Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Domestic air passenger traffic rises 9.1 per cent in January

New Delhi: Domestic air passenger traffic rose 9.1 per cent in January, with the country's airlines carrying 125.08 lakh passengers during the month, according to DGCA data released on Wednesday.

Domestic air passenger traffic in January last year was 114.65 lakh.

The market share of no-frills airline IndiGo for January fell to 42.5 per cent and that of national carrier Air India dropped to 12.2 per cent, showed the latest data by the aviation regulator.

In December last year, IndiGo's market share was 43.2 per cent while Air India's market share was 12.4 per cent.

The January data of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed that the market share of SpiceJet, Jet Airways, GoAir, Air Asia, Vistara stood at 13.3 per cent, 11.9 per cent, 8.7 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

In December last year, these five airlines had the market share of 12.3 per cent, 12.2 per cent, 8.8 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

Last month, a total of 917 passenger-related complaints were received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of January, 2019 has been around 0.73, the DGCA data showed.
Domestic air passenger traffic rises 9.1 per cent in January
20/02/19 Outlook

After AI & Jet, DGCA delaying pilots’ salaries

Mumbai: After Air India and Jet Airways, now Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been delaying its pilots’ salaries. The last salary DGCA paid its flight operations inspectors was over two months ago for November. Since then, neither have the inspectors received any word from DGCA on when the December and January salaries will be paid, nor have they been told about the reason for delay.

DGCA Flight Standard Directorate has around 75 pilots on contract, as flight operations inspectors (FOI). During the recent US government shutdown, non-payment of salaries to Transportation Safety Administration officials and air traffic controllers had raised concerns of air safety. “It’s not that bad. But morale is very low. Office talk often veers towards unpaid EMIs, breaking fixed deposits, etc,’’ a source said. Other DGCA staff, who are central government employees, have been receiving salaries on time.

FOIs carry out flight inspections, airline/charter operator certifications and various authorisations. They include pilots with valid flying licences, who were flying with airlines, aviation companies before they took up the temporary job posting with DGCA and retired pilots. The salary they draw from the government regulator are in tune with what they would earn in the aviation industry. “FOI salaries range from Rs 4-9 lakh per month. As of date, DGCA owes each FOI Rs 15-25 lakh,” said a source.
Director-general of civil aviation B S Bhullar said, “Salary payments, in general, not only in DGCA are linked to budget approvals, particularly in the last quarter of the financial year. In DGCA, probably they are clearing salaries today. It is our in-house organisational matter which we are continually discuss among ourselves.”
20/02/19 Manju V/Times of India

Airbus Says Engine Issues Resolved, Aims To Speed Up India Deliveries

Airbus said it's looking to exceed its 2018 targets by delivering over 67 aircraft to Indian airliners this year as engine issues have been resolved. “We plan to have an impressive number of deliveries this year with our supply chain in place,” Anand Stanley, managing director and chief executive officer of Airbus India and South Asia, told BloombergQuint ahead of Aero India in Bengaluru.
Supply-chain issues and problems with Pratt & Whitney engines had derailed delivery schedule for the French manufacturer. Issues with engines had grounded planes ordered by IndiGo last year.
That's getting resolved, said Stanley. “On the Pratt & Whitney engines, we have seen a reliability of 99.6 percent,” he said. “In the last 12 months, we have been very focused in working with the engine partners, the airlines and the regulatory authorities proactively.”
Stanley said Airbus made a number of software changes and fixes and, wherever required, retrofits. “The Indian fleet has seen 99 percent retrofits and in the next two months we will complete all of them.”
That led to three to fourfold reduction in engine issues. So for every 1000 hours, the reliability issue is now at 0.02 against the global benchmark of 0.05, he said.
Planes sent to India accounted for 8 percent of the global deliveries in 2018, Stanley said.
20/02/19 Sajeet Manghat/Bloomberg Quint

Despite an urgent need, India keeps fighter jet makers waiting for decades

In the world of multibillion dollar defense contracts, India stands out.

Home to one of the biggest armed forces on the planet, the country has an uneasy co-existence with neighbors Pakistan and China. Its rapidly aging fighter jets make it a lucrative potential prize for the likes of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. While India wants to upgrade its fleet, there’s one big road block: New Delhi’s famed red tape.

The country -- the world’s biggest arms importer, with an annual defense budget of $43 billion -- has been dangling a potential $15 billion fighter jet deal for more than a decade, with Lockheed and Boeing, the world’s two largest contractors, vying for the chance to refit India’s air force. Although drawn-out negotiations aren’t uncommon in the arms world, India took 32 years to seal a deal with the US to buy 145 howitzers from BAE Systems Plc, with arcane procurement rules and shifting specifications contributing to the lengthy delays.

“It’s frustrating for both sides,” said Laxman Kumar Behera, a research fellow who specializes in arms procurement at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. “No company or industry wants to wait so long. It also creates problems for the armed forces, because they are not getting the equipment on time.”

In a country with a long history of corruption allegations -- a scandal involving Bofors AB guns in the 1980s brought down a government and delayed the subsequent howitzer deal that was eventually hammered out last year -- bureaucrats have turned extra cautious to avoid misdeeds, adding layers of vetting for negotiated contracts.

A wary India, which is hosting its flagship air show this week, has also derailed plans by Lockheed and Boeing to breathe new life into their aging F-16 and F-18 programs. India is still seeking to replace its Soviet-era MiG aircraft, while countries such as Japan and South Korea have acquired modern stealth fighters such as Lockheed’s F-35.

“The Indian Air Force is facing a critical shortage of combat assets and other equipment,” said Caron Natasha Tauro, an analyst at Jane’s by IHS Markit. “With a two-front threat in its north from Pakistan and China, this shortage is perceived to be an immediate threat to national security.”
20/02/19 Bloomberg/Business Standard

​Boeing preparing to pitch 777X to Indian airlines

Bangalore: Boeing intends to begin talks with Indian airlines shortly as it looks to win business for the 777X as a replacement for ageing widebodies.

Speaking to FlightGlobal at Aero India in Bengaluru, Boeing's senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific and India sales Dinesh Keskar said he expected the 777X to replace the 777s operated by Air India and Jet Airways – India's only two widebody operators

Cirium fleets data shows that Air India has 11 777-300ERs and three 777-200LRs, with an average of around 10 years. Jet, meanwhile, has 10 777-300ERs aged between 10 and 12 years.

Keskar acknowledges that both airlines are pursuing ownership changes, but he nonetheless expects them to have the financial resources to afford new widebodies.

He says the two 777 variants, the -8 and -9, offer different benefits to the Indian airlines.

"The -8 offers unprecedented range that can operate nonstop flights between Delhi and San Francisco or Mumbai to Newark and Chicago … and allows them to open more new routes. If they go with the -9, they can expect better economics with lower fuel burn and more seat capacity, which translates to lower seat-mile cost."
20/02/19 FlightGlobal

Lockheed Martin unveils new combat jet F-21 for India

Bengaluru: US defence firm Lockheed Martin on Wednesday unveiled the F-21, a multi-role fighter jet for India, which it claimed will be produced in India. The announcement comes in the backdrop of the firm vying for the multi-billion dollar order from India, which has floated a Request For Information (RFI) for 114 fighter aircraft.

The company, while claiming that the new plane will be specifically configured for the Indian Air Force (IAF), said that it will have Make in India opportunities that no other firm had offered earlier.

The announcement was made at the Aero India show in Bengaluru, and the firm said in a statement that it would partner with Tata Advanced Systems to produce the F-21 in India.

Lockheed is among the seven firms that have responded to IAF's RFI for fighter planes. However, it had offered the F-16. The F-21, the firm said, is designed to address IAF's unique requirements.

The F-21 will be completely different, the company said, adding that the new plane highlights its commitment to delivering an advanced, scalable fighter aircraft to the IAF, while also providing industrial opportunities locally.

However, it could not be immediately confirmed whether the IAF has already been consulted with about the new aircraft. The IAF though is aware of the F-16 fighter that Lockheed has offered as part of the new RFI. The US firm had offered the F-16 Block 70 as part of the MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) deal which was bagged by Dassault's Rafale.

20/02/19 Times of India

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates India’s premier air show, govt calls for investment in aerospace sector

Aero India 2019, Yelahanka Air Force station: The 12th edition of the show which was inaugurated today by the defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman early morning will showcase India’s air defence prowess and manufacturing capabilities. There will be 61 aircraft on display and 403 exhibitors would be part of the Aero India show. More than 200 Foreign Companies are here to participate and witness the largest Aero Show of Asia.

Inviting investors to capitalise on aerospace and other sectors which can help manufacturing in India, the defence minister in her inaugural speech said that the show intends to put India on the global map, and metaphorically to be a “Runway to a billion opportunities”. It evinces India’s extraordinary progress and powers over the years in the sectors of civil and defence aviation.
20/02/19 Financial ECpress

Aero India Aims To Put Nation On Global Map, Says Defence Minister

New Delhi: The 12th edition of Asia's premier air show 'Aero India-2019' began at Yelahanka air force station in Bengaluru today with 61 metal birds, including HAL's indigenous products Light Combat Aircraft Tejas all set to roar in the city skies. ​The five-day long biennial event, which will showcase India's air defence prowess, will also act as a platform for aviation companies, the defence sector and government to forge new alliances and contracts.

However, the death of a pilot from Indian Air Force's aerobatic team Surya Kiran during a rehersal on Tuesday has cast its shadow on the show.

Besides the Tejas, the HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132- named as Hawk-i, Civil Do-228, Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH),Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) are scheduled to fly in the air show.

American defence giant Lockheed Martin unveils the F-21 multi-role fighter jet especially for India, to be manufactured locally under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative, as it eyed a multi-billion dollar military order.

Specifically configured for the Indian Air Force, Lockheed Martin's F-21 provides "unmatched" 'Make in India' opportunities and strengthens India's path to an advanced air-power future, the firm said announcing the plan on the opening day at the Aero India 2019 air show in Bengaluru.
20/02/19 NDTV

Aero India: New 'F-16 variant' for Indian Air Force unveiled, dubbed F-21

On Wednesday, US aerospace major Lockheed Martin revealed what appears to be a new variant of its venerable F-16 fighter, termed the F-21, for the Indian Air Force. A model of the F-21 was unveiled at the Aero India air show at Bengaluru, which commenced on Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin had pitched its F-16 for a contract to supply 114 fighters to the Indian Air Force in 2018. More than 4,500 F-16s have been built since the aircraft first took to the air in 1974. Previous variants of the F-16 had retained the type's name, suffixed with 'block numbers' to denote modernisation of systems or initials to denote user (e.g., F-16I of the Israeli Air Force).
Therefore, the unveiling of the F-21 designation appears intriguing. The F-16 had previously been criticised as being “too old” as it has been in service for four decades and has also been extensively used by Pakistan. The F-21 designation could help bolster Lockheed Martin's contention that it is offering India a new aircraft.

In a statement on the unveiling of the F-21, Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the "The F-21 is different, inside and out.” The F-21 has been advertised as being an aircraft configured to the needs of the Indian Air Force. Lockheed Martin emphasised that the F-21 proposal offers significant 'Make in India' opportunities.

Lockheed Martin said the "unprecedented Make in India opportunity combines the strength of the world's largest defence contractor with India's premier industrial house to deliver a win-win for India and the US.”
20/02/19 The Week

Aero India 2019: Rafale, Tejas, BrahMos to showcase power; 10 facts

New Delhi: The 12th edition of the Aero India 2019 started on Wednesday morning. The event was inaugurated by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Bengaluru. She said that India offers a big market for Defence manufacturing and invited investors to capitalise on aero space and other sectors which can help manufacturing in India. The giant show will be held from February 20 to 24 at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. The tagline for the show is ‘Runway to a billion opportunities’. More than 200 Indian and 130 International companies have registered to display their products and do trade business in the largest defence industry in the world.
First three days are reserved for business activities, while the show will remain open for public on the last two days. Ministry of Defence (MOD) has launched a unique mobile application which will provide with detailed information to visitors, local public, exhibitors, media and officials. Visitors who are interested to get a exposure of the show on the last two days, can book their tickets with the help of the application.
20/02/19 ZeeBiz

Aero India 2019 beings with tribute to Wing Commander Sahil

The LCA Tejas also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the fly plays. Incidentally Vajpayee had christened the aircraft as Tejas. The IAF's Sarang team in Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) performed breathtaking formations.
Missing man formation The inaugural fly past at the Aero India show paid tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who lost his life in Tuesday's mid-air collision of the IAF's Surya Kiran
aircrafts. These aircrafts were carrying out a practice sortie for the Aero India 2019. While Gandhi died, two other pilots were injured.Three aircrafts paid tribute with the missing man formation at the inaugural flypast. Three aircrafts that flew in the missing man formation were Jaguar, Tejas and Su-30 Mki.
At the home of Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi's parents in Hisar, there is a pall of gloom. Sahil's father is a retired bank officer. His mother recently retired as HoD of the College of Home Sciences of Haryana Agricultural University.
20/02/19 Bangalore Mirror

Aero India Show 2019: Three IAF aircraft including a Su-30MKi in lead fly in 'missing man' position to honour Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi

As the mega aviation exhibition Aero India Show 2019 began on Wednesday in Bengaluru, three Indian Air Force aircraft with a Su-30MKi in lead as the leader flew in the missing man formation at the Yelanhanka Air Force Station as a tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who lost his life on Tuesday in a mid-air collision during rehearsal in a Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team's aircraft.
The Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre in which one aircraft was flying inverted, carrying a pilot, and the other below it with two pilots, moments before they hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eyewitnesses. Among the three aircrews of the aircraft, Wing Commander VT Shelke and Squadron Leader TJ Singh ejected but Gandhi sustained fatal injuries.
The missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flypast of aircraft at a funeral or a memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot, or a well-known military service member or veteran. A custom observed in the air force of various countries, the flypast in this formation has one aircraft position which is left vacant or a gap between two aircraft in the formation to depict the 'Missing Man'.
In September 2017, three Sukhoi-30 MKIs conducted a flypast in this formation to honour Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh.
20/02/19 First Post

Aero India 2019: India seeks tie-ups to make aircraft locally; to invest $65 bn to construct 100 more airports: Suresh Prabhu

Bengaluru: The aviation market in India has begun to "explode" and the country is looking forward to partnerships to locally manufacture aircraft, Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday.

File image of Union minister Suresh Prabhu. AFPFile image of Union minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP
Wooing investors at the inaugural session of the biennial Aero India Show here, Prabhu said, "India's aviation market is now beginning to explode..."

"So far, we have had limited airports, very limited connectivity. But now, we have added more airports, taking the number to 103," he added.

"In the next 15 years we will add another 100 airports with an investment of $65 billion," he said further.

Highlighting the ministry's comprehensive strategy in the aviation sector, Prabhu said it has come out with 'Vision 2040' and to realise it, India would require 2,300 new aeroplanes.

"We look forward to partnerships to make aircraft in India. To make that (possible), we are coming out with an action plan, vision and road map," he said.
20/02/19 First Post

Aero India: Indigenous stealth fighter to initially use US engines

The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project of India has gone deep into the detail design phase now. Along with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), hundreds of scientists spread across at least 20 labs of Defence Research and Development Organisation are now engrossed in critical work to find solutions to a number of next-generation technologies that need to be proven.

With the project definition phase (PDP) getting over in 2017, Onmanorama can confirm that scientists have already walked some distance designing the AMCA, India’s stealth fighter.

ADA, the designer of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, is spearheading the AMCA mission.

The AMCA will be propelled by a US-origin GE F414 engine with a thrust of over 90kN and this will be an interim step by the makers till a higher-thrust engine of 110kN is finalised. The F414 engine, set to power the Tejas Mk-II, will power AMCA as well, till India develops a 110kN engine, possibly in collaboration with a foreign partner.

The current plan is to fly AMCA with the F414 engine for the first six-seven years, in what the designers now term as an ‘interim engine’ for India’s fifth-generation stealth platform. While the design phase has already been sanctioned to commence activities, the final approval for AMCA from the government (Cabinet Committee on Security) is in process.

The plan is to build four prototypes and fly the first one before 2025, which is seven years from now.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is said to be working out the exact numbers for this future fighter, while the AMCA Directorate at ADA is ensuring a robust foundation for this big-ticket desi project.
20/02/19 Anantha Krishnan M/The Week

India woos investors in Defence manufacturing as Aero India

Bengaluru: India Wednesday wooed investors to capitalise on the ecosystem prevailing in the aero space and other sectors and pitched for joint venture partnerships, saying it offered a big market in Defence manufacturing.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made the pitch for investment seeking to give a big push for the 'Make in India' initiative at Asia's premier air show which began at the Yelahanka air base, north of Bengaluru.

Eyeing India's multi-billion dollar market, global defence majors are showcasing technologies and products including helicopters, fighter jets and transport aircraft at the five-day mega event.

The event began on a sombre note, a day after two aircraft of Surya Kiran, Indian Air Force (IAF)'s aerobatics team, collided mid-air, killing a pilot and injuring two others who ejected to safety.

Also at the air show extravaganza, American Defence giant Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter jet for India, to be produced locally, as it eyed a multi-billion dollar military order.
"Hundred per cent FDI is possible now in the defence sector, so I invite all investors to consider to capitalise on the ecosystem which prevails for Aerospace and other segments which can help manufacturing in India," Sitharaman said in her inaugural remarks.

Noting that India has manufactured till date more than 4,000 aircraft, she said there was a "great possibility" for the Original Equipment Manufactuters (OEM)s from abroad to come and find joint venture partners.

She said the OEMs have a "captive market" and they could scale up production, besides making exports from India.
20/02/19 PTI/Business Standard

Surya Kiran aerobatics cancelled at Bengaluru air show following mid-air crash

Aerobatics by the IAF's Surya Kiran aircraft would not be part of the flying display at the air show from Wednesday due to the death of a pilot following collision of two planes in the air while rehearsing near the Yelahanka airbase, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"Surya Kirans won't be part of the flying display at the air show, as we had an unfortunate incident on Tuesday in which a pilot died after two of its aircraft crashed. All other displays will go as planned," Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria told reporters.
Admitting that the risks in aerobatics were very high, Bhadauria said the two Surya Kirans collided in the air when they were doing a mirror image in which the margin of error was very low.
"Whether it was an execution error or bird hit will be found out in investigation. Very few teams have 9 aircraft for aerobatics," Bhadauria told reporters at a press meet Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed here ahead of the biennial 5-day Aero India 2019 in this aerospace hub.
Bhadauria is the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF Training Command here.
Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi sustained fatal injuries in the tragic incident while two other aircrew, Wing Commander V.T Shelke and Squadron Leader T.J. Singh, ejected and were airlifted to Air Force Command Hospital in the city.
The crash occurred around noon on the outskirts of the airbase in the northern part of the city in an open field close to a residential area.
The twin aircraft were Hawk advanced jet trainers and part of the nine-aircraft Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) which displays daredevil feats and breath-taking formations in the air.
20/02/19 IANS/Business Insider

Hisar Mourns Death of Pilot Who Lost His Life in Suryakiran Crash

A pall of gloom has descended on the Police Lines area in Hisar, where the parents of Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi reside. Gandhi lost his life in a mid-air crash between two aircraft of the Indian Air Force's aerobatic team Suryakiran near Bengaluru on Tuesday, 19 February.
The body of the pilot is yet to reach the home town.
Sahil's father Madan Mohan Gandhi is a retired bank officer while his mother Sudesh Gandhi recently retired as the head of department of College of Home Sciences of Haryana Agricultural University (HAU).
Sahil had studied in Campus School of HAU and joined the Air Force in 2004, family members in Hisar told PTI.
The IAF officer is survived by wife Himani and five-year-old son Rayan. Himani is a software engineer and is working in the United States.
Gandhi’s wife is likely to reach the city by Wednesday night, 20 February. Sahil's elder brother Nitin works as an engineer at a company in Sweden.
After receiving information about the demise of Sahil, local MLA Dr Kamal Gupta visited his house in Hisar and condoled the death.
20/02/19 Quint

Emirates airline to explore direct flights to Calicut in Kerala

Emirates airline is exploring the possibility of starting its own direct flights to Kozhikode Calicut International airport in Kerala.

Senior officials from Emirates will inspect the airport in the coming weeks, according to an executive from Kozhikode Calicut International.

“A high level team from Emirates airline will be visiting Calicut airport in the first week of March for an inspection and discussions on commencing its operations to and from Calicut airport,” K Srinivasa Rao, Airport Director, Kozhikode Calicut International Airport, told Arabian Business.

While Emirates is yet to finalise a start date for operations, aviation industry sources said the Dubai carrier is likely to include the flight to Calicut in its summer schedule, beginning from end of March.

Srinivasa Rao said the date of start of Emirates’ operations to Calicut will depend on the Gulf carrier receiving the no-objection certificate from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

An Emirates spokesperson said the airline continually reviews possible market opportunities, both in India and globally, but would not comment future plans.

“Official announcement, if any, will be made at an appropriate time,” the Emirates spokesperson said, when asked about the airline’s plans for Calicut airport.
20/02/19  James Mathew/Arabian Business

Flights to take off again from March 1 from Veer Surendra Sai Airport

Bhubaneswar/Jharsuguda: Industrial town Jharsuguda may soon find its place in the aviation map of India as flight service from the newly built Veer Surendra Sai Airport here is expected to resume from March 1.

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, may commence its flight services from the airport to Kolkata from March 1. Ahead of its planned operations, a four-member team of the airline visited the airport on Tuesday to take stock of security measures, infrastructure facilities and passenger amenities.

Though the officials of Alliance Air are yet to confirm about the exact date of commencement of flight operations from Jharsuguda, airport authorities said the airline has proposed a tentative date of March 1 for launching its services.

“Alliance Air officials were satisfied and are likely to submit their report to higher officials soon following which a final decision will be taken on the matter,” said Airport Director SK Chauha.The airline will operate its ATR-72 flights from Kolkata to Jharsuguda. It may also start its operation from Jharsuguda to Bhubaneswar as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has recently granted approval to Alliance Air to operate flights from Jharsuguda to Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Raipur under the regional air connectivity project UDAN Phase-3, aviation officials said.

Jharsuguda airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22 last year. However, fight operations at the airport stopped within 15 days of its launch after Air Odisha suspended its services.

Currently, Alliance Air is operating its flights mostly in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and covering 53 destinations including Bhubaneswar.

Apart from Alliance Air, low cost carrier SpiceJet is expected to commence its services from Jharsuguda airport from March 31. Airport authorities had earlier stated that the airline is likely to operate on three routes - Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Similarly, Jet Airways is also likely to connect Jharsuguda with Mumbai while Turbo Aviation has planned to start its services from the airport to Bhubaneswar.
20/02/19 New Indian Express

Man held with gold worth Rs 60 L

A CISF personnel  detected two gold bars weighing about 1 kg each from the hand baggage of a passenger at T-3, IGI Airport, .
The passenger was identified as Abdul Haque Khan (Indian), arrived from Hong Kong by Air India flight and further bound for Mumbai by the same flight. On enquiry, he could not produce any valid document. Later, the passenger, along with the seized gold bars worth approximately Rs 60 lakh, was handed over to the Customs officials.
19/02/19 Tribune India

Two Nepalis held while boarding Sharjah flight

Surat: Two Nepalis were caught during immigration check at Surat airport on Monday trying to board a flight to Sharjah on forged NOCs and other documents of Nepal Embassy in New Delhi.
Bimla Rai Narayan Das, 40, and Parajuli Ishwar Padma Prasad, 25, were detained by the immigration staff at Surat airport when they produced forged NOCs and other documents of Nepal Embassy. The accused man and woman, who are not related, were handed over to Dumas police station. The duo was arrested on Tuesday evening after a preliminary investigation that revealed that they had produced forged NOCs to go to Sharjah. They were booked for criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery under various sections of Indian Penal Code on a complaint filed byPSI H G Gohil.

“It is yet not clear why the accused used forged NOCs of Nepal Embassy. We are yet to find out why they didn’t get original NOCs,” said a police officer at Dumas police station. Police will produce Parajuli (man), a resident of Palan Chowk, and Bimla (woman), a resident of Lalitpur, in court on Wednesday and request their custody.

The accused were living in New Delhi and had come to Surat to board Air India’s direct flight from the city to Sharjah.
20/02/29 Times of India

Gold, foreign cigarettes seized at Mangaluru International Airport

Mangaluru: Customs at Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) on Sunday seized foreign origin gold and cigarettes from two passengers who arrived from Dubai.

In two separate Tweets, Customs stated that gold of 24karat purity weighing 116.55 gm and valued at Rs 3.92 lakh was seized from a passenger who arrived from Dubai on Spice Jet flight SG60. The gold was concealed in socks and seven crude chain pieces were stashed in the check-in luggage.

In the second incident, Customs seized 7,176 Gudang Garam cigarettes valued at Rs 1.44 lakh that was concealed in check-in luggage by a passenger who arrived from Dubai on Air India Express IX384 flight.
20/02/19 Times of India

Mumbai man falls prey to cyber fraud, duped of Rs 2.35 lakh

Mumbai: A 44-YEAR-OLD man from Andheri was allegedly duped of Rs 2.35 lakh under the pretext of being provided a holiday package at a cheaper rate. The police said that the man fell prey to the claims of an executive of a fake portal, which he mistook for a prominent travel agency website.

The complainant, Sahadur Badlu Pal, was planning a vacation to Mussoorie, Nainital and Jim Corbett national park with his three friends and their families, when he came across the website on the Internet.

In his statement to police, Pal said: “In November 2018, I, along with my friends, were planning a trip and inquired with different travel agencies. On November 29, I came across a website… I called up the customer care after getting the number from the website.”
One Pankaj Kumar, posing as an executive of the travel company, offered Pal a package of 5 nights and 6 days at Rs 3.5 lakh for 17 people, including Air India flight tickets and hotel charges. The company even mailed Pal the itinerary of the trip.

He complainant paid Rs 2.10 lakh in six transactions, following which, the alleged fraudster asked Pal to pay another Rs 1 lakh. “He kept insisting on payment. So, I asked him to send me vouchers of the booking… he sent me forged vouchers on December 6, 2018. Later, he again asked me to pay Rs 1 lakh, but I transferred only Rs 25,000 on December 7,” Pal told the police.
20/02/19 Indian Express

Gold bars seized from woman at Bhubaneswar airport

Bhubaneswar:  The intelligence unit of Customs seized nine pieces of gold bars worth Rs 33.16 lakh from a woman at Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) on Monday.

BPIA Assistant Commissioner of Customs BC Sikdar on Tuesday informed that the seized gold bars weighed around 959.99 gram. Acting on an input, the air intelligence officers of Customs intercepted the woman who arrived from New Delhi by Air India flight AI 077 and carried out a search of her luggage.
During search, the officers found nine pieces of gold bars kept inside an emergency light. The gold bars have been brought to the country from abroad.

Customs officials said they also found 122 packets containing 24,400 cigarettes worth `1.22 lakh from the woman who hails from Maharashtra.
20/02/19 New Indian Express

Saudi man held at Delhi airport for smuggling gold

New Delhi: A Saudi man has been arrested by customs officials at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle into India gold worth about Rs 53 lakh, according to an official statement issued Tuesday.

The accused was intercepted after his arrival from Dammam in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

A detailed personal and baggage search of the passenger resulted in the recovery of 15 gold bars, weighing a total of 1.6 kg, the customs department said in the statement.

“The gold biscuits were concealed in a plastic wrapper which was tied to his waist,” it said.
19/02/19 PTI/

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

AI chief pegs monthly revenue target at Rs 2,200 cr

Retired technocrat Ashwani Lohani, who has been reappointed chairman and managing director of Air India (AI) for the second time, has set ambitious targets in his first meetings after appointment. A monthly revenue of Rs 2,200 crore, and an on-time performance of 90 per cent are among Lohani’s new stated objectives.
A 1980-batch Indian Railway Service mechanical engineer from Madhya Pradesh, Lohani moved from AI to the Railway Board as chairman in December 2018, and was reappointed to AI on a year-long contract by the civil aviation ministry on February 13.
On February 15, he met AI department heads and regional directors, and urged all employees to “rise to the occasion” and do everything possible to revive the national airline.
According to an official order sent out by Pankaj Kumar, regional director, North Region, who was part of the meetings, Lohani specified focus areas and sought dramatic improvement in them. “(A) target of an average of Rs 2,200 crore per month has been set by the CMD and all employees in the departments and stations must be aware of this target. The target should be displayed in all offices,” Kumar’s note said. Air India’s revenues currently stand at Rs 1,600 crore per month.
Another focus area Lohani underlined is Air India’s on-time performance (OTP). He has set out a target of improving the OTP from the current 79 per cent to 90 per cent. To ensure minimal cascading delays, he has instructed OTP of First Flights of the Day (FFoD) should be 100 per cent. His instructions are that the first flights should be ready for departure 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
19/02/19 Saitsh Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

Naresh Goyal's exit from Jet Airways key to its survival, says industry expert

On Thursday, the struggling Jet Airways announced its third quarter results reporting net loss of Rs 732 crore, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss. It also announced a bank-led resolution plan to bring the airline out of its current mess.

Under the resolution plan, the stake of Naresh Goyal, the chairman of Jet, is expected to fall from 51 per cent (as on December 2018) to about 20 per cent while lenders, led by State Bank of India, would become the largest shareholders in the Mumbai-based carrier.
Under the new plan, the future of 69-year-old Goyal as the head of the airline remains uncertain. It's believed that Goyal has lost his bargaining chip for dragging the airline to a point where its survival is seriously under jeopardy. Industry insiders say that it's a daunting task -- if not too late -- to revive Jet at this stage, and having Goyal on the board wouldn't help much.
So far, Jet management has stayed mum on the role Goyal is likely to play in the airline that he had started 26 years ago after working as an assistant in a travel agency. In a recent analyst call, the airline's CEO Vinay Dube said that "the promoter will be the Chairman of the Board. Jet Airways will continue the structure of a professionally run management reporting to the Board of Directors".  As per the plan, the lenders would get to appoint their nominees on the Jet's board, which means that there is a possibility of Goyal losing control in the new set-up.
"It boils down to Goyal," says an aviation industry veteran adding that because of Goyal's ego, the airline could not strike a deal with Tata Group. "Tatas allegedly wanted Goyal out. They might have retained Jet's identity but they wanted to derive synergies between Vistara and Jet, which needed Goyal to hand over the reins. For long, Goyal has been working on emotional impulse, rather than on corporate practicality. The key to Jet's survivability is Goyal's exit from the airline," says expert.
The resolution plan estimates a funding gap of Rs 8,500 crore for Jet, including repaying aircraft debt of Rs 1,700 crore. So even as the new plan is expected to take care of the debt burden, but the airline will continue to struggle operationally as it is financially weak, and some of its aircrafts are grounded due to non-payment to lessors. A new leadership, appointed by lender banks, would further deteriorate the situation given the poor track record of bankers in running troubled companies.
18/02/19 Manu Kaushik/Business Today

Two Surya Kiran aircraft crash during practice at Aero India in Bengaluru, one pilot dead

Bengaluru: Two Surya Kiran aircraft collided into each other and crashed moments after that at about 11.50am while practicing for the 12th edition of Aero India here on Tuesday. One pilot has been confirmed dead, while two others have sustained injuries.

The Surya Kiran aerobatic team has been an eye-catcher at multiple Aero India shows and has recently upgraded to flying the Hawk aircraft. They earlier flew the Kiran trainer aircraft, which has been decommissioned by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“Today morning at around 11.50am, two Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran aerobatic team of IAF crashed while practicing for the Aero India Air Show. Three pilots were occupants. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. Third pilot sustained fatal injuries. Damage to life and property in the vicinity of crash site is being ascertained,” IAF spokesperson said in a statement.

While the IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry (COI), which will investigate the cause of the accident, eye-witnesses accounts and videos show that one of the planes’ nose collided into the other, making it very difficult to recover for the pilots.

The rest of the Surya Kiran team (seven aircraft) landed in HAL airport and has been based there for now. While all Surya Kiran aircraft (Hawk) are twin seaters, the team generally flies with one pilot. On Tuesday, one of the aircraft had two pilots in them, both of whom ejected to safe.

“One of the pilots has fractures on both his legs and has been shifted to the operating theatre, while some scans are being performed on the other,” a source said. The third pilot’s body is yet to be brought to Command hospital. Once it reaches there, a post mortem would be performed and the body will be handed over to the family.
19/02/19 Chethan Kumar/Times of India

Life of an Indian pilot: Extra hours, high EMIs and a fat salary that's often delayed

The day hadn't ended well for Ayesha*, a pilot at one of India's low-cost airlines. Her final flight of the day was delayed by three hours, and embarrassed, she hadn't even waited to say bye to passengers, something that the 26-year-old liked to do. Ayesha was waiting at the tarmac when she was told that her taxi was not coming, and she would have to take the bus along with passengers to the terminal.

Avoiding eye contacts with fliers - lest someone asked her about the delay  - Ayesha waited impatiently for the bus to reach the terminal. The flight had landed past midnight, and it was now nearly 1 am. Ayesha just wanted to get back home and crash.

Then her phone rang.

"Report for the 6 am flight," said the manager who handled pilot rostering. Ayesha refused flat out.

But he insisted, saying that there was a shortage of pilots. "Please don't make me fly," Ayesha was now pleading. "I have been flying for six days, and it's my off tomorrow. I need to sort things at home," the pilot was almost begging now, unaware of all the eyes in the bus were on her.

The manager was unrelenting.  Ayesha pleaded, again and again. But it's of no use. She hung up. And as she stepped out of the bus, she heard the dreaded notification on her phone. She was on the 6am flight.

This was not the dream job that the junior flight officer had signed up for three years ago.

Miles away, Pratik,* a captain with a major Indian airline, was having problem managing his finances. Yes, he was paid well. Very well, in fact. Captains take home about Rs 8 lakh a month. But it is of little use if the salary is delayed, or is not paid in full.

It had been months since he got a full salary at a time, and that was showing in his bank balance. "I'm now forced to dip into my savings, to pay the EMI on my home loan," he says. He and his family live in Mumbai's Powai, in a posh colony where flats sell for Rs 5 crore upwards. He declined to say how much the EMI was, but says it runs into lakhs.
19/02/19 Prince Mathews Thomas/

Israeli carrier Arkia to have direct flights from Goa, Kochi to Tel Aviv

New Delhi: Connectivity between India and Israel is all set to improve with Israeli airline Arkia going to start flights from Tel Aviv to Goa and Kochi from September 28. At present, El Al has a thrice-weekly Mumbai-Tel Aviv nonstop and Air India has five times a week direct on Delhi-Tel Aviv route.

According to Israel Tourism, Arkia will operate its 220-seater single-aisle Airbus A321 LR (long range) to fly nonstop from Tel Aviv to Goa and Kochi. “Arkia will fly once a week to Goa on Tuesdays and twice a week to Kochi on Mondays and Fridays. From October 27, 2019, the flight to the latter city will move to Sundays and Thursdays. The air travel will run all year round except during the monsoon season in India,” Israel Tourism said in a statement.

The increased connectivity comes as Israel recorded 21% growth with 70,800 Indian tourist arrivals to the country in 2018, up almost 21% from 58,700 travellers in 2017. India is now the 12th biggest source market for Israel.

Hassan Madah, director of Israel’s ministry of tourism (India and Philippines) said: “In light of the significant increase in incoming tourism from India over the past few years, the ministry of tourism has been encouraging of Israeli airlines like Arkia to foray into the Indian market. We see India becoming one of the key source markets for Israel in the coming years and with Arkia’s direct flights to Goa and Kochi, the Indian traveller’s interest will surely increase. Goa attracts many Israeli tourists who visit the Indian state for leisure holidays, while Israel has recorded a notable mix of pilgrimage and leisure travellers from Kochi. With nonstop operations from the west, north and now south of India; this will help meet the growing demand and enable us to achieve higher Indian arrivals to Israel in 2019.”
19/02/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Government-backed NIIF forays into aviation sector; bids for Jaipur, Lucknow airports

The government anchored National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is planning to aggressively leverage opportunities in the Indian aviation sector by taking up stake in various state airports.

Business Standard has reported that the fund has bid for four out of six airports that the government put up for privatisation. These include Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mangaluru. Sources told the paper that NIIF has tied up with Zurich Airport to bid for the airports.

“The equity structure for the tie-up is yet to be finalised,” a person aware of the development told the paper.

The government invited bids for six state airports -- Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram – to allow private players to operate and maintain the airports for 50 years. The winner will also be responsible for developing city side infrastructure.

NIIF is owned by government of India (49 percent) along with global and domestic institutional players. The fund has investment "mandate to invest in infrastructure assets and related businesses" that are projected to see "long term growth trajectory".

The report further said that NIIF is also in talks with GVK Group and South Africa based Bidvest group to buy a stake in Mumbai International airport coupled with buying stake in Greenfield airports like Bhogapuram (Odisha).

"The NIIF is bullish about the growth in the airport sector. They are in talks with global airport companies and other investors looking to bid for projects across the country," a source told the paper.

GVK group, the majority stake holder (50.5 percent) in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, is looking to sell a portion of its stake due to high debt burden. Bidvest, owner of 13.5 percent stake in the airport, is also looking at selling its stake.

Explainer: Jet Airways crisis

New Delhi: Debt-ravaged Jet Airways., the country’s biggest full-service airline, is selling a majority stake for Re 1. Its part of a bailout plan by its state-owned lenders that will give the airline time to arrange fresh equity. The complicated arrangement is on track to be voted through on February 21, in what would represent the rescue of one of the country’s most visible companies at a sensitive time, with India’s general election just weeks away.

What is Jet Airways?
Its consistently been one of India’s top three airlines in the past decade. Jet Airways was founded by ticketing agent-turned-entrepreneur Naresh Goyal after India ended a state monopoly on aviation in the early 1990s. Its now 24 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways PJSC and controls 13.9 per cent of India’s market, one of the fastest-growing in the world. Jet Airways also flies to international destinations including London and Singapore.

Why is it in trouble?
As a slew of budget carriers started flooding the market in the mid 2000s, offering no-frills, yet on-time flights, Jet Airways began dropping fares, some to below cost. On top of that, provincial taxes of as much as 30 per cent on jet fuel added to its expenses, while price-conscious Indian travellers refused to pay a premium for on-board meals and entertainment. Unlike budget operators, full-service airlines such as Jet Airways offer such amenities mostly for free. Jet Airways lost money in all but two of the past 11 years and has Rs 72.99 billion ($1 billion) of net debt. While it didn’t separately disclose cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, Bloomberg calculations show the airline had about Rs 3.55 billion of cash at the end of last year. It defaulted on loans that were due by December 31 and has delayed payments to staff and lessors.

What is the proposed deal?
A group of lenders led by State Bank of India has proposed taking a 50.1 per cent stake for Re 1 through the issuance of 114 million new shares, a maneuver that is allowed under a framework outlined by the Reserve Bank of India last year. The procedure, applicable for companies with a negative net worth, is called Bank-led provisional resolution plan, or BLPRP, and it needs to be approved by all lenders, a banking industry group, founder Goyal and the board of Etihad. The structure, however, is expected to be temporary, allowing the airline to raise equity from investors, which in in turn would alter the shareholding pattern. Jet Airways, which requires some Rs 85 billion to get back on its feet, now needs to bridge that gap through fresh equity infusion, debt restructuring and asset disposals, such as selling aircraft and leasing them back. While the bank deal is nominally a conversion of debt into shares, debt levels will come down only by Re 1 once the exercise is completed.

Who will invest fresh equity?
Jet Airways management has given scant detail, but said lenders will also participate in an equity issuance round beyond the already allotted 114 million shares. Jet Airways has held talks with Etihad and Indian conglomerate Tata Group, while Goyal has offered to pump in as much as Rs 7 billion, if he retains his 25 per cent stake. Etihad may invest about Rs 14 billion and retain a stake below 25 per cent, while India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund may bring in as much Rs 13 billion, television channel reported, citing unidentified people.

Why is it important to rescue a private company?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces an election within months, and the collapse of an airline -- with 23,000 jobs at stake -- would put a dent in his business-friendly image and fuel criticism that he has failed to deliver on promises about creating jobs. Mumbai-based Jet Airways disappearance would also likely push up airfares -- it flies to 37 destinations across the country. The sensitivity of the matter was highlighted last year when Modi government reached out to the Tata Group seeking help.

What’s at stake for Etihad?
A lot. The struggling Abu Dhabi-based giant has scrapped routes and cut thousands of positions, putting the brakes on a costly expansion after almost $3.5 billion in losses in two years. It just slashed orders worth $21.4 billion for Boeing Co. and Airbus SE jetliners, after a strategy of buying into sick airlines around the world backfired. A healthy Jet Airways would feed traffic to Etihad’s base in Abu Dhabi, flying west-bound Indians to the US and Europe.
19/02/19 Bloomberg/The Hindu

Pulwama attack effect: Spot airfares to Srinagar skyrocket

New Delhi: Spot airfares to Srinagar have shot up due to a sudden surge in travel demand to the city in the wake of the Pulwama attack. Fares for Delhi-Srinagar — one-way — flights for Tuesday were in the range of Rs 15,500 to Rs 24,500, when checked on Monday night. The ‘normal’ fare for this time of the year is about Rs 5,000, according to the travel industry. Delhi-Srinagar fares for travel later this week also begin at Rs 13,000.

Similarly, on Monday night one-way Mumbai-Srinagar tickets for Tuesday flights were starting at Rs 24,150 (on a low-cost carrier) and going all the way up to Rs 41,000 in economy. The ‘regular’ fare is Rs 9-12,000, said a travel agent. Fares for later this week on this sector are in the range of Rs 21-28,000.

Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani had decided to cap fares on flights to and from Kashmir at Rs 5,000. AI flights to Srinagar for next few days are sold out.
19/02/19 Times of India

Alliance Air likely to start services from Jharsuguda airport from Mar 1

Jharsuguda: Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, is likely to commence flight services from the Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Odisha’s Jharsuguda to Kolkata from March 1, informed an official of the airport today.
Earlier in the day, a four-member team of the airline visited the airport and inspected the infrastructure, security system and passenger amenities.
Jharsuguda: Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, is likely to commence flight services from the Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Odisha’s Jharsuguda to Kolkata from March 1, informed an official of the airport today.
Earlier in the day, a four-member team of the airline visited the airport and inspected the infrastructure, security system and passenger amenities.
The decision of the airline to provide services from the airport holds significance as flight operation at the airport was stopped around 15 days after its inauguration as Air Odisha airline suspended its flight services. The airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, last year.
19/02/19 Odisha Sun Times

Mumbai to Bengaluru airfare alert! Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Indigo flight tickets jump by 346% to 638% on Tuesday

Mumbai: For air passengers days are not looking good, especially for Mumbaikars as their flight tickets at airlines like Jet Airways, Indigo and SpiceJet, have just rocketed over Rs 26,000 per person. This would be the cost to travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru. A lot has been happening since start of February, and it is quite clear the problem of expensive flight tickets will not end anytime soon. At least not before March 31,2019! If you are planning to travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru or Bengaluru to Mumbai, then it would be advisable to take a trip after February 24. Why? Because both Mumbai and Bengaluru have undergone runway shutdown. While Bengaluru’s shutdown will last till February 24, Mumbai’s repair maintenance operation will continue till March 2019 end.
Let’s understand how your fares have gone up!
If you decide to travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru - then on Tuesday, a one-way trip will cost you Rs 26,474 which is available as economy flexi fares,  for departure 1650 hours to 2330 hours. Among this ticket, the regular fare per person is Rs 24,806 includes base fare plus airline fuel charge plus surcharge. Remaining is GST Tax of Rs 1,247, passenger service fee of Rs 154, CUTE Fee of Rs 125 and other surcharges of Rs 142.
On the next day, if you plan to depart from Bengaluru, then flight tickets are charged at Rs 26,450. On the other hand, the premium ticket is costing at Rs 37,620 for departure from Mumbai, while return from Bengaluru is priced lesser at Rs 23,535.
Notably, if the same travel ticket is booked from February 25, then they are charged lowest at Rs 5,940 and highest at Rs 10,008 for departure from Mumbai to Bengaluru. The regular fare here costs just Rs 5,250.

This means, currently, tickets from Mumbai to Bengaluru, has more than tripled. A passenger’s ticket is costliest by  345.69% at Jet Airways.
19/02/19 ZeeBiz

Sri Lankan couple uses kid to smuggle gold, arrested by Air Intelligence Unit

Mumbai: A Sri Lankan couple who used their minor kid as a carrier of 1.08 kilogram gold worth Rs 3.31 crore was arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs. The officials intercepted the duo late Saturday based on profiling as frequent short-span travellers. When the kid was frisked, the officers found gold in his jacket and shoes.

The accused were identified as Siqad Nazrina Raafi, his wife Fathima Mohamed Hassen, and a minor kid who was used for smuggling the gold across the borders of two countries.
"The trio had arrived from Singapore to Mumbai by a Jet Airways flight 9W-0007. The accused were intercepted and gold was found in specially stitched concealed pockets inside the jackets,” said an AIU officer.

The gold bars of 99.9 per cent purity were found inside the pockets. The officials said that the purpose of using the juvenile as a carrier was to avoid suspicion or interception, the officials said.

The couple’s travel history aka profiling in customs’ parlance, set alarm bells ringing. Their travel history revealed frequent and very short trips to locations including Singapore. The visits were seen as suspicious as they involved multiple hops via longer routes, the officials said.
19/02/19 Asian Age

Plane lands, passengers remain on board to observe one-minute silence for Pulwama martyrs

New Delhi: Indian air travellers are known to be in a hurry to leave aircraft after landing. But on Saturday (February 16) when Jet Airways’ 9W-676 Guwahati-Kolkata reached its destination, the passengers onboard stood in silence for a minute to pay homage to the martyrs of Pulwama.
This tribute for the brave CRPF jawans who were killed near Srinagar last Thursday came as the flight’s captain, Sarvesh Gupta, asked the senior cabin crew Roanne Rodrigues to make an announcement after landing requesting them to remain seated.
“After landing in Kolkata Captain Gupta announced, requesting guests to observe a minute’s silence and pray for the soldiers who had lost their lives. All guests bowed their heads in prayer for a minute after the announcement was made,” said a Jet employee.
Captain Gupta was present at the gate and greeted passengers as they exited the aircraft. Many passengers were so moved by his announcement and the minute’s silence that they “personally thanked him and shook his hands while deplaning,” the employee added.
The entire country is in mourning over the terror act in Kashmir last week. “We all want to pay our tribute in whichever way possible to our great martyrs,” said the employee.
18/02/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Spice Jet to stop Udaipur-Bengaluru flight from 1-Mar

Spice Jet will be stopping operations on the Udaipur-Bengaluru route from 1-March. Udaipur will however continue to be connected with Bengaluru via the Indigo airlines flight.

Spice Jet flight SG-726 currently departs from Bengaluru at 12:10pm and reached Udaipur at 3:05pm. The flight then returns to Bengaluru from Udaipur at 3:40pm and reaches Bengaluru at 5:35pm. This flight is slated to be stopped from 1-March.

Indigo airlines will however continue its operations between Udaipur and Bengaluru. Indigo flight 6E-968 leaves Bengaluru at 3:10pm and reaches Udaipur at 5:30pm. The flight returns from Udaipur at 6:00pm to land at Bengaluru at 8:10pm.
19/02/19 Udaipur Times

AirAsia India announces 20% discount for passengers

Pune: AirAsia India has announced a discount of 20% for all its guests on all seats, all flights and all destinations for travel from February through July. Passengers can now book their tickets under this discounted scheme from February 18 to 24 for travel through February 25 to July 31, the officials said.
The low fares are applicable to all bookings made through and the AirAsia mobile app for destinations such as Bengaluru, New Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Indore, Visakhapatnam and many more Destinations on their network. Guests will need no promo code to avail the 20% discount during this period. This offer is also applicable on AirAsia International routes.

Sunil Bhaskaran, MD & CEO, AirAsia India, said, “We have introduced this campaign to encourage more flyers to travel with AirAsia, which also lives up to our vision of making every Indian fly. With this discounted scheme, flyers can now travel around the world to many destinations on a shoestring budget and still have a great time during their holidays.”

18/02/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Poland's Lot Polish Airlines to start Warsaw-Delhi direct flight from Sept

New Delhi: Poland's flag carrier LOT Polish Airlines will start direct flights between Warsaw and Delhi from September as it views India as a "strategic market" for its growth opportunities, a senior official said Monday.
One of the oldest airlines in the world, LOT Polish would commence operations to India with five weekly services and the first flight from Warsaw to Delhi would take off on September 17.

"We have a fairly large vision as far as our operations to India are concerned... There is strong business activities between the two countries... India is a strategic market for LOT Polish Airlines," the airline's Regional Director DACH and India markets Amit Ray said.

Based on market research, the carrier sees high demand from both sides for corporate and leisure travellers, among others.

The carrier, which began services in January 1929, flies on 110 routes and connects 90 destinations.

In an interview to here, Ray said LOT Airlines would like to give the Indian consumers another destination to look at in Europe as well as provide indirect connectivity beyond Warsaw.

Currently, the airline has a fleet of 76 planes, which is expected to rise to 90 by the end of this year.

Ray said the carrier would operate Boeing 787-8 aircraft, with three-class configuration for services to India.

There would be 18 business, 21 premium economy and 212 economy seats.
18/02/19 PTI/Times of India

Dassault Aviation reinforces Falcon presence in Indian Market

The Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000S, recently certified by EASA and the FAA for low visibility approaches down to 100 feet using the advanced FalconEye Combined Vision System (CVS), will be spotlighted at India’s largest military/civil aircraft show, Aero India, which opens February 20 at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. The 2000S will be presented alongside the company’s Rafale frontline fighter at the five-day event. The first Falcon 2000 nose section produced by the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) manufacturing facility in Nagpur, India, will be also displayed during the show. “In addition to their unrivaled combination of range, agility and airport performance, the reputation of Falcon jets in India and the surrounding region rests on Dassault Aviation’s half century of experience supplying the Indian Air Force with sturdy, technologically advanced fighters for its frontline combat aircraft requirements,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation.
The Falcon 2000 twin-engine business aircraft has long been popular with Indian operators for its reliability, cabin comfort, hot-and-high capability and low operating cost. Two third of the Falcons currently operating in the region are Falcon 2000S.
The FalconEye enhanced flight vision system capability – the first Head Up Display (HUD) to combine synthetic and enhanced vision capabilities – greatly improves access to airports in bad weather and significantly enhances aircraft fleet efficiency. The system is now also certified for the Falcon 2000LXS and Falcon 8X.
18/02/19 ANI/

Flying high! AirAsia India hopes to start international operations in 2019

AirAsia India, which started operations in 2014, will complete five years in June 2019. It currently has 20 aircraft and flies on 19 domestic routes.
air aviation, vistara, aviation sector, aviation industry
There were an estimated 18.4 million outbound departures by Indian residents in 2017, up 14.4% year-on-year, of which around 5.7 million departures are for leisure, the report said.
AirAsia India (AAI), the Tata Group promoted budget airline, in partnership with Malaysia’s Air Asia group, is hopeful of starting international operations by the end of this year, Sunil Bhaskaran, its recently appointed MD and CEO, told FE on the sidelines of a recently held aviation summit.

The statement assumes significance as AirAsia India is currently under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly bribing and lobbying government officials to change the civil aviation regulations that made it mandatory for an airline to have completed five years of domestic operations with at least 20 aircraft in its fleet, to be eligible to fly overseas. The airline made an application to the ministry of civil aviation in the month of January seeking permission to fly international.

Vistara, another Tata group airline promoted in partnership with Singapore Airlines, had also applied for flying overseas in June 2018 under the new aviation policy which only requires a carrier to have a minimum fleet of 20 aircraft, but is yet to get approval. Vistara currently has 22 aircraft.

AirAsia India, which started operations in 2014, will complete five years in June 2019. It currently has 20 aircraft and flies on 19 domestic routes.
19/02/19 Manisha Singhal/Financial Express

Rafale, Saras among birds set to dazzle the skies as Aero India starts tomorrow

Bengaluru: Airbus, which has been facing issues with its neo engine for the A330 passenger plane, is showcasing the aircraft to woo local airlines in India, while homegrown Saras multi-role passenger plane and Rafale, the fighter the IAF will take delivery of, will demonstrate its prowess at the Aero India show that begins on February 20.
The 12th edition of the international aerospace and defence exhibition will feature a total of 61 aircraft and 373 exhibitors. On Monday, 24 aircraft held displays as part of a dress rehearsal ahead of the event at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in front of enthusiastic spectators. While aerobatics teams like Surya Kiran and Sarang got the cheers and whistles with their stunts and manoeuvres, the deafening roars of engines of fighter aircraft like Sukhoi 30-MkI awed the spectators.
The multi-purpose civilian aircraft Saras, revived after a crash that killed two engineers and a pilot in May 2009, will fly in the event.
The UK-based aerobatic team Yakovlevs, or Yaks, the indigenous aerobatic teams of Surya Kiran (SKAT), with the British made Hawk advanced jet trainer and the Sarang team, named after the national bird, will demonstrate on Dhruv advanced light helicopter.
19/02/19 Economic Times

Three in race to pick stake in GVK’s airport holding company

Mumbai: Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial, sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Canadian pension fund PSP have submitted final bids for investing in GVK Power and Infra’s airport holding company, said several people with knowledge of the matter. The holdco, GVK Airport Developers, has a near majority stake in the consortium that’s running Mumbai airport and is building a second one in Navi Mumbai for about Rs 16,000 crore.
“Ferrovial and PSP had been shortlisted in November. But after due diligence, all three (including ADIA) have submitted final bids,” said one of the people.
Some of the bidders — it’s not clear which ones — are also suitors for stakes held by South African firms Bidvest and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) in the consortium Mumbai International Airport (MIAL). Both want to exit the consortium, according to people aware of the matter.
GVK Airport Developers owns 50.5% of MIAL, Bidvest holds 13.5% and ACSA owns 10%. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns the remaining 26%.
MIAL, in turn, owns 74% of the planned Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd, while the rest is held by local nodal body City and Industrial Development Corp (Cidco).
“While it is public knowledge that GVK is planning to divest a minority stake in the airport holding company, regret we will not comment on any speculative queries please,” said a GVK spokesman.
19/02/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

AAI mechanism to monitor actual flight time to rationalise block timings

New Delhi: Early arrivals of flights at congested airports may be a wish come true for passengers but has been a headache for air traffic controllers, particularly because of airlines’ practice of declaring a longer block time for a flight and arriving earlier than that. To rationalise the block timings, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) — which handles the country’s air navigation systems — has put in place a mechanism to monitor actual flight time at three of the busiest airports — Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

“The study will monitor actual departure and arrival times to the three airports based on which, AAI will submit a comprehensive road map for resolving all the issues identified during the course of study to the Ministry (of Civil Aviation) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on February 13 in response to a question in Rajya Sabha. “During course of year-long study, AAI will also monitor and log actual block timings followed by various airlines at various periods of day. AAI will share the data of actual flying time between city pairs with DGCA for rationalisation of block timings,” he added.

A senior official at the AAI pointed out that some airlines followed the practice of announcing longer block times and turned up before time, effectively portraying that they are arriving before time. However, this had a cascading effect on the other aircraft that are scheduled to land on a particular time slot. Following this, the ATC was directed to only allow aircraft to land as per landing slot time cleared prior to the flight. This would force aircraft to hover around its destination unnecessarily.

Block time is the duration taken by an aircraft to taxi-out to the runway of its origin airport, actual flying time, and the time taken to taxi to the arrival gate of its destination airport. According to a senior government official, discrepancies pertaining to different airlines setting different block times for same routes existed on a large scale for hundreds of different routes in the country. However, at some of the major airports, these have been rationalised up to an extent.
19/02/19 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

SpiceJet to start 12 new domestic flights from March 31

SpiceJet on February 19 stated that it will start 12 new direct flights on its domestic network from March 31, 2019. "SpiceJet is the first Indian carrier to introduce daily direct flights on the Bhopal-Surat-Bhopal, Gorakhpur-Mumbai-Gorakhpur and Jaipur-Dharamshala-Jaipur sectors," the airline said in its statement.

The airline also announced on February 19 that it will start two new flights on Delhi-Bhopal route as well as on Bhopal-Delhi route.

It will also be flying a new daily flight from March 31 between Bhopal and Mumbai.
"SpiceJet is celebrating the launch by announcing an introductory promotional fare starting at Rs 2499 on Bhopal-Mumbai sector, Rs 3299 on the Bhopal-Delhi sector, Rs 3457 on the Bhopal-Surat sector, Rs 4399 on Gorakhpur-Mumbai sector and Rs 4099 on Jaipur-Dharamshala and Rs 3699 on Dharmshala - Jaipur routes" the airline said in its statement.
19/02/19 PTI/

Bengaluru decks up for dazzling display of air prowess

Bengaluru: India's aerospace hub has been decked up for a show of air prowess by birds of a different kind at the five-day biennial Aero India expo from Wednesday at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Yelahanka base on the city's northern outskirts.
Allaying fears over Asia's premier air show being shifted from Bengaluru, the Defence Ministry has roped in the Civil Aviation Ministry and the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to host the 12th edition of the expo to showcase latest technologies and products by global aerospace majors, with aerial and static displays of their aircraft, including fighters, helicopters, transport aircraft and passenger jets.

Vying with state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and its aerospace arms like ADA, GTRE and CABS and homegrown BEL, L&T, Tata's Advanced Systems and Godrej are global aerospace majors Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing from the US, Dassault Aviation and Airbus from France and Russian Aircraft Corp MiG pitching for a pie of the multi-billion dollar industry.

While delegates and stakeholders hard-sell and network at the expo, the daredevilry feats and spectacular aerial displays of the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Russian Sukhoi SU-30, the medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber will steal the show.
19/02/19 IANS/Economic Times

GoAir Offers Flight Tickets From 1,499 Rupees

GoAir is offering domestic and international flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 1,499 and Rs. 4,999, respectively in a sale offer, said the airline on its website - Bookings under the sale offer can be made till February 20, 2019. The sale is valid for travel between March 1, 2019 and September 30, 2019, according to the airline's website. However, the travel dates vary according to the destination. GoAir's offer on flight tickets come amid high competition in the country's civil aviation sector.
Under this offer, the cheapest flight ticket is available on Bengaluru-Kannur route starting at Rs. 1,499 for travel between March 4 and March 31, 2019. Tickets from Ahmedabad to Kochi start at Rs. 2,299. Flight ticket on Bengaluru-Phuket route start at Rs. 6,299 for travel between March 11 and September 30, 2019.
19/02/19 NDTV

Srinagar airfare halts return of Kashmiri kids

Mohali: As many as 80 Kashmiri students are struggling to arrange airfare for Srinagar even as 40 others managed to reach home on Monday, two days after they were forced to leave Dehradun and Mullana in Ambala following threats after the Pulwama terror attack.
Jammu and Kashmir Students Organisation (JKSO) president Khwaja Itrat said, “We are finding it hard to arrange for airfare. Airlines are charging Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for a Chandigarh-Srinagar ticket and we fear going by trains. We are now planning to charter a flight to fly 250 to 300 students expected to reach Mohali by Tuesday.”
Currently, Chandigarh has two connecting flights to Srinagar. GoAir flight originating from Ahmedabad halts at Chandigarh before proceeding to Srinagar and IndiGo flight originating from Kolkata has a brief halt at Chandigarh and then proceeds for Srinagar. An airline operator at the Chandigarh airport said, “The airfare escalates if bookings are sought at the last minute. As the flight gets full, the airfare escalates manifold.”
In Srinagar, many organisations and residents are giving donations and other help so that the stranded students may reach home. Mursal Banday, another JKSO volunteer, said he has flown to Srinagar to hold talks with the deputy commissioner and organisations for arranging help to bring students back home.
Itrat said fearing for their lives, many students have left Dehradun and Mullana to reach here in Landran. He also met deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra requesting her to provide security to the students. Sapra said, “We have assured them full co-operation and directed all three SDMs and SSP to provide security cover whenever demanded. There are 80 students here. The DSP has been directed to escort the students safely to the borders of the state whenever a demand is raised, without wasting any time.”
19/02/19 Barinderjit Saluja/Times of India

Air services from Bhopal to be hit as airport staff call strike from Feb 20

Bhopal: Services at Bhopal's Raja Bhoj airport are likely to be affected as the airport employees have decided to join the nation-wide indefinite strike from February 20. Airport Authority Employees Union, an apex body of the airport staff unions, has called for the nationwide strike to protest the proposed privatization of six airports.
The Union cabinet had in 2018 approved a proposal to let private players manage Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Thiruvanathapuram and Guwahati airports under PPP model.
All the 60 employees of the airport are likely to join the strike. "If we all go on leave, there will be no one to handle the routine work. Aircraft movements will be certainly affected," said secretary of Bhopal unit of the Airport Authority Employees Union, Siddharth Yadav .

Yadav said that the union is completely against the privatisation of the six airports. "Airport authority of India (AAI) has invested huge amount of money on all the six airports and now government is privatizing such profit-making airports. It is unjustified as the same government had shelved the PPP mode plan in 2015," said Yadav. He alleged that the AAI is not being allowed to manage the airports despite having the expertise and making huge investments. "There is no adverse performance report against AAI," said Yadav.
19/02/19 Times of India

Pune airport slips to 55th spot in ACI ranking for quality of passenger services in India

Pune: Pune airport’s ranking among Indian airports in the 2 to 15 million passenger category has dropped to the 55th spot in 2018 from 39th in 2017, Airports Authority of India (AAI) statistics reveal.

According to the Airports Council International (ACI) rating for 20 AAI airports, Pune airport received 4.71 rating in 2018 as compared to 4.75 in 2017.

In 2017, under the category of best airport by size and sub category of airports handling passenger traffic of 5-15 million passengers per year, ACI had accorded Pune airport the 3rd place, along with Cochin and Kolkata, across the world. While the first spot was bagged by Hyderabad, the second spot was shared by Balikpapan (Indonesia) and Hohhot (China) airports.

The final ratings of airports across the world for 2018 by the ACI on passenger services (airport service quality) is still to be announced

“Though we don’t want to comment on rankings, the airport has developed many features within its limited space to provide better experience. Until the new terminal building is ready, we have been making several adjustments in the existing building and it has worked well,” said an airport official.

The last quarter (October-December 2018) survey results of ACI were announced in January, wherein Pune airport was positioned just one place up at 71st when compared to the 72nd spot in the third quarter survey for the same year. In the second quarter survey, the airport was way ahead at 37th position.
19/02/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

L&T gets ₹7,000 Crore project for an airport construction

Larsen & Toubro(L&T) recently got an order worth ₹7,000 Crore, for the design and construction of an major airport, India’s leading construction engineering company reported recently.

Not much information about the specifics of the deals have been revealed, as of now the company has only revealed that it has got order for construction of a “major” airport.

“L&T Construction has secured a mega contract for design and construction of a major airport. The engineering, procurement and construction orders have been secured to execute development works of a major airport,” L&T said in a statement.

The ambit of work includes design, construction of passenger terminal building, engineering, procurement, a new runway, taxiways and aprons, a new elevated eastern cross taxiway, landside roads, rehabilitation of a runway, drainage, utility infrastructure and modifications for the existing terminal.
This is the second major order that Mumbai based construction company has bagged in the February.
Larsen & Toubro Limited, generally known as L&T, is one of the largest Indian multi-national firms and leading construction company in India headquartered in Mumbai.
18/02/19 Tejbhardwaj/Indian Wire

AAI to extend, strengthen runway at Tirupati airport

Tirupati: In a bid to enable the operations of wider body aircrafts at the Tirupati international airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is mulling to extend and strengthen the existing runway from 2,286 mtrs to 3,810 mtrs, which can cater for code E aircrafts, said M. Siva Raju, director.

Addressing mediapersons in Tirupati on Monday, the director announced that the vice-president of India

M. Venkaiah Naidu would lay foundation stone for the proposed extension of runway at Tirupati airport, during his visit on February 20.

On the salient features of runway extension work, Mr. Siva Raju explained that recarpeting and strengthening of the runway was listed under the proposed works and in addition,  other associated works like grading of runway strips, RESA, GLF works to meet the ICAO standards for Code-E type aircrafts was also included in the project. The AAI sanctioned an amount of Rs 177.10 crore to take up the works”, he explained.
19/02/19 Deccan Chronicle

Indian national dies at Sri Lanka's international airport

Colombo: An Indian national has died at Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport after falling at the departure terminal.

The victim was reported to be a 52-year-old Indian small businessman from Ramanathapuram. The unfortunate fate has come when he was returning to India at 2.00 am today.

Airport Police viewing the CCTV video footage have observed that the man apparently suffering from a medical condition has grabbed a concrete pillar in the departure terminal and slid down to the floor.

The Airport Police had taken steps to inform the Indian High Commission of Sri Lanka of the Indian national's death.
18/02/19 Colombo Page

US National Found Dead At Airport Lounge In New Delhi

A U.S. national was found dead in a room at the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Premium Plaza Lounge in New Delhi, Saturday.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said they alerted the police after the duty manager of the lounge called them to inform that a 52-year-old man from the United States, who had arrived in New Delhi from Coimbatore in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was not responding.

“The passenger was identified as Ian Andrew. The manager said he arrived from Coimbatore by an Air India flight the same day. He booked a room to take a nap. Around 4 a.m. [local time, 5:30 p.m. EST, Friday], he locked the room and did not respond. When the room was opened with a duplicate key, Andrew was found lying unconscious. Medical examination confirmed him dead,” a police officer who wished to remain anonymous, told local newspaper Hindustan Times.

After the police responded to the scene, the body – found lying on the bed – was recovered from the room and transported to Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, where he was declared dead. The cause of death was not determined and will be declared after an autopsy. However, authorities confirmed there were no signs of any external injuries on the man’s body.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Bhatia said the U.S. embassy and man’s family members, including his wife, who was in Australia, were informed. “We are waiting for her. A postmortem will be conducted once his wife is here. We are yet to confirm the man’s background and why he was in India,” Bhatia said.

According to local news outlet Times Now, the deceased was born in Bihar, India.
19/02/19 Pritha Paul/IBTimes

Cial to get more CISF personnel

Kochi: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) unit based at Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) will soon have more personnel to man the airport premises.
Cial, which now has 854 CISF personnel, will have an additional deployment of 507 employees. The decision is in the light of the rising passenger traffic and the opening of new domestic terminal (T1).

The proposal in this regard is currently awaiting clearance from the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and the deployment is expected to take place before Lok Sabha polls.

Once the MHA sanctions the additional deployment, Cial will become one of those airports in the country that are guarded by the highest number of CISF personnel.

“A survey was conducted earlier to assess the requirement and we have submitted the proposal to the central government. It received the requisite approval from the ministry of civil aviation and the proposal is now before the MHA. We hope to have the deployment in a couple of months,” said airport director A C K Nair.
19/02/19 Anantha Narayanan K/Times of India

Morning flights from city to New Delhi from May 1

Kanpur: Spicejet will commence its morning flight from Kanpur to New Delhi from May 1 for which the operator has announced to induct 189 seater plane. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) gave its approval to the proposal to the Spicejet recently.
People will also be able to visit Dehradun and Nainital as Kanpur will soon be connected with Pant Nagar, said director, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi memorial airport Chakeri Jameel Khaliq. He said the flight will connect Uttarakhand with Kanpur. Its commencement dates would be finalised within a week, he said.

“According to the proposed schedule for a morning flight from Kanpur to New Delhi, the flight will take off from New Delhi at 8 am and land at Chakeri airport at 9.05 am. And, after a rest of 25 minutes, it will go for the return journey and land at IG Airport at 10.35 am”, Khaliq said.

Initially there were several technical hurdles for the morning flight but the same have now been removed. Moreover, in the afternoon flight for New Delhi, the passengers load was almost 90% and sometimes it is even 100%, Khaliq said further. The directoror-general, civil aviation, had sanctioned Kanpur-Bengaluru flight for all seven days of week. The Bengaluru flight would commence from March 1, he added.
19/02/19 Times of India

Big impact of Jewar Airport! Mahagun Group to invest Rs 600 cr in developing retail park in Greater Noida

New Delhi: Buoyed by the developments with regard to the Jewar International Airport, realty major Mahagun Group has announced the launch of its new commercial project called Mahagun Marina Walk at Greater Noida West. The retail park would be developed with an Investment of over Rs 600 crores. The retail project would comprise a shopping area, multiplex, hotel and office spaces. The group proposes to sell around 4.3 lac sqft area of the project and retain the balance with them.
Giving details on the development Amit Jain, Director at Mahagun Group said, “With the growing residential population in Greater Noida West once the Jewar Airport becomes operational, the need for retail and shopping is ever increasing. Hence we felt it’s the right time to launch a project like Marina Walk. By the time the project would be ready; the region’s population would be double or even more.”
Amit Jain of Mahagun Group further added, “With the metro becoming operational soon and connectivity increasing via widening of NH 24 and the presence of FNG (Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad) Expressway, Greater Noida West is becoming a hub for residential and commercial developments. Also with Jewar Airport’s work being paced up, the airport in coming few years will immensely help the regions like Noida, Greater Noida and Greater Noida West, to grow.” The new retail project will be developed on a total plot area of 18,694 sq. meters and will have a built-up area of 1.16 million sq. feet. 
Amit Jain of Mahagun Group further added, “With the metro becoming operational soon and connectivity increasing via widening of NH 24 and the presence of FNG (Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad) Expressway, Greater Noida West is becoming a hub for residential and commercial developments. Also with Jewar Airport’s work being paced up, the airport in coming few years will immensely help the regions like Noida, Greater Noida and Greater Noida West, to grow.” The new retail project will be developed on a total plot area of 18,694 sq. meters and will have a built-up area of 1.16 million sq. feet. 
19/02/19 ZeeBiz

SVPI airport: T1 overcrowded, but Terminal-2 being upgraded

Ahmedabad: Even as the international terminal i.e. Terminal-2 (T2) of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport handles only 20% of the daily passenger movement and that too during the night time, Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials have recently undertaken the task of rearranging the security hold area at T2. Top sources confirmed that the security hold area is being rearranged to help expand the passenger-handling capacity at the terminal.

According to AAI data, some 35,000 passengers move in and out of the SVPI airport every day. Out of this, only 20% of passengers use the international terminal. The remaining passengers use the domestic terminal. When queried about reasons for increasing passenger handling capacity at Terminal-2 despite it being under-utilized, SVPI airport director, Manoj Gangal, said he will divulge details later.

19/02/19 Times of India

Indigo hits air pocket on pilot shortage but can it get worse?

Indigo, India’s largest airline and one that prides itself on reliability, suffered from significant disruption towards the end of last week.

To make matters worse, the airline has indicated that it will cancel approximately 30 flights each day through March 31.  This is due to a lack of having a sufficient number of pilots to fly the published schedule.

Based on their current aircraft utilization, this translates to effectively grounding 5 aircraft. For an airline that is often cited as a case study in planning, the disruption has caught the industry by surprise. The question being asked is whether the airline will be able to deliver on the aggressive growth plans for the coming year? And if so what brought about this disruption?

An airline’s operations plan addresses the question of how to deliver the schedule. It is an exhaustive, complex and collaborative process, with key efficiency and asset utilization targets. A well-executed plan translates into cost control and high asset utilization. But any weak link in any function can affect the overall outcome – namely, schedule reliability. Items that are planned for include:

  • Fleet availability: the number of aircraft available for flight each day
  • Maintenance: scheduled maintenance based on hours and/or flight cycles
  • Staffing: number of crew required for operations
  • Airport constraints: such as curfews, special training requirements, slots
  • Training: regulatory and company mandated training and impact on operations
  • Network design: the patterns of routing aircraft
  • Scenario planning: disruption planning including mitigation measures
  • All of the above together enable an airline to deliver the reliability of schedule.

For Indigo, each of the above items has moved from simplicity towards complexity. For instance, from a uniform fleet of A320s powered by only one engine type, Indigo now flies 3 different aircraft (the ATR, the Airbus 320/320NEO and the Airbus321NEO) with 3 engine types. Predictable maintenance schedules are more complex with a mix of new aircraft purchased directly and older aircraft sourced from the secondary market. The network is more complex with a mix of 55 domestic destinations and 15 international destinations of varying stage lengths. Point-to-point flying is still the foundation but schedules have now been aligned towards maximizing connecting traffic and thus network patterns have also become complex.

Simply put: Indigo has evolved and each area of operations has become more complex.
19/02/19 CNBC TV18

India & Bangladesh working to improve connectivity: Envoy

Shillong: Both Dhaka and New Delhi are working to improve connectivity between the two countries to boost trade and tourism, Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner to India, Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur said on Monday.

The Governments of Bangladesh and India are working on river routes, rail and air connectivity to boost tourism, he said.

"... From next month, the Civil Aviation Ministry of the Government of India is going to launch a direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka. I am sure that this will address connectivity and boost tourism growth manifold between the two countries," Monsur said, addressing a tourism convention here.

"Currently, I am issuing 150 visas daily. I am sure from next month, the number of visas will increase three times or at least 400 every day," he said.

Monsur said Bangladesh will put its best efforts to export and enhance tourism medical, religious, archaeological tourism, between the two countries.
18/02/19 PTI/Business Standard

HAL CMD Madhavan calls to emulate Israeli Model to tap huge global Aerospace and Aviation business opportunities

Bengaluru: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan today called upon Indian Aerospace and Aviation industry sector to emulate the 'Israeli model’ whereby they specifically develop and manufacture products not only for their domestic needs but also fully focus on the global markets.
Delivering his Keynote Address at a Conclave on Aviation Industry: Opportunities, Challenges,
growth Potential and the Way Forward organised by Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) here on Monday, Mr Madhavan said that “India needs to emulate the Israeli model wherein they manufacture aerospace and aviation products for the export market.
Considering the huge global market that the Aerospace and Aviation industry offers, India needs
to look more on the export market as we have the requisite technology, skilled manpower, low cost base and system integration capabilities to cater to the global markets”.
He said that “if Indian aerospace companies need to tap a sizable chunk of the global market, then they need to look at forming a consortium of MSMEs under the wings of a major aerospace player like HAL. It will be easy to tap and capture the global market pie. We need to work on this model.”
18/02/19 UNI

1.100 kgs gold sized at Trichy airport

Chennai: Customs officials on information at Trichy airport seized 1.100 kilograms
gold worth Rs 35.20 lakhs from four passengers, including three women, who came from
Malaysia, sources said on Tuesday.
The sources said that on Monday, on information customs officials checked the belonging of
Gudbudhin and three other women passengers, who hailing from Sivagangai and found
smuggled gold.
19/02/19 UNI

Foreign currency seized at Cochin Airport

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Sunday seized foreign
currency worth around Rs 11,50,000 from a foreign national at Cochin airport.
During frisking at Security Hold Area (SHA) of Cochin Airport, a CISF personnel detected
16,378 US Dollars worth Rs 11,50,000 from a foreign passenger concealed inside his trouser
pocket, an official statement said here today.
“The passenger, later identified as Sadeq Abdulla Mahadi Abdulla Hasan, a Bahrain national
who was supposed to travel from Kochi (Cochin) to Muscat by Oman Airways and on enquiry, he
could not produce any valid document,” CISF spokesperson Hemendra Singh told UNI.
Later, the said foreign passenger along-with the recovered foreign currency was handed over to
customs officials for further investigations.
18/02/19 UNI

Monday, February 18, 2019

Adani Group set to land Trivandrum International Airport deal?

Thiruvananthapuram: Is Adani Group’s taking over the Trivandrum International Airport just a formality? It is, if there are no major last-minute changes, Express has learnt.

With the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) springing a surprise by bidding for the Mangalore Airport, the understanding between the bidders seems to be clearer now. CIAL looks set to settle for Mangalore.

Three entities each have filed separate bids for the two airports. While Adani Group, GMR Group and state-owned TIAL have submitted it for Trivandrum, CIAL, other than Adani and GMR,  has bid for Mangalore.

Sources close to the Airport Authority of India said two entities each are in the fray --- Adani and CIAL in Mangaluru and Adani and TIAL in Thiruvananthapuram. The GMR, it is learnt, has interest in neither of the two, although it submitted bids for both as a proxy.

If the state is hell-bent on retaining the Trivandrum Airport in the public sector, then the first thing is not to allow disinvestment. Instead, it chose to take part in competitive bidding by forming a fledgeling company named TIAL, with KSIDC as a major stakeholder in the consortium of companies.

At the same time the government allowed CIAL, the only company from the state having enough expertise in the aviation sector and both technically and financially qualified to take part in the bidding, to go for Mangalore, an airport in which the state has no strategic interest other than business.

If the state was really intended to keep the airport in its custody, it should have allowed CIAL, headed by the CM, to bid for the Trivandrum Airport, in which the state has clear interest. Adani Group has business interest in both Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram. However, considering the proportion of investment it is making in Vizhinjam Port, chiefly its transnational connectivity (due to its proximity to the international sea route), the writing on the wall is clear. Further, the volume of traffic at Thiruvananthapuram is much higher compared to Mangaluru. Since the private operator will have to pay a rate based on the head count of each domestic passenger to the AAI and not on the international passenger number to be selected in the bidding , Mangaluru Airport is no longer a major attraction for a company like CIAL, especially at a time when the Trivandrum Airport is up for sale. More than 60 per cent of the 2.5 million passengers in Mangaluru are domestic, with only three major daily flights, to the Middle East.
On the other hand, of the five million passengers handled by Trivandrum, only 40 per cent is domestic and the rest international. So it is not business, but other interests the reason, say sources.And if it was not enough, the LDF has been staging a protest in Thiruvananthapuram after securing 10 per cent of right of first refusal from Centre and bidding for the airport, at the same time allowing CIAL to look for an airport in another state, said sources, saying it is a clear case of understanding.
18/02/19 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express