in December 2017 issued a request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the 83 Tejas jets at an estimated cost of almost Rs 50,000 crore. Out of the 83 Tejas aircraft, 10 are likely to the twin-seater version to be used for training the pilots.
The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard certification, which means the aircraft is combat-ready, was issued by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to Tejas on February 21, 2019, during the Aero India show in Bengaluru. Tejas has already been equipped with mid-air refuelling, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare suites, several different types of bombs, missiles and weapons.
T Suvarna Raju, the HAL Chairman and Managing Director, has already pointed out that Tejas is a four-and-half generation fighter and can be modified to make it a much more lethal jet.
17/09/19 Zee News

NAL In Talks With Govt About Its New Plan Of 70-seater Aircraft

Mumbai: The CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, that is developing a 19-seater indigenous light transport aircraft 'Saras Mk2' has plans for a 70-seater aircraft, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday. "Today itself they have started talking to me to get the permissions from and meetings with civil aviation ministry for their future plan of the 70-seater. That is also very heartening to know," Harsh Vardhan said.

"Seventy-seater has always been in the long-term vision and since they have mentioned about this today we will have to bring the civil aviation ministry on board. We have to take the approval of the Prime Minister's office. Also, we will have to take scientists also on board, so as a science and technology minister I will facilitate them to move in the right direction," he said.

The Minister was speaking to reporters after laying the foundation for NAL's system check facility, aircraft integration facility, and the inauguration of smart aerospace composite manufacturing facility here. NAL Director Jitendra J Jadhav said since NAL has a fair amount of experience, it would start the design of 70-seater.

He said, "First, we will have to get in-principle approval from Ministry of Science and Technology, and Civil Aviation, also from Ministry of Finance, then we can finish design phase one-and-a-half year from that, which will be the preliminary design phase. Then we will submit it to the government, once the government sanctions, we will develop."

CSIR-NAL is currently engaged in the design, development and certification of Saras Mk2, a twin-engine turboprop 19-seater transport aircraft for connecting small cities. Harsh Vardhan said everything was ready for the 19- seater and the government has given all its support in terms of clearance and fund requirement to NAL.
16/09/19 PTI/Republic World

Aviation ministry seeks tax waiver on passenger service fee

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry has asked the finance ministry to waive income tax on the money earned though the passenger services fee (PSF), which is spent on security at all airports.
If implemented, the move will dent the government’s direct tax collection by a tad.
“The income tax department charges tax (in the highest slab) on the fee that was earlier collected by airports. We have made a request to the finance ministry to exempt it from tax, as it is collected by us but managed by a trust,” said an aviation ministry official, refusing to be identified.
The aviation ministry has also requested the finance ministry to bring jet fuel under GST. It is expected to ease the burden on the aviation turbine fuel, which is now taxed up to 36% across states. Jet fuel has up to 50% share in the cost of operations for airlines.
The government has cleared a long-pending issue of increasing the PSF from July 1 to ensure that the collection is enough to meet the cost of securing the airports. PSF has also been linked to inflation, which means it would increase every three years based on the inflation rate. It will take care of any increase in costs.
17/09/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Bees were using plane as pit stop while transiting airport: Experts

Kolkata: The belligerent bees that had forced a flight to turn back from the runway were actually transiting the airport and had chosen the Air India plane for a pit stop, say entomologists. While there are no flowering plants at the airport for the honeybees to refuel, the intoxicating vapours from aviation turbine fuel (ATF) may just have lured them to home in on the airport, say others.
“It appears that a queen bee and the colony of worker bees were moving base in search of a new hive and had stopped at Kolkata airport to rest. Since there are no trees in the vast grounds of the airport, the plane acted as a perching spot,” said Prabir Garain, honeybee researcher and protection specialist at Nimpith Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
Entomologist, Bulganin Mitra, said overcrowding could have prompted a queen bee residing with others in a large colony to move out with a breakaway group. “The group was probably travelling in search of a perfect spot to form a hive. During the search, they appear to have stopped at Kolkata airport to rest,” said Mitra who retired as senior scientist from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
Honeybees have different migrating patters. Wild bees (Apis dorsata) travel towards the Sunderbans when mangroves flower between March and June. Thereafter, they migrate towards villages where there are agricultural crops. The migration is in smaller numbers. In contrast, the other species of Indian bees (Apis cerana indica) found naturally shift base in large numbers. Earlier commercially managed for honey production, honey farmers have now shifted to Italian honeybees (Apis mellifera) that are more productive than the Indian variety. From the description provided by pilots who were in the cockpit of the Airbus A319 aircraft, on which the bees converged, entomologists said they were Indian honeybees. The bees that swarmed the plane were average sized and found hovering in gardens or shops selling sweets, an Air India ground staff told TOI. Garain deduced that the hive, from which the bees were migrating, were within 1.5km of the airport as the Indian honeybees usually don't travel long distances.
17/09/19 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Air India was due to be operationally profitable the coming year. So what happened?

Air India has reported a loss of Rs 8,640 crore for the 2018-19 financial year. This, despite a domestic market share of 12.9 percent and an international market share of 68 percent. The balance sheet continues to be extremely weak with Rs 29,000 crore of debt (the debt has been halved, from the previous 58,000 crores, thanks to the creation of a special purpose vehicle).

While the government has signalled clear intent of divesting its stake in the airline, owing to the adverse economic climate, sharp global slowdown and severe liquidity crunch, the divestment is likely to be challenging. Until that time, the airline has to stay aloft.

Can it? There are no easy answers there.

But there are plenty of answers to why a once-proud carrier today stands crippled. And an analysis of how the state of affairs came to be — due to a confluence of factors — offers valuable insights for business and government.
 Because of the ownership and accountability structure, in spite of key assets and advantages, the stakeholders at Air India have not been aligned towards a single outcome. Over the years, as the airline bled cash, the demands for additional equity infusions and for writing off the debt increased.
17/09/19 Satyendra Pandey/CNBC TV18

Air India to begin Varanasi-Dehradun flights from September 28

New Delhi: Air India is set to begin its services between Uttarakhand capital Dehradun and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from September 28. The development was confirmed by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said Monday.

Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said, "Iam happy to share the news that @airindiain is connecting Dehradun to Varanasi via Mum-Ded-Vns flight starting 28/9/2019. This is an important milestone in our bid to connect Uttarakhand to cities along Ganga ji by air and I thank AI Chairman Ashwini Lohani jee for this."
The new route is said to provide better connectivity to pilgrims in Varanasi in UP and Haridwar and Rishikesh in the hill state, Rawat said.

Aviation Advisor, Uttarakhand government, Capt Deep Shrivastava, in a press release, said the service will be operational on Wednesday and Saturday every week till October 26.
Meanwhile, Air India Monday posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20.
Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline's net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19, one of the senior officials said.
17/09/19 India TV

Air India's monthly fuel bill might spike by Rs 50 cr on higher oil prices: Official

New Delhi: Air India's monthly fuel bill might rise by at least Rs 50 crore if the crude oil prices continue to surge in the wake of drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, a senior airline official said on Monday.
The national carrier's fuel bill every month is around Rs 500 crore.
According to the official, the bill could go up by at least Rs 50 crore if the oil prices jump 10 per cent from USD 60 per barrel level on a sustained basis.
An increase in oil prices could also result in fares going up as costs would have to be passed on, he added.
Besides, steep foreign exchange rate fluctuations would increase the fuel costs since payments are made in dollars, the official said.
On Saturday, drone attacks targeted Abqaiq, the site of the largest oil processing plant run by the Saudi state oil company, Aramco, and the Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia.
16/09/19 PTI/Economic Times

Air India And Korea Tourism Join Hands To Launch The Direct Service On Delhi-Seoul Route

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Air India joined hands to announce the launch of the new nonstop flight connection from Delhi to Seoul recently. The event, attended by more than 100 trade and media participants, was addressed by Jong Ho Choi, Minister of Embassy of Republic of Korea in India and Meenakshi Malik, Commercial Director, Air India.

The latest updates of the destination were presented by KTO and the in-flight facilities, baggage advantages and competitive prices were introduced by Air India to travel trade partners. This first joint promotion initiative between KTO and Air India intends to promote more travelers visiting from India to South Korea with Air India as their preferred airline.

The flight offers a lot of advantages over its competitors flying in the same sector. It will be the shortest duration flight flying from Delhi-Seoul with 6 hrs flying time and maximum baggage allowance of two pieces, which is 46 kgs for economy passengers.

In 2018, approximately 119,791 Indians  visited South Korea and 150,457 South Korean tourist visited India. The increasing exchange of tourists between both the countries has encouraged both the organizations to join hands and promote the destination and the new flight connection.
17/09/19 T3

Vijayawada airport to have new flights from Nov

Vijayawada: Vijayawada international airport is likely to have a few new services by November this year with the state government having swung into action after some airline operators cancelled their services to various key destinations from the city. The airlines, however, agreed to restore flight services to Hyderabad, Delhi and Tirupati.
Meanwhile, some airlines cancelled their services to Delhi, Chennai, Cochin, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Singapore despite good occupancy. The state government had faced criticism from the opposition parties with the cancellation of services.
Vijayawada airport registered double-digit growth after the city became part of the capital region in 2015. A new domestic terminal building was built to meet the increasing demand and the runway was expanded to accommodate large aircraft.
Officials from the chief minister’s office (CMO) took up the issue and made a representation to the civil aviation ministry on the issue. In response, SpiceJet came forward to run direct flight services to Hyderabad from September 25. “There is no direct flight to Hyderabad till 11 am every day. Passengers face problems with this. SpiceJet will start operating a direct flight service in the morning and it will reach the city by 8 am every day. SpiceJet will also add another direct flight to Hyderabad in the evening. They have already started online bookings for these services,” said airport director, G Madhusudana Rao.
“Business circles were eagerly waiting for the Delhi-Hyderabad-Vijayawada daily flight. Air India has decided to restore this service from October 27. This aircraft had a good occupancy rate earlier and we hope to have a similar response from passengers in future,” the director said.
17/09/19 Venu Lanka/Times of India

GoAir A20N at Jaipur on Sep 16th 2019, rejected takeoff due to bird strike

A GoAir Airbus A320-200N, registration VT-WGN performing flight G8-358 from Jaipur to Mumbai (India) with 165 people on board, was accelerating for takeoff from Jaipur's runway 27 when the left hand engine (PW1127G) ingested a bird prompting the crew to reject takeoff at high speed. The aircraft slowed safely and returned to the apron.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 9 hours, then departed again and reached Mumbai with a delay of 8.5 hours.
16/09/19 Simon Hradecky/AV Herald

Night flight from October 5 in Chandigarh

Mohali: Five months after the announcement of 24x7 operations, the Chandigarh international airport will see night flying, as GoAir flight from Ahmedabad will enhance the watch hours. This flight will arrive at 10.10pm and depart for Delhi at 10.50pm. This will be first time that any flight will arrive or depart from the Chandigarh airport during the night hours after 7.50pm.
According to GoAir officials at Chandigarh, the flight will start operations from October 5 and it will be six days a week. It will depart from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, at 8.10pm and arrive at Chandigarh at 10.10pm. After a halt of 40 minutes, the flight will depart at 10.50pm to Delhi at 12.20am. The same flight with stay overnight at Delhi and will depart for Chandigarh at 9.50am to arrive at Chandigarh at 11.10am, and after a halt of 40 minutes, it will depart at 11:50am to reach Ahmedabad at 1:55pm.
17/09/19 Times of India

Alcohol test must for airside staffers: DGCA

New Delhi: The Director General of Civil Aviation on Monday issued orders making breath analyser test mandatory for all personnel engaged in “safety sensitive aviation functions”. As of now the DGCA conducts 100 per cent BA tests on pilots and cabin crew.
The new regulations will cover more than 25,000 aviation personnel including aircraft maintenance engineers, vehicle drivers, equipment and aerobridge operators, marshallers, personnel manning apron control, personnel involved in operational duty on air side, aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel and air traffic controllers.
“All such personnel are critical for the safety of aircraft operations. They act as the support system for the flight crew. Any failure on their part can imperil safety,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar had said recently.
This paper had on September 9 reported about the DGCA’s plans on BA tests.
As per DGCA notification, at least 10 per cent staff of a company involved in the crucial activities will be randomly subjected to BA examination on a daily basis. The aerodrome management will be responsible for the conduct of the BA test on the personnel of the ground handling agency and aerodrome operational personnel, while the airline operators, air navigation service provider, maintenance organisations for their employees. The organisations have to use a scientifically valid method to ensure all employees have an equal chance of being tested each time the selection is made. Besides, organisations must have a doctor holding MBBS degree/trained paramedics/emergency medical technician (EMT)/personnel holding BSC (Nursing)/Diploma (Nursing) to conduct BA examination at a designated place within the airport premises. The process will be recorded on a video camera.
17/09/19 Vineeta Pandey/Asian Age

15-day call for illegal buildings near airport

Mohali: Owners of 98 illegal structures within 100 meters of vicinity of the air force station here have been served final notice and demolition of such constructions will start after 15 days from now, said Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan said on Monday.
The DC said the government of India had issued a notification under Section 3(1) dated January 2010, whereby the it had notified that no building or structure shall be constructed, created or erected, or no tree shall be planted on any land within the limits of 100 meters from the crest of the outer parapet of the Air Force Station (AFS), Chandigarh.
A public notice was issued under Section 3(2) under the Works of Defence Act, 1903 by the collector on March 9, 2011 for Bhabat village. The Punjab and Haryana high court had also constituted a committee headed by chief secretary of Punjab last year to examine the status of illegal constructions within 100 meters of the periphery wall of the AFS.
Encroachments near airport: File claims in 15 days, says DC
The committee in its report said that structures were constructed before the date of publication of the notification in 2011. In line with the Act, the high court has ordered that these 98 structures be demolished immediately without payment of any compensation, after following the due process of law.
The DC’s notice reads, “That you are hereby given 15 days’ notice to either remove the structure or appear in person or through any authorized representative before the undersigned to submit any claims or objections in writing. In case no objections are received in this office within the stipulated time period, then it will be assumed that you have nothing to say in the matter, and the demolition of the said structure will be carried out without further notice.”
17/09/19 Times of India

Two US Citizens Held After Flying Drone Near Indian Presidential Residence

New Delhi: Two US nationals have been taken into custody by Delhi Police after flying drones in the high security zone surrounding Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official home of the President of India in New Delhi, police said on Monday.
Flying drones is banned in the airspace surrounding the Parliament building and Rashtrapati Bhavan as the area is designated as a 'red zone' by India’s aviation authority. An official document, known as an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit, is needed in order to pilot a drone and foreigners are currently not allowed to fly drones in India
The father-son duo, identified as Peter James Lynn, 65, and Guillaume Leadbetter Lynn, 30, arrived in India from the US on a tourist visa on 14 September.
During questioning, the two revealed that they were recording the video for the online portal they work for. Both men claimed to be unaware that the use of drones is banned in Delhi.
According to police, nothing suspicious has been found as yet but the investigation remains ongoing.
16/09/19 Sputnik

Monday, September 16, 2019

Snag hits Air India One, President Kovind stuck in Zurich for hours

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight from Zurich to Slovenia was delayed on Sunday after the Air India Boeing 747 that was to fly as AI One developed a snag. According to sources, the president drove to Zurich airport where a last-minute glitch on the 26-year-old jumbo jet (VT-ESO) was suspected. The VVIP returned to his hotel and AI aircraft engineers immediately started working on the aircraft "Khajuraho".
During this time, an AI Boeing 777 that was to operate on London-Mumbai sector with a schedule departure time of 1.15 pm (local time London) as flight 130 was kept on standby at Heathrow as alternate AI One to be flown to Zurich for the President’s journeys if needed.
Luckily AI engineers rectified the jumbo jet which then flew President Kovind to Slovenia with a delay of a few hours. And AI 130 flew to Mumbai at 2.30 pm (local time London) from Heathrow without requiring to fly as alternate AI One to Zurich, say sources.
Keeping an Air India aircraft at a foreign base nearest from where AI One has to operate as standby is a regular practice. This overseas trip of President Kovind first made news when Pakistan on September 7 denied permission for it to fly over its airspace from India to Europe and back.
The B747 took a longer route to Europe when it left last Monday (Sept 9) and will take the longer route back home too. Now India is not going to seek clearance for VVIP flights to use Pakistan airspace till relations between he two countries improve.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

With new flights, Air India plans to fly high once again while Centre prepares disinvestment ground

New Delhi:  National carrier Air India is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen its position in the growing Indian aviation industry while the government is preparing the final ground for its disinvestment.

Be it is international destinations or domestic routes, the Maharaja has been on an expansion mode adding more flights.

Sources said as the Central government prepares for disinvestment of the airline, efforts to fortify its financial position will help attract investors.

Notwithstanding the massive debt burden of over Rs 58,000 crore and threats of stopping fuel supply by the oil companies, Air India is missing no opportunity to tap new routes.

First, it started flights connecting major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Indore and Kolkata to Dubai.

Officials said the airline is all set to launch a daily direct flight from Lucknow to Jeddah this winter. At present, this flight is operated via New Delhi. Moreover, as part of its international network expansion, Air India is introducing flights from Delhi to Seoul, South Korea. The non-stop operations to Seoul will start from September 18.

The airline has also planned a Delhi-Toronto direct flight from September, Mumbai-Nairobi, and Delhi-Chennai-Bali flight service in October and November.
16/09/19 Kumar Vikram/New Indian Express

Airlines may keep Jet slots, foreign rights till March-end

New Delhi: The Centre is likely to allow domestic carriers to keep Jet Airways’s slots at domestic airports and its foreign traffic rights until the end of March, or during the winter schedule, a senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

“The airlines said that a temporary allocation of Jet Airways’s slots and traffic rights for three months put them at a disadvantage as they are left with a shorter booking period as compared to foreign carriers and requested that these to be given to them until the end of the winter schedule. We will consider their request,” P.S. Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation Ministry, told The Hindu. The airlines raised the issue at a meeting with the Ministry last week.

Airlines plan their flight schedules twice a year — summer and winter schedules. The winter schedule will be in force from the last Sunday of October to the last Saturday of March. The government’s decision will help the airlines plan their flights for the winter season before they file their schedule with the Director General of Civil Aviation.
In April, the Ministry allotted 440 of the 750 airport slots held by Jet Airways to various carriers for three months after the Mumbai-headquartered airline stopped flying due to cash constraints. This was extended in August until the end of December.
16/09/19 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

Poor decisions taken by AI may affect its stake sale targets

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led Government’s plan to sell debt-laden airline Air India is well on track but the sale may not mop up the targeted yield owing to its value erosion over last several months since it decided to stop selling tickets on the platform of global ticketing distribution company Amadeus.

In October last year, Travelport had announced that it had “won competitive tender process undertaken by Air India for the sole provision of distribution of its domestic flight content in the airline’s home market”.

The national carrier had decided to shift to Travelport despite several senior officials raising objections against the move. Joining hands with Travelport meant giving access to details of AI’s flyers to Interglobe Technologies Quotient, a strategic business unit of InterGlobe Enterprises which is the parent company of IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share and Air India’s biggest competitor.

It is understood Amadeus managed about 50 percent of Air India’s ticket sales through its GDS network.

GDS is a globally connected computerised reservation network offering a one-point access to airline bookings, hotel reservations as well associated travel-related areas including car rentals.

Dr Sanat Kaul, Chairman International Foundation for Aviation Aerospace and Drones said “Air India has been on the proverbial ventilator  for long time. Divesting it’s saleable assets and properties is not the answer to this mess. Reducing it’s vast GDS distribution network to one vendor is shrinking its catchment area of passengers. The government policy of appointing one CMD after another who have no background in aviation or airlines business  shows its lack of seriousness. Taxpayers are the victims of this policy unlike other airlines which go in for liquidation.”
16/09/19 Pioneer

Safe skies: Air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers to undergo breath test by year-end

New Delhi: By the end of this year, airports across India will begin conducting breath analyser (BA) tests on aviation personnel like air traffic controllers (ATCOs), people driving vehicles in the operational areas, firefighters and aircraft maintenance engineers.

So far only pilots and cabin crew have to clear BA tests to ensure they are perfectly sober before being allowed to operate flights. But Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar has now expanded the scope of this test to all aviation personnel providing critical services as it is essential they are not tipsy when on the job.

The tests will kick off by October 30 at ten of India’s busiest airports that include the six metros, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow and Guwahati. By November-end, 33 more airports including Jaipur, Vadodara, Srinagar, Mangalore and Juhu (Mumbai) will start conducting these tests. By the year-end all licensed airports will need to do so.

The categories of aviation employees who will now have to clear the tipsy test include aircraft maintenance engineers; drivers of fuelling and catering vehicles; aerobridge operators; rescue and fire fighting personnel (ARFF); ATCOs and flight dispatchers.

“At least 10% individuals involved in the above mentioned activities, employed in their respective organisations (category wise) shall be randomly subjected to BA examination on a daily basis… The (airport operator) management shall be responsible for the conduct of BA test on the personnel of the ground handling agency and aerodrome operational personnel, while airlines, air navigation service provider, maintenance organisations for their employees,” a statement issued by DGCA said.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

PM Modi likely to open Kalaburagi airport on November 1

Kalaburagi: The airport that has been set up here under Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Karnataka at a cost of Rs 175.5 crore, is likely to be inaugurated on Karnataka Rajyotsava Divas on November 1.
This was disclosed by the Kalaburagi MP Dr Umesh Jadhav at a media conference on Sunday. 
Speaking to the media, Dr Jadhav said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was making efforts to see that the airport was inaugurated on November 1 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Barring a few civil works which are in the final stages, most of the works have been completed. The Deputy Commissioner B Sharath a couple of days back handed over 743.23 acres of land acquired for the project to  Airport Authority of India(AAI) officials.
The District IN-Charge Secretary Kapil Mohan and the Regional Commissioner Subodh Yadav, who chaired separate review meetings, have instructed the officials to complete all ongoing works by the third week of October.
It may be mentioned that the foundation stone for the project was laid by Mr Yediyurappa in June 2008 during his previous tenure as Chief Minister. 
The contract for building the airport was given to Gulbarga Airport Development Limited, a special purpose company.
But delays in completion led to the termination of the agreement in 2015 and the state government handed over the remaining work to the Public Works Department.
Initially the government had decided to limit the runway length to 1000 metres, but later extended it to 1970 metres to facilitate the landing of larger aircraft.
16/09/19 KN Reddy/Deccan Chronicle

Air India’s Daily Rs 23 Crore Loss Another Headache for Govt Looking to Get it off its Hands

New Delhi: At a time when the government appears to be clearing the runway for Air India’s disinvestment to take off, the airline flying into its highest-ever net loss is surely unwelcome news. It is true that the national carrier has never returned a profit since the merger involving Indian Airlines more than a decade ago, so losses have ceased to surprise. But fresh numbers show that 2018-19 has been its worst year so far. A senior official of the airline who wished to remain anonymous has told agencies that Air India managed to lose about Rs 23 crore every single day, taking its net loss for 2018-19 to about Rs 8,400 crore. As Air India’s loss-making spree continues unabated, the Modi government also continues to assert that disinvestment of the airline is on its agenda and modalities are being worked out. But one wonders whether there is more pain for taxpayers before (and if at all) this white elephant is taken off the exchequer’s hands.
Read Sinndhu Bhattacharya's analysis in full >>

After 3 crashes, DGCA begins audit of private charter firm

New Delhi:  A leading charter operator is under the regulatory lens following three crashes in the last eight years. Delhi-based Air Charter Services (ACS) saw its most recent crash last month when a trainer aircraft went down in Aligarh during approach for landing. Luckily, all the six people onboard the private aircraft survived. However, the other two crashes involving ACS planes had seen 11 deaths.

“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is auditing the charter company,” said DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) chief Arun Kumar, who is known for zero tolerance to any safety violations and has recently cracked down on big airlines also for lack of safety culture.

ACS did not comment on what steps it is taking to improve its patchy safety record.

In May 2011, 10 people were killed after an ACS Pilatus PC12 aircraft crashed in Faridabad while operating a medical charter Patna to Delhi flight. And in March 2017, another Pilatus PC 12 of the company crashed during a Delhi-Bangkok medical charter, killing the pilot and leaving several others injured.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Shareholders inject $70mn into India's Vistara

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi), the two joint-venture partners in India's Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l), have agreed to inject an additional INR5 billion rupees (USD70.5 million) into the carrier to fund its accelerated expansion, the Business Standard has reported.

The injection is earmarked to help Vistara grow at a more rapid pace, taking advantage of the vacuum in the market left by the collapse of Jet Airways (9W, Mumbai Int'l). The promoters hope that by expanding the full-service carrier they will also propel it towards profitability. In the last financial year, ending June 30, 2019, Vistara lost INR8.3 billion (USD117 million).

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, which hold a 51% and a 49% stake in the carrier, respectively, last boosted Vistara's coffers in April 2019, injecting INR9 billion (USD127 million) in total.

In the wake of Jet's collapse, Vistara added eight B737-800s to its fleet which also includes thirteen A320-200s and ten A320-200neo. While the steady growth of the carrier's Airbus narrowbody fleet and its international expansion were planned ahead, the addition of Boeing jets was an opportunistic move that presented additional capital requirements.
16/09/19 ch-aviation

Pune airport to get facial recognition technology

Pune: Pune airport is planning to implement facial recognition biometric technology under the central government’s Digi Yatra scheme, which will make entry of passengers to the airport hassle-free and fast.

Pune airport is among the four airports across the country that have been selected by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to undertake the project.

A contract to set up and run the system has been awarded to a New Delhi-based company.

Under the ‘Digi Yatra’ programme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to start biometric boarding system at airports across the country. Initially, it will be installed at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports.
“Passenger entry will be automatically processed based on facial recognition systems at checkpoints like entry, security and aircraft boarding, thus facilitating paperless travel. The system will be operational by next year,” said Pune Airport Director Ajay Kumar.
“The tender has been awarded to M/s NEC Technologies India Private Ltd, based in New Delhi with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The cost of the project is approximately Rs 14 crore for Pune airport. The firm will also be responsible for operation and maintenance for a period of seven years after the implementation of the project. The project is likely to be completed within one year,” he said.
16/09/19 Indian Express

Explained: Where can you fly a drone in Delhi? What permissions do you need?

A father and his son, both citizens of the United States, were detained on Saturday for flying a drone fitted with a camera above the high-security zone in Lutyens’s Delhi. The drone was spotted above Rashtrapati Bhavan around 6.45 pm Saturday, and its camera was found to contain footage of Central Secretariat and nearby buildings.
Flying of drones is banned over Delhi, and specifically over the Vijay Chowk area — something that the two Americans, Peter James Lynn (65) and Guillaume Leadbetter Lynn (31) have reportedly claimed they were unaware of.
While this prohibition follows a specific security threat from terrorists, the general guidelines issued by the civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), also lay down specific no-go areas for drones.
These guidelines, issued last year, classified civilian remotely piloted aircraft systems into specific types, and made it legal for ordinary enthusiasts to operate drones in India, subject to various requirements and clearances. The guidelines came into effect on December 1, 2018.
DGCA has identified multiple categories of drones, which can be broadly classified as ‘Nano’ (weighing up to 250 g), ‘Micro’ (more than 250 g but less than 2 kg) and ‘Small and above’ (weighing 2 kg or more).
Every drone that is bigger than a ‘Nano’ must obtain a unique identification number (UIN) from the aviation regulator (similar to the registration number for a car). This number must be displayed on the remotely piloted aircraft.
16/09/19 Indian Express

India to Perth direct flights a certainty, but locking in an airline proves challenging

The West Australian government can tick Japan-to-Perth direct flights off its wish list, but an Indian equivalent is proving much harder to secure.
The government has set itself the challenge of securing direct Perth flights to Japan, Shanghai and India. The Japan flight landed for the first time on September 1, but meetings between WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, Indian airlines and Indian ministers are yet to bear fruit.
India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, collapsed in April this year and one of the country’s biggest – the government-controlled and debt-ridden Air India – is up for sale.
“In India, it's a little challenging. We've confronted their elections in the middle of our negotiations,” Mr Papalia said.
“One of the airlines we were talking to collapsed ... it’s a moveable feast but we've talked to about seven airlines in India.
“We've talked to the biggest online tour agents, Make My Trip and we've met the new state minister for civil aviation.”
Mr Papalia said with the increasing flow of Indian visitors to WA that occurred naturally, a direct flight was a certain.
“We will get a flight; it’s the fastest-growing aviation market in the world,” he said.
16/09/19 Hamish Hastie/WAtoday

Karipur-Jeddah flight makes emergency landing at Taif airport in Saudi

Taif: A SpiceJet flight from Kozhikode to Jeddah made an emergency landing at Taif airport due to technical snag. The flight carrying 184 passengers landed at Taif international airport on Sunday around 8.40 am.
Among the passengers 101 were Umrah pilgrims. Others were returning to Jeddah after spending holidays in Kerala.
Passengers in the flight were taken outside the airport after immigration clearance.
Umrah pilgrims were taken to Mecca via bus around 5 pm from Taif airport. Bus service was arranged for other passengers to Jeddah.
16/09/19 Mathrubhumi

After three-month lull, flyers’ footfall picks up at Pune airport

Pune: The Jet Airways crisis sparked a lull in domestic passenger traffic at the Lohegaon airport recently, but things seem to be on the up again.
As per data of the Airports Authority of India from January to July, there was a slowdown in passenger footfall at the facility between March and May. The report said Jet Airways’ folding, and the consequent empty slots, were partly to blame.

“While there are still some empty slots, we are quite upbeat about the upcoming winter schedule, as new domestic flights will be added. The domestic traffic was low for some months due to different factors, but things have now started to improve,” an airport official said.

“It happened mainly because of Jet Airways’ crisis, as the airline operated close to 20 flights at the airport. Since then, many slots have been taken up by other airlines, like Air India. With the winter schedule starting from October-end, we do expect a major jump,” another official said.

Early morning slots are hard to come by at the airport as commercial flight operations are suspended from 8am to 10.30am from Sunday to Friday to facilitate practice sessions of the Indian Air Force.

One official hinted that discussions were on to arrive at some sort of compromise. “If an agreement is reached, we could get close to 20 additional slots during the morning hours,” the official added.

Another official said the airport authorities were exploring the possibility of starting a direct flight between Pune and Mumbai.

“The lack of a direct flight is a concern, as the airport loses a major chunk of business flyers. Talks with airlines on this issue are ongoing and hopefully, a flight between the two cities will soon be started,” the official said.

Experts said the airport needs to concentrate on the low-cost UDAN scheme to boost domestic connections.
16/09/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

DGCA to counsel airline crew as mid-flight TikTok videos flood the web

New Delhi: The surge of TikTok videos filmed by airline crew, often mid-flight and at times in the cockpit, has caught the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s attention and the regulator is not pleased.
As yet another TikTok video of a crew member “modelling” down the aisle of an aircraft went viral Monday, a senior DGCA official told ThePrint that the trend was “not desirable at all”.
“We have checked those videos,” the official added. “This not desirable at all and we will counsel them all on this.”
TikTok is a social media app where users can film short videos that involve lip-sync to dialogues and lyrics, or other antics. It enjoys viral popularity, and has over 500 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.
Airline crew seem to have caught on to the trend as well, filming videos displaying all manner of antics, be it dancing to Bollywood numbers, or giving followers a view from the cockpit.
Under hashtags such as “#Pilotslife”, “#crewlife”, and “#flightattendant”, there are hundreds of videos on TikTok showing airline crew with babies on board, chatting with fellow crew members, and even shutting the exit door of the aircraft.
Among Indian airlines, the staff of SpiceJet — as in the ramp walk video — and IndiGo are most commonly seen in the videos.
The DGCA is frowning upon these videos because airline crew are not allowed to take photographs during any phase of flight. A 2011 DGCA circular on managing “Disruptions and Distractions” said photography during flight was a source of distraction that may lead to error and reduce safety.
16/09/19 Ifrah Mufti/Print

IndiGo launches new service to Rajamahendravaram

Visakhapatnam: An IndiGo flight service has been introduced from Visakhapatnam to Rajamahendravaram and vice-versa under the regional connectivity scheme. With a maximum fare of Rs 2,500, the inaugural offer is for Rs 1,050. While the departure of flight to Rajamahendravaram is at 5:45 pm, arrival at Visakhapatnam is at 6:30 pm. Similarly, from Visakhapatnam, the flight will depart at 6:50 pm and arrives at 7:40 pm at Rajamahendravaram.
This flight will further proceed to Bengaluru. According to Andhra Pradesh Air Travelers Association members and airport advisor board members – D S Varma, O Naresh Kumar along with president of APATA K Kumar Raja, MLA Gana Babu and Airport Director Raja Kishore were part of the new service inaugural celebrations.
16/09/19 Hans India

IndiGo forgets luggage of entire Delhi to Istanbul flight. Internet explodes

New Delhi: On a flight from Delhi to Istanbul on September 15, 2019, IndiGo did something which led to the hashtag #ShameOnIndiGo trend on Twitter. IndiGo, which was flying the passengers to Istanbul, left behind the luggage of the entire aircraft back in Delhi.

Twitter user Chinmay Dabke, who was on this Delhi-Istanbul flight, took to his account to share the details of the incident.

Chinmay wrote, "Just flew in on @IndiGo6E flight 6E 11 from Delhi to Istanbul last evening. We received this piece of paper when we were waiting for our luggage at the belt. The airline did not load the luggage of the ENTIRE FLIGHT. Not a single passenger got their luggage (1/n) #shameonindigo," as he shared a picture of the apology note handed to the passengers.
He continued by saying, "How can an airline as big as @IndiGo6E 'forget' or 'miss out' on loading luggage. I get you forgot the luggage for a few people on the flight. But the ENTIRE flight? What are Indian operations in Delhi doing? (2/n) #shameonindigo."
That was not all, he wrote all the problems that this created for the passengers. He tweeted, "My father has his necessary medication in his luggage. He is a diabetes patient who needs his daily dose. Some other travelers were on connecting flights to their end destinations in different countries. What do these folks do? (3/n) #shameonindigo @IndiGo6E."

Finally, while praising the ground staff at the Istanbul airport, Chinmay wrote, "However, the only positive from this ordeal is that the ground staff at Istanbul airport was extremely cooperative and helped everyone fill out requisite forms so they can identify luggage and give it back to us. It is not easy dealing with 130+ angry Indians."
16/09/19 India Today