Monday, October 16, 2023

Centre amends rules, commercial pilot permits now valid for 10 years

The government has amended aviation rules to make commercial pilot licences valid for 10 years now. This move is in line with the government’s efforts to further improve the ease of doing business in the aviation sector.

Till now, the validity of the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) was for five years and after completion of that period, it had to be renewed. The civil aviation ministry amended the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

Among various changes made, the validity of licences for Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and CPL holders has been increased from five years to 10 years.

“This change is expected to reduce the administrative burden on pilots and aviation authorities such as the DGCA, promoting a more streamlined and efficient licensing process,” the ministry said.

Besides, rules have been amended to address concerns related to the display of lights in the vicinity of an aerodrome. It has also been clarified that the term ‘light’ encompasses lantern lights, wish kites and laser lights. Also, the government’s jurisdiction over those exhibiting such lights has been extended from 5 kilometres to 5 nautical miles around an aerodrome.

“It is made explicit that the government possesses the authority to take action against individuals displaying lights that disrupt the safe operation of aircraft or pose hazards to the operating crew. Should such lights remain unattended for 24 hours, the government is empowered to enter the location and extinguish them,” the ministry said.

16/10/2023 Telegraph

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar lays foundation stone for Ambala Cantonment airport

In a bid to improve connectivity and spur economic activity, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar laid the foundation stone of a domestic airport in Ambala Cantonment on Sunday (October 15). This civil enclave project, sanctioned under the UDAN scheme, is set to occupy 20 acres adjacent to the Air Force Station. 

During the ceremony, attended by officials including Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, and Rajya Sabha MP Kartikiye Sharma, Khattar highlighted the airport’s potential to strengthen connectivity with other states and bolster economic activity. 

Additionally, the airport will serve as a complementary facility to the Chandigarh airport. The project will leverage the existing runway of the Ambala Cantonment Airport Station for commercial aircraft landings. 

The Ministry of Defence has granted approval for the Air Force airstrip’s civil aviation use, allocating approximately 20 acres for the civil enclave, with the Haryana government disbursing Rs 133 crore. The Public Works department of Haryana has issued a tender worth Rs 16 crore for the terminal building’s construction and approved Rs 25 crore for other airport infrastructure. 

Deputy Chief Minister Chautala revealed plans for a passenger terminal capable of accommodating at least 200 people simultaneously, expected to be completed within six months. 

The Haryana government has sought permission to operate flights from Ambala to several destinations under the UDAN scheme, including Srinagar, Varanasi, Jaipur, Amritsar, and Delhi. 

16/10/2023 Financial Express

Study estimates count of UAVs required for the three Services

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Anil Chauhan recently ordered two studies to be conducted on major military platforms used by all three services. According to defence sources these platforms are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and armoured helicopters. The study on UAVs has since been completed with a recommendation to acquire 31 MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs and 155 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs.

“The studies, undertaken by triservice teams, are meant to optimise the number of platforms required as well as the resources and avoid duplication,” a defence source with knowledge of the matter explained. “The first study was conducted in August-September and the report has been finalised. For the second study, the Terms of Reference are currently being finalised and the study is expected to begin in a month of two,” two sources independently confirmed.

“The broad outcome of the study on UAVs was a requirement for 31 MQ-9B HALE UAVs and 155 MALE UAVs. While the deal for MQ-9Bs is in progress, the division of the 155 MALE UAVs between the three services is yet to be decided,” the second source stated.

The three services operate a large number of Israeli Heron MALE UAVs. A major upgrade to weaponise and incorporate satellite communication on these UAVs, estimated to cost ₹21000 crore, has been pending for several years. Following the study, officials have expressed confidence that this will now get cleared.

In June, the Defence Ministry cleared the procurement of 31 MQ-9B UAVs from General Atomics, 15 Sea Guardians for the Indian Navy and 16 Sky Guardians – eight each for the Indian Army and Air Force, at an estimated cost of $3,072 million though the US Foreign Military Sales route.

Last month, just ahead of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the Defence Ministry issued the Letter of Request (LoR) to the US Government. Based on LOR, the US Government and MoD will finalise the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) where details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be negotiated and finalised.

16/10/2023 Dinakar Peri/The Hindu

Prayagraj airport records highest footfall in Sept

Prayagraj: The Prayagraj airport has recorded a footfall of 55,000 passengers in September this year which is the highest in the past four years since the facility became operational in 2019. This achievement is given the fact that the number of flights during this month as compared to 2019 onwards has decreased. These figures are also important because September is off-season in the airline industry but this year, the number of passengers was quite high. This is also the first time since 2019 that the number of passengers has crossed 55,000 in September.

The fourth phase of Mission Shakti programme that aims at women’s safety, dignity and empowerment was launched in the city on Saturday. Under it a public awareness rally was taken out by women police personnel from Police Lines on scooters, ambulances and PRB vehicles. The rally was flagged off by Additional Police Commissioner Pawan Kumar and District Magistrate Navneet Singh Chahal. The rally passed through Lakshmi crossing, Bank Road, Balson Crossing, Chandrashekhar Azad park and ended at the district panchayat premises. Apart from this, a rally was taken out by school girls from the Police Lines to the district panchayat premises. Another programme was organised in the auditorium of district panchayat office which was attended by BJP MP Kesari Devi Patel. On the occasion, 12 women, who have done excellent work in various fields, were honoured with shawls and mementos.

16/10/2023 Pioneer

Odisha: Puri's Sri Jagannath Greenfield International Airport Receives Site Clearance Approval From MoCA

In a significant development supporting the state government's vision of establishing the Sri Jagannath International Airport in Puri, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted site clearance approval for the project.

This clearance comes exactly one year after the government had submitted all the necessary documentation to the ministry, in line with the Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy of 2008.

While granting this clearance, sources indicate that the MoCA has advised the state government to proceed with the preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) to obtain 'in-principle' approval.

Within two years, the state will need to submit its application, along with the DPR, for consideration by the steering committee responsible for greenfield airports.

Initial estimates suggest that the airport's construction will cost approximately Rs 5,631 crore.

The Puri district administration has already initiated the land acquisition process, encompassing around 1,164 acres, including 68 acres of forest and 221.48 acres of privately owned land in Sipasarubali and Sandhapur under the Brahmagiri tehsil.

Among the private land required for the project, 153.37 acres are in Sipasarubali, and 68.11 acres are in Sandhapur.

Fortunately, no rehabilitation and resettlement are needed, as these land parcels are devoid of human habitation.

An official involved with the project stated, "The project proposal was submitted after identifying the land and conducting a favourable obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS) survey. Public hearings for the acquisition of private land have been completed, and the process is underway for the conversion of some government-owned land. With the site clearance approval now secured, we will expedite the remaining processes," reports The New Indian Express.

To obtain in-principle approval, the government must fulfil the requisite formalities with various regulatory bodies and government agencies.

16/10/2023 V Bhagya Subhashini/SwarajyaMag

No Flight Operations At Mumbai Airport For 6 Hours Tomorrow

New Delhi: The flight operations at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will remain temporarily suspended tomorrow due to routine maintenance work on its two runways. The runways in one of the busiest airports in the country will remain shut for six hours as part of a comprehensive post-monsoon runway maintenance plan.

"Both runways - RWY 09/27 and RWY 14/32 - will be temporarily non-operational on 17th October 2023, from 1100 hrs to 1700 hrs," the airport operator said in a statement.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued to airlines and other stakeholders six months ago, the CSMIA said.

The primary objective of the scheduled closure is to undertake repair and maintenance works essential to uphold the airport's infrastructure to the highest standards, the CSMIA added.

"This yearly practice of runway maintenance post monsoons is a part of the series of activities undertaken with precision and meticulous efforts, ensuring operational continuity and passenger safety, thus bringing to life to vision of imbibing passenger first approach at the core of our operations," it said.

The airport has also scheduled flights in a way to ensure the "smooth" completion of the maintenance.

16/10/2023 NDTV

Gold pieces worth 1.8cr found in plane toilet

Bengaluru: Pieces of gold worth Rs 1.8 crore hidden inside the toilet of an IndiGo plane that flew from Male, Maldives, to Bengaluru were unearthed by sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at Kempegowda International Airport.

The agency is now trying to track the passenger who smuggled in the gold and placed it in the toilet, possibly for an accomplice to retrieve.

Sources said the smuggling bid was foiled at KIA on October 7 evening after the flight touched down. Following specific information, the Bengaluru unit of DRI boarded the flight shortly after passengers disembarked and combed it. The sleuths soon found a packet pasted under the wash basin area of one of the toilets. In it were solid gold pieces weighing 3.2kg. Investigators suspect the gold was placed for another passenger, an accomplice, to board in Bengaluru when the flight turned to a domestic leg. A thorough probe is under way to check any possible role of the airline or airport staff, sources said.

In another operation at KIA on October 9, the DRI Bengaluru team arrested two men from Tamil Nadu who landed in an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi. They were smuggling in gold paste inside their rectum. After being nabbed by DRI, the youth handed over seven capsules containing a total of 2.8kg of gold, estimated to be worth Rs 1.2 crore in its present market value. Further probe is on to find out if they are part of an international racket.

16/10/2023 Petlee Peter/Times of India

India amends aircraft rules, commercial pilot licenses to be valid for 10 years

Commercial pilot licenses will now be valid for ten years, with the government amending rules as part of efforts to further improve ease of doing business in the aviation sector. Till now, the validity of Commercial Pilot License (CPL) was for five years and after completion of that period, it had to be renewed.

The civil aviation ministry amended the Aircraft Rules, 1937. Among various changes made, the validity of licenses in relation to Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and CPL holders has been increased from five years to ten years.

"This change is expected to reduce administrative burden on pilots and aviation authorities like DGCA, promoting a more streamlined and efficient licensing process," the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Besides, rules have been amended to address concerns related to the display of lights in the vicinity of an aerodrome.

It has also been clarified that the term 'light' encompasses lantern lights, wish kites, and laser lights. Also, the government's jurisdiction over those exhibiting such lights has been extended from 5 kilometres to 5 nautical miles around an aerodrome. "It is made explicit that the government possesses the authority to take action against individuals displaying lights that disrupt the safe operation of aircraft or pose hazards to the operating crew.

"Should such lights remain unattended for 24 hours, the government is empowered to enter the location and extinguish them," the ministry said. Simultaneously, the matter should be reported to the relevant police station for legal action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

When the source of the observed light is unidentifiable or if it shifts locations, the airport or airline operator is obligated to promptly report the incident to the local police station, initiating potential criminal proceedings. Another amendment is that the requirement for validation of foreign licenses has been removed. "This change signifies aligning the regulations with the evolving needs of the aviation sector," the ministry said.

16/10/2023 PTI/CNBC TV18

Assam youths develop AI-driven traffic management platform for drones

Guwahati: As drones revolutionise military, commercial and other activities, an imperative need for 'traffic management' of these flying objects has emerged with a start-up by two entrepreneurs from Assam providing solutions for it.

Already working with the Indian Air Force for detection and counter-measures of drones, the duo has now come out with an intelligent airspace management platform, which was launched at the 'East Tech 2023', a two-day defence expo which concluded on October 11.

"While most companies are making drones, we are focusing on drone airspace management as it's equally important for sustainable growth of the drone ecosystem. Just like automobiles require road traffic management to run safely and efficiently, the same analogy applies for drone airspace," Manash Bhuyan, Managing Director and Co-founder of AVGARDE, told PTI.

Avgarde Systems Pvt Ltd (AVGARDE), co-founded by Manash Bhuyan and Nilutpal Choudhury in 2018, is a startup incubated at IISc Bangalore, and IIT Guwahati.

It is a radio frequency and wireless technology-focused deeptech start-up building an AI-driven object sensing platform for low-altitude airspace management.

Both founders have relocated from Dubai and Germany respectively to pursue their passions.

It has announced launch of 'DeepSense', a platform addressing complex challenges presented by drones in terms of their operational environment which needs to be managed efficiently and effectively to ensure the safety of aviation, public, operators and other stakeholders.

The platform has various applications across multiple market segments, including airports airspace safety, critical infrastructure protection, drone fleet operations, unmanned traffic management, security monitoring, aerospace and defence, amongst others, they claimed.

Explaining the functioning of the AI-based platform developed by the company, Nilutpal Choudhury, CEO and Co-Founder said, "We have already put in place technologies through which drones can be identified, tackled and their movement inhibited. A 'bird detection and monitoring radar' (BDMR) is also among our products which can prevent 'bird aircraft strike hazard' (BASH) for airport operators and ensure aviation safety."

16/10/2023 PTI/Times of India

Simaero announces the forthcoming opening of an Aviation Training Center in Delhi

Simaero is pleased to announce its latest milestone in the expansion of Simaero India with the  upcoming opening of a state-of-the-art Training Center in Delhi. This announcement marks a  significant step towards fulfilling the growing demand for airline pilot training in the region.

Strategically located within a 10-minute drive from the main terminals of Indira Gandhi  International Airport (IGI), the new Simaero Training Center will be an ideal setting to offer accessible, high-quality, and market-specific training solutions for local airlines. Its proximity to  high-class hotels and recreational facilities will ensure unparalleled comfort for trainees from  across India and beyond. The future Training Center is set to feature eight simulator bays, housing a diverse range of market-specific devices such as the A320, B737 Max, and ATR 72-600 Full-Flight Simulators.

Committed to delivering a comfortable and optimized training environment, the Training  Center will feature a modern ground school classroom equipped with state-of-the-art IT tools for  Computer-Based Training (CBT). Trainees will also have the opportunity to relax and network in  a welcoming lounge area.

16/10/2023 Kanchan Nath/Travel Daily Media

SpiceJet plane faces tech issue in Tel Aviv, aircraft taken to Jordan

A SpiceJet aircraft that operated a flight from the national capital to Tel Aviv on Sunday is facing a technical issue and the plane has been taken to Jordan to rectify the problem, according to sources. SpiceJet had operated the flight, with an A340 aircraft, under Operation Ajay.

On Monday, the sources said that after landing at Tel Aviv, a technical issue was detected in the aircraft. To rectify the problem, the plane has been taken to Jordan, which was the nearest place that has the facilities to look into the issue, they added. There was no immediate comment from SpiceJet.

On Sunday, SpiceJet said it will be operating a flight with an A340 plane to Tel Aviv. Operation Ajay has been launched by the government to facilitate the return of Indians who wish to come back from Israel where an intense conflict is going on with militant group Hamas.

16/10/2023 PTI/CNBC TV18

Bengaluru customs seize 2.3 kg gold worth over Rs 1.3 crore at Kempegowda airport in three days

Bengaluru: The Customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport seized 598 grams of gold concealed inside a pasta maker. The passenger arrived in Bengaluru from Dubai on Indigo flight 6E-1486. Gold worth Rs 35,37,768 was concealed inside the rods of the pasta machine, according to the Customs officials.

Bengaluru Customs officials had seized 1.7 kg of gold and four Dell laptops from three separate passengers on October 12 and 13. The passengers arrived in Bengaluru from Singapore, Kuwait, and Colombo. The seized gold was worth Rs 1 crore and one passenger was arrested in connection with the seizure.

The passenger who arrived from Singapore concealed the gold inside shoes, trousers packet, and laptops. The seized laptops were worth Rs 1,19, 412. The passenger who arrived from Kuwait concealed 689 grams of gold in his rectum. Gold weighing 103.33 grams was concealed in the undergarments of the passenger who arrived from Colombo.

16/10/2023 Muralidhara Sampangishetty/news nine

Vistara Retains 2nd Spot With 10% Share Of India’s Domestic Market

India’s air traffic continues to increase year-on-year, with September also registering similar growth patterns. While IndiGo remains far ahead of other airlines, Vistara increased its market share slightly to maintain its second spot in the overall rankings. September, however, was not a good month for punctuality, as all major Indian carriers performed poorly compared to the previous month. Let’s take a look at what the DGCA’s data reveals.

India’s full-service carrier, Vistara climbed to the No.2 position in August with a 9.8% market share. Data from India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), revealed that Vistara maintained its 2nd spot with a marginal market share increase to 10% in September.

This is the first time in quite a while that any Indian carrier has reached a two-digit figure in domestic market share, apart from IndiGo, which maintains its eye-watering lead with a share of 63.4%.

Air India, another Tata Group airline, was next on the list with a market share of 9.8%, while AirAsia India came fourth with a share of 6.7%. SpiceJet commanded 4.4% of the Indian market, while Akasa Air was at the bottom of the list of major carriers, with a share of 4.2%.

Akasa enjoyed a great run earlier this year when it surpassed SpiceJet in market share. But it has recently been plagued by several flight cancellations amid a crunch of qualified pilots, leading to a slip in rankings.

Overall, India’s domestic carriers flew more than 112 million passengers from January to September, registering an annual growth of 29.10 % and a monthly growth of 18.26 %.

Vistara also reported good numbers in the passenger load factor department, coming out on top with a load factor of 92. SpiceJet, which traditionally aces the load factor rankings, was at the no.2 spot for a second month in a row, with a load factor of 91.4.

16/10/2023 Gaurav Joshi/Simple Flying

Indian steel giant front-runner to buy Go First - reports

Details are emerging in Indian media identifying entities that have lodged expressions of interest (EOIs) to buy insolvent Go First (GOW, Mumbai International). Applications closed on September 28, with the front runner reportedly Indian steel company Jindal Power. While several local and foreign airlines have also submitted EOIs, at least two foreign applicants are believed to be out of contention because their EOIs did not satisfy certain stipulated conditions.

Out-of-pocket lenders are reportedly backing any Hisar-based Jindal Steel & Power bid. Go First's resolution professional, Shailendra Ajmera, has so far accepted claims worth USD2.9 billion from operational and financial creditors. The airline's biggest lenders included the Central Bank of India, the Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, and Deutsche Bank. Go First suspended operations in May 2023. It has since secured approval from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to restart, albeit on a scaled down basis and under certain conditions. However, the airline has not yet managed to resume operations.

Jindal is a publicly listed company on the Bombay Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of INR695 billion Indian rupees (USD8.35 billion). The Jindal family, now headed by Naveen Jindal, owns around 60.5% of the shares on issue.

The company was issued with a non-scheduled air operators permit by India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation in 2008 and formerly operated a Cessna 560 XL/XLS registered as VT-JSS (msn 560-5594). However, that aircraft was written off after a runway excursion at Vidyanagar in mid-2020.

According to sources close to talks, having lodged the EOI, Jindal is now conducting due diligence and attempting to value Go First's remaining assets. It is unclear whether they propose restarting Go First themselves or want to take on a strategic partner. However, interested parties cannot access the insolvent company's financial records without formally submitting an EOI.

16/10/2023 ch-aviation

India-made light combat aircraft Mark 1A to be equipped with indigenous systems

Amid the government's push towards indigenisation in the military, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will equip its made-in-India Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A fighter jets with 'Uttam' radar and 'Angad' electronic warfare suite, replacing the imported systems installed earlier.

The IAF has already commissioned 83 LCA Mark 1A fighter jets, with plans to order an additional 97 in the near future. "The Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Angad electronic warfare suite are in the advanced stages of development. They will be ready for integration with the LCA Mark 1A aircraft soon," defence officials told

The current replacement plan, starting from the 41st aircraft in the order of 83 LCA Mark 1A fighter jets, includes an Indian-made electronic warfare suite and AESA radar. Different laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are executing the projects.

The 'Uttam' radar, currently in the development phase, has presented very promising results and is also being contemplated for use in high-end fighter jets.

The move to retrofit the LCA with home-grown weapon systems is expected to save millions in foreign exchange while simultaneously creating employment opportunities in the defence sector.

16/10/2023 Manjeet Negi/India Today

Make the aviation business cost-effective

India needs a thriving aviation sector, but for that to happen it has to ensure one or two players do not dominate the sector. Currently, there is a clear duopoly with IndiGo and Tatas (through Air India, Air Asia and Vistara) enjoying 90 percent of the market share. The two big players strengthened their grip over the market after Go Air went out of business in May this year. Meanwhile, SpiceJet, which has been struggling with its finances, and Akasa, which has been seeing many of its pilots leave, keep losing their market share to the big two. While smaller players need to get their houses in order to thrive in the business, the government must ensure the cost of airline operations does not go through the roof.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) costs account for around 40 percent of the operation costs of airlines in India. While international crude oil prices have a direct bearing on the ATF prices, high and complex taxes on ATF in India make the situation worse for airlines. There have been demands to bring ATF under the Goods and Services Tax. This will serve two purposes—taxes will be lower and airlines will be able to claim input tax credit on GST paid on fuels. The government must also ensure that airports do not charge unnecessary fees from airlines or passengers. An airline spends 8-10 percent of its total expenses on airport charges such as landing fees, parking fees and aerobridge fees. The aviation industry, along with the government, also needs to find a solution to the skill deficit in the industry. Indian airlines are severely constrained by the shortage of pilots, and the same was evident from the recent crisis in Akasa Air. India needs to develop domestic capabilities for aircraft maintenance and repair. Engine problems and a shortage of mechanics ensure over 20 percent of airlines remain grounded.

The aviation sector is a difficult business to be in. Scores of airlines, including big names such as Jet Airways and Kingfisher, have shut shop. A strong aviation sector can propel growth for an expanding economy like India’s. The government has ensured over the years that the aviation infrastructure expands and newer towns are connected through air. However, unless the running costs of the industry are within the scope of commercial viability, the sector cannot prosper.

16/10/2023 New Indian Express

Air India Welcomes First Airbus A320neo From 2022 Lease Agreement

Air India’s aircraft deals and lease agreements after privatization are gradually bearing results. After taking deliveries of four Airbus A321neos on lease in the last few months, the carrier has now welcomed its first A320neo since becoming a private carrier. The latest aircraft is part of the leasing agreement Air India signed last year, which included 21 A320neos and four A321neos.

Air India has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft since becoming a private airline. The plane is part of a leasing agreement signed by the carrier last year to develop its fleet for immediate capacity enhancement.

The plane, registered as VT-RTF, is the first of nine A320neos ordered on lease from China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC). The remaining eight will be delivered in the coming months through 2024. Winnie Liu, Executive Director, and CCO of CALC, commented,“We thank Air India for their trust in CALC. CALC is delighted to be embarking on another collaboration with our longstanding customer Air India to support the airline’s robust growth with the latest technology aircraft.”

VT-RTF is part of a leasing agreement signed by Air India last year for 30 aircraft, including five Boeing 777-200LRs and 25 Airbus narrowbody planes. Four of the 25 narrowbodies are A321neos (already delivered), and the remaining are A320neos.

Air India Chief Executive Officer Campbell Wilson told his employees in a message that the remaining 20 A320neos will progressively arrive between now and August 2024. He also spoke about the delivery status of the carrier’s latest widebody type – the Airbus A350 – adding, “We also took delivery of our second A350 (VT-JRB), which is now undergoing livery changes and other modifications in Toulouse before arriving in New Delhi in January 2024.”

16/10/2023 Gaurav Joshi/Simple Flying

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Air India Express and AirAsia India merger moves ahead

The merger of AirAsia India and Air India Express has been moving ahead as planned. Recently the low-cost airline AirAsia India which operates an all-Airbus 320 fleet started repainting their aircraft.

Now the first Airbus A320 from the AirAsia India fleet has officially joined Air India Express.

Soon, after the purchase of Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express the Tata Group made the decision to merge both the full-service carriers and the low-cost airlines as well.

This would then result in one premium airline and one budget carrier. The Tata’s initially bought out the original AirAsia owners.

The two low-cost airlines had recently merged their mobile application and their website into one, under the brand name AIX.

The aircraft which was transferred to Air India Express is registered as VT-ATJ which is currently 2.3 years old at the time of writing.

This A320neo was initially delivered to Air India Express on July, 2021 and then later in December 2022 the aircraft was registered under the brand name “AIX Connect”. Finally, in October 2023 the aircraft was registered with Air India Express.

This aircraft is having its first flight scheduled (with Air India Express registration of IX) with the no. IX 1613 which will depart from Jaipur airport at 11:10am IST on 10th October,2023 and will arrive at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International airport at 13:05pm IST.

This marks the beginning of addition of aircraft other than Boeing in the fleet of Air Asia India.

15/10/2023 AviationSource News

IAF may hold air show in Arunachal Air Marshal Dharkar

Guwahati: The Indian Air Force (IAF) may conduct an air show in Arunachal Pradesh, the first-ever such display of the force's air power in the strategically crucial state bordering China, Air Marshal S P Dharkar said on Sunday.

    The AOC-in-C of the Eastern Air Command told reporters that it's challenging to hold an air show in a hilly terrain like that of Arunachal Pradesh, but it is still an "interesting" idea for the force to have such a display there.

    Dharkar was responding to a query if the IAF will ever conduct an air show in Arunachal Pradesh to display its prowess to the common people.

    "It's an interesting proposition, I am sure we will look at it," he added.

    Dharkar said, "May be you will cover the next air show that we will be doing in the near future in some locations in Arunachal Pradesh."

    He said holding an air show in plain areas like Guwahati is easier than conducting one in the hilly terrains of Arunachal Pradesh.

     "The terrain itself prevents people at large from watching the air show well," the Air Marshal said.

    The Indian Air Force on Sunday organised an air display at Borjhar station on the outskirts of Guwahati, involving various choppers and fighter aircraft like Sukhoi-30 and Rafale.

    The display of the flying machines, which showcased different maneuvers in the sky, was organised as part of the 91st anniversary celebrations of the Indian Air Force as well as Eastern Air Command's outreach initiative.

    Besides Sukhoi-30 and Rafale, the show also comprised flypast by Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Dornier aircraft.

    The last act was a display by the SARANG team, consisting of four ALH choppers, enthralling the audience.

15/10/2023 PTI/The Week

Passenger, cargo transportation by air doubled in last 10 years: Aviation minister

The number of passengers and cargo transportation by air has experienced a twofold increase over the past decade, according to State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali.

"Air transportation of passengers and cargo in the last 10 years has doubled, while every airport in the country is in the process of being upgraded," the state minister said today.

While speaking as a chief guest at the 58th DGCA conference organised by the Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority at Hotel Sonargaon on Sunday (15 October), he reiterated the government's aspiration to transform Bangladesh into an aviation hub.

In his speech, he mentioned, "The aviation journey in Bangladesh commenced under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now working to fulfil her father's dream of building an aviation hub that connects the East and the West."

M Mahbub Ali also emphasised the significance of this year's DGCA conference in advancing the objectives of sustainable development.

The conference saw the participation of representatives from 47 countries and 13 international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.

15/10/2023 Business Standard

Airports Authority Of India Invites Applications For 496 Junior Executive Posts

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued a notification for Junior Executives (Air Traffic Control), announcing 496 vacancies. The notification, dated October 14, 2023, specifies that interested candidates must apply through AAI's official website; no other application methods will be accepted. According to the notification, the 496 positions include 199 for the general category, 49 for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), 140 for the Other Backward Class (OBC), 75 for Scheduled Category (SC), and 33 for Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates. The last date to apply online is November 30, 2023.

Qualifications required:

The required qualifications are a full-time regular Bachelor's Degree in Science (BSc) with Physics and Mathematics or a full-time regular Bachelor's Degree in Engineering in any discipline, with Physics and Mathematics as subjects in the curriculum. Proficiency in both spoken and written English at the 10+2 standard level is essential. Applicants must ensure their degree meets specific criteria, including recognition by a recognized or deemed university or an apex institution (IIT/IIMs/XLRI/TISS) acknowledged by the Government of India. The maximum age limit for applicants is 27 years as of November 30, 2023, while the minimum age requirement is 18. Additionally, there is an age relaxation of three years for OBC candidates and five years for SC/ST candidates.

To apply, candidates should ensure they meet the eligibility criteria, provide accurate information, and read the instructions carefully. Applications should be submitted online via AAI's website under the 'careers' tab. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Candidates should maintain an active personal email ID and mobile number for communication throughout the recruitment process. They are advised to verify information on the official AAI website to avoid responding to unscrupulous advertisements.

15/10/2023 NDTV

SpiceJet's 'Operation Ajay' continues; 2nd Tel Aviv-bound flight to leave

New Delhi: SpiceJet will operate its second flight as part of the Central government's 'Operation Ajay', aimed at repatriating stranded Indians from Israel, an airline official said on Sunday.

According to the airline, SpiceJet's Airbus A340 aircraft will take off on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. from Delhi for Tel Aviv, returning to Delhi the next morning.

"A group of 120 Israeli nationals, among others, will be travelling from Delhi to Tel Aviv on the SpiceJet flight," said the official. SpiceJet's first evacuation flight from Israel, carrying 320 Indian passengers, touched down in Delhi at 8.10 a.m on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Indian nationals, who arrived in two flights from Tel Aviv, were received by Union Minister Kaushal Kishore.

On Saturday, 235 Indian nationals arrived from Israel in the second flight, while on Thursday 212 people had arrived from the flight under "Operation Ajay".

15/10/2023 IANS/Daijiworld

DRI sleuths bust gold smuggling racket, recover 6 kilos of gold worth ₹3 crore

Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), on Saturday, recovered 6 kg of gold in the form of bars and paste worth ₹3 crore in two separate cases.

According to officials, based on a tip-off, they recovered 3.2 kilos of gold bars fixed in the washroom of an Indigo flight from Malaysia.

The bars were supposed to be accessed by a domestic flyer of the gold smuggling ring, but before he could board the flight, the officials had accessed the washroom and recovered the bars worth ₹1.3 crore.

In another incident, the DRI officials caught two passengers who landed from Abu Dhabi trying to pass through security checks. The duo from Tamil Nadu had concealed 2.8 kg of gold paste in their rectums.

The duo worked as carriers for the gold smuggling racket, which is being probed, a senior official from the DRI said.

15/10/2023 The Hindu

Uganda Airlines takes off as new Mumbai route adds to East Africa's air travel options

The long-awaited direct flights from Uganda Airlines to Mumbai have already begun, giving travelers more alternatives in the East Africa-India aviation corridor.

The move may also place smaller airlines in a competitive position that will likely put pressure on costs and yields.

On October 7, the national airline of Uganda flew for the first trip to the financial hub of India, a destination it would service three times each week, according to a report by The East African, an East African news publication.

The service, which was initially promised two years ago, is the second off the African peninsula and Uganda Airlines' 12th destination. Prior to the start of service between Entebbe and Lagos the following week.

Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, RwandAir, and Ethiopian Airlines, who have been connecting customers from Uganda traveling to India through their various hubs, are in direct rivalry with the new entrant. While flag carrier Air India also offers service between Nairobi and New Delhi, Indian airline Indigo also started flying to Nairobi earlier this year.

15/10/2023 Chinedu Okafor/Business Insider

Strained relations between Air India’s senior pilots & management: A deep dive into issues

New Delhi: India's aviation industry has been experiencing a resurgence, with air traffic reaching new highs and a promising outlook for pilots who weathered the storm of the pandemic. However, beneath the surface, a less rosy picture emerges as the relationship between pilots and airline management becomes increasingly strained, particularly within Air India, which underwent a change in ownership almost two years ago.

Since Tata Sons took over Air India, the relationship between the airline's pilots and the new management has hit an all-time low. It is no secret that senior pilots have often struggled to find a sense of belonging within the organisations they serve, given the unique nature of their profession.

Senior pilots within Air India have been vocal about their grievances, frequently sharing their concerns on platforms like WhatsApp. Insiders suggest that this diminishing status of pilots and crew members has been a deliberate tactic aimed at alienating these critical staff.

However, insiders from within the airline allege that senior pilots were displaced from their high-ranking roles, including positions like Chief of Operations, which subsequently ignited a conflict with the management.

While Tata management has concentrated on the aesthetics and quality of service, there appears to be a pressing need to address deeper issues within the organisation.

Sources from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA), assert that Tata should have replaced the old management team with a fresh one soon after taking control. The retained management, with their existing ways of doing things, is viewed as a destabilising influence, continuing to fuel the infighting within the airline.

Air India has long suffered from the existence of factional camps, each often motivated by self-interest rather than the airline's well-being.

Retaining the old management has inadvertently perpetuated these divisions, intensifying the adversarial relationship between different employee groups and management.

Many insiders with decades of experience argue that internal dynamics have deteriorated since privatisation, with little to show in terms of improving the airline's product, financial performance, or work environment.

15/10/2023 Daijiworld

Air India Halts Tel Aviv Flights Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict Until 18 October

Air India has extended its suspension of flights to and from Tel Aviv, Israel's economic hub, until at least 18 October. The private airline took to social media to announce this for the convenience of the passengers.  

"Air India is offering a one-time waiver on charges for rescheduling or cancellation of confirmed tickets on flights to and from Tel Aviv. The offer is valid on tickets issued before 9 October for travel until 31 October 2023..." Air India announced on X, formerly Twitter. 

The decision to prolong the flight service suspension arises in the midst of the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Israel has initiated an intense campaign to eradicate Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Air India, the former national carrier, typically ran five weekly flights to Tel Aviv, with routes operating on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

According to the company, despite this suspension, the airline will maintain its special chartered flights to repatriate stranded Indians from the region.

15/10/2023 Business World